The sights of Barcelona – the amazing city of Spain

See the sights of Barcelona, the tourist gem of Spain.

View from Park Guell - photo

The largest Spanish city Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the cultural tourist pearl of Europe.

It is famous not only for its rich history but also for its unique attractions.

Barcelona attracts visitors from all over the world with its inexpressible atmosphere that makes every trip a truly unforgettable experience.

Barcelona is a quiet city with nobody rushing anywhere, where you can hear joyful laughter in every corner, but at the same time it is a very lively place, in which life is in full swing.

The city plays an important industrial, economic and commercial role in the development of not only Spain but also all of Europe.

Barcelona is a museum city of the Mediterranean, one of the biggest and most populated cities in Spain and the capital of one of its 17 Autonomous Communities, Catalonia.

There are two official languages in Barcelona: Catalan and Spanish. Despite this, the Catalans are trying to use their native language, in fact forcing all newcomers to do so as well. For example, even a Spaniard must pass a test in Catalan in order to get a job in a public institution. And on the streets of Barcelona is much more willing to talk to tourists in Catalan than in any other language.

The city has more than 1.5 million people. Another 4 million live in the suburbs and the province of the same name has almost 5 million inhabitants.

The population of Barcelona is the second largest in Spain after Madrid and the tenth in the European Union.

Since March 2010, Barcelona is the capital of the Union for the Mediterranean, uniting 43 countries.

Where is Barcelona

The capital of Catalonia is located on the northeastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, a picturesque place and is said to be the most European in Spain.

Barcelona lies at the mouth of the river with the unusual name of Llobregat, on several hills, the largest of which is Tibidabo – a mountain, which offers a magnificent view of the surrounding panorama.

The natural landscape not only gave the city an advantage in defense against enemies, but also gave it stunning magnificent views that attract millions of tourists and bring inspiration to artists and poets.

There are incredible parks and gardens lining the slopes of the mountains that line Barcelona’s semicircle.

And the east side of the city is wide open to the sea.

National Museum of Art of Catalonia - photo

History of Barcelona

When a traveler sees the amazing mix of modernity and ancient buildings, he wonders how old Barcelona is.

The history of the Catalan beauty began in the first century BC.

Then the city of Laie, later conquered by the Romans and called Barcino, appeared here.

The Moorish influence on Barcelona in 801 gave it its modern name.

For many centuries, the city has alternately passed to the Catholics and the Muslims. The situation was complicated by internal disturbances and feuds between the owners of the castles.

The heyday of Catalonia began with the coming to power of the Bourbons. At this time industry and trade began to develop, the construction of the railroad began, the first factory appeared and the heart of Barcelona – the Ramblas.

The twentieth century was once again turbulent for Catalonia. In 1932, after the abdication of King Alfonso III, it declared itself a republic with its own government and its own Generalitat.

This freedom came to an end during the Franco era: for 40 years, the Catalans were under the yoke of the dictatorship.

The situation changed only in 1978, when Spain became a constitutional monarchy consisting of autonomies.

Catalonia and the Basque Country have received the greatest number of freedoms, and it continues to this day.

Climate in Barcelona

The climate in Barcelona is quite comfortable at any time of year.

Winters are mild, snow-free, and the daytime temperature usually does not fall below +10 degrees.

However, it often rains, but guests of Catalonia are not a hindrance.

The resort season opens in May and ends in October.

The air in these months warms up to +30 degrees, the water – up to +23 degrees.

Weather in Barcelona by month

Temperature during the day, °C Air temperature at night, °C Precipitation, mm Air humidity, %
January 12 9 35 65
February 12 8 36 65
March 14 10 62 64
April 16 12 63 69
May 19 15 61 68
June 22 19 33 67
July 25 22 25 69
August 26 22 30 69
September 23 20 57 70
October 20 17 89 69
November 15 12 92 65
December 12 9 38 63
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(The data is taken from “Yandex Weather” service).

How to get there

Theaters begin with a coat rack, but cities also begin with airports, train stations and seaports.

El Prat is Barcelona’s airport, founded in 1973 and completely reformed in 1992 in time for the Olympic Games. For the convenience of guests, all signs are duplicated in English, and any problems are solved in the tourism office.

The easiest way to get to the center of Barcelona is to take the suburban trains departing from the station every half an hour.

The trip to Plaça Catalunya takes 20 minutes, and from there, as well as from the Sants station, there are metro lines, bus routes and suburban trains to all directions.

