Barcelona, Spain: Facts, Travel and Points of Interest

Written by Collins Obara |
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Barcelona is a fascinating Spanish city with exceptional diversity of culture, culinary arts, and fabled architecture. In fact, the city’s architectural treasures span an average of 2000 years with various towering temples puncturing the sky and ancient city walls dazzling tourists from all over the world. The city has also inspired some of the top artists in the world today including Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. Various sculptural masterpieces and a mix of special architectural creations by Gaudi and his Catalan architectural counterparts fill various spots in the city.

Casa Batlló Detail
Casa Batlló Detail by Gaudi

Barcelona has a population of up to 1.6 million and its metropolitan area is spread throughout various municipalities within the province; having a population of 4.7 million people. Not only is it the largest city but also the second most populous municipality in Spain. Moreover, Barcelona is one of the world’s leading tourist, economic, trade, and cultural centers.

Barcelona at Night
Barcelona at Night

5 Top Places to visit and Points of Interest During Your Barcelona Trip 

1. La Sagrada Familia

This is one of the top ten tourist attractions in Barcelona and according to statistics by Trip Advisor, it’s the most visited place in Spain. It is a unique construction designed by Antoni Gaudi over 100 years ago and was fully opened to the public in 2012. The peripheral is still under construction and is presently at around three-quarter completion with only 8 of the 18 spires completed. The hope is to finish the Sagrada Familia in the year 2026 for the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death in 1926. That will be 144 years after its construction. 

Antoni Gaudí Sagrada Família
Antoni Gaudí Sagrada Família

2. Magic Fountain Show

The Magic Fountain is a "must see attraction." The Magic Fountain was built in 1929 as one of the main attractions for the Barcelona World Fair. Annually up to 2.5 million people visit the popular destination. There are sunset waters and bright shows in the winter on Friday and Saturdays. In the summer, the twilight and music show is open from Thursday to Sunday. At times, access to the fountain is denied, but admissions is always free.

3. Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum is a perpetual collection of Picasso’s artistic years in Barcelona. The museum is in several outstanding gothic mansions in the barren part of Barcelona's ancient city. Picasso was born in Malaga, but his life shifted to Barcelona in 1895 where he dwelled until 1904. His father was an art teacher. He considered himself as being from Barcelona and consumed most of his years struggling as an undeveloped painter. Though most paintings are not in Barcelona, you can see a unique collection of 4000 workings including initial sketches and canvases.

Picasso Museum Entrance
Picasso Museum Entrance

4. Camp Nou Stadia

Camp Nou Stadia, home of the Barcelona futbol squad, was built in 1957. Not only is it the biggest stadium in Spain, but also the second largest association football stadium in the domain. The Camp Nou stadium is ranked among the top tourist attractions; not only in Barcelona but in Spain. It attracts millions of visitors annually and consists of Nike stores stocked Barca merchandise. Purchase of FCB shirts can be done outside the stadium on official match days. Camp Nou also serves many functions despite only hosting football matches, these functions include hosting major concerts, high profile performances, charity concerts, and rugby matches.

5. Barrio Gotico

The gothic quarter is the old-world city of Barcelona. It is situated in the ancient Roman town of Barcino which is in Barcelona's ancient region. The gothic area of the city has many attractive cathedrals, squares, markets, and museums, Here, you can see parts of the longstanding Roman walls. The gothic quarter is open to visitors and is best seen on foot. There are no hazardous areas in the Gothic quarter, but be aware of the numerous Barcelona pickpockets. Also, worth going to see is the neighboring medieval extents of Barcelona's old city; El Born, Barceloneta, and Raval.

5 Interesting Facts About Barcelona

1. Artificial Beaches

Did you know, according to the National Geographic channel, Barcelona’s beaches were listed as number one beach cities in the world? However, there didn’t exist beaches until 1992 since the seaside was full of local industries. It wasn't until they decided to host the world Olympic Games that the beaches were born. Moreover, Barcelona consists of seven beaches with a 4.5 km coastline. Surrounding the beaches are bars, hotels, and five-star restaurants. In this city, August and July are the warmest months with temperatures ranging between 25 to 31 degrees. Barcelona is a perfect place for beach holidays due to the presence of dry summers and humid winters.

2. Abandonment of 12 Metro Stations

Barcelona's architectural designs and good climate serve as a major tourist attraction. However, mysticism has become somewhat of a traveler's attraction in Barcelona's Haunted Metro System. Recently, up to 12 subway and the commuter train stations were abandoned. Many tourists travel to Barcelona to see these ghost stations since they are adventurous and mysterious. There is an unusual scary metro tour, passing through Sagrada Familia Line and Lau Pau, and venturing through the abandoned Gaudi station. Most tourists and residents near the stations swear they have seen hte shapes of ghosts. If you are brave and curious, you will appreciate this scary tour.

3. Architectural Royal Gold Medal

Barcelona is paramount in that it’s the only city to receive a Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1999. The city's architecture has had a massive effect on numerous present-day architects all over the world. In recognition of an individual’s or group’s significant involvement in international architecture, the honor of architecture is awarded every year. This has been a routine performed by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch.

4. Sant Jordis Day, Catalan Valentine’s Day

Barcelona is one of the most romantic cities in the world and Saint George day (Sant Jordis Day) is a romantic national Catalan holiday. On this day one can find roses all over the city symbolizing love. This is Barcelona's version of Valentine's Day.

The story of Sant Jordi states that he killed the dragon of Montblanc before it ate a beautiful princess. Most people do celebrate Sant Jordi Day as a romantic occasion. The practice is a give-and-take of gifts between romancers, family members, and friends. Men give a rose to a lady as a symbol of affection, and the women offer a book, as an indication of endless love in return. Therefore, in a manner, Barcelona combines Book Day with their valentines practice.

5. Columbus Monument

The Columbus Monument was erected in 1888 for the World Exposition. It is approximately a 60 meters high elevator ride. Not only does it give you a magnificent view of the rambals but also the yachting port of Barcelona in Portvell. It combines two of the most significant transportations of Barcelona: the traditional Ramblas and Passeig de Colon. There exist several interpretations about the location, one of the mistaken ideas is that it points towards America, but America is in the opposed direction. Many believe the maker decided to create the statue directing his hand out to sea, demonstrating his achievements. Others say that he points towards India. Frankly, he was initially trying to reach through a new route when he bumped into America.

Barcelona Nightlife and Cuisine

If you love to party, the city provides infinite possibilities including Sunset Drinks or can perhaps enjoy live music in the city. As the night sets in, you can choose to enjoy yourself at the Old Taverns or perhaps hit the clubs to enjoy music. There is also some excellent food and beverages, including the tapas bars, the excessive and affordable wine, and the well-priced multi-course meals. The city's broad range of palates adds complexity to its already rich culture. For instance, the Basque-inspired tapas bars, the Avant-Garde Japanese restaurants, and the Galician seafood taverns make it an excellent place to enjoy sumptuous dishes.

Miscellaneous Adventures

View from the Montjuic Hilltop
View from the Montjuic Hilltop

The Montjuic Hilltop, which is close to the city center provides an exceptional view of the city including the sculpture gardens and the highly rated museums that provide panoramic views. Aside from that, the city is also home to Barcelona Football Club.

You can enjoy the sunny beaches, which make the perfect destination for enjoying bike rides and jogging activities. More so, one can also enjoy the exceptional view on the water while enjoying stand up paddle boarding and kayaking among many others. Looming behind the city of Barcelona, are the Collserola Hills, which is a forest covered destination with several types of outdoor activities.

Museu Nacional dArt de Catalunya
Museu Nacional dArt de Catalunya
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