Whenever somebody talks about Barcelona, we instantly think of its beautiful architecture and amazing food. Of course, there is a lot more to this majestic city than just its incredible architecture. Knowing these facts about Barcelona will help you take a deep dive into what Barcelona has to offer.
If you are planning a trip to Spain, it will be a wasted opportunity without stopping in Barcelona for a few days. There is a lot to do, and you will never get bored. Here are some facts about Barcelona Spain that will blow your mind.
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- 📍 Top Attraction: Visit La Sagrada Familia
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- 🚌 Top Day Trip: Montserrat Monastery
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- 🚩 Adventure Activity: Costa Brava Kayaking & Snorkeling
- 🧑🏽🍳 Best Interactive: Paella Cooking + Boqueria Market Tour
- 👍🏼 Best Cultural: Traditional Flamenco Show
- 💰 Cost Saver City Pass: Hola Barcelona Public Transport Travel Card
- 🚃 Getting Around: Hop On Hop Off Bus
- 🚘 Car Rental: DiscoverCars
Historical Facts About Barcelona Spain
Barcelona has a deep and interesting history as it is an old city. Anyone that loves exploring stories of the past will benefit from learning about the evolution of this place. Here are the top historical Barcelona facts to get you started.
Barcelona Might Even Be Older Than Rome
You might not believe this, but it is said that Barcelona is even older than Rome. That is because it is located in the Mediterranean, which makes it an ideal location for settlers. The earliest recorded settlements in this region have been around 5,000 BC.
Barcelona Used To Be Called Barcino
Before Barcelona was founded, this region used to be known as Barcino. The origin behind this name is Hamilcar Barca, a famous general. There is a widely held theory claiming that he was the one who founded Barcelona, and therefore the area was named after him.
Magic In The European Region Began In Barcelona
Magic has been around for a long time, as it is an ancient practice that still goes on today. However, history has it that Barcelona is the first city that made magic official in the European region. The first museum and magic shop was founded here in the 19th century, after which it started spreading throughout Europe.
Cultural Facts About Barcelona
The culture of Barcelona is a mix of modernism and tradition. This is why you will find some of the best food, art, architecture, and much more when you visit this Spanish gem. Here are some cultural facts about Barcelona to help you understand the city better.
Smoking Cannabis Is Legal
Anyone that enjoys smoking cannabis will find Barcelona to be a paradise, as it is legal here. There are more than seven hundred cannabis clubs throughout Spain, and over half of them are in Barcelona. As such, you can imagine it is a popular destination for anyone that likes to indulge in this substance.
People Celebrate Valentine’s Day On Saint George’s Day
Barcelona is unique when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day. That is because you will not see anyone exchanging chocolates or flowers on February 14th. Instead, people celebrate this day on Saint George’s Day, April 23rd.
During this day, it is a tradition to give your lovers or friends gifts such as flowers. The holiday is official and quite widely celebrated, so don’t be surprised if you visit Barcelona in April and witness this.
Barcelona Is Known For Tapas
Barcelona is known for its tapas, which are appetizers. The best part is that anything can be used to make these tapas. This includes vegetables, meats, potatoes, seafood, and much more. Don’t forget to try the incredible variety of tapas you will find in this city on every corner.
This is a great way to try a series of different dishes in smaller portions. Great for solo travelers although nothing is better than sharing it with friends. Most of the dishes are similar to and serve well as street food and snacks in Spain too.
Interesting Facts About Barcelona For Kids
Barcelona is an art and architectural hub, which is why even kids should know about it. After all, city trivia boosts their knowledge about different places and cultures. Here are some interesting facts about Barcelona for kids that you can teach them.
It Is One Of The Most Bike-Friendly Cities Worldwide
Many people don’t know this fact, but Barcelona is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. That is because there are more than 110 miles of bike lanes in the city. You can also rent a bike and explore this city in a completely new way when you visit.
It Is The Only City With A Royal Gold Medal For Architecture
Even if you haven’t visited Barcelona, you still probably know that the city is known for its architectural marvels. The Royal Gold Medal for Architecture is an award that is usually given to people.
However, Barcelona is the only city worldwide that has been given this medal because of the impressive architecture you will find throughout the city.
There Are Close To 70 Parks Here
They say mother nature is a natural healer. Everyone wants to connect with more greenery and their earthly self, especially people living in cities and urban spaces, constantly bombarded by the modern-day hustle.
Fortunately, there are around seventy parks in and around the city of Barcelona. They represent more than 10% of the region. Make sure to take advantage of these green spaces and feel more connected to your inner self amidst the concrete buildings.
Useful Barcelona Facts For Travelers
Creating an itinerary for Barcelona can be intimidating because there is a lot to do. However, there are some fun facts about Barcelona that will help you begin on the right foot. Here are some top facts for travelers.
