Barcelona – The City of Counts or The City of Gaudi
With breathtaking wonders of construction combined with history & art, Barcelona speaks of heritage & class, all at once. With over 1.6 million people finding their homes here, it is considered to be (fairly so) one of the most live & energetic cities of Spain. With a deep sense of culture & a charm of a modernist city, it boasts of richness, diversity & large heartedness. Here’s a quick read on what you can expect from the city-
10 Key Things about Barcelona
1. History of Barcelona
With an unclear & mysterious (yet so) origin of the earliest settlement, the name of the city was coined after an Iberian village named Barkeno. After being under siege of the Romans followed by Visigoths, Moors & Franks, the city still has imprints of the history absorbed in the streets, art & culture. The history of this beautiful city is symbolized by its quest for independence & it’s fortitude towards holding together their cultural identity.
2. Night Life of Barcelona
The Spanish mandate of eat late, drink late & party late seems to have stemmed from this helluva city! Spain’s second largest city sure knows how to party & has some crazy party spots stuffed in every corner! With Las Ramblas playing host some of the best clubs, there’s nothing you’d wanna miss once you get right in. Don’t lose your wits if you see the clubs deserted until 1 AM because that’s when the people of the city get wake up after a short nap to dance right till the sun goes up! We can’t let this piece end without mentioning the hidden underground bars- they’re all about good drinks, good music & some good fun. They’re hidden. They ought to be gems.
3. Safety in Barcelona
While the city is not particularly scary & doesn’t require you to constantly worry about safeguarding yourself, staying alert & cautious will help in keeping you good while you’re on the streets & beaches of Barcelona. The safest neighborhoods are L’Eixample and Gràcia. & the least safe are El Raval and the Gothic Quarter. Pick the right spot & right company, beware of pickpockets & walk on brightly-lit streets at night & nothing can stop you from having a safe & fun trip!
4. Living Expenses of Barcelona
A general myth across the world when they hear about living in a big city is a resounding EXPENSIVE, however Barcelona plays the odd city out. Although a notch higher compared to the rest of the country, it is extremely moderate in comparison to other global cities. A little breakdown on what your monthly outflows could be- 250-450 euros for a sharing apartment, 30-60 euros for basic utilities, 10-12 euros for phone bills & that’s about it! Surprising much? We bet.
5. Cuisines of Barcelona
Regrets stay & haunt & we recommend you to not leave without treating your taste buds to the divine cuisine of this beautiful city. An important part of this could be understanding the local Catalan cuisine (if you don’t, inky pinky ponky works just fine) – The Catalan Tapas, Paella, Allioli, Escalivada & Creama Catalana, are just gold & a glass of Sangria to go along just makes it a dream meal. Go. Eat. Slurp. Repeat.
6. Statistics of Barcelona
Residents well within the administrative limits of Barcelona go upto 1.6 million; however, this city has an urban area with a population of over 4.3 million making it the 6th most populous are in the European Union. Barcelona is also the fourth most economically powerful city by GDP in the European Union and the 35th in the world, and one of the world’s most successful city brands. 62% of the inhabitants of this city were born in Catalonia, while almost 24% come from other areas of Spain. Barcelona also plays home to Spain’s largest Jewish community with about 3500 Jews. Spanish & Catalan are the two major languages spoken in Barcelona & it boasts of a literacy rate of over 97.7%.
7. Public Transport in Barcelona
The extensive transport systems of Barcelona make it one of the most well connected cities in the world. With metros, buses, trams & taxis available at the drop of a hat, there’s no way you’ll find yourself stuck in any part of the city. A single trip in a Metro costs about 2.25 Euros & the deals get better with the trip cards that allow the regular travelers to travel economically. The real deal of the city’s transport system is Bicing. It is Barcelona’s Bike Sharing Program for its residents & costs about 50 euros for an annual membership.Pollution in Barcelona – The Particulate Meter- PM 2.5 level in Barcelona is as low as 16 which makes the city fairly unpolluted.
8. Weather of Barcelona
Since the city is situated in the North-East of Spain on the Iberian coast, it enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm summers & cool winters which makes it an ideal destination all year round.
Spring – The city warms up between March to May, with temperatures hovering at around 12 degrees in March going up to 18 degrees in May. This time of the year is perfect to play dress up as it doesn’t demand you to be covered head to toe & allows you to dig out your summer clothes after a chilly winter.
Summer – June, July & August marks the peak season for tourism. The city gets especially crowded by the end of July & beginning of August. The average temperature is about 25 degrees however regular heat waves can push the mercury to over 30 degrees.
Autumn – Septembers continue the warmth however Octobers & Novembers witness a clear drop down in the temperatures. By November, the temperature in the day can go up to 12 degrees leaving the nights chilly at around 5-6 degrees.
Winter – Barcelona winters are chilly with day time highs of about 11 degrees & lows of about 4 degrees. However, the city looks extremely beautiful & calls for some good walks to remember during this time of the year.
9. Culture of Barcelona
Barcelona has long been a center of culture & art. With abundance of archives & libraries, it plays home to some of the most coveted collections. The Liceu Opera House presents opera and ballet performances. The Romea Theatre has been the centre of Catalan-language drama & classical music is amply provided by the Music Palace and the city’s symphony orchestra. The official languages spoken in Barcelona are Spanish & Catalan. Other languages like Basque, Galician & Valencian are also spoken briefly across the city.
10. Places to Visit in Barcelona
Things to do in Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia Church, Magic Fountain Show, Las Ramblas street, Barrio Gotico, Modernist Park Guell by Gaudi, Montjuic hill and Poble Espanyol Spanish village, Tibidabo hill are the must-visits of the city. A good city tour in the tourist busses will give you a good ride aroundthe above. End your day with some authentic cuisines at Las Ramblas & you’re good!
Museums and Galleries – Museu Picasso, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Musue Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Fundacio, Antoni Tapies, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, FC Barcelona & many more. The culture driven history of Barcelona makes it home to many such famous museums.
Things to do for Kids in Barcelona – The Camp Nou Tour, Magic Fountains, Tibidabo Amusement Park, Montjuic castle, Barcelona Aquarium, Sagrada Familia, Zoo Barceloa, Poble Espayol, Bubbleparc Barcelona & many more kid-friendly places make the city perfect for family vacations.
Places Nearby – A short trip from Barcelona will take you to some beautiful villages like Besalu, Rupit, Place Del Rei amongst many others.
Offbeat – A chill out session a sub-zero bar, A trip to Els Enants Flea Market, Hanging out with the hipsters in Gracia, Getting lost in the Labyrinth Park of Horta, City Cycling are some of the non touristy & off-beat experiences you could consider for some edgy fun.
Author’s Conclusion – Barcelona is a every tourist’s delight, simply put. It offers breathtaking sights, delectable cuisine, some really interesting history remains & good life. There’s nothing about the city you’d miss falling in love with. With over 8 million tourists visiting Barcelona every year, the city is the 3rd most visited city in Europe after London & Paris. There’s something for the beach lovers, something for the history maniacs, something for the party animals, something for the quintessential foodie & a lot more. See it to believe it.
|Population||1.6 million (approx.)|
|Currency||Euro (EUR) (1 EUR 0 76.38 INR as on 19th February’16)|
|Time Zone||Central European Time (UTC +01:00)|
|Driving||Right Hand Traffic, Left Hand Drive vehicles|
|Helpline||Ambulance, Fire department, Police – 112.|
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