Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean sea. It is the capital of the autonomous community Catalonia, and has approximately 1.7 million inhabitants in the city, and 5 million in the Barcelona province.
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The city and province of Barcelona are located in the Catalonia (cat: Catalunya, es: Cataluña) Autonomous Community, in North-Eastern Spain. The city is bordered by the Mediterranean sea to the South-east and the Collserola range to the Northwest. The rivers Besós and Llobregat flank the city on the north and south respectively.
1,604,555 in the city (5,375,774 in the metropolitan area.)
Barcelonian, Barcelonan / barceloní, -ina (cat) / barcelonés, -esa (es)
Most of the inhabitants state they are Roman Catholic (208 churches).
In a 2011 survey conducted by InfoCatólica, 49.5% of Barcelona residents of all ages identified themselves as Catholic. This was the first time that more than half of respondents did not identify themselves as Catholic. The numbers reflect a broader trend in Spain whereby the numbers of self-identified Catholics have declined.
The province has the largest Muslim community in Spain, 322,698 people in Barcelona province are of Muslim faith. The city also has the largest Jewish community in Spain, with an estimated 3,500 Jews living in the city.
Art & Culture
Barcelona is one of Europe’s most artistic cities and one of the top incubators of modern art and culture. It was home to some of the most famous artists of the 20th century, and their legacy is still visible in the city. Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Gaudí and Calatrava, and many others before and after them got inspired in Barcelona, and in turn left their own art as inspiration to others.
Best time to visit Barcelona
The best time to visit Barcelona is April – June and September – October. In July and August the city can get very hot and overcrowded by tourists from the neighbouring sea resorts.
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The city’s rich history dates to pre-Roman times, though the data from this period is very scarce. During the Roman era, the city was named Barcino and it was an important port at the Iberian peninsula.
During medieval times, Barcelona was a significant port city in the Kingdom of Aragon. A significant legacy from the medieval and renaissance period can be observed at the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) in the heart of Barcelona.
In the early 18th century, the city started rapidly spreading outside of the medieval walls, and new neighbourhoods like Barceloneta were born.
The official and most commonly spoken language in Barcelona is Castellano (Spanish) , followed by Catalan which is also official. English is commonly spoken, especially in the touristy areas and among younger population.
Weather & climate
Barcelona has a subtropical climate bordering a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. Thanks to its location on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Atlantic west winds often arrive in Barcelona with low humidity, producing no rain. The proximity of the Atlantic, its latitude, and the relief, are the reasons why the summers are not as dry as in most other Mediterranean Basin locations.
Weather report for the next couple of days
More weather info here.
Top festivities & events
- Reyes Magos (3 kings) – January 6
- Barcelona Carnival – February/March
- Easter – April
- Feria de Abril – April
- Sant Jordi (patron saint of Catalonia) – April 23
- Formula 1 Grand Prix – May
- Fiesta de Barceloneta – June
- Festa Major de Gràcia – August
- La Mercè (patron saint of Barcelona) – September 24
- Fira de Santa Llúcia – December
Since 1987, the city has been divided into 10 administrative districts (districtes in Catalan, distritos in Spanish):
- Ciutat Vella (Old Town)
- Les Corts
- Sarrià-Sant Gervasi
- Nou Barris (New Neighbourhoods)
- Sant Andreu
- Sant Martí
The districts are based mostly on historical divisions, and several are former towns annexed by the city of Barcelona in the 18th and 19th centuries that still maintain their own distinct character. Each district has its own council led by a city councillor.
- There are two legends about the establishment of Barcelona. One says that it was founded by Hercules, 400 years before the building of Rome. According to the other one, the city was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Carthaginian leader Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who named the city Barkeno, after his family name.
- Each year, 8 million tourists visit Barcelona, making it Europe’s third most-visited city after London and Paris.
- A typical Roman grid plan is still visible today in the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter).
- The port of Barcelona is Europe’s largest cruise port. It has 9 cruise and 4 ferry terminals.
- The colossal Sagrada Família temple, is the only top city landmark that hasn’t yet been finished. It has been under construction since 1882.
- Some people claim that the Columbus statue is pointing towards America or Genoa, but he is actually pointing to somewhere near Constantine, Algeria, or most likely, simply out to sea.
- April 23rd is Saint George’s Day (La Diada de San Jordi), the national festival day in Barcelona and throughout the Catalonia region. On this day, Catalonians give their loved ones roses and books, similar to Valentine’s Day. Saint George’s Day celebrations inspired UNESCO to declare April 23 as World Book Day.
- Barcelona has 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Seven of them were created by Gaudi, and the other two by Domenech i Montaner.