When you think of Barcelona, what comes to mind? Spanish, empanadas, warm air and beautiful architecture are my first thoughts. Beautiful Barcelona welcomes travelers from around the world, and here’s what you need to know before you travel there.
The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city after Madrid. Over 1.6 million people from all around the world call it home.
Historians debate about who actually founded the city. One legend says Hercules founded the city. A second says Hannibal’s father Hamilcar Barca founded the city in the third century BC and named it after his family. Regardless of who founded it, the city’s seen and experienced many adventures since its founding.
Most recently, Barcelona played a major role in the Spanish Civil War. It served as a Republican stronghold until resistance fell in 1939. Devastated by the war, city residents were banned from practicing Catalonia institutions, language or public life. The people bounced back, though, thanks to industrialization. Immigrants flocked to the city and created the urbanized hub we love today.
Barcelona’s Top Attractions
There’s something for everyone to enjoy in this bustling metropolis.
When traveling to Barcelona, check out the stunning architecture. The city won the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1999, the only city to earn the prestigious award. Visitors appreciate:
- The Barri Gotic, located in the old city center where many of the buildings trace their roots to Roman and later medieval times
- More modern architecture from the Art Nouveau movement of 1885 to 1950.
- Works by architect Antoni GaudÍ, including the Sagrada Familia church under construction since 1882
- A replica of Barcelona Pavilion, designed by minimalist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Of course, the city offers more than architecture. At night, experience thriving nightlife, including musical entertainment and social opportunities. During the day, play on the sandy beaches, watch an FC Barcelona football game or hike Montjuich. Tour the City History Museum, take in a concert or explore the colorful La Rambla. And don’t forget the food, including pintxos and seafood.
With tons of opportunities, you’re set to enjoy Barcelona year round.
Barcelona Travel Must-Haves
Are you ready to book your trip yet? Here’s a concise checklist of everything you need.
First, the city serves as one of Europe’s most important ports, and over 34 million people use the city’s international airport annually. You can get there by cruise, train, airplane or car.
Next, pack these items:
1. Your passport, the only travel document you need if your stay will be shorter than 90 days.
2. Documentation of your travel insurance policy so you can receive medical treatment if the need arises.
3. Clothes appropriate for the Mediterranean climate.
4. A basic first aid kit, including bandages, antibacterial spray, pain reliever, sunscreen and prescription medications.
5. Electronics and an adaptor to stay connected to family and friends.
Traveling to Barcelona is an adventure you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Whether you tour the city for a few days during your trip through Europe or live there for several months or even years, you’ll no doubt enjoy the culture, architecture and food offered in one of Europe’s most exciting cities.