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Barcelona - Overview
The city is known for its spectacular architecture, in particular Gaudi's creation of the unfinished church La Sagrada Familia, and other Gaudi designed buildings, and Las Ramblas, a network of small streets which are home to many shops, bars and restaurants.
The city's proximity to both the sea and the Pyrenees make it a favourite with both sun-worshippers and skiers, and therefore an all year round destination for tourists. Many expats living in the city use these tourists as a customer base for their own businesses or self-employed services.
Over 1.5 million people live in the city of Barcelona, and 4 million in its wider metropolitan area, around 14% of which are expats, the majority coming from Africa or South America. The figures may be higher, particularly for European expats, as EU citizens are free to live and work anywhere in Europe, and although they are encouraged to register as a resident, many don't.
Expats can be found in most areas of the city, popular areas include El Exaimple, Gracia or the beach suburb of Barceloneta. Many expats also choose to live outside the city itself in suburbs such as Sitges or Llobregat.
Being such a cosmopolitan city, foreigners are generally accepted and welcomed. English is widely spoken and there are many shops, newspapers, clubs and events to make an expat feel at home.
There is a lot of English material about living in the city available on the internet, especially the Barcelona Town Hall website (Ajuntament de Barcelona) which details all council services, offices and other useful information for newcomers to the city. It can be found at www.bcn.es. On this site are details of help that is available to foreigners, of which you can read more here.
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