America’s Cup: why and how it will change Barcelona

In just over four months, Barcelona will kick off the 37th America’s Cup. A global event that will permanently change the urban coastline.

Could the America’s Cup change Barcelona as the Universal Exhibitions and the Olympic Games did before it? In any case, this is the wish of the municipality which wants to further propel the Catalan capital as a leading maritime city.

The America’s Cup is the most important sailing competition in the world, but also the oldest sporting competition. Also called “the formula 1 of the sea”, it sees the fastest boats in the world, equipped with the latest technologies and innovations, compete on the water. The 37th edition will begin on August 22 and end at the end of October. According to a study by the Barcelona University of Pompeu Fabra (UPF), it could bring in more than a billion euros for the city and attract 2.5 million additional tourists.

In Barcelona, the races can be followed from the beaches, the course being located between Port Vell and Port Olímpic. But the entire waterfront is being redesigned to accommodate this unique event.

The major works of the America’s Cup in Barcelona

A new Olympic Port

Under construction for several years, the new version of the Olympic Port will be ready for the Regatta. The place leaves room for strolling along the boats at the dock, with large benches and deck chairs dedicated to sunny relaxation, and spaces in the shade of a large photovoltaic pergola.

No more cheap bars and restaurants open until the early hours, the Moll de Gregat will make way for the “Gastronomic Balcony”, a space dedicated to quality local cuisine. The Olympics port will also host company headquarters dedicated to the circular economy and the environment.

Several new viewpoints will be ready to view the America’s Cup from different points of view in the city. The Olympic Port will have a viewpoint on the Recer sea wall. A new large maritime promenade of 10,000 square meters with privileged access to the Mediterranean will thus be available to Barcelonans. To avoid built-up areas, access to the viewpoint will be controlled during the competition. Another viewpoint is also under construction on the Port Vell side.

Barcelona will have an ecological “water bus” on July 1, costing 1.90 euros per trip and 3 euros for a round trip. Sheds are currently being renovated to accommodate the new ferry terminal on the Llevant quay, which will notably house a catering area.

The nautical goal will connect the Drassanes quay (Moll de les Drassanes) and the Llevant quay (Moll de Llevant, behind the W), allowing pedestrians to avoid having to go all the way around via Passeig de Colom then Passeig de Joan from Borbó, approximately three kilometers. Two boats will provide round trips, they will be able to accommodate up to 70 passengers and will operate at least twelve hours per day.

Finally, the Barcelona Rambla construction site will give a boost to complete the last section still under construction in July: from the Santa Monica artistic center to the statue of Christopher Columbus. It will therefore be a brand new Rambla, cleaner, more airy and more pleasant for walkers which will be inaugurated just before the Cup.

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