Catalonia… beyond Barcelona

Unfortunately, many tourists visiting our shores have no idea what a Catalan is, or that there is such a place called CATALONIA. Many think that Barcelona is in Spain, and Spain is a country, in the traditional sense. Well, while many would think everyone who lives here is (and feels) Spanish, they never imagined it not being a unified nation. How wrong!

MapsStatsHistoryLanguageNational symbolsFamous Catalans
Where is Catalonia?
Regions and counties (comarques)
Main cities and towns [*]
Where is Catalan language spoken?
Historical Barcelona (14th century)
Regions of Europe
Province of Barcelona
Neighbourhoods of Barcelona
Barcelona Metro network

(Credits for each map here)

[*] This map is wrongly showing some cities and towns in the area around Barcelona as if they were located “in” the water. Note that lake or basin does not actually exist. We’re working to substitute it with another image.


Coordinates: 41°49′N 1°28′E
Area: 32,114 km² (12,399 sq mi)
Location: northeast of the Iberian peninsula in the southwest of Europe.
Population: 7.571 million (2012)
Density: 240/km² (610/sq mi)
Demonym: Catalan (in English)
Official languages: Catalan, Aranese (Occitan), Spanish
Time zone: CET (UTC+1), CEST (UTC+2) in summer
Patron saint: Saint George (Sant Jordi) 23rd April

Territorial division
Capital: Barcelona
Provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona
Vegueries: Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, Terres de l’Ebre, Central Catalonia, Lleida and Alt Pirineu-Aran.
Catalonia is organised territorially into provinces, further subdivided into comarques (counties) and municipalities. The 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia establishes the administrative organization of three local authorities: vegueries, comarques, and municipalities. The vegueria is a type of division defined as a specific territorial area for the exercise of government and inter-local cooperation with legal personality. The current Statute of Autonomy states vegueries are intended to supersede provinces in Catalonia, and take over many of functions of the comarques.

• Status: Autonomous community under the Kingdom of Spain
• Type: Devolved government under constitutional monarchy
• Body: Generalitat de Catalunya
• Parliament of Catalonia: 135 deputies

Representation in the Spanish government bodies:
• Congress: 47 deputies (of 350)
• Senate: 16 senators (of 264)


Barcelona (1.620.943 pop – 101,4 km2 – density: 15.993) | Hospitalet de Llobregat (257.057 pop – 12,4 km2 – density: 20.730) | Badalona (220.977 pop – 21,2 km2 – density: 10.433) | Terrassa (215.678 pop – 70,2 km2 – density: 3.074) | Sabadell (207.938 pop – 37,8 km2 – density: 5.502) | Lleida (139.834 pop – 212,3 km2 – density: 658) | Tarragona (133.954 pop – 57,9 km2 – density: 2.313) | Mataró (124.084 pop – 22,5 km2 – density: 5.507) | Santa Coloma de Gramenet (120.593 pop – 7,0 km2 – density: 17.227) | Reus (107.211 pop – 52,8 km2 – density: 2.029) | Girona (97.198 pop – 39,1 km2 – density: 2.484) | Cornellà de Llobregat (87.458 pop – 7,0 km2 – density: 12.511) | Sant Cugat del Vallès (84.946 pop – 48,2 km2 – density: 1.761) | Sant Boi de Llobregat (83.070 pop – 21,5 km2 – density: 3.869) | Manresa (76.570 pop – 41,7 km2 – density: 1.838)


Statistics from the Catalan Tourist Information Office Network
Figures from the statistics management program in tourist information offices, used by the Government of Catalonia’s Directorate-General for Tourism, relative to the six months from January to June 2013. Note that these figures refer to people who have visited tourist information offices which use the Directorate-General for Tourism’s statistics management program. A total of 199,361 surveys were collected from the 89 offices that submitted data to the statistics management program in the first six months of the year.The breakdown of these surveys by brand -each one representing an area of Catalonia- is as follows:
(What to do in each region?)From January to June, tourist information offices were visited by people from 161 countries. The following 15 countries accounted for most tourists:In terms of tourism segments, we find that requests for information regarding cultural tourism continue to predominate:

