A Guide To The City And Province For Visitors And Residents
Always included in lists of
Europe's most attractive cities, Barcelona certainly has so much going
for it that it's no surprise that it is so popular with tourists and
with people looking to take a few years out from their lives elsewhere. I
was lucky enough to arrive here in 1988 and so was privileged to get to
know the Catalan capital before it hosted the 1992 Olympic Games and
really hit the big time. Since
then the city's reputation as a tourist destination has grown exponentially
but Barcelona is also considered an example of intelligent urban
planning and as a centre for business, entertainment and sport, Barcelona is a hub for visitors from many different spheres But
if you scratch beneath the slightly overhyped surface, you'll find that
it's not only a brilliant place to visit but also a great city to be in
all year round. Barcelona's location, hemmed in
between the Collserola mountains, the Mediterranean sea and the Besòs
and Llobregat rivers, means the city just can't spread out, so although
it can get a little claustrophobic at times, if you enjoy walking as
much as I do, just about everything is reachable on foot. And even if you don't, Plaça de Catalunya, Barcelona's main square is never more than half an hour away by metro.
Obviously, the two main city
centre districts of Ciutat Vella and L'Eixample, which run down and up
the hill from the central square, are a major draw for the tourists.
Ciutat Vella, which literally means Old City, dates back to the Romans and walking round the narrow winding streets of the Barri Gòtic, which incidentally is the best-preserved Gothic city centre in Europe, takes you back to a time when Barcelona was capital of an empire that dominated the Mediterranean. The regal Eixample, on the other hand, was open fields until the demolition of the medieval city walls in mid-19th century and is home to spellbinding modernista buildings created by genius architect Antoni Gaudí and his equally brilliant contemporaries. What few visitors realise is that the building of L'Eixample linked the medieval city of Barcelona with outlying villages, which date back to at least the 9th and 10th centuries and although annexed by the great metropolis at the turn of the 20th century still retain very distinct identities. Trendy progressive Gràcia, the uptown neighbourhoods of Sarrià, Sant-Gervasi and Pedralbes or old industrial towns of Sants, Sant Martí and Sant Andreu are all so different and varied that should you choose to explore the different Barcelonas, life here is always stimulating
And then you drive over the
Collserola ridge or take a train across the rivers out into Barcelona
Province and you realise that so many different environments are in easy
reach. Barcelona city
beaches are great but the coves of the Garraf coastline south or the
long sand beaches of the Costa del Maresme north are so much better. It's
brilliant having Collserola and Montjuïc in the city but they are
nothing in comparison with religious Montserrat, spiritual Montseny or
the rugged foothills of the Pyrenees. And
Vic, Manresa, Cardona and so many other towns on the Central Catalonia
plain compare very favourably with El Barri Gòtic when it comes to
medieval history. The
idea of the Barcelonas website, and my Guided Tours and Property Finders
Service should you choose to get in touch, is to provide insights into
Barcelona City and Province for both Visitors and Residents. The website is called Barcelonas because Barcelona is plural by its very nature - I've been here for nearly 30 years and however hard I try I still can't quite pin the city down!
Find us on Google+
Here Are Links To The Main Sections On Barcelonas.Com
The Administrative Districts Of Barcelona and The Barris or Neighbourhoods This article gives detailed information about the administrative districts of Barcelona and then looks at the barris or neighbourhoods which may be of interest to the visitor.
Ciutat Vella - Barcelona's Historic Old City Ciutat Vella is Barcelona District I and comprises the four ancient neighbourhoods of Barri Gòtic and El Raval on either side of La Rambla and Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera and La Barceloneta.
L'Eixample - Barcelona's Modernista Extension Broadly divided into Dreta and Esquerra - Right and Left - neighbourhoods, the Eixample is Barcelona District II and its late 19th century extension full of Modernista buildings by Gaudí et al.
Sants-Montjuic - Barcelona's Largest District The enormous Sants-Montjuic - District III - includes the old municipality of Sants, neighbourhoods at the foot of Montjuic Mountain as well as the Zona Franca-Port industrial area.
Les Corts - Luxury, History and Sport Les Corts - Barcelona District IV - begins at Plaça Francesc Macià and runs from this central square along either side of the often opulent Avinguda Diagonal until you reach Hospitalet and Esplugues.
Sarria-Sant Gervasi - Uptown Barcelona Sarria-Sant Gervasi - District V - is the point of entry to the conservation area on the Collserola mountain ridge. Also tipified by select upper-middle class residences, it is uptown in both senses.
