BARCELONA is one of the world´s most famous cities to travel to for everything from its Gaudi architecture to its world-class museums, Michelin starred restaurants and buzzing nightlife.
But whether it´s your first time in the city or you´re a frequent visitor, a travel guide to finding all those Barcelona hidden gems can always come in handy.
That´s why the Euro Weekly News has put together this easy-to-use Barcelona guide, giving you information on everything from Barcelona wine bars, to its hotels, restaurants, weather, and even its most famous sporting attraction, FC Barcelona.
The history of Barcelona
But first, a short history lesson. You may know that Barcelona is one of the most famous cities in the world, but do you know when it first attracted global attention?
Originally a Roman city named Barcino, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became one of the main residences of the court of the Crown of Aragon, making the city one of most important political and economic areas in Europe.
The city´s prosperity grew again in the 1800s when it developed a buzzing textile industry, before later achieving worldwide fame with its architectural works by Antoni Gaudi and Lluis Domenech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city is also famous for having two of the most prestigious universities in Spain, the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University, and for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Located on in the northeast of Spain in Catalonia on the Mediterranean, Barcelona is now the second most populated city in Spain (after Madrid), with 1.6 million residents and attracting 32 million tourists a year.
Geography of Barcelona
Barcelona sits 75 miles south of the border with France and the Pyrenees, and is bordered to the north and south by rivers and by the Collserola mountains.
The city measures around 39 square miles and has 10 districts, each with various neighbourhoods. These districts are:
The´old city´ and Barcelona´s most central district, Ciutat Vella contains the famous La Barceloneta and Sant Pere neighbourhoods. It is famous for its cafes and restuarants and for containing Barcelona´s best known street, Las Ramblas.
Developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Eixample is popular with tourists as it is near to Ciutat Vella and has some of the best shopping in the city. It is also famous for its architecture, with Gaudi´s Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila there.
Located 15 minutes from the centre of Barcelona, Les Corts is the city´s business district
On the southwest of Barcelona, this district include the mountains of Montjuic.
This district is in the northwest of Barcelona with much of its sitting on top of the Sierra de Collserola.
The smallest geographical district in Barcelona, Gracia is popular with city residents
This area is the third largest district in Barcelona
One of the cheapest areas of Barcelona to live in, Nou Barris is alson known for its diverse ethnic cuisine.
This district is known for its historical church, San Andres.
One of Barcelona´s most popular districts to live in, Sant Marti sits on the Mediterranean.
Barcelona is perhaps most famous for its stunning architecture, with several must-visit attractions when you travel there.
1. Basilica de la Sagrada Familia
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is Barcelona´s most famous attraction. Commisioned in 1883, this Antoni Gaudi building was never finished in the architect´s lifetime and construction is still ongoing today.
2. Casa Batllo
Designed as a private residence for textile manufacturer Josep Batllo i Casanovas, this Gaudi built UNESCO World Heritage Site is just down the road from Michelin starred Moments Restaurant.
3. Palace of Catalan Music
The Palau de la Musica Catalana was built between 1905 and 1908 as a concert hall. Designed by the architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner, this art nouveau building still functions as an auditoruium.
4. Casa Mila
Another Gaudi UNESCO World Heritage site, Casa Mila, known as La Pedrera, was built between 1906 and 1912.
5. Palau Guell
Designed in 1886 by Gaudi for patron of the arts Eusebi Guell, this building contains a great hall for poetry readings and private concerts.
6. Casa Amatller
This home was constructed between 1898 and 1900 as a house for Antoni Amatller.
7. Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes
Founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada in 1326 for the Order of Saint Clare, this convent is located on the slopes of the Sant Pere Martir.
Museums in Barcelona
Barcelona has some of the biggest museums in the world and if you are travel there, here are some of the best.
1. Picasso Museum
Containing 4,000 works by Pablo Picasso, this museum has an extensive collection of the artist´s early works
2. FC Barcelona Museum
Hosting some of the club´s trophies, the FC Barcelona museum is located in the Camp Nou stadium and attracts 1.2 million visitors a year.
3. Fundacio Joan Miro
Founded in 1968 by Joan Miro, this modern art museum hosts collections by Joan Miro and Andre Masson.
