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20 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Barcelona

Written by Lisa Alexander Updated Dec 22, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Catalonia's vibrant capital, Barcelona is a stunning seaside city that flaunts her beauty and sunny lifestyle. Gorgeous scenery, breathtaking architecture, and superb cultural attractions make for an alluring destination. Of course, the balmy Mediterranean climate adds to the charm.

Barcelona has an atmospheric medieval quarter, the Barri Gòtic , with an almost magical old-world ambience, but it's even more famous for its Modernist architecture. Antoni Gaudí left a lasting mark on Barcelona with his avant-garde Surrealist buildings; several are UNESCO-listed.

After all the sightseeing, you'll want to simply relax and soak up the city's joyous vibe. Enjoy strolling down La Rambla, where the locals hang out; sunbathing at the sandy beaches near the harbor ; and lingering over leisurely meals on outdoor terraces.

One of the best ways to discover Barcelona is by wandering aimlessly and stumbling upon hidden side streets with small cafés or stopping to relax at peaceful town squares, where street musicians strum melodies on Spanish guitars. Delightful surprises abound at every turn.

Learn about the best places to visit and things to do with our list of the top attractions in Barcelona.

1. Basílica de la Sagrada Família

2. barri gòtic (gothic quarter), 3. casa milà (la pedrera), 4. la rambla: barcelona's social hub, 5. bogatell beach, 6. palau de la música catalana (palace of catalan music), 7. catedral de la santa cruz y santa eulalia, 8. parc güell: gaudí's surrealist park, 9. casa batlló, 10. museu picasso de barcelona, 11. la barceloneta, 12. plaça del rei, 13. camp nou, 14. magic fountain of montjuïc, 15. scenic views and art museums in montjuïc, 16. reial monestir de santa maria de pedralbes, 17. mercat de la boqueria, 18. fundació joan miró, 19. parc del laberint, 20. quadrat d'or, where to stay in barcelona for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to barcelona.

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia

The Basílica de la Sagrada Família stands in the northern part of the city, dominating its surroundings with its 18 spindly towers soaring high above all the other buildings. One of Europe's most unconventional churches, this amazing monument is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

The renowned Catalan architect of modern times, Antoni Gaudí was commissioned in 1883 to design this Basilica as a neo-Gothic church. But instead of following the plans, he created a signature example of his famous surrealistic Art Nouveau architecture. He had no firm ideas in mind, preferring to alter and add to the plans as work progressed.

Although Gaudí had originally forecast between 10 and fifteen years, the church was never completed during his lifetime. Since 1926, several other architects have continued work on the Basilica based on Gaudí's plans. In 2010, the main nave was completed, and the Basilica was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI (although construction is still ongoing and expected to be completed by 2026).

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia

Visitors are first struck by the lavish exterior with its expressive Nativity facade depicting the birth of Jesus, and the evocative Passion facade that illustrates the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Even though the Basilica is unfinished, tourists may visit the interior to admire the awe-inspiring sacred space and its dazzling artworks. The main nave of the sanctuary is an immense space of 90 meters long by 60 meters high. The ceiling sparkles with opulent decorative details, and colorful stained-glass windows allow ethereal light to flow in.

The apse features an unusual Crucifix rendered as a canopy with lanterns. The overall effect is jaw-dropping. Gaudí best captured the essence of his architectural masterpiece when he described it as "a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people."

The Basilica of the Sacred Family is also known in Spanish by its official name: Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família .

Address: 401 Carrer de Mallorca, Barcelona

Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família - Floor plan map

For 2,000 years, the Gothic Quarter has been the spiritual and secular center of the city. Relics of ancient Roman buildings are still found here, but the Middle Ages are best represented by the historic monuments packed into this quarter.

Mainly built between the 13th and 15th centuries, the Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia is the heart of the Gothic Quarter. Surrounding the cathedral is a maze of cobblestone streets and alleyways.

Tourists will enjoy wandering the narrow pedestrian lanes, and stopping to discover the neighborhood's quaint boutiques and restaurants. By getting lost here, visitors become immersed in the magical ambience of a traffic-free medieval world.

Picturesque squares are enlivened by the sounds of people chatting and laughing or the strumming of Spanish classical guitar. Children often play a pickup game of soccer in the Gothic Quarter's hidden corners, and local residents socialize at the sidewalk terraces of cafés that are tucked away in courtyards.

Casa Mila (La Pedrera)

In the Eixample district off the elegant boulevard of Passeig de Gràcia, the UNESCO-listed Casa Milà is Antoni Gaudí's most famous secular building. Casa Milà is also affectionately known as "La Pedrera," which translates to "The Stone Quarry" because the building resembles an open quarry.

Built between 1906 and 1912, this flamboyant avant-garde dwelling looks more like a sculpture than a functional building. Every line of the natural stone facade is curved, with rounded windows and metal balcony railings twining around in plant-like shapes. Even the roof has an undulating form, complemented by the decorative chimneys.

The entrance to the building is on the Carrer de Provença, through a remarkable wrought-iron gate that leads to an inner courtyard. The building is supported by ribbed arches that were designed for load-bearing purposes, a feature that reveals Gaudí's genius as a structural engineer.

Visitors may walk around the rooftop terrace for an up-close look at the strangely shaped mosaic-adorned chimneys. The roof area also rewards visitors with sensational views across the city, with the outlook extending to the Basílica de la Sagrada Família in the distance.

Casa Milà houses the Fundació Catalunya cultural center that organizes events (such as lectures, dance performances, and art exhibitions) throughout the year. The monument is open to the public daily for self-guided visits, and audio guides are available. Guided tours are available on various themes, including a nighttime experience with a light show, music, and refreshments.

Well designed to welcome tourists, Casa Milà has boutiques and a stylish restaurant on the building's mezzanine, Cafè de la Pedrera , which offers gourmet Catalan cuisine for lunch and dinner. This restaurant also serves brunch and tapas.

Address: 261-265 Carrer de Provença, Barcelona

Official site: https://www.lapedrera.com/en/home

Aerial view of La Rambla

The heart of Barcelona's social life is found on La Rambla, a wide tree-shaded avenue that divides the Old Town into two parts. La Rambla stretches from the Plaça de Catalunya, where the beautiful Romanesque 12th-century Convent of Santa Anna stands, all the way down to the port.

This street features expansive pedestrian sidewalks, lined with shops, restaurants, and outdoor cafés, making it one of the most popular hangouts in the city.

During the day, many locals are found here doing their everyday shopping at the Mercat de la Boqueria . At night, groups of friends and families take their evening paseo (stroll) on La Rambla to enjoy the fresh air and lively ambience. On some days, onlookers might be treated to live music, a mime show, or other impromptu street performances.

On its northeast side, La Rambla borders the Barri Gòtic , and halfway down the avenue is the Plaça Reial , a lovely palm-fringed square enclosed by historic houses. These elegant buildings have arcades filled with shops, cafés, and restaurants. At the center is the Fountain of the Three Graces and a pair of street lamps designed by Antoni Gaudí featuring winged dragons.

Another important monument on La Rambla (number 3-5) is the UNESCO-listed Palau Güell , an ostentatious mansion designed in 1886 by Antoni Gaudí. The owner, Eusebi Güell, was a great patron of the arts, and the building was constructed with a large domed hall intended for poetry readings and private concerts. Open to the public for visits, the building is adorned with sumptuous décor, valuable textiles, and handcrafted furniture created by Gaudí.

Bogatell Beach

Barcelona is home to 4.5 miles of beaches. And one of the best beaches in Spain is found within the city limits of Barcelona. Locals flock to Bogatell Beach to sunbathe, socialize, relax, play volleyball, or go windsurfing. Other things to do include kitesurfing and kayaking.

The 600-meter-long beach features a sandy shoreline and excellent amenities: restrooms, showers, parking, a beachfront promenade, snack bars, and ice cream shops. There are also multiple lifeguard towers to ensure beach safety.

Address: Sant Martí District, Barcelona

Palau de la Música Catalana

Built between 1905 and 1908 as a concert hall for the choral society Orfeó Català, the Palau de la Música Catalana was designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, in the Catalan Modernist style. The UNESCO-listed building exemplifies an ornate Art Nouveau decorative style. The facade is a profusion of intricate mosaics, sculptural elements, and exquisite ironwork.

The interior décor is just as colorful and fanciful within the Concert Auditorium . Adorned with Art Nouveau floral patterns and fruit motifs, this enchanting auditorium provides a marvelous setting for musical performances. The concert hall, which seats about 2,200 people, is the only auditorium in Europe illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light.

Eye-catching artworks cover every square inch of the Concert Auditorium's walls and ceiling. The walls on two sides consist primarily of stained-glass panes. The ceiling features an enormous skylight of stained glass designed by Antoni Rigalt whose centerpiece is an inverted dome in shades of gold surrounded by blue that suggests the sun and the sky. Elaborate sculptures of muses frame the concert stage.

A program of evening music performances (including pop music, Spanish guitar, flamenco, jazz, opera, and classical music) is held at the Palau de la Música Catalana throughout the year.

It is possible to see the interior of the Palau de la Música Catalana outside of concert performances by taking a guided tour.

The Palau de la Música Catalana has a gift shop and a café-restaurant, the Cafè Palau, which serves breakfast, lunch, and afternoon refreshments in a cozy indoor space or on a pleasant outdoor patio.

Address: 4-6 Calle Palau de la Música, Barcelona

Official site: https://www.palaumusica.cat/en

Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia (Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia)

At the center of the Gothic Quarter on the Monte Tabor is the Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia (Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia). This medieval cathedral is a masterpiece of Catalan Gothic architecture with an ornately sculpted facade.

The sanctuary contains magnificent works of art, including the Altarpiece of the Transfiguration by Bernat Martorell, as well as other medieval altarpieces and a remarkable gilded, jewel-encrusted monstrance. The cathedral also has an exquisite Gothic choir and keystones that date to the 14th and 15th centuries.

Surprising many visitors, the cathedral's cloister and garden shelter 13 live geese that symbolize the martyrdom of Saint Eulalia. The cloister's pond provides a habitat for the geese.

The Cathedral Museum displays a collection of medieval paintings. The painting of La Pieta by Bartolomé Bermejo is particularly noteworthy.

Mass is celebrated at the Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia several times daily. Services are held in Spanish or Catalan; there is at least one Spanish-language Mass every day.

Address: Plaça de la Seu, Barcelona

Parc Güell: Gaudí's Surrealist Park

Colorful, cheerful, and full of whimsy, this luxuriant 19-hectare hillside park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Created between 1900 and 1914, the Park Güell includes 12 acres of landscaped gardens featuring Surrealist architectural elements created by Antoni Gaudí and eight acres of pristine woodlands (pine forest and olive groves).

Splendid fountains, viaducts, grottoes, a colonnaded hall, winding staircases, and semi-closed conversation seats are scattered throughout the garden space. These creative structures are decorated with vibrant mosaics made of ceramic fragments.

There are picnic areas and a spectacular terrace that offers panoramic views of the city and the sea. Gaudí himself loved this area of the city (the Gràcia district), and his home was located here.

Within the Park Güell is the Casa Museu Gaudí (Gaudí House Museum) where Gaudí lived for nearly two decades. The museum educates visitors about Gaudí's life and architectural work. The collection includes decorative objects and furniture, designed by Gaudí.

Entrance tickets are required to visit Parc Güell. Because this is one of the most popular tourist sites in Barcelona, it's recommended to arrive early (in the morning if possible) to avoid the crowds. Guided tours are available.

Address: Carrer d'Olot, Barcelona

Casa Batlló

Yet another amazing Gaudí creation, the UNESCO-listed Casa Batlló is one of the most characteristic Modernist buildings in Barcelona. The fantastical mansion was designed as a private residence for the textile manufacturer Josep Batlló i Casanovas. With its freely swinging shapes and ornamental facade, this dreamlike building looks like a castle from a surreal fairy tale.

Most of the design details depart completely from any architectural precedent. The window frame on the first floor is bordered by swinging shapes that suggest plants, others resemble entrances to caves. On the facade, decorative glazed ceramic tiles in green, blue, and ochre colors add to the flamboyance. The wave-shaped roof, like that of Casa Milà, has numerous richly adorned chimneys.

Gaudí also created the interior decorations, which can be seen in the Casa Museu Gaudí in the Parc Güell.

For those seeking a superb gourmet meal, the elegant Moments Restaurant , with two Michelin stars, is just a few steps away at 38-40 Passeig de Gràcia in the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona . This upscale fine-dining restaurant serves modern gastronomic Catalan cuisine prepared from seasonal ingredients.

Address: 43 Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona

Official site: https://www.casabatllo.es/en/

Picasso Museum, Barcelona

Inaugurated in 1963, the Picasso Museum occupies five medieval palaces in the Gothic Quarter on the Calle de Montcada, named after an important local family of the 12th century. The Calle de Montcada is listed as a Conjunto Monumental Histórico-Artístico (Historic-Artistic Monument), and the five palaces are remarkable Catalan Gothic landmarks dating to the 13th and 14th centuries. The architecture of each building features a central patio and a grand exterior staircase.

The collection of the museum focuses on works created by Pablo Picasso as a young artist. Containing over 4,000 works, the collection reveals the talents of the artist during his formative years. An exhaustive assortment covers paintings created from 1895 and up until Picasso's Blue Period (1901 - 1904).

Other highlights of the collection are several paintings created in 1917 including Arlequín , featuring a harlequin character (the model was a dancer from a Russian ballet company); El Paseo de Colón , illustrating the Hotel Ranzini at number 22 on the Colón passageway; and Blanquita Suárez , depicting a famous singer of the time. Also not to be missed is the series of paintings titled Las Meninas , which portray the Infanta Margarita María.

Address: 15-23 Calle de Montcada, Barcelona

Official site: http://www.museupicasso.bcn.cat/en/

 La Barceloneta

Adjacent to the cruise port, the old fishing village of La Barceloneta (now a seaside neighborhood of Barcelona) borders the long, wide Sant Sebastià Beach , where locals go to sunbathe, surf, and socialize in the many seafood restaurants and tapas venues that overlook the sea.

Sant Sebastià Beach has a wide range of amenities: lifeguards, public restrooms, showers, recreational sports areas, lounge chair and sun umbrella rentals, ice-cream stands, and snack bars. A long promenade lined with palm trees connects the Sant Sebastià Beach area to marinas filled with yachts.

On summer and fall evenings this area comes alive as people flock to the beach, marina, and promenade around the Port Olympic complex (built for the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games) to watch the spectacular sunsets then head to one of the many cafes and restaurants for tapas and conversations that last late into the evening. You'll also notice many unique sculptures and Modernist buildings in this area.

The popular Barceloneta Beach is also found in La Barceloneta neighborhood. This beach has excellent facilities: lifeguards, public restrooms, changing rooms, showers, lounge chair and sun umbrella rentals, snack bars, ice-cream stands, areas for recreational sports (including beach volleyball and ping pong), and restaurants.

To admire views of La Barceloneta's coastline, marinas, and port area, take a ride on the Port Cable Car , which ascends from here to hilltop Montjuïc.

Plaça del Rei

The Plaça del Rei is a quiet square in the Gothic Quarter lined with imposing medieval buildings. The grand architecture speaks to the importance of the monuments: a palace of Catalan counts (the Palau Reial Major ), a 16th-century lieutenant's palace, and a 14th-century royal chapel.

One of the most impressive historic landmarks on the square is the 16th-century Casa Clariana Padellàs, which houses the Museu d'Història de la Cuitat de Barcelona (Barcelona History Museum). This fascinating museum traces the history of Barcelona over 2,000 years, beginning with the ancient Roman era, continuing through the Renaissance and Baroque periods and up until the Spanish Civil War.

The Plaça del Rei is also used as an outdoor venue for music concerts.

Camp Nou

Just as Catalan Modernist buildings are must-see attractions for architecture fans, Camp Nou is a must-see for football (soccer) fans. Camp Nou was one of the venues for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and today is home of the FC Barcelona team. The 99,354-seat stadium is the largest in Europe and second largest in the world.

Camp Nou offers guided tours , led by bilingual Official FC Barcelona Guides. The tours (in English and Spanish) cover highlights of the stadium such as the playing field, the team's changing room, players' tunnel, and the commentators' boxes.

Guided tours also include a visit to the Barça Museum. The Barça Museum presents trophies, photos, and multimedia exhibits, including videos of the FC Barcelona's winning goals.

The Barça Cafe at Camp Nou is a fun place to watch live and recorded games on big-screen televisions. The chefs work in an open kitchen, where guests can watch the action, preparing traditional Catalan dishes such as grilled meat and fish cooked on a wood-fired oven, as well as some of the FC Barcelona players' favorite tapas. The Barça Cafe is open daily from 10am until 7pm.

Address: 12 Calle d'Aristides Maillol, Barcelona

Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Topping the list of things to do in Barcelona at night is watching the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, near the Plaça d'Espanya in the Montjuïc neighborhood. The large Art Deco fountain was designed by Carles Buigas for the 1929 International Exhibition, which took place in Montjuïc.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc delights all ages with its choreographed light and fountain shows that are set to music. The shows take place Thursday through Sunday during the summer and Friday and Saturday in the off-season. The evening shows last for a few hours, with music sessions every half hour.

Address: 1 Plaça de Carles Buïgas, Barcelona

Amusement Park and Scenic Views in Montjuïc

This hilltop neighborhood is on the site of an old Jewish cemetery, explaining its name, "Mont Juïc," which translates to "Mountain of the Jews." Standing 213 meters above the sea, the hillside is crowned by a fortress (the Castell de Montjuïc ) on its summit and slopes steeply down to the waterfront. Crowning this scenic area is the Parc de Montjuïc , a beautiful natural park with great views.

One of the top attractions of Montjuïc is the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (National Art Museum of Catalonia). Housed in the Palau Nacional , the museum has an exceptional collection of Catalan Art from the 10th to the 20th centuries, including sculpture, paintings, drawings, engravings, and photography. The museum also displays European Renaissance and Baroque Art, as well as a collection of modern art that includes avant-garde works created after World War Two.

The Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village) is another popular place to visit. This charming fabricated village was created for the 1929 World Exhibition.

Montjuïc was a venue for the 1992 Summer Olympics , and tourists can visit the stadium where Olympic competitions were held.

Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes

A wonderful example of Catalan Gothic architecture, the Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes is nestled on the gentle slopes of the Sant Pere Màrtir hillside in the outskirts of Barcelona. Queen Elisenda de Montcada founded the convent in 1327 for the Order of Saint Clare.

The monastery has two places of worship: a 14th-century Catalan Gothic church and a small chapel, Saint Michael's Chapel , decorated with magnificent murals. Dating to the early 14th century, the murals were created by Ferrer Bassa in the Italianate Trecento style (influenced by Italian masters such as Giotto). The murals still reveal their original glory, thanks to a careful restoration project.

A distinguishing feature of the monastery is its serene three-story cloister , which is the largest Gothic cloister in the world. The main buildings (chapter house, refectory, dormitory, etc.) of the monastery surround the cloister. At the center of the cloister is a tranquil garden designed to inspire spiritual contemplation and meditation.

The monastery displays an outstanding collection of medieval ecclesiastical art from the 14th century, as well as later religious art created through the 20th century.

The Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes is still managed by the Saint Clare nuns, but the monastery has been converted into a museum that is open to the public year-round (except Mondays) for an admission fee. Entrance is free on the first Sunday of every month. Visitors are expected to respect the quiet ambience of the religious community.

Address: 9 Baixada del Monestir, Barcelona

Mercat de la Boqueria

Colorful displays of fruits and vegetables, sandwiches, glistening candied fruits, savory and sweet pastries, chocolates, whimsical marzipan figures, fresh-mixed smoothies, Spanish almonds, burritos, breads, bins of olives, bright strings of peppers – la Boqueria is a riot of colors and aromas.

Since 1836, this traditional open-air market has been a centerpiece in the heart of the city on La Rambla. Locals frequent the market regularly, and shoppers come from all corners of Catalonia to this truly special gourmet food and produce market.

It feels as if half of Barcelona is here on a busy day as they shop for that night's dinner. Tourists gawk at the abundance of authentic specialty foods and then deliberate about what to choose for a to-go lunch or picnic provisions. Mercat de la Boqueria also has casual tapas bars, where tourists can sample local dishes and mingle with locals.

Address: 91 La Rambla, Barcelona

Miro Museum

Anyone who appreciates modern art will want to visit the Fundació Joan Miró within the Parc de Montjuïc . Opened in 1975, the Fundació Joan Miró was created by the artist himself as a center for contemporary art research.

Today, the Fundació is dedicated to the study of Miró's work, as well as the presentation of contemporary art. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions of 20th- and 21st-century artists. Visitors will enjoy the permanent collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Joan Miró as well as the thematic exhibitions.

The architecture and design of the museum perfectly suits the avant-garde style of Miró's art. The sleek interior features bright, spacious galleries illuminated by skylights and large windows that look out onto an interior courtyard or gardens. A rooftop terrace affords sweeping views of the Barcelona cityscape.

The museum is open to the public for self-guided visits, as well as guided tours. The guided tours are available in Spanish, Catalan, French, and English.

The Fundació Joan Miró also features a gift shop, bookstore, and restaurant. Special art workshops and educational programs are held at the museum throughout the year.

Address: Parc de Montjuïc, Barcelona

Official site: https://www.fmirobcn.org/en/

Labyrinth Park (Parc del Laberint)

Nestled behind the Collserola Ridge in the Horta-Guinardó district, this 55-acre park dates to 1792 and is the oldest landscaped green space in Barcelona . The park blends formal gardens with a romantic garden that includes a waterfall and woodland.

Taking a stroll through the Parc del Laberint leads to discoveries of small squares, vibrant flower beds, neoclassical sculptures of mythological characters, and a labyrinth. Another treasure found within the park is the Torre Soberana , a 14th-century manor house restored in the 19th century in Moorish style.

Address: 1 Passeig dels Castanyers, Barcelona

Quadrat d'Or

The Quadrat d'Or (Quadrant of Gold) is an area of the Eixample district renowned for its Modernist architecture . The quadrant is found between the Plaça de Catalunya , the Avinguda de la Diagonal , the Passeig de Sant Joan, and the Carrer de Muntaner . The main road through the Quadrat d'Or is the Passeig de Gràcia .

In this area, the exceptional avant-garde buildings were inspired by the work of Antoni Gaudí and constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Different architects made their mark on the neighborhood, and the result is a diversity of Modernist styles.

A veritable open-air museum, the Quadrat d'Or offers delightful surprises every step of the way. Visitors discover interesting details of ceramic art, stained-glass windows, wrought ironwork, decorative reliefs, mosaics, and statues.