Gracia - From La Vila To The Hills Above Park Guell Gracia - District VI - is the most satisfying of Barcelona's peripheral districts, and given its bars, clubs and restaurants, one of the areas you're most likely to visit.
Horta-Guinardo - Barcelona At Its Greenest Horta-Guinardó - Barcelona District VII - starts relatively close to the city centre and stretches up into the Collserola hills. It is one of the Barcelona districts with most parks and green spaces.
Nou Barris - In Search Of A Barcelona Identity The urban sprawl of Nou Barris - Barcelona VIII - extends up into Collserola from La Meridiana and lacks a historic centre. This doesn't mean that it is without character or places of interest.
Sant Andreu - The Heart Of The City Most of Sant Andreu - Barcelona District IX - is behind blocks of flats as you drive into Barcelona along La Meridiana and you might think the area is just urban sprawl on the city outskirts.
Sant Martí - Looking From The City To The Sea The ten neighbourhoods of Sant Martí - Barcelona District X - can be loosely divided into two major sections with Gran Via as the border between the inner city and the beach area.
Barcelona Province - Coastal Resorts, Wine Regions, Mountains and More! Barcelona Province consist of 11 comarques or counties and some amazing countryside. Even better is that all Province of Barcelona destinations are with 45 minutes drive of the city.
El Barcelones - Greater Barcelona El Barcelones is effectively Greater Barcelona and includes L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and Badalona - Catalonia's second and third largest cities - plus Sant Coloma de Gramenet and Sant Adrià de Besòs.
El Maresme - The Coast North of Barcelona El Maresme comarca and its costa includes some of the best beach resorts north of Barcelona. Calella is the best known but the Maresme has some delightful spots
El Baix Llobregat - From The Coast And Airport To Montserrat El Baix Llobregat is a diverse comarca that begins at the River Llobregat estuary with its beach resorts and El Prat Airport and extends as far inland as the foothills of Montserrat.
El Garraf - The Coast South of Barcelona El Garraf has some of the best coastline close to Barcelona with beach resort Sitges as main attraction but the countryside is lovely and comarca capital - Vilanova i la Geltrú is particularly nice.
L'Alt Penedès - Catalonia's Superlative Wine Region When we talk of l'Alt Penedès only one thing comes to mind - excellent wine and cava. Grapes are grown in the small towns of the Penedès plain and commercialised in Vilafranca and Sant Sadurni.
L'Anoia - A Quiet Inland Comarca Centred on its capital Igualada, L'Anoia comarca is divided between industry and agriculture, and the casual visitor is most likely to pass through on the way to Montserrat.
Osona - The Cradle of Catalan Culture Located in Central Catalonia, Osona is one of the largest comarques in Barcelona Province with historic Vic and its green and varied countryside being the main attractions.
El Vallès Occidental - Catalonia's Industrial Heartland El Vallès Occidental is a large densely-populated comarca that meets Barcelona at the Collserola Ridge. Dominated by twin capitals Sabadell and Terrassa, it combines industry and green countryside.
El Vallès Oriental - Industry, History and Natural Beauty The section of El Vallès Oriental between Mollet del Vallès and capital Granollers is quite industrialised, but there are also beautiful nature reserves, such as the mountainous region of Montseny.
El Bages - History and Tradition in Central Catalonia El Bages comarca is one of the largest in Catalonia. Located right at the heart of the Principlality, it is dominated by its historic capital Manresa and overlooked by Montserrat.
El Berguedà - The Gateway to the Catalan Pyrenees Situated in the foothills of the Catalan Pyrenees, El Bergueda is made up mainly of tiny mountain villages. Its capital - Berga - has a population of 17,000 and is famous for the Patum festival.
Barcelona Transport - Trains, Buses, Metro and More! The Barcelona Transport System includes RENFE Train Services, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona Metro, Trams, Buses, Taxis, Funicular and the Airport and Port.
Barcelona Travel Card - Transport, Museum Entrance, Discounts and More! The Barcelona Travel Card is a must for visitors to the Catalan capital. It provides free travel on public transport, plus discounts and free offers at museums, shops, restaurants and other services.
Barcelona Metro - The Best Way To Get Around The City The 11 Barcelona Metro lines are run by TMB and FGC and constitute the easiest and most convenient way of getting around the city. This guide provides maps, timetables and pricing information.
Barcelona Local Trains - Renfe Rodalies The Barcelona Local Trains Network is run by RENFE and is known as Rodalies. This article covers destinations on all eight lines paying particular attention to railway stations in Barcelona city.
Barcelona Airport Information - Barcelona El Prat (BCN) Located in El Prat, Barcelona Airport is Spain's second international airport. This guide provides travel information on transport, flights, car hire, facilities etc at T1 and Terminal 2.
