With its own identity

  • The Festival of Sant Jordi

    There is a spring day in Barcelona when the streets are crowded with stalls selling books and roses and people buying them as gifts for their other half and loved ones. "Sant Jordi" or St George, as he is known in English, is the patron saint of Catalonia and his saint's day on 23 April is devoted to the celebration of love and literature. It is a magical day you need to experience at least once in your life.

  • BCN Design

    Barcelona is an international benchmark for design in a variety of fields, as can be seen from the Barcelona Design Festival, the Barcelona Design Centre, a cluster of design-sector companies and, above all, the avant-garde Barcelona Design Hub building, which houses the Design Museum.

  • Catalan cuisine

    Being good Catalans, Barcelonians love to eat well, as reflected in their city's markets - packed as they are with fresh, local produce - and in its numerous Catalan-cuisine restaurants, which range from the traditional to the avant-garde. And institutions such as the Catalan Cookery Institute maintain the country's cultural culinary identity

  • Modernisme

    If there is one architectural style that bears the Barcelona stamp it has to be Modernisme - the Catalan Art Nouveau - whose dreamily shaped buildings have left their mark on a good many of the city's neighbourhoods. The Modernisme Route invites you to discover them!

  • Reaching for the sky with the human towers

    Castells are human towers and one of the most exciting forms of street entertainment to be seen. They can go up to as many as ten levels and are a marvel of balance and beauty as well as an example of teamwork. The Castellers de Barcelona put them up on the city's main festival days.

  • Fire runs, a fascination for fire and gunpowder

    Being a Mediterranean city, Barcelona has been captivated by fire since time immemorial. So one of the most popular festival events is the correfoc, literally a "fire run", where groups of devils light bangers and shower sparks over the people surrounding them. It is a very intense experience, but a safe one at that, so long as you follow some basic advice.

  • Acrobatic human towers, the art of human figures

    Performing something halfway between gymnastics and art, the Falcons - an acrobatic-sports human towers group - amaze their spectators with the figures they are capable of creating as they combine their bodies. Their origins can be found in the nineteenth-century Czech Sokol movement, which combined physical exercise with national cultural values. The Falcons de Barcelona offer a 21st-century Catalan version.

  • The traditional festival centre

    The Casa dels Entremesos offers a chance to discover some of the main figures - giants, "big-heads" and traditional fantastic beasts - that feature in the festivals held not just in Barcelona but in the whole of Catalonia. They are usually taken out to dance for traditional festivals such as the saint's days of Barcelona's co-patron saints: La Mercè (24 September) and Santa Eulàlia (12 February).

  • Dancing eggs

    During the Feast of Corpus Christi, a few Gothic building courtyards open up to the public to show a curious tradition that is unique in the world: l'ou com balla, getting an egg to “dances” on a jet of water - from a fountain decorated with flowers and fruit - without its falling to the ground. The tradition goes back to the 15th century and offers a lovely occasion for going round the city's historical buildings.

  • Sant Jordi stalls
  • Torre Agbar
  • Canelons, a traditional Catalan dish
  • Detail from a Casa Batlló ceiling in Barcelona
  • Castellers de Barcelona
  • A correfoc
  • Falcons de Barcelona
  • Casa dels Entremesos
  • L'ou com balla (the dancing egg)
  • People start work between 8 am and 9 am and continue up to 1.30 pm or 2 pm. They return to work from between 3 pm and 4 pm and finish between 6 pm and 7.30 pm. The normal working week runs from Monday to Friday and, in some sectors, Saturday as well.

  • Most retail businesses follow the normal working week of Monday to Saturday and close around 8 pm, except the shopping centres, which do not close at midday and stay open till 10 pm.

  • Tourist information offices open every day of the week and only close on two days of the year: 1 January and 25 December. Each office has its own opening times between 8 am and 8 pm. They have special opening times during the Christmas period.

  • The city's public transport operates for much of the day, with times varying, depending on the rush hours. A full network of night buses covers most routes during the night. The metro runs throughout the night on Saturdays.

  • Breakfast: between 8 and 11 am. Lunch: between 1.30 pm and 3 pm. Evening meal: between 9 pm and 11.30 pm. Despite that, restaurant opening times are flexible and you can eat at any time in lots of them.

  • Barcelona City Hall in Plaça de Sant Jaume

    Barcelona City Hall

    The Casa Gran, or Big House, as it is known, includes the Saló de Cent (Hall of One Hundred), where the City Hall originated in the Middle Ages.

    The Gothic courtyard in the Palau de la Generalitat

    Palau de la Generalitat

    The Gothic- and Renaissance-style Palau de la Generalitat has been the seat of Catalan government since the 15th century.

    Inside the Gran Teatre del Liceu

    Gran Teatre del Liceu

    This opera house, built on the Rambla in 1847, is a symbol of the city's artistic and cultural life.

    New buildings in the 22@ district.

    The 22@ district

    The 22@ district is the epicentre of innovation, with nearly 1,500 high-knowledge businesses.

    Catalan Parliament building façade

    The Catalan Parliament

    Catalonia's MPs hold their sessions at the Palau del Parlament, in Parc de la Ciutadella.

    Casa Serra, the seat of Barcelona Provincial Council

    Barcelona Provincial Council

    The Diputació de Barcelona, to give it its Catalan name, is housed in a Modernista mansion designed by the architect Puig i Cadafalch.

    MNAC facade.

    Catalan National Art Museum

    The impressive National Art Museum (MNAC) building, built for the International Expo in 1929, has the best collection of Romanesque mural paintings in the world.

    Institute of Catalan Studies

    Institute of Catalan Studies

    The Institute of Catalan Studies ((IEC), housed in what used to be the Casa de Convalescència, was set up in 1907 to carry out research and popularise everything to do with Catalan culture.

  • The old Santa Creu Hospital, home to the Catalan National Library

    Catalan National Library

    The former Santa Creu Hospital today houses the Catalan National Library (BC), which was set up in 1907 and has a collection running to some three million volumes.

    Front courtyard of the Royal Academy of Belles Lettres

    Royal Academy of Belles Lettres

    Located in the Gothic-style Palau Requesens, the Royal Academy of Belles Lettres is an institution whose history dates back to the 18th century.

    Inside the Ateneu Barcelonès

    Ateneu Barcelonès

    Founded in 1860 and housed in a magnificent Gothic mansion on Carrer de la Canuda, the Ateneu Barcelonès is an institution which promotes Catalan culture and literature.

    TNC facade

    Teatre Nacional de Catalunya

    This impressive building of neo-classical inspiration is houses the main stage for the performing arts in Catalonia.

    Calatrava Tower in the Olympic Ring

    The Olympic Ring

    This is one of the most important legacies of the 1992 Olympic Games. It is on Montjuïc and includes the main sports facilities of the time.

    Sagrada Família facade

    Sagrada Família

    A city icon and Gaudí's monumental work, the Sagrada Família is an imposing church still under construction.

    The Agbar Tower by Plaça de les Glòries

    Les Glòries

    Plaça de les Glòries, currently undergoing a thorough overhaul, is surrounded by some of Barcelona's most avant-garde architecture.