Quadrat d'Or map - Tourist attractions

(1) Casa Victoriá de la Riva (2) Casa Modest Andreu (3) Cases Joaquim i Antoni Marfà (4) Casa Joaquim Cairó (5) Casa Conrad Roure (6) Cases Pascual i Cia (7/8) Casa Societat Torres Germans (9/10) Cases Manuel Felip (11) Casa Antonia Puget (12) Cases Francesc Borés (13) Cases Antoni Roger (14) Cases Tomás Roger (15) Casa Antónia Borés (16) Casa Francesc de Paula Vallet (17) Casa Jaume Sahis (18/19) Casa Rossend Capellades (20/21) Cases Josep J. Bertrand Carrer (22) Cases Antoni Miquel (23) Casa Jeroni Granell (24) Cases Joan Pons (25) Casa Jaume Larcegui (26) Cases Frederic Vallet Xiró (27) Casa Josep Filella (28) Casa Francesc Fargas (29) Cases Adolf Ruiz (30) Casa Lluis Pérez Samanillo (31) Casa Emilia Carles de (32) Casa Uorenç Camprubí (33) Casa Antoni Salvadó Carrer (34) Casa Calvet (35) Casa Bosch i Alsina (36) Casa Pia Batlló (37) Casa Heribert Pons (38) Casa Jaume Moysi (39) Casa Sebastià Pratjusà (40) Casa Climent Asols (41) Casa Rodolf Juncadella (42) Casa Miquel A. Fargas (43) Casa Dolors Calm (44) Casa Bonaventura Pollés (45) Casa Asunción Belloso de Gabriel (46/47) Casa Evarist Juncosa (48) Casa Francesc Farreras (49) Casa Josep i Ramón Queraltó (50) Casa Pilar i Josefa Albiñana de Regàs (51) Casa Ferran Cortés (52/53) Casa Manuel Verde (55) Cases Godó-Lallana (56) Casa Antónia Costa (57) Casa Lorenç Armengol (58) Casa Serra (59) Casa Antoni Piera (60) Casa Pau Marti (61) Casa Pilar Bassols (62) Palau Baró de Quadras (63) Casa Terrades (Casa de les Punxes) (64) Casa Miquel Sayrach (65) Casa Comalat (66) Casa Josep J. Bertrand (67) Casa Clapés (68) Casa Miquel Ibarz (69) Casa Rupert Garriga Nogués (70) Casa Marcelli Costa (71) Casa Josep Fabra (72) Casa Antoni Pàmies (73) Casa Doménech i Estapà (74) Casa Leandre Bou (75) Casa Anna Salvadó de Guitart

(76) Casa Adolf Ruiz (77) Casa Francesc Cairó (78) Casa Enric Llorens (79) Casa Enric i Voctória de la Riva (80) Casa Antoni Roger (81) Casa Enric Roger (82) Casa Ramon Vilà (83) Casa Jacinta Ruiz (84) Casa Esperança Isern (85) Casa Isabel Pomar (86) Casa Eduardo de Lamadrid (90) Cases Pons i Pasqual (91) Cases Antoni Rocamora (92) Casa Manuel Margarida (93) Casa Lleó Morera (94) Casa Ramon Mulleras (95) Casa Amatller (96) Casa Batlló (97) Cases Alexandre i Josefina (98) Casa Marfà (99) Casa Joan Coma (100) Casa Enric Batll6 (101) Casa Milà (La Pedrera) (102) Casa Josep Codina (103) Casa Ramon Casas (104) Casa Rupert Garriga (105) Casa Bonaventura Ferrer (106) Casa Lluís Ferrer-Vidal (107) Casa Fuster (108) Casa Jeroni Graneli (109) Casa Josep Portabella (110) Casa Camil Mulleras Garrós (111) Casa Ramon Oller (112) Cases Jeroni Granell (113) Casa Gustau Peyra (114) Casa Angel Batlló (115) Casa Marqués de Julià (116) Cases Amadeu Maristany (117) Palau Ramon de Montaner (119) Casa Thomas (120/121) Cases Dolors Xiró de Vallet (122) Casa Carme Carsi de Puig (124) Casa Josep Batlles (125) Casa Teresa Vallhonrat (126) Casa Rafael Barba (127) Cases Leandre Bou (128) Casa Dolors Xiró de Vallet (129) Casa Segarra (130) Casa Francesc Pastor (131) Casa Josep Ferrer-Vidal (132) Casa Francesc Lalanne (133) Cases Joaquim Cabot (134) Casa Pere Salisachs (135) Casa Agustí Anglora (136) Cases Castillo Villanueva (137) Casa Jaume Forn (139) Casa Esteve Recolons (140) Casa Baldomer Rovira (141) Casa Leonor Matas (142) Casa Alexandre Gioan (143) Casa Enric Laplana (144) Casa Eulàlia Artés de Mayolas (145) Casa Macaya (146) Casa Dolors Alesan de Gibert (147) Casa Marti Llorens (148) Casa Domènech i Estapà (149) Casa Pau Ubarri (150) Casa Manuel Llopis

Many of Barcelona's attractions concentrate in the atmospheric, winding streets of the Gothic Quarter and in the adjoining Eixample district , with others scattered more widely in various directions. Fortunately for tourists, there is a wide choice of hotels in all price ranges in the most convenient neighborhoods. Here are some of the highly rated hotels in Barcelona:

Luxury Hotels :

  • In the heart of the Gothic Quarter, the Mercer Hotel Barcelona occupies several historic buildings located around the ancient Roman wall. Original architectural elements include 12th-century frescoes and medieval arches. This five-star hotel has a fine-dining restaurant, a casual tapas bar, and a rooftop deck with a swimming pool and snack bar.
  • The four-star Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona is a short walk away from the Plaça de Catalunya, La Rambla, and the Mercat de la Boqueria. This modern boutique hotel boasts top-notch amenities: a trendy tapas-style and Japanese-inspired Michelin-starred restaurant, a rooftop deck with amazing city views, a gym, and game room. Accommodations include breakfast and complimentary snacks all day.
  • In a vintage building at the edge of the Gothic Quarter, the Hotel El Palace Barcelona offers sumptuous five-star accommodations with excellent amenities: parking, a fitness center, a rooftop swimming pool, Mayan-inspired spa, several gourmet restaurants, and a splendid historic hall where traditional afternoon tea is served.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • Near La Rambla and at the edge of the Gothic Quarter, the three-star Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel has one of the best rooftop terraces in Barcelona, with sweeping views of the city. This chic, contemporary-style hotel also has a fitness center, a restaurant that specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, and a rooftop swimming pool.
  • The Hotel Europark is surrounded by shops and restaurants in the bustling Eixample district, between the Gothic Quarter and the Basílica de la Sagrada Família. This three-star boutique hotel has a fitness center, tapas bar, and a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool.
  • Conveniently located near many tourist attractions, the three-star Room Mate Pau is steps away from the Plaça de Catalunya and a short walk to the Gothic Quarter. The renowned interior designer Teresa Sapey spruced up this boutique hotel with eclectic modern decor. Amenities include a concierge, 24-hour front desk, breakfast buffet service, and courtyard patio.
  • A few blocks north of the Gothic Quarter in the Eixample district, the Hotel Constanza Barcelona provides sleek contemporary-style guest rooms with updated bathrooms. Many of the rooms have balconies. Solo travelers will appreciate the single rooms. The hotel's cozy modern restaurant serves tapas and Mediterranean cuisine.

Budget Hotels:

  • The Hotel Curious is found in the Raval neighborhood, just off La Rambla and near La Boqueria market, an area brimming with shops and restaurants. This affordable hotel has contemporary-style guest rooms with basic amenities. Accommodations include breakfast.
  • Although it's a 30-minute walk to the Gothic Quarter, the ibis Barcelona Centro is only a few steps away from the Basílica de la Sagrada Família and is surrounded by restaurants, cafés, and shops. The metro station is also nearby, with connections to all the city's attractions.

Take a Sightseeing Tour :

  • Visit the city's most iconic landmarks on the Best of Barcelona Tour , which provides commentary about the history and art. This guided excursion includes a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter and skip-the-line admission to the Basílica de la Sagrada Família.

Explore the Countryside :

  • Picturesque towns dot the countryside around Barcelona. An organized tour is an easy way to explore the area. The Small-Group Medieval Villages Day Trip takes you to the lovely towns of Besalú, Castellfollit de la Roca, and Rupit, where you can explore historic buildings, meander down the cobblestone lanes, and relax at a small outdoor café.

Admire Dalí Artworks :

  • For fans of Salvador Dalí, the Costa Brava is not to be missed. This sunny coastline is home to Dalí's birthplace and several museums dedicated to his art. The Salvador Dalí Museum, Port Lligat, and Cadaques Day Trip from Barcelona takes travelers to these fantastic Dalí museums while providing interesting commentary along the way.

Visit Beautiful Villages and Mountains :

  • Discover charming historic towns and admire refreshing alpine landscapes on the France, Andorra, Spain from Barcelona One-Day Tour from Barcelona . This full-day tour includes stops at the medieval village of Baga and the spa town of Ax-les-Thermes, plus a scenic drive through the Pyrenees Mountains of Andorra.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

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Highlights of Spain: To learn about the best places to visit, see our article on the top tourist attractions in Spain . For more in-depth information about each city, read our guides about Madrid , Seville , Granada , Cordoba , and Toledo . To explore some of the regional highlights, turn to our articles on the top attractions of Andalusia and Catalonia .

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The 51 best attractions and places to visit in Barcelona

From massive museums and picture-perfect parks to modernista buildings and beaches galore, these are the best things to see and do in Barcelona

This epicentre of Catalan culture has enough must-see attractions to fill a lifetime. Barcelona is simply packed with excellent museums , restaurants and beautiful sights. No matter your tastes, you’ll easily find something to love here, you just have to find it.

Helpfully, we've whittled it down to the bucket list items for those short on time. From the world-famous to the decidedly local, our pick of the best attractions and places to visit in Barcelona covers a lot of ground. You’ll be pushed to do all of them in one trip, but there's no harm in trying – or you'll just have to come back again, and again, and again…

RECOMMENDED:  Barcelona's best Airbnbs RECOMMENDED:  The best hotels in Barcelona

This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click  here .

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Best Barcelona attractions

Sagrada Família

1.  Sagrada Família

  • Attractions
  • Religious buildings and sites
  • Sagrada Família

Soaring above Barcelona’s cityscape, the Sagrada Família will be the world’s tallest church upon completion (estimated, finally, for 2026). This 130-year labour of love, dreamt up by Antoni Gaudí, is one of the world’s most controversial basilicas, but also one of the most visited. Three million tourists flock here each year to gawk at the architectural achievement that has brought nature, light and religion together into one stunning ensemble. The interior is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with each new style blending into the rest of Gaudí’s visionary design.

Time Out tip: Don't forget to explore the basement. Admission also gives visitors access to the subterranean museum, which provides the chance to watch sculptors working at plaster-cast models IRL through a large window.

Park Güell

2.  Park Güell

  • Historic buildings and sites
  • price 1 of 4

Up in Barcelona’s Horta-Guinardó neighbourhood, is this maze of walls and walkways consisting of gardens, little architectural displays and more, all boasting breathtaking hillside views of the whole city. Highlights include the Hall of One Hundred Columns (though it actually has 86), the mosaic serpent bench and the salamander on the main steps. 

Time Out tip: Entry to the park is free, but if you have €10 to spare, enter the Monumental Zone, where you'll see the iconic mosaic bench and dragon (and more).

Montjuïc Magic Fountain

3.  Montjuïc Magic Fountain

  • Sants - Montjuïc

Most locals will only see this light, music and water show when they are little kids or have to act as tour guides for visitors. But whether you’ve got your own offspring in tow or not, the show brings out childlike wonder in us all. After all, it is magic . Designed by Carles Buïgas, it is one of the last remaining attractions made for the 1929 International Exposition.

Time Out tip: For that little extra je ne sais quoi, go down on New Year's Eve for Festa de Cap d'Any. It's one of the biggest party nights in town and the fountain display is even more spectacular than usual.

La Rambla

4.  La Rambla

This is undoubtedly the most famous street in Barcelona. Stretching from Port Vell to Plaça de Catalunya in the centre, La Rambla offers a bevvy of shops, flower stands, artworks and attractions. Don’t miss the ornate Canaletes fountain, Boqueria market, Liceu opera house and Teatre Principal.

Time Out tip: Think the opera is for fancy people? Think again. A night at Gran Teatre del Liceu can cost less than tickets to see the ‘in’ band of the moment. Plus, it's not just opera, they host ballet and concerts too.

Barcelona Cathedral

5.  Barcelona Cathedral

  • Ciutat Vella

It’s always worth checking out an inner-city cathedral and Barcelona is no exception. Its cathedral is an impressive example of Gothic architecture that’s now a Cultural Heritage Site and, since 1929, a National Historic Monument. It’s dedicated to the Holy Cross and to Saint Eulalia, patron saint of Barcelona, who was martyred by the Romans and whose remains lie in the crypt. Aside from the artistic and architectural riches of the interior, you should also visit the cloister with its 13 white geese (one for each year of Saint Eulalia’s life) and the well-worn engravings on the floor detailing which guild paid for each part of the chapel.

Time Out tip: If you visit on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you may get to witness the Catalan tradition known as the Sardana dance, performed in the square in front of the cathedral.

Picasso Museum

6.  Picasso Museum

If the quality of a museum is measured by the number of people queuing to get in, the Picasso Museum takes first place. The museum was created by the cubist painter and his friend and secretary Jaime Sabartès, who donated his collection to the cause. More than 3,800 works make up the permanent collection, and it also hosts an array of temporary exhibitions. 

Time Out tip: Queues can be punishingly long. Visit at lunch or shortly before the last entry in an attempt to avoid them (or book ahead of time online).

La Boqueria Market

7.  La Boqueria Market

  • Markets and fairs

Its stallholders have had to learn languages and indulge in public relations because as well as being the main food market in Barcelona, La Boqueria is now a major tourist destination. Just off La Rambla, this is the biggest market in Catalonia, with more than 300 stalls and a surface area of 2,583 square metres. That is a lot of bits to buy. Think of some obscure delicacy, and you’re almost guaranteed to find it here. Artisanal produce is, naturally, in abundance.

Time Out tip: Visit early in the morning to avoid heaving crowds. Your aptitude will be rewarded by the best produce – but remember to shop around, as prices vary hugely.

Barceloneta

8.  Barceloneta

Barcelona has miles of beaches, from Sant Sebastià to Llevant. Many can be found in Barceloneta, the famous maritime and workers’ neighbourhood that sprung up on the island of Maians in the 17th century. It’s worth wandering through the streets of Barceloneta to admire its modest yet charming two-storey houses. Another draw is the area’s excellent and varied cuisine, ranging from tapas and vermouth to paella and seafood. You can also spend a few hours checking out the glitzy yachts lining the marinas, such as the Port Olympic complex. 

Time Out tip: Stop in at Can Solé. Founded in 1903, it's one of the city’s classic seafood restaurants, with possibly the most extensive selection of rice and fideuà dishes in the neighbourhood.

Casa Milà

9.  Casa Milà

  • Sightseeing
  • Dreta de l'Eixample

It has been described as looking like rising dough, molten lava or a stone lung. Let's just say you can make up your own description of this weird and wonderful bit of modernism. Casa Milà is a daring example of Gaudí’s use of stone. When La Pedrera, his last civic project, was first commissioned in 1906, the building became a laughing stock for its undulating façade, wrought-iron balconies and vast windows. Today, of course, it is viewed quite differently and Gaudí’s innovative self-supporting stone exterior has won it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. 

Time Out tip: Make a beeline for the roof. Its mosaic-tiled ventilation shafts are topped with what looks like the helmets of medieval knights, which led the poet Pere Gimferrer to dub the spot 'the garden of warriors'.

Botanical Garden

10.  Botanical Garden

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through 14 hectares of beautiful greenery from around the globe without leaving Barcelona. This botanical garden is split into five areas, with Australian, Californian, Mediterranean, South African and Chilean plants grouped neatly into each. Plus, if you look past the fauna, you’ll get a cracking view of the city. There are about 1500 species in the Jardí Botànic, so start ticking them off.

Time Out tip: On the other side of the park you’ll find a typical farmhouse, where volunteers help to organise public activities.

Olympic Ring

11.  Olympic Ring

In 1992, Barcelona captivated the world with the Olympic Games and the Olympic Ring was built on Montjuïc hill. Covering more than 400 hectares, it includes the Calatrava communications tower,  Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium ,  Palau Sant Jordi  sports hall, Picornell swimming pools, and the head office of the Catalan Institute for Physical Education, as well as the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum, which opened in 2007. The ring looks more like a sewing needle to us, but that's fine too. 

Time Out tip: When you book your vaycay, check bookings for Palau Sant Jordi and its adjoining Club. They host major sporting and music events, with anyone from the Back Street Boys and Lenny Kravitz to the basketball world championships held here.

CaixaForum

12.  CaixaForum

  • Art and design
  • La Font de la Guatlla

Another example of a brilliantly restored building. Puig i Cadafalch built this former textile factory at the foot of Montjuïc for the entrepreneur Casimir Casaramona. After being abandoned for years, the Fundació La Caixa bought it and turned it into a cultural, social and educational centre. As well as permanent collections of contemporary art, there are three spaces for temporary exhibitions and a programme that includes concerts, lectures, screenings, guided tours and child-friendly activities. So yes, it might sound like a pharma company, but it is a wonderful place to visit, with scenery like no other. And the art is pretty good too.

Time Out tip: Scale one (or both) of its two towers. The 'water tower' culminates in a wonderful conical pinnacle covered in blue mosaic. The other is the 'clock tower' and, although it's clockless, it contains beautiful ironwork.

Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

13.  Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

For many in Barcelona, Sant Felip Neri is the prettiest square in the city – perhaps because of its sheer simplicity. The square is built over the old medieval cemetery of Montjuïc del Bisbe and features a church and school of the same name, some Renaissance buildings and the former head offices of the tinker and shoemaker guilds. If you look closely at the façade of the Sant Felip Neri church, you might notice shrapnel from a bomb thrown by Franco’s forces during the Civil War, tragically killing 42 people, most of them children.

Time Out tip: You'll find the Museu del Calçat (Shoe Museum) here, which is a delightfully quirky place detailing the cobbler’s craft, from Roman sandals to ’70s platform boots.

Maritime Museum

14.  Maritime Museum

Barcelona’s dockyards (declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1976) look better than ever. The Maritime Museum is responsible for preserving, studying and publicising one of the most important collections of maritime heritage in the Mediterranean. They are worth a look simply for their architecture, the museum hosts a variety of exhibitions, and the garden and café make for a thoroughly pleasant pit stop.

Time Out tip: Your ticket also allows you aboard the beautiful 1917 'Santa Eulàlia' schooner docked nearby in the Moll de la Fusta. The old ship was one of the last sail-driven boats to transport goods across the Mediterranean.

Illa de la Discòrdia

15.  Illa de la Discòrdia

In just one block in Barcelona, the section of Passeig de Gràcia between C/Aragó and C/Consell de Cent, there are five major buildings from the Catalan modernist era:  Casa Lleó Morera  by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Casa Mulleras by Enric Sagnier, Casa Bonet by Marcel·lià Coquillat,  Casa Amatller  by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and  Casa Batlló  by Antoni Gaudí. It was named the Block of Discord because of the rivalries between the five architects, and who doesn't love some good juicy architecture drama? Go with some mates, and battle it out for your faves. 

Time Out tip: Venture inside the Dutch-inspired Casa Amatller to see the vast photographic collection that once belonged to the chocolate baron for after whom the building is named.

Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

16.  Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

Not far from the Sagrada Família is another modernista gem, the spectacular hospital by Domènech i Montaner. The architect was inspired by hygiene ideals and state-of-the-art hospitals in Europe at the time, so he designed a centre with isolation wards (each for a particular speciality), surrounded by gardens and connected by underground passages. Montaner believed that aesthetic harmony and a welcoming atmosphere were good for health. After more than 80 years of service, the hospital moved to a more modern building and renovation of the old building began. You can now visit with or without a tour guide to discover the history of one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. It is, and was, a city within a city.

Time Out tip: Visit over the Christmas period to see the spectacular light show projected onto the exterior of Sant Pau. It usually kicks off on the winter solstice for a few weeks.

The Carmel Bunkers

17.  The Carmel Bunkers

The Carmel Bunkers never feature on the standard city tours, which is a shame because if you don’t visit them, you’ll miss some of the  best views of Barcelona . The anti-aircraft guns were built in 1937, during the Civil War, when Barcelona was hit by almost 200 bombings a day. From the 1950s, with the boom in immigration, people moved in. A shantytown sprung up and the residents fought for improvements (electricity, water, bins) and were later rehoused in buildings with better conditions. When Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games in 1992, the city demolished the shacks and abandoned the space. Locals later fought for its recognition as a place of historical importance.

Time Out tip: Get there just before sunset to catch some stellar lighting for your photos.

Estació de França

18.  Estació de França

The ‘French Station’ is a product of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and is the second largest station in Barcelona ​​after Sants. Comparable in elegance and grandeur to Paris’s former Orsay station, its vast metal arches are a fine example of cast-iron architecture.

Time Out tip: The lobby, designed by Duran i Reynals in the Noucentisme style, today hosts events, including vintage fairs.

Bellesguard Tower

19.  Bellesguard Tower

  • Sant Gervasi - La Bonanova

In September 2013, the Bellesguard Tower, one of the lesser-known works by Gaudí, opened its doors to the public. The architect was commissioned by Jaume Figueras, and the building is influenced by Gothic and Modernisme styles. Five centuries earlier, in 1409, Martin the Humane, the last king of the House of Barcelona, built his residence in the same spot at the foot of Tibidabo. 

Time Out tip: Join one of the guided tours of the attic area, which also allows access to the roof. Here you can take in stunning views of the city and peep Gaudí's cross, as well as an eye-catching face of a dragon.

Born Centre of Culture and Remembrance

20.  Born Centre of Culture and Remembrance

  • Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

After years of excavations, renovations and more than one dispute with the neighbours, the El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria finally opened in 2013 as a multipurpose cultural centre in the former El Born marketplace. The iron-and-glass structure was designed by Josep Fontserè in 1876 and was the city’s first market to be built in a Parisian style. Today visitors can see the archaeological remains of the Vilanova de Mar neighbourhood from 1700 and better understand the siege the city suffered in 1714. Huge walkways now criss-cross this impressive cultural centre, which also features exhibition spaces, a bookshop and a food hall. 

Time Out tip: Come for the history, stay for the copious amounts of food, drink, things to buy and things to see in the area.

Colònia Güell

21.  Colònia Güell

Jump on the train or car and head to Santa Coloma de Cervelló, in the Baix Llobregat area, to visit the Colonia Güell. The textile industrialist Eusebi Güell moved his facilities from the Sants neighbourhood to this small town to escape social unrest. Gaudí and his team were commissioned for the project, which included a hospital, food hall, school, theatre, shops, co-operative and chapel, plus factories and housing for the workers. Gaudí built the church crypt after Güell’s death and the project was abandoned halfway through.

Time Out tip: Go on a Saturday morning for the Colònia Güell farmers' market.

Botero’s Cat

22.  Botero’s Cat

This is the most famous cat in the Raval – in fact, in Barcelona. Since the Council bought it from Colombian artist Fernando Botero in 1987, the poor cat has been moved several times. First, it was in Parc de la Ciutadella, near the zoo; then, to coincide with the 1992 Olympic Games, it was moved to the Olympic Stadium; several years later, it was moved again to a square behind Drassanes. Now it seems very happy in its home in the Rambla del Raval, and the neighbours love it.

Time Out tip: While you're here, head ten minutes west to La Rambla de les Flors, which has maintained the spirit of the 19th century. You’ll find 100-year-old stands, like Flors María, as well as other colourful shops.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta

23.  Parc del Laberint d’Horta

  • Horta - Guinardó

This vast and incredibly well-manicured maze sits within the oldest park in the city. You’ll find it in the Horta neighbourhood, where, if you ever make it out of the labyrinth, you can mooch around a Neoclassical 18th-century garden and a 19th-century romantic one, plus the Desvalls mansion and an array of fountains and sculptures of mythical Greek characters.

