Barcelona Hotels Articles

March 29, 2010

Catalonia – Holidays in Barcelona, Tarragona and Girona

The autonomous community of Catalonia can be found to the north of Spain bordering the Pyrenees Mountains, and the Spanish provinces of Huesca, Teruel, Zaragoza and Valencia. During its history, Catalonia has gained and lost varying degrees of autonomy, and none more so than during the Franco years (1939 – 1075) when its independence was squashed. After Franco’s death, Catalonia regained its cultural independence and is now a dynamic and vibrant region with its capital city Barcelona second only to Madrid.

The Mediterranean coastline of Catalonia is known as the Costa Brava. There are plenty of wonderful beaches to be found the whole length of the Costa and with such a mild climate; Catalonia has been a favourite tourist destination for many years. The coastline is of great natural beauty being characterised by many small coves, bays and beaches. Inland, picturesque wooded cliffs; lush vegetation and varied wildlife make it ideal for both walkers and hikers alike.

Travelling around Catalonia should be fairly easy as the region has an excellent road network, with the main coastal highway stretching from the Pyrenees Mountains, all the way down to Almeria. Main roads are good throughout the region and reach all of the main regional towns. Catalonia’s main airport is found at Barcelona but charter flights can also be obtained to Girona and Reus.

Catalonia has a deep-rooted appreciation of culture, cuisine, sport and art. Even though the region is fiercely proud of its independence and history, it is openhearted and open-minded to new ideas and people from the international world. Catalan cuisine is considered healthy and tasty similar to a Mediterranean diet, with beef and seafood forming the main part of many dishes. What with great olive oils and fine wines, Catalan cuisine is imaginative and creative.

Barcelona Holiday Attractions
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain after Madrid. The population of Barcelona is around 3 million, and there is plenty to see and do throughout the entire city. The Metro system is excellent, and allows easy access to the many attractions found throughout the city. For those wishing to spend a few days touring the city, the ‘Barcelona Card’ offers unlimited public transport and discounted access to the many museums, restaurants and holiday attractions.

Las Ramblas is Barcelona’s most famous street and runs from Plaza de Catalunya to the Harbour. This tree-lined boulevard runs for over 1km and offers a myriad of colours, sounds and sights along its length. During your travels expect to see flower kiosks, market stalls, impromptu shows, street artists and performers the whole length. There are also many open-air bars and restaurants from which to take in this special atmosphere.

Tarragona Holiday Attractions
100km south of Barcelona can be found the ancient Roman town of Tarragona. Once the capital of Rome’s western Mediterranean empire, Tarragona is a wonderful city and an excellent place to experience some of the finest Roman remains to have survived in Spain. It is a beautiful old town, full of character, and offers some wonderful museums including the National Archaeological Museum, featuring ancient Roman artefacts and impressive mosaics. Another big attraction is Port Aventura, the biggest theme park in Spain. Operated by Universal Studios, it features the largest roller coaster in Europe along with plenty of other rides for all ages and a good selection of bars and eateries for refreshments.

Girona Holiday Attractions
Girona dates back to Roman times and has been an important town throughout the ages with many civilisations leaving their mark, especially in the old town where some of the city’s wonderful medieval and baroque architecture can be seen. Much effort has gone into restoring the buildings and medieval ramparts, and these are best appreciated on foot wandering the narrow, winding streets armed with a map.

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