Gently, caressed by time and the sea breeze, Barcelona lies between the Mediterranean and the mountains. Because, as in all coastal cities, its people, although they came from inland, settled on the seafront for protection. And so did the first who settled here, the Iberians, and later the Romans. Visitors to Barcelona today can explore the city in all directions, starting from any point of the compass, enjoying the enormous variety of atmospheres and an immense offer of culture, leisure, gastronomy, design and shopping, discovering the lifestyle of this city, one of its great attractions. A climate that enjoys all of the privileges of the Mediterranean always helps visitors to delight in the city of modernism, with five kilometres of beach. Barcelona combines the perfect urban layout seen in the Eixample district, the elegance of its architecture, the artistic legacy of centuries and the culture of the inhabitants who are able to enjoy what they have built, conserved and transformed. This great city has must-see routes from the Eixample to Montjuïc, from the Gothic Quarter to El Raval, from the Sagrada Familia to the Park Güell, without forgetting the calendar of fairs, conferences and events. Barcelona hides treasures in every one of its corners.
THE BIGGEST SPORTING VENUE IN EUROPE
Even for those who are not football fans, the Camp Nou is a leading tourist attraction in the city. With a capacity for 100,000 spectators, the Barça Stadium is the biggest sporting venue in Europe and offers the Camp Nou Experience, a visit to the facilities and the history of the club.
Barcelona has something that charms and traps the visitor. Take a stroll down the Ramblas and through Plaza Catalunya, take in the delights of the Boquería Market and stop at the flower stalls on the Ramblas. These are the essential parts of a visit to Barcelona. The renowned Liceo Theatre and the Palau de la Musica Catalana, the home of so much culture, will tempt you with their varied musical offerings. The Gothic Quarter, which still conserves the foundations of the Roman Barcino and many important buildings of the mediaeval city, will elevate you to contemplate the history of the city, to see the life of Barcelona today against a backdrop from other times. Barcelona’s cultural and artistic history has left the city a rich heritage of architecture and monuments that go from Roman remains to the most daring tendencies in contemporary art. But, above all else, Barcelona is the city of Gaudi and modernism. It would not be possible to understand the city without its most universal architect. There are many works of Gaudi to be discovered on your visit to Barcelona: Casa Vicens, the pavilions of the Finca Güell, Palau Güell, the Teresian School, Casa Calvet, Casa Milà (La Pedrera), Casa Batllo, Casa Bellesguard and the magical Park Güell, a reflection of Gaudi in his artistic plenitude. But if we had to choose one building by Gaudi which is in itself a universal symbol of Barcelona, it must be the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia.
You will find art at every step you take in Barcelona, both inside and outside its buildings. Outside, there are the emblematic buildings of the CaixaForum, the MACBA, the Miro Foundation and La Pedrera. Inside, there is art from the beginning of times up to the most avant-garde.
When you visit the Eixample district, a singular example of urban planning, you can admire numerous modernist buildings of enormous architectural value. The centre of this district concentrates the highest number of modernist constructions. The so-called Quadrat d’Or (Golden Square) is where the bourgeoisie of Barcelona came to live in houses designed by the leading architects of the time, including Gaudi.
The Montjuïc Park is another unmissable visit. It covers a good part of the impressive hill that overlooks the port and is a world apart, with green zones and gardens, museums and cultural venues, as well as sporting and Olympic facilities. Montjuïc, the epicentre of the 1992 Olympic Games, speaks of the history and life of a mountain that has marked the personality of Barcelona.
Barcelona-Sants Station, where the AVE arrives, is in the north-east of the city and is the main entrance to Barcelona. It has excellent communications with the city centre by taxi, bus and underground railway. The underground railway network is extensive and well organised and the city buses cover the entire urban area with excellent interconnections.
Once in Barcelona, you will find multimode transport tickets for the entire city network (underground, bus and trams), as well as the “Barcelona Bus Turistic” hop-on, hop-off tourist bus with 44 stops.
Don’t forget to get the Barcelona Card, a card that gives visitors free public transport as well as discounts and gratuities in the museums, cultural venues, shows, theatres, leisure venues, nightlife venues, shops, restaurants, transport and other services.
Art, culture, science and entertainment all come together in the museums of Barcelona: from leading works of contemporary art to singular exhibitions such as, for example, the exhibition of clothing that has marked the history of fashion. At the Catalonian National Museum of Art (MNAC) you can enjoy one of the most important collections of Romanesque art in the world. And if your interest is in contemporary art, Barcelona offers you one of the most famous collections of this style in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), CaixaForum, the Picasso Museum and the Miro Foundation. Let yourself be surprised in the specialist museums, such as the Wax Museum or the Footwear Museum, and be part of the artistic effervescence of the exhibition halls to be found throughout the city.
And when night falls, Barcelona never sleeps. A beacon of the international electronic music scene, the city dances to the rhythm of the best DJs. Discover alternative venues perfect for lovers of jazz, rock, Latin rhythms and pop. Explore the hidden corners and the plazas of the Gràcia district where you will find intimate venues, full of charm. Enjoy the bohemian atmosphere of these streets, the delight of the people of Barcelona. In summer, the plazas are filled with tables and in August, the neighbourhood’s main fiesta makes Gràcia the epicentre of the whole city.
Barcelona is a sporting city to its marrow and has a comprehensive network of sports facilities for locals and visitors. There is an annual calendar of leading international sporting events and there are many sports clubs dating back over a century, among which F.C. Barcelona stands out, the great sporting ambassador of the city in the world.
Gastronomy is, without doubt, one of the pillars of Catalonian culture. This cultural wealth has consolidated the reputation of Barcelona as a city which offers the most extraordinary and varied gastronomic treasures, of the highest quality and at a reasonable price.
The wealth of an open culture that has had many, diverse influences, the abundance of the tastiest products and the natural tendencies of the people to enjoy the pleasures of food have made this city a beacon of world gastronomy.
The cuisine of Barcelona is based above all on fresh, seasonal products, enhanced with olive oil and aromatic herbs. Fruit, fish, meat and vegetables are the essence of market cuisine, that is, a cuisine based on the products to be found in the market, which vary throughout the year, season by season. As tapas or as full meals, you can enjoy the highest expression of our cuisine.
The food is waiting! Enjoy it!
Wherever you go, you will see that shops form part of the life of Barcelona. And as you discover unforgettable corners of the city, you will be welcomed to the showcases of international firms, modern designer shops and classical, traditional establishments. The leading shopping area for tourists is the Barcelona Shopping Line (La Rambla, Barna Centre, Plaza Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya and Diagonal as far as Mª Cristina), where there are prestigious international firms as well as surprising, modern shops offering the latest tendencies. And museums, architecture, design, art and culture. Everything you need to experience the Barcelona lifestyle.
And to take home the flavour of Barcelona, browse through the specialised shops offering Designation of Origin products. Discover the wines, cava and liqueurs of Catalonia, the oils, cured sausages, cheeses, honey and sweets… Barcelona offers you a complete range of gourmet and delicatessen shops where you will find the best of the city’s gastronomy.