Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of 101.4 km2 (39 sq mi). The urban area of Barcelona extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of between 4,200,000 and 4,500,000 within an area of 803 km2 (310 sq mi), being the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, the Ruhr, Madrid and Milan. About five millionpeoples live in the Barcelona metropolitan area. It is also Europe’s largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the main component of an administrative area of Greater Barcelona, with a population of 3,218,071 in an area of 636 km² (density 5,060 hab/km²). It is located on the Mediterranean coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs and is bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola ridge (512 m/1,680 ft).
Founded as a Roman city, Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona became one of the most important cities of the Crown of Aragon. Besieged several times during its history, Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean is located in Barcelona. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions, including the 1888 Exposición Universal de Barcelona, the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition (Expo 1929), the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures, and the 2004 World Urban Forum.
Barcelona is today one of the world’s leading tourist, economic, trade fair/exhibitions and cultural-sports centres, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities. Indeed, it is a major cultural and economic centre in southwestern Europe (Iberian Peninsula), 26th in the world (after Moscow, before Dubai) and a growing financial centre (Diagonal Mar and Gran Via). As of 2009 it was ranked Europe’s fourth best city for business. One of Europe’s principal Mediterranean ports can be found here as well as Barcelona international airport, which handles above 34 million passengers per year. It also boasts an extensive motorway network and is a hub of high-speed rail, particularly that which is intended to link Spain with France and the rest of Europe.
Barcelona is the 16th-most-visited city in the world and the fourth most visited in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome, with several million tourists every year. Barcelona is the 14th most “livable city” in the world according to lifestyle magazine Monocle. Similarly, according to Innovation Analysts 2thinknow, Barcelona occupies 13th place in the world on Innovation Cities™ Global Index. It is the fourth richest city by GDP in the European Union and 35th in the world with an output amounting to €177 billion, a figure nonetheless smaller than alternative estimates. Consequently, its GDP per capita output stands at €39,859 – some 44% higher than the European Union average and GDP per head is €80,894 according to Eurostat. Similarly, the city of Barcelona stands in 29th place in a list of net personal earnings headed by Zurich. As of 2009 the city was ranked Europe’s third and one of the world’s most successful as a city brand. Barcelona is the seventh most important fashion capital in the world. At the same time, the city was ranked Europe’s fourth best business city and fastest improving European city, with growth improved by 17% per year. Barcelona, among world centers of commerce takes second place in economic stability.
As the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, Barcelona is the seat of the Catalan government, known as the Generalitat de Catalunya; of particular note are the executive branch, the parliament, and the Supreme Court of Catalonia. The city is also the capital of the Province of Barcelona and the Barcelonès comarca (district).
Where to eat in Barcelona
In this “Best restaurants in Barcelona” we try to help you choose between our favourite restaurants.. Not all but the ones we like the most.
You can find also in our directory: restaurants sorted by type like: Catalan, Tapas, Mediterranean, Nouvelle cuisine, Fish and seafood…
Remember that lunch is served from 2pm until 4pm and dinner from 9pm to 11pm. Restaurants in Barcelona are often closed on Sunday nights.
Dining Guide of Barcelona
This is our ranking of some of the best restaurants in Barcelona.
All of them have that little more that makes the difference even though they are not the most expensive of Barcelona (never the less.
Dos Palillos Restaurant
Dos Palillos or when traditional spanish tapas get inspired by delicate savors of Asia…
Albert Raurich has been working at El Bulli from 1997 to 2007 where he was head chief for the last 6 years of his journey with Ferran Adrià … That is to say that he knows quite well about cuisine inspiration and innovation…
At Dos Palillos the chef decided to get his inspiration from the far east cuisine, that is mostly from Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam. And what an inspiration!!
Imagine Asian savors married with Spanish traditional tapas and products like seafoods, fish, fresh vegetables of the market, prown, tuna, meat…
Imagine now tempura, raw dishes, woked dishes, steamed dishes, grilled dishes..
Albert Raurich’s tapas are pure creativity and grace..
We loved fresh seaweed sunomono with molluscs, Japanese burger, meat Gyoza,Cantonese style Iberian pork, prawn steamed dumpling..
two degustation menus at 55 and 75€ but they prefer to say one hour and half menu or two hours menu..
Lunchtime menu fr. 20€
In the brand new and beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the table on everyone’s lips is with no doubt: Moments.
The Chef Carme Ruscalleda and her son Raül Balam are revisiting Catalan recipes and even inventing the first anti-aging menu of Barcelona..
On the Catalan side of the menu you will discover totally renewed classical dishes like Arroz caldoso de gamba con picada de pescador (rice dish with broth) – Fricandó (veal stew) and suquet (fish stew) – Shrimp Tartar– Seabass with fig chutney and hibiscus salt – Veal Cheeks with turnip vegetable ravioli and red fruits..
A delight and lot of imagination!!
But even more visionary and trendy: a “anti-aging” menu where the food chosen by Carme Ruscalleda and Dr. Manuel Sanchez – head of the Anti-aging Unit Clinic Planas- , specialist in the anti-age treatments, conceal only the most miraculous properties to preserve an “iron constitution”.
In this menu, mini pizza pies with artichokes and the Joselito ham, or macaroni with buckwheat accompanied by scallops and vegetables… a great idea!
A very chic venue already awarded by a Michelin Star in 2011..
Arola restaurant in Barcelona is located on the second floor of the luxury Hotel Arts.