Time Out tip: Bring a picnic. There are stone tables that make for the perfect pit-stop spot.

Cemeteries

24.  Cemeteries

Cemetery visits help cultivate an appreciation for those who came before us. Graveyards don’t have to be gloomy – instead, consider their artistic value. In Poblenou and Montjuïc, the largest cemeteries in Barcelona, you can find examples of a marvellous array of architectural styles, funerary art and permanent works by renowned artists. Plus, they are generally free, surrounded by nature, and full of benches.

Time Out tip: Don’t miss the popular nighttime excursions ( Montjuïc  in March and  Poblenou  in October).

Museu Nacional (MNAC)

25.  Museu Nacional (MNAC)

Catalonia’s national art museum offers a complete overview of Catalan art from the 12th to the 20th centuries. The highlight is its Romanesque collection, featuring one of the oldest and biggest collections of paintings on wood in Europe. The museum’s modern art floor boasts pieces from an array of media up to the 1950s, including sculpture, painting, photography, posters, cinema, architecture and decorative arts.

Time Out tip: The climb from Plaça d’Espanya up to the museum is just as worthwhile as the museum.

Palau de la Música Catalana

26.  Palau de la Música Catalana

  • Music venues

When you visit the Palau de la Música, all your senses sit up and take notice because every inch tells a story of modernisme, music and Catalonia. It was built in 1908 by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Muses watch over the main concert hall, and on the façade, you’ll find busts of Palestrina, Bach, Beethoven and Wagner. The programme, predictably, is stellar.

Time Out tip: If you take a guided tour, be sure to ask questions, as they tend to concentrate mainly on the triumphs of the renovation.

Camp Nou

27.  Camp Nou

  • Sport and fitness

FC Barcelona’s home ground, or Lionel Messi’s former stomping ground as it is now (un)officially known. Camp Nou is one of the most visited places in the city and is high up on the bucket list of any big football fan (or fan of stadiums), but it is still incredibly impressive to laypeople. And tall. Standing at the top and looking down is something else. 

Time Out tip: Die-hard fans must check out the Camp Nou Experience, which offers a peek inside various players-only areas. 

Tibidabo Funfair

28.  Tibidabo Funfair

  • Theme parks
  • Vallvidrera, el Tibidabo i les Planes

This is possibly the coolest location for a theme park – on top of a mountain. It’s the only one in the city and you take the steep funicular to get there. There’s a good mix of classic and modern rides, with many suitable for all ages.

Time Out tip: If you don't mind heights, climb Sagrat Cor next door. You can reach the feet of the massive Jesus that sits up top – almost 600 metres from the base of the mountain.

Casa Planells

29.  Casa Planells

In the middle of Avinguda Diagonal stands Casa Planells, a building by Josep Maria Jujol – another of the great Catalan modernists, but more discreet than his contemporaries. In a tiny area, he managed to design an impressive building without overdoing the embellishments and with a rounded façade. Inside, the most striking aspects are the staircase and wrought iron railing. It doesn't look boring from the outside, either. It's small and quirky, unlike La Sagrada Família (just up the road), which is massive (and quirky).

Time Out tip: Get your fill of Catalan modernism with a trip to nearby Casa Vicens. It was the first major architectural assignment Antoni Gaudí got and it only opened its doors to the public for the first time in 2017.

Montjuïc

30.  Montjuïc

It’s hard to imagine a hill with more things to see and do. If you fancy a day’s walk through parks and gardens, Montjuïc is a good option. You can visit the  castle  (originally a fortress and, after the Civil War, a military museum) , and then explore some of the most beautiful landscaped gardens in Europe. Among the very best are the  Gardens of Laribal  (with a lovely waterfall), the  Albéniz Mansion , the Gardens of  Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer  (dedicated to bulbs, rhizomes and aquatic plants), and the  Gardens of Joan Brossa  (a brilliant example of land restoration; for more than 30 years this was the Montjuïc amusement park).

Time Out tip: Hungry? Eat al fresco at Caseta del Migdia with Barcelona at your feet. Their BBQ combination plate is a particular highlight.

Joan Miró Foundation

31.  Joan Miró Foundation

The Miró Foundation has it all. First, the collection of more than 104,000 Miró works, including paintings, sculptures and tapestries, plus almost all of his drawings. Second, the setting, with its spectacular gardens and views of Barcelona from the top of Montjuïc. Third, the building was designed by Josep Lluís Sert, architect, co-founder of GATCPAC (Catalan Architects and Technicians for Progress in Contemporary Architecture) and a great friend of Miró. Fourth, the events they put on, many of which are for families. You can’t afford to miss it!

Time Out tip:  Photography fan? The foundation also houses the Joaquim Gomis Archive, which is a collection of 70,000 photos and documents.

Barcelona University

32.  Barcelona University

The most important building in Plaça de la Universitat is, obviously, the historic home of Barcelona University. It became a centre for education in 1871 and housed Barcelona’s main faculties and departments for an entire century, divided into arts and science quadrangles. It now houses the maths and philology departments. 

Time Out tip: Want to nosey inside? Join a guided tour. You'll get to see the most impressive areas of the building: main lobby, assembly hall, staircase of honour and the cloisters.

Mercat de les Flors / Teatre Lliure

33.  Mercat de les Flors / Teatre Lliure

  • El Poble-sec

British theatre director Peter Brook is credited with transforming this former flower market into a venue for the performing arts in 1985 when he was looking for a place to stage his legendary production of The Mahabharata. After decades of relatively diffuse programming, the Mercat has finally focused on national and international contemporary dance and offers a strong programme that experiments with unusual formats and mixes in new technologies and live music.

Time Out tip: No hablo Español? No problem. Many of the productions in the main space have English surtitles on Saturday evenings.

Ciutadella Park

34.  Ciutadella Park

  • Parks and gardens

Ciutadella Park is close to the city centre and is the green space most frequented by locals. There’s much to see across its 17 hectares; the  zoo , the  Catalan Parliament  buildings, the church, lake, bandstand and more. 

Time Out tip: Before you go, check their available activities, which regularly include markets and fairs, sporting events, concerts, DJ sessions, children’s parties, charity events and much more.

Palau Güell

35.  Palau Güell

Palau Güell may not be Gaudí’s most well-known work, but it was his first major project for the Catalan capital. A perfect combination of old-fashioned opulence and stylised modernism, this UNESCO World Heritage mansion will have you picturing yourself rolling up in a horse-drawn carriage. Tucked down a narrow street in the Raval, Palau Güell, designed by Gaudí for his patron Count Güell, stands today as a symbol of Catalan nationalism. 

Time Out tip: As you explore the house, notice how the rising levels (from the modest basement to the ostentatiously colourful roof with 20 mosaic chimneys) reflect the motif of wealth.

Santa Maria del Mar

36.  Santa Maria del Mar

One of the best surviving examples of the Catalan Gothic style, this graceful basilica stands out for its characteristic horizontal lines, plain surfaces, square buttresses and flat-topped octagonal towers. Its superb unity of style is down to the fact that it was built relatively quickly, with construction taking just 55 years (1329 to 1384). There’s also some stunning stained glass, especially the great 15th-century rose window above the main door. The original window fell down during an earthquake, killing 25. The incongruous modern window at the other end was a 1997 addition, belatedly celebrating the Olympics.

Time Out tip: Santa Maria del Mar is a traditional venue for concerts: look out for a Requiem Mass at Easter and Handel's Messiah at Christmas.

The Jewish Quarter (El Call)

37.  The Jewish Quarter (El Call)

The  ancient synagogue  of Barcelona – the oldest in Europe – can be found in the Old Jewish Quarter between C/ del Call, Plaça Sant Jaume, C/ Banys Nous and C/ Sant Sever. The narrow streets are a joy to wander and contain an array of Jewish cultural institutions. 

Time Out tip: Head to MUHBA El Call to see ritual lamps, headstones and some great temporary exhibitions.

Plaça de la Virreina

38.  Plaça de la Virreina

Gràcia is full of beautiful squares and great bars; this  plaça , however, has the most appeal for us. For its friendly, cosmopolitan atmosphere, for the church that overlooks it, for being a meeting place for locals and the rest of Barcelona, and for the healthy rivalry between the three main bars. Try them all!

Time Out tip: If you have the kids with you, head to Bateau Lune at number 7 – one of the most loveable toy shops in the city, thanks to the warmth of the owners and their incredible inventory.

CCCB

39.  CCCB

Spain’s largest cultural centre was opened in 1994 at the Casa de la Caritat, a former almshouse constructed on the site of a medieval monastery. The massive façade and part of the courtyard remain from the original building; the rest was rebuilt in dramatic contrast, all tilting glass and steel, by architects Piñón and Viaplana, known for the Maremagnum shopping centre at the Barcelona port. Most of the building is given over to exhibitions, but it also hosts music festivals, films, lectures and debates. 

Time Out tip: Want to save some cash? Visit on a Sunday (3-8pm) for free entry or, alterntively, International Museum Day, Museums Night and La Mercè Holidays, when entry is also nada.

Plaça Reial

40.  Plaça Reial

  • Ships and boats

If you head towards the ocean, you’ll probably stumble through Plaça Reial. It contains a handful of palm trees and has a fountain in the middle known as Three Graces. This Neoclassical water feature was designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias, while the chunky lampposts are Gaudí’s. Restaurants and bars surround the square, making for a lively evening hub. And yes, it’s worth keeping a keen eye on your belongings as you pass through.

Time Out tip: Music lovers should step into Jamboree. This long-serving jazz club has been putting on live blues, jazz, hip-hop and dance music twice a day since the 1960s.

Sant Antoni Market

41.  Sant Antoni Market

After almost a decade of renovations, the traders of the provisional market of Sant Antoni returned to the impressive Rovira i Trias building in 2018. The octagonal dome is the crown that structures the market’s cross-shaped corridors. In those closest to the market façade, you’ll find the Encants market. Each part can be visited since they have different schedules. 

Time Out tip: On Sundays, stop by the book market just outside the market on Urgell Street.

Plaça dels Àngels and MACBA

42.  Plaça dels Àngels and MACBA

Slowly the skaters are taking over this square, but they cannot take away from the imposing Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona ( MACBA) . It’s an impressive building, designed by the American architect Richard Meier, with a large glass façade and a combination of straight lines and cylindrical shapes. Since its opening in 1995, the MACBA has become the city’s top institution for contemporary art in all its forms.

Time Out tip: La Capella, a former medieval convent on the other side of the square, is free to enter and provides a project space for specially commissioned works.

Plaça de Sant Jaume

43.  Plaça de Sant Jaume

This square is the administrative centre of Barcelona, housing the Catalan Autonomous Government and City Hall. It’s named after the church that once stood here in medieval times and was the site of the main crossroads in the Roman settlement of Barcino. The Roman Forum and Temple of Augustus were also located here, and four columns can still be seen in C/Paradís. Today, most major protests and demonstrations pass through the square.

Time Out tip: Check out the nativity scene at Christmas – it's mightily impressive.

Monestir de Sant Pere de les Puel·les

44.  Monestir de Sant Pere de les Puel·les

Sant Pere de les Puel·les may not be one of the better-known churches in Barcelona, though it should be. It was formerly a Benedictine monastery, but only the church remains from the original building, which was rebuilt after a fire in 1909. Along with its pretty square, packed with restaurants and terraces, this little-known gem is more than worth a visit.

Time Out tip: For a nice lunch spot after the monastery, walk ten minutes over to Parc de Joan Reventós – named for the former president of the Parliament of Catalonia – where there are tree-lined walks and a kids' play area.

Santa Maria del Pi

45.  Santa Maria del Pi

The main façade of this Catalan Gothic-style church in Plaça del Pi features a large rosette of 12 branches from the 14th century. It was destroyed in the fire of 1936 and rebuilt between 1939 and 1943 by architect Josep Maria Jujol. As well as admiring the two octagonal towers that flank it, the enormous bell tower and the image of the Virgin Mary with a child on the tympanum, visitors can catch classical guitar concerts and exhibitions here.

Time Out tip: Visiting in August? Try and time it with the Festes de Sant Roc. This festa major (street festival) in the Gothic Quarter is the oldest in Barcelona, dating back to 1589. There will be dancing, singing, puppets, DJs and more.

Temple of Augustus

46.  Temple of Augustus

Four stunning fluted Corinthian columns dating from the first century BC soar out of their podium in the most unlikely of places: a back patio of the Mountaineering Centre of Catalonia. Part of the rear corner is devoted to the Roman emperor Augustus, and the columns were discovered and isolated from the structure of a medieval building in 1835. The current layout is a slight fudging of the original, as the right-hand column resided separately in  Plaça del Rei  until it was slotted next to the other three in 1956.

Time Out tip: Got the kids in tow? Take them on a tour, Time Machine: From the Romans to the Middle Ages. Exploring the historic quarters at street level and underground, the guide will reveal secrets of the ancient architecture and what the Temple of Augustus must have been like.

Plaça de Prim

47.  Plaça de Prim

Poblenou’s most emblematic square is also home to some of its oldest residences. The humble, white 19th-century buildings that line the square were home to fishermen when Poblenou was a fishing village. Plaça de Prim doesn’t need a lot of frills to seduce passers-by. Three fantastic ombú trees, a less-than-spectacular fountain, a few benches and a single restaurant – but what a restaurant!  Els Pescadors  has the privilege of exclusive terrace rights.

Time Out tip: If you do eat at the Mediterranean joint Els Pescadors, you must get stuck into a selection of their fresh seafood dishes.

Torre Glòries

48.  Torre Glòries

All around Plaça de las Glòries, you’ll find quite a few of Barcelona’s architectural and cultural landmarks. On one side, you’ve got the  Torre Glòries  (formerly Torre Agbar), the work of architect Jean Nouvel that changed the city’s skyline. On the other is the  Mercat de Bellcaire  (aka ‘Encants’) flea market with its impressive wavy roof designed by Fermín Vázquez. But there’s also the  Disseny Hub Barcelona , home to the city’s design museum; the  Teatre Nacional de Catalunya , by Ricardo Bofill; and  L’Auditori , by Rafael Moneo.

Time Out tip: Get a great view of Barcelona from the 125-metre high observation deck of Mirador torre Glòries. Designed by Jean Nouvel in 2005, it looks somewhat like an irridescent version of London's 'Gherkin'.

Santa Caterina Market

49.  Santa Caterina Market

Opened in 1846, the Mercat de Santa Caterina is the city’s second oldest market. The renovation project was carried out by a team of architects led by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, its most distinctive feature probably being the gorgeous mosaic roof made with 325,000 pieces whose colours echo the fruit and vegetable stands beneath.

Time Out tip: If wandering among so much fresh produce makes you hungry, you can eat at Cuines de Santa Caterina, a bustling restaurant with international dishes available from its various bars.

Parc de Cervantes

50.  Parc de Cervantes

You can explore Cervantes Park by walking up from Avinguda Diagonal, where the main entrance is, or down from the Ronda de Dalt for a more relaxed stroll. This vast green space is much appreciated by walkers and athletes for its wide paths and (both) sunny and shady spots. But if anything, it’s known for its rose garden. From the beginning of spring through autumn, more than 10,000 roses fill four hectares of just one small part of the park.

Time Out tip: Since 2001, the garden has been hosting Barcelona’s International New Rose Competition, which takes place in early May and often features never-before-seen hybrid species of roses.

Street art in the Gothic Quarter and surrounding areas

51.  Street art in the Gothic Quarter and surrounding areas

Barcelona has tons of great graffiti and mural spots, but sniffing them out isn't easy if you don't know oyur way around. Thankfully, they have guides for things like that and you can enlist one to take you round the best areas to see unique, contemporary graffiti. Head round Raval, Gótico and Born, where urban art abounds.

Time Out tip : Want tosee some artists in action? Head to the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies in Poble-sec, where spray artists tend to meet up.

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25 Top Tourist Attractions in Barcelona

By Mike Kaplan · Last updated on May 4, 2024

Barcelona is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions upon millions of visitors each year. So why is it so popular? Well, it has almost everything any holidaymaker would desire. Easy access, favorable weather conditions, attractive beaches and surrounding mountains, a buzzing nightlife, tasty local cuisine and it’s steeped in culture and history.

It’s also a sight-seeing wonderland, housing many recognizable monuments. Variety’s the word with Barcelona and the city has something for everyone; families, couples and singletons alike. There are the tourist attractions in Barcelona travelers shouldn’t miss if they ever decide to visit the Catalan capital:

Map of Barcelona

Barcelona Map

25. Monastery of Pedralbes

Monastery of Pedralbes

The quiet beauty of the Monastery of Pedralbes provides a safe harbor for travelers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. This gothic monastery was built in 129y by Queen Elsenda who sought forgiveness for her sins. It is considered an outstanding example of Catalan gothic architecture.

Arched outer corridors overlook swaying palm trees. Its original occupants were Poor Clares, nuns from mostly noble families; they were charged with protecting the city. Some nuns still live in the monastery, which today houses the city museum.

24. Palau Guell

Palau Guell

Barcelona is filled with significant buildings designed by noted architect Antoni Gaudi. A good place for visitors to begin their appreciation of his work is Palau Guell or Palace Guell. It’s one of his first major works, and sets the tone for his designs to follow.

Gaudi designed Palau Guell for an extremely wealthy resident. Because the tycoon entertained a lot, the house was designed around a central hall, with other rooms designed to fit the family’s needs. Gaudi’s use of space and lighting in the Palau Guell was innovative for its time.

23. Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol

Built in 1929, Poble Espanyol is a huge open-air museum four times the size of FC Barcelona’s football pitch. The complex is composed of various sections, each of whom represent a specific Spanish region.

There is also a flourishing handicraft market which is perfect for souvenir shopping. Here you can wander from Andalusia to the Balearic Islands in the space of a couple of hours, visiting surprisingly good copies of Spain’s characteristic structures. The village also hosts the Fondation Fran Daurel, where you can enjoy an interesting collection by artists like Picasso and Miró.

22. Fundacio Joan Miro

Fundacio Joan Miro

Joan Miro was one of Barcelona’s most famous artists, a master who created works known around the world. Usually foundations are set up after a person dies to honor their ideas, but Miro created his own legacy by setting up the Fundacio Joan Miro himself.

It was designed to be a place where younger artists could explore contemporary art, with Miro’s own works providing the nucleus for this study. The foundation opened in a modern building in 1975 and is a good place to see a great collection of Miro’s work in one place.

21. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Sitting atop a hill, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya looks more like a massive castle than an art museum, a museum that holds a king’s ransom in treasures. It is here, however, that visitors will find the greatest Catalan art from the 10th century to the 20th century.

Here visitors will find impressive Romanesque murals that graced church apses, and Gothic art from the era when Catalonia was expanding across the Mediterranean. The gallery also contains paintings by the great Spanish artists El Greco and Velasquez.

20. Arc de Triomf

Arc de Triomf

The Arc de Triomf was constructed in 1888 to welcome international visitors to Barcelona’s Universal Exhibition, the world’s fair of its day. The massive decorative arch is located on the Passeig Lluís Companys, a promenade.

The classical style arch, now a famous Barcelona landmark, is noted for its sculptural decorations that are symbolic of Barcelona at that time. One frieze welcomes visitors to the exhibition, while reliefs extol agriculture, industry and commerce. The top of the arch features shields from Spain’s 49 provinces; they are topped by Barcelona’s coat of arms.

19. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

Travelers who are fond of art nouveau will definitely want to put Sant Pau Recinte Modernista on their Barcelona bucket. The former hospital, with a façade that resembles a church, is the top-ranked art nouveau site in Europe. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista was built in the first third of the 20th century as a hospital and healthcare research center.

It served this purpose for 100 years, and today houses a variety of international organizations. The complex, with underground tunnels connecting the building has a pavilion that is devoted to the history of medicine in Barcelona.

18. Placa de Catalunya

Placa de Catalunya

Every city has a big square where people congregate to celebrate, mourn or just see each other. NYC has Times Square, Beijing has Tiananmen Square and Barcelona has Placa de Catalunya. The city’s nerve center is a place to meet friends, sit on the grass or take a break from shopping at nearby stores.

Integral to the square are six sets of sculptures that represent the four capitals of Catalonia, labor and wisdom. The plaza opened in 1927 on land that once fronted the gates to a walled Barcelona.

17. Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana

People don’t go to the Palau de la Musica Catalana just to hear music, they go to see the concert hall’s over-the-top ornate interior. While the exterior is impressive, it just can’t compare to the main concert hall with its glass-top ceiling.

Built in the early 1900s, the Palau de la Musica Catalana is a tourist attraction in itself, with its stained glass windows and massive chandeliers. The inside of the old hall has been compared to the interior of a Faberge egg. A smaller hall is more modern and subdued, but still opulent.

16. Tibidabo

Tibidabo

Travelers who collect panoramic views should go to the top of Tibidabo, at 512 meters (1,880 feet) high the highest mountain overlooking Barcelona. The easiest way to get there is via Spain’s first funicular. But there’s more than just stunning views on this mountain top.

There’s the Sagra Cor church that took 60 years to build and is topped with a sculpture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sharing space with this impressive church are an amusement park and a telecommunications tower. All three are visible from Barcelona below.

15. Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella

The Parc de la Ciutadella is a lot happier place today than when it was founded in 1714. After Philip V conquered Barcelona, he ordered a citadel – the largest in Europe – to be built by forced labor so he could maintain control over the Catalans.

Over the centuries it transformed into peaceful uses, becoming a major oasis of green in the city. Citadel Park was the site for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. Today it is home to a zoo, a small lake, the Museum of Natural Science, and Als Voluntaris Catalans, a sculpture honoring Catalans killed in World War I.

14. Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

Add Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, as it’s officially known, to the list of beautiful Gothic buildings in Barcelona. The church also known as Barcelona Cathedral or La Seu because it’s the seat of the archbishop.

The cathedral dates back to the 14th century and honors St. Eulalia, co-patron saint of Barcelona, who was killed by Romans by putting her in a knife-studded barrel and rolling her down the street. The entire church is ornate, with towers and spires reaching into the sky. It is a major tourist attraction and now boasts a gift shop that caters to visitors.

13. Museu Picasso

Museu Picasso

With over 4,000 works by the painter, the Museu Picasso houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.

In particular, the Museu Picasso reveals Picasso’s relationship with the city of Barcelona, a relationship that was shaped in his youth and adolescence, and continued until his death. The museum is housed in five adjoining medieval palaces in Barcelona’s La Ribera.

12. La Boqueria Market

La Boqueria Market

Foodies may think they’ve died and gone to heaven when they visit La Boqueria Market, a colorful market (and tourist attraction) in the old town. Located just off La Rambla, the market dates back to 1297 when meat was sold at the city gates. More than meat is sold there today.

There’s an array of foods, from farm-fresh produce, seafood, spices and candies being sold by more than 200 stalls. Buy the fixings’ for a picnic lunch or eat at one of the many restaurants before continuing sightseeing.

11. Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar

The beautiful Santa Maria del Mar (Saint Mary of the Sea) is an icon for Catalan Catholics. Construction of this massive church began in 1329 when Aragon King Alfonso IV laid the foundation cornerstone. It was finished in 1384, a prime example of Catalan Gothic architecture.

Though the outside seems severe, the inside more than compensates for this. Beautiful stained glass windows, high narrow columns and simplicity of design invoke feelings of spaciousness and serenity. Over the centuries, the cathedral has been damaged by earthquakes and fire, yet always regains its beauty.

