Barcelona is famous for its architecture, its year-round sunshine and lively Mediterranean vibes has such an interesting past and culture that has helped shape this vibrant and popular city. If you are thinking about making Barcelona your next travel destination you may be interested in knowing a bit more about it.
Here are 20 interesting facts about Barcelona.
Did You Know...
#1 It is older than Rome
Many historians would say that the origins of Barcelona were founded by Hercules, 400 years before Rome was built.
#2 It is the most visited city in Spain
Barcelona comes 4th on 2019’s ranking of Europe’s most visited cities and 17th for the world with 9.09 million people.
#3 It is the biggest city on the Mediterranean
Barcelona covers an area of 101.4 sq km and has a population of 5.515 million (2018), which makes it the largest city on the Mediterranean Sea and second largest in Spain, after Madrid.
#4 It is the biggest and busiest cruise port in Europe
The Port of Barcelona has 7 cruise terminals that greeted 3.2 million visitors in 2019, and was named the top polluted port in Europe.
#5 It has artificial beaches
The city announced the decision to build artificial beaches ahead of the 1992 Olympics. Now, the city regularly finds itself in top 10 beaches in the world because of its stunning 4.5 km coastline.
#6 It has the busiest street in Spain
The most walked on street in Spain is Portal de l’Angel where on average 3,500 people walk this street every hour. This city has 130 hectors (equivalent to 260 football fields) devoted exclusively to pedestrians.
#7 It is actually 5 streets and not the singular La Rambla
The most famous street in Barcelona is the 2km La Rambla, a large boulevard made up of 5 streets (Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, Rambla de Sant Josep, Rambla dels Caputxins and the Rambla de Santa Mònica). It was once an open stream designed to filter water from the mountains surrounding Barcelona to the sea.
#8 It has street corners shaped to allow for the trams turning
In the neighbourhood of Eiample has a perfect grid pattern making it easy for navigation. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the corners of each block of buildings are cut off, making them octagons rather than squares. This smart design was factored to allow for the city’s trams to be able to turn corners safely.
#9 It has 12 abandoned metro stations beneath the city
Between subway and commuter trains there are 12 abandoned underground stations that are thought to be haunted. In 2011, a special tour has commenced that takes you to these metro stations.
#10 It has the highest number of car accidents in the world
Driving conditions in Barcelona is considered among the worst in the world due to the number of accidents occurring in the city – one in every 19 seconds during the week and one in every 10 seconds on the weekend.
#11 It has 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites
There are 7 buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi, they are: Parque Guell, Palau Guell, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo and Crypt in Colonia Guell. And, 2 non-Gaudi buildings – Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau.
#12 It has taken more than 150 years for the Sagrada Família to be built
This unique and one-of-a-kind temple is the visionary work of architect Antoni Gaudí. The work began in 1866 and is expected to be completed in 2026.
#13 The Eiffel Tower was pitched to be built in Barcelona
The city of Barcelona rejected the proposal by architect Gustave Eiffel to have the Eiffel Tower built in their city. They believed the tower would be an unsightly addition to the city’s landscape.
#14 It has the largest football stadium in Europe
The Camp Nou stadium, home to FC Barcelona, is the largest in Europe and 3rd largest in the world. It can seat almost 1 million spectators and is considered one of the most popular attractions in city, along with its FC Barcelona Museum – one of the city’s most visited museums.
#15 It has 55 museums
Barcelona has a wide variety of cultural, historic, arts and science museums, and it even has a museum dedicated to funeral carriages in all of Europe.
#16 It has 68 parks
More than 10 percent of the city is covered by urban parks. And, it is home to Parc de Collserola which is one of the largest metropolitan parks in the world. With an area of 84.62 square km it is 22 times larger than Central Park in NYC.
#17 It is the only city to have been awarded the Royal Gold Medal for architecture
It is the first and only city to receive this honour in recognition of its substantial contribution to international architecture.
#18 The real story behind the Columbus Monument
The monument was built in 1888 for the World Exposition and ever since then there have been conflicting interpretations about what location Columbus is pointing to. It’s not America, but it could be towards the sea or towards India (his original destination before he discovered America) or towards Genoa, this hometown.
#19 It has its own version of Valentine’s Day
Saint George Day (or Día de Sant Jordi) is a national holiday. It also is referred to as Day of the Rose (or Día de la Rosa) and Book Day (or Día del Libro). The tradition is to exchange gifts between loved ones – a man gives a rose to a woman as a sign of love and a woman gives a book as a sign for eternal love in return.
And, lastly did you know...
#20 It is threatening to limit the number of tourists
Barcelona’s mayor announced earlier in 2019 the intent to reduce the number of tourists allowed into Barcelona by cutting cruise ships and limiting the expansion of its airport. In the last 15 years, the city’s visitors have increased 4 times, and for a such a small city with no room to expand this has had some negative impacts.
So I am curious – how many of these facts did you know, which was your favourite, and more importantly, what did I miss? Please share.