Catalonia has its own representative and distinctive national symbols such as: The flag of Catalonia, called the Senyera, is a vexillological symbol based on the heraldic emblem of Counts of Barcelona and the coat of arms of the Crown of Aragon, which consists of four red stripes on a golden background. It has been an official symbol since the ...
Catalonia’s December 21, 2017, snap election was viewed by many as a de facto rerun of the independence referendum, and turnout was impressive at about 83 percent. The Citizens Party, which favoured continued union with Spain, received more than a quarter of the votes and was the winner.
From stylish Barcelona to sunny resort towns on the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, Catalonia offers a wealth of attractions. Barcelona attracts those who love Gaudi's architecture, hot nightlife and thrilling restaurants. Elegant Tarragona's Roman ruins and amphitheater add to its historical appeal. Beach lovers flock to Mediterranean ...
Things to Do in Catalonia, Spain: See Tripadvisor's 5,583,168 traveler reviews and photos of Catalonia tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in June. We have reviews of the best places to see in Catalonia. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.
Jul 01, 2019 · Catalonia’s only national park extends 20km east to west, and just 9km north to south. But the rugged mountain terrain within this small area sparkles with over 200 lakes and countless streams and waterfalls, combined with pine and fir forests, and open bush and grassland, decked with springtime wildflowers or fringed with scarlet autumn leaves.
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Catalonia  (Catalan: Catalunya, Occitan: Catalonha, Spanish: Cataluña) is a nationality and autonomous community in the northeast of Spain. It borders France and Andorra to the north along the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, Valencia to the south and Aragon to the west. Its capital is the famous city of Barcelona.
Catalonia is an autonomous community within Iberia defined as a nationality, and before the 18th century it was an State (in the form of principality) of the Crown of Aragon, with a complex parlamentary system. Since 1714, as a consequence of its defeat in the War of the Spanish Succession, Catalan institutions and laws were supressed, as well as the administrative use of Catalan language. The country gained its current autonomous status first in the Republican era (1931-1939) and then again after Franco's death in 1975 and continues to press for more political and economic autonomy, mainly in the form of the right to decide on language, education, culture, healthcare and its political future.
The main languages of Catalonia are Catalan, Spanish and Aranese (an Occitan dialect), and the three are official, but the Catalan is considered the one and main language by the Catalan laws. Catalan (Català) is spoken in Catalonia, Balearic Islands, most of Valencia region, a strip in Aragon, Andorra, Alguer-Alghero (little city of Sardinia - Italy) and, Roussillon (an area in the south of France sometimes called Catalunya Nord that corresponds roughly with the department of Pyrénées-Orientales). It is a Romance language and many words are recognizable to those who speak French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian or Portuguese. Locals really appreciate it if you try to say some words in Catalan while you are in Catalonia, and phrases such as \\"Bon dia\\" (Good morning) and \\"Adéu\\" (Goodbye) are heard even when people then go on to speak Castillian. Catalan is currently the first language of 35% of Catalonia's population (but is also the everyday language of 47%), and 93% of Catalans understand it. In rural areas Catalan is used almost exclusively, and while people there have no trouble with Spanish, they rarely use it except with outsiders. Visitors who speak Spanish should note that in Catalonia the term \\"castellano\\" (Catalan Castellà) is used rather than \\"español.\\" Most people in Catalonia are bilingual in Catalan and Spanish, since they are required to learn both languages in school. Replying in Catalan to a question asked in Spanish is the polite way to inform the other party that the conversation may continue in Catalan if desired. If you do not speak Catalan, just politely say that you do not understand, and you will be without a problem in most cases. Spanish is the first language of 45% of Catalonia's population and 99% of Catalans speak the language fluently. The Occitan, called Aranese in the Catalan region of Aran Valley, is a minority language and only spoken by a couple of thousand people in this territory in northwest Catalonia, but is also official in whole Catalonia. As in the rest of Spain, English is not widely spoken even if is taught in all schools, though staff working at major hotels and the main tourist attractions usually know enough English to communicate. French is widely spoken in the areas near the border with France.
Catalonia has a great variety of different landscapes very close to each other, mountains on the Pyrenees (at the border with France), green hills on north of the country, agricultural planes on the west and beaches on the east.
Barcelona's airport, called el Prat, is about 15 km to the city centre. Once there, you can go to the centre by train (every 30 minutes, stopping at Sants and Plaça de Catalunya), by bus (Aerobus), that stops in the same places and with the same frequencies. The bus is the more expensive option, with the added possibility of traffic jams. Both services finish at 23:00. The main train station in Barcelona is called Estació de Sants, but the most central ones are Plaça de Catalunya (most local and regional trains) and Passeig de Gràcia (serving some local and most long-distance lines). The Spanish train company is called RENFE . Barcelona is very well connected by train with Madrid, Valencia (City), Zaragoza and the Basque Country in particular and with the whole country in general. The most important bus stations are: Estació de Sants (Barcelona), mainly for international routes, is next to the train station and very well connected. 'The Estació del Nord (also in Barcelona), close to Passeig de Sant Joan, is the main bus station for medium and long routes - the nearest metro (Line 1) and RENFE station is Arc de Triomf.