10. Camp Nou

Camp Nou

One for the sports fans, yet still one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions. This stadium is home to formidable European football champions F.C. Barcelona.

With a capacity of 99,000 people, this breathtaking sporting arena is Europe’s largest. A tour of the ground is definitely worthwhile and you never know, you might be lucky enough to catch a game!

9. Montjuic

Montjuic

Montjuïc is a broad shallow hill with a relatively flat top to the southwest of the city center. The eastern side of the hill is almost a sheer cliff, giving it a commanding view over the city’s harbor immediately below. The top of the hill was the site of several fortifications, the latest of which remains today.

Another interesting sight is the Palau Nacional (National Palace), originally built as the central pavilion for the International Exhibition. The majestic building in neo-Baroque style is home to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). Montjuïc is also home to a number of sports facilities built for the 1992 Olympics.

8. Casa Mila

Casa Mila

Built between the years 1906 and 1910, Casa Milà (La Pedrera) was the last civil work designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. The colorful building is considered one of the artist’s most eccentric and enticing architectural creations with not one straight edge on the exterior.

Tours of the interior and the incredible roof structures are available. It also hosts a large exposition of Gaudi works, covering Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlio, not only La Pedrera itself.

7. Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

Old is good, especially when it’s the Gothic Quarter , located in the oldest part of Old Town Barcelona. Some say the quarter dates back 2,000 years, but what travelers will see today isn’t that old: a maze of narrow streets flanked by buildings from medieval times to the 19th century.

Travelers will see the Jewish Quarter, considered the Gothic Quarter’s prettiest section; walk the paths where a young Picasso went to school; eat at Can Culleretes, the oldest restaurant in Barcelona, dating to 1796, and shop at the colorful Boqueria market.

6. Barceloneta

Barceloneta

Out of Barcelona’s seven different beaches, stretching over 4.5 km (2.8 miles) of coastline, Barceloneta probably tops them all. It is one of the most popular and is closest to the city center. Along the 1,100 meter (3,600 feet) sandy beach runs a walkway popular with joggers and cyclist.

Not surprisingly this place can get crowded, especially during the summer months when the beach bars open up and the beach quickly fills up with locals and tourist.

5. Font Magica

Font Magica

Font Màgica is a fountain located below the Palau Nacional on the Montjuïc hill and near the Plaça d’Espanya and Poble Espanyol de Barcelona. The fountain, like most of the surrounding developments, was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition.

On selected evenings, when the fountain is activated, it attracts hundreds of visitors who watch the spectacular display of light, water and music. At the same time, the Palau National is illuminated, providing a beautiful background.

4. Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

It’s hard to find the words to describe Casa Batllo, perhaps because it looks like a carnival gone insane. One of architect Antoni Gaudi’s most famous buildings, Casa Batllo is a mish-mash of colors, building materials and what-have-you styles.

There’s a large onion-like dome that’s reminiscent of a mosque; a colorful wavy tiled roof line and lots of sculptures. Gaudi turned an nineteenth century building into Casa Batllo, sometimes called the “house of bones” because of the many jaws on one sculpture. It was a home without equal, but not one most people would feel comfortable living in.

3. Parc Guell

Parc Guell

With other major works in the city including La Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, this has to be one of Antoni Gaudí’s most celebrated and it is certainly one of the most emblematic of Barcelona.

The area was originally meant to be a residential property development with Gaudi doing much of the planning and landscape design. Only two houses were built and the land was later sold to the city of Barcelona and turned into a park. It is home to the famous Salamander sculpture, as well as other buildings and structures designed by the architect. With stunning views of the city, this is a magical experience.

2. La Rambla

La Rambla

This is probably the city’s most famous street and is a bustling hive of activity. It is often called Las Ramblas, because it is actually a series of several different streets that all have a distinct feel.

Located just off Plaza Catalunya and leading right down towards the port and beach, visitors will find street performers, lots of bars and restaurants and the fabulous Boquería Market, a true feast for the eyes.

1. Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is the most popular attractions in Barcelona, attracting nearly 2.8 million visitors each year. It is a large and intricate basilica designed by Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan architect. Construction began in 1882 and continues to this day. The building is predicted to be completed within the next 30 years. It should be noted that this beautiful basilica has been funded completely by donations, as Gaudi had intended.

The design of La Sagrada Familia incorporates interpretations of many architectural styles, such as Arat Nouveau, Gothic and Catalan Modernism. Gaudi’s original plans called for a temple large enough to seat 13,000 people. Because he disliked straight lines, his towers were inspired by the peaks of Montserrat Mountain outside Barcelona, and had similar uneven lines.

Anyone interested in architecture will find this building fascinating to study. The plans include 18 spires, which represent Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and the Twelve Apostles. Work is still taking place on some of these spires, while others are open to the public.

The design also calls for three facades on the building. These include the Nativity Facade facing east, the Passion Facade facing west and the Glory Façade facing south. The Nativity Facade was completed in 1930. The Passion Façade and the Glory Façade are still under construction.

In his plans, Gaudi knew that his masterpiece would not be completed during his lifetime. He planned for it to be built in parts, thus assuring that each generation might be able to concentrate on one of the sections. This beautiful basilica is nearly finished, and when it is, Gaudi’s vision will finally be fulfilled.

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Reader interactions.

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January 29, 2016 at 12:15 am

I never knew there were so many beautiful attractions in Barcelona. Montjuic – the evening light and sound at the fountain, Sagrada Familia – architecture, La Rambla Street etc. – just marvelous. A visit to Montsarat is a must. The Crypt designed by Goudi and built with recycled material is a marvel indeed.

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December 28, 2015 at 1:47 am

Our holiday in Barcelona dedicated an entire day to the city center. Morning visit the Boqueria market and the Ramblas where we also ate. Then we were all afternoon store Paseo de Gracia and took advantage and had dinner there. We left the shop at the hotel and visited the quarry. I recommend going at night to this monument. It is amazing and well worth going.

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September 15, 2015 at 1:52 am

Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, in my opinion are the best. I love the architecture of Gaudi. His style is awesome. Also the place where are located are perfect. You must have to visit if you are there.

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September 8, 2015 at 4:25 am

My favorite place is Casa Mila, Casa Batlló and Sagrada Familia. Love it the architecture of Gaudi. But in my opinion, the place where are located Casa Mila and Batlló is better than Sagrada Familia. The avenue of Paseo de Gracia is amazing, full of art, best restaurants, hotels, stores. Perfect to shop and visit attractions 🙂

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July 27, 2015 at 2:10 am

Casa Batllo and Pedrera are an amazing buildings. I love Gaudi’s architecture. I think that every body that comes to visit Barcelona have to go there. Also the location of these two buildings is perfect, in the middle of Paseo de Gracia, one of the best streets.

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June 23, 2015 at 5:14 am

My favorite place in Barcelona is Paseo de Gracia street. It is amazing street with Gaudi’s buildings and luxury shops!!!!!

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May 3, 2015 at 10:53 am

I love Spain and Barcelona is one of my favorite places to visit. This page gives great information thank you.

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August 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm

My favourite is of course La Sagrada Familia. The sheer marvel of architecture.

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28 Best Things to Do in Barcelona

By Gemma Askham

La Rambla is one of the best things to do in barcelona spain

The soul-caressing Spanish climate might set Barcelona up as an outdoor city, but its indoor activities have kudos, too. Find world-renowned museums that showcase artistic legends and rising stars, markets rich in local produce, and panoramic viewing platforms to take in the iconic architecture. If it’s sun you want, it’s sun you shall get—but the beach is only one option. From a secret maze to a hilltop fairground, Barcelona’s to-do list is every bit as varied as it is pure fun; Antoni Gaudí’s color-pop architecture ensures that dull moments simply don’t exist here. Consider this your capsule edit of attractions: the definitive list of what to do in Barcelona for the time-smart traveler, from art, iconic parks, and performing arts spaces to so much more. Spanning big-hitters and under-the-radar gems, these are the best things to do in Barcelona—the Catalan-speaking city's most unmissable spots.  Vamos .

Read our complete Barcelona travel guide here .

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

Image may contain Tile Art Mosaic Human Person and Head

"The World Begins With Every Kiss" Mural Arrow

This romantically named mural near the Catedral de Barcelona was only meant to be a temporary exhibition. It was unveiled in 2014 for the 300th anniversary of September 11, 1714, a day known as Catalonia Day, or La Diada, which commemorates Catalan surrender in the War of Spanish Succession. The day is a tribute to the Catalan lives lost, to regional identity, and to freedom. The mural is made up of 4,000 tiles with photos printed onto them arranged into mosaics by color and density so that, from afar, the 26-foot-tall mural shows two people kissing. This kiss—a symbol of affection, empathy, and liberty—felt so poignant that the local government never took it down.

Park Guell barcelona spain overhead

Park Güell Arrow

Park Güell is an almost make-believe landscape: home to Barcelona’s famous mosaic lizard—the image on a thousand postcards—plus spiral towers that look like fairground slides. The city’s grandest park began life as a collaboration between entrepreneur Eusebi Güell (hence the park’s name) and Antoni Gaudí. Know that you need to book in advance online, and arrive promptly for your allotted slot—there’s zero wiggle room with timing. An interesting add-on is Casa Museu Gaudí, the pink spired building inside the park. It’s not included in your entrance fee (so factor in an extra €5.50/$5.50 per person), but Gaudí actually lived there for 19 years—which makes it the home tour of all home tours.

Santa Maria del Mar barcelona spain

Santa Maria del Mar Arrow

Ask any local to pick their favorite church and we’d bet a glass of (sacramental) Catalan wine that Santa Maria del Mar would be it. (Sorry, La Sagrada Família !) If you’ve read Ildefonso Falcones’s thriller Cathedral of the Sea , you already know more about it than you think: the novel’s backdrop is the construction of this particular Gothic church, with the lead protagonist one of its stone workers. In real life, the church’s history is almost stranger than fiction: in 1428, it was shook by a major earthquake. Then, in July 1936, it was set on fire and burned for 11 days straight. Look inside, and you’ll still see the black scorch marks on the roof. The building has very tall columns, set 43 feet apart. Combine that airiness with vast stretches of stained glass and it almost feels like someone’s pulling you up into the sky.

Parc del Laberint d'Horta barcelona spain

Parc del Laberint d'Horta Arrow

Barcelona is famous for its buildings being works of art; this is one of the few examples of a garden stepping up to that level. On the wilderness spectrum, Barcelona’s oldest park is beauty-salon manicured: splendid temples, lily-glazed ponds, sculptures of mythological figures, and a cypress maze that’s clearly given the gardener’s pruning shears a workout. The labyrinth is definitely the standout feature, a maze made of elaborate swirls of thick foliage. It recreates the Greek myth of Theseus destroying the Minotaur (a part-human, part-bull monster) to fall in love with Ariadne. A similar fate awaits those who make it to the center—no bovine slaying required, but you will find love in the form of a statue of Cupid. If that all sounds a bit soppy, scoff later: the maze is harder than it looks.

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Tibidabo barcelona spain mountain

Tibidabo Arrow

While Tibidabo mountain is a fairground, it's also so much more. You’ll first notice it from the city center: high on a summit, the silhouette of a majestic temple makes you curious to go. Officially called the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (or Sacred Heart church, easier on the tongue), its roof is topped with an enormous bronze statue of Jesus that you can take an elevator to. Mind-blown (and a little breeze-blown), you suddenly see the charm of the amusement park next to it—like its retro-styled attractions, such as a Ferris wheel with color-pop seating pods, built for the views as much as the screams. Adults love the views; kids love the rides. Finish with a gin and tonic on the terrace of Mirablau Bar , near where the blue tram stops. The edge seats rule.

tourist areas of barcelona

Gran Teatre del Liceu Arrow

As you’d expect from an opera venue, it’s grand, beautiful, doused with art, and occupies a prime piece of zip code on La Rambla . Yet, as with many of life’s most interesting characters, not all is quite what it seems. The vestibule, as you walk in, dates back to the building’s original construction in 1847. However, the main performance space—with a striking domed ceiling, red-velvet chairs and ornate gold moldings that have echoes of the Palace of Versailles—was actually unveiled in the grand old year of… 1999. A fire having wiped out most of the building’s structure in 1994. But you would never know. The acoustics and sight lines are excellent, and a small screen in your footwell provides subtitles. There's legroom to keep even the long-limbed content.

tourist areas of barcelona

Mirador Torre Glòries Arrow

Even if you don’t know Torre Glòries by name, you’ll know it by sight. The gleaming, iridescent tower that pierces the cityscape like (some say) a gherkin, though architect Jean Nouvel had a geyser in mind. It’s possibly Barcelona’s most famous landmark that Gaudí had absolutely nothing to do with, and at 470-feet tall it’s definitely one of its tallest. Opened in 2005, and famous for housing Meta’s Barcelona outpost, it’s never offered much in the way of visitor interest beyond a snap. That changed in 2022, when the 30th floor became a panoramic public observation deck with unobstructed views across every angle of the city. Now, when we explain an example of an exhibit, you’ll think we’re joking—we are not joking; it’s a climbing frame, suspended in the air by 3.7 miles of tensioned cable, made of tiny platforms–many transparent–that you scramble up onto, with absolutely no safety protection. Some platforms have cushions to rest and savor the view. Others are so physically tricky to traverse that you’ll break into a sweat, slide on your butt, and have to logically plan a route out. The serious stuff: it’s hard! 

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Catedral de Barcelona Arrow

It might not have the quirkiness nor the hype of La Sagrada Família , but it holds court: a giant Gothic temple that looms large against the narrow lanes and matchbox shops. Its site originally housed a Roman temple some 2,000 years ago, when Barcelona was still called Bàrcino (you can track down parts of the old Roman walls and aqueduct nearby). Today, the cathedral’s official name, Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, honors Eulalia, a local girl who refused to accept Roman emperor Diocletian’s demand to recant her Christian faith. It’s beautiful and atmospheric, as religious buildings so often are. Regardless of your personal level of piety, the architecture inside—plus the city view from the short elevator ride to the top—is quite something.

La Boqueria barcelona spain

La Boqueria Arrow

La Boqueria might be Barcelona’s oldest market—it started life in 1217 as a mere huddle of meat stalls on La Rambla —but tradition isn’t staid. More than 200 stands unite like a foodie’s choir: traders’ shouts, the clink of glasses, welcome greetings sung out ("holaaaa"). Though, for all the atmosphere, it’s the smell that gets you: warm, ocean-salty, freshly fried fish: the kind that lines your nostrils, excites your stomach, makes your physician tense, and has to be washed down with a glass of cava. Grab a fruit smoothie from the technicolored stalls as you walk in. Then do a lap: the deeper you venture, the better the value.

La Rambla is one of the best things to do in barcelona spain

La Rambla Arrow

Barcelona’s most famous street—a nearly one-mile pedestrianized boulevard from Plaça Cataluyna to Port Vell—is still the strolling route for the city's visitors, even if selfie-stick vendors can’t match the charm of the old-school florists, gelaterías, and candy stalls offering bites of crema catalana (a form of crème brûlée) along the way. To predict your next question: But is it La Rambla or Las Ramblas? Well, it’s really both. Originally, the area consisted of five mini-ramblas: Rambla de Canaletes, Estudis, Sant Josep, Caputxins, and Santa Mònica, but they're often lumped together and today, the street sign says La Rambla. Annoying as it is to keep your purse clenched from pickpockets for a mile, La Rambla has a charm that keeps the 78 million coming.

Fundació Joan Miró Barcelona Museum

Fundació Joan Miró Arrow

It takes a certain type of space to accommodate Miró—an artist whose works range from a white canvas with a single black line to bold, primary-colored, robot-like sculptures. So it makes sense that Miró worked with his friend, architect Josep Lluís Sert, to design the building himself. It’s modern and minimalist by Barcelona’s standards—it's certainly no La Sagrada Família . But the coolest part is knowing that you’re seeing Miró’s work laid out exactly as he intended. However you feel about Miró, the collection is lively and energetic and devoid of the stuffy pretense that art museums can attract.

tourist areas of barcelona

Els Encants Arrow

Els Encants is the flea market with the fabulous roof. That ceiling is over 80-feet high, built from undulating zinc and aluminum, and mirrored silver-gold to reflect a kaleidoscopic whirl of stalls below. This market of odds-and-sods has existed in Barcelona since around 1300; for years, as a nomad–goods laid out on ever-changing streets and squares around the city. That changed in 2013 when Els Encants’ sparkling new home opened in Poblenou. The design wizardry of architect b720 Fermín Vázquez (which is now modernizing the city’s iconic Camp Nou soccer stadium), it’s a visual stunner blessed with good-looking neighbors. On one side, the tin-foil-shiny Torre Glòries and Disseny Hub, the design museum. Turn 90 degrees, and there’s La Sagrada Familia saying hola in the background.

Casa Batlló barcelona spain

Casa Batlló Arrow

It’s easy to see why Casa Batlló has been likened to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies : Covered in shards of stained glass, it sometimes appears blue, then green, then shimmering like the glassy layer of a lake. Textile industrialist Josep Batlló commissioned Gaudí to design this home after seeing what Gaudí had done with Park Güell . Influenced by nature, Casa Batlló has no straight lines (because they don’t exist in nature, said Gaudí), stone pillars that contort like animal bones, and a tall, ocean-blue stairwell that’s very Jules Verne. The result is both grand and intimate. See our Barcelona Gaudi guide, here .

Palau de la Música Catalana barcelona spain

Palau de la Música Catalana Arrow

It might be the Palace of Catalan Music, but you come as much for your eyes as your ears. The auditorium is a kaleidoscope of roses, chandeliers, and stained glass. This is the work of Modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a building some say is even prettier than Gaudí's La Sagrada Família . Built to house the Orfeó Català symphonic choir, today’s musical acts span from choral to pianists, jazz, flamenco, and operas such as La Traviata and Carmen . A key decision is whether to visit in daylight, for a tour, when the building is at its most spectacular, or at night, when the music happens.

Barceloneta barcelona spain

Barceloneta Arrow

Barceloneta is the high-school jock of beaches: loud, popular, and boisterous. Its version of a buff torso? A strip of sand that’s no less of a showoff; at one end, there’s the metallic, sail-like silhouette of the W Hotel , at the other, the blinding gold sculpture of a fish by architect Frank Gehry. When you’ve arrived at Barceloneta, you know it. If you’re looking for the whitest sand and the most azure waters, you won’t find them at Barceloneta. But it is convenient, chaotic, and a must-see carnival.

Barcelona Spain Montjuic

Montjuïc Arrow

There are many grand elements to Montjüic, a historic hill that’s a whole lot more than ‘just a hill’. For starters, the approach at ground level. From the roundabout at Plaça España (which doesn’t sound sexy, we know), it appears majestically from nowhere, a dramatic, architectural staircase leading up to the  Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (National Museum of Catalan Art). It looks like a palace; the water feature in front is even called the Magic Fountain. (Some evenings, there’s a water-light spectacular; check the schedule  here ). So far, we’ve described about 400 meters of Montjüic: the rest has more museums, the 1992 Olympic site, exotic gardens, and enough panoramic views to jam a smartphone camera roll.

Palo Alto Market barcelona spain market

Palo Market Fest Arrow

Take an abandoned factory in the most up-and-coming part of town, plant enough foliage to fund your local garden center for life, and use the term "concept space" a LOT. Sounds trendy, right? On the thermometer of cool, Palo Market Fest is an icy Old Fashioned cocktail. Yet its atmosphere has the warm glow of having knocked a few back: live music provides a head-bopping shopping backdrop, while pop-up beer bars and insanely good food trucks mean that everyone is simply in a great mood.

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La Sagrada Família Arrow

It’s practically illegal to go to Barcelona and not visit La Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s extraordinary temple dedicated to the Holy Family—also known as the world’s largest unfinished church. The illusive end date remains a mystery—local theorists speculate it will never be done in order to preserve its in-process cachet. Be sure to book a ticket ahead (dates are available three months out) so you can get inside and gawk at the vaults and rainbow stained glass. When you go, spring for the extra audio guide and a trip up to one of the two towers—the Nativity Façade is our favorite.

a view of the top of the Mercat de Sant Antoni public market in Barcelona Spain built on 1879

Mercat de Sant Antoni Arrow

Imagine La Boqueria –the heaving, calamari-scented food market on La Rambla—before it became famous. When the only voices were local, and daily specials were scribbled in felt-tip pen on scraps on paper. That’s Sant Antoni today. A food and clothes market that’s revered by locals and cemented in their daily routines. Telling an international audience about it feels like breaking a secret code, so come with respect for that authenticity and a willingness to practice your high-school Spanish–as well as an appetite. Oh yes, you’ll definitely want the latter. Aim for that sweet spot where you’ll salivate upon seeing trays of olives piled like sandcastles, but aren’t so ravenous that you’ll blow all your hunger on the first stall of cured meats you come to. Built in 1882, it recently closed from 2009 to 2018 for an €80 million refurb. Today, it’s restored, reopened and thriving–with the surrounding blocks becoming car-free to enhance the community-first experience. If you're on a budget: the stall Ous de Calaf takes pretty presentation next-level with loose eggs displayed in straw among ornaments of hens. Regional wines are also likely to be gluggably affordable.

Picasso Museum barcelona spain

Picasso Museum Arrow

A museum spread over five palaces—we’d expect nothing less for Picasso, who moved to Barcelona as a 14-year-old boy and made frequent trips back throughout his life. Downstairs, a courtyard and Gothic archways lead into white studios that illuminate his works. Upstairs, the rooms are lavish: epic painted ceilings that almost drip crystal chandeliers. Visitors flock here to see Picasso's work, but the special setting is why they come back again and again. If you’re expecting Picasso’s big-hitters, you might be disappointed—for a few minutes. Guernica resides in the Reina Sofía in Madrid , The Weeping Woman at London ’s Tate Modern . What Barcelona’s museum has, is everything around those postcard images. In chronological order, it shows every brushstroke (all 4,251 works’ worth) of how he moved from a classically trained painter (see Ciencia y Caridad in Room 3) to a Cubist pioneer, plus some things we never knew he did, like ceramics.

tourist areas of barcelona

Moco Museum Barcelona Arrow

Here’s the thing: you cannot be bored here. Even if you hit 10,000 steps by lunchtime, Moco’s fluorescent, lively, reaction-provoking collection is a guaranteed perk-you-up. Yes, even if you’ve been known to yawn at the word “museum”. Younger sister of the original Moco Museum in Amsterdam , the name–a snappy portmanteau of modern and contemporary–gives you an idea of the collection’s genre. In truth, the cliché of “expect the unexpected” runs true. There’s a room of Banksys. Talking-point pieces by Damien Hirst and Salvador Dalí sit alongside chuckle-inducing satirical wall quotes. Andy Warhol pops up; photography by David LaChapelle; a lot of KAWS–he of Smurf courtyard fame. And possibly some new-discovery names to add to your iPhone Notes, such as the beautifully macabre oil paintings of Chile’s Guillermo Lorca, which are part-fairytale, part-horror story. One hack: tickets for time slots before 11:00 am and after 6:00 pm are cheaper.

