"Here in Barcelona, it's the architects who built the buildings that made the city iconic who are the objects of admiration — not a bunch of half-witted monarchs." — Julie Burchill, "Patriotism is for Reactionaries," The Guardian, 2012

Cities > Barcelona Travel Guide:

2023 Travel Update: As of 2023, Spain essentially is open for tourism by both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers without Covid-specific documentation or testing. However, be sure to double check the official government site for up-to-the minute details.

Barcelona, Catalonia — the showpiece capital of the autonomous and independently minded Catalan community nestled in the northeast corner of Spain — is heralded widely as an architect's dream city.

Left tattered by the Spanish Civil War, WWII, anarchy, and deindustralization, Barcelona largely was underappreciated by tourists until the 1992 Olympic Games. The Olympics provided the incentive not only to restore the city to its former glory but also to launch a wave of improvement to transit and walkability that continue to this day. Architects often admire and draw inspiration from Barcelona's recent enhancements almost as much as its classic structures.

Now one of the most popular European cities for tourists — often trailing only London, Paris, and Rome in annual visitors — Barcelona is loved in part because it offers tourists at least three distinct, quality urban experiences. These experiences include a charming, small-scale, medieval-era labyrinth; an expansive, orderly street grid with tree-lined sidewalks flanked by unique early 20th century Modernisme architecture; and a walkable, modern beach resort on the Mediterranean — all stitched together by a respectable metro system and plenty of great walking streets. On a sunny day (and Barcelona has an abundance of sunny days), it is easy to see why the city is so popular.

Although Barcelona is not an inexpensive destination, the Euro remains relatively weak compared to other global currencies, and has found that the city still can be a solid value for the savvy traveler. Read on to make the most of your voyage...