Barcelona transfers

There is a seaport in the center of Barcelona. Ferries from Ibiza and Mallorca moor at the San Bertrand breakwater. Cruise ships use berths anywhere in the harbor.

The transport system of the capital of Catalonia includes all possible ways of transportation: sea and rail, buses, streetcars, subway, and funiculars.

There is a huge taxi company, car rentals and bikes.

The latter is one of the most popular means of transport for getting around the city.

Neighborhoods of Barcelona

The city is divided into ten districts, old and modern, the most popular with tourists are the Old City, Eixample, Montjuïc and Gracia. The latter emerged in the 19th century as a result of a plan to expand the city.

One of the popular attractions and at the same time one of the important transport arteries of Barcelona, which can be used to move between districts of the city is the funicular railway.

The aerial bridge crosses the harbor diagonally and connects three high points above the city: the 96-meter high Torre de San Sebastian, the 158-meter high Torre de Jaume and the Miramar Lookout, located at the northern end of the famous Montjuïc Mountain.

Travelers who brave this radical way of traveling not only enjoy stunning views of the city, port, and bay, but also test the strength of their nerves.

According to many, the cable car in Barcelona is more extreme than any of the rides.

The Barcelona seafront - photo

Highlights of Barcelona

Different styles, genres and eras are fused together in this city, resulting in a unique cocktail of history.

There’s no point in spending a few days here, because there are so many places to see in Barcelona that it’s impossible to cover everything in a short amount of time.

Barcelona is rightly considered the cultural capital of Spain, because it is here that such geniuses as Dali and Picasso presented their masterpieces to the world.

One of the main attractions of Barcelona, the famous Ramblas, stretches for more than a kilometer.

To the left of the boulevard lies the Old City – the heart of Barcelona, the so-called Gothic Quarter.

This is a real labyrinth of narrow streets and narrow lanes, each corner of which is literally infused with the spirit of the Middle Ages. This is where the history of the city began.

This area is a concentration of old buildings and churches, like Santa Maria del Mar and the Cathedral.

In addition, the monuments that Gaudi created are the palace and park Guell, the houses Ballo and Milá, the unique Sagrada Familia and many other places that attract many tourists.

Top sights in Barcelona 7

One of the favorite places for walks of citizens and guests of the city is the hill of Montjuïc (“Jewish Mountain”).

Here are a lot of objects, on the inspection of which not enough even a few days.

  • National Museum of Art of Catalonia;
  • an ancient fortress;
  • A magical singing fountain;
  • and much more.

Also among the main attractions of Barcelona are:

What to see in Barcelona

The answer to what to see on your own in Barcelona depends on how much time you have to spare.

Even if it’s just a weekend, you shouldn’t pass by a few interesting places:

  1. Sagrada Familia, a marvelous cathedral, the work of the genius Gaudi. Information about it can be found in advance at: www.sagradafamilia.org. Entrance ticket costs 15 euros, but it is better to use an audio guide in Russian or join one of the groups. Such a visit will cost 19.50 euros.
  2. Park Guell is another brainchild of Gaudi, with houses, sculpture groups, and individual figures created by the architect.
  3. Spanish Village is a complex created for the 1929 exhibition. Here you can see the traditional homes of the inhabitants of Galicia, Andalusia and other regions, as well as buy souvenirs and have lunch in an authentic restaurant.
  4. Market Boquería is a must-visit place, but it is designed mainly for visitors to the city. In the nearby streets of Spanish delicacies can be bought in half or two times cheaper.
  5. Picasso Museum, which presents mainly his early works. In addition to paintings, there are expositions of prints, photographs and unique ceramics.
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Another must-see hotspot in Barcelona is the Ramblas. Here you can get into the spirit of the Catalan capital, taste the sweets in the street cafes, watch improvised shows of artists.

This street is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, it’s always crowded with citizens, merchants, and tourists.

The unparalleled flavor and magnetism of the boulevard draws visitors to the colorful stalls of the old market and the marvelous stores.

The unique juxtaposition of Gothic and modern architecture never ceases to amaze tourists, and is a source of legitimate Catalan pride.

Those who want to see all the sights stay in Barcelona for a few days.

This city is a veritable museum, with amazing exhibits and inexhaustible reserves.

Things to see around Barcelona

If you have a little time to spare, it’s worth getting out of the hospitable Catalan capital and seeing the sights around Barcelona.

