Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and the largest city in the Catalonia region. It’s a modern and innovative yet ancient city that blends the new with the old to preserve and celebrate the past. The city is often placed among the most livable cities in the world and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It is renowned for its breath-taking architecture thanks to Gaudí’s peculiar style, delicious food, and diverse culture. The literature enthusiasts will probably remember the city also for being the background of “Shadow of the wind” one of the bestselling books of all time and a masterpiece by Ruiz Zafón.
Please, read our guide about how to get in and around Barcelona.
If you appreciate beautiful buildings, you can spend hours walking around admiring the unique architecture of Antoni Gaudí, located throughout the city.
Casa Milà is one of the most popular tourist attractions and an excellent example of Gaudí’s use of natural light and unusual shapes. The Park Güell is famous for its colorful mosaics and unique design. The Sagrada Família, perhaps the most iconic of all of Gaudí’s buildings, is famously still under construction and quickly became the symbol of the city. It is scheduled for completion in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.
Barceloneta is a beach neighborhood known for its lively atmosphere, great restaurants, and perfect sandy beaches. Stroll along the promenade, stop for a seafood lunch and then relax on the beach with a good book. In the evening, enjoy some of the best paella in town at one of the many restaurants lining the shore.
The street we know today as La Rambla was built in the 18th century. However, its origins date back to the 14th century, when it was simply a path that led from the city walls to the monastery of Santa María de la Merced.
Today, La Rambla is a busy street full of kiosks selling flowers, books, and souvenirs. Street performers entertain the crowds while people-watching is a popular pastime. La Rambla begins near Plaça de Catalunya and ends at the Christopher Columbus monument, where you can get great views of the harbor.
Popular Tapas dishes in Barcelona include patatas bravas, calamari, and tortilla de patatas. For an authentic tapas experience, visit one of Barcelona’s covered markets. There are three covered markets in Barcelona: La Boqueria, Mercat de Santa Caterina, and Mercat de la Concepció.
La Boqueria is perhaps the most famous and is located on La Rambla. Here you can try Jamón Ibérico, a type of cured ham, and a lot of different juices and fresh produces. If you want a quick and cheap lunch this is probably the best place where to go!
Montjuïc is a hill with several parks, gardens, and attractions. Take the cable car or walk through the different parks to the top for panoramic views of the city. From here, you can see the port, La Rambla, and the Gothic Quarter.
Art enthusiasts will love the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, a museum located on Montjuïc where you can find an excellent collection of Romanesque and Catalan art from the 14th to the 20th century.
In Montjuïc there is also the Magic Fountain, a spectacular water and light show that takes place every half hour in the evenings.
Tibidabo is the highest hill near Barcelona and you can probably see it from all around the city. You can walk up trough the parks, a famous place among locals for sports and outdoor activities, or you can go up by tram or funicular.
The hill is mainly famous thanks to an amusement park located directly on top of it with stunning views of Barcelona. It first opened in 1899 and has been entertaining visitors ever since. Near the amusement park you can find also a stunning church called Iglesia del Sagrat Cor, a white building very similar in style to the Sacré-Ceur church in Paris.
Barcelona is a leading smart city thanks to its innovative use of technology. Barcelona was one of the first cities to develop a comprehensive smart city strategy and has been a pioneer in many aspects of smart city development.
Barcelona’s smart city initiatives include the deployment of a wireless network that covers the entire city, the introduction of an urban management platform that uses big data to improve city services, and the development of an Intelligent Transportation System that helps to reduce traffic congestion.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, which is an autonomous community in Spain with its own government and laws. Catalonia was established in 1979 and has its own language (Catalan) and history. In recent years, this community has tried to gain independence from Spain and the support to the Catalan independence is steadily growing. However, a disputed referendum and its consequences make the independence seem still far away.
Barcelona is a diverse and inclusive city. Barcelona has a strong focus on gender equality and has developed many initiatives to support women in education, employment, and health. In 2005, Spain was the third country in the world – after Netherlands and Belgium – to legalize gay marriage. The first female same-sex wedding took place in Barcelona.
Barcelona is in addition a leader in accessible tourism. The city provides Braille maps, audio-described tours, and wheelchair-accessible taxis.
Barcelona is a livable city with a high quality of life. Barcelona has consistently been ranked as one of the best cities in the world to live in. It has a warm Mediterranean climate, rich culture and history, diverse and inclusive community, a commitment to sustainability, and an excellent quality of life.
Barcelona is a safe city with a low crime rate. The city has excellent public transportation and is pedestrian-friendly. Barcelona is also a green city with over 30 parks and gardens.