Badalona is a city and municipality in the comarca of El Barcelonès, which is just up the coast from Barcelona and as far as tourists are concerned is best known for its long sandy beaches.
The town, which is located on the left bank of the River Besòs between the Marina mountain range and the sea and bordered by the comarcas of El Maresme, El Vallès Occidental and El Vallès Oriental, is part of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and with 220,000 inhabitants is the third largest municipality in Catalonia.
Although the ruins of neolithic and iberian settlements have been found in the area, the origins of Badalona are generally considered to go back to 100 BC when the Romans founded the colony of Baetulo, which is the source of the modern name.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Baetulo fell into decline and remained a small town until the arrival of the railway to Badalona in the 19th century, which led to its industrialisation and from the 1960s onwards, Badalona's population began to explode as a result mass migration from other parts of Spain.
Badalona's fishing tradition and dependence on industry both declined throughout the 20th century and now Badalona's economy is based mainly on services and commerce as well as offering education through the Escola d'Art Pau Gargallo or l'Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol.
As far as culture is concerned, although Badalona has a municipal museum, three theatres and various libraries, the real highlights are its Festa Majors.
The main festival is the Festes de Maig in honour of the town's patron saint Sant Anastasi with the main event being La Cremada del Dimoni on the eve before May 11th and then there is the other Festa Major centred around August 15th and the Mare de Déu d'Agost.
Badalona is also a good place for sport with plenty of local football, tennis and athletics clubs but is best known for its top flight basketball club Club Joventut de Badalona, familiarly known as La Penya.
By Car: Major highways B-20 and C-31 run south-north through Badalona with several exits in the city. They are connected to the mountain-side and seaside highway belts of Barcelona, respectively.
By Train: Barcelona Local Trains R1 Line has a stop at Badalona train station, located in the city centre and right by the sea.
By Metro: Some undergroung stations of the northern far-end of Barcelona's Metro are located in Badalona. They are the following stations, mentioned from south to north for each subway line:
If you understand some Catalan, you can find up to date news about Badalona on the Ajuntament de Badalona Website, which also has information in English and Spanish.