BARCELONA - A Travel Guide

Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Spain’s second largest city, Barcelona is ordained with its own unique characteristics. The work of architect Antoni Gaudi decorates the city with colorful, eccentric buildings, including the city’s symbol and his unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. Located on the Northeastern Mediterranean coast, Barcelona offers the luxury of beautiful beaches and coastline within walking distance of the city center.

The harmonious blend between Old World architecture and modern, metropolitan energy make Barcelona a one-of-a-kind city. From the humble beginnings of Pablo Picasso and Miro, to the host of the Summer Olympics of 1992, this city has the perfect combination of history and relevance, and is now one of Europe’s top destinations that's included in several tours of Spain!

MUST SEE AND DO

Sights—

La Sagrada Familia: The unfinished temple constructed by Antoni Gaudi is now the city’s emblem

La Catedral La Seu: Barcelona’s finest Gothic cathedral

Santa Maria del Mar: Incredibly unique cathedral with breathtaking ceilings

La Rambla: Tree-lined street booming with street fair and cafes.

Park Guell: Beautiful garden complex with buildings designed by Gaudi

The Barri Gotic: The Gothic Quarter, the center of the Old City

 Collserola Woodlands: Beautiful metropolitan park with picturesque views

Museums—

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya: National museum of Catalan visual art

Museu d'Historia de Catalunya: History from the Stone Age to the 21st century

Fundacio Joan Miro: Museum of modern art honoring Joan Miro.

Museu Picasso: Museum paying homage to Barcelona native Picasso.

Dining—

For the best fideua (similar to paella) in Barcelona, give L’arros a try. Dine on the seafront at Escriba Xiringuito. Enjoy high-end Mediterranean cuisine at Neichel, or fresh seafood delivered daily from Passadis del Pep. For the best cakes and traditional crema catalane dessert, you must go to Escriba!

Night Life—

If you’re looking for drinks with a romantic view of the city, Mirablau is the place for you. Enjoy flamenco at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes and Los Tarantos. If you want to do your own dancing, there is a style for everyone in Barcelona, as it boasts some of the best nightlife in the region. Check out live jazz at Marula Café, Magic Club for 80’s dance hits, or the best soundstage for techno at the Macarena Club.

Family Friendly—

Take the kids to experience the sheer wonder of the Magic Fountains—a musical show featuring lights and water fountains after dark. You won’t forget a trip to the Barcelona Aquarium or a tour of Camp Nou. If this is a family of thrill seekers, Tibidabo Amusement park is a must; or take a ride in a cable car through the Montjuic Castle.

HISTORY

The Roman’s orinially founded “Barcino” in 133 BC, and was later taken by the Christian Carolingian Empire. In 988 AD, it gained independence and became a political force in the region of Catalunya through the 1500s. After the War of Succession, King Philip V overtook Catalunya’s government and made Spanish the language of business, as opposed to the regions’ Catalan.

By the 19th century, Barcelona was Spain’s industrial hub—thus beginning the modernist movement in art and architecture and the rise of Antoni Gaudi. The spread of poverty amongst the working class led to an uprising in the early 1900s, the catalyst to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. Under the rule of Francisco Franco until 1975, Catalan culture was very much suppressed. After his death, the culture was restored and the Catalan language was re-established. This sparked a new urban popularity in the city, which led to the hosting of the Olympics in 1992. Since then, it has grown to be a tourist mecca and one of the most popular European cities.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Barcelona is located to the southeast of the Mediterranean, and is enclosed by the Besós River, the Llobregat River, the rocky Montjuich, and the Tibidabo mountain range. Since it is a port city, Barcelona is a very important cruise ship hub that ports some of the largest ocean liners.

Visitors to Barcelona can enjoy a very temperate climate all year long. Even in winter, locals can be seen on the beaches. The lowest temperatures in January reach about 50 F/10 C. Summers boast very comfortable temperatures of about 78 F/35 C in the hottest month of August.

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