Barcelona is a city that is full of new and exciting surprises every time you visit. We all know of the fascinating art history of the city and its many landmarks, sports and beaches.
There’s so much to discover about the city, that most people don’t just stop at one trip to the city. To give you a head start on all of the treasures you can find in the city, let us share some surprising facts about Barcelona that we’re sure you won’t know!
The beaches are artificial!
Until the Olympic Games in 1992, there were no beaches in Barcelona! The Olympic Games brought about a lot of renovations and transformations to the city. The most significant alteration to the city was the creation of two miles of beachfront using sand imported all the way from Egypt.
Barcelona now has 4.5km of sandy beaches that attract an abundance of tourists each year, lined with many bars, restaurants, and shops. It’s also a popular spot for runners and cyclists along the promenade, Passeig Marítim.
The Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe
Barcelona Football Club’s stadium, the Camp Nou, is the biggest stadium in the whole of Europe. Barça is one of the most celebrated football clubs in the world, with supporters from far and wide.
It has a capacity of almost 100,000 people, which makes for the most incredible atmosphere on match days. There is also a museum at the Camp Nou, where you can take a guided tour of the stadium, behind the scenes to see all the magnificent trophies that the club has won.
Barcelona has 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Barcelona has a large variety of wonderful landmarks, and a whopping nine of which have been bestowed with the honour of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The accolade recognises unique, significant landmarks, and legally protects them by international treaties.
The World Heritage Sites in Barcelona include: the Sagrada Familia, Palau de la Música Catalana, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, Hospital de Sant Pau, La Pedrera, Palau Güell, the Crypt of Colonia Güell, and Casa Vicens. Any and all of these sights are well worth a visit when you next come to Barcelona!
There are 12 abandoned ghost metro stations
Barcelona is home to Spain’s second largest railway network, offering some of the best public transportation in the world. The first lines were constructed in 1924, and the network has changed and expanded multiple times since then. Because of this, there are now multiple hidden metro stations deep beneath the city!
There are 12 metro stations that are no longer in use, so make sure to keep your eye out on lines 2 or 5 to catch a glimpse of some metro stations from decades ago that haven’t seen a soul since. Some passengers claim to have seen mysterious ghostly figures even waiting for the train…
The city has 68 parks
Over 11% of Barcelona is made up of parks and gardens, meaning there’s always somewhere to escape to nature nearby. Our favourite recommendations for parks include the Parc de la Ciutadella, Park Güell and the Olympic Park.
Barcelona also has the largest metropolitan park in the world, the Parc de Collserolla. With an area of 84.65km2, it’s an enormous 22 times larger than New York’s Central Park!
Barcelona has two official languages
Although Barcelona is part of Spain, it is also the capital of Catalonia. Catalan is a language that is widely spoken across Catalonia and other parts of Spain, such as Valencia and the Balearic Islands. It is an entirely separate language to Spanish rather than being a dialect.
The majority of Catalonians speak Catalan, so it’s often that you will hear it spoken in the streets. Many signs and restaurants will be written in Catalan too, but no need to worry, as there are lots of English speakers in Barcelona too.
The Sagrada Familia took longer to complete than the Egyptian Pyramids
The Sagrada Familia is still under construction, after over 135 years of building work! That’s more time than it is believed that the Pyramids took to be assembled. The original finishing date was destined for 2026, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the finishing date has been pushed back indefinitely.
There are 22 Michelin starred restaurants
Barcelona is a foodie’s paradise, with a fantastic array of restaurants and cuisines from all over the world. For fine dining, it is a paradise. There are currently 22 Michelin starred restaurants in Barcelona, offering breathtaking tasting menus of culinary delights.
One of our favourites is the highly impressive Disfrutar restaurant, which boasts a double Michelin star. Its chefs were crowned the best in Spain in 2020!
Barcelona created world book day
St George’s Day, known in Catalan as La Diada de Sant Jordi, is an important holiday in Catalonia. It is a day in which couples, lovers and friends exchange books and roses among one another. Stalls are set up all over the city selling the roses and books for people to buy and share with loved ones.
UNESCO loved the idea of this so much that they declared the 23rd of April World Book and Copyright day since 1995.
It is home to the most expensive street in Spain
The Passeig de Gràcia is an avenue that cuts through the heart of the Eixample district of Barcelona. It is a luxurious street lined with high-end fashion brands such as Prada, Dior and Chanel, as well as Modernist architecture that brings the street to life.
With extravagant 5-star hotels, spas and sky-high real estate prices, it is one of the hottest pieces of land to get your hands on in Europe. It is the most expensive street in the whole of Spain, well worth a visit to marvel in its extravagance!