Barcelona is the largest city in Catalonia and located on the Mediterranean coast. With a wide variety of tourist attractions, Barcelona is ideal for a short city break or a longer stay.
There is so much to see and do in the city, from roman remains, museums, Michelin star restaurants, home to the famous Camp Nou football stadium and also some beaches to rest and relax, the list goes on.
It is an added bonus that Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate of hot Summers and mild Winters so it is an ideal destination all year round.
Next we have put together a list of what we consider to be the best things to do in Barcelona.
1 – Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia, a large Roman Catholic Church, is one of the most popular tourist attractions and landmarks in Barcelona.
It was designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, construction started in 1882 and to this day is still unfinished. Construction is expected to be completed in 2026.
It is advised to buy you tickets online as during busy periods you may not be allowed inside after queuing if the church has reached its capacity, so waiting in a queue is not uncommon especially in peak season.
There are two times during the day in particular that are ideal for photos. This is when the sun shines through the Basilica, 10.30am – 11.30am and in the evening from 5pm – 6pm
2 – Park Güell
Park Guell is located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona. It is composed of architectonic elements and gardens. Designed in 1900 by the famous architect Gaudí it was declared A World Heritage Site in 1984 under the ‘Works of Antoni Gaudí.
Park Guell is designed to bring the feeling of peace and calm. The main focus point of the park is the main terrace that is surrounded by a bench in the form of a sea serpent. The urban park consists of winding paths, many sculptures and mosaics all designed by Gaudí.
It is accessible by bus or metro with as little as 5 minutes or up to 25 minutes walk depending on which transport you choose. The park is free to enter, you buy tickets to see the architectural area. Park Guell has amazing sunrises if you arrive early and fantastic views of Barcelona.
3 – Casa Milà
Casa Milà, also known as Gaudí’s Alive House because of its appearance, is another one of Gaudí’s masterpieces.
It was built in the early 20th century. Casa Milà is also known as La Pedrera meaning stone quarry. It was the last private residence designed by the famous architect. A must see for Gaudí fans.
After entering the building you will find yourself in in a modern elevator that will take you to a spiral staircase. This will take you to the roof where you will see famous sculptor figures..
4 – Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is located at number 43 on Paseo de Garcia in Barcelona.
Originally built by Antoni Gaudí’s architecture professor Emilio Sala Cortés in 1877. The building was bought by businessman Joseph Batlló in 1903 who granted full creative permission to Gaudí who completely changed the façade and converted inside into a work of art.
After years of being taken over by different companies, the current owners, the Bernat family, have restored the house and it is open to the public since 1995.
Casa Batlló is now a World Heritage Site with over 1 million visitors a year that come to see Gaudí’s amazing architecture.
5 – La Rambla
La Rambla is a busy tree lined promenade pedestrian street stretching 1.2 kilometres in length. Located in central Barcelona La Rambla offers an amazing shopping experience for all ages.
The streets are lined with various vendors, pavement cafes, souvenir kiosks and popular shops. To the East of La Rambla is the gothic quarter which is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. To the north of La Rambla is Plaça de Catalunya, a large square that is considered the centre of Barcelona. El Raval lies to the west. This was originally the site of various religious and medical institutions. And finally to the south end of La Rambla is the Christopher Columbus Monument and Port Vell the old port of Barcelona.
6 – Gothic Quarter
Barcelona’s gothic quarter is one of the most talked about neighbourhoods in the city. Explore its enchanting squares and mysterious alleyways at your leisure or with a walk through guided tour and learn about its captivating history.
It was a Roman village over 2,000 yeas ago. Located in the centre of the old town in Barcelona, it stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana and from the Mediterranean seafront to the Ronda de Sant Pere.
The famous architect Antoni Gaudí had one of his very first projects upon graduation in one of the grand squares Plaça Reial where he designed the street lamps. There are also many restaurants and outdoor venues here to enjoy.
