The beautiful backdrop and varied history of Barcelona make it the perfect setting and location for movies and tv series. From serious historical based dramas, to romantic love stories and even comedies, check out our favourite movies and tv series set in Barcelona to get a taste of the beautiful and vibrant city.
Movies set in Barcelona
Barcelona is an ever-popular place for students doing their Erasmus, or year abroad studies, and L’auberge espagnole perfectly encapsulates that. Based on a French student who finds himself in a house of eclectic international students whilst doing his year abroad in the often-diverse city of Barcelona, this film really highlights the hedonistic side of the city that can be enjoyed. Capturing the Barcelona from a certain period of time, this French-Spanish film is not one to be missed, especially for those who studied in Barcelona themselves as a trip down memory lane.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Perhaps the most famous film set in Barcelona, featuring stars Scarlett Johansson, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, Vicky Cristina Barcelona follows the journey of two Americans visiting Barcelona for the first time, where they meet and fall for some fiery Spanish characters. As much a love story about people, this film is a love story about Barcelona, showing off the very best of the city.
Todo Sobre mi Madre
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, one of Spain’s most famous directors, Todo Sobre mi Madre, literally translates as All About My Mother. This Academy Award winning film is able to explore deep and complex issues, such as AIDS, existentialism and transsexuality, through its cinematic prowess, and its setting in Barcelona is perhaps an ode to the city’s often progressive and liberal nature.
Salvador (Puig Antich)
A true story, based on the above named, gives the spectator an insight into the history of Barcelona, during the time of the Franco regime. This is the sad tale of a man who fought for the independence of Catalunya, through anarchist movements and depicts the time he spent on death row as a result. Salvador Puig Antich is still a symbol of independence and a household name in Catalunya, as one of Franco’s last victims.
Another sad film depicting life in Catalunya in the times of Franco, Pa Negre, meaning black bread, is the story of a young boy who lives in the Catalan country-side in the harsh post-war times. An emotional tale, that explores the intricacies of human nature, as well as the history of Catalunya and Spain, this is a must watch for those for those interested in politics and history.
Cheetah Girls 2
For anyone who was into Disney as a child this movie might ring a bell. A talented teen quartet, led up by Raven-Symoné, move to Barcelona to follow their dreams of pop superstardom. A light film featuring musical numbers and suitable for children, Cheetah Girls 2 highlights some of Barcelona’s most famous sites as they explore all the city has to offer. In fact, as the cast and crew were looking for some luxurious accommodation to stay in during filming, they chose to stay in some of bizFlats finest apartments, as the best base to relax and have access to the city.
TV Series set in Barcelona
La Catedral del Mar
For those interested in history, La Catedral del Mar (Cathedral of the Sea) takes the viewer back to medieval Barcelona, and is the tale of the construction of Santa Maria del Mar, which still stands. Set in Barcelona, the series follows the life of Arnau Estanyol, the son of a fugitive serf and one of the cathedral’s stone workers.
A light comedy-drama, Cites (an adaptation of the UK series Dates) shows what contemporary life in the city of Barcelona is like for young adults, searching for love and companionship. Following the experiences of 24 different strangers who met on the internet and then meet face-to-face, Cites cleverly intertwines the lives of these strangers to create a compelling drama focusing on the ups and downs of human relationships and the struggle of looking for love in the modern age.The characters visit a great selection of venues such as parks, restaurants and bars which any visitor can find in the city.
A good one if you want to practice your Catalan (although don’t worry, it is also possible to find it with subtitles), Merlí has seen international success, with the possibility to even find it on Netflix. Set in a high-school in Barcelona, each episode is themed after a famous philosopher or school of thought, with the series bringing philosophy to the public in an interesting and accessible way.
So next time you’re looking for something to watch, why not try out one of these great movies or tv series. It might even help you get inspiration for your next trip to the wonderful city of Barcelona.