Sardanes

The Sardana is a type of circle dance unique to Catalonia which is believed to have originated from the Empordà region (north east of Catalonia) from where it spread to the rest of Catalonia during the nineteenth century. Despite its origin is not being completely clear – some argue it already existed in the sixteenth century – it is sure the rise of the dance took place during the Renaixença, a movement that’s main objective was to recover Catalan’s traditions and language.

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Blog @ Know The Secret

As you have probably seen visiting Know Barcelona, we really want you to see and visit some of the best places – as well as less known – in the city. We can’t keep a secret!

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Audio Guide

What better way of visiting Barcelona than with an audioguide? Forget about books, papers or leaflets; be ecological and download all the information you need to know to your mp3 player!

BARRI GÒTIC
LA RIBERA
LA MERCÈ
EL RAVAL
LES RAMBLES
L'EIXAMPLE

Top Nightclubs

If what you really want is to get the full Barcelona experience you definitely can’t miss our Top nightclubs list featuring some of the best clubs in the city! Don’t forget club’s opening times are different than in the rest of Europe, opening at midnight and closing at five and even 6 in the morning. Have fun!

RAZZMATAZZ

Address: C/ Almogàvers, 122   08018 – Barcelona                                                       Phone: (+34) 93 320 82 00

One of the most popular clubs in the city is Razzmatazz. Situated in the heart of Poble Nou, an old industrial area, this reformed warehouse has five different rooms hosting five different types of music. From indie and rock downstairs to electro and even techno, the club can pride itself in having a great programme with world renowned Djs such as Miss Kittin or Dave Clarke. Furthermore, the building also has two terraces where it is possible to smoke and chill on a summer night, away from the noise of the club. Razz is open Fridays, Saturdays and during local holidays with a ticket price of 15€ with two drinks included. For more information visit their website.

SALA APOLO

Address: C/Nou de la Rambla, 113  08004 – Barcelona                                               Phone: (+34) 93 441 40 01

Forrmer theatre Sala Apolo is known for having a really busy program of amazing parties of all styles. The club is divided into two rooms: Apolo upstairs and a smaller room downstairs, La [2]. Between them they host some of the best nights starting with Nasty Mondays and it’s pop-rock music followed by indie-electro on Crappy Tuesdays. La Boombox on Thursdays, is probably the most popular night of the week in Barcelona: a regular meeting point of indie lovers and vintage clothing fans, it has a great atmosphere that won’t disappoint you. Weekends focused on electronica with the internationally renowned Nitsa parties and amazing Djs that won’t let you stop dancing until 6am! For more information about the club you can check out their website here.

         

MOOG

Address: C/Arc del Teatre, 3  08001 – Barcelona                                                         Phone: (+34) 93 301 49 94

Despite being one of the smallest clubs in Barcelona, its reputation has made Moog respected locally and internationally, being even more popular than the much bigger Razzmatazz or Apolo. It plays great underground techno music and has a friendly atmosphere which has made the club gain fans like worldwide known Dj Jeff Mills (resident of the club until 2005), who described Moog as the best club in Spain. Inside, it has been tastefully designed with a wooden bar and dancefloor downstairs, and a much smaller room upstairs with seats on one side to relax. The club opens its doors at 12am with a 7€ entrance fee; expect massive queues to get in! For more information visit their website here.

[Pictures credit: Razzmatazz via Yadig; Apolo via Cocoon and Surf Barcelona; Moog via La Boca]

General Information

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia – Catalunya in Catalan -, a region situated in the northeast of Spain. With a population of over a million and a half, it is the second biggest city in Spain – after Madrid – and the eleventh in Europe.

The city is situated by the Mediterranean sea and is 120 Km south of the Pyrenees and the French border. It’s well placed location makes this city an important point for communications not only with Spain but also France and the rest of Europe. Its port, one of the most important in the Mediterranean, allows easy  access to other coastal countries.

Thanks again to it’s situation Barcelona has a really nice and moderate weather. The sea breeze prevent from having cold winters and cools down summers giving relatively warm temperatures.

There are two official languages in Catalonia: Catalan and Spanish, Catalan being the most used by locals. It’s important to keep in mind Catalans are particularly proud of their culture, traditions and language to such an extend that they consider Catalonia to be another country separate from Spain. Nowadays, the situation is quite difficult with Spain not letting Catalans decide about the future of their country and even trying to impose Spanish as main language and trying to take Catalan out of schools.

             

Keep in mind that lunch and dinner times are later than in the rest of Europe. Restaurants and bars normally open from 1pm to 4pm and from 8pm until 11pm even though some may open a bit earlier. Shops also have longer opening hours starting at 10am and closing between 8 and 8.30 or even 10 in shopping centers and department stores and closing all sunday except for the first Sunday of sales.

[Map of Catalonia via Google maps; Catalonias’s flag via Willtron; Sardanes picture via Bernatff]

Getting About

As in any big city, Barcelona has a wide choice of public transport that takes you nearly everywhere you want for a pretty affordable price.

METRO

Probably the most used and popular among the locals is the Metro, with nearly four thousand-million users a year. Its seven lines cover the entire city and it’s safe, easy to use and quick. There are three main stations: Plaça Catalunya, Estació de Sants and Passeig de Gràcia, from where you can take nearly any line. The standard adult price ticket is 2€ but there are other offers you should consider if you plan to use it often, such as the T10, a multi-person travel card valid for 10 journeys. The metro is open everyday from 5am to 12am, until 2am on saturdays and open all night on local holidays. More information can be found here.

