Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, and is the capital of the region Catalonia. It is situated on the Mediterranean cost in northeastern Spain, and has 1,6 million inhabitants (2008). When adding the suburbs the number of inhabitants increase to 3, million. Barcelona is located 160 km south of the French border and the mountain range Collerola is to be found northwest of the city with the highest peak, Tibidabo, rising 512 meters above sea level. The city is located between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs.
Spain’s main city port
Barcelona is Spain’s main city port, a large industrial city and an important centre for commerce. In addition, the city is a popular tourist destination, specially after the city hosted the summer Olympics in 1992. Barcelona enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. January and February are the coldest months with an average temperature of 10 degrees. July and August are the warmest months with an average of 25 degrees Celcius.
The city is divided into 10 districts. One of these is the city’s historic centre, Ciutat Vella, which also houses the Barri Gotic, the Gothic quarter, and the old town’s centre. Many of the buildings here originate from the Middle Ages. Barri Gotic has a labyrinth-like street pattern with many small streets which lead into open spaces. Most of this town is closed for motorcars. The big square ”Placa Calaunya” is regarded as the city’s centre. This is also the place where the old city (Ciutat Vella) and the 1800 centry district Eixample meet. Here are many of the famous tourist attractions located, including the Sagrada Familia. The square is also well known for its statues and fountains, and there are also hotels, banks and department stores in this square.
Some of the most important of Barcelona’s streetsand avenues also meet here. One of the best known is called La Rambla and goes down to the harbour to the Columbus monument. La Rambla has a vibrant street life with shops, restaurants and street performers.
Barcelona has a large network of public transport to offer. This consists of underground, busses and trams, plus some mountain railways and cablecars. There is also a good network of rail connections to the whole of the rest of Spain, and international connections to Montpellier, Milan, Geneva and Paris. The high speed train between Madrid and Barcelona was inaugerated in February 2008.
This large city is located between two motorways, Ronda de Dalt, which runs along the mountains, and Ronda del Litoral, which runs along the coast. These motorways have several exits into the city.
Barcelona’s international main airport is called EL Prat, and is situated about 12 km west of downtown. This is the second largest airport in Spain. There are also two smaller airports in the area and these are mainly used by charter companies, such as Ryanair. One of these airports is located in Girona which is 1023 km north of Barcelona and the other is in Tarragona, some 77 km south of the city.