Barcelona is a European city that attracts visitors with its warm Mediterranean climate, picturesque hills and beaches. The capital of Catalonia is the cultural and tourist center of Spain, where wide squares, avenues and modern skyscrapers successfully coexist with ancient temples and palaces.
Who and why should go here
People from different countries come to Barcelona every day to wander around historical sites, admire Gothic architecture, and study the national characteristics of local residents. There are many free beaches in the city. They attract families with children here.
Barcelona football club is a symbol of Catalonia, which all Spaniards are rightfully proud of. Fans come to the city to visit the Camp Nou stadium and the Barça museum at the sports complex. The form, photos and awards of football players are stored there.
Barcelona is a city of festivals and celebrations. In the middle of summer, the festival of Greek cinema and theatrical art gathers guests. In July, young people come to the Barcelona Beach Festival for electronic music. In October, the festival of colors starts — on the central streets, people throw paint balls at each other, dance and have fun.
Fans of outdoor activities enjoy spending time in city parks, riding roundabouts, playing sports. Every tourist can go to the zoo, admire the marine habitats in the aquarium or look into interesting museums.
For shopping or buying souvenirs, head to Barcelona’s main shopping street, Passeig de Gràcia. Here it is easy to buy expensive things from world brands and cheap knick-knacks as a keepsake.
Notable streets and squares
In the quarter, located in the Old Town, Roman buildings and buildings of the XIV-XV centuries have been preserved. Walking along the narrow winding streets, tourists can explore the main attractions of Barcelona. Here is the city hall, Gothic cathedrals, museums.
It is easy to find small antique shops in the quarter, meet street musicians and artists.
The heart of tourist Barcelona is the Rambla, stretching from Plaza Catalunya to the port itself. The pedestrian street is built up on both sides with houses of the 16th-18th centuries, in which exhibitions, theaters, and museums operate.
At the end of the boulevard at the entrance to the city port stands a monument to Columbus. The height of the monument is 60 meters. At the top there is an observation deck. Those who wish can take the elevator up here and admire the gorgeous panorama of the city.
The history of the Old Port has 2 thousand years. Now it performs mainly an entertainment function and is a popular tourist attraction. Here is the port administration building, the Maritime Museum and a huge shopping and entertainment center.
Yachts and boats are moored on the embankment. Each tourist can rent a boat or buy a ticket for a pleasure boat. The Old Port is always fun. People walk, take pictures, relax on benches and admire the sea.
Plaza de Catalunya connects the new and old parts of the city. There are benches, several fountains and 28 beautiful sculptures. Stone and bronze statues, made at the beginning of the last century, turn the square into an open-air museum, surrounded by elite boutiques and banks.
Barça fans can go to the club’s official store and buy a T-shirt with the logo of their favorite team.
The quarter enchants guests with wide sandy beaches with clean clear water. A beautiful promenade runs along the sea. Palm trees grow on it, there are cozy benches, there is a bicycle path.
Barceloneta is famous for its restaurants, where visitors are offered sea fish, squid, paella and delicious wine. Clubs and discos on the beach are open all night, attracting local youth and tourists.
The Art Nouveau brick house is easy to find in Eixample. The famous building designed by Antoni Gaudí has no straight lines. In the general design and in the decorative details, there are only wavy outlines.
Because of this, the eight-story house resembles a giant dragon — it symbolizes the victory of St. George over the monster. Inside Casta Batlló you can see stained glass windows, huge chandeliers and furniture designed by Gaudí.
At the Tibidabo mountain rises the Bellesguard tower, built according to the drawings of the architect Gaudí at the beginning of the last century. The building looks like a medieval Spanish fortress.
Powerful stone walls are decorated with balconies and long windows. The narrow dome is crowned with a large three-dimensional cross. At the entrance there are benches lined with mosaics. Guests can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower and admire the surroundings.
In Eixample, there is another creation of Antoni Gaudi made of natural stone — the house of Mila. The structure looks uneven, slightly heavy, but fits perfectly into the overall look of the street.
On the 4th floor of the building there is a small museum that tells about life in Barcelona at the beginning of the 20th century. There you can get acquainted with the drawings, sketches of Gaudí and watch a documentary film about the construction of the Mila House itself.
The mansion built by Gaudí in the 19th century is an early work of the architect.
Its facade is decorated with flat Byzantine vaults, high gates, closed balconies and narrow windows. In the overall appearance of the building, modern style is harmoniously intertwined with Gothic and Islamic motifs. The interior of the Palace Guell pleases the eye with custom-made furniture, wooden ceilings, stained glass windows and beautiful fireplaces.
