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Catalonia, Cataluña (in Spanish) or Catalunya in its native Catalan language is noted for many features and rivals Andalusia for attracting visitors. The city of Barcelona is simply wonderful but is by no means alone. There are numerous places that justify a visit.
The Costa Brava rivals the southern Costa del Sol for attracting beach-loving tourists. The Parque Nacional de Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici is one of Spain's Pyrennean national parks and the much visited Parque Natural de la Montaña de Montserrat, near to Barcelona, is another mountain area.
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Barcelona is listed number one in the top 10 list of beach cities, according to National Geographic. Barcelona has no less than seven beaches, totalling 4.5 kilometres. Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta beaches are the most popular ones and also the biggest at around 1,100 metres in length. These two beaches are separated by The Olympic Port from the five other city beaches: Nova Icària, Bogatell, Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella and Llevant. These beaches average around 500 metres and were opened as a result of the city restructuring to host the 1992 Summer Olympics. Barceloneta Beach was voted in 2005 as the best urban beach in the world and the third best beach overall, according to the docu-film "Worlds Best Beaches" by Discovery Channel. It's located in the Barceloneta neighbourhood, also famous for its many restaurants and nightclubs along the boardwalk.
1. Barcelona Airport (BCN) is the second biggest airport in Spain and the 9th biggest airport in Europe. It handles over 30 million of passengers every year and it is perfectly connected to the other main European airports by direct flights operated by either low cost airlines or regular ones.
To/from the airport
2. The Girona - Costa Brava International Airport (international code: GRO) is located about 10 kilometers south of the city centre and is getting more and more popular as a start of a trip in the region as there are quite a few low-cost airlines serving the city. Ryanair serves dozens of cities in Europe, including London, Brussels and Rome. A few others include Jetairfly, Transavia and Star1.
To/from the airport
3. A third airport can be found near the town of Reus. This airport is also being used by lowcost airlines that have charters to the Costa Brava.
Getting there from other parts of Spain is quite easy: there are several trains every day between Catalonian cities like Barcelona and Girona and main Spanish cities such as Valencia, Madrid, Zaragoza and Bilbao. Check the RENFE website, Spain's national railway company.
Barcelona is the main gateway to travel to Catalonia by sea:
Acciona Trasmediterránea is the main ferry operator with boats from Barcelona to the Balearic Islands. Other ferry operators include Balearia between Barcelona and the Balearic islands of Menorca, Mallorca and Ibiza. Iscomar offers roughly the same connections as well.
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