Another popular main attraction is the Barcelona Cathedral in the gothic quarter, not to be confused with Sagrada Família. Located in the heart of the town it has stunning courtyards and geese. The roof is known for it’s gargoyles and features a wide range of animals that are both domestic and mythical.
7 – Mercado de la Boqueria
Mercado de la Boqueria is the most famous market in Barcelona. It is located in the centre of the city in Las Ramblas. The popular market sells some of the freshest vegetables, fruit and seafood in Barcelona.
It dates back to 1217 when goods were originally sold from tables outdoors. In 1826 the market was recognised and after a convention it was decided to build an official structure. The metal roof was added in 1914 and still exists today.
At 2 pm the market is in full swing, so morning time is ideal to visit while it is quieter, therefore making your experience more memorable.
8 – Montjuic
Montjuic translated from Catalan as Jewish Mountain is a prominent hill overlooking Barcelona harbour. It is located to the southwest of the city centre. The Olympic inspired district boasts a lot of attractions. Some include museums, botanical gardens and a castle.
It can be accessed by metro, bus or cable car that takes you directly to the castle at the top of the hill. An ideal place to begin your tour. It is considered an attraction unto itself.
Another option to travel to Montjuic is Barcelona bikes ‘View Tour’. After leaving the old town on your ebike it is an effortless journey up the slopes winding paths and gardens along the way.
Montjuic castle has a fascinating history full of battles and architectural renovations. There is panoramic views of Barcelona harbour.
9 – Plaça de Catalunya
Plaça de Catalunya, meaning Catalonia square in English, is a large square in Barcelona and considered to be both its centre and where the old city meets the 19th century built section.
It is best known for its many statues, fountains and the flocks of pigeons that gather in the centre. The interesting sculptures represent different movements in history. Surrounded by shops it is a popular meeting point and a great place to begin your Barcelona tour.
The plaza occupies an area of approx 50,000 square metres. Some of the cities most important streets and avenues meet at Plaça de Catalunya, including La Rambla, Carrer de Pelai and Carrer de Vergara.
10 – Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens is a house in Barcelona located on Carrer de les Carolines. It was the first house Antoni Gaudí designed.
The roof on Casa Vicens is sloped on two sides and has four gables. The house is divided into four levels, a basement, two floors for living and a loft. Between the first and second floor there is a horseshoe shaped stairway
There is a guided tour option available and you can take as much time as you need to see the detail of the immaculately restored house.
11 – Camp Nou
Camp Nou is the home stadium of FC Barcelona since it was completed in 1957. It is the third largest football stadium in the world in capacity of almost 100,000 and the largest in Spain and Europe. UEFA rated Camp Nou a five star stadium in 1998-1999.
The facilities in the stadium now include mini pitches for training matches, a chapel for the players, a memorabilia shop and a FC Barcelona museum that is divided into 3 sections, which receives more than 1.2 million visitors per year.
The Camp Nou tour will give you an insight to behind the scenes of a football club where you can see what it is like from players and managers point of view, adding to your experience. Walking through the players tunnel to the pitch adds to the excitement of your visit. Likewise the opportunity to sit in the Presidents box will give you the best views.
12 – Hop On Hop Off Tour
Discover Barcelona with the Hop-On-Hop-Off tours that will guide you through the city covering everything from modern delights to historical Medieval streets on one of the convenient open top buses.
Travel one of three routes and view top Barcelona attractions including La Sagrada Familia, the Gothic Quarter and Park Güell. Hop on and off as often as you choose at any of the 44 bus stops with a 1 or 2 day ticket option and sight see at your own pace.
There is audio commentary onboard to enjoy as you sit back and relax while viewing this beautiful city.
13 – Poble Espanyol
Poble Espanyol is an open air architectural museum consisting of 117 full scale buildings that recreate Spanish villages from across the country. It also has a theatre, museum of contemporary art, artisan workshops and restaurants.
It is located approximately 400 metres from the fountains of Montjuic. After being built for the purpose of the Barcelona International Exposition in 1929, it was originally planned to be demolished after the expedition but it was preserved due to its success.
