I lived in Barcelona for about 3 months recently, and I have to tell you it’s one of my most favorite cities in Europe. It is completely laid back, it has great nightlife, really good food, wine, art, architecture and shopping. Also it has palm trees, and the Mediterranean. What more could a girl ask for? It won’t push you around like London or Paris, but it won’t bore you either. It’s highly “walkable” and has managed to draw the tourists to very specific areas, so you can avoid the crowds easily if you’d like. It’s also very safe and the people are generally very friendly.
I’ll tell you what I learned about the place during my 3 months there, and hopefully you can arrive with the knowledge of a short term resident and go straight for the good stuff.