Barcelona’s unique blend of Catalan culture, distinctive architecture, developed tourist infrastructure and lively night life makes it the 10th most visited city in the world. It is home to Europe’s best-preserved Gothic Quarter, as well as amazing architectural works by Antoni Gaudi. Barcelona is, without a doubt, one of the world’s greatest cities.
From a fitness & endurance sports point, we rate Barcelona as one of the best cities to visit in Europe. Thanks to Mother Nature as well as the urban infrastructure in place, which compliments the city’s sports and beach culture.
Barcelona’s Urban Infrastructure
The ’92 Olympic Games left an amazing legacy which encourages a city of proud, active citizens eager to make the most of its urban prosperity. Now 23 years on, Barcelona’s Olympic Games is widely considered to be the best planned, best executed and most successful of the modern era.
Before the Olympic Games, the beach boardwalk & seafront we see today was a run-down dumping ground for Barcelona’s fading textile industry. During these times the city actually had its back to the sea and locals would travel elsewhere along the coast for a day at the beach. Today, it is a very active place stretching from the sail-shaped W Hotel, passing Olympic harbour and eventually ending up at the Forum Park. The seafront is perfect for walking but runners easily outnumber pedestrians.
The Olympic swimming pool, Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc, is today popular with locals and still capable of hosting world class events, hosting the FINA World Swimming Championship in 2013.
During the week it is always amazing to see Parc de la Ciutadella act as a structured, multi discipline, outdoor gym from as early as 8:30am to as late as 10:30pm. Here you are able to join in on various activities like Running, Cross Fit, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Karate and many more while enjoying the freedom of being outdoors.
Calisthenics enthusiasts have the privilege of training at the outdoor Calisthenics Park at Barceloneta Beach. A beautiful workout location for bodyweight training.
Barcelona’s Mountain Landscape
Mother Nature has blessed the city and surrounding areas with some of the most beautiful mountains and mountain ranges in the world. Within a 70km radius of Barcelona you have four must see Mountains / Mountain Ranges at your disposal – the Collserola Mountains, Montseny, Montserrat and the Maresme Mountains.
The Collserola Mountains forms the inland boundary of Barcelona. It houses the Parc de Collserola (Collserola Park) which is the largest metropolitan park in the world, 22 times larger than Central Park in New York.
The Collserola is a hub for hikers, cyclists & runners with an abundance of hiking trails, a purpose built single track, jeep tracks and of course paved road surfaces. The possibilities are endless!
The highest peak in the Collserola Mountains is the summit of Tibidabo Mountain. Your reward for reaching the summit is an up close encounter with two of Barcelona’s most famous tourist attractions – the Sagrat Cor as well as the Tibidabo Theme Park. You will probably recognise the Tibidabo Theme Park from the Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Within the Collserola you will also discover Carretera de les Aigües, the perfect place for a run, a bike ride or a walk while enjoying stunning views of Barcelona. Locals have quite aptly & fondly named Carretera de les Aigües, “The balcony of Barcelona“.
Montseny is the highest peak in Catalunya, south of the Pyrenees Mountains. It houses the Parc Natural de Montseny (Montseny Park) which is a popular destination for hikers, cyclists & runners.
Montseny is regularly featured in the Volta Catalunya pro cycling race. The most popular climb on Montseny is Turo de l’Home – 21km / 1390 meters at 6%.
Montserrat is a spectacular mountain which houses the famous monastery, Santa Maria de Montserrat at 1236 meters. This monastery dates back to 1025 AD. You have both paved road and off road options to get to the monastery as well as a hiking option to get to Montserrat’s highest point, Sant Jeroni.
The Marseme Mountains, located just east of Barcelona, houses the vast Serralada de Marina Park with its incredible views of the coast of the Costa del Maresme. The road along the Costa del Maresme is popular with runners from Barcelona looking to get longer runs in over the weekend.
Fall in love with Barcelona!
In many ways Barcelona has strong similarities to our beloved Cape Town. This can be seen in our strong sports and beach culture, the Mediterranean climate, as well as the natural beauty and dramatic scenery. If you have love for Cape Town and the Western Cape you will, without a doubt, fall hopelessly in love with Barcelona and the greater Catalunya area.
Book your custom adventure tour to Barcelona next summer with Disfruta Sports Tours – www.disfruta.co.za/package/adventure-tour-barcelona