The latest attraction in Barcelona is "Las Arenas" in Plaza Espanya, a former bullring that has been turned into a shopping mall and open to the public in March 2011, after 8 years of renovation works. Inside it are 12 cinema halls, a sports centre, a museum of rock and restaurants on its dome, which offers a 360° panoramic view of Barcelona. Even if you don't eat at the restaurants you can still walk round the circular terrace to have a good view of the whole of Barcelona. As it opens from 10h00 to 22h00 on most days you can go up to the dome during the daytime as well as at night.
The 38-storey bullet-shaped Torre Agbar (Agbar Tower) is a conspicuous landmark at Glories. Open in June 2005 it houses the Barcelona water company's offices and was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.
New Airport Terminal
Barcelona's avant-garde W hotel fronting the Mediterranean Sea has become a landmark in the city's seafront area in Port Vell. This 26-storey five-star hotel was open on 1st October 2009. It was designed by Ricardo Bofill, the same Spanish architect who also designed Barcelona Airport’s new Terminal T1. The photo here was taken from the Barceloneta beach.
Barcelona's International Airport, 12km from Barcelona city centre, is also known as the El Prat Airport. Its sparklingly new Terminal 1 was open in June 2009. To go to the airport you can either take a RENFE train from the Sants (Estacio Sants) subway station or the Aerobus from Plaza de Catalunya.
AVE bullet-train to Madrid
Bicing (pronounced bee-sing) was inaugurated in March 2007 and is Barcelona's equivalent of the Velib in Paris and the Boris bikes in London. You will see Bicing parking sites everywhere in Barcelona. Unlike the Velib' and Boris bikes though, you as a tourist will not be able to use it. This is because as a result of protests by private bike hiring companies the Bicing cards are only sent to addresses in Catalonia, thus ensuring that they are only used by the Catalans.
There is a modernist park (Parc de l'Espanya Industrial) by the side of the Sants railway station where you can go to if you are an hour early for your train to Madrid. In fact the Sants railway station is where the AVE bullet-train for Madrid (inaugurated in February 2008) departs nearly 20 times a day covering the two cities in hardly 2 hours 40 minutes. In June 2011 an AVE Barcelone-Madrid ticket costs 118 euros (you'll get a 20% discount if you buy a return ticket). There is a McDonald's there that opens as early as 05h00.
The latest museum to be open in Barcelona, the Museu del Modernisme Català, was inaugurated in March 2010. (Photo is from the Museu del Modernisme Català).