SPAIN  |  Barcelona, Spain Travel Guide
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Barcelona, Spain

Joan Miró mosaic on La Rambla's pavement in Barcelona, Spain (cc)
 

Barcelona Travel Guide

Introduction

Barcelona is singularly Spain’s most Euro-centric city, and a premier gateway to Europe – right up there with London, Paris and Rome. It's a chic, trendy, vibrant city, where commerce, culture, education, media, entertainment and fashion happily mix. It's a city, too, of art and architecture, where Antoni Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia and other whimsical creations loom large, together with Joan Miró's public murals and sculpture and Jean Nouvel's in-your-face Torre Agbar. It's a city of galleries, museums, theaters, libraries and public parks, with an eclectic collection of restaurants, rock-till-you-drop discos and nightclubs, world-class shopping, atmospheric neighborhoods and urban beaches. It is mostly a modern city, but with deep Catalan roots and more than 2,000 years of history. Indeed, as Catalan writer Eduardo Mendoza once put it, Barcelona is "a city that is constantly reinventing itself." And it doesn't hurt that Barcelona is also one of Europe's most affluent cities, with a GDP of more than €177 billion – that's €35,975 per capita.

Location

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and is located on the Mediterranean coast in the northeastern corner of Spain.

How to Get There

Barcelona can be reached directly by air from most major cities in Europe as well as around the world. It also has high-speed rail links with Madrid and all the major cities of Spain, as well as with Paris, France. Bus routes, too, feed into Barcelona from other cities in Spain and neighboring France, while ferries ply between Barcelona and Rome, Italy.

Sightseeing

For visitors to Barcelona, priorities are Gaudi's architectural flourishes, principally his masterpieces Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell; the multi-pinnacled Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia and a series of other impressive Gothic churches; Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), one of the city's most colorful and atmospheric old neighborhoods; and the city's centerpiece, La Rambla, a 1.2-kilometer pedestrian mall that draws residents and visitors alike, with sidewalk cafés spilling onto the mall, and where you can even see a couple of Miró's public art mosaics. Also, taking in a championship soccer match at Barcelona's 100,000-seat Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe, is something to write home about.

Main Neighborhoods

  • Ciutat Vella (Old Town) - This is Barcelona's old town, with several charming little neighborhoods dripping with atmosphere, winding around a labyrinth of narrow streets and rife with artists, students and expats. Mounds of history, cosmopolitan vibe, hip bars and eclectic restaurants are the order of the day here.

    Raval District - A cultural and edgy pocket with museums, galleries, boutiques and cozy little cafés, and Barcelona's principal red-light district, Barri Xines. The quarter is located in the old town along the south of La Rambla, not far from Plaça Catalunya.

    Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) - Singularly the city's most colorful quarter, packed with atmospheric cafés and hole-in-the-wall galleries. It also has in it the serene Plaça del Pi and Barcelona's most noteworthy cathedral. Located along the north of La Rambla in the old town, close to the Raval district.

    La Ribera District - A trendy slice of Barcelona, located just north of La Rambla in the old town, across the busy Via Laietana. The principal draw here is the Born Market, in addition to which it has the city's premier art museum, Museu Picasso, and the glorious Santa Maria del Mar Church.

  • L'Eixample - Literally translated, "the extension," L'Eixample is a relatively new, upscale neighborhood, largely laid out along a grid north of the Plaça Catalunya in the 19th century. It has in it Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, the city's principal draw, as well as several Catalan modernista, or Art Nouveau, buildings, mainly in the area surrounding Rambla Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia.

  • Sant Adrià de Besòs - El Fòrum - The modern face of Barcelona, mostly developed around 2004 and centered around the new cultural center, Fòrum de Les Cultures, showcasing the architectural designs of Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog.

How to Get Around

Where to Party

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

Know Before You Go

  • Best Time to Visit: April-October
  • Cost Per Day: €80-€350 (US$100-US$460)
  • Currency: Euro EUR (€1 ~ US$1.30)
  • Electricity: 230V - 50Hz | Schuko Socket or Europlug with 2 round pins
  • Phone Code: +34
  • Population: 1.7 million
  • Official Website:

Nearby Destinations

© Indian Chief Travel Guides

Last updated December 14, 2013
Posted in   Spain  |  Barcelona
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