(source: Generalitat de Catalunya)


Exceptional Catalonia: open for tourism
Catalonia is consolidating its foothold as an integral tourism destination
IDESCAT – Statistical Institute of Catalonia

Upon reaching this triangle-shaped region of Catalonia, located in the north east of Spain, whether one arrives into Barcelona or any other of the 947 cities, towns and villages that form Catalonia, one quickly notices this is not ‘quite’ Spain, or at least the Spain one might have known while visiting Madrid, Seville or many of the other fine cities and regions in the Iberian peninsula. Catalonia has its own language and culture and many Catalans don’t feel Spanish at all. The history of Catalonia has been a rocky one since its beginnings, over 1000 years ago. But to understand this better let’s focus on its capital, Barcelona.

Barcelona has emerged from a spotty history. With Castilian kings pumping cannonballs over the city walls and anarchists disagreeing on which shoulder to hang their rifles, the city shrank in the shadow of greater cities and powers for centuries. Though founded around 230 BC, likely by the Carthaginians, and invaded by the Visigoths and then briefly by the Muslims, the history of the city, in a sense, only truly began after armies from what is now France pushed back the Muslims in 801 AD. At the time, the plains and mountains to the northwest and north of Barcelona were populated by the people who by then could be identified as ‘Catalans’ (although surviving documentary references to the term only date to the 10th century). “Catalans” are the inhabitants of Catalonia and “Catalan” is their language. Catalan language derives from Latin, as French, Spanish or Italian among others.

Between 1040 and 1075, Count Ramon Berenguer I weaved a dense network of alliances among the noble and rich in Catalonia and abroad and gradually established the House of Barcelona as the ruling power in the country, becoming the de-facto capital since. In the 12th century, Catalonia grew rich on pickings from the fall of the Muslim caliphate of Cordoba. The Catalans managed to keep their creative forces alight through to the 14th century, when Barcelona ruled an empire including Sicily, Malta, Sardinia, Valencia, the Balearics, the French regions of Rousillon and Cerdagne and parts of Greece. But by the 15th century, devastated by the plague, spectacular bank crashes, and the Genoese squeezing their markets, the empire ran out of steam. While the Catalans may have hoped that union with the kingdom of Castile would pump cash back into the coffers and vitality onto the streets, heirs to the crown of Castile were more interested in juicing Catalonia to finance their own imperial ambitions.

A 1462 rebellion against King Joan II ended in a siege in 1473 that devastated the city. Barcelona was more or less annexed into the Castilian state into what later became Spain, but was excluded from the plundering of the Americas that brought fantastic riches to 16th century Castile. By now, the peasants had started to revolt. Disaffected Catalans resorted to arms a number of times, and the last revolt, during the War of the Spanish Succession, saw Catalonia siding with Britain and Austria against Philip V, the French contender for the Spanish throne. That was their undoing. Barcelona fell in Sep 11th, 1714 after another shocking siege, and as well as banning the Catalan language, Philip built a huge fort, the Ciutadella, to watch over his ungrateful subjects in town.

After 1778 Catalonia was permitted to trade with America, and the region’s fortunes gradually turned around. Spain’s first industrial revolution, based on cotton, was launched here, and other industries based on wine, cork and iron also developed. By the 1830s, the European Romantic movement virtually rescued Catalan culture and language just as it was in danger of disappearing. The Catalan Renaixença, or Renaissance, was a crusade led by poets and writers to popularise the people’s language. A fervent nationalist movement sprang up around the same time, and was embraced by all parties of the political spectrum.

