Barcelona is famous worldwide for its lively atmosphere, dazzling architecture, glittering coastline, and an enviable list of tourist attractions.
But there’s so much more to discover about this lush Mediterranean city!
Barcelona has a fascinating past and a rich culture, and it’s associated with so many interesting facts that’ll you’ll be simply mindblown.
Did you know that Barcelona is filled with underground Roman ruins? And that the city’s beaches are artificial? Yes!
There’s a whole heap of mind-blowing and cool Barcelona facts that’ll absolutely love to discover.
So keep on reading the post for the entire list of the 50 + most fascinating facts about Barcelona, Spain.
What Is Barcelona Known For
Barcelona is a vibrant city on Spain’s northeastern coast that has established itself as a renowned destination with a wealth of cultural treasures and captivating experiences.
One of the city’s most prominent features is its remarkable architecture, which has made it an architectural playground and a testament to innovation and artistic expression.
At the heart of Barcelona’s architectural marvels are the breathtaking creations of Antoni Gaudí, including La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Casa Batllò.
These iconic landmarks have become synonymous with Barcelona and attract millions of visitors who are left in awe of their beauty and ingenuity.
Barcelona is also famous for its collection of charismatic neighborhoods, each with its own charm. Located in the city center, the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic), is a must-visit, as it offers travelers a delightful journey back in time.
Stepping into the Gothic Quarter’s narrow medieval streets is one of the best things to do in Barcelona. You’ll find yourself immersed in history, surrounded by centuries-old buildings, charming squares, and hidden courtyards.
Barcelona’s allure extends to its stunning Mediterranean beaches, providing an ideal escape from the urban bustle.
The city is also known for its tantalizing culinary scene, with enough tapas bars, street markets, and Michelin-starred restaurants to satisfy the most discerning foodies.
Art and culture flourish in Barcelona, with a plethora of museums, galleries, and artistic events that fuel creativity and inspiration.
Not to mention that Barcelona is a city of festivities and celebrations, where locals embrace their cultural traditions with passion and enthusiasm.
Sports also hold a special place in the heart of Barcelona, with football being a passion that unites its residents.
The city is home to FC Barcelona, one of the world’s most successful football clubs, and watching a match at Camp Nou, the club’s iconic stadium, is an experience like no other.
50 Fun & Interesting Facts About Barcelona, Spain
Facts About Barcelona History
Fact 1: Barcelona was founded by the Romans who set up a colony called Barcino at the end of the 1st century BC.
Fact 2: Ruins of an early settlement including tombs and dwellings dating to earlier than 5000 BC, have been excavated in the El Raval neighborhood.
Fact 3: Many remains of Barcino still exist in various locations of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. Some ruins can be seen in the underground displays of the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA), which also comprises other heritage sites from Roman times in Barcelona.
Fact 4: Legend says that the name Barcelona is the modified version of “Barkenlo” (meaning “the one with the most vegetables or good plants”¸ the original name which was given to the city by Iberian settlers.
Fact 5: Some sources suggest that the city was named after the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who allegedly founded the city in the 3rd century BC.
Fact 6: After the Romans, Barcelona was occupied by the Visigoths in the 5th century A.D. Later on, during the 8th century, the city was invaded by the Moors remaining under their control for another 100 years until the Franks conquered the city again.
Fact 7: Barcelona is full of air raid shelters because of the Spanish Civil War that went on from 1936 to 1939. In fact, you can even visit one of them! Shelter 307 ( Refugi 307) is one of the more than 1,000 shelters built in the city. Now, it’s part of the MUHBA, one of the best museums in Barcelona.
Facts About Barcelona Geography & Physical Features
Fact 8: Barcelona covers an area of 39.2 sq mi and has a population of 1.62 million(2018), making it the largest city on the Mediterranean Sea, and the second largest city in Spain.
Fact 9: Barcelona has been voted the “Best Beach City” by National Geographic.