These are the best things to focus on:

  1. Gaudí’s gardens called Can Artigas is a complex located 130 km from the capital of Catalonia. There are many surprises from the great architect, and an adult ticket costs only 4,15 euros. Children under 6 years old are free.
  2. Girona is an authentic medieval town with Gothic churches and the Jewish Quarter in the historic center. There are Arab baths and romantic promenade of the river Onyar, and a 15-minute drive from Figueres with a house-museum of Dali.
  3. If you come with children, it is impossible to miss Port Aventura, an amusement park in the suburbs of Barcelona. It’s better to come here for a whole day, because here you can find the best rides in Spain.
  4. Cadaques is a cozy seaside town on the Costa Brava. At one time it was visited by Marquez and Dali, Picasso and Chagall. Following them in the city stretched the most luxurious audience, for which he received the title of the Spanish Sainte-Tropez. However, it’s not a posh place at all. Its snow-white streets are very pleasant to walk through, and a glass of cool sangria in a street cafe will cost you only 2-3 euros.
  5. Another attraction in the suburbs of Barcelona is a town on a rock with the long name Castelfolit de la Roca . The town, which has only one street, hangs over a canyon 50 meters deep, and the views are fantastic.

Safety and tourist tips

Barcelona is famous not only for museums and architecture, but also for an abundance of pickpocket thieves. This is especially true for the busy tourist areas.

Therefore documents and valuables should be kept in a hotel safe.

Bag should be kept in plain sight, and intrusive strangers are best ignored.

Otherwise, the capital of Catalonia is a pleasant and safe city.

Here are three tips to help you on your trip:

  1. Food is always a big part of the budget. To save money, you should pay attention to the complex dinners in cafes and restaurants. They are called “Menu del dia” and for 10-12 euros you can have a great meal.
  2. The best friend of a tourist is a discount card. For example, one trip on public transport costs 2.15 euros and a ticket for 10 trips costs 9.95 euros.
  3. Many museums are free on Sundays. There is also a free city tour that starts from Angel Square daily at 10-00, 11-00 and 14-00. The group gathers near the Jaume I station exit.
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Every visitor to the amazing Barcelona has only one regret: that the trip ends so quickly.

But the meeting surely won’t be the last, because as American actress Meghan Markle says:

“Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world.”

Interesting places in Barcelona that tourists don’t know about

Barcelona is a city of 1.5 million people, a port and the capital of Catalonia, the richest region of Spain. The 2,000-year history of the metropolis has allowed it to gather a lot of architectural and cultural monuments – the well-known tourist attractions. No less interesting and unusual places of Barcelona.

Abundance of tourist locations, the choice of gastronomic delights, including seafood, the availability of a large number of stores, bars, entertainment – this explains the special magnetism of the settlement.

Secret places in Barcelona

What a tourist should definitely visit in Barcelona

Objects that are mandatory to visit are:

The heritage of Antoni Gaudi is also worth visiting – the Sagrada Familia Temple, the Vicença, Balho and Mila houses. The photo below shows them in the order in which they are listed.

Architecture, Barcelona Unseen

Attractions that are not in the guidebooks

There is a special charm in exploring Barcelona, little known to most tourists. Once the main sites have been explored and mastered, there are many locations that reveal the essence of the city.

Statue of Liberty

There is a bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty in Barcelona. Its height is about 2 meters. The authors of the statue are the sculptors Manuel Fuksa and Odoardo Luis Razzauti.

Bronze Statue of Liberty

In 1894 it was placed at the entrance of the first public library in Barcelona, the founder of which is considered to be Rossend Arus. Aware of the power of enlightenment in the nation, he advocated access to knowledge for all classes. The Barcelona statue has the inscription Anima Libertas (“Freedom of the Spirit”) engraved on the book.

Temple of Augustus

The Temple of Augustus is in the Gothic Quarter on the site of the former Roman colony of Barcina. It was built on the highest point of the Roman settlement in the beginning of the first century AD by the Emperor Tiberius. It is named after the ruler who laid the foundations of the Roman Empire. This is the oldest monument of the period in the city.

Augusta Temple

In 1830 during the excavations architect Anthony Selles established the size of the temple – 37 m long and 17 m wide. Six columns adorned the main facade of the cathedral and the posticum. The side part of the temple had 11 pillars on each side. According to the proportions of Antiquity the podium was one third of the length of the column.

