Barcelona travel guide

Barcelona Travel Guide

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the most visited city in Spain. It is considered to be one of the absolute best travel destinations in all of Europe – a high adventure city with plenty of things to do.

This is our Barcelona travel guide, where we are looking into everything you need to know about Barcelona.

Facts about Barcelona

Population: 1,6 million (2nd in Spain)
Community: Catalonia
Languages: Spanish and Catalonia
Elevation: 12 meters above sea level
Postal codes: 080xx
Famous for: Tourism, port, architecture

Barcelona is the second largest city in all of Spain. With a location right by the Mediterranean Sea, it has great weather for large parts of the year. Barcelona is located in the central part of Catalonia, which makes it northeast in the perspective of all of Spain.

Catalonian is the primary language, with most street signs and district names written in Catalonian. However, everybody knows Spanish as well, and Spanish is spoken daily by most people in Barcelona.

It is a city that attract millions of tourists every year. Barcelona is also home to one of the most important ports in Europe, and it has architecture unlike anywhere else. The architecture of Barcelona has been inspired by several interesting artists, such as Antoni Gaudí.

History of Barcelona

It is unclear when human settlement of Barcelona began. But it’s important Mediterranean location makes it likely that Barcelona was populated several thousand years ago. Barcelona is part of several legends: One myth says that Hercules is the founder of the city, while another one claims Hannibal’s father Hamilcar Barca to be the founder.

Officially, Barcelona was founded in 15 BC when the Romans established a military camp, close to where the current city hall is located. Barcelona gradually grew during the Roman times, and it had a cathedral built already in 343.

During early medieval times, Barcelona became the capital of Hispania after falling under Visigoth rule. Barcelona later went through tough time and had its population diminish in numbers several times. It also fell under Moorish rule for a short while.

The city of Barcelona became part of the Aragon kingdom in 1137. In the following centuries, Barcelona matured economically. When Aragon and Castille united in 1469, Madrid became the centre of political power in Spain. Barcelona and Catalonia developed their own culture further and had a very distinct influence early on. Several times, they tried to seperate, but rarely with huge success.

Later on, during the Spanish civil war, Barcelona and Catalonia were strongly republican. After Franco came to power, Catalonia lost most of its autonomous power, and the Catalan language was surpressed. But even under Franco, Barcelona was a successful city. It was strong financially as Spaniards from other provinces moved there in large numbers.

After the fall of Franco’s republic, thoughts of separatism became realistic again, and Catalonia has several times tried to seperate from Spain. Barcelona remains the dominant city in the region and has huge political influence in Spain.

Barcelona received world wide attention after hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics. Since then, it has been a famous tourist attraction, and to this day, Barcelona is the 5th most popular travel destination in Europe and number 12 worldwide.

What to do in Barcelona

There are many great attractions in Barcelona, and a full sight & attraction guide is coming up. It will be posted in a separate article.

Until then, be sure to check out these things in Barcelona:

  • La Sagrada Familia
  • Camp Nou
  • Barceloneta
  • The Cathedral in Ciutat Vella
  • Mercat de la Boqueria

How to get to Barcelona

Here are a few ways to reach Barcelona:

By air

Barcelona-El Prat International Airport is the second most used airport in Spain (just surpassed by Madrid Barajas Airport). Flying in is the most common way to get to Barcelona. There are connections with most large airports around the world.

Barcelona Airport has 2 terminals. The airport is less than 14 kilometres away from the city centre of Barcelona, making a transfer very easy. You can take a taxi, a bus, a train or a metro. If you choose to take the metro, line 9 goes from the airport into Barcelona city. RENFE’s R2 train also goes from the airport and into the city.

In the 2010’s, a lot of low price airlines established routes to Barcelona. However, most of them – including Ryanair – use a different airport. They fly to Girona, 100 km away from Barcelona. You can take the bus to get to the city from there: It costs 16 euros for a one way ticket, 25 euros for a return ticket.

By train

If you are arriving from another Spanish city, you can get to Barcelona by train. Barcelona-Sants is the main train station, but Gràcia is the most central.

There is a high speed train from Madrid that takes 3 hours with stops and 2,5 hours without stops. You will also find trains to French cities such as Marseille and Nice.

By sea

Barcelona has a famous port, so you can easily sail there. Many ferries sail to Barcelona from Italy and from the Spanish islands.


Busses from all over Spain drive to Barcelona. They are slow, but cheap and somewhat reliable.

You can also drive yourself. Barcelona actually has a lot of parking spaces in the city, unlike many other major European cities. Traffic is not that bad in most of Catalonia, but obviously you will start to feel it as you reach Barcelona.

More information will be added

Barcelona is a huge city and we will be sure to add more information here with time.

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