Fact 10: Barcelona first and only city in the world to be awarded a Royal Gold Medal for architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The award dates from 1848 and recognizes an individual’s or group’s substantial contribution to international architecture.
Fact 11: There is an urban legend that the famous Eiffel Tower, Pari’s most famous landmark, was supposed to be in Barcelona. Unfortunately, Spain rejected the project by Gustave Eiffel due to its size and cost. However, this is an urban myth.
Fact 12: Barcelona’s beaches are articificil. This is due to the fact that there were no beaches in Barcelona before the 1992 Olympic Games. The Barcelona seaside was full of local industries until then, but it now has seven beaches with a 2,8 miles coastline.
Fact 13: Considered one of the best beaches in Barcelona, the famous Barceloneta Beach was also named the best urban beach in the world.
Fact 14: About 3.5% of the surface of Barcelona is green areas.
Fact 15: The city is home to some 90 parks and gardens.
Fact 16: Half of Barcelona’s green areas belong to Parc de Collserola. The park is 22 times larger than New York’s Central Park, making it the world’s largest metropolitan park.
Fact 17: Boasting 112 miles of bicycle lanes, Barcelona is one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities.
Facts About Barcelona Attractions & Tourism
Fact 18: The most visited museum in Barcelona is FC Barcelona Museum, with over 1.5 million visitors a year, which is located in the Camp Nou Stadium.
Fact 19: Barcelona Camp Nou, home to the FC Barcelona Club, is the largest football stadium in Europe. The stadium has a capacity of 99,354.
Fact 20: The FC Barcelona Club is the 4th richest football club in the world.
Fact 21: La Sagrada Familia Basilica is not only the most famous attraction in Barcelona but also the most visited attraction in Spain. This famous monument attracts about 4.5 million people every year.
Fact 22: The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia has been under construction for 140 years. This means it has taken longer to complete than even the great pyramids of Giza (which Egyptologists believe were completed in 10-20 years).
Fact 23: The original architect of the Sagrada Familia was not Antoni Gaudí. The cathedral was initially designed by Francesco de Paula del Villar and was taken over and changed significantly under the lead of Gaudì.
Fact 24: Antoni Gaudì is buried in La Sagrada Familia. He died getting hit by a trolley car in Barcelona, while still working on the church’s project. The architect was buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Carmel, inside the basilica.
Fact 25: Barcelona’s famous street La Rambla is actually made of five streets: Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, Rambla de Sant Josep, Rambla dels Caputxins, and Rambla de Santa Mònica. That’s why it is sometimes called “Las Ramblas” (plural).
Fact 26: Barcelona is home to the busiest pedestrian street in Spain. Located in Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella (Old Town), Portal de l’Àngel is the country’s busiest walkway, with an average of 150,000 people walking down it daily. Plus this expensive street is one of the best places to go shopping in Barcelona.
Fact 27: Barcelona is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, chosen for their outstanding architectural value. They are Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, Colònia Güell and Gaudí’s Crypt, Palau de la Música Catalana and the Modernist enclosure of Hospital de Sant Pau.
Fact 28: Considered one of the most famous attractions in Barcelona, Park Güell is actually a failed housing project. The park was commissioned as a housing complex by wealthy industrialist Eusebi Güell for the Barcelona aristocracy. Due to the high construction costs, only two houses and the park were completed.
Fact 29: Attracting more than 27 million people per year, Barcelona is the most visited city in Spain. It comes on 8th on the ranking of Europe’s most visited cities.
Fact 30: Barcelona’s airport (Barcelona-El Prat Airport ) is the second largest in Spain, and the largest airport on the Mediterranean coast.
Fact 31: The first magic shop and museum of magic in the world, Teatro Museo El Rei de la Màgia, was founded in Barcelona in 1881.
Fact 32: The Museo Picasso (Picasso Museum) in Barcelona, features 3500 works of art by Pablo Picasso, making it the world’s largest collection of the Cubist’s artwork.