There are only the remains of the church in the form of a part of the podium, the architrave, and four nine-meter columns of Corinthian order, because for a long time, the construction was disassembled by the citizens.

Church of San Felipe Neri

The Baroque church is on the Cathedral Square and was erected within the convent in the 18th century. It is adorned with the pictures “Mass of St. Philip” and “St. Philip reading the catechism in Rome”, painted in 1901 by the modernist painter Joan Llimona.

San Felipe Neri Church

The shell-damaged walls of the church recall the tragedy of 1938, when during the civil war 42 children and refugees from Madrid were killed by shelling of the Franco military.

Library of Catalonia

The initiator of the library was Enric Prat de la Riba, director of the Institute of Catalan Culture. The bourgeois of Catalonia realized the idea in 1907. Since 1914 the library was opened as a public one. It obtained the status of a national library in 1981. Now its headquarters is located in the Gothic building of the XV c., decorated with many beautiful arches.

Library of Catalonia

The Catalans consider themselves the most reading nation. They are proud that their library is one of the biggest in Europe. Its total area is 8,820 sq. m. There are more than 3 million volumes in the holdings.

Fabra Observatory

On Mount Tibidabo, 415 meters above sea level, stands the astronomical observatory of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts with a refractor telescope (the largest in Spain). It was opened in 1904. It takes its name from the man who founded it, the former mayor of Barcelona, the Marquis Alella Camilo Fabra. He donated 80% of the funds needed to build it.

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Fabra Observatory

The first director of the observatory was the astronomer José Comas Sola, who was the discoverer of 11 asteroids and two comets. The observation deck of the facility overlooks Barcelona.

Mossen Costa y Llobera Gardens

These are cactus gardens created in 1970 and named after the classic of Catalan poetry. They are located on Montjuïc, on an area of 6.5 hectares. There are over 800 species of molochae, cacti and succulents from Africa, America and Australia. Some of the plants are more than 200 years old.

Mossin Costa y Llobera Gardens

These are not the only gardens in Barcelona, but they are particularly exotic and are protected by the municipality of Barcelona. Admission to the grounds is free.

Baro de Cuadras Palace

The palace was built between 1904 and 1906 by the architect Josep Puch-i-Kadafalc, and in 1976 it received the status of a national historical monument of the country. The peculiarity of the building is the presence of two different stylistic facades. One is in the neo-Gothic style of the late Spanish Middle Ages.

Baro de Cuadras Palace

The other facade is admired in the style of Viennese Art Nouveau. Originally it was the main one, but the architect changed the priority. The interiors of the palace are decorated in Catalan Art Nouveau with touches of Moorish style.

Chocolate Museum

This museum has been in operation since 2000 and is part of the Barcelona Confectioners’ Guild. It takes up an area of 600 m². It highlights Barcelona’s role in making, producing and consuming chocolate in Europe during the Geographical Discoveries at the end of the 15th century.

Chocolate Museum

At the entrance, visitors get a chocolate bar, which acts as a ticket to the museum with a QR code. Here the copies of the city buildings, cartoon characters and literary characters are presented as the sweets. At the end of the tour visitors are given a master class on creation of their masterpieces from chocolate mass.

Be sure to visit the cafe of the museum. A cup of hot chocolate is included in the ticket price.

Every first Monday of the month admission to the museum is free, for owners of the City Pass card – free on all days.

Raval Cat

The Raval Cat is a bronze sculpture by the Colombian artist and sculptor Fernando Botero, the author of more than 3,000 paintings and over 200 statues. It was created in 1987. The cat seems to be strolling along the central pedestrian street of Barcelona, after which it is named. For its weight of 2 tons it is called a “broiler”. The sculpture is 7 m long and 2.5 m high.

Statue of the Raval Cat

Cat del Raval even has a “certificate” that he is a cat. According to the beliefs of the locals, to “catch” good luck, you need to rub his private place. However, there is other information: in order to return to Barcelona again, you should touch the nose of the sculpture.

Raval cat is made in the style of figurativism. Other bronze figures of the author are in New York, San Cristobal and Yerevan.

Horta Labyrinth

The historic park is divided into two parts:

Horta Labyrinth

On the lower terrace of the neoclassical garden is the hedge labyrinth that gave its name to the entire park. It consists of 750 m of trimmed cypress trees. It is not easy to get out of it.

