Barcelona is today one of the world’s leading touristic, economic, trade fair-exhibitions and cultural-sports centers. It influences over commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts and this all contributes to its status as one of the world’s major global cities.
The city is well-known as one of the most livable ones in the world. It is also one of the most visited places in the world as well as it ranks as the fourth most visited city in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome, with several million tourists annually. The city tourist offer is extensive and various including a great number of points of interest, touristic sites, specific cuisine and 4.5-km coastline.
Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí i Cornet who was a Spanish Catalan architect born in Reus and a leader of Catalan Modernism stream.
One of his masterpieces and for sure, the most remarkable symbol of Barcelona is the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family or La Sagrada Família (http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/). Its construction commenced in 1882. Gaudí became involved in 1883 taking over the project and changing its initially approved design radically. An anticipated completion date of La Sagrada Família is 2026 – the centennial of Gaudí’s death.
Another work and maybe the most emblematic one of the brilliant Catalan architect is Casa Batlló (http://www.casabatllo.es/en/) built between 1904 and 1906 in the heart of Passeig de Gràcia. Gaudí gave Casa Batlló a facade that is original, fantastic and full of imagination. In 2002 Casa Batlló opened its doors to the public, and the initiative was met with a great success. In 2005 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located in the city of Barcelona, the Park Güell (http://www.parkguell.es/en/portada) is one of the most beautiful icons of the city and is another work of Gaudí. It’s a fantastic garden complex surrounded by modernist works.
Las Ramblas is the most famous landmark in central Barcelona that is popular with tourists and locals alike. It is a pedestrian street full of souvenir shops and living statues in the heart of the city that stretches at a distance of 1.2 kilometers. The central boulevard ends at the Christopher Columbus Monument at the Vell Port. The monument was built in honor to Columbus first voyage to the Americas and the great explorer was depicted stretching his hand right and pointing towards the New World while holding a scroll in the left.
Port Vell (http://www.marinaportvell.com/) commences at the end of Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, by the Columbus Monument and is really a pleasant strolling promenade with many great leisure activities the biggest attractions being L’Aquàrium de Barcelona and Museu d’Historia de Catalunya (History Museum of Catalonia). L’Aquàrium de Barcelona (http://www.aquariumbcn.com/AQUARIUM/?wlang=en) is one of the largest in Europe and a nice family attraction both for locals and tourists. The aquarium boasts 8000 sea species, including sharks, rays and octopuses. Museu d’Historia de Catalunya (http://www.en.mhcat.cat/ ) tells the story of Catalonia chronologically, spanning an era from pre-history to the present day.
Last but not least, Camp Nou (http://www.fcbarcelona.com/camp-nou) stadium has become an obligatory stop for visitors to the city. It has been the home of FC Barcelona since 1957. It explains the history of the football club and makes its visitors understand the values that make Barça “més que un club” – “ more than a club”.