There Are Nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Barcelona
Sitting at the top of many Barcelona itineraries are 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city that you can visit. These include Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Palau Guell, Casa Batllo, Casa Vicens, Casa Mila, and the Crypt of Colonia Guell.
If you don’t have a lot of time, it is better to spend a meaningful amount of time at a select few than to hop around too quickly. Each of these sites offers a lot in helping you understand what Barcelona is all about.
One of the exciting facts about Spain is that there are over 47 UNESCO sites all across the country.
The Largest Football Stadium In Europe Is In Barcelona
Camp Nou is the biggest football stadium in Europe, and it is located in Barcelona. Besides that, it is also the second-biggest stadium in the world. When a match is going on, the atmosphere in this stadium is like no other and should be on every football fan’s bucket list at least once.
Of course, FC Barcelona is also one of the most famous football clubs in the world. Many best players have played there at least once in their lives. Even if you are not able to get a match day ticket, you can always go on a behind-the-scenes stadium tour.
There Are Around 55 Museums In The City
Whenever you plan a trip to Barcelona, don’t forget to visit some of the best museums throughout the city. There are around 55 museums around the city that will provide you with architecture and historical beauties.
Some of the top museums you should include in your list are MNAC, MACBA, Fundacio Joan Miro, and many others. Don’t forget the majestic Spanish castles that serve as exhibits of the past such as the Montjuic Castle in Barcelona.
Common Facts About Barcelona
There are some general yet interesting facts about Barcelona that you should know to make your trip more interesting. Here are the top ones we think you should know about.
Gaudi Designed Seven Buildings For The City
One of the most unique things about Barcelona is the architecture you witness throughout the city. Antoni Gaudi designed seven buildings for the city, and they are some of the most prominent pieces of architecture you will find in Barcelona. Make sure that you visit the buildings he has designed.
Some of them have a skeletal surface, and others resemble living organisms and much more. So, make sure that you visit some of these marvels to take a deep dive into the architecture.
With all his contributions, it comes as no surprise that Gaudi is one of the prominent, legendary figures that Spain is famous for.
Picasso Spent His Formative Years In Barcelona
And of course, most people know about Pablo Picasso, as he is one of the most famous artists in the world. He studied in Barcelona and spent most of his formative years there.
Picasso studied at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. In addition, you will also find a museum dedicated to his art if you want to explore it further.
World Book Day Originates In Barcelona
You can thank Barcelona for giving World Book Day to everyone. That is because April 23rd is when the locals pay tribute to Saint George.
The tradition on this day is to exchange books and roses with your friends or lovers. UNESCO found this idea to be intriguing, which is why it is now World Book Day.
Geographical Facts About Barcelona
The geography of Barcelona is also interesting because the city was one of the first to begin urban planning. Here are some useful facts about Barcelona that will help you understand the region.
La Rambla Consists Of Five Streets
La Rambla is a famous pedestrian street in Barcelona that is lined with trees, and it is given this name because it is made of smaller sections. There are a total of five sections on this street with plenty to explore. This is a great place for a stroll after a meal because it is incredibly beautiful.
The Beaches Are Artificial
This may come as a surprise considering how Barcelona is known for being a beach vacation destination; in addition to the rich cultural elements, of course.
Even though Barceloneta Beach is the best urban beach worldwide, it is actually artificial. That is because there were no beaches in the city before the Olympic Games in 1992. The sand was brought from Egypt, and the coastline of the city was turned into Barceloneta Beach.
The City Was Ahead In Urban Planning Before Anyone Else
Many new cities are created by keeping urban planning in mind. However, Barcelona aced this planning method before it even became a thing with its grid-like patterns throughout the streets. You can observe these patterns and streets when you visit Barcelona.
Unique Barcelona Facts You Didn’t Know Before
The Catalonian city will keep on surprising you with everything that it has to offer. Here are some unique Barcelona facts that you have probably not heard of before.
There Are Around Twelve Abandoned Train Stations Throughout The City
Underneath Barcelona, you will find around twelve abandoned train and metro stations. That is because these stations are not in use anymore due to new tracks or changes in tracks. Many people think that these are haunted, especially the Gaudi station.
The Eiffel Tower Could Have Been Located In Barcelona
While Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark in Paris, it could have easily been in Barcelona. That is because the initial plan of the architect was to build this beauty in Barcelona, but Spain rejected his plan. The country thought that it would not fit well with the landscape of the city.
The City Used To Be A Muslim Region
This is perhaps one of the most unique facts about Barcelona; the city used to be a Muslim region. During the 8th century, Barcelona was under the control of the Moors. They were Muslims and the region remained under their influence for more than a century.