In another part of the park, green sculptures have been created out of living shrubs. The Desvalls family, who owned the territory until 1967, transferred their right to the municipality. Since 1971, the park has been open to the public. In 1994 an extensive restoration was carried out with the financial support of the European Union.

Bunkers of Carmel.

This is the best view of the city. The military bunker was built in 1937 and during the battles it gave a 360° view, which was of strategic importance. The fortifications were demolished over time, but the observation deck remains.

Bunkers of Carmel

Palau Dalmases

This building is famous for its staircase decorated with reliefs of mythological themes in baroque style, which is considered to be the best example of this style in Barcelona.

Palau Dalmases

During the hour 5-6 performers of Catalan Flamenco school demonstrate their art of dance and passion. The ticket price includes a drink. The price for admission depends on the area and distance from the stage.

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45 minutes before or after the show you can taste Spanish tapas.

Separate master classes are held for large groups, where you can learn basic dance moves. The show venue is accessible to people with disabilities.

Mount Tibidabo

This is the highest mountain within the city limits at 512 m above sea level. Its name comes from an evangelical legend about the temptation of Christ by the devil and means “I will give it to you”.

Mount Tibidabo

The main attraction is the Temple of the Sacred Heart. The complex includes a crypt and the church above it. It was erected from 1902 to 1961 in the airy Gothic style and is famous for its architecture. The spire of the temple is decorated with a statue of Christ. From the observation decks there are views of Barcelona, especially from the site at the feet of the Savior, which rises 575 meters.

On the mountain are:

  • Tibidabo amusement park;
  • Observatory Fabra;
  • Historical sites: Fountain of Boudeller, Arrabassada, Can Ribes viaduct, Casino De la Rabassada;
  • Serra de Collserola Natural Reserve.

Macba Museum of Contemporary Art

Located in the Raval district. The building was built in 1995 by the architect Richard Meyer and combines straight and sinuous lines in its design.

The Macba Museum of Contemporary Art

The collection is dominated by works of art from the second half of the 20th century and works by contemporary artists: paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations. The emphasis is on temporary exhibitions and conferences highlighting the avant-garde. The exhibition changes every 3-4 months.

Mirador de Colom observation deck

The observation deck on the tower of the Columbus monument is considered by Barcelonans to be a landmark of the city. A small elevator takes tourists up. Located at a height of 60 meters it offers a 360° view. From it you can clearly see the buildings of the Gothic Quarter, the peaks of the Church of the Holy Family and other objects.

Mirador de Colom observation deck

Mercury fountain

In Barcelona you can find the world’s first mercury fountain “Mercury”, made in 1937 by the American sculptor Alexander Calder. At first it was shown openly, but in 1950 it was moved to a special box made of glass. The reason was the toxicity of the metal and the danger of mercury particles evaporating.

Mercury Fountain

The fountain is housed in the Joan Miró Foundation on Montjuïc. In a surrealist museum, the death cascade is especially appropriate. It was not created in Barcelona by chance: the largest reserves of liquid metal on the planet are concentrated in the Aldamen deposit in Spain.

The opening of the fountain was dedicated to the workers who died in the country’s mines. It is the symbol of the mercury industry in Spain. It attracts tourists with its toxicity, being the only one in the world.

The most unusual and secret places

Barcelona has many unusual and secret places that every tourist will enjoy.

Stores and Bars

Secret bars originated in America in the 1920s during Prohibition. Now they are in almost every metropolis, although they operate legally. But they’re not easy to find; they’re disguised as bookstores, grocery stores, and cafes. The atmosphere is that of the 1920s.

Popular bars in Barcelona:

  1. The Secret Restaurant. Located in the Chi-Ton Souvenirs Shop. The peculiarity is the presence of a kitchen in the center of the store. It is better to reserve a table in advance.
  2. El Arco de la Virgen bar in the Raval district. A small door leads to a small room with cozy tables, some with floor lamps and tablecloths. The peculiarity of the institution is that, in addition to enjoying the culinary delights, tourists can watch plays and exhibitions, as well as meet the artists.
  3. Discos Paradiso is the best vinyl record store. It’s the place to hang out and have vibrant parties.

Terraces

From the beginning of June the rooftops of Barcelona hotels are transformed into terraces for relaxation and fun, kicking off the summer season. Tourists can enjoy city views, cultural and gastronomic events. The atmosphere of the terraces, the rhythmic music, the specialty cocktails and snacks and the chill in the evening make for an unforgettable experience.

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