Home to 1.6 million people, Barcelona is one of the most visited and vibrant cities in Europe as well as in the world. Every year, about 6 million tourists from all over the world come to visit this amazing Spanish city. The first associations that usually come to people´s mind when you ask them about Barcelona are the famous soccer club that resides in the city and the iconic landmark Sagrada Familia. Nevertheless, there are hundreds – if not thousands – of other great things that make “Barca” a truly unique and special place to visit and live. The proud capital city of the autonomous Spanish community of Catalonia, Barcelona is one of the world’s leading centers in a number of industries including economy, trade fairs, commerce, tourism, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, sports, architecture, culture, arts and so much more. For today´s post, we did a bit of research about this wonderful city and compiled a list with 25 Reasons Why Barcelona Is A Great Place To Live. Warning: After reading this post, you might start to feel an urgent need to move to Barcelona…don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Let us start out with one of the most important reasons why living in Barcelona is such a pleasure: The great Mediterranean climate. With warm temperatures nearly all year round, clear sky and almost 2,600 hours of sunshine annually, Barcelona usually makes its residents happy just with its beautiful weather.
As Barcelona is located right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, it is not surprising that the city has long miles of great beaches. If you find the city´s most popular beaches such as La Barceloneta too crowded for you, hop on a train and after a short ride, you can enjoy some peace and quiet in nice sleepy beach towns like Sant Pol de Mar.
It is no secret that Barcelona is gastronomes´ paradise. With thousands of excellent restaurants to be found in the city, Barcelona particularly stands out when it comes to seafood. Based on the Mediterranean diet, the Catalan cuisine is delicious and healthy at the same time.
One of the greatest way to explore Barcelona is on a bike. Featuring a dense network of bike lanes and fleets, the city is also famous for “Bicing” – a bicycle sharing system adopted in 2007. Its purpose is to cover small and medium daily routes within the city in a climate-friendly way, eliminating the pollution, roadway noise, and traffic congestion.
If you are not a fan of cycling, you can use local public transport to discover the city. Barcelona has very reliable and comprehensive public transport with metro, buses, trams, trains and cable cars covering almost every corner of the city. Just the renowned Barcelona Metro itself comprises of 11 different lines that will get you pretty much everywhere.
Barcelona is a real heaven for all architecture fans. Combining breathtaking gothic structures with magnificent modern buildings, the city is known to be the hometown of Antoni Gaudí, one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. Gaudí´s fascinating architectural wonders can be admired almost all over the city.
If there is one stunning piece of architecture that deserves our special attention, it is the iconic landmark of Barcelona – Sagrada Familia. Having been under construction since as early as 1882, this monumental Roman Catholic Church combines Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. The Gaudí´s masterpiece is scheduled to be finished in 2026.
Apart from Sagrada Familia, there is one more thing that has made Barcelona famous all over the world. It is the local soccer (football) club FC Barcelona. The club is one of the most supported, successful, valuable and richest sport teams in the world. 23-time Spanish champions, “Barca” just keep millions of their fans all over the world happy. Visca el Barca!
Football is not the only sport enjoyed by the Barcelonans. They also enjoy table tennis. There are over a hundred of outdoor ping-pong tables scattered all over Barcelona, ready for you and your friends.
Las Ramblas is about 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long boulevard in the heart of Barcelona connecting Plaça de Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Fringed with trees on both sides and brimming with shops, kiosks, cafes and restaurants, this iconic street is generally considered the most vibrant and lively part of Barcelona.
Catalonia is blessed with diverse, fertile soils and a warm climate; perfect conditions for wine-making. It is therefore not surprising that Barcelona hosts a variety of delicious wines and hundreds of little, family-run wineries.
Visible from almost any place in Barcelona, Tibidabo is–at 512 meters (1,680 feet)–the highest point in the city. Dominated by the Sagrat Cor Church that resembles a magical castle, the peak affords spectacular views over the city and the surrounding coastline.
New York City is usually referred to as the “city that never sleeps”, but Barcelona also ranks very high when it comes to a dynamic and hoping nightlife. From Las Ramblas to the Gothic Quarter and Raval, all of the central neighborhoods have their own nightlife style with music clubs, bars, pubs and a host of dance parties.
Barcelona boasts of 68 enormous municipal parks, of which 12 are historic parks, 5 are thematic (botanical) parks, 45 are urban parks and 6 are forest parks. Barcelona´s most famous park is the Park Güell, a public park system composed of gardens and architectonic elements. Designed by Gaudí, the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
Celebrated in late September since 1687, La Merce is an annual festival to observe the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. During this long week festival, there are about 600 events spread throughout the plazas, streets, museums, and parks of Barcelona, attracting almost 2 million visitors every year.
La Merce is not the only festival in Barcelona. Every March 3, for instance, the neighborhood of Gracia celebrates Sant Medir, festival fondly known in Catalan as “la festa més dolça” – “the sweetest festival”. During the festival´s parade, 60 tons of sweets are given away to local children.
In Barcelona, street art can be seen literally in every corner and it is much more than just painted walls. In some areas, even the store shutters and other suitable objects are transformed into colorful and vibrant art pieces. It is in Raval and Gotico where the most elaborate and impressive graffiti and urban paintings can be found.
Opened in 2005 by then Spanish King Juan Carlos I, Torre Agbar is a 38-story skyscraper located between Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer Badajoz in eastern Barcelona. Currently the fourth highest building in the city, the tower quickly became another architectural icon of Barcelona. At night, the tower creates a spectacular light display.
Barcelona has a great number of museums, which cover different areas and eras. From the National Museum of Art of Catalonia and Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art to the Barcelona Maritime Museum, the Erotic Museum and even the FC Barcelona Museum, the city has a museum for everybody.
With El Prat, one of the busiest airports in the world, located just 12 km (7.5 mi) southwest of the centre of Barcelona, the city is conveniently located for trips to/from other major European cities. In less than two hours, you can be in Paris, London, or Rome and the prices are great too – they start as low as a few Euros (or dollars).
As we already mentioned, Barcelona is mainly fueled by wine but if you are a beer person, you can get your favorite drink here as well. Though technically illegal and occasionally cracked down upon, the “Cerveza-Beer” vendors sell cheap beer (about 1 EUR/1 USD) almost everywhere – whether you’re picnicking in the park, lounging on the beach, or wandering in downtown.
Unique Christmas tradition
Christmas time in Barcelona is fun. Apart from common Christian traditions, the Catalans have something really special. Translated as “the crapper”, caganer is a figurine depicted as a peasant with traditional Catalan cap and with his trousers down and defecating. These bizarre figurines can often be seen in Bethlehems and Nativity scenes.
Despite being a large cosmopolitan city with 1.6 million inhabitants, Barcelona is a relatively safe place. In the most touristy areas, pick-pocketing might be quite common (so you better watch out for your wallet and other valuables) but serious and violent crimes are very rare in this city.
Held every June at the Plaza Espanya, Sonar is a popular three-day electronic and advanced music festival. Founded in 1994, the festival has been constantly growing, attracting masses of music fans from all over the world. In 2015, the festival received almost 120,000 visitors.
If you get tired of all the parties, festivals and city bustle, hop in a car a head north-east. In less than an hour, you will be at Costa Brava, one of Spain´s best seaside areas, famous for its excellent beaches and breathtaking landscapes. A stone´s throw away, just across the Spain-France borders, you will also find the renowned French Riviera.