WELCOME TO BARCELONA

Barcelona is an enchanting seaside city with boundless culture, fabled architecture and a world-class drinking and dining scene.
Architecture of the Ages
Barcelona's architectural treasures span 2000-plus years. Towering temple columns, ancient city walls and subterranean stone corridors provide a window into Roman-era Barcino. Fast forward a thousand years or so to the Middle Ages by taking a stroll through the shadowy lanes of the Gothic quarter, past tranquil plazas and soaring 14th-century cathedrals. In other parts of town bloom the sculptural masterpieces of Modernisme, a mix of ingenious and whimsical creations by Gaudí and his Catalan architectural contemporaries. Barcelona has also long inspired artists, including Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, both of whom have major Barcelona museums devoted to their works.

A Moveable Feast
The masters of molecular gastronomy – Albert Adrià, Carles Abellan et al – are part of the long and celebrated tradition of Catalan cooking. Simple, flavourful ingredients – seafood, jamón (cured ham), market-fresh produce – are transformed into remarkable delicacies and then served in captivating settings. Feast on hearty, rich paella at an outdoor table overlooking the sea or step back to the 1920s at an elegant art nouveau dining room. Barcelona's wide-ranging palate adds further complexity: Basque-style tapas bars, Galician seafood taverns, avant-garde Japanese restaurants and sinful chocolate shops are all essential parts of the culinary landscape.

Under the Iberian Sun
The deep blue Mediterranean beckons. Sun-drenched beaches make a fine backdrop to a jog, bike ride or long leisurely stroll along the seaside – followed by a refreshing dip. You can also enjoy the view from out on the water while kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or taking it easy on a sunset cruise. Looming behind the city, the rolling forest-covered Collserola hills provide a scenic setting for hiking, mountain biking or just admiring the view. Closer to the city centre, hilltop Montjuïc offers endless exploring amid botanic and sculpture gardens, an old castle and first-rate museums with panoramic views at every turn.

Twenty-four-hour Party People The night holds limitless possibilities in Barcelona. Start with sunset drinks on a panoramic terrace or dig your heels in the sand at a rustic beachside chiringuito (temporary snack bar). As darkness falls, live music transforms the city: the rapid-fire rhythms of flamenco, brassy jazz spilling out of basements, and hands-in-the-air indie-rock at vintage concert halls. Towards midnight the bars fill. Take your pick from old-school taverns adorned with 19th-century murals, plush lounges in lamp-lit medieval chambers or boisterous cava bars. If you're still standing at 3am, hit the clubs and explore Barcelona's unabashed wild side.

In and around Lisbon

  • La Sagrada Família
    Basilica in L'Eixample
    The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family) is considered to be the symbol of Barcelona by many residents, and the one place you shouldn’t miss when you visit the Catalan capital.
    Initially intended to be a simple Roman Catholic church dedicated to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the church ultimately became the most prominent example of Catalan Modernism. Pope Benedict XVI declared it a basilica in 2010.

    Carrer de la Marina - Barcelona, Sapin
    9am-8pm Apr-Sep, to 7pm Mar & Oct, to 6pm Nov-Feb
    www.sagradafamilia.org
  • La Rambla
    Street in La Rambla & Barri Gòtic
    La Rambla is a tree-lined boulevard featuring a wide array of architectural delights, beautifully decorated flower stalls and particularly talented (and certified) human statues. Foodies will definitely enjoy the tapa joints at Mercat de la Boqueria, considered by many to be the best gourmet food market in Europe. It is infamous for the incredible numbers of both pickpockets and tourist-first restaurants serving mediocre paella, but there is plenty to see and appreicate.
    Plaça del Portal de la Pau - Barcelona, Spain
  • Casa Amatller
    Architecture in L'Eixample
    One of Puig i Cadafalch’s most striking flights of Modernista fantasy, Casa Amatller combines Gothic window frames and Romanesque flourishes with a stepped gable borrowed from Dutch urban architecture.
    But the busts and reliefs of dragons, knights and other characters dripping off the main facade are pure caprice. The beautifully tiled pillared foyer and staircase lit by stained glass feel like the interior of some romantic castle.

