Barcelona

About Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is defined by quirky art and architecture, imaginative food and vibrant street life. It has medieval roots, seen in the mazelike Gothic Quarter, but a modernist personality represented by architect Antoni Gaudí’s fantastical Sagrada Família church. Its restaurant scene, anchored by the central Boqueria market, ranges from fine dining to tiny tapas bars.

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a Mediterranean and cosmopolitan city with Roman remains, medieval quarters and the most beautiful examples of 20th century Modernism and avant-garde. It is no surprise that emblematic constructions by the Catalan architects Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Doménech i Montaner have been declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
The city's origins are Roman, and its long history and economic dynamism have made Barcelona a cultural city, which can be seen in the historic-artistic heritage and the promotion of the most innovative artistic trends. A wide cultural program will take visitors to museums, exhibitions, open-air sculptures… and many concerts, plays and dances.

The visitor will enjoy Barcelona's Mediterranean character, which can be clearly felt on the Costa del Garraf as well as the Maresme coast. In addition, the city has beautiful urban beaches, marinas, and seafront golf courses. Nature lovers will not need to travel far to be able to hike through the hills that are part of the coastal mountain range and the Catalan Pyrenees.

Beaches
Sant Sebastiá Considered as being the last stretch of the beach of La Barceloneta. There are all types of facilities: showers, lifeguards, bars, as well as good disabled access.

Playa del Paseo Marítimo This very wide beach is on the other side of the Olympic Port and is separated from Barceloneta Beach by a breakwater.

Playa del Bogatell This beach is very close to the Olympic Port and is separated from the other two beaches with similar characteristics by two stone breakwaters.

La Nova Mar Bella Its promenade runs until the famous district of Barceloneta. A very good beach with a variety of services, such as showers, lifeguard service, bars and parking.

La Nova Icária Next to the Barcelona Olympic Port, its promenade runs until the Barceloneta district.

La Mar Bella Located between the beaches of Nova Mar Bella and Bogatell. There is a sports centre very near the beach. Good for windsurfing on windy days.

La Barceloneta beach Stretching out along the entire promenade up to the Olympic port in the renowned and old maritime neighbourhood of the same name. Barceloneta. There are all types of services typical to a town beach.

Climate Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers. Light Atlantic west winds are common. Summers are not as dry as in most other Mediterranean locations: August, September, October and November are the wettest months of the year. Barcelona is generally a sunny city, however, some days of fog and spells of cloudy days are not rare.

Geography
Barcelona is located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea, on a plateau approximately 5 km wide limited by the mountain range of Collserola, the Llobregat river to the southwest, and the Besòs river to the north.

Tibidabo, 512 m high, offers striking views over the city. Barcelona is peppered with small hills, most of them urbanized such as Carmel, Putxet and Rovira. The escarpment of Montjuïc, situated to the southeast, overlooks the harbor.

Barcelona is the capital and the most populous city of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid. The urban area of Barcelona extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of over 4,200,000, being the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union.

History The origins of the city of Barcelona are unclear. In the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, the area was settled by the Laietani, a Thracian -Ιberian people. Information about the period from 218 BC until the 1st century BC is scarce. We do know that around 15 BC the Romans redrew the town as a Roman military camp. The city was conquered by the Visigoths in the early 5th century becoming for a few years the capital of the whole Hispania. Afterwards it was conquered by the Arabs in the early 8th century, and then re-conquered in 801 by Charlemagne's son Louis.

In the 12th century, Catalonia grew rich and eventually Barcelona ruled a mini-empire including Sicily, Malta, Sardinia, Valencia, the Balearics, the French regions of Rousillon and Cerdagne and parts of Greece. Barcelona started declining in the 15th century as the centre of political power became Madrid and the colonization of the Americas reduced the financial importance of Mediterranean trade. Barcelona suffered from the Catalan Revolt (1640–52), was hit hard by the great plague which halved the city's population, and was ravaged by the Napoleonic wars. The postwar period saw the start of industrialization.

The resistance of Barcelona to Franco's coup d'état was to have lasting effects as the autonomous institutions of Catalonia were abolished. Barcelona remained the second largest city in Spain having been industrialized. The result was a large-scale immigration from poorer regions of Spain, which in turn led to rapid urbanization. Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games in 1992, which helped revitalize the city.

Nature Barcelona contains 12 historic parks, 5 botanical parks, 45 urban parks and 6 forest parks. The urban parks alone cover 10% of the city. Of Barcelona's parks, Montjuïc is the largest, located on the mountain of the same name. It is followed by Parc de la Ciutadella, the Guinardó Park, and Park Güell which was designed by Gaudí.

If you are a nature lover then there are 3 National Parks worth checking out not too far outside of the city.

- The Montserrat National Park is a mountain range just outside of the city and is know for its peculiar craggy strikingly pink rock formations which are visible from a great distance.

- The Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac Natural Park offers a unique landscape which consists of cliffs and red giant monoliths. A monastery is located on top of La Mola, the summit of the park.

- The Montseny National Park was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Its extraordinary biodiversity and the cultural imprint man has left him throughout the ages have a universal value that has inspired artists, intellectuals and scientists.

Unique to Here If there is one artist who was able to invent a whole new world of fascinating shapes and colors through his architecture, then this is Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí was one of the great representatives of Modernism and he revolutionized the canons of architecture. This is why some of his work has been granted the World Heritage designation by UNESCO.

Emblematic works by him include the Sagrada Familia Cathedral with its stunning towers reaching more than 100 meters into the air. Neither should you miss the original fireplaces of Casa Milà House, the colors of the façade at Casa Batlló House, the elegant Güell Palace, Casa Calvet House, and the Casa Vicens House. For a panoramic view of Barcelona, nothing better than a visit to Güell Park, a real terrace looking out to sea designed by Gaudí.

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.

Contact our travel experts for more details