Since hosting the Olympic Games in 1992, Barcelona has boomed. The city's urban development has gone hand in hand with a clean-up of the more colourful parts of the old town and Barcelona is now a lively, cosmopolitan city with a population of just under 2 million.

Set between the mountains and the sea, Barcelona has a warm Mediterranean climate, although during the unbearably hot summer months, the locals tend to abandon the city to the tourists. Famous for its exuberant architecture and culture, it is also getting a name for itself as being home to one of Spain's largest gay communities and the nightlife, especially in the Eixample and Ciutat Vella districts, is legendary.

Barcelona has an excellent public transport system, with five subway lines as well as a railway network that reaches out into the suburbs the hair-raising traffic makes using your own car in the centre a real challenge in fact the locals favour mopeds. Rental accommodation can be found at a range of prices, mirroring the multi-facetted make-up of the city itself. Being the capital of Catalonia means that two languages are spoken: Catalan and Spanish.