Tourism in Spain

(Focus on Barcelona)

Project Overview

This summer, I am hoping to study abroad at Oxford. Before the program starts, several of my friends and I want to do some traveling. We were hoping to stop in Barcelona and spend some time there. I've never done any traveling in Europe, so I don't know what to expect. I decided that the best way to prepare for this summer would be to do some research and come up with a plan of what/where I want to visit. Because of this, I decided to do a bit of research on tourism in Spain, but more specifically tourism in Barcelona.

Tourism in Spain


Spain is consistently one of the top three destinations for tourism in the world. In this year from January to May alone, over 21.4 million foreign tourists travelled to Spain! Tourism is an incredibly large part of Spain's economy. Around 70% of Spain's GDP is attributed to the area of services. Tourism is considered a service, so this number puts into perspective just how important tourism is to the country.
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These two graphs show the split of where tourists come from. The majority of the tourists that travel to Spain are British. Over 4,791,738 British tourists have visited Spain this year alone. The USA falls behind this number with only 400,881 tourists in 2014.
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The most popular destination for tourists to visit is Catalona. Over 5,450,000 people travelled to Catalona in 2014. The Canary Islands are a close second with over 4,800,000 tourists in 2014.

Tourism in Barcelona

Barcelona Overview

According to Travel & Leisure's 2014 rankings, Barcelona is ranked as the 8th best city in the world to visit. This city attracts millions of tourists every year. Why is this? The weather in Barcelona is favorable, it has many beaches, is surrounded by mountains, and has an amazing nightlife.

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia. The city has a population of 1.6 million, and the main languages spoken are Catalan and Spanish.

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Top Attractions in Barcelona

Camp Nou

Camp Nou is a stadium where F.C. Barcelona plays. The stadium holds 99,000 people and is Europe's largest sporting arena. In addition to hosting sports games (including the football games in the 1992 Summer Olympics), the stadium hosts several concerts and events throughout the year.
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Barcelona has seven different beaches, however Barceloneta is one of the most popular. This beach is closest to the center of the city and is 1,100 meters long. During the summer, this beach is extremely crowded with locals, tourists, joggers, and cyclists.
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Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is one of Spain's most popular tourist attractions. Over 2.8 million people visit it per year. It is a large Roman Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudí. Construction of this church began in 1882, but has yet to be completed.
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Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas are a series of streets in Barcelona that are extremely unique and entertaining. Street performers, numerous bars, and restaurants can be found here. In addition to this, the Boquería Market is located here.

Traveling in Barcelona


One of the best ways to travel through the city is to take the buses or the metros. This saves money from renting a car and is more ecological. There are two day tickets available for the metro for only 11.20 Euros.
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  • Although Barcelona doesn't have a significant amount of violent crime, pickpocketing can be an issue.
  • The schedule for meals are different than in the United States. In Barcelona, lunch is from 1:30 to 4, and dinner is from 9 to 11 pm.
  • In addition to this, some shops close from 2 to 4/5 during the day.