Moreover, Barcelona is the cultural, economic and administrative capital of Catalonia, a region characterised by its high level of industrialisation, dynamism and openness to the world, as well as counting on a culture and its own idiosyncrasy in the context of Spain.
With more a million and a half inhabitants, Barcelona is the centre of an extensive metropolitan region (MRB -The Metropolitan Region of Barcelona) that covers 3,236 Km2 and where 4,3 millions inhabitants live.
The metropolitan region of Barcelona is placed among the ten major metropolitan areas of the European Union. In administrative terms, the MRB is the sixth European metropolitan region after London, Paris, Ranstad and the Ruhr, and is practically comparable with Madrid.
The metropolitan region of Barcelona is characterised by a central nucleus made up of the municipality of Barcelona with a group of municipalities that forma a continuous urban area of 2,5 million inhabitants in an area of 223 sq.Km
This central nucleus is complemented by a well-linked network of medium-sized cities situated within a radius of between 25 and 30 kilometres from the metropolitan centre. These municipalities count on a major industrialisation and a vitality of endogenous growth.
Barcelona is located in the extreme Northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, one hundred and fifty kilometres from the French border, it geographical situation has traditionally allowed it to play the role of linking the peninsula and the Mediterranean in general, with central and northern Europe.
Likewise, Barcelona carries out the functions of a focal centre for a broad hinterland that extends beyond the French border. This hinterland, defined by those cities and towns that can be reached in less than three hours, includes Valencia, Saragossa, Palma de Mallorca, Toulouse and Montpellier, with a total population of 16,2 million inhabitants. The development of the high. speed railway projects will further increase the economic integration of this area that, moreover, is considered to be one of the areas of highest potential growth of Europe.
Official Barcelona website