Hospital de la Sante Creu i Sant Pau barcelona spain

Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site Arrow

Built by legendary Modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (of Palau de la Música Catalana fame) with all the features of Catalan Art Nouveau—extravagant domes, stained glass windows, epic pillars—it was designed to be a building that people enjoyed recuperating in. His vision was a garden city for nursing the sick instead of the clinical-looking spaces we still know today—buildings are oriented for maximum sun exposure, for example. When the hospital was moved further north in 2009, this site went through its own rehabilitation: into a museum and arts venue. It now hosts the runways for Barcelona Fashion Week.

Parc de la Ciutadella barcelona spain

Parc de la Ciutadella Arrow

Barcelona's vast city park houses a zoo, regional parliament, and plenty of sites and spots for lounging. Cascada Monumental, built with input from a young Gaudí, is a stunning golden waterfall that both wows and relaxes you. Ditto the serene boating lake beside it. Enter through the Arc de Triomf and the elaborate Modernist building to your right is Castell dels Tres Dragons , built by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Currently closed for renovation, with no word on a reopening date, it was once the zoology museum. Another beautiful, yet no less mysterious, series of structures are the cast iron Umbracle (palm house) and Hivernacle (winter garden) in front. Go for an authentic slice of city-park life.

Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies Van de Rohe

The Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Arrow

This Pavilion was designed by German architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich for the 1929 International Exposition—a global showcase of architectural styles. Exposition over, the pavilion was duly dismantled back to Germany. It was only in the decades after—cue: a face-palming moment of hindsight—that the architectural community realized just how pivotal Mies van der Rohe’s founding symbol of modernist architecture was. In 1980, Barcelona City Council enlisted a team of Catalan architects to turn salvaged photographs and drawings into a delicate, atmospheric reconstruction. Most people’s overarching takeaway from the Pavilion is that it’s smaller than they imagined, so use this as your battery recharge before tackling the other arty big-hitters on Montjuïc , such as Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) and Fundació Joan Miró .

Barcelona Spain Camp Nou

Camp Nou Arrow

The importance FC Barcelona soccer club has in the city can be felt in the noise of its home stadium, the Camp Nou. At 99,354, it’s the biggest in Europe—and there's an expansion plan in place to push it to 105,000. All seats are actually owned by season-ticket holders, who then release them to the public if they can’t go. Don’t worry: it means there’s usually a good chunk available, especially against lower league teams, and 72 to 48 hours before a match. Barcelona’s home matches in La Liga—the Spanish soccer league—usually run from mid-August to the end of May, and tours of the stadium and the FC Barcelona museum are still kicking off (from €26, or $30). Glimpse Messi’s trophies, the players’ tunnel, and the first team’s bench.

Casa Vicens Barcelona Spain

Casa Vicens Arrow

Built in the 1880s as a summerhouse for stockbroker Manel Vicens, Casa Vicens was the very first house Gaudí designed. Forget the Gaudí of La Sagrada Família fame, this is his Orientalist Period. Imagine a Moorish palace merged with a Rubik’s cube. It’s crazy. Anyone who’s a fan of tiles or maximalist design will geek out on the oriental palms, pink walls, flower-adorned tiles and flying birds. Add in a terracotta roof terrace, a couple of elaborate domes, and some Gaudí ironwork and you’re left wondering how it all harmonizes together. Because, weirdly, it does.

IDEAL Centre dArts Digitals Barcelona

IDEAL Centre d’Arts Digitals Arrow

If a digital arts center was going to pop up anywhere in Barcelona, you’d bet your tapas fund on the district of Poblenou—the Catalan capital’s East London-like ‘hood, where once crumbling factories spawn start-ups, art studios, and museums like the Museu Can Framis . From the outside, IDEAL’s boxy exterior shouts movie theatre. And it was—for 67 years. Then it became a movie set, then nothing at all, before a regeneration project in 2019 turned the lights back on. It’s now southern Europe’s first facility dedicated to producing and showcasing digital arts projects, such as holography and virtual reality. Instead of watching an image, you’re thrown right into the image—meaning popcorn-munching to fill the slow scenes is a thing of the past.

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Nau Bostik Arrow

Barcelona has a lot of well-known museums, with a lot of well-known names, in a lot of well-known parts of town. Nau Bostik is absolutely none of those—which is exactly why we love it. Take the metro to La Sagrera, walk 10 minutes through a residential district that makes you wonder if you've gotten lost, and look for a bold-colored striped mural on the side of a factory. This work, by Argentine street artist Elian Chali, sums up the spirit of the Nau Bostik.

tourist areas of barcelona

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Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

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Visit Barcelona: Top 25 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

Things to do in barcelona: the 25 best places to visit and highlights.

You’re planning to visit Barcelona during your next trip to Spain?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have written this guide of the best things to do in Barcelona , with all the must-see attractions and points of interest.

From Parc Guell to La Sagrada Familia , you will discover all the best places to visit in the city as well as hidden gems , known only by locals.

And at the end of this article, you will also find itineraries to visit Barcelona in 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days (or even a week!) as well as my suggestions of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

So, what are the best places to visit in Barcelona? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

1. La Sagrada Familia

2. las ramblas of barcelona, 3. mercado de la boqueria, 4. plaza catalunya, 5. passeig de gracia: shopping in barcelona, 6. casa batlló, 7. casa milà or “la pedrera”, 8. park güell – where to walk in barcelona, 9. güell palace, 10. visit the national art museum of catalonia (mnac), 11. plaça d’espanya and the magic fountain of montjuic, 12. the olympic installations from the 1992 olympic games, 13. montjuic hill, 14. visit camp nou stadium, 15. the basilica of santa maria del mar, 16. barcelona port / barcelona cruises, 17. going to the beach in barcelona, 18. ciutadella park, 19. barcelona’s cathedral of the holy cross, 20. the palau de la música catalana, 21. the recinte modernista de sant pau, 22. the best viewpoints and lookouts in barcelona, 23. horta’s labyrinth park, 24. attending la mercè, 25. exploring barcelona’s gastronomy, the 6 best things to do around barcelona, best things to do in barcelona when it rains, visiting barcelona with kids, how many days to visit barcelona, 1 day in barcelona, 2 days in barcelona, 3 days in barcelona, 4 days in barcelona, 5 days in barcelona, where to stay in barcelona, where to eat in barcelona, my tips for a trip to barcelona, barcelona tourist map, how to get to barcelona, how to get around barcelona, what are the best places to visit in barcelona, when is the best time to visit barcelona, what to do in barcelona at night, you’re traveling in spain these articles will help you, visit barcelona: all must-see attractions.

You simply can’t visit Barcelona without planning a visit to La Sagrada Familia.

La Sagrada Familia is the most famous work of Catalan architect Gaudí , who shaped Barcelona’s architectural landscape until his death in 1926. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site , it’s Spain’s most visited monument and the emblematic symbol of Barcelona.

You’ll immediately understand why upon arriving at the Basilica: the building is impressive , with its details and Catholic references . Its unique architectural style, mixing Gothic and Art Nouveau , will take your breath away!

Under construction for 136 years , La Sagrada Familia is still unfinished and is not expected to be completed until 2027. In the meantime, the entry fees are used to fund the completion of the work. You can boast about having contributed to the construction of this masterpiece!

Practically speaking, La Sagrada Familia is open every day from 9 AM, and until 6 PM, 7 PM, or 8 PM depending on the season.

Of course, you can visit the interior as well as the museum displaying original plans and drawings that trace the evolution of the Basilica.

I highly recommend you book your ticket online before your visit to La Sagrada Familia. At any time of the day, the queue is often endless , and it would be a shame to waste hours waiting in line!

You need to book your skip-the-line ticket for La Sagrada Familia by clicking on the button below:

And if you prefer a guided tour of La Sagrada Familia with an official guide, simply click here to book it!

To visit Barcelona and La Sagrada Familia , you should get the Barcelona Pass.

Here’s what’s included:

  • Skip-the-line entry to La Sagrada Familia
  • Entry to Park Güell
  • Access to the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for 24 hours
  • Barcelona audioguide to download
  • 10% discount on other entrance tickets to buy online like Casa Batlló.

You need to book your Barcelona City Pass by clicking on the button below:

Sagrada Familia

La Rambla (or Las Ramblas) is another place you don’t wanna miss during your visit to Barcelona.

It’s the pedestrian boulevard that connects the port of Barcelona to Plaza Catalunya (Plaça de Catalunya).

What to see along Las Ramblas of Barcelona:

  • La Font de Canaletes: a gathering place for Barcelona residents during major events and football victories!
  • Joan Miro’s mosaic, created directly on the pavement
  • The Gran Teatre del Liceu, the oldest in the city
  • Plaza Reial and its numerous bars
  • Palau de la Virreina, which hosts temporary exhibitions.

Along nearly 2 km , you will also find numerous street artists, musicians, shops , and plenty of cafés and restaurants. Also, don’t miss the living statues : men and women dressed as creatures that are truly impressive.

You’ll find them towards the lower part of Las Ramblas , closer to the port.

Did you know?

las ramblas

During your stay in Barcelona, you should really go to the Mercado de La Boqueria.

The market, the oldest in the city, is the main tourist attraction on Las Ramblas . Look for an Art Nouveau portal and a crowd of tourists pouring in: that’s the spot!

This place is perfect for finding all kinds of Catalan products : tapas, Iberian ham, turron, fresh fruit… A true feast for the eyes and the palate. The stalls are beautifully presented, and the atmosphere is warm. You’ll want to try everything!

If you’re interested in Spanish cuisine , I recommend a super fun activity to do in Barcelona.

You can visit La Boqueria with a chef who will choose the best ingredients and then prepare for you a variety of hot and cold tapas as well as a paella . You’ll be able to watch the whole process and, of course, taste everything at the end accompanied by a small glass of sangria!

Book your visit to Mercado de La Boqueria and cooking class right here.

It will be hard to avoid the crowds on Las Ramblas, but if you don’t want to be with all the tourists, go there early in the morning , between 8 AM and 10 AM. You’ll be more at ease to admire the old buildings along the promenade.

mercado de la boqueria

To continue your tour of Barcelona, I suggest you then head to Plaza Catalunya (Plaça de Catalunya), located at the end of Las Ramblas.

It’s the heart of the city , at the crossroads of Las Ramblas, Rambla de Catalunya, and Passeig de Gracia.

There, you’ll find several statues , including the statue of Frederic Marès, a few cafés, and an El Corte Inglés . You should have a drink on the roof of the department store , the view is really nice!

Plaza Catalunya is also the starting point of many metro lines and the Barcelona equivalent of the suburban rail, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC).

So, this is the perfect starting point if you want to visit Barcelona using public transportation.

plaza catalunya barcelona

Continuing from Las Ramblas , past Plaza Catalunya, you will find Passeig de Gracia .

It’s one of the most famous avenues in Barcelona and one of the many places to see.

Originally, Passeig de Gracia was the avenue where wealthy Barcelona families lived . Hence, you will find magnificent villas , including some designed by Gaudí ( Casa Batlló and Casa Milà ), and Puig y Cadafalch , another renowned architect in Barcelona ( Casa Amatller ).

Passeig de Gracia is also the perfect place for shopping among the countless luxury stores that line the promenade (or just window shopping if your budget doesn’t allow), with brands like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Cartier, Hermès, Gucci…

The street lamps of Passeig de Gracia are also signed by Gaudí. It seems that Barcelona’s favorite architect truly left his mark everywhere.

passeig de gracia

To continue this guide of the best places to visit in Barcelona, let’s head to Casa Batlló.

It’s one of the two villas designed by Gaudí on Passeig de Gracia. Known as La Casa del Ossos (the House of Bones) by the locals, it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I strongly recommend visiting it as it is even more impressive inside than outside!

I suggest, again, that you book your ticket online in advance to avoid the potentially endless queue, even before 11 AM.

A 3D audiovisual guide makes the visit interactive and even more enjoyable:

Plan about 1 hour for the visit.

If you want to experience Casa Batlló differently , I recommend you get the “Magical Nights” ticket .

It includes an animated nighttime tour with live music on the rooftop terrace (at 8 PM), as well as 2 complimentary drinks .

casa battlo

The other Gaudí villa located on Passeig de Gracia is Casa Milà , nicknamed “La Pedrera” (which means “the stone quarry” in Catalan, a nickname given for its unique architecture).

Also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites , the building is recognizable from afar with its wavy white façade . Spanning 5 floors and 4,500 m², you can discover all of Gaudí’s architectural genius and immerse yourself in his world.

The view of Barcelona from the rooftop terrace is also breathtaking.

To book your skip-the-line ticket for Casa Mila, click here:

Should you wish to visit Casa Mila in a unique way , I suggest you book a night tour tickets (click here) with a show.

Starting from 9 PM, audiovisual projections take place in different parts of the building and on the roof. Plus, a glass of champagne is included.

If you wish to visit the three remarkable houses designed by Gaudí while saving money, you should get the Gaudí Houses Pass.

It includes:

  • Skip-the-line access to Casa Milà + audio guide
  • Entry to Casa Batlló + audio guide
  • Skip-the-line ticket for Palau Güell + audio guide

You need to book the pass to visit Gaudí’s houses by clicking this green button:

casa mila

Let’s continue with Gaudí’s works: Park Güell is another must-see tourist attraction in Barcelona.

Built between 1900 and 1914 by order of Eusebi Güell, a friend and patron of Gaudí, the park was originally intended to be a garden city housing about 60 homes. In the end, only 4 houses were built due to budgetary constraints.

However, Park Güell remains a treasure trove of Modernist architecture and Art Nouveau , showcasing the blend of modernism and nature that characterized Gaudí’s work.

It’s divided into two areas: the “Monumental” zone, which has an entrance fee (this is where the famous curvy benches, the salamander, and the columns are found) and a free area.

You should plan to spend several hours exploring this park.

You can also climb up to the viewpoint (Mirador de Virolai), and even though the climb is a bit tough, it’s worth it. The panoramic view of Barcelona’s landmarks is stunning.

Tickets to visit the park must be reserved well in advance as availability is really limited:

Don’t forget, if you have purchased the Barcelona City Pass , entry to Park Güell is already included!

Barcelona

Güell Palace is yet another commission by Güell for Gaudí , located in the Raval neighborhood, in the historical center of Barcelona. It actually served as the Güell family’s residence .

Do not be deceived by the rather modest facade of the villa: the interior is truly luxurious .

The must-see elements of Palau Güell include the wrought iron gate, the entrance hall , and also the mansion’s bedrooms.

The full price ticket is 12€ but you can visit the palace for free on the first Sunday of every month.

You need to buy your ticket by clicking here.

If you have purchased the Gaudi Pass , entrance to Güell Palace is included!

You’re going to Barcelona?

You probably know it: the hardest part of planning your trip is to find an hotel offering a good value for money!

And that’s even worse in the large European cities 😅.

The closer you get to your travel dates, the harder it will be to get a good deal. Tens of thousands of people will be visiting Barcelona on the same dates as you , so you can be sure that the best deals are booked extremely quickly!

Hopefully, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem: do like me and book your hotel as early as possible!

So, my best advice is to take 5 minutes (now) to have a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Barcelona.

And if you see a good offer, book it!

Most hotels offer free cancellation, so it’s quick, easy, and you will avoid the the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the current best deals for your hotel in Barcelona, simply click on the green button below 😎:

Once you’ve booked your hotel, it will be time to continue reading this guide and find out more about the best things to do in Barcelona!

Güell Palace Barcelona

What are the best things to do in Barcelona if you love art and culture?

Go visit the MNAC!

The National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) is famous for having the largest Romanesque art collection in the world. Besides its rich collections spanning all mediums and eras, it’s housed in a majestic palace specially built for the 1929 World Fair.

It’s also one of the largest museums in Spain.

You need to buy your MNAC entrance tickets by clicking here:

It’s possible to visit the MNAC for free , including both permanent and temporary exhibitions, on Saturdays after 3 PM and all first Sundays of the month.

If you plan to visit other museums in Barcelona besides the MNAC, you should buy the Barcelona Museum Pass. It will grant you access to the city’s 6 main museums (skip-the-line tickets):

  • National Art Museum of Catalonia
  • Barcelona Picasso Museum
  • Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Fundació Joan Miró
  • Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona
  • Fundació Antoni Tàpies.

You need to buy it by clicking on the button below:

MNAC Barcelona

Let’s continue this guide of Barcelona’s must-see attractions and head to Plaça d’Espanya.

Located opposite the MNAC, designed by architect Puig i Cadafalch , it was also built for the 1929 World Fair.

It’s recognizable by the former bullring , which is now a shopping center . I definitely recommend heading to the top floor , on the roof terrace: it offers a magnificent view of the square and Montjuic hill.

Don’t miss the Magic Fountain of Montjuic , located between the MNAC and Plaça Espanya.

Every evening, from Wednesday to Sunday , the fountain lights up to music . It’s an unmissable spectacle that both locals and tourists flock to see it: you should thus arrive early to get a good spot!

Spain Square Barcelona

You may already know that Barcelona hosted the 1992 Olympic Games . A lot of sites were built for the occasion, especially in the Olympic port and on Montjuic hill.

Here are the main Olympic facilities to see:

  • Montjuic Olympic Park , which includes the Olympic Stadium, Palau Sant Jordi, the Calatrava Tower, the Barcelona Sports Palace, and the Pavilion of Industrial Spain.
  • Parc del Mar , home to the Olympic Port of Barcelona and the Mar Bella Pavilion.

For a hassle-free (and fun!) way to explore the Olympic sites , you should opt for a 1.5 hours guided Segway tour.

Reserve your spot by clicking here!

Montjuic Olympic Park Barcelona

Aside from the Olympic Park, Montjuic Hill still has many surprises in store. It’s a very peaceful area in Barcelona, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Here are the best places to visit in Montjuic:

  • Montjuic Castle , which played a controversial role in the city’s history, notably as a vantage point for bombings during the War of Spanish Succession (18th and 19th centuries). It offers a breathtaking view of Barcelona’s coastline
  • Barcelona Botanical Garden , where you can admire plant species from Australia, California, the Mediterranean, and more
  • Miramar Gardens with their magnificent panorama over the entire city
  • The Greek Theatre Gardens
  • Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens , with a Californian theme.

To get to Montjuic , you can take the bus or go on foot, but I highly recommend taking the Montjuic cable car from Barceloneta. The view from the cable car is absolutely worth it!

Round-trip tickets are available right here.

Montjuic Hill

What’s the best place to visit in Barcelona if you’re a sports enthusiast, especially a football fan?

The Camp Nou Stadium, without any hesitation!

The “Camp Nou Experience” combined tour allows you to visit the home of FC Barcelona, which is not only the largest stadium in Spain but also in Europe, as well as the FC Barcelona Museum. You will be completely immersed into the world of Spanish football.

You need to book this experience directly here:

To get there, your best option is to take the subway: line L3 to Palau Reial or Les Corts stations; and line 5 to Badal or Collblanc stations.

Camp Nou Stadium

The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar , located in the historical Born district, is a must-visit for fans of Gothic architecture and religious history.

You’ll surely be impressed by the immensity of the Basilica from the inside. You should ideally visit at night when it’s illuminated – it’s even more beautiful!

You can find opening hours and access information on the official website.

Not many people know, but you can climb right to the top of the basilica. From the Terraces of Santa Maria del Mar , you’ll get an unbeatable view of the Born district and the surrounding areas. However, this privilege comes at a cost (8€).

Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar Barcelona

Port Vell is also worth a visit in Barcelona.

Theren you can find a shopping center ( Mare Magnum ), which might interest you if you’re fond of shopping. To get there, feel free to walk across the pedestrian bridge from La Rambla to the shopping center.

Here are some other attractions you can find at Port Vell:

  • Christopher Columbus statue : you can climb to the top for a nice view of La Rambla and the port
  • The IMAX cinema
  • Barcelona Aquarium: This is a great activity for families visiting Barcelona. Tickets available here .

Port Vell is also where you can embark on Golondrinas cruises .

These boats take you to see Barcelona from the water, offering a different perspective of the city. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy. You need to book your tickets by clicking here.

And if you prefer a more festive cruise,   you should opt for a catamaran ride.

The outing lasts 3 hours and includes a barbecue lunch (with drinks). A DJ is on board to set the mood, and there’s even a planned swimming stop.

Book by clicking the green button below:

You can also combine a cruise in the port with a helicopter flight over the city and a guided tour of the Gothic Quarter.

This 4-hour excursion for the three activities is around 135 euros, which is really a great deal considering the price of helicopter flights!

Book using the green button below:

Barcelona port

Where to go to the beach in Barcelona?

Barcelona is also famous for its beaches, and if you’re visiting Barcelona during the summer, it’s the best way to cool off.

There are 10 beaches in Barcelona, spread along the Passeig Maritim.

The beaches closest to the center ( Barceloneta, Sant Miquel, and Sant Sebastià ) are the busiest. For a quieter experience, head to Nova Icària Beach.

Nova Icaria Beach Barcelona

Let’s continue this guide with Ciutadella Park , another famous park in Barcelona, built for the 1888 Universal Exposition.

It’s a favorite spot for locals when the weather is nice, and you can even enjoy a boat ride on its lake.

In the park, you will find several tourist attractions such as:

  • The Arc de Triomf
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The seat of the Parliament of Catalonia.

If you’re visiting Barcelona with your children, you can also take them to Barcelona Zoo. Tickets on sale here!

And to save money when you’re visiting Barcelona with your family, I recommend 2 packages that include entry to the zoo (click the links to book):

  • Barcelona Family Pass : includes zoo entry + one-hour harbor cruise + fast-track entry to the Wax Museum
  • The Zoo and Aquarium Pack : includes zoo entry + aquarium ticket + a ride on Barcelona’s port cable car.

Another great way to explore the park and its surroundings is to opt for a 2-hour electric scooter tour.

The tour also includes a visit to the Olympic Port and the beaches.

The same tour is also available on a Segway:

Ciutadella Park Barcelona

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Barcelona is definitely the first landmark you’ll notice while wandering through the Gothic Quarter.

This impressive cathedral is one of Barcelona’s most majestic religious sights . Built in Gothic style, it is rich in detail and sculpture , both on the exterior and interior.

Admission costs 7€ and gives you access to the cathedral, the cloister, the terraces, the choir, the museum, and the chapel.

To explore other monuments in the Gothic Quarter , you can choose a guided walking tour.

For 2 hours, a professional guide will show you every corner of the neighborhood.

To book, click here:

Barcelona's Cathedral of the Holy Cross

This Art Nouveau concert hall is surely one of the most beautiful in the world.

This UNESCO World Heritage site was built in the early 20th century by Domènech i Montaner, who was a mentor to Gaudí and Puig i Cadafalch.

To visit the Palau de la Música Catalana , a guided tour is mandatory. Lasting 50 minutes, a guide will show you the intermission hall and balcony , the auditorium , and the upper balconies.

The tour is very interesting and full of fascinating anecdotes. It costs 20€ per person and various languages are available depending on the schedule.

Book your palace tour directly here.

Palau de la Música Catalana

The Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is another modernist masterpiece by architect Domènech i Montaner whom I just mentioned.

It was once a public hospital , designed as a garden city, and functioned throughout the 20th century.

You can visit several buildings on the premises, some of which host exhibitions, like the Sant Rafael Pavilion which shows what the hospital looked like in its early days.

You need to get your tickets here.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

What are the best places to go in Barcelona for a breathtaking view?

The best viewpoint in Barcelona is undoubtedly the Bunkers del Carmel , or Turó de la Rovira.

This site once hosted anti-aircraft bunkers that played a major role in the defense of the city during the Spanish Civil War. Today, not much remains except for a magnificent 360° view of the entire city of Barcelona.

