There are two official languages spoken in Barcelona: Catalan, generally spoken in all of Catalonia, and Castillian Spanish. The city of Barcelona has a population of 1.510.000, but this number spirals to more than 4.000.000 if the outlying areas are also included.
The capital of Catalonia is unequivocally a Mediterranean city, not only because of its geographic location but also and above all because of its history, tradition and cultural influences. The documented history of the city dates back to the founding of a Roman colony on its soil in the second century B.C. Modern Barcelona experienced spectacular growth and economic revival at the onset of industrialization during the second half of the 19th century.
The 1888 World's Fair became a symbol of the capacity for hard work and the international outlook projected by the city. Culture and the arts flourished in Barcelona and in all of Catalonia, the splendor achieved by Catalonian modernism is one of the most patent displays. Barcelona, more than just a single city, is really a collection of multi-faceted and diverse cities.
The visitor unfamiliar with its history might be surprised that such a modern and enterprising city preserves its historic Gothic center almost intact, or by the curious contrast between the maze of narrow streets and the grid-like layout of the Example, the urban planning "Enlargement" project of the end of the 19th century.
Since the massive clean-up operation of the beach and nearby Olympic marina and village undertaken for the 1992 Olympics, this area has become a magnet for Barcelonans and visitors alike. A lot of effort goes into maintaining the cleanliness of both sand and sea, which is tested daily, and all beaches have disabled access, lifeguards (in season), sun beds and showers.
Closest to the Olympic marina, and therefore always crowded, this wide swathe of rough golden sand is great for food goers. There are three spotless beach bars, two immensely popular restaurants on the promenade behind (Mango and Chiringuito de Moncho) and countless bars and restaurants off the Port Olímpic just a short stroll away.
This beach is twice the length of adjoining Nova Icaria and fringed by a stretch of stone walkway perfect for jogging, roller blading and cycling. The raised promenade cuts down on traffic noise and makes it possible to almost believe you're a million miles from the city. No beach bars, but three large informal restaurants on the promenade.
(Metro Ciutadella Vila Olímpica, plus 20-minute walk) Divided from Bogatell by a breakwater housing a school and hire center for windsurfing, hobie cats and kayaks, Barcelona's only naturist beach is tucked away behind a long hillock of rustling bamboo. Nearby is a peaceful park - good for a picnic or siesta under the trees.
Very wide and long and fringed by woodendecking along which lies a series of American-style eateries(pizzas and Tex-Mex mostly) plus the busy Catalan restaurant Agua. Somewhere along its length, the beach becomes San Sebastian (Metro: Barceloneta), a traditional and popular stretch with locals and consequently crowded, noisy and very jolly.
Maremagnum - Monument a Colom
At the end of "La Rambla" there's the harbor. We are now on the bridge over the sea that links "Maremagnum" with "La Rambla". At your left, you can see the Columbus monument. The discoverer of America is pointing in the wrong direction, because he points to the east at the Mediterranean Sea, and America is on the other side to the west.
"Maremagnum" is a very successful new shopping and free time area. You can find here 12 cinemas, the Imax, and a wide variety of restaurants, pubs and discos. Night life begins here around 11 pm and lasts till 6 am, but if you are 20 or older, this is not the place to be --too many teenagers.
An impresionant amusement park in Tarragona, a city near of Barcelona that you can go in train in 1 hour. Port aventura has got the rollercoaster more higher, faster and with more loopings in Europe. It is divided in 5 thematic parts: China, México, Polynesia, Mediterránea and the Far West.
The Acuarium of Barcelona
Here is the largest in Europe. You can see the fauna & flora Mediterranean, and part of the marine tropical water. You will have the experience of to be covered by fishes, water flowers and animal invertebrates.
You may not arrive in Barcelona with jet-lag, but your tummy will soon think it has abandoned all known time zones.
Breakfast (esmorzar/desayuno) is generally a no-nonsense affair, taken at a bar on the way to work. Lunchtime (dinar/comida) is basically from 2pm to 4pm and is the main meal of the day. No local would contemplate chomping into dinner (sopar/cena) before 9pm. That said, although restaurants tend to stay open until 1am or so, most kitchens close by 11.30pm.
Don't panic! If your gastric juices simply can't hold out until then, you can easily track down bar snacks or fast food (local and international style) outside these times. And, anxious to ring up every tourist dollar possible, plenty of restaurants here cater for northern European intestinal habits - although you often pay for this with mediocre food and the almost exclusive company of other tourists.
Many bars and some cafes offer some form of solid sustenance. This can range from entrepans/bocadillos (filled rolls) and tapes/tapas (bar snacks) through to more substantive raciones (basically a bigger version of a tapa), and full meals in menjadors/comedores (sit-down restaurants) out the back. Cerveseries/cervezerias (beer bars), tavernes/tabernas (taverns), tasques/tascas (snack bars) and cellers/bodegas (cellars) are just some of the kinds of establishment in this category.
For a full meal, you are most likely to end up in a restaurant/restaurante, but other names will pop out at you. A marisqueria specialises in seafood, while a meson (a 'big table') might indicate (but not always!) a more modest eatery.