Millions of visitors are drawn to this Mediterranean city for its world-class attractions, cultural heritage and favourable climate. Never boring, Barcelona has something for everyone, making it a year-round top destination.
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When visiting Barcelona don't forget to see and experience the museums, galleries, Bars, Lounges, Restaurant and vibrant cafe society of this area!
Top Places to Visit
The capital of Catalonia is uniquely diverse. Each district tells a story, making the urge to explore unavoidable. On short visits, a bus tour is an excellent way to see the sights, but many can be seen on foot.
The top of the city’s most famous and shamelessly commercial street, La Rambla, is a good starting point when walking. Running 1.2 kilometres from the city to the sea, from here, plot a course throughout the kaleidoscopic city.
Turn off La Rambla to explore the winding streets and secluded squares of the medieval Gothic Quarter, the oldest part of the city, where history and modernity live side-by-side. Walk the picturesque Passeig del Born, and enjoy the 14th and 15th century marvels such as the Santa Maria del Mar Church.
To sample the regional delicacies, venture from La Rambla, to the Boqueria, Cataluña’s largest and most vibrant food market. Experience a sensory overload from the stunning displays of produce and marketplace bustle. Many visitors to Barcelona make a pilgrimage for the modernist architectural works of Antoni Gaudí.
What to see
The spectacular Sagrada Família (Holy Family) church draws the greatest crowd and has become a symbol of the city. See where Gaudí’s work stopped and successors continued and, if you have a head forheights, climb the towers for a closer look. Allow two hours to visit and beat the queues by buying advance tickets. Park Güell is another display of Gaudi’s imaginative work on a grand scale. Set over 42 acres (17 hectares), this remarkable hillside public park, combines nature and modern design. The park entrance is a steep 20 minute hike from the Metro, so take a taxi or bus if this isn’t manageable. Admission is free. With many attractions in one place, the hill of Montjüic is a popular tourist spot.
Travel by cable car or public transport for the National Palace, Museum of Catalan Art, Montjüic Castle and the Olympic Stadium. Descend from a day of touring for the free evening Magic Fountain illuminations show at Plaça Espanyol. Catalan cuisine is historically influenced and extremely varied. Barcelona’s fortunate location benefits from the finest local produce from the surrounding sea and mountains with excellent seafood, fish, meats and cheeses. Enjoy tapas with a ‘caña,’ (draught beer) or glass of Cava (regional bubbly). Personalise your break to Barcelona. Football fans can catch the local team Barça (FC Barcelona) at their home ground. Music fans might appreciate the music festivals - Sonar and Primavera Sound; and fashionistas will lap up the excellent shopping areas. Rest assured, you won’t be bored in Barcelona.
As Barcelona is substantially smaller than Madrid, it tends to seem a more vibrant city at night. Stumble down Las Ramblas and you will soon discover you are not stumbling alone. Barcelona’s famed strip is the most active part of the city after dark, but not necessarily where you should set your sights on when you first go out.
Ask any local where is they believe to be they believe to be the place to be seen on any given week and they will tell you the ‘El Born’ district. Not far from the atmospheric, labyrinthine streets of the Barri Gotic, it’s main street Passeig del Born is laced with bars, some serving cocktails, others serving beers.
The west side of the Las Ramblas is El Raval and, while it is slightly grimier than El Born, it is also home to a good selection of bars.
Jazz music is also quite popular with Catalonians, and there are a number of jazz clubs around the city. Classical music is also popular, with concerts staged at Palau de la Música Catalana, and the Liceu Opera House.
In 2002, the influential French food guide Le Guide des Gourmands proclaimed Barcelona Europe's most gourmand city. For the first time in the history of this publication, a non-French city received this title. The capital of Catalonia scored top marks in all of the assessed fields, including the quality of regional wine, agricultural produce, restaurants as well as the locals' attitude towards food culture.
The range of ingredients used in traditional dishes from the region of Barcelona is determined by the city’s proximity to the sea and the mountains. The beautiful, unspoiled surroundings along with a fantastic climate provide the perfect environment for generating a constant supply of fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and seafood. Sun-ripened tomatoes, aubergine and cod can be found in a majority of the local specialties.
Another important ingredient is pasta. It's believed that as far as pasta consumption is concerned, the Catalonians are second only to the Italians. Other typical elements include sauces based on botifarra, a kind of regional sausage made from spiced raw pork, and picada, which is a mixture of ground hazelnuts, pine nuts and almonds, sometimes seasoned with garlic, herbs and bits of biscuits.
A very characteristic feature of dishes from the area of Barcelona is the experimental blending of seemingly unblendable ingredients. This makes the cooking tradition of this picturesque region a collage of diverse flavours. Dishes may include both red meat and fish, or chicken stewed in fruit. Don't be surprised to discover that the bean dishes are hardly ever vegetarian. This rich variety of inspiration makes Catalonian cuisine one of the most elaborate in the entire Mediterranean area. It's certain to satisfy even the most demanding connoisseurs.
The standard Catalonian breakfast is very light, typically including coffee with milk and a croissant or doughnut. Fresh orange juice is also very popular, and available at most bars. Lunchtime in Catalonia is generally between 2pm and 4pm, and constitutes the main meal of the day. Many restaurants feature menú del día, a special lunch menu that normally includes two courses, dessert and wine, and costs between 6 and 12 Euro. Taking advantage of this option is a great way to sample some of the delights available at the more expensive establishments.
As lunch is usually a hearty meal, Catalonian dinners tend to be light. A standard evening meal might include a small set of tapas or a torrada. Bear in mind that in Catalonia, as everywhere else in southern Europe, restaurants usually don't start serving dinner until 9 pm. However, you can sit at an outdoor terrace and enjoy your meal with a glass of excellent local wine until well after midnight.
Tipping rules in Catalonia are the same as everywhere else in Spain. Remember that service is never included in the bill. The 7 percent IVA which appears at the bottom of your check is the sales tax. The general rule is for the tip to amount to more or less 5 percent at moderately-priced places and 10 percent at more expensive establishments.
Barcelona is a Spanish city, capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia and the second largest city in the country, with a population of 1,620,943 within its administrative limits. The urban area of Barcelona extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 4.5 million, being the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, the Ruhr, Madrid and Milan. About five million people live in the Barcelona metropolitan area. It is also the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea. It is located on the Mediterranean coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs and is bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola ridge (512 metres (1,680 ft)).