You can still see interesting remnants of this past era in some of the architecture. Similarly, the past rulers also play a significant role in shaping modern culture today.
Facts About Food In Barcelona
The culinary scene in Barcelona is one of the best in the world and you are in for a treat! Be sure to take advantage of the exciting food tours in Barcelona to uncover the various delicacies on offer.
Here are some of preliminary fun facts about the Barcelona food scene to get you hyped up!
You Will Find More Than Twenty Michelin Star Restaurants Here
There are around twenty-two Michelin Star restaurants in the city, which is why a lot of people come here to indulge in some exquisite cuisine. You can book some of the top restaurants in advance if you are interested in food tourism.
From traditional Spanish food to international dishes, Barcelona will not disappoint and will ensure that you leave with an incredible culinary experience.
While lunch and dinner offer plenty of options, make sure you take advantage of the plethora of breakfast foods in Spain as well.
Your Visit Will Be Incomplete Without Indulging In Paella
Your visit to Spain will be incomplete if you don’t try the iconic Spanish food of paella; especially in Barcelona. Of course, Valencia is the most famous for paella, but you will find it just as good in Barcelona.
From restaurants to food fairs, there are many spots that will serve up some mean paella that offers an explosion of flavors. For a true cultural immersion, you can even take part in an authentic paelle cooking experience.
Don’t forget to sink your teeth into some popular Spanish desserts to wash down the meal after.
Garlic, Tomato, And Olive Oil Are Essentials In The Local Cuisine
There are some essential ingredients that the food in Barcelona will be incomplete without. These include tomato, garlic, and olive oil. You will find these staples in almost all dishes that are created locally. They are also regularly used in a variety of stews and soups in Spain.
Facts About The Sagrada Familia In Barcelona
Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona, which is why our list will be incomplete without talking about this beauty. Here are some of the top facts about Barcelona and its famous attraction that you should know.
The Cathedral Took Longer Than The Egyptian Pyramids To Build
The Sagrada Familia is surprisingly still incomplete, even though it is the most famous landmark in Barcelona. And already looks super impressive.
That said, masterpieces do take time. After all, the Egyptian Pyramids took twenty years to build. On the other hand, the construction of Sagrada Familia began in the 19th century.
This means it is being built for more than a century and a half now. We still don’t know when this architectural marvel will be complete. If you like to visit, remember to get your ticket in advance to save some time.
It Is Not A Cathedral Anymore
Contrary to popular belief, this building is not a cathedral any longer. It used to be a church when it was first built, and then it became a cathedral; but that is no longer the case anymore. It has been a basilica ever since the Pope declared it to be in 2010.
Regardless of what purpose it serves, you can be sure this will continue to be a huge tourist attraction because of its stunning architecture.
There Were A Group Of People That Tried To Burn This Architectural Marvel
During the Spanish Civil War, there were a group of people that tried to burn the Sagrada Familia. These people broke inside, set fire to the crypt, and many important documents regarding the construction were burned.
Fortunately, they did not succeed in burning it all down, which means that the construction could still happen. Otherwise, millions of us will be deprived of this majestic wonder today.
Other Interesting Facts About Barcelona
There is nothing quite like strolling through the streets of Barcelona and taking in everything around you it has to offer. Here are some other interesting facts about Barcelona that you should know before you plan your trip.
It Used To Be The Capital Of Spain
Yes, Barcelona used to be the Capital of Spain, but that is not the case anymore. It became the capital during the Spanish Civil War for two years. During this year, Barcelona and Madrid were under the republic’s rule.
Then, Madrid became the capital and remains so to this date. Now, close to 180 nationalities live in Madrid, and it is one of the most populated regions in the European Union.
Air Raid Shelters Are Present Throughout The City
Air raid shelters are also a common presence because of the Spanish Civil War that went on for two years. There were more than 1,400 bombs built within the city and throughout the surrounding areas.
You can book guided tours to these shelters and get a deep dive into the important historical events that shaped Barcelona and Spain.
It Has The 2nd Largest Airport In The Country
The Barcelona-El Prat Airport is the second-largest airport in the country. It is around eleven miles away from the city center and handles more than forty-five million travelers each year. Keep in mind that it is also the largest airport present on the Mediterranean coastline.
Barcelona’s airport can be considered quite a transit hub, so if you are searching for cheaper tickets to and from Europe, this might be one destination you want to look at.
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Discovering More Fun Facts About Barcelona
These are some of the interesting facts about Barcelona Spain to know before visiting. It is one of the most popular cities in the country, and full of exciting things to do. There are endless museums, architectural marvels, clubs, bars, restaurants, markets, and much more.
If you want to enjoy a trip full of art, culture, and more, don’t forget to plan your next trip to this place. Make some incredible memories as you uncover more fascinating facts about Barcelona firsthand.