The decades around the turn of the century were a fast ride, with anarchists, Republicans, bourgeois regionalists, gangsters, police terrorists, political gunmen and centrists in Madrid all clamouring for a slice of the action. This followed an explosion in Barcelona’s population from around 115,000 in 1800 to more than half a million by 1900, then over a million by 1930 as workers flocked in for industrial jobs. As many as 80% of the city’s workers embraced the anarchist CNT by the end of WWI, and industrial relations hit an all time low during a wave of strikes in 1919-20 when employers hired assassins to kill union leaders.

Within days of Spain’s Second Republic forming in 1931, Catalans declared an independent republic within an ‘Iberian Federation’ but Madrid intervened again to quash this desire. Catalonia briefly gained genuine autonomy after the leftist Popular Front won the February 1936 Spanish general election, and for nearly a year revolutionary anarchists and the Workers Marxist Unification Party ran the town.

In July 1936, part of the Spanish army -led by rebel General Franco- revolted against the democratically elected Republic and the Spanish Civil War started. Get 10 anarchists in a room, though, and you’ll have 11 political opinions; in May 1937 infighting between communists and anarchists broke out into street fighting for three days, killing at least 1,500 people. The Republican effort across Spain was troubled by similar infighting, which destroyed any chance they may have had of defeating Franco’s fascist militia. Barcelona, the last major stronghold of the Republicans, fell to Franco’s forces in January 1939, and the war ended a few months later. Rather than submitting to Franco, thousands of Catalans fled across the border to France, Andorra and farther afield.

Franco wasted no time in instating a dictatorship in Spain disbanding along the way Catalan institutions and banning Catalan language in the process, and flooding the region with impoverished immigrants from Andalucía in the vain hope that the pesky Catalans, with their continual movements for independence, would be swamped. But the plan soured somewhat when the migrants’ children and grandchildren turned out to be more Catalan than the Catalans. Franco even banned one of the Catalans’ joyful expressions of national unity, the sardana, a public circle dance.

Dancing sardana on Sunday in front of the cathedral in Barcelona

But they’d barely turned the last sods on the dictator’s grave in 1975 when Catalonia burst out again in an effort to recreate itself again as a great nation. Catalan was revived with a vengeance, the Generalitat, or local government, was reinstated, and today, people gather all over town several times a week to dance the sardana. And with a renewed and vigorous civic movement, talks about independence are again on the table with a referendum convened to decide the future of the Catalans in the horizon, November 9th 2014, just on the 300th anniversary of the loss of freedoms of Catalonia to Philip V of Spain. Barcelona is its country’s most happening town, and seems set to stay that way.

(Thanks to:, © 2011,

Catalan is a Romance language named for its origins in Catalonia, in what is nowadays northeastern Spain and adjoining parts of France. It is the national and only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community. It also has semi-official status in the city of Alghero on the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken with no official recognition in parts of the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon (La Franja) and Murcia (Carche), and in the historic French region of Roussillon/Northern Catalonia, roughly equivalent to the department of Pyrénées-Orientales.

Catalan evolved from common Latin around the eastern Pyrenees in the 9th century. During the Low Middle Ages it saw a golden age as the literary and dominant language of the Crown of Aragon, a sort of commonwealth in which Catalonia formed part alongside Aragon, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and what’s now the territories of Southern France (former Catalonia), and was widely used all over the Mediterranean. The union of the Crown of Aragon with the other territories of Spain in 1479 marked the start of the decline of the language. In 1659, after loosing the Franco-Spanish War (1635-59) Spain ceded Northern Catalonia to France. Later, after the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), in which Catalonia sided with England, Scotland, Prussia, Austria, the Dutch Republic, Portugal and the other territories of the Crown of Aragon and lost against Castille(Spain) and France, Catalan was banned in both states in the early 18th century. 19th-century Spain saw a Catalan literary revival, which culminated in the 1913 orthographic standardization, and the officialization of the language during the Second Spanish Republic (1931–39). However, the Francoist dictatorship (1939–75) banned the language again.

