The history of Barcelona stretches back well over 2000 years to its origins as an Iberian village named Barkeno. Its easily defensible location on the coastal route between central Europe and the rest of the Iberian peninsula, has ensured its continued importance throughout the ages.
Barcelona is currently the second largest city in Spain. It's warm, pleasant climate means that the locals spend a lot of time outdoors. The city's location on the shores of the Mediterranean brings pleasant temperatures, allowing Barcelona to enjoy its 5km of perfectly equipped beaches all the year round.
Catalonia has its own language: Catalan. Most of the people who live in Barcelona are bilingual and speak Catalan and Spanish, which is also an official language. Street names and most road and transport signs are in Catalan. Many people from Barcelona understand English and French.
What to Do
Born Centre Cultural, a key cultural space situated right in the Ribera district. The archaeological site inside gives you the opportunity to walk along the cobbled streets of Barcelona as it was in 1700. A snapshot of this part of the city, now vanished, includes nine streets, 55 houses and a large section of the openair water channel, the Rec Comtal.
Josep Fontserè i Mestre built the former Born Market between 1837 and 1876. The structure features 152 cast-iron pillars which underpin the two central aisles. The aisles meet in the centre of this architectural gem crowned by a dome which, seen from the outside, resembles an eye-catching lighthouse. A large canopy covering an area of 8,000 m2 lets in light through panes of glass.
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, at seventeen, was sent to Barcelona to study architecture. His curved walls and roofs, his parabolic arches, his twisted columns, his spiral chimneys are shapes found abundantly in architecture and come from natural structures. 14 basic works of Gaudí can be seen in Barcelona, including the Basílica de la Sagrada Família and make up much of the city's famous buildings.
The Museu de la Xocolata (Chocolate Museum) is housed in a building of great historic importance, the former Convent of Sant Agustí in Barcelona. The 600 m2 exhibition space traces the origins of chocolate, its arrival in Europe, and its semi-mythical status.
Jardí Botànic de Barcelona (Barcelona Botanical Gardens) offer a different walk for every season of the year, through the vegetation, and from the five regions of the world with a Mediterranean climate. The Botanical Gardens are home to some 1,350 species and is always "growing".
Please click here to
find out more about the La Mercè (annual event of the city of Barcelona).
How to Get to Barcelona
Barcelona Airport, El Prat, is located just 16km outside the city. Girona Airport, north of the city, and Reus, to the south, are a little over an hour away. Lleida Airport, to the west, is just over two hours away.
Barcelona Sants Station
Metro: L5 and L3. Bus: 27, 32, 78, 109, 115, H10 and V17.
Barcelona Sants Station is the city's main railway station and most trains departing and arriving in Barcelona stop here. The station is the terminus for the High-Speed Train and many Spanish and foreign destinations and trains to Barcelona Airport.
Getting Around Barcelona
Barcelona currently has eight metro lines that can be identified by the number and colour of the line and serve most of the city.
It also has an urban and metropolitan rail network the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC) which supplements Barcelona's metro network. There are three urban lines: L6, L7 and L8.
Barcelona's Metro Map: www.tmb.cat
The metro operates an integrated fare system enabling passengers to obtain a free transfer from one means of public transport to another within a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes. There are different types of travel cards and transport passes in Barcelona that are valid throughout the public transport network (metro, buses, tram and suburban rail), including the T-10 card which is valid for 10 journeys, or day passes (2, 3, 4 and 5 days).
The Tram route provides easy access to Barcelona's major industrial areas, shopping centres and residential zones.
Barcelona Tram Maps: www.tram.cat
Download helpful Barcelona apps here.