    Passeig de Gràcia 41 - Barcelona, Spain
    10am-6pm
    www.amatller.org
  • Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
    Museum in Montjuïc, Poble Sec & Sant Antoni
    The spectacular neobaroque silhouette of the Palau Nacional can be seen on Montjuïc's slopes from across the city.
    Built for the 1929 World Exhibition and restored in 2005, it houses a vast collection of mostly Catalan art spanning the early Middle Ages to the early 20th century. The high point is the unique collection of extraordinary Romanesque frescoes.
    This building has come to be one of the city’s prime symbols of the region’s separate Catalan identity.
    Mirador del Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc - Barcelona, Spain
    10am-8pm Tue-Sat, to 3pm Sun May-Sep, 10am-6pm Tue-Sat, to 3pm Sun Oct-Apr
    www.museunacional.cat
  • Museu Picasso
    Museum in La Ribera
    Located along the grand, medieval street of Carrer de Montcada, the Museu Picasso is dedicated to one of the world’s greatest artists, Pablo Picasso.
    Opened in 1963, the “Picasso Museum” not only showcases some of the painter’s earliest works, but it aims to show the strong, emotional bond Picasso had with the city, which was key in discovering, developing and shaping his artistic skills. The museum occupies five medieval palaces.
    Carrer de Montcada 15-23 - Barcelona, Sapin
    10am-5pm Mon, 9am-8.30pm Tue, Wed & Fri-Sun, to 9.30pm Thu
    www.museupicasso.bcn.cat
  • La Pedrera
    Architecture in L'Eixample
    In the top tier of Gaudí's achievements, this madcap Unesco-listed masterpiece, with 33 balconies, was built in 1905–10 as a combined apartment and office block.
    Formally called Casa Milà, after the businessman who commissioned it, it is better known as La Pedrera (the Quarry) because of its uneven grey stone facade. Gaudí's approach to space and light as well as the blurring of the dividing line between decoration and functionality are astounding.
    Passeig de Gràcia 92 - Barcelona, Sapin
    9am-8.30pm & 9-11pm Mar-Oct, 9am-6.30pm & 7-9pm Nov-Feb
    www.lapedrera.com
  • Park Guell
    Park in Gràcia & Park Guell
    Visitors and locals alike love Park Güell. The waving balcony and the colorful Guard’s House, with the imposing Barcelona skyline and sea in the background, is the city’s favorite postcard. It's also a great summary of what the Catalan capital is like: a creative, cosmopolitan city with a Mediterranean lifestyle. Antoni Gaudí created Park Güell, an architectural masterpiece, with tree-shaped columns and undulating forms that merge in perfect harmony.
    Carrer d’Olot 7 - Barcelona, Sapin
    8am-9.30pm May-Aug, to 8.30pm Apr, Sep & Oct, to 6.15pm Nov–mid-Feb, to 7pm mid-Feb–Mar
    https://parkguell.barcelona

Barcelona


Barcelona is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within city limits, its urban area extends to numerous neighbouring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.8 million people, making it the fifth most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, the Ruhr area, Madrid, and Milan. It is one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range, the tallest peak of which is 512 metres (1,680 feet) high.

Founded as a Roman city, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After joining with the Kingdom of Aragon to form the confederation of the Crown of Aragon, Barcelona, which continued to be the capital of the Principality of Catalonia, became the most important city in the Crown of Aragon and the main economic and administrative centre of the Crown, only to be overtaken by Valencia, wrested from Arab domination by the Catalans, shortly before the dynastic union between the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon in 1492. Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is home to two of the most prestigious universities in Spain: the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean are located in Barcelona. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions and also many international sport tournaments.

Barcelona is a major cultural, economic, and financial centre in southwestern Europe, as well as the main biotech hub in Spain. As a leading world city, Barcelona's influence in global socio-economic affairs qualifies it for global city status (Beta +).

Barcelona is a transport hub, with the Port of Barcelona being one of Europe's principal seaports and busiest European passenger port, an international airport, Barcelona–El Prat Airport, which handles over 50 million passengers per year, an extensive motorway network, and a high-speed rail line with a link to France and the rest of Europe.

Climate


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