Barcelona is second by the number of tourist and the second by the number of inhabitants’ city in Spain. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Mediterranean Sea coast. Barcelona population is about 1.62 million people. Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in the world, along with Paris, London and Rome. About 9 million tourists visited Barcelona in 2015.
Barcelona is located in the northeast of Spain, on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Barcelona is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. Distance from Barcelona to the French border is about 120 kilometers. Mediterranean coast of Catalonia is a popular place for summer vacations for residents of European countries. Tourists are attracted in Barcelona also by interesting history of the city, a large number of attractions and museums.
Barcelona is located on a plain, facing the Mediterranean Sea. Plain is approximately 5 kilometers (3 mi) wide. It is bordered by the mountain range of Collserola (to northwest), the Llobregat River to the southwest and the Besòs River to the north. The city of Barcelona covers an area approximately 100 square kilometers.
The distance from Barcelona to some cities: Nice - 660 kilometers of Malaga - 920 kilometers Madrid - 620 kilometers, Moscow - 3500 kilometers, London - 1485 kilometers (by road).
Such famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali and architect Antoni Gaudi lived and worked in Barcelona. Their work still attracts tourists in Barcelona.
You can use the interactive map of Barcelona when planning a travel.
Most popular tourists places in Barcelona
- Barcelona Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) can be considered as the tourist center of the city. It is located between “Plaza de Catalunya” square, “Las Rambla” street, “Via Laetana” Street and the port area. Most buildings in the Gothic Quarter were built in XIV-XV centuries. There are also saved fragments of buildings times of the Roman Empire. The buildings were renovated and restored to attract tourists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Medieval town structure, medieval streets and houses are survived in the Old city. The most famous building in the Gothic Quarter is Barcelona Cathedral.
- Montjuic hill is also a popular with tourists place in the Barcelona. About 180 meters tall hill located south-west of the city center (Gothic Quarter), close to the Mediterranean shore and the passenger port. There is an observation deck with views over Barcelona and the port on the hill.
- At the Montjuic hill, there are also located: Magic Fountain, the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), the Archaeological Museum, the Joan Miró Foundation, Montjuic fortress, Olympic Stadium. Montjuic hill can be reached by Funicular de Montjuïc.
- La Rambla is a street in central Barcelona, popular with tourists and locals alike. Rambla Street laid from “Plaça Catalunya” square to “Plaça Portal de la Pau” square. Some famous landmarks are located at La Rambla Street and next to it, such as the Kanaletes fountain, Boqueria market, Gran Liceu Theatre, Erotica Museum, Columbus Monument, the old shipyard building and Maritime Museum.
Photo: La Rambla street in Barcelona.
There are many places interesting for tourists located in other parts of the city:
- “Sagrada Familia” is the most famous landmark in Barcelona. Temple is designed by Catalan Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. Construction of the cathedral is lasting for more than 100 years. Temple of the Holy Family (Sagrada Familia) is located to north-east from Catalonia square. Distance is about 2.5 kilometers from Plaza Catalunya Square to the temple.
- There are also some other works of Gaudi in Barcelona. The most famous of them are Guell Park, Casa Batllo (also known as the House of bones) and Casa Mila.
- Tibidabo Mountain is located in the northern part of the city. There are the amusement Park, Temple of the Sacred Heart (Sagrat Cor) located at the top of Tibidabo.
- FC Barcelona is one of the most famous football clubs in Europe. Many football fans are visiting the club's stadium while being in Barcelona. Museum of FC Barcelona is the second by number of visitors’ museum in Barcelona (after Picasso Museum). Kanaletes fountain is also related to the football club of the city. FC Barcelona fans gather next to the fountain on La Rambla Street after the victory of their favorite team.
See also: places to visit in Barcelona.
How to get to Barcelona
The most convenient, fastest and cheapest way to get to Barcelona is to fly on an airplane. Many airlines perform regular flights to Barcelona and the airport of Reus. You can find out the prices for air tickets (and buy a ticket) online (on the Internet).
There are people who do not like to fly on airplanes. In this case, you can reach Barcelona by rail or by bus. It will take more time, and will cost, most likely, more expensive. Buses and trains to Barcelona go from many cities in Europe (Paris, Warsaw, Kiev).
Barcelona El Prat airport
Barcelona International airport (Aeropuerto de Barcelona-El Prat) is the second in terms of passenger traffic airport in Spain. The airport located about ten kilometers south-west of the city center, close to the sea shore. The airport has two terminals. Terminal 2 has a train station. Trains (R2 line) to airport depart from stations “Maçanet-Massanes”, “Barcelona Sants”, “Passeig de Gràcia” in Barcelona. There is a bus service between the terminals 1 and 2 of the airport. The airport can also be reached by bus from “Plaza Catalunya” and “Plaza de España” squares.
Railway connects Barcelona with Madrid, Girona, Valencia, Tarragona and other cities in Spain. There are over 20 railway stations in Barcelona.
“Barcelona Sants” is the main railway station in Barcelona. The station is located in the Sants-Montjuïc district in Barcelona, a little way to west of the city center. The station is located at the end of the street Avinguda Roma, between the “Plaça dels Països Catalans” and “Plaça Joan Peiró” squares.
“Amtrak Estació de França” is the second by number of passengers station Barcelona.
New “Estació de la-Sagrera” station is under construction. It will serve a large number of trains.
You can buy railway tickets online.
The main bus station of the city is “Barcelona Nord”. From the bus station is possible to get by bus to many European cities, for example: Paris, Lyon, Girona, Zaragoza, Andorra (Cadí), Valencia, Venice, Roma, Amsterdam. Many buses have also stop near the Sants train station. Bus station “Barcelona Nord” is located in the central part of the city, to northeast of Plaza Catalunya, near the Arc de Triomphe.
Bus station address: Barcelona North Bus Station, Calle de Alí Bei, 80, Barcelona.
The nearest metro station: “Arc de Triomf” (L1).
Port of Barcelona is one of the biggest (in terms of traffic) ports in Spain and Europe. Port is one of the most popular destinations for cruise ships on the Mediterranean. The port is composed of several parts. Tourists’ service mainly performs the “Port Vell” (the Old Port).
In the photo: a view of the Port of Barcelona from the hill.
Port provides service for passengers of cruise ships and ferries to the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera islands). Maremagnum shopping center is located near the port (shops, cinema, aquarium). The port is located in the city center, near the Rambla pedestrian street and near the train station “Estació de França” (Barcelona França).
Bus service for tourists
“Bus Turístic Barcelona” is a very convenient service for tourists to explore the city and sightseeing. Tourist Bus is a double decker bus, which top floor has no roof. The top floor is convenient for sightseeing.
“Bus Turístic” have three circular routes in Barcelona. Buses are equipped with audio guides in 11 languages (it is included in the ticket price). After purchasing a ticket for one day, you can get off the bus in the interesting places and go back to the bus many times. You can switch from one route to another. The cost of the ticket for one day in 2014 was 27 € (for children 4-12 years 16 €).