Barcelona is a city on the coast of Spain, washed by the Mediterranean Sea and located near the border with France. It is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid and the largest city in the region of Catalonia. It has a population of approximately 4.8 million residents, making it one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.
History of Barcelona
The city of Barcelona experienced its heyday in the 15th century, when it was flourishing. In the late 18th century, a new economic development began in the city. However, this growth was accompanied by certain difficulties, as the working class faced challenges. To meet the needs of this development, the city decided to demolish the walls of Barcelona in 1854 to free up space. During this period, impressive buildings with unique and modern architecture were created. An important representative of this period in the field of architecture was Antoni Gaudi.
The 20th century witnessed significant events that left a mark in Barcelona's history. Among them, the hosting of the International Exhibition and the Summer Olympic Games in 1992 were positive moments. However, the civil war caused significant destruction in the city, representing a dark chapter in its history. A particularly tragic event for the city was the so-called "Tragic Week" (Semana Tragica) of 1909, during which many workers were injured and more than 70 religious buildings were destroyed.
Beaches in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the most popular European destinations for all seasons, with endless beaches and significant attractions. If you're planning to visit the city during the warm months, we recommend the most beautiful beaches in Barcelona.
- Barceloneta: The most famous beach in Barcelona. Located just one kilometer from the Old Town, tourists and locals flock here daily to enjoy the sun. Due to its popularity, the beach is filled with street vendors, artists, restaurants, and opportunities for water sports.
- Bogatell: Another popular beach in Barcelona is Bogatell. This beach is a more family-friendly option and is considered one of the safest beaches in the city.
- Nova Icaria: At this beach, you can play beach volleyball, dine at a seaside tapas bar, and learn a new water sport. It is located in the middle of Barcelona's coastline and attracts a wide range of travelers, from families to the young crowd. The beach is also in close proximity to various attractions such as the Olympic Marina and the Vila Shopping Center.
- Sant Sebastia: It is the ideal beach if you want to swim, surf, and paddleboard.
- Mar Bella: On windy days, high waves rise, and the beach is crowded with surfers. The waters here are also cleaner compared to other beaches in the city. The beach is relatively secluded from the city center and features a playground and skateboarding ramps for younger visitors.
- Castelldefels: It is a wonderful place to spend your day, and apart from the stunning beach, you'll find plenty of restaurants and shops worth visiting.
- Ocata: If you're looking for a calm, secluded beach, visit Ocata, which is a 30-minute train ride from the city. It's worth a visit as it's very spacious, not particularly crowded, and has clean waters and golden sand.
Sights in Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia: The iconic work of the famous architect Antoni Gaudí, construction of La Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and is still ongoing. The construction is characterized by dozens of symbols, with the central tower known as the "Tower of Christ" being a notable example. Standing at 170 meters, it is one meter shorter than Montjuïc Hill.
Park Güell: One of Antoni Gaudí's works that adorn the city of Barcelona, Park Güell is located on the "el Carmel" hill, northwest of the city, and attracts thousands of visitors daily. The park was created by entrepreneur Güell with the intention of building an exemplary suburb. In a barren piece of land, he instructed Gaudí to create the infrastructure for a city with gardens.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera): Built between 1906 and 1910 for the Milà family, Casa Milà is one of Gaudí's major residential buildings and one of the most imaginative houses in architectural history. The building is a sculpture itself, with an impressive facade made of mountain stone and wrought-iron balconies without straight lines.
Casa Batlló: It is one of the most unusual houses in Europe and is located on one of the most aristocratic streets in Barcelona. Antoni Gaudí designed it in 1905, giving it his own Catalan version of the Art Nouveau architectural style.
Camp Nou Stadium: The stadium is the home of the football team FC Barcelona and was built in 1957. It has a seating capacity of 99,354 spectators. You can visit the stadium either by attending a Barcelona match or by taking a tour of the stadium and the team's museum.
La Rambla: It is a pedestrian street in the heart of Barcelona that connects Catalonia Square with the Christopher Columbus Monument by the sea. The length of the promenade is 1.2 kilometers and it is a classic walk for tourists and locals alike.
Picasso Museum: The museum attracts over 1 million visitors per year as it houses the largest collection of artworks by the famous painter. The artworks are displayed chronologically, from Picasso's early works to his later ones. The Picasso Museum is located in the old town.
Activities in Barcelona
Barcelona is a city full of culture and history. It is renowned for the fantastic architecture of Antoni Gaudí, whose buildings are scattered throughout the city. For culture enthusiasts, Barcelona offers plenty of museums to satisfy your curiosity. The MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and the CCCB (Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona) are worth a visit, as they regularly host excellent exhibitions each month. The Picasso Museum and the permanent Dalí exhibition in the Gothic Quarter are always popular.
Barcelona is a child-friendly city. There is the Zoo in Parc Ciutadella, which is large and provides entertainment for both children and adults. Another great place for kids is Poble Espanyol, located in Montjuïc, just after Plaça España. Poble Espanyol is a peculiar place, a village created in 1929 to mimic different styles of Spanish regional architecture. There are many craft shops and activities, such as glass blowing. Often, there are also children-only activities where you can leave your little ones for a few hours. In the Montjuïc area, don't miss the magical Montjuïc Magic Fountain, a spectacular show combining music and lights.
You can enjoy the cable car that operates from Barceloneta Beach to Montjuïc. There is also a Chocolate Museum near the Arc de Triomf that will take you through the history of chocolate.
How to travel to Barcelona?
The main ferry routes connect Barcelona with the Balearic Islands. All routes to and from the Balearic Islands are operated by the company Balearia. If you want to reach Formentera or Ibiza, it will take about 15 minutes longer than for the other Balearic Islands. Both destinations are served by Balearia. There are daily departures to these two islands, with the trip to Ibiza costing around €55 and to Formentera approximately €75.
Additionally, apart from Spain, ferry companies serving Barcelona offer routes to Italy. The company Grimaldi Lines operates routes to Civitavecchia, located on the Italian peninsula, as well as to Porto Torres in Sardinia. Civitavecchia is only 60 kilometers away from Rome, and you can reach it by ferry in about 20 hours. A popular route spanning the western to eastern Mediterranean region is the journey from Civitavecchia to Barcelona and vice versa. The cost of this route ranges from €44 to €55, and there are six weekly departures.
Weekly ferry routes are also available between Barcelona and Porto Torres in Sardinia. This allows you ample time to enjoy the comfort and get into the holiday spirit before reaching your destination. Prices for an adult passenger on this route are low, around €35 to €40.