Barcelona declared “officially the greatest city on earth” in 2022

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Having lost some of its shine in recent years, Barcelona gets a reputational boost from The Telegraph (UK) this week naming it “officially the greatest city on Earth” to visit.

There was a period of about five years leading up to 2017 when Barcelona was regularly ranked as one of the best cities in the world to visit or live in, with booming tourism and foreign property sales following in the wake of the city’s stellar international reputation. 

The shine came off in 2017, when the Catalan separatist conflict boiled over into riots on the streets of Barcelona, compounding problems of municipal mismanagement by the hard-left under Mayoress Ada Colau. Foreign interest in property for sale in Barcelona cooled significantly after that, and the pandemic in 2020 was a heavy blow to tourism and property sales. In the chart below you can see how home sales in the city declined in response to both of those shocks, before recovering in 2021.

So it’s nice to see Barcelona once again at the top of an international ranking of world cities, this time from The Telegraph travel desk in what it describes as “the biggest independent destination study since the pandemic,” using a wide range of criteria and inputs from a shortlist of 50 cities selected by Telegraph readers and a panel of experts.

“Barcelona claims the top spot, thanks to its world-class architecture, thriving arts and culture scene and more than 2,500 hours of sunshine per year,” explains The Telegraph. 

“The criteria included factors that Telegraph readers prioritise in city break destinations, such as the number of Unesco World Heritage Sites, air quality, green space, LGBT+ safety ranking, disabled access and the number of Michelin-starred restaurants, among other criteria rewarding safety, practicality and cultural prowess.”

Claire Irvin, Head of Travel at the Telegraph, said: “Which city is the best on Earth’ is a question that always delivers impassioned debate amongst Telegraph Travel’s experts – yet, despite our collective experience and expert insight, an emphatic answer has always proved elusive… So we decided it was high time we reached a definitive conclusion, using rigorous research methods.”

Being declared “Officially the greatest city on earth” by The Telegraph comes hot on the heels of Barcelona winning the race to host the next America’s Cup, which will give the Catalan capital fantastic international exposure over the next two years. Barcelona’s star is rising again, and with it foreign interest in property for sale in Barcelona.

International buyers return to Barcelona

“We have seen that in the last 12 months there has been a dramatic uplift in overseas clients purchasing here in Barcelona, which reinforces this fantastic news,” says Jeremey Parker, a property consultant at Nexitum – a personal property shopper for real estate in Barcelona. “It’s great to see Barcelona at the top of the list, and it richly deserves the accolade as a city with so much to offer.”

Marian Muro, General Manager Turisme de Barcelona, said: “This is a significant recognition of our city as one of the friendliest cities to visit, and also to live in. Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city, with the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop, and this, combined with its welcoming, friendly and inclusive attributes make it completely unique.”

The top ten in The Telegraph’s 2022 ranking of the best cities on earth to visit:

  1. Barcelona
  2. Sydney
  3. Cape Town
  4. Lisbon
  5. Venice
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Dubai
  8. London
  9. Vancouver
  10. Florence

Thoughts on “Barcelona declared “officially the greatest city on earth” in 2022

  • Entrepreneurial Learning says:

    Might be worth checking out the EIUs 2022 Global Liveability Index that offers a direct contrast to the Telegraph’s claim. ie Barcelona has fallen down the rankings!?

    • Mark Stücklin says:

      Yes, I did see that, but in the free version they sent me it just notes in a table that Barcelona went down 19 places t 35 and Madrid 24 to 43, without any explanation so there’s not much to say. Otherwise I would have written about it. In my opinion living in Barcelona it’s more likely going down than up.

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