Since the Spanish transition to democracy (1975–1982), Catalan has been recognized as an official language, language of education, and language of mass media, all of which have contributed to its increased prestige. There is no parallel in Europe of such a large, bilingual, non-state speech community as it has 11.530.160 speakers (world ranking #75, Ethnologue 2009)

Compared to other Romance languages, Catalan dialects feature relative uniformity, and are mutually intelligible. They are divided into two blocks, Eastern and Western, differing mostly in pronunciation. The terms “Catalan” and “Valencian” (respectively used in Catalonia and the Valencian Community) are two names for the same language. Standard Catalan, a variety accepted by virtually all speakers, is regulated by the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC).

Catalan shares many traits with its neighboring Romance languages. However, despite being mostly situated in the Iberian Peninsula, Catalan shows greater differences with Ibero-Romance (Spanish, Portuguese) in terms of vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar than it does with Gallo-Romance (French, Italian, Occitan, etc.). These similarities are most notable with Occitan. Catalan has an inflectional grammar, with two genders (masculine, feminine), and two numbers (singular, plural). Pronouns are also inflected for case, animacy and politeness, and can be combined in very complex ways. Verbs are split in several paradigms and are inflected for person, number, tense, aspect, mood, and gender. In terms of pronunciation, Catalan has many words ending in a wide variety consonants and some consonant clusters, in contrast with many other Romance languages.

> History, facts and stats about Catalan (pdf)
> Where to learn it?
> Where’s it spoken?
> Learn Catalan free and online

How does it sound?

Catalan, the 8th most active language in Internet

senyera The flag: The Senyera (meaning ‘pennon’, ‘banner’, ‘ensign’, or, more generically, ‘flag’ in Catalan) is the flag of Catalonia and one of the oldest flags in Europe to be used in the present day, but not in continuous use since its creation.
> La Senyera, origins and history
> La Estelada, the starred flag
It is believed the first appearance of the flag is on a seal in the 12th century, although its mythological origin is also linked to Wilfred the Hairy when, after a battle, Frank King Charles the Bald wiped his fingers in the blood of the nobleman and drew four red bars on his golden shield as an emblem. The senyera pattern is also nowadays in the flag of different territories of the former Crown of Aragon.

The national anthem: Els Segadors (The reapers) was declared the Catalan national anthem by an Act of the Catalan Parliament in 1993. Based on a popular idyll from the 17th Century, which had been collected by linguist and writer Manuel Milà i Fontanals, the current lyrics are by Emili Guanyavents, who won a competition in 1899 for this purpose by the Catalanist Union, motivating passionate polemics. The music was put to it in 1892 by Francesc Alió, who adapted the melody of an already existing song. The Anthem makes a reference to the blood-stained Corpus Cristi, the movement that took place in Barcelona on June, 7th, 1640 and which led to the War of the Segadors, the struggle of the Catalans and the troops of Philip IV. In the text, we can note illusions to the countrymen, the land and to freedom.
> National anthem: Els Segadors (1’49”)

The National Day: The National Day of Catalonia -also known as La Diada- is celebrated on September, 11th and on this day, the Catalan people remember the loss of Catalan freedom and institutions due to the defeat in the War of Succession in 1714. With this commemoration, the desire to conserve the Catalan identity is remembered. When Franco’s dictatorship fell, there were great demonstrations for independence on September, 11th. Nowadays, the Diada is the National Day of Catalonia through an Act of Parliament.
> 300th aniversary of September 11th, 1714

Patron saint: Saint George’s Day is the feast day of Saint George. It is celebrated by various Christian churches and by the several nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities of which Saint George is the patron saint among which Catalonia. Saint George’s Day is celebrated on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of Saint George’s death in CE 303. For Eastern Orthodox Churches which use the Julian calendar, 23 April corresponds to 6 May on the Gregorian calendar.
> Saint George’s, patron saint of Catalonia


