Barcelona, the second most populous city in Spain, is located in Northern Spain, in the region of Catalonia. Though Barcelona is a major modern metropolis, the name of the city also brings to mind images of incredible public art and architectural sites, as well as some of the most popular beaches in Europe. Barcelona is also a thriving mixture of different cultures, even using both the regional language, Catalan, and Spanish as official languages.
Situated on the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona, Spain has a mild climate, with mostly sunny days all year and a pleasant breeze frequenting the shores. The spring brings cooler, more damp weather, and most visitors arrive in the summer, or during the winter holiday season.
Tourists come to Barcelona seeking a number of attractions, and the city offers a wide variety of cultural sites and activities to satisfy natives and visitors alike. The Gothic Quarter in the city center is a common destination for those seeking to see the historical monuments of the city. Buildings in the Gothic Quarter include the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia and the Church of Santa Maria del Pi, and the city's historical Jewish Quarter is also within this area. Other popular destinations are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudi, particularly the Church of the Sagrada Familia, construction on which began in the late nineteenth century and is still unfinished today. Another common tourist site is the Park Guell, a garden designed by Gaudi.
A wealth of invaluable artworks also exist in the museums of Barcelona, the most popular of which are the National Museum of Art Catalonia and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. There are also a number of museums dedicated to specific individual artists, such as the Picasso Museum, the Fundacio Antoni Tapies, and the Fundacio Joan Miro.
Beaches in Barcelona have been rated among the best by many international tourism rankings, and attract a large number of visitors each year. For those interested in spending time outdoors, the city also offers over sixty parks.
Barcelona is also known for its exciting nightlife, and the city hosts a number of festivals throughout the year focusing on music, film, or artwork. The two largest music festivals are the Sonar Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival. Barcelona's many theatres make it possible to see plays on almost any night of the week, and music performance venues abound.
There are hotels and restaurants suited to every price range, from cheap hostels and street cafes to luxurious hotels and fine dining. Travel to the city is fairly easy, with dozens of flights arriving daily from many locations to the nearby Barcelona Airport. Those traveling by land can reach Barcelona easily by highway or train. Within the city, transportation is simple, giving visitors the options of bus lines, metro, cable cars, or the tram system.
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