St. Paul’s Hospital
St. Paul’s Hospital, founded in the 15th century, gradually fell into disrepair. Lewis Domenech y Montaner designed a new hospital, which was built at the beginning of the last century with the assistance of the Spanish king.
The complex consists of the main building and pavilions, interconnected by underground passages. The Art Nouveau building is distinguished by exquisite beauty. In its design there are religious symbols, statues and paintings on the walls.
Castle of the Three Dragons
The castle, built in the 19th century, has a square shape. At the four corners rise towers with jagged loopholes. At the top of the façade are white slabs. They depict plants, people and animals.
The Castle of the Three Dragons is easy to find in Ciutadella Park in the Old City. In its inner chambers there is the Zoological Museum, which tells about the flora and fauna of Spain.
Porta Fira Hotel
The complex, designed by Japanese architect Toyoo Ito, consists of two towers 112 meters high. The main skyscraper is considered to be 28 floors, in which the hotel is located. The structure is made up of glass and aluminum panels cleverly hidden behind a bright red bent-metal façade.
The original design gives the skyscraper a streamlined smooth shape. Large glass windows are considered a distinctive feature of the neighboring square tower.
The grand opening of the tower took place in 2004. The abstract symbolic building quickly became one of the most recognizable in Barcelona. The skyscraper with a height of 144.4 meters has 38 floors, and its shape resembles a high mountain range.
Outside, the house is sheathed with metal panels in which light emitting diodes are installed. Thanks to them, the tower shimmers with all the colors of the rainbow.
The tallest skyscraper in Barcelona stands on Carrer de la Marina. It has 44 floors and a height of 154 meters. Near the main entrance to the hotel there are sculptures by the famous architect Frank Gehry. The hotel has six restaurants, a casino and its own observation deck.
This is the main project of Antoni Gaudi, which was never completed due to the death of the architect. The construction of the second façade and the bell tower is still going on thanks to private donations. The central attraction of Barcelona combines several architectural styles.
The temple looks majestic and unusual. As in all Gaudí projects, it has a lot of light, air and space. Worship services are regularly held here. More than 2 million people visit the temple every year.
Monastery of Pedralbes
The monastery in the Pedralbes quarter was built in the 14th century by order of the Count of Barcelona. Time did not spare him, but now the destroyed walls and towers of the architectural complex have been restored. Now there is a kind of museum.
In the chapel of St. Michael, tourists can see frescoes by Ferrer Bassa, icons in the Gothic style, and ancient church utensils. The monastery itself regularly hosts exhibitions of Catalan art.
Temple of the Sacred Heart
The parish church on Mount Tibidabo is visible from different parts of Barcelona. At its top is a statue of Jesus Christ. The Lord spread his arms, trying to embrace the whole world. The lower part of the temple resembles a fortress wall, the upper one is made in the Gothic style.
Construction was carried out according to the design of Enric Sagnier from 1902 to 1961. Rare icons, statues of the Virgin, apostles and saints are kept inside the church. You can take the elevator to the upper terrace and from there climb the stairs to the statue of Christ to admire the panorama of the city.
The Gothic Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia was built in the 13th century. The openwork majestic building is decorated with arches with a pointed top, lancet windows, columns, high narrow towers.
There is a chapel in the courtyard. White geese live on its roof — the symbols of St. Eulalia. The cathedral houses an ancient altar, icons, a painted wooden sarcophagus, in which, according to legend, Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona, is buried.
Temple of Augustus
The Temple of Augustus reminds of the times of the Roman Empire, fragments of which were found by chance in the 19th century. The attraction was located on Taber Hill and was destroyed at one time.
Archaeologists managed to find 4 nine-meter columns, parts of the podium, transept and hoist their place. Now the columns of the Temple of Augustus are a branch of the Historical Museum of Barcelona.
Museum of Catalan Art
The Museum of Catalan Art is located in the National Palace on the Plaza de España. There is a huge collection of paintings in the Romanesque and Gothic styles. Visitors can see early Christian frescoes of the 11th-13th centuries, engravings, paintings by famous Spanish artists. Works by contemporary painters are exhibited in a separate room.
The Egyptian Museum presents the private collection of Jordi Clos. It contains about 600 exhibits, including: gold jewelry, ceramics, writing materials and papyri, sarcophagi, masks, household items of the ancient Egyptians. The museum funds preserve things that belonged to both titled persons and commoners.