Car Rentals In Barcelona - Barcelona Car Hire Although the main pick-up for Car Rentals in Barcelona is the Airport, we include maps of Barcelona car hire drop-off points in city centre and province to for best options for Barcelona car rentals.
Where To Stay In Barcelona - Location Advice For Your Accommodation Choices Deciding where to stay in Barcelona depends very much on the purpose of your visit and the kind of experience you want to have. City Break, Beach Holiday, Business or Sport?
Hotels In Barcelona - A General Accommodation Guide Factors to consider when comparing hotels in Barcelona. This general accommodation guide looks at hotels from 5 star to discount and pros/cons of Barcelona city centre, neighbourhoods and province.
Barcelona Holiday Apartments - Enjoying The City In Your Own Way Barcelona Holiday Apartments offer many advantages to tourists visiting the city or Province of Barcelona. This guide offers reviews and recommendations to flats
Hostels in Barcelona - For A Shared Experience At Budget Prices The choice of Hostels in Barcelona gets better almost the day. Sharing experiences and making friends without breaking the bank in establishments all over the city.
Buying Property In Barcelona - Some Considerations If you are interested in buying property in Barcelona, this guide will give you all you need to know on different neighbourhoods, legal issues as well as up to date prices of apartments and houses.
Barcelona Sightseeing Buses - Hop On Hop Off Tours Of The City The Barcelona Sightseeing Buses offering Hop On Hop Off Tours that can be completed over one or two days with various routes and accompanying audio guide are a perfect introduction to the city.
Barcelona Public Holidays and Festivals Barcelona public holidays like Christmas, New Year and Easter are international but Reis and Carnaval are specific to Latin countries. Sant Jordi and La Diada are Catalan and La Merce only Barcelona.
Barcelona Live Music Clubs And Venues There are so many Barcelona Live Music Clubs that it's very difficult to make a definitive list, so I'm stating this venues page with some of my favourites, which tend to specialise in black music.
Barcelona Museums - Art, Culture And History A complete list of Barcelona Museums offering a wide variety of exhibitions dedicated to the art, culture and history of Barcelona. Addresses and discounts on entrance are also available.
Barcelona Architecture - From Gothic To Modernist A city of amazing buildings, Barcelona architecture is one of the Catalan capital's attractions. Gothic architecture lays the foundation for the Modernista Barcelona architects such as Gaudí.
Barcelona Football - FC Barcelona, RCD Espanyol, Futsal, FCF and More! The Barcelona Football scene is more than FC Barcelona. RCD Espanyol is a worthy rival but the FCF supports semi-pro and amateur clubs plus plenty of chances to play Futbol Sala - Indoor Football.
Barcelona Food and Drink - Restaurants, Cafes, Bars and Shops Good Barcelona food and drink is found all over the city, though you'll probaby go to restaurants and bars where you do your sightseeing in the old town, around the Ramblas and the Barri Gòtic.
Learn Spanish In Barcelona - Study And Course Information There are clear reasons to learn Spanish in Barcelona, this introduction gives advice on schools and Spanish courses in Barcelona and links to self-study materials online.
Barcelona Beaches - The Best In The Mediterranean The Barcelona Beaches are within walking distance of the City Centre or a short metro journey away. There are 9 beaches in Barcelona with blue flag status, and over 4 km of golden sands.
Guided Walking Tours of Barcelona - History, Culture and Architecture I currently offer Guided Walking Tours of Barcelona in Ciutat Vella, where we concentrate on Gothic and Roman Barcelona, and L'Eixample with its fantastic Modernista buildings by Gaudi et al.
Thinking Of Buying Property In Barcelona? ... We Can Help! As part of the Spanish Property Network, we provide personalised help in finding the right property in Barcelona as well as advice on legal, banking and residence issues.
Contact Me at Barcelona Travel Guide Use this form to contact me - Simon Harris - at Barcelona Travel Guide. I respond to business queries within 24 hours.
About Barcelona Travel Guide and Simon Harris If you're wondering about Barcelona Travel Guide, it's a one-man show run by me - Simon Harris - Barcelonan since 1988, total Barça and author of Going Native in Catalonia amongst other things.
Barcelona Travel Blog The Barcelona Travel Blog keeps you up to date with all additions and changes to the barcelonas.com website. Subscribe here.
Barcelona Property Finders - Expert Real Estate Sourcing and Advice in Barcelona City and Province If you are looking to buy or rent property in the Barcelona area, visit our real estate site. We also have a number of tourist rentals available.
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