Why You Should Visit Barcelona

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities. Every time I go, I fall in love a little more and I thought that I would share with you just why this city is so awesome.
Watch some of my trip here: Best Views Of Barcelona

 

 


 

First of all, it is beautiful.

 

From the stunning beaches, to the incredible Gaudi architecture and narrow cobbled streets that line the Gothic Quarter, in the “Ciutat Vella” (old city to anyone who doesn’t speak Catalan). In whichever direction you care to glance, Barcelona truly is a feast for the eyes. A city full of art and culture, just waiting to be explored. The best part about its beauty is that it is entirely free. Sure, you can pay to venture inside Sagrada Familia, or Casa Battló but if you just want to wander around in the sunshine soaking in the ambience and beauty from the outside, it won’t cost you a penny.

Casa Batlló

 

Barcelona, or Barcino as it was known to the Romans, is steeped in history.

It is one of the few cities that I have visited where there are two main languages being spoken simultaneously. You will hear both Catalan and Spanish whilst in the city, however most of the conversation you overhear will be in Catalan. This can be confusing for travellers, and to understand Barcelona’s present, it is necessary to briefly delve into its past and the many wars of men, that have created a long standing divide.

Joan Fontcuberta's Kiss of Freedom
Mural to describe “moments of freedom” which is part of the Tercentenary celebrations to commemorate the events of 1714 in Barcelona.
“The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but it’s echo lasts a great deal longer.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

click here for the history

Barcelona is situated within a region known as Catalonia which was defined as somewhat of a separate entity with the rise of the County of Barcelona, as far back as the 11th century. In the 12th century the county was brought under the same royal rule as the neighbouring kingdom of Aragon. Catalonia then became a  part of Spain in the 15th century, when King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile married and united their individual realms.

1640-1652 saw in “The Reapers’ War” . It is said that the farmers and reapers began the revolt due to the murder of the viceroy on Corpus Christi Day, June 7th, 1640. However, there had long been tensions surrounding the burdens put upon the Catalans by the Castilian King Felipe IV, during the Spanish-French conflicts of the 30 Years War. For years the Catalans had to supply the Spanish troops stationed in Catalonia at their own expense. The Catalan national anthem Els Segadors is actually describing the revolt in 1640. The result of this war saw Catalonia become an independent republic under the protection of France in 1641, until 1651 when the siege of Barcelona began. The city fell on 11th October 1652 to Juan Jose of Austria and in January 1653 King Felipe IV confirmed the privileges of Catalonia with important limitations.

In 1701 The Spanish War Of Succession broke out (the first world war of modern times) and various countries wanted to be in control of Spain, when King Charles II died without an heir. The Catalan leaders backed the Hasburgs of Austria and after their final defeat of The Siege Of Barcelona (yes there have been many!), on 11th September 1714, the Principality of Catalonia as a political entity ended and it’s institutions and legislation were replaced by Castilian (Spanish) ones.

The defeat during 11th September is celebrated today as Diada Nacional de Catalunya– The National Day of Catalonia

The 19th century saw a renewed sense of Catalan identity and campaigns were launched for political autonomy and separatism. During this time period there was also an effort to revive Catalan which had long been in decline, as a language of literature.

Spain became a republic in 1931 and in 1932 Catalonia was given the autonomy it so desired. This however, did not last for long due to the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War. During the Civil war Catalonia was a Republican stronghold and when Barcelona fell to General Francisco Franco’s forces in 1939, autonomy was revoked, Catalan nationalism repressed and the use of the Catalan language very much restricted.

Following the death of Franco in 1975, a very large and peaceful demonstration was seen on 11th September 1977,  when over 1 million people filled the Passeig de Gracia to protest once again for autonomy. This autonomous status was granted in 1979.

Today Catalonia has it’s own parliament and executive, known as the “Generalitat” in Catalan. Since the economic decline of Spain beginning in 2008, due to the Eurozone crisis, pressure has been building for Catalonia to gain full independence. Whether this will happen in the future, remains to be seen.

You can read more here, here, here, here and here!<– sources that were used in this article.

close history

As you can see from all of the above, there is a huge amount of history to Barcelona and it is extremely interesting to see how the wars over the centuries, have shaped the city into what we experience today.

Let’s take a moment to move away from the serious and sombre history, to appreciate something that many people love about Barcelona.

The Food!

You are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking in Barcelona. Whether you are after something sweet from a bakery such as Caelum in the Barrio Gotico part of the city, or want to relax and sample delicious Tapas at a street side restaurant, you will not be disappointed. In my most recent visit we had lunch at a restaurant called Sagardi and I tried mouth watering Pinchos for the first time (pictured below). For four Pinchos and a glass of wine I paid €11, which compared to London prices is an absolute bargain! If you want a sweet treat in the late afternoon I highly recommend getting yourself some Churros con Chocolate, you won’t regret it!

Pinchos at Sagardi

 

Navigating the city is extremely easy and you can walk to most places.

For things a little further out you can use the metro or the buses, which are reliable and not too heavy on the budget. A ticket for 10 metro journeys in the city centre (T10) can be bought for €9.95 and you can also use it on the buses. If you are travelling with a friend, you are able to share the one ticket. I actually recommend getting lost in Barcelona as it is an amazing city to do so, although as always, be careful in terms of safety.

 

You will never be bored in Barcelona.

With its huge array of museums, historical buildings, beaches, incredible views, shops, and food and drink scene, you are doing something wrong if you find yourself twiddling your thumbs. Some of my personal favourite places to visit are:

The Gothic Quarter

Roman Aqueduct Barcelona

Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella Barcelona

Tibidabo (at sunset)

Tibidabo at sunset Barcelona

Mount Tibidabo

Parc Güell

Parc Guell Gaudi
Parc Guell

Font Màgica and Plaça d’Espanya

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Font Màgica and Plaça d'Espanya

 

 

I hope this has shed a little light on why I love this city so much. It really is somewhere that sings to my soul and I hope that I have inspired you to plan your own to trip to this beautiful place. There will be further articles coming soon, with more detail on budget and places to go.

Happy travels to you all,

Han xoxo

 

Share this tasty morsel!

About The Author

Hannah

Creative unicorn ninja; Travel vlogger/blogger. Green tea enthusiast and lover of dance and art. Currently be found back in England planning the next adventure! Southeast Asia Odyssey coming very soon!

Where I can be found: UK

Share this tasty morsel!