Here’s a summary of the best spots to see Barcelona from above (most of which I have already mentioned)

  • Montjuic hill (the castle or the Miramar)
  • The Columbus Column
  • The rooftop of La Pedrera
  • Torre Glòries (tickets available here!) from its 33rd floor, you get a spectacular view of Barcelona!
  • The rooftop of the Las Arenas shopping center on Plaça Espanya
  • The rooftop of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
  • Mount Tibidabo
  • Torre de Collserola

Bunkers del Carmel

Horta’s Labyrinth Park is Barcelona’s oldest park , with a quiet and secretive atmosphere, ideal for a romantic stroll.

Once you’ve explored the labyrinth thoroughly, you can relax in the neoclassical park or even have a picnic.

Admission is 2€, but it’s free on Wednesdays and Sundays.

It’s a pleasant place to visit after seeing Barcelona’s more popular attractions.

Horta's Labyrinth Park

La Mercè is THE celebration in Barcelona you can’t miss . This religious festival , also known as “festa major d’estiu” in Catalan, takes place over a week around September 24th.

You’ll experience a full display of Catalan culture: castells and falcons, parades of Catalan giants, correfocs (fire runs), sardine barbecues, concerts, exhibitions, and more.

But the best way to understand what La Mercè is all about is to experience it for yourself!

La Mercè

What would a trip to Barcelona be without trying Catalan gastronomy?

Tapas, paella, arroz negre (black rice) and fideua (a type of paella made with short noodles), calçots (a kind of onion), crema catalana, turron, and coca de San Joan …

You will certainly have plenty to enjoy during your holiday!

Tapas Barcelona

If you’re spending several days in Barcelona, don’t hesitate to leave the city and explore its surrounding areas.

Barcelona has the advantage of being located in a region rich in architectural treasures and diverse landscapes. Catalonia will delight lovers of urban art, ancient history, beaches, and mountains alike.

Here are the best places to visit around Barcelona:

  • Montserrat Mountain: you should visit Montserrat Abbey and enjoy one (or more!) hikes. There are organized day trips from Barcelona , which is super convenient if you don’t have a car. You need to book your trip here!
  • Colonia Güell: An industrial estate designed by Gaudí for the textile workers of Güell, featuring his unconventional church (the Crypt). To visit it, you should take the train from Barcelona. All-inclusive tickets with train journey, Colonia Güell and Crypt visit only cost 15€.
  • Sitges: for strolling along the seafront and enjoying the beach in summer. It’s the ideal place to relax near Barcelona. Book your guided tour here!
  • Tossa de Mar: on the Costa Brava, a unique village with a very charming medieval town center. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit near Barcelona. To book your day trip, you simply need to click here.
  • Girona and Figueres, the 2 most important cities in Northern Catalonia. In Girona, you will visit many medieval monuments and in Figueres, you will discover the world of the famous Salvador Dali! Book your visit here!
  • PortAventura Amusement Park: simply the best amusement in Spain and in Southern Europe. As an ultra-touristic attraction near Barcelona, you really need to purchase your skip-the-line tickets in advance . You can also reserve a  day trip to PortAventura with transport included from Barcelona (very convenient if you don’t have a car).

Montserrat Abbey

Even though Barcelona is a Mediterranean city renowned for its pleasant climate, it does rain in Barcelona sometimes!

So you’re not caught off-guard, I’ve prepared a list of the best activities to do when it rains in Barcelona:

  • Visit museums: in my opinion, Barcelona’s must-see museums are the MNAC, the Picasso Museum, and the Miró Foundation on Montjuic. All of them are included in the Barcelona Museum Pass . But you could also take the opportunity to visit more unusual museums, like the Museum of Eroticism or the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, dedicated to cannabis.
  • Drink a “chocolate a la taza”: this thick hot chocolate, often accompanied by churros, is a tradition in Barcelona. You can enjoy them in the numerous granjas, such as Granja Viader or Granja Pallaresa. One of my favorite spots is La Nena, in the Gracia neighborhood, an authentic café that’s quite popular with locals.
  • Watch a Flamenco show: Flamenco is Andalusian, but it’s still very popular in Barcelona. Show evenings are especially organized at Los Tarantos, one of the oldest tablaos in Barcelona. You can book this activity here.
  • Shopping: Barcelona has many shopping centers: Las Arenas, Glories (near Torre Agbar), L’illa Diagonal…

chocolate churros

What are the best things do in Barcelona with your family?

To plan your trip to Barcelona with family, I have prepared a list of the best activities to do with children:

  • Visit CosmoCaixa Science Museum, in Sarria district. Free for kids, it offers plenty of fun learning activities.
  • A trip to the Tibidabo Amusement Park: located on Mount Tibidabo, this amusement park is one of the oldest in the world and offers stunning views over the city.
  • The Blue Tram of Sarria: a century-old tramway connecting Avinguda Tibidabo with the funicular station. Note that it only runs on weekdays.
  • Barcelona Aquarium: You’ll see fish and aquatic creatures from all over the world.
  • The Magic Fountain of Montjuic: I mentioned it earlier on, and I can assure you that your children will love this show.
  • Poble Espanyol: This “Spanish Village” offers a pretty amazing reconstruction of typical villages from Spain’s regions, from Andalusia to Castile. It’s great because it hosts many events and workshops for kids. It’s the perfect visit for a family stay in Barcelona.

If you’ve decided to visit Barcelona with your family , you can also take them to Barcelona Zoo. Tickets available here!

And to save money on your Barcelona trip with kids, I recommend 2 packs that include a visit to the zoo (click the links to book):

  • The Barcelona Family Pass including: zoo entrance + one-hour harbor cruise + skip-the-line entry for the wax museum
  • The Zoo and Aquarium Pack with: zoo entrance + aquarium ticket + a trip on the Barcelona Port cable car.

poble espanyol

The length of your stay in Barcelona depends a lot on what you want to see and what kind of traveler you are.

It’s perfectly possible to visit Barcelona in a weekend or to spend a week there without getting bored.

To help you plan your stay, I’ve prepared itineraries to visit Barcelona in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days or even a week.

There are 2 discount cards (City Passes) for Barcelona, which will help you save time and money.

1) The best one in my opinion is the Barcelona City Pass . It includes:

  • The excellent visit to the Sagrada Familia
  • A skip-the-line ticket for Park Güell
  • The ticket for the hop-on hop-off bus for 1 or 2 days – Perfect to easily move from a point of interest to another and discover all the best places to visit in the city!

2) If you’re staying more than 3 days in Barcelona, you might also consider the Barcelona Card . Valid for 3, 4, or 5 days, it grants you free public transport and discounts or free entry to city attractions and museums. A city and metro map are also included.

If you’ve only got one day to visit Barcelona , you should focus your sightseeing around the heart of the city: the area that stretches from Ciutat Vella (the historic quarter) to Passeig de Gracia.

Here are the must-see attractions:

  • Start your tour with the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and the Gothic Quarter, and take the opportunity to enjoy some tapas in the historic center of Barcelona
  • Then, stroll down La Rambla
  • Do some shopping at La Boqueria Market
  • Taste tapas either at La Boqueria Market or in the upper Gothic Quarter
  • Walk up along Passeig de Gracia , including a visit to Casa Batlló
  • End your visit at the Sagrada Familia, so you can take your time to explore
  • Enjoy a flamenco show in the evening

To optimize your time, you should book your tickets in advance online . You’ll find reservation links at each point in the article.

And if you don’t want to walk, you can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city. It’s the best way to make the most of Barcelona in one day.

You need to buy your Hop-on Hop-off bus ticket here.

If you’re staying 2 days in Barcelona, you should follow the previous day’s itinerary, replacing the visit to the Sagrada Familia with a visit to Casa Milà.

Here are some ideas for your second day in Barcelona:

  • Start your day with a visit to Park Güell
  • Check out the Bunkers del Carmel, just a short distance away
  • Pass by the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau
  • Visit the Sagrada Familia (on the first day you would have visited Casa Mila)
  • End your day in the Born district

All the details to organize your weekend in Barcelona are in this article: 2-Day Itinerary in Barcelona.

Barcelona at night

If you’re planning to spend 3 days in Barcelona , you should do the itinerary mentioned above for the 2 first days and add a day on Montjuic hill.

Here’s how to organize your day:

  • Head to Plaça Espanya and enjoy the view from the top of the shopping center
  • If you have children, visit Poble Espanyol
  • Visit the MNAC
  • Have a picnic in one of the many parks on Montjuic (I especially like the Greek Theatre garden)
  • Take a tour of the Olympic installations
  • Finish your visit at Montjuic Castle
  • Return to Plaça Espanya to eat some tapas and watch the Magic Fountain show

For 3 days in Barcelona, I’ve also prepared a detailed guide with all my tips to make the most of your stay in Barcelona.

Here it is: 3 Days in Barcelona , the ultimate guide!

If you have 4 days in Barcelona , I recommend following the 3-day itinerary and adding a day around the beach and Port Vell:

  • Take a tour of Port Vell: if it’s raining, go shopping and visit the aquarium, and if it’s sunny, take a Golondrinas boat tour
  • Walk along Passeig Maritim to admire Barcelona’s beaches. In summer, you can even spend the afternoon at the beach.
  • Visit the Olympic Port
  • Return to the old town and rest in Parc de la Ciutadella
  • Visit Santa Maria del Mar Basilica and climb to the top to enjoy the view over the city.

All these details and the day-by-day program can be found in my other article: 4 Days in Barcelona: the perfect itinerary.

For 5 days in Barcelona , I recommend adding to the previous itinerary an excursion to visit Barcelona’s surroundings

Here are the best day trips from Barcelona:

  • A visit to the Costa Brava from Barcelona: explore Lloret del Mar and Tossa del Mar + boat trip, bus transport, and guide included for only 55€ per person
  • From Barcelona: Costa Brava, Kayak and Snorkeling: maximum of 12 people, transfer to the Costa Brava, kayak navigation and snorkeling (equipment provided) + lunch starting from 65€.
  • Hot air balloon ride departing from Barcelona: hotel pickup + one-hour hot air balloon flight and picnic included
  • Tickets for Montserrat from Barcelona + Museum: round trip – full-day tour with train ride, monastery and museum visit with audio guide included
  • In winter, you can go skiing at one of the stations near Barcelona (La Molina, for instance, is very renowned)
  • With children or with friends, go to PortAventura and don’t forget to book your skip-the-line tickets here.

To learn more about the best things to do in Barcelona in 5 days , you should read my detailed itinerary right here: 5 Days in Barcelona.

And if you’re planning to stay longer, for example, a week in Barcelona, no worries, there are still plenty of things to see, including the Camp Nou Stadium, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, the Palace of Catalan Music , and many museums.

You can also simply take your time and soak up the ambiance of the Catalan capital!

I detail the entire program in my dedicated article right here: A Week in Barcelona: the ultimate itinerary.

Port Aventura

As you know, finding a good hotel deal in Barcelona isn’t that easy!

That’s why I have selected for you the 5 best hotels in Barcelona , depending on your budget.

If you already know your travel dates and find a hotel that suits you, you should really book now, as the best deals don’t last long!

  • Hostel One Ramblas: This hostel is located in the center of Barcelona. Dormitory beds start from €33 with dinner included. Strong points: the atmosphere, the price. A great choice if you’re visiting Barcelona on a budget.
  • Hotel Grums Barcelona: Located next to Montjuic hill and 600m from Las Ramblas. Elegant and bright rooms starting from €134. Strong points: the spa with jacuzzi and sauna, room design, great location. It’s one of my favorite hotels in Barcelona for its excellent value for money!
  • Ohla Barcelona: Perfectly located luxury hotel in Barcelona, between the Cathedral and the Plaza Catalunya, and 200 meters from the metro. This 5-star hotel offers contemporary and comfortable double rooms starting at €325 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the beauty of the establishment both outside and inside, the rooftop pool with breathtaking views, the 3 gourmet restaurants. This is definitely the perfect choice for a romantic stay in the heart of Barcelona.
  • W Barcelona: The iconic Barcelona hotel is located in the Barceloneta district. Luxurious and well-equipped double rooms starting at €363. Strong points: the views, the two swimming pools, the facilities, the restaurants. Undoubtedly the most famous hotel in Barcelona!
  • Hotel Arts Barcelona: 5-star hotel located in the Olympic Port district, 250 meters from the beach and 300 meters from Ciutadella Park. Design and ultra-spacious double rooms starting from €670 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the 2-Michelin-star restaurant, the outdoor pool with panoramic views, the design, and the contemporary art collection. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Barcelona!

To get a complete list of the best accommodations in Barcelona , sorted by area and budget, you should read my dedicated guide: Where to Stay in Barcelona?

Gothic Quarter Hotel Ohla Barcelona

  • For tapas: Taller de Tapas . This restaurant is part of a chain (with 6 locations in Barcelona, mainly in the old city), offering very affordable prices and a good sample of Catalan cuisine such as pan con tomate, paella, seafood tapas, croquetas, crema catalana, and more.
  • For a good burger: Bacoa is also a chain, and it’s truly an institution in Barcelona. The burgers are artisanal, made with fresh products, and hearty.
  • For a taste of chocolate a la taza: Granja La Pallaresa is one of the most famous and the best place to enjoy churros con chocolate. Moreover, the setting is really cool (in the Gothic Quarter, near the Cathedral of the Holy Cross).

Here are my tips to ensure you have the best time in Barcelona:

  • Barcelona is known for its pickpockets . To avoid any unpleasant surprises, be very careful with your belongings in the busiest areas, especially Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, the metro, and the beaches. If possible, try not to look like a tourist (with a city map in hand, camera around your neck).
  • Embrace the Spanish schedule. In Barcelona, as in all of Spain, people live life late into the night. You’ll notice that shops and museums rarely open before 10 AM. Meal times are similar: Spaniards have breakfast at 11 AM, lunch between 2 PM and 4 PM, and dinner between 9 PM and 10 PM. Be careful not to fall into tourist traps: restaurants that open before 1 PM or 7 PM are usually targeting tourists.
  • Don’t just stay in the tourist areas , like the beaches and the old town. The Gracia and Poblesec districts, for example, are authentic and you should really take a stroll there to discover Catalan life.

To help you get a better sense of the city, I have created a tourist map of Barcelona listing all the places I mentioned in this top 25 things to do in Barcelona.

You can display the map legend by clicking on the button in the top left with a little arrow.

It’s really easy to get to Barcelona.

From the US, you have direct flights to Barcelona from major cities ( New York , Los Angeles ..)

From Europe, you can find cheap flights with Ryanair, or Vueling, the Barcelona-based low-cost airline.

It’s also possible to get to Barcelona by train. For example, the journey takes on average 8h20 to go from Paris to Barcelona. SNCF (the french train operator) offers 5-6 trips per day.

And you, what do you plan to visit during your stay in Barcelona?

If you need any help to plan your trip, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section below!

FAQ – I Answer Your Questions About Barcelona

  • The Hola Barcelona card (to be purchased by clicking here!) , Barcelona’s public transport card offers unlimited access to buses, metros, and trams for 2 to 5 days. Includes the metro line from Barcelona airport to the city center!
  • A ticket for the Hop-On Hop-Off bus from Barcelona Bus Turistic + audio guide
  • A ticket for the City Tour Barcelona bus + audio guide
  • A ticket for the Aerobus shuttle that runs between the airport and the center of Barcelona
  • La Sagrada Familia
  • Casa Batlló
  • Las Ramblas where the Boqueria Market is located.

In summer , you can enjoy the beaches , and in winter , the city’s rich architecture (and churros con chocolate).

To me, the best time to visit Barcelona is in September : the weather is still nice but not as hot as in mid-summer, the tourists have thinned out, and above all, it’s the time for La Mercè!

In September, you can still enjoy the beaches of Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

Here’s my list of things to do:

  • Explore Barcelona’s monuments by night . Casa Batlló and La Pedrera offer night tours with audiovisual projections and complimentary glass of wine.
  • Attend a flamenco show (tickets can be booked here!) at one of the best tablaos in Barcelona: los Tarantos.
  • A dusk catamaran cruise accompanied by a jazz concert
  • Watch the Magic Fountain of Montjuic – Every evening from Wednesday to Sunday.
  • Climb up to the Bunkers del Carmel to admire the view of the illuminated city
  • Embark on a tapas bar crawl in Barcelona
  • Go for a drink on a rooftop bar in Barcelona or join a guided bar tour with free shots!

Discover all my articles about Spain : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Spain are listed there.

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Best places to visit in Barcelona

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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Home » Europe » Spain » Barcelona

36 BEST Places to Visit in Barcelona (2024)

Barcelona is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia and more than 1.6 million people live within the limits of this city. It’s a city known for its stunning architecture, creative spirit and of course the passion the locals have for FC Barcelona!

The endless historical buildings in the city will stun you with their beauty and detail, you’ll spend your whole time whilst visiting Barcelona completely awestruck! From La Sagrada Familia to Park Güell, Casa Mila and Casa Batlló Gaudi’s city will blow you away! Then there’s the Mercat de la Boqueria and the enchanting Gothic Quarter, there really are endless options!

There’s such a wide variety of things to do in the city. It’s got amazing food, fascinating history, incredible beaches and world class shopping if that’s your bag (pun intended!)

The biggest problem with this city? There’s so many incredible tourist attractions to see when you’re visiting Barcelona that is can be hard to sift through them all! So, we’ve gone through everything this incredible Spanish city has to offer so you can craft your own trip.

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Barcelona:

These are the best places to visit in barcelona, faq on the best places to visit in barcelona.

We know you want to get going, there’s a lot to explore in this city, but before you join the thronging masses, we recommend you check out where to stay in Barcelona first. That way, you’ll know which neighbourhoods have the right flavour for you!

Places to Visit in Barcelona Pinterest Image

Barrio Gotico

Barrio Gotico is the heart and soul of Barcelona. The oldest neighbourhood in the city, it’s filled with charming narrow streets, picturesque boroughs, and quaint terraces and plazas.

  • Stand in awe of Barcelona Cathedral
  • Dine on delicious Mediterranean cuisine at Viana.
  • Browse the stalls off fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and sweets at Mercat de la Boqueria on Las Ramblas.

Looking for more accommodation? Why not check out the selection of epic hostels in Barcelona if you’re on a backpacker budget. If you’re on the lookout for something a bit more upmarket for your trip, why not have a look at the awesome Barcelona Airbnb options.

Now, onto the good stuff…

With sooo many things to do in Barcelona you could be forgiven for feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially if you’re only here for a few days. But there’s no need to worry, you just need to check out our extensive list to decide where you want to add to your personal Barcelona Itinerary .

tourist areas of barcelona

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#1 – The MNAC

The MNAC

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  • The best place to experience Catalan art in Barcelona.
  • Includes one of the oldest and biggest collections of paintings on wood in Europe.
  • A must-see for art lovers!

Why it’s so awesome: If you’re in Barcelona, then you absolutely must see some Catalan art. This museum reopened in 2014 and boasts different media art from the 1950s to the modern day. So when you spend time there, you’ll be able to see examples of cinema, posters, architecture, and photography as well as the standard sculptures and paintings. If you only have a weekend in Barcelona then make sure to fit this one, it’s one of the top tourist attractions in the city.

What to do there: If you have the time, make sure you take the climb from Placa d’Espanya up to the museum as the views are panoramic and spectacular. Spend some time admiring the building as well, it’s a landmark in the city, and you’ll be able to take some great photos in front of it. Other than that, just explore the art within, particularly the Catalan pieces, the like of which you’ll rarely see outside of Barcelona.

#2 – The Encants Market – A great place in Barcelona if you love to shop!

The Encants Market

  • This is the place to go if you’re looking for a bargain!
  • Make sure you bring your wallet and take home some souvenirs.

Why it’s so awesome: This is one of the oldest markets for second-hand goods in Europe and it also offers some of the best opportunities for people-watching in this enchanting Spanish city. You’ll find everything at this place from souvenirs to sewing machines and bicycles, so make sure you take your time and explore everything that’s on offer.

What to do there: The vendors at this market are incredibly varied, so you’ll probably find clothes next to bicycles and toys next to jewellery. That’s half the fun too, so make sure you explore it all! Once you’re done with your shopping, there are plenty of great food options in the market so choose one and see what they have on offer.

#3 – La Sagrada Familia – A great place to see in Barcelona if you love architecture

La Sagrada Familia

  • La Sagrada Familia is a Gaudi masterpiece.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Make sure that you take lots of pictures of this architectural marvel.

Why it’s so awesome: Antoni Gaudi was the most famous architect in Barcelona’s history and many of the most beautiful buildings in the city were his magical creations. This incredible cathedral is a stunning representation of his style: it’s dreamy, fanciful and built on a scale that boggles the eyes and the mind. In fact, the structure still isn’t finished, and it’s been 140 years since construction began. When it is done, it will be the tallest cathedral in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is unlike any old church you’ve been in before, even if you’re not religious, La Sagrada Familia is an absolute work of art. It’s a must-do when visiting Barcelona.

What to do there: You have to admire the mastery and the sheer genius of Gaudi. His works are sometimes controversial, but always striking and memorable. When you visit this site, you’ll see that it combines several popular architectural styles but in a way that’s pure Gaudi and purely incredible. What you also might see are incredibly long lines at the ticket counter.

Be smart and book your skip-the-line ticket for La Sagrada Familia in advance!

Insider tip: Go early in the day when the sun is in the perfect location to shine through the colourful windows.

tourist areas of barcelona

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#4 – Park Güell

Park Guell

  • Park Güell is a gorgeous, fanciful natural paradise in the heart of the city.
  • Park Güell is the perfect way to escape the city and enjoy a calmer, more serene natural area.

Why it’s so awesome: This garden complex is located on Carmel Hill and it’s another must-see Gaudi creation. As with all of his work, everything in this park is beautiful and slightly unusual, such as serpentine benches and walls set with colourful mosaics. You’ll also enjoy fountains, sculptures and colonnades all in Gaudi’s distinct, fairy tale style.

What to do there: Take some time away from the busyness of the city and enjoy Gaudi’s unique take on nature. Wander around the Park Güell and then visit the Gaudí house museum, where he lived from 1906 to 1926. He designed all the furniture and decorations in the house, so it will give you an amazing insider’s view of this great man’s mind.

Since you don’t want to be one of the tourists waiting in line to get their tickets (which can be up to 1200 at a time, it’s one of the most well-known tourist attractions), you can sneak your way around that stress by booking ahead of time, skipping the line and getting a professionally guided tour through the park.

#5 – The Umbracle – A nice quiet place to see in Barcelona

The Umbracle

  • A display of iron architecture.
  • A striking and unusual display that would make a great background for photos.
  • A green natural space in the middle of the city.

Why it’s so awesome: It isn’t often that a collection of iron sculptures is protected by the Catalan Department of Culture, but this display definitely deserves special treatment. Built in the late 19th century by Josep Fontsere it resembles a large cage on the outside with brick columns. It was once used as a party space and something of that opulent past remains even though it now houses plants from all over the world. It’s worth a slight detour when visiting Barcelona.

What to do there: This is actually a botanical garden now and it’s the perfect place to take a breather from your explorations. It contains plant species from nearly two dozen countries, all of them protected by the arches of the metal architecture. This venue is only open on weekdays, so make sure you plan your visit. What’s great is that is one of the lesser-known tourist attractions.