BUS

The Bus can be used to go to areas not covered by the Metro. Due to the high amount of traffic in the city, it is less punctual and comfortable than the metro, reason why it has less passengers. There are numerous routes – more than the Metro has – and even a night bus service available for when the subway or train stations are closed. There is also a bus service called “Aerobus” departing every 10 minutes from Barcelona’s T2 to Plaça Catalunya or Plaça Espanya. Click here for timetables and more information.

          

Important: as any other city Barcelona also has its own touristic bus which, for the reasonable price of 24€, it will take you all around the city. It is especially worth it if your coming for a really short period of time as the bus stops at the most important touristic spots in the city. For more information you can check out their website here.

TRAIN

If what you want is to get out of the city and discover Barcelona’s surroundings the best option you have is RENFE trains. The coastal train line to Mataró/Blanes Maçanet is the oldest of all Spain and offers magnificent views of the beach and its villages. It is definitely worth stopping for a short walk or a coffee in Ocata, Masnou or Vilassar de Mar (all at less than 30min by train from Barcelona) or, if you feel adventurous, go to Sant Pol de Mar with its magnificent hidden beaches (around 1hour trip). Going south, Sitges is worth visiting, perfect for a crazy night out or just to enjoy its beach. RENFE also offers airport transfers with trains leaving from sector C in T2 every thirty minutes and stopping at some of the main stations like Sants Estació, Plaça Catalunya and Arc de Triomf. Ticket prices vary depending on the Zone. More information can be found here.

CYCLING

However, if you are more into knowing the city in a sustainable way your best option is renting a bike. For the last few years Barcelona’s council has created a wide net of exclusive cycle lanes as part of its objective to make the city transport more ecological. There are numerous companies with very competitive prices such as Bike Rental Barcelona, Barcelona Rent a Bike or Budget Bikes among others.

Important: the red dots in the map are Bicing bike renting stations, a service just available to locals.

History of Barcelona

The first human settlements in Barcelona date back to Neolithic times. However, the city itself was founded during the 1st century BC by the Romans, on top of an old Iberian colony called Barke-no. Barcino – the Roman name for Barcelona – was built taking the Mont Tàber – a small mountain situated where Plaça Sant Jaume is now – as its centre. During the 2nd century BC a defensive wall surrounding the city was built, the remains of which can still be seen all around the Old Town.

         

In 711 Barcelona was conquered by the Muslims, who controlled the city until 801, when it was reconquered by Charlemagne’s troops and became the regular residence of the court of the Crown of Aragon. The following centuries were a fruitful period for Barcelona. The crisis of the remaining Muslim Kingdom and the importance of the city’s harbour to trade and transport materials gave Barcelona the status of economic and political centre of the Western Mediterranean. A clear example of this is the city’s old town, known as Barri Gòtic, with its amazing buildings built between the 13th and the 15th centuries following the gothic style.

However, the end of the Medieval Era brought nothing but a period of depression for the city with the Black Death and numerous civil wars that left a weak and hungry population. This compromised the city’s economic and political independence as well as its status as important city of the Mediterranean. 

In 1714, after a terrible battle where numerous Catalan soldiers died, the city finally fell to the Bourbon troops (nowadays the Spanish royal family). This heralded the start of a period where Catalonia’s and Catalan’s rights and privileges were suppressed.

The Industrial Revolution brought new hope for the city’s habitants: the development of the textile industry brought work and money to locals and gave back to the city the status of being an economically important Mediterranean city. It was during this period that the popular Ramblas were built as well as the neighbourhood of La Barceloneta. A period of cultural recovery known as the Renaixença also started in the mid-19th century: after years of being persecuted, Catalan culture, language and traditions regained prominence and were openly celebrated.

   

During the 20th century Barcelona underwent an urban renewal with the application of Pla Cerdà. This project established a new direction for the city and as a result led to the Eixample district, popular for it’s squared isle of houses. Dating from this period are some  of the most distinctive Catalan art-nouveau and modernist buildings such as La Pedrera/Casa Milà, the Casa batlló and the Sagrada Família (all made by Gaudí) or Domenech I Muntaner’s Casa Ametller date from this period.

The Spanish Civil War in 1936 was the start of a new period of economic and political decline. The continuous bombings and attacks from General Franco’s troops brought hunger and poverty to Barcelona’s inhabitants, getting worse with the subsequent Military dictatorship. Catalonian and Catalan’s rights were suppressed.

With the reinstatement of democracy in 1978, Barcelona society regained its economic strength and Catalan’s rights were restored. The city’s hosting of the 1992 Olympic Games put Barcelona in the spotlight and showed the world its potential, reaffirming its status as a major metropolis. The number of tourists increased dramatically causing the development of an important Tourist Industry – not only in the city but also around Catalonia – with a supposed eleven thousand-million euros of income in 2011. 

   

In 2004, due to the Forum of Cultures the city had an important boost and some of the most abandoned areas were refurbished. The clearest example of this is the new district 22@, the most important urban development project in Barcelona, which transformed two-hundred acres occupied by old factories into a new modern space for innovation and creativity. 

[Pictures credit: Roman City via Localyte; Painting 1714 war via Secret Forest; Barcelona in the 18th century via Gencat; Barcelona in the 20th century via Agrupació Fotogràfica de Catalunya; Bombing of Barcelona 1938 via Antiquari;  Barcelona Olympics 1992 via Desdebellaterra; Forum 2004 via Singular Digital]