  • Aristide Maillol (1861–1944), sculptor and painter
  • Ramon Casas i Carbó (1866–1932), author of the master piece The Charge of Barcelona (1902).
  • Joan Miró (1893–1983), surrealist artist
  • Charlie Rivel (1896–1983), clown
  • Salvador Dalí (1904–1989), one of the most celebrated surrealist artists
  • Joan-Josep Tharrats (1918–2001), abstract artist renowned for his Maculatures, a unique and colorful manner of Art Informel.
  • Manuel Carnicer i Fajó (1922–1998), hyperrealist with colour pencils artist
  • Antoni Tàpies (1923–2012), artist
  • Marcel Martí (1925–2010), sculptor
  • Fina Rifà (1939–), illustrator
  • Assumpta Serna (1957–), actress
  • Manel Esparbé i Gasca (born 1959), artist, founder of DOGtime program
  • Carlos Grangel (1963-), artist
  • Sergi López (1965-), actor, César’s best actor winner in 2000
  • Claudia Bassols (1979-), actress
  • Neil Harbisson (1982–), artist, founder of the Cyborg Foundation


  • Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1850–1927), modernist architect and politician, designed the Palau de la Música Catalana
  • Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), modernist architect, designed Sagrada Família in Barcelona
  • Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867–1956), architect, designed the urban gothic palace Casa Amatller.
  • Josep Lluís Sert (1902–1983), architect, cofounder of the GATCPAC group, professor at Harvard
  • Ricardo Bofill (1939–), architect


  • Facundo Bacardí (1814–1886), founder of Bacardi rum.
  • Joseph Oller (1839–1922), founder of Moulin Rouge cabaret.
  • Enric Bernat (1923–2003), founder of Chupa Chups candy.


  • Andreu Mas-Colell (1944–), expert in microeconomics and one of the world’s leading mathematical economists
  • Xavier Sala-i-Martin (1963–), economist, present professor of economics at Columbia University

Writers and poets

  • Ramon Muntaner (c. 1270–1336), soldier and writer of the 14th century
  • Jaime Balmes (1810-1848)), priest, philosopher and political writer
  • Àngel Guimerà, (1845–1924), writer
  • Jacint Verdaguer (1845–1902), poet
  • Narcís Oller (1846–1930), writer
  • Joan Maragall (1860–1911), writer and poet
  • Josep Carner (1884–1970), poet
  • Gaziel (1887–1964), journalist, writer and publisher
  • Carles Riba (1893–1959), poet
  • Josep Pla (1897–1981), writer
  • Mercè Rodoreda (1909–1983), writer, well-renowned for his novel The Time of the Doves (1962)
  • Miquel Martí i Pol (1929–2003), writer and poet
  • Pere Calders (1912–1994), writer
  • Salvador Espriu (1913–1985), writer and poet
  • Manuel de Pedrolo (1918–1990), writer
  • Joan Brossa (1919–1998), poet, playwright, plastic artist and graphic designer
  • Quima Jaume i Carbo (1934–1993), poet
  • Albert Boadella (1943-), playwright, director and actor
  • Quim Monzó (1952–), writer

Musicians and singers

  • Guerau de Cabrera (1160-1161), famous troubadour.
  • Jofre de Foixà (-1300), famous troubadour, benedictine and abbot of San Giovanni degli Eremiti in Palermo.
  • Ferran Sor (1778–1839), composer
  • Isaac Albéniz (1860–1909), musician
  • Enric Granados (1867–1916), musician
  • Pau Casals (1876–1973), cellist
  • Miguel Llobet (1878–1938), composer and guitarist
  • Maria Gay (1879–1943), mezzo-soprano
  • Frederic Mompou (1893–1987), composer
  • Conchita Supervía (1895–1936), soprano
  • Robert Gerhard (1896–1970), composer
  • Xavier Cugat (1900–1990), musician
  • Xavier Montsalvatge (1912-2002), composer and music critic
  • Victòria dels Àngels (1923–2005), soprano
  • Alicia de Larrocha (1923–2009), pianist
  • Montserrat Caballé (1933–), soprano
  • Tete Montoliu (1933–1997), jazz pianist
  • Jaume Aragall (1939–), tenor
  • Jordi Savall (1941–), musician
  • Joan Manuel Serrat (1943–), singer and author
  • Josep Carreras (1946–), tenor
  • Lluís Llach (1948–), singer and composer
  • Pascal Comelade (1955–), musician
  • Sandrine Erdely-Sayo (1968–), pianist and composer
  • Guillermo Scott Herren (1976–), producer
  • Sergio Dalma (1963-), singer
  • Mónica Naranjo (1974-), singer
  • Beth Rodergas (1981-), singer