One comes there for its brand new pop design, its beautiful terrace in front of Frank Gehry’s giant wale and great live music set with local DJs.
Catalan chef Sergi Arola is a rising star of Spain’s culinary world. Disciple of Ferran Adrià and Pierre Gagnaire, Sergi Arola offers here a fine “menú degustación pica-pica » that is a selection of tapas:
Patatas “Bravas de Arola”, fritas y rellenas de salsa picante y recubiertas de alioli – A “Tartar de Filet Mignon con infusión de soja y jenjibre” .. And many others hot and cold surprises.
This testing menu of tapas is at 50€
But you can also have main courses “A la carte” that bring you to an upper level of the dexterity of the head chef with:
Lubina (sea bass) asada , emulsión de berros , cebolleta y pimienta rosa (28€) – Lomo de ternera perfumado en brasas, cereales y jugo ligero de setas (28€)…
A well-stocked cellar offers over 900 wines..
Passasis del Pep Restaurant
No menu at Passadís del Pep but everyday a new selection of beautifully presented dishes, mostly seafood, certainly the best ones in Barcelona!!
Whatever is most fresh that day is what you get. Last time we were there, we had something like 7 or 8 dishes: clams, few kind of prawns, gambas, sea snail, squid, fried and crispy anchovies..
That is before to have to choose the mean dish: “carne o pescado”??
Take a fish this is the place for.
We forgot to tell you that usually you will drink Cava (the local Champagne).. A lot of Cava..
The place is known to be really hard to find – down a tiny passageway (a passadis) – but it’s part of the pleasure to finally find a great “table”.
Can Valles Restaurant
As you are walking down Aragó street, next to Rocafort, suddenly you find a restaurant called Can Vallès.
One might think that he has bumped into another Barcelona‘s bar, and here comes the big mistake. This restaurant with, at first gland, simple appearance, has a lot to show us.
The quality, detail and care of the dishes is equivalent to the outstanding restaurants in the city. Recipes made with the best products on the market.
Some dishes: chickpeas with lobster, pork feet cannelloni, fresh seafood, meat served on a hot stone, fresh salads and some very nice tapas!
The desserts…? Try the cheesecake or chocolate cake with cinnamon ice cream.
And.. the best wines selection!
Do not forget to book in advance as this is a small but very popular place .
Ranging from colourful tapas bars , outdoor cafés, chocolaterias, it also has a uniquely wide range of bars: coctelerías (cocktail bars), whiskerias (often singles bars with professional escorts), xampanyerias (Catalan cava, sparkling wine bars), and beer halls. Most stay open until about 2:30am, some even later..
Barcelona has more bars, cafés and late night haunts per capita than any other city in the world…
In this “Best nightlife of Barcelona” we try to help you find best clubs, disco, bars, cafés, .. Not all but the ones we like the most.
You can find also in our directory: all the clubs and all the bars sorted by type like: Tapas bars, Cocktails bars and more…
Remember that nightlife in Barcelona starts around 10pm for bars, midnight for clubs. Bars closed around 2am in week days and 3am during the week end. Clubs almost never stop in Barcelona: let’s say around 6am..;-)
Remember that nightlife in Barcelona starts around 10pm for bars, midnight for clubs. Bars closed around 2am in week days and 3am during the week end.
Clubs almost never stop in Barcelona : let’s say around 6am..;-)
Barcelona is an extremely practical city to make shopping, all is concentrated there in the center and the historical city. The Women fashion is particularly well represented, by the famous brands which all have a store in Barcelona, but also with the young creators increasingly present. The man will find what easily full its travel ‘bags, the gourmets as well. Finally we created a file on interior’ design and decoration stores because Barcelona is a city very known in this field.
Thing to know:
Opening times: most of the shops and shopping centers are open from 10.00 (10am) to 20.30 (8:30pm) or 21.30 hours (9:30pm). Traditional shops open from 10.00 (10am) to 14.00 hours (2pm) and from 16.30(4:30pm) to 20.30 hours (8:30pm)
Sales: the winter sales generally begin in the second week of January and last until the end of February and the summer sales begin on 1st July and last until the end of August.
How to pay: most people pay in cash or with a credit card, when you must show your passport or identity card.
Tax Free: residents from outside the European Union may have their Value Added Tax (VAT) returned for purchases of more than €90.15.
For sun worshippers, Barcelona is just what you’re looking for! It’s coastline stretches for 4.5km and offers the tourists a wide variety of excellent beaches. The most popular beaches among our visitors include Barceloneta, Mar Bella, Nova Icaria and Bogatell.
Barceloneta is probably the closest beach to the city and the easiest way to get to this beach is by catching the yellow line metro. Walking from the city takes about 20 minutes. Barceloneta is a wide long beach full of restaurants, which are mostly American style and bars.
The Nova Icaria beach is quite close to the Olympic Marina and is full with fantastic beachside bars and restaurants. If you are visiting this beach, make sure the sample the cuisine in Mango and Chiringuito restaurants.
Bathing Season Calendar
The Barcelona beach season usually goes between March 15th and November 15th when all installations and facilities are dismanteled, being the high season from 31st May to 28th September
Mar Bella Beach is a must for those you like watersports. Here you’ll enjoy the windsurfing, kayaks and hobie cats. Bogatell Beach is actually twice the size of Nova Icaria and is a haven for rollerbladers, cyclists and joggers. This is a more tranquil area and does not have a lot of bars and restaurants.
All the Barcelona beaches are kitted out people with disabilities, sun beds and lifeguards and all the beaches are well maintained.