Over-crowded (it has more than four million inhabitants) yet orderly, this city has an undeniable charm which is  strengthened by another contradiction, its modernity which is mostly seen in the    Eixample (“enlargement”) district with its ties to the traditions which are still to be found in the Ciutat Vella.

Barcelona dates back to very ancient times indeed: it was occupied by the Carthaginians in 237 A.D. and then passed into Roman hands before being conquered by the Arabs, then by Charlemagne and finally by the Aragon kings who reigned here for four centuries.  In 1939 it fell under Franco’s dictatorship from which it was freed only in 1977 when it became the seat of the Generalitat di Catalunya.