Despite the political and football animosity between Spain's second capital and Madrid, Barcelona really is a jewel in Spain's crown.
The city of Barcelona is worth a visit for so many reasons - and buying property here isn't as expensive as you might think. Although one of Spain's more expensive cities to purchase in, buying a property in Barcelona also comes with excellent rental potential - both short and long term lets.
Like other major cities in Spain, Barcelona lead the economic and housing recovery in 2013. House prices are on the increase but still not exorbitant. For example, a two bed apartment overlooking the marina complex could cost as little as €250,000.
On average, two bed properties in Barcelona city are advertised at a little over €300,000, while four-bed properties are marketed at an average of €750,000. Certainly, property in Barcelona city isn't the cheapest in Spain, but compared to other large European cities, Barcelona offers a lot of value.
Barcelona, is Spain's second largest city after Madrid, with a population of 1.6 million in the centre. Including its suburbs, Barcelona boasts a population of approximately 5 million people, making it the largest city on the Mediterranean. From a wealth and business perspectives, many view Barcelona as where it's at in Spain, rather than Madrid.
Getting to Barcelona is easy by plane, train and road. Just 13km south of the city, El Prat airport is well-connected internationally and regular train and bus services provide fast access the city. Girona airport is only 75km to the north and offers another access point.
From the centre of the city, the AVE high speed train service whisks you at 300km per hour west to Madrid and North to Girona and onwards to France. The city is also well-served by the motorway network and its port connects Barcelona to many Mediterranean destinations, and beyond.
You'll hear Catalan spoken in Barcelona, rather than Castilian Spanish, but many European languages are also in regular use in this cosmopolitan city. Don't worry about trying out your rusty Spanish here - the locals will appreciate the gesture and respond in kind. However, they prefer to reply in Catalan to other Spaniards who only speak Castilian Spanish. Thank General Franco for that - oh and maybe a little of the Barca / Real Madrid rivalry on the football pitch.
Barcelona city is situated on the coast and its seaside location is one of the reasons Barcelona is such a special place to visit. The cuisine is generally excellent and the views and walks are spectacular. Visitors new to Barcelona would do well to follow an organised tour. Audio-guided walks are a very popular way of experiencing this quite compact city and an excellent introduction to particular themes - whether it be architecture, Gaudi or gastronomy.
Barcelona enjoys a typical mediterranean climate with cool-ish winters and hot summers. The coastal location saves Barcelona from the worst extremes with winter temperatures averaging 9 degrees C and summer around 25 degrees C.
Barcelona (City) popular areas
Borne, Camp Nou, Can Girona, Casa L'hereu, Ciudad Vella, Ciutat Vella, Eixample, El Born, Gotico, Gracia Eixample Izquierdo, La Torreta, Les Corts, Mas De Bells, Parc De Mar, Partida La Torre, Paseo De Gracia, Pedralbes, Poble Nou, Poblenou, Putxet, Raval, Sagrada Familia, San Antoni, San Gervasio, Sant Gervasi, Sants, Tevertet, Vallvidrera