Barcelona, Spain, is the capital and the most populous city of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia and the second-largest city in Spain, after Madrid. It’s also Europe’s largest metropolis on the Mediterranean coast and the most popular tourist destination in Spain.
Barcelona has many venues for live music and theater, including the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera theater, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, the Teatre Lliure and the Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall. Barcelona also is home to the Barcelona and Catalonia National Symphonic Orchestra (Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona I Nacional de Catalunya, usually known as OBC), the largest symphonic orchestra in Catalonia. Barcelona has a great number of museums, which cover different areas and eras. The National Museum of Art of Catalonia possesses a collection of Romanesque art while the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art focuses on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art. The Fundació Joan Miró, Picasso Museum, and Fundació Antoni Tàpies hold important collections of these world-renowned artists. Several museums cover the fields of history and archeology, like the City History Museum, the Museum of the History of Catalonia, the Archeology Museum of Catalonia, and the Barcelona Maritime Museum.
Local cuisine blends seafood with products from the Pyrenees like vegetables, rabbits, duck, and lamb. Dishes that combine sweet and savory flavors, such as rabbit with figs, are also fairly common. Food often features Catalonia’s four basic sauces—allioli (pure garlic and olive oil), romescu (almonds, hazelnuts, tomato, garlic, and olive oil), sofregit (fried onion, tomato, and herbs), and samfaina (a ratatouille-like vegetable mixture). Typical entrees include habas a la catalana (a spicy broad-bean stew), bullabesa (fish soup-stew similar to the French bouillabaisse), and espinacas a la catalana (spinach cooked with oil, garlic, pine nuts, raisins, and bits of bacon).
Barcelona is served by Barcelona Airport in the town of El Prat de Llobregat, about 11 miles from the center of Barcelona. It is the second-largest airport in Spain and the largest on the Mediterranean coast. The airport mainly serves domestic and European destinations, but some airlines offer destinations in Asia and the U.S. The airport is connected to the city by highway, commuter train, and scheduled bus service. Sabadell Airport is a smaller airport in the nearby town of Sabadell. It’s devoted to pilot training, commercial flights, aero-taxi, and private flights.
Barcelona also boasts an extensive motorway network and is a hub of high-speed rail. Barcelona is served by a comprehensive local public transport network that includes a metro, a bus network, two separate modern tram networks, a separate historic tram line, and several funiculars and aerial cable cars. The Barcelona Metro network comprises nine lines, identified by an “L” followed by the line number as well as by individual colors. Barcelona is a major hub for RENFE, the Spanish state railway network, and its main intercity train station is Barcelona-Sants station. Generally, Barcelona has high-speed rail links with major cities in Spain.
Barcelona enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The summer’s season lasts about six months, from May to October, although also in November and April sometimes there are warm temperatures. Winters are mild.