Barcelona is a city of fun, football, art and especially Catalan pride. Stopping at Barcelona (Barcelona Airport has a great low budget connection with the rest of Europe) for whatever reason - business or leisure will pay off in all possible ways.
There has been great debate over the founding of Barcelona. There are two legends regarding its founding; one says that it was founded by Hamilcar Barca, the father of Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general, and the other claims Hercules, the Roman name for the Greek hero was the founder. Since the origins will forever remain in shadow, the city has a touch of mystery, making it even more alluring.
It is an enchanting and romantic city. Both proud and humble. Contemporary but deeply tied to its centuries of history. Dazzling modern, but still classical. Designed by Ildefons Cerdà i Sunyer and jazzed up by the eccentric architect Antoni Gaudi this Spain's second city has many faces and every single one will leave you intrigued and longing for more. If you're considering hiring a car in Barcelona and exploring the nearby cities, you won't have any problems.
The roads are well maintained; however, extremely heavy traffic can be an issue – try to avoid driving during rush hours (from 8 to 9:30a.m., 12:30 to 2:30p.m., 3:30 to 5p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30p.m.; the quietest period is usually between 3 and 5p.m.). “Peajes” or toll roads are usually quite expensive. Since this might not be the news you wanted to hear, but on the other hand, car hire in Barcelona is a simple and affordable process. There are plenty of car hire agencies in the area, such as Sixt, Europcar, Keddy and more, and you'll definitely find your dream rental car!
If you wish to swim in the warm Mediterranean, the best time to plan your visit is in early summer (May and June) or autumn (September and October). The maximum BAC level is 0.05% for drivers of private vehicles. There is a Zero Tolerance Law for novice drivers who have held a driving licence less than two years and for young drivers under the age of 21.
A great start is Ciutat Vella, which is the old city and is comprised of the most beautiful neighbourhoods this metropolis has to offer; El Born, the Gothic Quarter and the Raval, are neighbourhoods rich in sights, cafes and restaurants. If you’re not a Barcelona newcomer or if you want to experience the true essence of this city, take a stroll through the Poble Sec, Poblenou and Gracia neighbourhoods as well. These parts of town are perhaps best seen by foot, not by car, especially if you love taking photos, drinking coffee and getting lost in lovely areas. If this screams your name, leave your rental at your hotel and explore away!
If you have time on your hands and if you're a wanderlust, go further! In this case, you might want to seriously consider a car hire in Barcelona, because it's the easiest and fastest way to reach all the beautiful places near and around Barcelona. And around you should go – the Catalonia region is extraordinary beautiful and diverse. This utopian landscape mesmerized artists such as Dalí, Miró, Picasso who immortalized it in their art work. Catalonia is also famous for its wine and cava, commonly known as sparkling wine, production. In fact, more than 90% of cava is made in the region between Barcelona and Tarragona.
Begin your trip by driving about 38 mi (60 km) southwest from Barcelona to the unique and craggy peaked Montserrat mountain. There you will see the dramatic 11th century Monastery of Montserrat , which offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding land.
For a well-rounded day trip drive to the Penedes area nearby to indulge in a glass of cava or any other wine. It's well worth the effort.
Get in your rental and head down the coast beyond Sitges and you will soon reach the larger fishing town called Vilanova i la Geltrú. Both Sitges and Vilanova i la Geltrú offer a relaxing day or night out.
How about the historic Tarragona with its Roman remains and buzzing nightlife?
From there you can drive to the old town of Miravet situated by the Ebro River and pointing its castle towards the sky.
Or you can tackle your journey from a different side, the north-eastern side of Barcelona. About 80 mi (130 km) up the road, situated on a hill, lies a charming medieval village Pals with cobbled streets, boutiques, cafés and a golden beach just a 10 minute drive away called Platja de Pals.
About 6 mi (10 km) away from the village you can discover the coastal region of Costa Brava. It consists of picturesque villages, amazing beaches , premium resorts and alluring nature. Needless to say this area is popular among visitors. However, if you wish to discover a more traditional side, you can get behind your wheels and head over to the artsy Cadaqués, which is close to the French border and sheltered by the magnificent Pyrenees. Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Pablo Picasso and others were frequent visitors of this village.
Catalan cuisine is famous for its impressive seafood dishes and flavoursome vegetables. Forget paella, Fideuà is what you should try! Made with noodles instead of rice and quite liberal with veggies or seafood. Catalan region is located on the coast but is still mountainous and they brought their distinctive terrain right on the plate with 'Mar Y Muntanya' ('Sea and Mountain') dish which is a mix of meat, fish and seashells. Also delicious is Pa Amb Tomaquet, a toasted bread dipped in a bit of olive oil with juicy, fresh tomatoes. Escalivada or grilled veg sometimes accompanied by anchovies is also very delicious. Their dessert called Mel I Mato is especially favoured by cheese lovers; made from soft goat cheese, honey and sometimes walnuts. Read more about food. Taste their bubbly cava or any red or white wines, and don’t forget about Vermouth!
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