Barcelona is a modern Mediterranean marvel and Spain’s most fascinating city. Yet hiding under its cool and cosmopolitan exterior is a web of bizarre facts that may surprise even the most knowledgeable tourist. Book tickets to Barcelona through Monarch airlines for a short weekend break or for a longer period as Barcelona is not the kind of city you can explore during a weekend.
Local historians just can’t agree on the founding of Barcelona. Some claim that Spain’s capital of culture was founded by demi-god Hercules, around 400 years before Rome was even built. Then there are others who believe that Barcelona was built by Hamilcar Barca, the father of the ancient war hero Hannibal. The only fact known for certain is that the name Barcelona comes from the Barca family of Carthage, who ruled the area in the 3rd century BC.
Tourists should steer well clear of cars in the city centre. Barcelona’s drivers are considered to be some of the worst in the world, with an accident occurring on the streets every 19 seconds! This often increases to an average of ten accidents every second at the weekend, making it no wonder that Barcelona is home to the most walked streets in Spain. Arranging holidays to Spain and Barcelona and finding the perfect deal for you has never been simpler. Visit the Cosmos, holidays to Spain and Monarch’s Spain mainland holidays pages to find the latest offers. We are sure there is a deal waiting for you.
The Patron Saint of Books
St George’s Day can often fly by without a trace in the UK, but luckily our Spanish cousins celebrate our shared patron saint in style. For centuries Barcelonés have been presenting their nearest and dearest with roses and books on April 23rd - UNESCO admired this traditional so much that they made St George’s Day World Book Day. Which definitely beats waving a few England flags around.
Gaudi: Genius or Madman?
Whilst Antoni Gaudí is now the most celebrated figure in Spanish architecture, his contemporaries were less impressed. Both Pablo Picasso and George Orwell, who lived in Barcelona for a time, described La Sagrada Familia as the world’s most hideous building. Gaudí also made some enemies at the City of Barcelona, repeatedly flouting building regulations with his creative extensions. The director of Barcelona’s School of Architecture wasn’t kidding when he made the following announcement at Gaudí’s graduation in 1878: ‘Gentlemen, we are here today in the presence of either a genius or a madman.’
The National Geographic considers Barcelona to have the best beach city in the world, yet just 20 years ago the coastline was completely overrun by industry. It wasn’t until the 1992 Olympic Games that the city took control of the seafront, transforming it into a fantastic leisure area for both locals and tourists. Yet Barcelona is no beach resort: semi-nudity is now banned away from the seafront, so make sure you pack a t-shirt or cover-up for a city stroll.