Compare and display similarities and differences between Barcelona (Spain) and Thessaloniki (Greece)

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This essay is to be published by tourism offices throughout England, in the form of an information leaflet, for an audience composed mainly by “the average British employee”, who wants to go on holidays in the south of Europe. The purpose of this brochure is to help the possible tourists take an informed decision, concerning the destination of their holidays. In order to reach this aim, I have decided to narrow the choice to two major cities: Barcelona (Spain) and Thessaloniki (Greece).

In the next following paragraphs, I will compare and display similarities and differences between those two cities. One might say that the main factors that influence one’s decision for choosing a holiday destination are the: location, climate and gastronomy. Barcelona is a beautiful city along the Mediterranean coast side of Spain. Several beaches are situated in and around the city. When travelling to Barcelona, especially during spring and summer, one can treat themselves to some “tapas” in the sun. Tapas are a local assortment of starters forming a meal.

Situated on the coast as well, Thessaloniki is the second biggest city of Greece. A couple of degrees warmer than Barcelona, this city and its surroundings have many beaches to discover and similar to the “tapas”, the Greek appreciate the “mezedes”. Even though both these cities are situated in Europe, their language and culture differ. This aspect is to be taken in consideration when one decides to go abroad for holidays. The history of these two cities is very different, as well as their geography within Europe.

This might explain why, the Greek culture is more distant than the Spanish culture, compared to the British one. Furthermore, it is a fact, that one has more chances of finding an English speaking person in Spain, rather than in Greece. In addition, the Greek alphabet is totally different then the English one, which might be a serious challenge if one decides to enjoy a meal in a small local “taverna”, local Greek restaurants. Menu cards are not all translated in English.

As far as cultural activities and entertainment are concerned, both cities offer a wide variety of possibilities. Barcelona is relatively “less ancient” than Thessaloniki, its city center for example, has been totally renovated in 1992 with the Olympic Games, and is therefore more modern in its appearance, architecturally speaking, than Thessaloniki. The heritage of Gaudi’s architecture is very present in Barcelona, as many monuments are there to testify, such as the Sagrada Familia; a beautiful, Walt-Disney-looking cathedral which is very visited.

On top of that, some unforgettable museums are to be found in this northern Spanish city, mainly dedicated to art (Gaudi, Picasso… ). For those who enjoy an active night life, Barcelona will not be a disappointment, either with its bars along the beach or its world wide famous nightclubs. On the other hand, Thessaloniki has a much older civilisation, illustrated with its architecture; runes, columns, temples and historical sites. Even a large part of the Greek historical treasures have been spread out through the years, the museums are numerous and visiting them is highly recommended.

In addition, all year long, a unique national and international art exhibition (Hellexpo) is open to the public. Similar to Barcelona, Thessaloniki has a very rich and active nightlife, until the early hours in the morning. In conclusion, these two cities are at the same time interesting, culturally rich and entertaining. It would be therefore wrong to prefer one to the other, but the contrasts discussed should help the holiday seeker to take an informed decision.

Barcelona, just as Thessaloniki, offers a good location, a warm climate and a rich gastronomy. The real difference is to be found in the culture and the language. In this aspect, the gap between the Spanish and the British culture is smaller and easier to bridge then the gap between the British and the Greek culture. If both cities have a similar entertainment capacity, their cultural environment is almost opposite. Modernity for Barcelona, while Thessaloniki remains a little old-fashioned.

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