Barcelona is the hub of Spain's Catalonia region and boasts a rich history, great food, and an abundance of art and architecture. Founded as a Roman city, Barcelona is now an important cultural center and tourist destination. Nestled against the water of the Balearic Sea, the famous buildings by architect Antoni Gaudí create an iconic skyline recognizable to people all over the globe. The city offers countless activities for tourists, including architecture tours, food and wine tasting, and taking in a flamenco show. Barcelona's mild winters and warm summers make the city an inviting destination year-round.
For the most comprehensive tour of Barcelona and its rich history, take a city bike tour. Companies such as Fat Tire Tours provide bike tours around the city that take you to the most popular attractions and historical landmarks. The tour guides are equipped with a breadth of knowledge of Barcelona and make learning history fun and interesting.
Barcelona is world-renowned for its architecture due in large part to the contributions of Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí was a Spanish architect in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who cultivated his own unique style of architecture that can be seen throughout Barcelona. The most famous building is the church of the Sagrada Familia, combining Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. Also be sure to explore Gaudí's other famous buildings such as:
Tapas is an umbrella term encompassing any appetizer or snack popular in Spanish cuisine. Originally, tapas were thin slices of bread or meat offered to travelers at inns. Now, almost every restaurant and bar in Barcelona will offer some type of tapas. Two of the most popular tapas available in Barcelona are albóndigas, Spanish meatballs made from beef or pork, and Spanish tortillas; an omelet made with eggs, fried potatoes, and onion.
Pablo Picasso is one of Spain's greatest artists of all time. Although he resided largely in Málaga, Madrid, and Paris, the Picasso Museum is found in Barcelona. This museum is home to the largest collection of Picasso's paintings and sculptures in the world. Here you will find famous artwork from Picasso's Blue Period, Rose Period, and art featuring his unique style of cubism.
Barcelona is home to many beaches. However, Barceloneta Beach is the closest to the hub of the city. Catch the yellow line metro or enjoy a 20-minute walk to access this beach. The busiest time of the year at the beach is from May 31st to September 28th, and during this time, the beach will be buzzing with activity. Restaurants and bars dot the shore, allowing for a snack or cocktail while you enjoy the sand.
Boqueria Market is the most famous market in Barcelona, located in the center of the city off the popular street La Rambla. The market boasts row upon row of fresh produce, flowers, butchered meats, and sweet treats. Sip a freshly squeezed juice as you wander the aisles and select snacks for a beachside picnic. Be aware that Boqueria Market is closed on Sundays. However, it is open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Saturday.
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is commonly referred to as the Barcelona Cathedral. Erected in the 14th century, the Gothic building is famous for its gargoyles. Take a self-guided audio tour to learn the cathedral's history while exploring all the nooks and crannies. Also be sure to visit the sky deck for one of the best views in Barcelona.
Flamenco is cultural Spanish music and dance characterized by stomping, clapping, and finger snapping. The dance is also traditionally accompanied by singing and guitar playing. The venue of a flamenco show is called a "table" and Barcelona is home to many tables where you can sip sangria and watch a show. Tablao Flamenco Cordobes and Tablao de Carmen are two of the most popular tables in Barcelona so be sure to book your ticket ahead of time.
Camp Nou Stadium is the home stadium of FC Barcelona, Barcelona's football, or soccer, team. Fantastically, Camp Nou is the second largest football stadium in the entire world and seats over 99,000 people. The FC Barcelona season runs from August to May so if you are visiting Spain during these months, be sure to catch a football match at this impressive stadium.
Montjuïc Castle is an old military fortress dating back to 1640. The fortress rests on top of a hill in Barcelona and visiting the castle makes a great day trip. Montjuïc Castle offers amazing views of the city and after a walking tour, sit outside and sip a beer as the sun goes down. The castle is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm every day of the week.