Wondering how much you should set aside to afford Barcelona’s attractions? Our Barcelona Budget Guide will give you all the helpful tips and tricks so you don’t have to dig too deep into your pockets!

#6 – La Cova Fumada – A must-see for foodies!

  • Tapas, tapas, tapas!
  • Despite the plain building, this location has some of the best tapas in the city.

Why it’s so awesome: The tradition of tapas – small snacks that come with drinks – is extremely popular in Barcelona, and it’s also a fairly cheap way to try a range of tastes and dishes. La Cova Fumada is one of the best places in the city for this. The outside and the inside of the building are bland, but the tapas are absolutely first-rate.

What to do there: This venue is famous for the quality of its tapas, serving some of the most iconic Catalan dishes . Particularly popular are their grilled sardines, spicy potato, mincemeat bomba and seafood offerings. So, go in for a drink one afternoon and go to town on the offerings. Chances are that you’ll be there all afternoon working your way through the menu!

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#7 – Gran Teatre del Liceu

Gran Teatre del Liceu

  • Barcelona’s opera house.
  • One of the most historic buildings in the city.
  • You can see opera in this building, but the venue also plays host to ballet performances and concerts.

Why it’s so awesome: This building has stood through the ages despite disaster and economic crisis. It was first opened in 1847 but was remodelled in 1994 after a fire. For the people of Barcelona, this has long been the place where their culture and spirit have thrived, expressed through theatre and dance, and that feeling continues to the present day.

What to do there: You can obviously see some opera at this venue, but if you’re not a fan of that particular artform then keep an eye out for other performances. This building hosts dance and music performances too. The tickets are usually much lower than you would think, so make sure you snap them up fast before they run out!

#8 – An authentic Flamenco Show – A great afternoon/evening entertainment!

Flamenco Theatre Show in Barcelona City Hall

  • An amazing show, held in the evening
  • Affordable tickets that offer an amazing experience
  • Professional dancers that’ll leave you in complete amazement

Why it’s so awesome : Music, world-class dancers, a XIX century stage – it can’t get better than that when visiting Barcelona. Enjoy the show (which only lasts for an hour by the way) in the centre of the city before heading to dinner afterwards. It’s culture, it’s art, and it’s incredibly fascinating and entertaining. 

What to do there : Just sit and enjoy the show. You’ll fall in love with authentic Spanish music, great singers and professional dancers!

Keep in mind: There are only three shows in the evening, so be quick to book your tickets.

#9 – Carmel Bunkers

Turo de la Rovira

  • An amazing historical site left behind after the Spanish civil war.
  • Make sure you enjoy the view from the site – it’s one of the best in the city.

Why it’s so awesome: This site is an anti-aircraft battery that was built in 1937 when the city was bombed hundreds of times each day during the Spanish Civil War. This is a part of history that most people born outside of the area probably wouldn’t know about and it’s one of the lesser-known tourist attractions to visit.

The Spanish Civil War went on from 1936 to 1939 and it tends to get overshadowed by the events of the Second World War. But this slice of history reflects the spirit of the city and their determined resistance to the forces of Francisco Franco during the war.

What to do there: It’s quite a climb up to this site but it’s worth the trip. After the war, this area was occupied by houses that were later abandoned. The site would have been forgotten, but the neighbors petitioned to preserve the site as a historical monument. Once you’ve taken in the site, make sure you take some time to enjoy the views, which stretch all the way over Barcelona and out to the sea.

Insider Tip: This is a great place to watch the sunset over the city

#10 – Bostik Murals

Bostik Murals in barcelona

  • A great place for art lovers.
  • The perfect place to take in another side of Barcelona’s famous art scene.

Why it’s so awesome: This site is a museum of urban art. Ordinarily, that would be difficult as you can really tear murals from walls in the street. To overcome this issue, the owners of this venue have encouraged more than 20 artists to create original pieces on the exterior of the building. You’ll see some of the best muralists in the city in this location and gain a new appreciation for the creative spirit in Barcelona.

What to do there: The muralists who have taken part in this project are absolutely amazing and include BToy, Sixe Paredes, Manu Manu, Sheone, Fasim, Sebastien Waknine, and Sam3. The art here changes all the time, so make sure you check the website to see what’s on while you’re in the city. If you’re an artist yourself, the venue also offers its walls to outside artists who want to give murals a try.

#11 – The Montjuic Magic Fountain Show – Awesome place to visit in Barcelona with kids!

The Montjuic Magic Fountain Show

  • A spectacular water show, with more than 7 billion combinations of light, sound and music.
  • A great place to take the kids in the early evening.
  • The show includes Spanish music as well, so you’ll get the chance to enjoy local sounds.

Why it’s so awesome: This site is kinda for kids but any adult who loves music, light and water will enjoy it as well. The fountain was designed by Carles Buigas for the 1929 Exposition and it’s the only remaining attraction from that show. There are over 7 billion choreography combinations in the shows, with the water and light dancing to music from past times as well as more popular soundtracks.

What to do there: Make sure you arrive early so that you can stake out a good spot. The show tends to be popular amongst tourists, so if you’re late you’ll probably find yourself in the back where you can’t see much.

#12 – Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

  • One of the first things you should do when you arrive in the city is explore this area!
  • The people watching in this area is incredible if that’s your jam!

Why it’s so awesome: This is the tourist heart of the city, which is why a lot of locals avoid it. But it’s also something that you should experience just once to fully understand Barcelona. This promenade stretches for miles and contains entertainers and food stalls before ending at the waterfront. It’s an amazing and engaging walk and once you reach the end you’ll be within walking distance of some of Barcelona’s best attractions including the Gothic Quarter.

What to do there: Ok, so Las Ramblas is one of those wild places that you’ll either love or hate. It’s a place you’ll have to visit once just to say you’ve been, but don’t waste too much of your precious time here. Instead, use it as a thoroughfare to explore the Gothic Quarter, Placa de Catalunya and the Columbus Monument.

Insider Tip: Be careful of pickpockets in this area and also avoid the restaurants are they’re a bit of a rip-off.

tourist areas of barcelona

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#13 – Can Calopa – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Barcelona

  • A great natural area to relax in the middle of the city.
  • If you enjoy learning about how to make wine, you’ll love this site.

Why it’s so awesome: If you want to enjoy Barcelona’s wine and olive oil in a natural area, then you don’t have to do it outside of the city. Can Calopa is a winery and bodega right in the centre of the city. It’s a 16th-century farmhouse surrounded by 3 hectares of vineyards right in the heart of the city. It’s managed by a corporation that uses the site to provide a home and work for young people with psychiatric disabilities.

What to do there: About 8,000 bottles of red wine a year are produced at this venue and you can be one of the first to taste the new bottles! The venue has wine and olive oil tasting and for a small fee, you can take a tour of the oil mill and wine cellar. You can also choose an option that includes a late breakfast with wine pairing. So, no matter how you enjoy your wine, you’ll find an option here that you’ll love.

#14 – Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

  • Casa Batlló is another of Gaudi’s masterpieces.
  • A perfect place to take photos.

Why it’s so awesome: Gaudi’s creations are all over the city and some of them are pretty enough to be on postcards. In fact, a lot of them are on postcards, and Casa Batlló will help you understand exactly why. It’s an apartment block that Gaudi remodelled at the start of the 20th century and the roof tiles are modelled to look like dragon scales! Epic right!

What to do there: The attention to detail and the feel of Casa Batlló is amazing so make sure you take the time to notice all the details yourself. Inside and out, the building has a sinuous feeling very like a dragon, with few straight lines and an overall impression of something alive that is, perhaps, just sleeping. You can take a tour through the site if you’d like more context or just enjoy Casa Batlló on your own.

Short on time and want to see as much as possible? Check out our sample itinerary for Barcelona   before visiting!

#15 – Mercat de la Boqueria – A fascinating place to visit in Barcelona

La Boqueria

  • A great place for people watching.
  • Mercat de la Boqueria dates to medieval times and nothing much has changed!

Why it’s so awesome: The current site for this market has been in operation for more than 200 years, but there has been a Boqueria market in the city for much longer than that. This is a tradition that has lasted through all the changes in the modern world, and it’s one that’s well worth experiencing. At this market, you can buy all the freshest foods and take part in a ritual that has been a part of Barcelona for an incredibly long time.

What to do there: If you like to cook or just want an easy snack then you’ll find lots of fresh produce at Mercat de la Boqueria. Even if you aren’t interested in buying food you have to cook, there’s still a lot to do at this site. This is a site where you can see the locals in their natural environment, so it’s amazing for people watching. When you get tired of that, you can always have a beer and some tapas at one of the market’s bars. A great way to experience this market is with a local guide who will help you pick out ingredients to make authentic paella.

#16 – Barcelona City History Museum

Barcelona City History Museum in barcelona

  • A must-see for history buffs!
  • Barcelona is so stunning on its own that you sometimes forget it has a really long history, dating back to Roman times, and this place will remind you of that.

Why it’s so awesome: Barcelona has a long history, extending back to the Romans and the great emperor Augustus, and parts of this history have been preserved at this museum. There are also several Roman sites across the city, mostly in the gothic quarter, but this museum is the best way to see these ancient roots close up.

What to do there: This site is underground and will allow you to explore the remnants of a factory, shops and parts of the ancient wall. It’s a big site, covering 4,000 meters, so make sure you put aside a couple of hours to see everything. Keep moving up through the museum because it will take you through time to the vaults of the Palau Reial Major, which was the seat of Barcelona’s ancient Dukes.

tourist areas of barcelona

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#17 – Fundacio Joan Miro

Fundacio Joan Miro in barcelona

  • A museum exploring Joan Miro, another of Barcelona’s iconic Catalonian artists.
  • His work was pivotal in creating Barcelona’s contemporary spirit and style.

Why it’s so awesome: Barcelona is a city of artists and creators and it’s been that way for a long time because of visionaries like Joan Miro. This museum was set up by the artist to encourage the growth of contemporary art in the city and he worked very closely with the architect during the building. As a result, the building is in unusual harmony with the works inside, in a way that will make your whole experience more relaxing than you could imagine.

What to do there: You’ll need to set aside part of an afternoon to explore this museum because it contains a large collection of work from sculptures and drawings to paintings. There are also temporary exhibitions of more contemporary art and the museum has a constant schedule of interactive and educational projects and displays. So, just see what’s on while you’re in the city and be part of the creation!

Gracia

#18 – Gracia – An awesome place to visit in Barcelona for half a day!

  • A part of Barcelona that was only recently enveloped by the city and so feels like a completely different area.
  • There are lots of popular bars, cafes and independent shops in this area.

Why it’s so awesome: Barcelona is fascinating but it’s still a big city and sometimes the only way to understand somewhere is to visit a small town and see how the locals live. You can do this without even leaving Barcelona by visiting the area known as Gracia.

This area was once a town on its own but became part of the city in the 20th century. As a result, it still holds onto its small-town feel and charm and walking around its streets can make you feel as if you’ve been transported to a completely new place.

What to do there: This area has a lot of small streets and squares laid out in interesting patterns so make sure you spend some time wandering and exploring. Gracia is young and stylish, so enjoy the many cafes and bars in the area and visit the independent shops for souvenirs that are truly unique.

#19 – Casa Milà

Casa Mila

  • The Casa Milà is another Gaudi building in a very different style that looks like the a rockface!
  • You’ll get some great pictures in front of the Casa Milà!

Why it’s so awesome: Casa Mila was completed in 1912 and is another important Gaudi building. It looks like a quarry made from white stone, with holes blown out of it by prospecting miners. This site is UNESCO listed and it’s been renovated to include some contemporary features such as an underground carpark and self-supporting stone façade.

What to do there: The Casa Milà is a true marvel. Not only does it retain Gaudi’s fanciful features, it also seamlessly incorporates more contemporary features as well. This is part of the genius of the architect, his creations last because they can be adapted to the changing times. Gaudi was at the top of his game when he designed Casa Milà, so make sure you take some time and explore his creation.

#20 – Camp Nou – A Great Place To Experience Local Culture

Camp Nou

  • The Camp Nou is home of FC Barcelona .
  • If you get the chance, make sure you see a game because it’s a huge part of peoples lives here.
  • If it isn’t the football season, take a Camp Nou stadium tour so you can explore the museum and the sheer size of this stadium.

Why it’s so awesome: The Camp Nou seats 99,000 people and has been the home of FC Barcelona since 1957. In fact, this stadium is so large that it’s almost like a football cathedral and a good indication of just how seriously the locals take their football. They also have an amazing museum where you will find memorabilia of FC Barcelona’s prestigious history. In fact, if you’re a fan of the game you won’t want to miss out on visiting what is one of the world’s best football stadiums .

What to do there: If you’re there in the right season, make sure you see an FC Barcelona game. Football is an integral part of daily life in Barcelona and it’s exhilarating to be part of that energy at The Camp Nou. If it isn’t the football season then join a stadium tour just so you can have a close up look at the enormous Camp Nou stadium and marvel at the FC Barcelona trophy collection!

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#21 – Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana in barcelona

  • A concert hall that deserves an encore on its own.
  • One of the best places to experience opera, folk music and symphonies in the city.

Why it’s so awesome: Have you ever been to the opera back home? Chances are that the venue was beautiful but lacked the history and gravity this art form seems to demand. Not so at this musical venue. It looks like it could have stepped directly from the time of the Phantom of the Opera, with fanciful, elaborate decorations and deep reds and golds. It was built by Lluis Domenech, a contemporary of Gaudi, and it’s the perfect place to take in some great music while you’re in the city.

What to do there: They have a lot of different musical concerts in this venue, so find out what’s on while you’re in the city and grab a ticket. This is a beautiful venue that’s full of old-world charm, so make sure that you dress up and walk in feeling like you’ve entered a period drama!

#22 – Nova Icaria Beach – Great place to visit in Barcelona for couples!

Nova Icaria Beach

  • The best beach in the city for relaxing and taking in the sun.
  • This beach has more than 400km of sand, so there’s plenty of room for the whole family.

Why it’s so awesome: Barcelona has lots of great beaches and it can be difficult to choose between them, but Nova Icaria is definitely one of the best beaches in Barcelona . The endless stretch of white sand is one of the quietest beaches in the city and it’s perfect for families and for couples looking for a relaxing time.

What to do there: This is a great beach for relaxing but there’s also a lot to do if you’re more active. It has a game area and volleyball courts for kids or for anyone who wants to work up a sweat and easy access to restaurants and bars when you get tired of the sun and want to eat.

#23 – Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta Beach

  • One of the most touristy beaches in the city and for good reason!
  • You’ll find some of the best seafood meals in the city in this area.

Why it’s so awesome: This beach is in a popular neighbourhood and is one of the busiest beaches in the city. But there are good reasons for this, as it has lots of entertainment options as well as some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. Whether you enjoy sunbaking, water sports or just want to look at the ocean and eat seafood, you’ll find everything you need and more at this beach.

What to do there: This beach has a wide range of seaside huts where you can eat delicious dishes while you stare out across the sand. Watersports are also popular in this area, with windsurfing and kitesurfing being the most popular options. Basically, no matter what you enjoy doing at the beach, you’ll find the equipment and the space to do it at Barceloneta Beach.

#24 – Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar

  • A soaring gothic temple with stained glass windows.
  • One of the most architecturally significant ancient buildings in the city.

Why it’s so awesome: This building was completed in 1383 and took 54 years to complete. Every stone used was hauled from the mountains around the city by ordinary citizens, which perhaps explained why its construction took so long! This is an incredibly elegant building that has survived through the ages to awe tourists in the present day.

What to do there: There’s a lot to see in this building so make sure you put aside some time. Most of the original structure is intact, though there is some fire damage sustained during the Spanish Civil War, so you’re literally looking at a slice of history when you spend time in this place.

Make sure you pay attention to the stained glass windows, which are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the angles of the natural light that enters the building.

#25 – Museu Picasso

Museu Picasso

  • This great artist actually chose this location for his museum!
  • Great for art lovers as you’ll get to see some of Picasso’s earliest works.

Why it’s so awesome: You might not expect to see a museum dedicated to Picasso’s work in Barcelona, after all, he was from Malaga. But Picasso apprenticed in Barcelona and did some of his earliest works in the city. The Picasso museum shows a lot of examples of this work all the way up to his Blue Period, so you’ll be able to get a deeper appreciation and understanding of his early genius.

What to do there: Picasso’s work is obviously the biggest draw at this museum, but the buildings themselves are worth some attention too. The five adjoining buildings of the Picasso museum were built in the 13th and 14th centuries and are fantastic examples of that period of history. So, make sure you spend some time exploring these blasts from the past as well.

#26 – Manzana de la Discordia

Manzana de la Discordia

  • A city block that illustrates the conflict between the greatest Modernist architects.
  • If you enjoy architecture, you absolutely must see this city block.

Why it’s so awesome: Barcelona has been the home of a lot of famous artists and architects and of course, they didn’t always get along. If you want to see this conflict up close, you can visit the Manzana de la Discordia.

Located in the Eixample District, the buildings in this block were created by the greatest Modernist architects in Barcelona at the time. Each of the architects was trying to show their supremacy over the others, and the end result is a stunning and slightly confusing combination of styles.

What to do there: To get to the Manzana de la Discordia you should go on foot. Walk up Passeig de la Gracia and take in the sites along the way before you arrive at this city block, then just explore. The buildings in this block are all innovative and very different and represent important advances in Modernist techniques. Unfortunately, their genius was eclipsed by Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less interesting or significant.

#27 – Passeig del Born – An unknown (but awesome!) place to see in Barcelona!

Passeig del Born in barcelona

  • If you don’t like the crowds of Las Ramblas, this is the perfect alternative!
  • It’s mostly for locals, so you won’t have to put up with the tourist crowds in this area.

Why it’s so awesome: This promenade has a long history. It was once a gathering place for locals during jousting competitions or celebrations and these days it’s a popular spot for drinks and foods in the evening and night. It has the same wide range of food and drink places as Las Ramblas, but for the locals, not the tourists.

So, if you want a much more authentic experience while you’re in the city, then spend one of your evenings in this relaxed setting.

What to do there: This area is the perfect place to bar hop along with the locals. Some of the city’s best bars and restaurants are in this tree-lined promenade and it’s the perfect place to take some friends and enjoy the tastes of Barcelona. So, do what the locals do. Start out with a cocktail at Cal Brut and then try some tapas at Disset 17 Gaus. After that, just see where the evening takes you! If you want to make this area your base for a while, why not stay in a hostel nearby in greater Born.

#28 – Ocata Beach – A nice non-touristy place to visit in Barcelona

Ocata Beach in barcelona

  • The perfect place to get away from the city.
  • If you’re looking for serenity and a beach away from the tourists, this is the best option.

Why it’s so awesome: This beach is located half an hour out of the city by train and is pristine and beautiful with golden white sand. It’s also enormous, so you’ll be able to stake out your own spot of sand and enjoy the peace without disruptions. You won’t find many tourists at this location as it doesn’t have the entertainment options of other beaches. Instead, this is a place to relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy some great seafood.

What to do there: You won’t have to complete for towel space at this beach. Instead, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Just enjoy the sun, the sand and the ocean alone or with some good friends. And when you’re sick of the sun, visit one of the chringuitos, the nearby eateries, for fresh seafood and cold drinks.

#29 – Barcelona Cathedral (Cathederal de la Seu)

Cathederal de la Seu in barcelona

  • Part of the beautiful Gothic Quarter and it’s super photogenic!
  • Barcelona Cathedral has all the gothic features you’ve ever dreamed about including gargoyles and flying buttresses.

Why it’s so awesome: There’s nothing like a gothic cathedral to get the imagination running wild! If you’ve been dreaming about the gargoyles and slightly creepy but intricate features of the Gothic period, then you’ll find them all at the Barcelona Cathedral. Created to honour Eulalia, the patron saint of the city, it even includes 13 live geese who wander around the site.

What to do there: Get your cameras ready and make sure you take pictures in front of the cathedral and then count the geese. There are always 13 geese in the cathedral, meant to symbolise each year of Eulalia’s life before her martyrdom. Also, do the rooftop tour while you’re there. The cathedral looks particularly stunning from up high and you’ll also great a great view of the Gothic Quarter from above.

#30 – Carrer de les Aigues – One of the most incredible free places to go to in Barcelona

Carrer de les Aigues

  • An ancient road that offers the absolute best views in the city.
  • A great way to work off all the tapas in stunning surroundings!

Why it’s so awesome: A lot of people will tell you that the best views in the city can be found in Park Guell. But the locals know that the views at the park can’t compare to those you’ll enjoy on this ancient road. It winds around the mountains and overlooks the Mediterranean, offering views of both land and sea. And as an added bonus, the old-style road has been modified so that it’s perfect for biking or walking, so make sure you pack some decent walking shoes for your Barca trip!

What to do there: This is a long road, around 20km, but it’s fairly flat and easy to walk or bike along. You can reach it via a short funicular ride, and you’ll get stunning views that are almost completely absent of tourists. This is a secret that only the locals know, so take advantage of it before the crowds set in!

#31 – Tibidabo

Tibidabo

  • At 1,700 feet, you’ll get amazing views of the city from the top of this mountain.
  • Take pictures of the city against the backdrop of the dark blue Mediterranean.

Why it’s so awesome: Tibidabo is a 1,700 feet mountain that offers a lot for anyone who dares to reach the top. You can get up there by tram because you definitely won’t have the time to climb all the way and enjoy great views as well as a range of entertainment options.

What to do there: There are a lot of ways to enjoy this mountain. You can hike through the park, tour the Sagrat Cor Basilica, or spend some time at the theme park. This final option is determinedly retro but loved by kids of all ages and has a Ferris wheel and carousel as well as other older style rides and games.

#32 – Parc de la Ciutadella – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Barcelona

Parc de la Ciutadella

  • Parc De La Ciutadella is a chance to get away from the rush of the city and rest in nature.
  • Make sure you check out the iconic fountain in the middle, designed by famed architect Josep Fontsere.

Why it’s awesome: When you’re in the middle of a busy city, sometimes a park can be a haven. This is even more important when you’re in Barcelona, which is a walking city. So if your legs are getting tired, make sure you rest them in the cool, lush surroundings of Parc De La Ciutadella. After a little rest and recharge, you’ll be ready to face the rush again!

What to do there: This is a park for relaxing on a bench and enjoying the feelings and sights that come when you have nature all around you. You can also go on a relaxing rowboat trip along the lake and make sure you check out the Neoclassical fountain in the centre, created by one of the most popular architects in Barcelona’s history.

#33 – Casa Pages

  • Eat tapas like the locals do!
  • Get away from the tourist traps for the best tapas you’ve ever eaten.
  • Make sure you try the locally made and bottle vermouth.

Why it’s so awesome: Tapas isn’t strictly Catalonian food, but they’re still an awesome way to eat because you get to try a range of tiny dishes and find the tastes that you really love. The best way to do this is by escaping the tourist trails and finding bars like the Casa Pages where the locals go to eat.

What to do there: Eating tapas is all about trying lots of small options and seeing what you enjoy the most. So, make sure you try the meatballs and patatas bravas and get a drink while you’re there as well. The locally bottled vermouth is usually the drink of choice for the locals, so who are you to go against tradition?

#34 – The Labyrinth Park of Horta – Quite the quirky place in Barcelona!

The Labyrinth Park of Horta in barcelona

  • A semi-secret park that will keep you busy for hours!
  • The oldest garden in the city.

