The center of Barcelona is emptied of residents and filled with tourists

While thousands of Barcelona residents have left their city during this Holy Week in the direction of second homes on the coast or in the mountains or have flown to European destinations or other latitudes, thousands of tourists have made the exact opposite journey.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 11:23
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The center of Barcelona is emptied of residents and filled with tourists

While thousands of Barcelona residents have left their city during this Holy Week in the direction of second homes on the coast or in the mountains or have flown to European destinations or other latitudes, thousands of tourists have made the exact opposite journey. Barcelona has been one of the European capitals with the most reservations, with average occupancy exceeding four days. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the most central streets of the Catalan capital, during these days, you see and hear more tourists than residents.

Those who could have left the city in search of a change of scenery. Destinations, in many cases, of proximity. To give an example, in l'Escala, a municipality on the Costa Brava with a large percentage of second homes, mostly occupied by Barcelona residents, yesterday it was difficult to find a free table for lunch. The same thing happened in other municipalities of the Baix Empordà such as Calella de Palafrugell, where many restaurants and terraces looked enviable from the aperitif until mid-afternoon. "Friday was really crazy and yesterday too, those who hadn't booked had real problems finding a place for lunch", says Bárbara Hallé, director of the Sant Roc hotel and president of the Union of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs of the Costa Brava Centre. In this area of ​​the coast, between Thursday and today, occupations have ranged between 85% and 90%. The majority customer, the Catalan tourist and basically from Barcelona, ​​middle-aged and family. "We've had a lot of last-minute bookings," says Hallé.

The Barcelonian who can has fled his city during a great Easter that could be the prelude to a very good tourist season, according to the sector's predictions. The large influx of visitors to the most emblematic places in Barcelona is a thermometer that shows the tourist interest that the Catalan capital arouses, also during Holy Week. Paseo de Gràcia is very busy these days, and long queues can be seen in front of La Pedrera and Casa Batlló. They also present a large flow of visitors around the cathedral. In addition, the sector's employment forecasts, around 85% in hotels and apartments, also invite optimism.

Most visitors come from North America, Asia or Europe. During this bridge, the increase in tourists from southern European countries such as Italy, Portugal and Spain stands out, as explained by Enrique Alcàntara, president of the Barcelona Tourist Apartments Association (Apartur).

Tourists who have mostly arrived in the Catalan capital via El Prat airport, which during this Holy Week has scheduled more than 9,700 operations, 0.6% more than a year ago. Friday, with the start of the holidays for many people, today and tomorrow will be the days with the most activity in El Prat. Also today, the return operation will begin for 590,000 vehicles, which will return to the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona.