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A sizzling summer in Barcelona

It's been a long old winter, but the green shoots of a Barcelona spring are starting to emerge. Terrace tables are being unstacked and deckchairs brushed down, and people are gingerly stepping out without a jacket.

This next couple of months are when the city's beaches really come into their own: it's warm enough to sunbathe but quiet enough that you'll have no trouble getting a table for a cold beer and a plate of fried prawns at one of the many chiringuitos (beach bars).

If the seaside or the umpteen hundred pavement bars don't appeal, head up to the hill of Montjuïc, south-west of the centre, along the path that snakes behind the castle, to Caseta del Migdia, LaCaseta.

Barcelona also has its share of summer music festivals. Primavera Sound in May is the indie weekend of choice, with Broken Social Scene, Florence and the Machine, CocoRosie and the New Pornographers headlining, PrimaveraSound.

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