If you have to name just one city where everything seems so much more vibrant then it would be Barcelona that rolls off the tip of your tongue. This city has everything anyone could want. This ancient city pulsates with history and culture and the people welcome you with open arms, creating a unique experience for any travellers.
Barcelona is, without a doubt, one of the best places in the Mediterranean. One of the largest cities in Spain, it is the capital of Catalonia and located on the north-eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Due to its excellent location next to the Mediterranean Sea, the city has a vivacious and cosmopolitan atmosphere. This Barcelona travel guide is dedicated to providing quality tourism and travel information and provides travel tips and vacation ideas.
Located 160km south of the Pyrenees, Barcelona is nestled between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besos and the Mediterranean coast. The city sits 4m above sea level and is located 98km from Tarragona, 100km from Girona, 156km from Lleida, 274km from Huesca, 284km from Castellon, 296km from Zaragoza and 621km from Madrid.
A large percentage of tourists travelling to Spain choose Barcelona as their first destination due to its location and easy access (whether arriving by plane, train, boat, car or bus). Its wide range of cultural attractions and its exciting nightlife are also big draws. This is a city that has more than 2,000 years of history on show, yet embraces new designs, modernity and everything dynamic. It is proud of its personal identity and proudly reveals this to the outside world.
Barcelona proudly wears her history on her sleeve. For thousands of years, different cultures have made Barcelona their home including Stone Age man, the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors and the Spanish. With each group, the city has been reshaped yet hasn’t lost her beauty from the previous period. With each step you can admire the different historical periods whilst enjoying her animated and contemporary amenities.
Tour guides buzz groups around the vast busy streets of Barcelona, eagerly pointing out the monumental events and buildings that have shaped the destiny of this exciting city. Tourism is big business here and, due to the vast amount of cultural attractions, you will definitely need your most comfortable walking shoes.
Mention Barcelona and, for millions of people, the image it conjures up is the wild and whimsical architecture that is the legacy of Antonio Gaudi, especially his masterpiece – the unmistakable Cathedral of Sagrada Familia which remains unfinished today, nearly 80 years after his death.
La Sagrada Familia is perhaps one of the best loved tourist attractions in the city. Built centuries ago, this medieval cathedral dominates the street and since its erection it has been the spiritual heart of the Catalan people. Even today, locals still flock here for their religious needs. It has been under reconstruction for more than 100 years but it is an impressive and awe-inspiring building where guided tours still take place.
Serrated Mountain, also known as Montserrat, is located 31km north of Barcelona. Nestled in its protective craggy folds, lies the famous Montserrat Monastery home to around 80 monks. It was constructed in 1025 due to the numerous visions of the Virgin Mary which pilgrims received. You are taken on an exhilarating cable car ride to the monastery, where you can marvel at the beauty of the Catalan countryside.
The beautiful and prestigious Penedés region, to the southwest of Barcelona, is home to some of Spain’s classic wineries. Wine connoisseurs will want to take a luxury wine tasting excursion which includes visits to the vineyards and cellars of famed Cava producers, where you can sip the local naturally sparkling white wine in the stunning Catalan countryside.
Barcelona may be a vibrant busy city but you can still relax at one of its many fabulous beaches. There are several to choose from, but don’t expect to enjoy them all by yourself (an estimated seven million tourists flock here each year). Platja de la Nova Icària is located in the south and is the busiest, but Platja de la Mar Bella and Platja de la Nova Mar Bella are popular choices as well.
For lovers of ancient history, head to the northeast of the city. Alongside a quiet public square are a series of Roman tombs. Remaining intact for centuries, they offer the chance to explore and understand more about life in Roman Spain.
Restaurants in Barcelona feature dishes from all over the world, but the traditional Catalan meals are something very special indeed. Raisins and seafood are characteristics of authentic Catalan dishes. For a genuine flavour of Barcelona, try the Sarsuela, Fideua, Crema catalane or the yummy Calçotada. Tasty seafood tapas are enjoyed throughout the country. Restaurant settings are just as attractive as the meals themselves, and with the memory of the 92 Olympic Games, restaurants are still highly fashionable.
When you arrive in Barcelona you will be met with a variety of different choices when it comes to accommodation. Hotel prices are steadily on the rise are well worth the cost due to the high level of service, comfort and ambience.
Barcelona is a city that makes it impossible to forget about her. Dynamic, exciting and stunning, this ancient city makes her one of the top tourist destinations in Spain.
For more information on transportation, accommodation, city maps, etc., you can consult any of the tourist offices in the city, operational in more than 20 languages.