Five keys to a visit to Barcelona

According to one legend, Christopher Columbus lived on calle Boters, the son of a publican in the Boquería market who was accused of a crime and sentenced to death by hanging. It was for this reason that Columbus fled to Genoa, disowning the city where he was born. But beyond the legend, Barcelona is one of the most attractive and vibrant cities in Europe, for shopping, cultural sightseeing or spending a day at the beach.

Barcelona is located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, around 120 kilometres from the French border, and is bounded on the east by the Mediterranean Sea. It the capital of Catalonia, the city with the second biggest population in Spain and the tenth in the European Union.

Its history

It was founded as a city by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. and called Faventia Julia Augusta Paterna Barcino. It was built around Mont Tàber, which was the site of the most important part of the city, the forum, just where Sant Jaume square is found today.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, between the 5th and 8th centuries Barcelona was ruled by first the Visigoths and then the Muslims. It was under their control for more than 200 years, until in 801 Charlemagne's troops entered the city, making it one of the provinces of the Carolingian Empire.

From the 12th century until the 15th, Barcelona was the usual residence of the Crown of Aragon. Coinciding with the time of the greatest expansion in the western Mediterranean, the city became the financial, political, commercial and cultural centre of the Crown.

After the medieval period and up to the 18th century, Barcelona underwent a certain decline and had to struggle to maintain its financial and political independence, until in 1714 the city fell into the hands of the Bourbon troops.

In the mid-19th century Barcelona began its economic recovery as a result of the Industrial Revolution. At that time a new social class emerged, the bourgeoisie, who wanted to demonstrate their prosperity through art. From the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Barcelona began to be the centre of a cultural avant-garde interested in artistic and scientific progress.

Popular celebrations

In Catalonia there are a great many local festivals, some of traditional Christian origin such as Christmas, Easter, the Holy Week processions, and others of pagan origin such as the feast of St. John which is celebrated in honour of the summer solstice.

By tradition there are parades of giants and figures with large heads, fireworks, popular dances and songs.

Sightseeing areas

Barcelona is a wonderful city, open to the sea, and with a great deal of interesting things to see, but there are a number must-see sights: the Sagrada Familia Church, which is the most important work of Antonio Gaudí, Güell Park, also designed by Gaudí, the Gothic Quarter, one of the oldest areas of Barcelona, Las Ramblas boulevard with its flowers, music, shows, mime and terraces, Montjüic with the museums and various attractions developed for the Universal Exhibition of 1929 and the Olympics of 1992 and of course the Olympic Port, one of the most attractive and lively areas.

The sea and the beach

A great city like Barcelona has the added appeal of its location by the sea. Just a short walk from the historic centre you can enjoy 4.5 kilometres of fine, golden sand beaches, to stroll, sunbathe, take refuge in the shade, go for a swim or have a drink on a terrace.

Shopping in Barcelona

In Barcelona there are a great many markets where you can find the best traditional products such as La Boqueria on La Rambla, Concepció market or Santa Caterina.

The Eixample district is one of the areas with the biggest concentration of shops. You can find luxury items such as jewellery, international fashion labels and so on. On Passeig de Gràcia there are designer shops such as Chanel, Gucci, Armani, Versace, Loewe and jewellery stores such as Tous, Cartier, Suárez or Bagués.

Rambla de Catalunya is a pedestrian street where you can find all kinds of clothing and shoe shops such as Zara, Massimo Dutti etc. Avinguda Diagonal is another of the streets that has a concentration of shops, especially around the large department stores.

In the Gothic quarter there are also big shopping areas such as the Portaferrisa and Portal de l’Àngel streets. You can buy all sorts of things there, especially lingerie, clothing, jewellery, shoes and handbags.

A selection of properties for sale

See details for House/Villa Barcelona
Sale House/Villa Barcelona
6 bedrooms
Price : € 2,740,000
See details for House/Villa Esplugues De Llobregat
Sale House/Villa Esplugues De Llobregat
5 bedrooms
Price : € 2,250,000
See details for House/Villa Castellgali
Sale House/Villa Castellgali
5 bedrooms
Price : € 1,240,000

Five keys to a visit to Barcelona