Barcelona, ideas, things to do and tours
Barcelona has an specially pleasant climate. It is situated on the plains of the rivers Besos and Llobregat and it is protected by the mountain range of Collcerola which includes the famous Tibidabo, closed to the city center.
The original settlements were in a hill which overlloed the Mediterranean sea. The city then grew and extended towards the plain and today it goes beyond the Tibidabo itself.
During the Roman rule Barcelona was named Favencia Julia Augusta Paterna Barcino. During the IV century it was surrounded by a wall. During the 5th Century the Visigoth King Ataulf used it as a base, and on the 8th century it was taken by the Arabs, that lost it to French King Louis on 801.
The Garraf became from that moment the border between Christian and Mohammedans.
Barcelona has a rich heritage and it is a vibrant City today. Themost visited City in Spain, Barcelona has developed into a top tourist destination, and offers many different alternative and tours for all sort of travelers.
Barcelona´s Barrio Gotico, the Gothic Quarter. The Roman walls are located near the original Iberian settlement. By the 5th Century the area also included a Palace and the Walls. The Plaza de la Catedral de Barcelona has a piece of Roman wall and the beginning of a Roman aqueduct.
Catedral de Santa Eulalia in Barcelona. In 559 there was already a consacrated Cathedral on this site. It was damaged by Almanzor on the 985 and rebuilt into a Romanesque Cathedral between years 1045 and 58 and in 1298 it was completed following Gothic style. Many tours in Barcelona start in the Gothic Quarter. The most impressive parts of the Cathedral are the octagonal towers over the transepts. The dome of the Cathedral of Barcelona is not in the usual position over the crossing, but at the beginning of the nave.
The casa del Arcediano and the Bishop´s Palace are both intereting buildings. The Palacio de la Generalidad seats on the ancient Catalonin Palace parliament. The City Hall of Barcelona or Casa de la Ciudad seats opposite to the Generalidad.
Barcelona´s Gothic Quarter offers interesting squares where bars set their terraces and tourists and locals get mixed to enjoy a break (and a shadow) Plaza del Rey is beautiful square where the Palacio Real is located.
Other religious buildings in Barcelona include the Chruch of Santa María del Mar. This church offers the finest example of Catalonian Gothic: vast plain surfaces and massive buttresses.
Other churches and Monasteries in Barcelona include Sant Pere de les Puelles, San Pau del Camp, Church of Santo Justo, Church of Santa María del Pino, Monastery of Santa Ana.
A special mention is requested forLa Sagrada Familia. The Master piece of Gaudi, the architect which is a symbol for Barcelona. In 1891 Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to completed the building. Originally designed as neo-Gothic, Gaudi changed the design considerably. He could not see his work finished (the first tower was completed in 1921) and works resume in 1952 but it took much longer to see the Sagrada Familia completed.
Gaudi´s stamp on Barcelona is seen also in Parque Guell and in fantastic buildings such as Casa Mila.
New tours in Barcelona offer a view of the City from the perspective of Gaudi himself.
For those in search of culture Barcelona holds the Picasso Mueum, the Fundacion Miro, the Museo de arte Moderno, the Cambó Collection, Museo de Arqueología or Museum de Arte de Cataluña to name the most important ones.
After the Olympic Games of 1992 the City went through a very important period of transformation and changed itself to become a more multicultural, open and beautiful city. Important changes were introduced into the City and old, decadent areas of Barcelona were transformed into new tourist spots. Barcelona is such a great place for tourists not only due to the art and culture and architecture, but also due to its proximity to the sea and its beaches. Few cities in the world can offer such combination. To this we need to add gastronomy and wine. Bars in Barcelona specialize in local tapas and local wines. Cava, the Spanish equivalent wine to champagne is mosltly produce 50 kilometers south of Barcelona anddaily wine tours from Barcelona City center take tourists to some of the most important wineries in the area like Codorniu, Freixenet or Torres.
Wine and tapas has become one of the tourist attractions itself in Barcelona. Though tourists should pay attention to what bars offer. The increase in tourism does not always come with quality. Having saind this, Barcelona hosts fantastic restaurants and bars dedicated to Spanish wines, and Catalan wines in particular.
We should not forget the importance of football in Barcelona. FC Barcelona, one of the worlds´top clubs is at the heart of most people in Barcelona. The team and the competition with rival Real Madrid offers one of the most visited venues in the City, the Nou Camp Stadium.
More information on Barcelona can be found at the City tourism board.