Fashion designers

  • Custo Dalmau – fashion designer (born 1959), founder of Custo Barcelona.
  • Tonton Comella – fashion designer (born 1966), founder of TCN Swimwear.

Fashion models

  • Judit Mascó (1969- ), Fashion Model
  • Vanessa Lorenzo (1977- ), Fashion Model
  • Andrés Segura (1978– ), Fashion Model
  • Oriol Elcacho (1979- ), Fashion Model

Politicians and leaders

  • Wilfred I the Hairy, (-897), 12th count of Barcelona, founder of the House of Barcelona.
  • Jaume I Rei d’Aragó, (1208–1276), 8th king of Aragon and 26th count of Barcelona
  • Pere III of Aragó (1239–1285), 9th king of Aragon and 27th count of Barcelona
  • Pau Claris i Casademunt (1586-1641), lawyer, 94th President of the Generalitat de Catalunya and leader at the Catalan Revolt (1635-1659).
  • Rafael Casanova i Comes (1660–1743), lawyer and Conseller en Cap of the Consell de Cent of Barcelona.
  • Josep Moragues i Mas (1669–1715), Catalan patriot, led the insurgence against the Bourbonic troops after the War of the Spanish Succession until he was executed, decapitated, butchered and his head placed for 12 years hanging in the main entrance to Barcelona.
  • Gaspar de Portolà i Rovira (1716–1784), soldier, governor of Baja California and Alta California, explorer and founder of San Diego and Monterey.
  • Pere Fages i Beleta (1734–1794), soldier, explorer, and the second Spanish military Governor of New California from 1770 to 1774, and Governor of the Californias from 1782 to 1791.

Modern politicians

  • Joan Prim i Prats (1814-1870), general and statesman, Captain-General of Puerto Rico, commander of the Spanish Army in Mexico and in Morocco, and president of the Spanish Council
  • Estanislao Figueras (1819–1882), first president of the First Spanish Republic
  • Francesc Pi i Margall (1824–1901), second president of the First Spanish Republic
  • Valentí Almirall (1841–1904), politician, founder of the first daily periodical in Catalan language: “El diari català”
  • Francesc Macià i Llussà, (1859–1933), soldier, politician and 122nd President of the Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Josep Irla i Bosch (1874–1958), politician, 124th President of the Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Francesc Cambó (1876–1947), politician
  • Enric Prat de la Riba (1879–1917), politician
  • Lluís Companys i Jover (1882–1940), politician, 123rd President of the Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Andreu Nin (1892–1937), heterodox communist politician
  • Federica Montseny (1905–1994), anarchist politician
  • José Figueres Ferrer (1906–1990), politician, President of Costa Rica in three occasions
  • Ramon Mercader (1914–1978), murderer of Leon Trotsky
  • Jordi Pujol i Soley (1930–), politician, 126th President of the Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Pasqual Maragall i Mira (1941–), politician, 127th President of the Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Jaime Nebot (1946-), politician, current Mayor of Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • Josep Borrell (1947–), former President of the European Parliament
  • Artur Mas i Gavarró (1956–), politician, present 129th President of the Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Amadeu Altafaj (1968–), journalist and present European Commission Vice President spokesman


  • Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (1971–), former World No. 1 professional tennis player-February, 1995
  • Sergi Bruguera (1971–), former professional tennis player, won 1993 and 1994 French Open
  • Àlex Corretja (1974–), former tennis player
  • Albert Costa (1975–), former tennis player, won the 2002 French Open
  • Tommy Robredo (1982–), tennis player

