Barcelona is located on the Northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea. The naming of the city is greatly debated, but some have said it is so named after one of the ships accompanying Jason and the Argonauts on his search for the Golden Fleece. The ship crashed, but the stranded seamen were so taken by the beauty of the island they decided to make it their permanent home.
The history of Barcelona is apparent everywhere you go, most notably in the architecture. You don't have to travel long in the city to see the awe-inspiring works of architects like Antoni Gaudí, perhaps his most amazing work being the Sagrada Família. The Sagrada Família began construction in 1882, and in 1926, at the the time of Gaudi's death, less than a quarter of the structure was complete. The temple is expected to be completed in 2026, a century after Gaudi's passing.
Barcelona is a unique culinary destination, with it's own trademark dishes that differentiate it from the rest of Spain. While many outside of the country view paella as a general Spanish dish, it is actually quite different across different regions, analogous to the way pizza can differ across the United States.
There are a great number of tapas dishes in the city, with the names varying from menu menu. There's tapas, the general small dishes of food which could be anything from olives to a plate of grilled seafood. Then there's raciones, basically a larger portion, which is great if you're feeling a little more hungry. Finally there's pinchos, best described as bite-sized tapas, always served on top of bread. Our favorite tapas are Chipirones, deep fried baby squids. Crunchy, salty, and garlic-y; these are a rarity outside of Barcelona.
Barcelona is a unique locale as you can enjoy the lively metropolitan experience as well as the beautiful shorelines, all in a single day. From April to the October, the water is the perfect temperature for swimming. Many of Barcelona's beaches are easily accessible by public transportation and the beaches are packed nearly every day. If you're making a day of it, be sure to swing by a Chiringuito and grab some food and drinks.
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