Fact 33: The Barcelona Supercomputing Center is home to MareNostrum, the largest supercomputer in Southern Europe and the 93rd fastest in the world. This computer has a peak performance of 314 million billion calculations per second!
Fact 34: The real name of the Barcelona Cathedral is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. As the name suggests, the cathedral pays homage to the co-patron saint of Barcelona, Eulalia.
Facts About Barcelona Culture & Lifestyle
Fact 35: Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia, an autonomous community of Spain.
Fact 36: Catalonia is known for its strong regional identity as well as for the independence movement.
Fact 37: There are two official languages in Barcelona: Catalan and Spanish. The majority of Barcelona’s residents consider themselves fully bilingual.
Fact 38: According to the law, teachers, doctors, and public sector workers have to know how to speak Catalan.
Fact 39: From 1939-1975, during the period of military dictatorship under Franco, Catalan was banned. Even telephone calls had to be carried out in Spanish.
Fact 40: Even though Spain is popular for its flamenco dancing, the Catalan region has its own traditional dance– the Sardana.
Fact 41: On April 23rd, Barcelona celebrates Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia. On Saint George’s Day (La Diada de Sant Jordi), it is a tradition for couples to exchange gifts: the men receive a book and the women receive a rose. Not by chance, the day is also known as El Día de los Amantes (Lovers’ Day).
Fact 42: Several famous artists such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Antoni Gaudí were born in Catalonia.
Fact 43: Born in Malaga, southern Spain, Picasso has roots in Barcelona. Pablo Picasso actually spent his formative years in Barcelona and studied at its School of Fine Arts.
Fact 44: The most famous festival in Barcelona is the Fiestas de La Mercè. Held in honor of Mare de Deu de la Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona, the celebration is held in September and lasts for around 5 days.
Facts About Barcelona Food
Fact 45: Currently, there are 26 Michelin star restaurants in Barcelona. Some of these popular Michelin-star restaurants are the Roca Moo, Lasarte, Àbac, Angle, Moments, and Enoteca, to name a few.
Fact 46: Contrary to popular belief, paella was not originated in Barcelona. This famous Spanish dish was actually invented in Valencia, Eastern Spain.
Fact 47: Barcelona is known for its tapas culture, where small plates of various dishes are shared among friends and family. This tradition encourages socializing, exploring different flavors, and creating a convivial atmosphere.
Fact 48: Traditional Catalan dishes include pa amb tomàquet (bread rubbed with tomato and olive oil), botifarra (Catalan sausage), and calçots (grilled spring onions).
Fact 49: Barcelona’s food markets are a food lover’s paradise. The most famous is La Boqueria, located just off La Rambla. These bustling markets offer a colorful array of fresh produce, local delicacies, spices, and more.
Fact 50: Barcelona has its own unique dessert called crema catalana, which is similar to crème brûlée. However, the city is also famous for another sweet treat called xuixos. These delectable pastries are filled with crema catalana or other sweet fillings and are a must-try for dessert enthusiasts.
Fact 51: Cava, a sparkling wine similar to Champagne, is produced in the nearby region of Penedès. Barcelona has embraced cava as its celebratory drink of choice, and you’ll find it widely available throughout the city for toasting special occasions.
What’s interesting about Barcelona?
Barcelona’s blend of history, art, architecture, vibrant culture, culinary delights, and its dynamic city life make it an endlessly fascinating destination.
What is an extra fact about Barcelona?
5 fun facts about Barcelona, Spain:
- Barcelona is the largest city on the Mediterranean Sea and the second largest city in Spain.
- Barcelona has been voted the “Best Beach City” in the world.
- Barcelona is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- Barcelona’s beaches are artificial.
- Barcelona is one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities.
What is Barcelona famous for?
Barcelona is famous for its stunning architecture, rich history and culture, sun-kissed beaches, and tantalizing cuisine.