Fact Check

The Story Behind This Breathtaking Aerial View of Barcelona in Bloom

This image could easily lead to some misunderstandings concerning the beauty of Barcelona's blooms.

Published Sep 25, 2023

 (X user @Culture_Crit)
Image Via X user @Culture_Crit
A picture that went viral in August and September 2023 was an authentic aerial view of Barcelona, Spain.

The image is a digitally created composite. The trees that grow along Diagonal Avenue do not turn purple as shown in the picture.

In August and September 2023, an image went viral on social media, allegedly showing an aerial view of Barcelona. "Does any city look as good from above as Barcelona?" one X user captioned the image in question.

(X user @Culture_Crit)

TinEye, a reverse image search tool, indicated that the image has circulated online at least since June 2019. We tracked down the source of the image and it turned out, as some social media users suggested in the comments, that it had been digitally edited. The photo was originally posted in March 2019 by the Instagram account @jacob, owned by a photographer Jacob Riglin.

The image's original caption indicated that it was a composite, although the author did not specify which part(s) had been edited:

Blossoms in Barcelona 🌸 Excited to be heading to Japan next week to experience this magical change in seasons! (P.s - this is a composite) #LookAtThoseColours

We located the exact place visible in the picture and discovered it was a view of Sagrada Familia (on the left), an unfinished Catholic church and one of Barcelona's most famous landmarks, and the Diagonal Avenue (on the right). However, the trees along Diagonal Avenue do not actually turn purple, as various Spanish-language sources and Google search results confirmed.  

(X user @Culture_Crit, Google Maps)

In June 2023, we fact-checked a similar picture that also turned out to be a composite image. Its creator combined a photograph of a real California Street in San Francisco with an aerial drone shot and titled it "San Franception."

(Instagram user @trystane)


Colau quiere acabar con el árbol más emblemático de Barcelona. 2 June 2022, https://www.larazon.es/cataluna/20220530/hnmqec7hdnbijcfzy4syjduiii.html.

"Los árboles condicionan la reforma de la Avenida Diagonal." La Vanguardia, 6 Mar. 2010, https://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20100306/53897273394/los-arboles-condicionan-la-reforma-de-la-avenida-diagonal.html.

Sagrada Familia | Description, History, Design, Church, & Facts | Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sagrada-Familia. Accessed 25 Sept. 2023.

Wrona, Aleksandra. "Is This a Real Pic of a Steep San Francisco Hill?" Snopes, 20 June 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/photo-san-francisco-hill/.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.