Motor racing

  • Alfonso “Sito” Pons (1959–), former world champion GP motorcycle racer, owner of MotoGP race team
  • Jordi Tarrés (1966–), motorcycle trial rider, 7 times World Champions & known as the greatest rider ever.
  • Àlex Crivillé (1970–), former GP motorcycle racer, 1999 500cc GP World Champion
  • Pedro Martínez de la Rosa (1971–), F1 driver
  • Nani Roma (1972–), rally racing motorcycle rider and rally raid driver, winner of 2004 Dakar Rally
  • Sete Gibernau (1972–), former GP motorcycle racer
  • Emilio Alzamora (1973–) motorcycle racer, 1999 125cc GP World Champion
  • Marc Gené (1974–), former F1 driver
  • Marc Coma (1976–), rally raid motorcycle racer, winner of 2006 and 2009 Dakar Rally
  • Adam Raga (1982–), motorcycle trial rider
  • Toni Elías (1983-), first world champion of “Moto2”
  • Dani Pedrosa (1985–), GP motorcycle racer, 125 and 250cc world champion
  • Toni Bou (1986-), motorcycle trial rider, 8 times World Champions
  • Jaime Alguersuari (1990–), F1 driver for Scuderia Toro Rosso
  • Marc Márquez (1993–), motorcycle racer, 2010 125cc GP World Champion
  • Laia Sanz (1985-), motorcycle trail rider, 10 times world champion.

Football (soccer)

  • Ricardo Zamora (1901–1978), former goalkeeper for FC Barcelona, RCD Espanyol, Real Madrid CF and Spain
  • Josep Samitier (1902–1972), former FC Barcelona, and Spain midfielder
  • Antoni Ramallets (1924–2013), former FC Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper (retired)
  • Estanislau Basora (1926–), retired FC Barcelona and Spain striker
  • Carles Rexach (1947–), retired FC Barcelona and Spain striker
  • Tito Vilanova (1969–), retired central midfield and latest head-coach of FC Barcelona.
  • Josep Guardiola (1971–), retired FC Barcelona and Spain midfielder, former head-coach of FC Barcelona and present of FC Bayern Munich
  • Jordi Lardin (1973–), RCD Espanyol, Atlético Madrid and Spain winger
  • Roberto Martínez (1973–), former Real Zaragoza and CF Balaguer midfielder
  • Raul Tamudo (1977–), Pachuca and former Spain striker
  • Carles Puyol (1978–), FC Barcelona and Spain defender
  • Joan Capdevila (1978–), RCD Espanyol and Spain defender
  • Xavi Hernández (1980–), FC Barcelona and Spain midfielder
  • Fernando Navarro (1982–), Sevilla FC and former Spain defender
  • Víctor Valdés (1982–), FC Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper
  • Gerard Piqué (1987–), FC Barcelona and Spain defender
  • Cesc Fàbregas (1987–), FC Barcelona and Spain midfielder
  • Jordi Alba (1987-), FC Barcelona and Spain defender
  • Sergio Busquets (1988–), FC Barcelona and Spain midfielder
  • Bojan Krkic (1990–), present AFC Ajax and former AC Milan, FC Barcelona and Spain striker


  • Ignacio “Nacho” Solozabal (1958-), former player of the Regal Barcelona (ACB).
  • Pau Gasol (1980–), ACB basketball player, formerly for Barça and currently in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers
  • Raúl López (1980–), former NBA basketball player for Utah Jazz and currently playing for Real Madrid Baloncesto
  • Juan Carlos Navarro (1980– ), NBA basketball player for Memphis Grizzlies and ACB for Barça
  • Marc Gasol (1985–) ACB basketball player for Barça and CB Girona and NBA for Memphis Grizzlies, younger brother of Pau
  • Ricky Rubio (1990-), former player from Juventut de Badalona, now a player the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA.

