Situated along the east coast of Spain, this long strip of coastal territory is quite different from Green Spain in climate and culture. This Mediterranean coast boasts hundreds of miles of beaches, scores of small resort villages and a number of international destinations. Hidden behind the sun and fun are some of Spain's best-kept secrets, including castles monasteries, and mountains edging into the sky. Throughout ancient times, from the Phoenicians to the Romans, Catalunias a land of trade and commerce and in the vanguard of international importance. A meld of French and Spanish influence creates a unique language in this home to Spain's second and third largest cities, Barcelona and Valencia.
Prior to the 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona was much more known to Europeans than to most North Americans. Since then, millions have learned of Barcelona's world-class attractions, city ambiance, architecture, opera and culture. No visit to Barcelona is complete without a stroll along Las Ramblas. This tree-lined, mile-long boulevard runs from the port to the city main square and consists of cafes, restaurants, benches and kiosks selling something different on each block. Watch for books, flowers, birds and small animals for sale. Mimes, musicians and a host of entertainers wander all hours of the day greeting visitors and locals alike.
Not to be missed: :
Sagrada Familia Church of the Holy Family
Unique design by Antonia Gaudi began in 1882 still in construction today
Picasso Museum : one of Barcelona's most popular sights featuring early works
Montj 700 foot high mount, central site of the 1992 Olympic Games
Gothic Quarter Barcelona's medieval section, a walker's paradise
Columbus (Columbus Monument ) statue of the "Discoverer" pointing out to sea
Barceloneta (Little Barcelona) resembling a small fishing village
Maremagnum modern entertainment & shopping complex
Barcelona Aquarium the largest in Europe
Plaza Catalunya hub for subways and buses; gathering spot for special occasions
Valencia is a blend of modern buildings, older structures, Mediterranean seaport and commercial center. It is home to one of Spain's greatest festivals, Las Fallas, and its most famous dish, paella. You will want to visit the Cathedral, dating from 1261, and the impressive bell tower, the Miguelete that contains what is believed to be the Holy Grail from Christ's Last Supper. For fascinating architecture, visit the 15th century hall La Lonja de la Seda (the Silk Exchange). The City of Arts and Sciences Park is a 90-acre complex offering fun-filled education and entertainment.