Introduction to Barcelona

From the Romans to modern time

Barcelona has approximately 3 million inhabitants (1,6 million inhabitants in the city centre), and is located in the Western part of the Mediterranean Sea. The city was founded by the Romans 12 BC, but it is not until the late Middle Ages that the city starts to grow and to be an important city in the Mediterranean area.

In the 13th and 14th century, Barcelona began its heyday as capital of the Kingdom of Aragon-Catalonia, and the Kingdom took a dominant role in Europe. In recent times, the city and the region around it (Catalonia) has experienced a "renaissance", triggered by the World Expositions (1888 and 1929) and the Olympic Games held in Barcelona in 1992.


For visitors, Barcelona is a marvellous city and has much to offer: the city's history comes alive in the many museums in the city centre (Museum of the history of the city) and its Gothic Quarter. But we also recommend to see the citys modern architecture.

- Read more about our Walking Tour in the Gothic Quarter

- Read more about our Modern Architecture Tour

Moreover, Barcelonas has both beaches and mountains. For the gastronomy lovers, Barcelonas has many gourmet restaurants  - many excellent restarants with 1, 2 and 3 Michelin Stars - but you can also find a great variety of less expensive restaurants where you can 3-dish meal for just around 10-12 € including a drink. Barcelona's many offers to tourists is one of the main explanations for the city's popularity today.

Just outside Barcelona, you will be able to visit a wide variety of beautiful wine regions with many different types of wines. The Penedes region, 45 minutes' drive west from Barcelona, is known for its many excellent cava producers, as well as the world known winery Bodegas Torres. Alella is a tiny wine region less than 30 minutes' drive north of Barcelona that produce high quality cava and white wine. And in Priorat and Montsant, you will be able to taste some of Spain's very best red wine.

- Read more about our Wine & Gastronomy Tour

The gothic Quarter in Barcelona
The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona

From the world fairs to the Olympic Games

One of the reasons why Barcelona had such great success organizing the Olympic Games is thatthe city had celebrated huge events several times over the last hundred years, including the two world exhibition in Barcelona, respectively the one in 1888 and in 1929.

Plaza España and Magic Fountain
Plaza España was changed for the second world exhibition in Barcelona, held in 1929. In the image you can see the National Palace and the Magic Fountain

During the first world exhibition held in 1888, a new architecture, modernism (modernismo in Spanish and Moderisme in Catalan) had its break through. The most well known architect of the movement is Antoni Gaudí, but there are more than hundred architects working along the same line from 1888 to the 1920’s.

- Read more about our Antoni Gaudí's Architecture and his time

With the second World's Fair in 1929, the monumental area below the Montjuïc mountain, was building. Among the most important monuments from this period is The National Palace (which is today's Museu Nacional d'Arquitectura de Catalunya).

Antoni Gaudís Casa Batllo i Barcelona
Antoni Gaudí's Casa Batlló in Barcelona, here with evening lights.

In 1992 Barcelona held the first Olympic games in Spain ever. The infrastructure, highways, homes (more than 10,000!) were built and the beach area was renovated.

The hotels of the Olympic Games are now used by Spaniards and people from all over the world, participants of the congresses and fairs held in the city, cruise guests, etc.
ASTA - Association Society of Travel Agents
Enoturisme Penedès
Catalunya Turisme ACT
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