Sports (other)

  • Juan Antonio Samaranch (1920–2010), president of the IOC from 1980 to 2001
  • Manuel Estiarte (1961–), former waterpolo player
  • Josef Ajram (1978–), triathlete (swimming, cycling and running) and stock trader.
  • Kílian Jornet Burgada (1987–), long-distance runner and ski mountaineer
  • Mireia Belmonte (1990-), medley, freestyle and butterfly swimmer and first woman ever under 8 min in 800 meter freestyle

Scientists and engineers

  • François Arago (1786–1853), scientist
  • Ildefons Cerdà (1815–1876), urban planner
  • Narcís Monturiol i Estarriol (1819–1885), inventor of the first combustion driven submarine
  • Josep Comas i Solà (1868–1937), astronomer, discoverer of the asteroid named ‘Barcelona’
  • Ignacio Barraquer (Barcelona 1884–1965), ophthalmologist known for his contributions to the advancement of cataract surgery
  • Esteban Terradas i Illa (1883–1950), mathematician, scientist and engineer
  • Pere Bosch-Gimpera (1891–1974), anthropologist, archaeologist and prehistorian
  • Josep Trueta (1897–1977), doctor, professor of orthopedy at Oxford
  • Jose Barraquer (1916–1998), the father of modern refractive surgery and son of Ignacio Barraquer. Invented the cryolathe and microkeratome and developed many surgical procedures.
  • Ramon Margalef (1919–2004), pioneer and outstanding researcher in limnology, marine biology, and ecology.
  • Jordi Sabater Pi (1922–2009), primatologist
  • Joan Oró (1923–2004), biologist
  • Valentin Fuster (1943–), doctor, director of the Cardiologie Institute in Mount Sinai Hospital, New York.
  • Eudald Carbonell (1953–), archaeologist, anthropologist and paleonthologist
  • Ignacio Cirac (1965–), physicist, best known for his contributions to quantum information science.
  • Manel Esteller (1968–), doctor, specialized in the study of cancer.
  • Joan G. Ribas(1943–2010), Chemical.
  • Miquel Salmerón Batallé (1944-), physicist


  • Carme Ruscalleda (1952–), chef
  • Santi Santamaria (1957–2011), chef
  • Ferran Adrià (1962–), chef
  • Roca brothers (Joan, Josep and Jordi), chefs

Saints and Religious figures

  • Saint Raymond of Penyafort (1175–1275), Roman Catholic saint & Dominican
  • Saint Joseph Oriol (1650–1702)
  • Saint Junipero Serra (1713–1784), Roman Catholic saint & Jesuit missionary
  • Saint Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870), founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Saint Francisco Coll Guitart (1812-1875), Roman Catholic saint & Dominican; founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin
  • Josep Sadoc Alemany (1814–1888), first Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco, California[1]
  • Cassià Maria Just (1926–2008), Benedictine abbot, one of the people in the Spanish Catholic Church who opposed Francisco Franco.[2]
  • Lluís Martínez Sistach (1937–) current Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona and member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura


  • Nahmanides (1194– 1270), Catalan-Jewish philosopher
  • Joseph Joffre (1852–1931), French soldier, born in Ribesaltes (Roussillon)
  • Pompeu Fabra (1868–1948), grammarian
  • Rosa Sensat (1873–1961), early Doctor of Pedagogy
  • Alexandre Deulofeu (1903–1977), historian
  • Joan Gili (1907–1998), antiquarian book-seller, publisher and translator.
  • Joan Pujol (alias Garbo) (1912–1988), double agent who played a mayor role in the Invasion of Normandy during World War II
  • Vicente Ferrer Moncho (1920–2009) Catholic hero/humanitarian
  • Salvador Puig i Antich (1948–1974), Catalan anarchist, executed during Franco’s regime
  • Jaume Marxuach i Flaquer (1906–1966), lawyer and writer
  • Toni Strubell i Trueta (1952–), Catalan linguist and politician
  • Joan Laporta i Estruch (1962–), lawyer, former president of FC Barcelona, and politician