Barcelona is dynamic and outgoing, inviting you to stroll through its streets and boulevards and to enjoy everything the city has to offer. The city has its own unique lifestyle and at the same time maintains its Mediterranean character.
It is the capital of the region of Catalonia and has a population of 1,615,448 inhabitants (Idescat - Catalan Statistics Institute).
It is the second most populous city in Spain, after Madrid, and the eleventh most populous in the EU. The Barcelona metropolitan area has a population of 5,029,181 inhabitants (Idescat, 2010), which makes it the sixth most populous metropolitan area of the EU.
The city lies on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, 160 km south of the Pyrenees and the French border, on a plain which is flanked by the sea to the east, by the Sierra de Collserola range of hills to the west, and by the rivers Llobregat and Besòs to the south and north respectively. Having been the capital of the county of Barcelona, it is also known as the Ciudad Condal (County Capital).
Due to its importance in terms of culture, commerce and tourism,
Barcelona is now a global city. It has the most important port in the Mediterranean for cruise liners, both as a destination and as a point of departure. The city also stands out due to the large number of people and goods which pass through it, and it is a key communications node between Spain and the rest of Europe.