Two local buses, EA (during the day) and EN (at night) also serve the airport, however these are not particularly frequent and only run as far as the Plaça d'Espanya, which is not particularly central. However, for those on a shoestring budget they may be a good option as they are fairly cheap. There is quite a good taxi service, the only way to reach the centre directly if you arrive by night. The fares are about 12 if you go to the centre, but this can change depending of the time of the day and, of course, the part of the city you want to reach. All Barcelona taxis are painted black and yellow and are easily recognisable. Going by train to the Costa Daurada beaches is the best choice, using the line to Tarragona. The Costa Brava isn't well connected by train.
el Prat airport is served by a number of airlines, including EasyJet, BMI, Virgin Air, Volare, MyTraveLite... Other airports in Catalonia are: Airport Information Buses and coaches connect the principal cities to many national and international locations, and it's the only public transport to get to many local places in Catalonia.
Inside Catalonia, there are frequent trains from the other three provincial capitals (Lleida, Tarragona and Girona).
Festes have ritual like sequences of events that usually involve Giants, Devils, Human Castles and processions. A magical atmosphere is created at the festa, almost like a type of Catharsis. Festes stem from Medieval Times when fantastical dragons and Giants were created to instruct people about religion in church services. Shortly after the fantastical creatures became a part of the Corpus Christi processions that paraded through the town during the summer. The importance given to these folkloric elements has gradually increased over time and now they have assumed a national importance. Nowadays, these traditions are associated with Catalan identity as something that is individual and separate from the rest of Spain.
Because of its geographical location and terrific range of habitats, including dryland steppes, rocky coastlines, mountains and some of the most important wetland sites in Europe, Catalonia has a greater variety of bird life than anywhere else on the peninsular, with 95% of Iberia's and 50% of the whole Palearctic's recorded bird species. Some of the most sought-after are Lammergeier, Black Woodpecker, Wallcreeper, Bonelli's Eagle, Lesser Grey Shrike, Dupont's Lark (recognised as probably extinct in Catalonia in 2006), Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Audouin's Gull and Lesser Crested tern. The most important sites are Cap de Creus, Aiguamolls de L'Empordà, Barcelona's Llobregat Delta, the Parc de Garraf, Ebro Delta, Steppes of Lleida and, of course, The Pyrenees.
There are a few companies that will organise tours for you, or even offer free advice, including Catalan Bird Tours and Oliva Rama Tours. There is also the Birdinginspain.com web site which offers birding sites and itineraries and lots of other useful information to help the visiting birder plan his or her trip to Catalonia.
There are lots of good places to eat. At lunch time (13-15:00 approx.), a lot of Restaurants and Bars offer Menú del dia (Menu of the day - Prix Fixe), usually consisting of a choice of four starters, four main courses, wine and bread for a reasonable price. Some bars also offer \\"Plats Combinats\\" which are a few items served together at reasonable prices - eg Hamburger, egg and chips. At dinner time (20-23:00 approx), a Menú is not so frequent. Usually announced as Cuina Casolana, based on the purposes of the Mediterranian diet: Soups, salads, meats, fish and seafood, snails (especially in Lleida during \\"L'Aplec del Cargol\\" by early May), desserts (\\"Crema catalana\\" or catalan cream, a variant of creme brulée) or \\"Braç de gitano\\" which is a long roll made of whipped cream and sponge cake, similar to swiss rolls. Don't miss the good Catalan wines and Caves. Catalonia has had a very rich tradition of wine makers through history, and nowadays is a credited producer of world famous wines. \\"Penedès\\", \\"Priorat\\", \\"Costers del Segre\\", \\"Alella\\" and \\"Terra Alta\\" are good \\"D.O.\\"s (\\"Denominació d'Origen\\" or designation of origin, the spanish administrative division to control and preserve wine producing areas). Sangría is also served in most restaurants, with large variations in quality.
Consider checking books by Carmen Casas, a restaurant critic and a world-renowned expert on Catalan cuisine.
Catalonia is usually a safe place. Be aware of pickpockets in crowds, and don't leave your car in the rest areas in motorways. Tourist areas such as Las Ramblas in Barcelona city attract many petty thieves, and you should be vigilant around these areas. As a tourist, you are a target for thieves. They can spot you and you cannot spot them. Do not carry all your money and documentation in the same bag or pocket. If you have been robbed, always go to the police.
You should always wear a shirt. It is very annoying for local people to see tourists who are half-naked. Even if you are on vacation try not to make a lot of noise at night as people will be sleeping.
You have to be aware that people usually have breakfast at 9 o´clock, lunch at 2 pm and dinner at 9 pm. This schedule may seem a little weird but it is like this because of the sun's hours.
- 32,108 km²
- Autonomous government under parliamentary monarchy
- Euro (€)
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