Plan your trip carefully before you arrive in Barcelona with the ultimate “Before you Arrive Guide”.
We sometimes get to our destination without really knowing about it. Instead, we make decisions based on the weather, the main attractions or our personal interests. Am I right?
That’s why we decided to write a “Before you Arrive Guide”.
Before you Arrive – Location
Barcelona is on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea. Catalonia is one of the 17 autonomous communities in Spain. The capital of Catalonia is Barcelona. The other communities in Catalonia are Girona (Costa Brava), Tarragona (Costa Daurada) and Lleida.
Barcelona has 1,62 million inhabitants and the whole of Catalonia has 7,51 million. The Mediterranean climate has mild winters, hot summers and rainy autumns and springs.
In Catalonia people speak Catalan but also Spanish and sometimes English. Barcelona is so multicultural that everyone can communicate somehow. Locals refer to Barcelona as “Barna” or “BCN” for short but never Barça as that’s the nickname for F.C Barcelona. Finally, Catalonia’s government is called La Generalitat.
Barcelona is the 4th smartest city in Europe and the 5th city in the world to have a goof quality of life. It’s also the 20th-most-visited city in the world and the 5th in Europe. Moreover, it hosts 9 World Heritage UNESCO sites. Some of them are Palau Güell, Sagrada Família, La Pedrera, Casa Battló, the Crypt of Colonia Güell or Palau de la Música Catalana.
Culture and Traditions
Catalonia has its own identity, traditions and culture and it’s certainly different from the rest of Spain.
Barcelona celebrates its biggest festivity La Mercè on the 24th of September. It’s the patron saint of Barcelona and it’s become a well-known celebration among locals and tourists. There’s a full program of activities during 4 days.
The Catalan National Day, also known as Diada, is on the 11th of September. Saint George is on the 23rd of April and it’s Catalonia’s patron saint. It’s similar to “Saint Valentine’s Day”. Moreover, Castellers are the human towers which are quite entertaining.
Other Catalan traditions are the Correfoc, with music, fire and giant beasts performing on the street. And finally, elderly people dance Sardana on a Sunday or on special dates.
Catalans usually start work at around 9AM until 2PM. Then, they have an hour break and they return to work at 3PM until 6PM (it can vary). Retail shops often stay open from 10AM to 8PM, although they close on Sundays.
Partying in Spain and in Catalonia is quite the same. Party starts at 11PM and usually ends at 6AM. Try the after-party breakfast (churros and chocolate) in a Cafe.
Restaurants are usually open from 12 o’clock. However, Catalans have their food a bit later, around 2PM or even 3PM on a Sunday. It’s a common mistake to think that paella is an authentic Catalan dish as it’s actually from Valencia. Some of the typical Catalan dishes are: pa amb tomàquet (bread with spread tomato), escalivada (salad made with peppers, aubergines and other vegetables), botifarra amb mongetes (big sausage and beans) or the crema catalana (a delicious dessert made with custard).