The history of Barcelona stretches back over 2000 years to its origins as an
Iberian village named Barkeno. Its location on the coastal route between central Europe and the rest of the Iberian peninsula has ensured its continued importance throughout the ages.
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain. It boosts a warm and pleasant climate which means that locals spend a lot of time outdoors, including the cool 5kms of Mediterranean shores and beaches.
Barcelona is the capital city of a Catalonia, an autonomous community of Spain. Catalan and Spanish are both official languages and therefore most of the residents of Barcelona are bilingual! Most locals also understand and speak English and French.
WHAT TO DO
Born Centre Cultural is a key cultural space situated right in the Ribera district. This archaeological site gives you the opportunity to walk along the cobbled streets of Barcelona as it was in 1700. A snapshot of the historical city, now mostly vanished, includes nine streets, 55 houses and a large section of the open air water channel, the Rec Comtal.
Josep Fontserè i Mestre built the former Born Market between 1837 and 1876. The structure features 152 cast-iron pillars which underpin the two central aisles. The aisles meet in the centre of this architectural gem crowned by a dome which, when viewed from outside, resembles an eye-catching lighthouse.
Antoni Gaudí was seventeen when he was sent to Barcelona to study architecture. His curved walls and roofs, parabolic arches, twisted columns and spiral chimneys are shapes found abundantly in his architectural masterpieces come from natural structures. 14 works of Gaudí make up much of the city's famous buildings including the Basílica de la Sagrada Família.
The Museu de la Xocolata (Chocolate Museum) is housed in a building of great historic importance, the former Convent of Sant Agustí in Barcelona. The vast exhibition space traces the origins of chocolate, its arrival in Europe, and its semi-mythical status.
Jardí Botànic de Barcelona (Barcelona Botanical Gardens) offers a different walk for every season of the year. Stroll through the Botanical Gardens which are home to some 1,350 species and is always "growing"!
HOW TO GET TO BARCELONA
Barcelona's airport, El Prat, is located just 16km outside the city. Girona Airport, north of the city, and Reus to the south are a little over an hour away. Lleida Airport, to the west, is just over two hours away.
Barcelona Sants Station is the city's main railway station and most trains departing and arriving in Barcelona stop here. The station is the terminus for the High-Speed Train and many Spanish and foreign destinations and trains to Barcelona Airport.
GETTING AROUND BARCELONA
Barcelona has eight metro lines that can be identified by the number and colour of the line and serve most of the city. It also has an urban and metropolitan rail network, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC), which supplements Barcelona's metro network. There are three urban lines: L6, L7 and L8.
Barcelona's Metro Map: www.tmb.cat
The metro operates an integrated fare system enabling passengers to obtain a free transfer from one means of public transport to another within a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Additionally, there are different types of travel cards and transport passes in Barcelona that are valid throughout the public transport network (metro, buses, tram and suburban rail). Options include the T-10 card which is valid for 10 journeys, or day passes (2 - 5 days).
The Tram routes provides easy access to Barcelona's major industrial areas, shopping centres and residential zones.
Barcelona Tram Maps: www.tram.cat
Download helpful Barcelona apps here.