Over 30 artisans regularly work in the village making baskets, jewellery, Spanish guitars and blown glass.
To avoid queues it is advisable to buy tickets online before going to see Poble Espanyol. The audioguide is available in English, Catalan, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, German and Hebrew.
14 – Sunset Catamaran Cruise With Live Music
Sunset Catamaran Cruise With Live Music is every sunset lovers dream.
For 90 minutes you sail on a luxurious Catamaran while enjoying a drink and live music. Watch the sun setting over Barcelona while sailing along the Mediterranean seas.
15 – Sant Pau Recinte Modernista
At Sant Pau Recinte Modernista you will see mosaics, stained glass, architecture and a lot more in this 600 year old former hospital while you learn the rich medical history of the site that originally dates back to 1401.
In the early 1900’s architect Domènech I Montaner designed a modern hospital on the site of the medieval hospital. His aim was to provide patients with architectural and natural beauty to help heal their spirits.
It consists of 16 pavilions. There are underground tunnels characterised by mosaic art, arches and coloured roof tiles. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista is true masterpiece that was made a UNESCO world Heritage site in 2009.
16 – Barcelona Zoo
Barcelona zoo is located in the heart of the city. Built in 1892 it is considered one of the most beautiful zoos as visitors have the advantage of almost touching the animals due to its open fences. It houses more than 2000 animals of over 300 different species.
It is also famous for over 1300 trees, flowers and plants over 330 botanical varieties making it rich in nature and fauna. Such beautiful sights and all in Barcelona zoo.
The zoo is located in Parc de la Ciutadela in Barcelona. The zoo covers almost 14 hectares and is organised along a route as close as possible to to their natural habitat. For example some animals are separated from visitors by ditches and easily observed.
All of Barcelona Zoo is wheelchair accessible and you also have the option of renting a small electric mobility scooter so you can venture around at your own pace.
The queues are avoided if you book your tickets online in advance, it also will give you more time to explore all of the zoo without any delays.
17 – The Ice Bar at Icebarcelona
At Barcelona Ice Bar you can experience the first ice bar in the world on the beach. It has an intimate ice lounge that is decorated with sculptures entirely carved by hand by renowned international sculptors.
After cooling off in the Ice Bar where the temperature is approximately -5 degrees you can sit back and relax on the terrace bar while looking out at the Mediterranean Sea.
With your ticket purchase, a jacket and gloves are provided on arrival and 1 drink is included. Twice a year the room theme, sculptures and lighting are updated.
18 – Forbidden Walking Tour
Barcelona Forbidden walking tour will show you the dark side and history of the city. We all know Barcelona for its architecture and sunshine, so the 2 hour forbidden walking tour will take you down backstreets to see the other side that is not all beach days.
The tour starts at the Jaume 1 metro exit in front of Hotel Suizo in Plaza de L’Angel and will finish around Rambla del Raval.
Your guide will tell you some terrifying tales about Barcelona’s 20th century vampire that roamed the streets and the site of Europes one time largest brothel Madame Le Petit. You also learn tales of torture and murder.
19 – Skyline Beaches & Boat Tour
Skyline beaches and boat tours lets you discover Barcelona’s highlights from the sea.
Enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and the sun on your face on this 9 mile boat trip while watching the city’s skyline and main buildings. Sit back and relax while you cruise through the Mediterranean waters with stunning views of the coast.
20 – The Barcelona Pass – Entry to More Than 20 Attractions In Barcelona
The Barcelona pass is a sightseeing city card that offers you free entry to over 20 top attractions, monuments and museums and includes a free hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
Some of the main attractions include the Gaudí Exhibition, Casa Batlló, L’Aquarium, Poble Espanyol, Casa Míla, Barcelona FC Museum Tour and many more.
Its so easy to book. Just choose the duration that suits you best. Pick up your passes or get them shipped to you. When you arrive at your chosen destinations from the selection of 20+ attractions, show your pass upon entry and go straight in.
There is great savings to be made and stress free sightseeing with the Barcelona pass.
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