Gaudí House Museum
The famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí made a huge contribution to the creation of a new look for Barcelona. In Park Güell there is a two-story red brick building that belonged to the master during his lifetime. A museum has been opened there, where personal belongings, drawings and sketches of Gaudí are kept. Visitors can read diaries, look at furniture and learn a lot of interesting things about the life of an architect.
The Pablo Picasso Museum in Barcelona can be found in the Gothic Quarter. It occupies five mansions at once, built in the 13th-14th centuries. 3.5 thousand works of art are exhibited in the spacious halls. Tourists are shown pencil sketches, children’s drawings and paintings by Picasso belonging to the «pink» and «blue» periods.
The Royal Dockyards of Drassanas has a Maritime Museum. There are navigational instruments, latrine figures, models of ancient and modern ships. The atlas of 1439 and documents about the discovery of America are stored in a separate room.
A sailing ship is moored in the city port, which is a kind of branch of the Maritime Museum. For a small fee, you can board it and explore the cabins and deck.
At the beginning of the last century, a group of intellectuals studied the national characteristics of Spanish villages for several years. The data obtained were used to create an ethnographic museum on Mount Montjuic. Among the picturesque hills, streets were laid and models of houses were built, typical for different regions of Spain.
In the village, you can get acquainted with folk crafts, buy local souvenirs, and then relax in a cafe.
The private museum, opened in 2000 in the Old Town, is dedicated to various chocolate products. His collection takes visitors on a historical journey and tells about the production technology of the sweet treat. The museum exhibits chocolate copies of the architectural monuments of Barcelona, figurines of animals and fairy-tale characters.
In the last century, the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Barcino, on the site of which Barcelona was founded, were discovered on Piazza del Rey in the last century. All archaeological finds are now kept in the History Museum.
Tourists are shown the city walls, the ruins of palaces and temples, ancient Roman burials. Some of the museum exhibits are located in a Gothic mansion, and some are located right on the square del Rey in the open air.
Parks and entertainment
The aquarium is divided into sections in which different types of marine life live. Here you can see huge stingrays, white sharks, colorful jellyfish, tropical fish, seahorses. This is the world’s largest aquarium with Mediterranean flora and fauna. The fish are fed according to the schedule.
At the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, Eusebi Güell acquired land on the outskirts of the city and decided to build a garden city there. To implement the project, he attracted the architect Gaudi. The mansions built did not sell well, so Güell’s heirs sold the land to the mayor’s office, which turned it into a park.
Now a popular attraction, guests are drawn to the beautiful Gaudí-designed houses, a mosaic salamander, and an unusual bench shaped like a sea serpent. Alleys are laid in the park itself, there is a fountain, a playground and a cafe.
The park around the Desvalles estate was laid out in 1791. The green zone was regularly expanded, new flower beds, trees, and shrubs appeared on it. In the middle of the 19th century, gazebos, an artificial waterfall and fountains were installed.
Now the park belongs to the authorities of Barcelona and is considered something of a museum. It is forbidden to walk dogs, ride a bike, and have picnics. Coming here, people can see Desvalles Palace, a hedge maze, marble statues of ancient Roman gods and a beautiful pond.
In the city center at the foot of Montjuic, a beautiful botanical garden has been planted, where a large collection of tropical plants is collected. Sea air and mountain protection create a special microclimate here, quite suitable for the growth of cacti and other succulents.
Within the park, it is easy to find different types of palm trees, fig and olive trees. Among green spaces there are gazebos, marble sculptures and benches for rest.
The Las Ramblas Opera House is the cultural center of Barcelona. Montserrat Caballe and José Carreras once performed on its stage. People come here every day to listen to the opera and enjoy the performance of famous artists.
For those who wish, there are guided tours of the theater. An experienced guide talks about the history of the creation of the Liceu, shows you the Renaissance lobby and other points of interest.
Mount Tibidabo is home to the oldest amusement park in Europe, opened in 1899. Restored swings, an air railway, a French carousel have been preserved there.
Within the park there are ultra-modern rides, a room of crooked mirrors, a “horror hotel”. Toddlers can ride a pony, play on the playground or take part in competitions.
Animals in the Barcelona Zoo are kept in conditions close to their natural habitat. Zones are open to visitors, in which monitor lizards, snakes, birds, monkeys, predators and artiodactyl mammals live.
Plants from different countries and continents are planted in the park. In the shade of trees there are shops, a playground, a cafe. You can explore the area in a small car.