4. Gaudi House Museum
Located in the Park Guell, this historic house museum contains objects designed by Antoni Gaudi, who stayed here between 1906 and 1925.
5. Museu Nacional d´Art de Catalunya
This Italian-style palace museum houses Romanesque and Catalan art works from the 1100s to the 1900s.
Sports fans will known Barcelona for being one of the world´s most famous cities for football.
Its team, FC Barcelona, is one of the most successful in the world, winning 75 national trophies since being founded in 1899.
Known as Barca, FC Barcelona competes in La Liga, the top level of Spanish football its stadium is Camp Nou.
As one of the most famous cities in Europe, Barcelona has a stunning selection of restaurants and cafes offering everything from Michelin starred cuisine to local specialities.
1. La Patsa Lab
Created by Espedito Brunetto, this pasta restaurant wins rave reviews and is known for its delicious Italian dishes.
2. Els Sortidors del Parlament
Located on the famous Carrer del Parlament in Sant Antoni, this bodega offers wine, vermouth, Catalan dishes and tapas.
3. Restaurante Martinez
For the best paella in Barcelona, try Restaurante Martinez, located on Montjuic with views over the city. It is also famous for its other seafood dishes, including lobster and an oyster bar.
4. El Xampanyet
Dating from the 1920s, El Xampanyet is famous for its authentic dishes, alongside its cava.
Serving up Italian dishes, owner Badr Bennis and head chef Nicola Valle are famous for their colourful food and twists on modern classics.
Hotels in Barcelona
The city has some of the best hotels in the world and here are some of the best places to stay when you travel to Barcelona.
1. Hotel Barcelona Apolo
Close to some of Barcelona’s most popular landmarks, such as Montjuic Castle (0.8 mi) and Passeig de Gracia (1.2 mi), Hotel Barcelona Apolo is a great destination for tourists.
The Barcelona Apolo Hotel features a 24 hour front desk, a concierge, and room service and is close to the Mossen Costa i Llobera Gardens, Jardin Botanico de Barcelona, and Jardins de Laribal.
2. Hotel Barcelona House
Well-known for its proximity to great restaurants and attractions, Hotel Barcelona House is a budget option close to Casa Batllo (1.0 mi), Las Ramblas (0.1 mi).
3. Hotel Amrey Sant Pau
Located near to the Sagrada Familia, Hotel Amrey Sant Pau is a budget option near to the restaurants, shops and museums of Barcelona.
4. Seventy Barcelona
Offering an ideal location near the Passeig de Gracia, Seventy Barcelona stunning hotel offers warm customer service, attention to detail, and great food.
5. Petite Palace Boqueria Garden
Located in the Boqueria quarter of Barcelona, the Petite Palace Boqueria Garden offers a garden and outdoor terrace to enjoy the city´s climate.
If all that restaurant and museum info has inspired you to visit Barcelona, when is the best time to travel to get the best weather?
Barcelona has mild winters and warm summers with an average of 78 rainy days per year mainly in autumn and spring.
Its average annual temperature is 21.2 °C in the day and 15.1 °C at night.
In the warmest month, August, the typical temperature ranges from 27 to 31 °C in the day, and around 23 °C at night.
December, January and February are the coldest months, with average temperatures or around 15 °C in the day and 9 °C at night.
How to get to Barcelona
And now you know where to visit and when, how do you get there? Here are the best ways to travel to Barcelona.
Barcelona is one of Europe´s biggest transport hubs, with a trainline, metro, and an airport with 52.6 million passengers yearly.
Most international travellers fly into Barcelona via its airport, the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona El Prat Airport. Hosting flights from countries around the world, El Prat Airport is 9.3 miles from the centre of the city and is easily accessible by train and metro with its own stations.
Once in the city, the metro is one of the easiest ways to get around. With 183 stops taking in everything from the city centre to the suburbs, the metro is also one of the cheapest ways to see Barcelona, costing from €2.40.
For tickets and more information, click here.
Barcelona also has one of Europe´s busiest train stations Barcelona Sants, making it easily accessible from across Spain and other countries. Located in the Sant-Montjuic district, it connects to the metro as well as other major hubs, including Madrid and France.
For a full list of train times and more information, click here.
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