Barcelona is a true European gem. Barcelona has a population of about two million, with more than seven million tourists annually.
People are attracted here by the unique spirit of the southern city, someone wants to see where the great creations of Gaudi, Picasso, Dali created their great works. In addition, one of the greatest football teams on the planet is based here. Tourists live with myths about Barcelona, which we will try to debunk.
Myths about Barcelona
You can see authentic flamenco in Barcelona. On the one hand, this is true. There are several clubs in the center of the old town where women in tight leotards perform incendiary dances with the participation of musicians. But flamenco is not part of Catalan culture. It's like trying to find the best cheesecake in the world in Seattle. In order to experience authentic flamenco, you have to head south - to Granada and Seville. For those looking for this show in Barcelona, Jazz Si, in the Raval district, should be advised. Shows are held there weekly. Also in Barcelona, the whole Flamenco Festival De Cajon takes place, where you can also see authentic flamenco. In search of something truly Catalan, you should pay attention to the local music. Rumba Catalan or Catalan rock and roll at the Sala Apolo club will leave no one indifferent.
All the food here is spicy. People think that Catalan food and Spanish food have something in common - pungency and spice. In fact, these cuisines are versatile and certainly not worth comparing them with Mexican ones. Apart from garlic, onions and peppers, other spices are rarely used. Tabasco sauce and chili are out of the question in most dishes. Red pepper replaces the Mexican hot jalapeno here. The Spanish often make red tomato bread. But it is far from as sharp as the Mexican counterpart.
Barcelona is a beach town and everyone wears bikinis here. The fact that Barcelona has good beaches does not imply swimming in swimsuits. It is even offensive for locals to see tourists appearing in bars, restaurants and shops without shoes, shirts or even pants. This happens especially often in the Barceloneta area, as well as in other places close to the sea. Spaniards can be quite forgiving about dress and lifestyle, but eating is sacred. A lot is allowed on the beach, here nobody is embarrassed by nudists or nude, but after leaving the beach it is better to get dressed. A good tip is also to wear sandals. It seems like a good idea to come to the beachfront hotel after your morning walk on the sand. But there is always a danger of stepping on dog excrement, cigarette butt, garbage, food leftovers. The pavement may look visually clear, but the soles of your feet will tell the truth later.
Everyone in Barcelona is friendly. Locals are not particularly prone to contact with random people on the subway, in shops or even in bars. People try to communicate in an already established circle of acquaintances. Nevertheless, you should not be afraid to start a conversation with the townspeople. The fact that they themselves do not initiate it does not mean that they are not open to talking to you. You shouldn't expect special friendliness in restaurants, waiters are not used to smiling at everyone. Service in Barcelona has even earned a bad reputation for being grumpy and sometimes even rude in customer service. It is worth remembering that even the tip left is not a significant part of the waiter's income, so you should not wait for diligence. Barcelona is a big city, which leaves its mark. Outside it, in small towns, the service is usually better, and there are more smiles. On the other hand, they work here until the last visitor, and no one will rush to leave the institution.
Barcelona is part of Spain. That's a moot point. Technically, this is true, Barcelona is officially a Spanish city. But do not look for the national flags of this country here. But everywhere here are fluttering Catalan banners. This Spanish region has its own government and is fighting to secede from the rest of Iberia. Barcelonians proudly consider themselves Catalans, not Spaniards. It even has its own football team, made up mainly of players from local clubs and playing only unofficial matches so far.
Everyone in Barcelona wants Catalan independence. The media constantly talk about the struggle for independence of Catalonia. In fact, this is a rather complex and controversial question. The same referendum in Scotland in 2014 cooled secessionist movements in Europe. It turned out that not all ordinary citizens are ready to vote for the independence of their small homeland. Most people see independence as an opportunity to better control local taxes and, more importantly, organize jobs. Today, Spain has a high unemployment rate. The separatists are active not only in Catalonia, but also in the Basque Country, Galicia and even Andalusia. And after the election of the Conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in 2011, the question became even more urgent. By the way, this is a very good opportunity to get the locals talking. You just need to ask them about their attitude to independence, and a heated conversation will start. Nobody is indifferent to this issue.
Barcelona is very expensive. This is a very controversial question. Compared to the south of Spain, the city is really shocking with its prices, but in relation to Northern Europe, everything is worthwhile and inexpensive. Parity remains in relation to Madrid. Olive oil, wine and cheese are inexpensive and are of excellent quality and abundant. If you stick with local small restaurants, then food certainly won't empty your wallet. And food markets surprise with their fabulous variety of goods at reasonable prices. There are many attractions in Barcelona where you need to purchase a ticket. But is it really necessary to visit all the houses of Gaudí to feel the spirit of the city? Everything is relative and with the prices in hotels. You can easily spend over $ 100 for an overnight stay in a hotel in the city center. But throughout the city there are many places where prices for a room are no more than $ 70 per day.
In Barcelona, everyone eats paella and drinks sangria. On the famous La Rambla, you can see many people eating bright yellow paella and washing it down with sangria from a jug. But only they are probably non-local. Such a tourist tradition should be avoided. The locals themselves usually do not drink sangria. But they prefer to enjoy paella in proven local restaurants, where the dish will be fresh, and not from the frozen material that is prepared in tourist places. And it would be better not to order banal sangria, but to ask for a glass of wine at a local bar. After all, Spain is famous for its white and red varieties of this delicious drink. Local sparkling wine is also worth a try, which is available and produced nearby in Penedès.
In Barcelona, the tourist has to pay for everything. It turns out that you can comprehend this wonderful city and still save money. For example, almost every bar offers customers tapas - free snacks. In Barcelona, with the help of an invitation from the promoters, you can get to any nightclub. Many museums have days when they let tourists in for free, why not plan your trip with this in mind? On the beaches of Barcelona, it has recently become fashionable to rent books and sports equipment for free. There will also be no money for admission to the city's parks and botanical gardens, and on Wednesday free admission to the famous Horta Labyrinth. You can admire the singing fountains, art galleries for free, and the top of Montjuic will be an excellent alternative to any paid observation deck.
The city can be called Bars for short. The city itself is strongly associated with the football club of the same name, which is also called Barsa. But for a settlement, such a name is not applicable. Barcelona is Barcelona, there is no abbreviated name.