Why it’s so awesome: This garden is mostly neglected by tourists, but it’s been delighting the locals for hundreds of years, making it the oldest garden in the city. It was created in 1791 as part of the huge estate owned by the wealthy Desvalls family and the terraces were inspired by Italian designs. There are several parts to this garden, created at different times in history, but the central labyrinth is the main draw.

What to do there: There are over 2,000 twists and turns in this labyrinth , so if you don’t have a good sense of direction you could get very happily lost there. In the centre is a statue of Eros, the Greek god of love, and you can also sit in one of the pavilions overlooking the maze and watch the action.

Each pavilion has its own statues of Greek gods, so if you’ve ever wanted a picture with an icon from the past then this is the place where you can get it!

#35 – Wander the Stunning Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter Barcelona

  • Take in some of the most historic and beautiful architecture in the city.
  • Be sure to visit the El Pont del Bisbe  (Bishop’s Bridge)
  • You can explore by yourself or take a walking tour to see some of the hidden gems

Why it’s so awesome: Barri Gòtic or the Gothic Quarter as you might imagine is jam-packed full of incredible architecture dating back to the Gothic period and beyond. In fact, this area is one of the oldest areas in the city and even has the remains of a Roman Fort lurking amongst the narrow alleyways and winding streets. This labyrinth-like area of the city is a joy to get lost in and you’ll soon find yourself in the heart of a beautiful cafe-lined plaça before diving back into the maze!

What to do there: The best thing to do around this area is to just wander and see where you end up, embrace the art of getting joyfully lost! There are a few highlights though to look out for, the Bishop’s Bridge, Plaça Reial, Plaça Sant Jaume, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri and Plaça del Pi to just name a few.

Insider Tip: It’s easy to get lost in not only the streets here but the history too! A walking tour with a local guide is. a great way to discover the hidden secrets of the area.

#36 – Montjuic Cemetery

Montjuic Cemetery

  • This cemetery has some of the most striking and unusual sculptures you’ll ever see!
  • A slightly creepy look at art and architecture in Barcelona.
  • This is one of the most serene and beautiful sites in the city, and overlooks the Mediterranean.

Why it’s so awesome: This cemetery opened in 1883 and is the biggest cemetery in Barcelona. Some of the most famous people in Barcelona’s history are buried there such as artist Joan Miro and Catalan leader Lluis Companys, but there are also more tragic and terrible displays. It might sound a bit strange to wander a cemetery, but the beautiful modernist graves and peaceful surroundings overlooking the ocean make it one of the best experiences in the city.

What to do there: For a more sombre look at the city’s history, make sure you check out the el Fossar de la Pedrera, otherwise known as the Grave of the Quarry. It’s located in the western wing of the cemetery and contains 4,000 victims of the Franco regime after Barcelona fell to fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War. There are also memorials to victims of the holocaust there, which makes this part of the cemetery a moving and sad place to visit.

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They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

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Find out what people want to know about the best places to visit in Barcelona

What is the most visited place in Barcelona?

The most visited place in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia with over 4.7 million visitors in 2019.

Are 3 days enough to visit Barcelona?

Three days should be enough time to see the main attractions in Barcelona, but it is easily a place you could spend more time in if you wanted.

Is Barcelona an expensive place to visit?

Barcelona is quite an expensive place to visit but there are ways to keep costs down. Staying in hostels and cooking your own food will allow you to have a budget-friendly stay.

Is Barcelona a safe place to visit?

Barcelona is generally a safe place to visit but pick pockets are common. You should be careful around tourists attractions and keep an eye on your stuff.

Barcelona is a city known for its art and architecture and it’s probably one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Europe. It’s a must when you’re backpacking in Spain !

It was the home of the famous architect Gaudi , who left his mark all over the city in the most spectacular fashion possible. That’s why, if you’re looking for interesting food, great architecture, and a cool and slightly unusual place to visit, Barcelona is the city for you. And now, you can use this easy guide to find everything in the city that you’re interested in seeing.

tourist areas of barcelona

Mathilde Magnier

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Full Suitcase Travel Blog

28 TOP Barcelona Sights & Tourist Attractions (+Map & Tips)

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: June 1, 2024

28 TOP Barcelona Sights & Tourist Attractions (+Map & Tips)

Looking for the best things to do in Barcelona, Spain, and feeling overwhelmed? Deciding which of the most popular Barcelona attractions to see is indeed not easy, especially if you are visiting for the first time and your time in the city is limited…

So to help you figure out where to go and what to see in Barcelona, in this guide we share the VERY BEST sights and TOP tourist attractions in Barcelona that are worth your time the most . For each place, we also include our top tips for your visit. We also created a map of Barcelona attractions that should help you plan your sightseeing itinerary. Find out!

Located between the sea and the mountains, the beautiful city of Barcelona is rich in culture and history. Its architecture is stunning, a contrasting mixture of Catalan Gothic and Modernism. The atmosphere is fun and cosmopolitan, with a relaxed and friendly vibe during the day and a vibrant nightlife when the sun goes down.

With so many things to do and interesting places to explore in Barcelona, you may be feeling a little daunted when it comes to planning an itinerary. This guide to Barcelona’s top sights and attractions will give you a good idea of what to expect, and our experience-based tips will help you make the most of your time. At the bottom of this article, you can find a map indicating all the top sights in Barcelona.

Good to know: In addition to the must-sees featured in this guide, there are many more interesting things to do in Barcelona. While not a must on a short first visit, these experiences will make your visit to the city even more special than just ticking off the ‘must-see’ list . So in order to give you a more complete picture of how much Barcelona has to offer, we share some of the coolest local attractions and fun activities as well.

Best places to see and things to do in Barcelona Spain

Good to know: This list of the best sights and attractions in Barcelona is sorted starting with the must-sees first . So if you are really short on time, start with the top of this list and make your way down.

The top 10 sights on this list are not to be missed . If you have more time in the city, be sure to read all the suggestions and choose a few more places that interest you the most.

The top 15-20 are really nice to see and you should be able to cover most of these sights in about 3 days. The rest is well worth it too, and if you have 4-5 days in Barcelona, you should be able to see most of the places mentioned in this guide.

TIP: Be sure to also check our additional recommendations for fun activities and experiences that will make a nice addition to any sightseeing itinerary and will help you plan a much more memorable trip to Barcelona! You can find them at the end of this guide, right before the map of the main sights in Barcelona.

But first – the musts, best places to see and things to do in Barcelona. Take a look!

Top 3 Places Not to Miss in Barcelona:

  • Sagrada Familia (Be sure to upgrade to Tower access!) .
  • Park Güell .
  • Casa Batlló .

These are the main landmarks, best sights, and top tourist attractions in Barcelona:

1. La Sagrada Familia

One of Barcelona’s most famous buildings, the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia (Basilica of the Holy Family) is an architectural masterpiece that should be at the top of any Spain bucket list . If there is one landmark that you absolutely cannot miss in Barcelona, it’s Sagrada Familia.

Designed by the genius architect Antoni Gaudí, La Sagrada is truly breathtaking. No words or pictures do it justice – it’s a place you have to experience first-hand.

As impressive as it is, seeing the church from the outside isn’t enough – you really have to visit the inside too! Filled with rich detail, its interior is bathed in fairytale-like rainbow hues as the light filters through the colorful glass windows. The atmosphere is almost surreal and the view inside the naves – looking up at the tree-like columns surrounding the vaulted ceiling – defies description.

Good to know: Do not confuse La Sagrada Familia with the Cathedral of Barcelona . Whilst the most famous and most visited, Basilica La Sagrada Familia is not a Cathedral . The actual Barcelona Cathedral is also well worth a visit – you’ll find more information about it further below.

Interesting fact: Although the construction started at the end of the 19th century, La Sagrada Familia is still not completely finished. The building has been under construction for over 130 years! Whilst most of the interior is now complete, you’ll notice that work is still being done to the exterior. The aim is to finish it by 2026, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s passing. It’s fun to spot the differences in architectural styles and colors as you walk around.

Basilica La Sagrada Familia is the most beautiful place to see in Barcelona

Good to know: Be sure to get skip-the-line tickets in advance to avoid wasting time queuing. Plan 1.5-2 hours for your visit, and – in high season – allow some extra waiting time (even with priority tickets, you’ll have to locate the dedicated entrance, pass the security check, etc).

Best time to visit: If you want to avoid the crowds, visit La Sagrada Familia first thing in the morning. However, mid-morning or mid to late afternoon is the best time light-wise. That’s when the sunlight strikes the windows directly, enhancing the colorful illumination within the church. We visited at around 2 PM and the light was mesmerizing!

TIP: Instead of just getting tickets and going on your own, we highly recommend booking a guided tour which will come with priority access tickets. There is so much symbolism, so many interesting details, and stories about La Sagrada that you would totally miss without a guide. Having a guide will enhance your visit to any of the Gaudi buildings, but especially at La Sagrada Familia!

PRO TIP: If available for your travel date, upgrade your ticket to include tower access. Some guided tours also give this option. It doesn’t matter which tower you choose – Passion Facade Tower or Nativity Facade Tower, the views are just as spectacular, and you get to see the incredible architectural details of the towers and the rooftops from close by. It’s one of the most unique experiences in Barcelona!

We visited La Sagrada Familia as part of this amazing day tour that includes all the main Gaudi landmarks in Barcelona. You can read all about this tour via the link below.

READ ALSO: Best Gaudi Tour in Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia is a must see in Barcelona

2. Gothic Quarter – Old Town of Barcelona

The Ciutat Vella – Barcelona’s Old Town – is made up of four main areas. The most popular and the most beautiful to see is the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). No matter how long your trip is, this area is not to be missed in Barcelona!

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is a rather compact area located southeast of Pla ça de Catalunya and perched between the streets of La Rambla to the west and Via Laietana to the east.

It’s a fascinating part of the town, with a network of narrow medieval streets and stunning examples of the Gothic stone architecture that gave it its name.

It’s here that you’ll find many of the oldest churches of Barcelona, including the 13-15th-century Cathedral of Barcelona (more about it below). And be sure to explore the neighborhood’s many squares, including the most famous of them all, Plaça Reial (Royal Square).

TIP: The 19th-century  Plaça Reial is one of the must-sees in Barcelona! It’s a lively city square lined with tall palm trees, a fountain in the middle, and lamps designed by Gaudi. This is a popular meeting place with many restaurants and cafes – ideal to relax, have a drink, and do some people-watching. If you visit on a Sunday morning, you’ll find the coin- and stamp collectors’ market here as well.

Garden and inner courtyard of Barcelona Cathedral

But the history of the Gothic Quarter goes back much further, with parts dating back to Roman times. Inside the area’s City History Museum (MUHBA – more info further below), you can even visit a subterranean Roman town. Here you’ll see ancient houses, streets, and workplaces.

Good to know: The Gothic Quarter is packed with bars and restaurants and has a very lively nightlife. It’s also great for shopping, with plenty of little boutiques to explore.

TIP: There are many really nice tours that visit this part of town (often in combination with other popular sights in Barcelona). You can choose from walking tours , bike tours , or food tours – it’s a fun way to get to know the city a bit better.

Gothic Quarter in Barcelona Spain

3. Barcelona Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia – also known as Barcelona Cathedral – is the main attraction in the Old Town. It’s a traditional Gothic cathedral, totally different from La Sagrada Familia, but worth a visit just as much.

Dating back to the 13th to 15th centuries, Barcelona Cathedral is a beautiful building with a spectacular interior that simply must not be missed. Its facade is famous for its gargoyles, along with domestic and mythical animals.

But what many people don’t realize is that its elaborate exterior was actually a 19th-century addition! Its original features were much more simple and can still be seen along the Cathedral’s sides.

Be sure to take a walk in the picturesque garden , filled with tall palms and magnolias. Here you will find the Well of the Geese (Fuente de las Ocas). This is a large, raised pond filled with thirteen white geese. Some say they are there to safeguard the cathedral’s treasures – geese were traditionally kept by the Romans as security guards. Others say they are there to represent the age of Christian martyr Saint Eulàlia when she died.

Barcelona Cathedral

TIP: It’s also well worth taking the elevator to the Cathedral roof . Here you can get a good view of the Barcelona skyline.

Good to know: You’ll need a ticket to visit the Cathedral. It is now possible to book this ticket online and we highly recommend doing that! The ticket includes fast-track entry to the Cathedral, access to the rooftops, the Chapter Room, and more. For more info about opening times and tickets, see their website .

Also, you should wear appropriate clothing (knees and shoulders covered) for your visit here – shorts and revealing clothes are considered disrespectful.

Barcelona Cathedral interior

4. Park Güell

Park Güell is another of the most famous Gaudi attractions and one of the top fairytale places in Europe . It’s an absolute must-see in Barcelona!

This magical garden was commissioned by the Spanish entrepreneur Eusebi Güell. He wanted a stylish park for Barcelona’s aristocracy to enjoy and this magnificent open space was the result.

You can see beautiful tiling here, along with unique stone structures, detailed mosaics, and a wonderful dragon staircase with a fountain. There is even a small house in which Gaudi lived at one point. This is now a museum and contains interesting pieces of furniture that he designed.

Park Guell is one of the must sees in Barcelona

TIP: Be sure to book your tickets ahead of your visit, as they are usually sold out at least a few days in advance. Many of our readers told us that they weren’t able to visit the park because they didn’t think to book in advance, and our local guide confirmed that this is indeed often the case.

PRO TIP: If you didn’t get the tickets in time, try to see if you can still join one of the guided tours that visit the park . They usually prebook some extra tickets to accommodate last-minute bookings.

Good to know: Park Güell is located a bit outside of the city center. The closest metro station to the park is about 15 minutes away, so if you are very short on time you may prefer to take a taxi. Also, wear comfy footwear! Much of the walking is uphill and many of the paths are made from dirt. Sneakers are ideal.

Park Güell is one of top attractions in Barcelona

5. Plaça de Catalunya

Located in the very heart of Barcelona, Plaça de Catalunya is a large plaza, the central square of the city. It’s here that the Gothic Quarter, the neighborhoods of El Raval and l’Eixample, and the most prominent streets such as La Rambla and Passeig de Gràcia come together. It doesn’t get any more central!

Plaça de Catalunya is a popular meeting place in Barcelona – for locals and tourists alike. Many city tours start here, and – because there’s enough space for big buses to park – quite a lot of tours that go outside the city also start here.

This large city square is a hub of activity, with frequent fiestas and live musical performances. Its perimeter is lined with statues and there are fountains and green verges, giving you somewhere to sit for a while and soak it all up.

Surrounding the square are many great eateries (including the Hard Rock Cafe , for the fans). Shopping is good here too, with – among others – a large branch of El Corte Ingles, Spain’s biggest department store chain.

Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona

Good to know: To appreciate the plaza without the crowds (and noise) visit on the weekend in the morning.

TIP: For an impressive, birds-eye view of the plaza and the city beyond, check out the self-service restaurant at the very top level of the El Corte Ingles shopping center. It’s one of the best – and free – viewpoints in Barcelona’s city center.

Catalunya Square is a must see in Barcelona

6. La Rambla

La Rambla (aka Las Ramblas) is probably Barcelona’s most famous street and no trip to the city would be complete without walking through it. Connecting Plaça de Catalunya to the waterfront area La Rambla crosses the heart of Barcelona’s old town, with many of Barcelona’s most famous sights just nearby.

This wide tree-lined avenue with a wide pedestrian area in the middle is packed with street musicians, souvenir vendors, and people enjoying drinks on the restaurants’ terraces.

It’s busy – crowded – at La Rambla every day. But visit early in the morning and you’ll find it much quieter. This will give you an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful architecture and other interesting sights here.

Check out the Font de Canaletes , a small drinking fountain where Barcelona football club fans come to celebrate the team’s victories. Drinking from this fountain is said to guarantee your return to the city (I haven’t tried though)…

Other spots worth visiting include Gran Teatre del Liceu and Palau Güell , an impressive mansion designed by Gaudi. Also the earlier mentioned Gothic Quarter with Plaça Reial – beautifully decorated with palm trees – and Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol square with Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi is just nearby.

Casa Bruno Cuadros – a building at the corner of La Rambla and Plaça Boqueria – with Chinese mosaics, umbrellas, and a huge dragon on the facade is also noteworthy.

La Rambla Barcelona

Good to know: Restaurants and cafes on La Rambla tend to be of quite poor quality. Your best dining option in the area is to head to the Boqueria market instead (see below) or check out the restaurants in the Gothic Quarter just nearby.

Also, La Rambla is so busy and so touristy that it’s one of the places where you really have to watch out for pickpockets!

Pastisseria Escribà on La Rambla in Barcelona

7. Casa Batlló

Designed by Gaudi, the iconic architecture of Casa Batlló in the city center attracts a million visitors every year. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the building was originally constructed in 1877, at which point it had a very unoriginal appearance. But when local businessman Josep Batlló y Casanovas bought it in 1903, he called in Gaudi to work his magic. It then evolved into the spectacular work of art we see today!

Its exterior and interior – like all of Gaudi’s work – is absolutely unique, from the extravagant facade all the way to the dragon roof. The entrance hall has an underwater feel, whilst the Noble Floor features massive oak doors with stained glass panes. The dining room at its center leads out to a beautiful and tranquil rear courtyard, beautifully paved and dotted with tile and glass-coated flower pots.

Strange as it may sound, make sure you check out the building’s elevator too. Installed in the center of the patio of lights, it still uses its beautiful and original wooden car.

The newest addition is the immersive Casa Batllo 10D Experience with two immersive rooms – the Gaudi Dome and the Gaudi Cube. The art literally comes to life as you approach! Just be sure to choose the right ticket option – depending on what you want to see and how much time you have inside. See more info below as well.

Casa Batllo in Barcelona Spain

Good to know: Casa Batllo is open daily to visitors and takes around an hour to explore. Be sure to get your tickets in advance and plan to visit first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, when it is less crowded.

NEW! There’s now a special, early access available to Casa Batllo with this ‘Be the First’ ticket . If you don’t mind getting up earlier and want to see one of the most special Gaudi buildings in Barcelona without the crowds, check it out!

TIP: We visited here with this tour that also visits La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and allows you to see a few other Gaudi landmarks in about half a day. The guide took us inside Casa Batllo before the building opened to the general public. It was magical!

Casa Batllo is among top places to see in Barcelona

8. Casa Milà

Casa Milà , also known as La Pedrera (the stone quarry), is another famous Gaudi building and a very popular place to see in Barcelona. Like Casa Battlo, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is equally busy to visit!

Casa Mila is famous for its unusual rough-hewn, wavy appearance. Incredibly, it does not have a single straight line and looks almost organic rather than something manmade.

The most impressive is its rooftop and chimneys that you can see up close if you visit inside.

TIP: If you are looking for an even more special experience, you can visit here in the evening, after dark. The rooftop is lit up and you can experience a spectacular light show. For more info and tickets for the La Pedrera night experience, see here .

Barcelona attractions - Casa Mila

Good to know: Just like all the Gaudi sights, Casa Mila is an extremely popular attraction in Barcelona. So if you want to be sure to see the interior, you really should get skip-the-line tickets in advance !

Consider this: Casa Battlo and Casa Mila are both iconic landmarks, among the most visited Barcelona attractions. Even with fast-track access, trying to see both of them can eat up too much of your precious time in Barcelona.

So depending on your overall sightseeing itinerary, you might prefer to visit the inside of only one of these buildings and appreciate the other one from the outside.

Opinions differ on which is best – Casa Mila or Casa Battlo. The majority of visitors seem to agree that the interior of Casa Battlo really shouldn’t be missed, so if you can visit just one of the two, make it Casa Battlo, and then admire Casa Mila from the outside. They’re located very close to each other, just 5 minutes walk between the two.

Casa Mila on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona

9. Passeig de Gràcia

One of the city’s most important avenues, Passeig de Gràcia is another place you really have to see in Barcelona. Along this famous street, you’ll find some of Barcelona’s most remarkable architecture, high-end boutiques, plus cafés, bars, and restaurants.

Some of the most impressive buildings in Barcelona can be found on Passeig de Gràcia. The earlier-mentioned Casa Battlo and Casa Mila are located here.

Plus, there are many other buildings by other prominent architects including the most famous mansions such as Casa Amatller (this one can also be visited inside ), Casa Lleó Morera , Casa Mulleras , and Casa Josefina Bonet .

TIP: Note the hexagonal tiles on the pavements ! Designed by Gaudi, they all follow the same pattern with natural elements such as starfish, ammonites, and algae. The design was originally meant for the floors of Casa Batllo but was later used for the service floors inside Casa Mila. Recently, the sidewalks of Passeig de Gracia have been paved with tiles produced using this Gaudi design.

Barcelona Passeig de Gràcia and Gaudi tiles

Many people come to Passeig de Gràcia just to shop. Indeed, it’s one of the best places for luxury shopping in Barcelona.

There are plenty of renowned international designer stores to choose from, including Prada, Chanel, and Gucci. Or you can head all the way into Gracia Village, where Passeig de Gràcia ends. Here you’ll find an interesting collection of independent boutiques, organic health-food eateries, and stores selling up-cycled furniture.

And if you want to take a break from sightseeing and shopping, you’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars at which to stop and enjoy lunch or dinner.

Good to know: Gracia village has lots of outdoor squares lined with laid-back cafes and bars. And its nightlife is excellent, attracting a young and local crowd.

Casa Lleo Morera on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona

10. Mercado de La Boqueria

Barcelona has 12 large covered 19th-century markets scattered all over the city.

The best-known and most popular indoor market is the Mercado de La Boqueria , housed in a stunning glass and steel building in the heart of La Rambla.

Boqueria Market is a real foodie’s paradise, with local meats, cheeses, and seafood along with a range of exotic and colorful fruits and vegetables. It’s a great place to go for lunch or a quick snack when sightseeing in Barcelona city center.

Mercado de La Boqueria in Barcelona

Good to know: The marker is open every day from morning through to the evening (except on Sundays)

Market stalls and bars selling food and drinks are dotted throughout the market. You may not always be able to sit down as you eat, but you can certainly enjoy the lively atmosphere and bustle!

TIP: Head to the stalls at the back of the market for the best prices – those at the front pay more rent, so they charge more too! And be sure to try one of the many different kinds of freshly squeezed fruit juice while you’re here. They are yummy!

Colorful fruit stand at Boqueria Market in Barcelona

11. Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum is one of the most visited museums in Barcelona. Containing the world’s largest collection of Picasso’s work, the museum is well worth a visit, but you should know that the majority of art you’ll see here dates from his early years. So it might not be exactly what you expect to see based on Picasso’s most famous works…

Although Picasso was born in Malaga, he spent his formative years in Barcelona. Subsequently, it was the place he most considered home. The Picasso Museum honors that connection and contains an extensive collection of his lesser-known works. There are more than 4,200 pieces to view, all chronologically arranged to show the evolution of his art.

You don’t need to be a Picasso fan to appreciate this museum – indeed, there are very few Cubist paintings at all. This museum mostly showcases how his art developed from a traditional style into the rather more unconventional works that made him famous.

It’s really interesting to see how Picasso evolved as an artist and how his style changed with time!

The museum is located in a magnificent medieval building in the old town – somewhat at odds with the style of its subject. However, this also means that the rooms are quite small and it can get very busy at times.

Picasso Museum is one of the best places to visit in Barcelona

Good to know: The museum is open daily except for Mondays. Count about 1-1.5 hours for a visit.

You can visit the museum on your own (free entrance is included with Barcelona Card and also with the Top-6 Museums Card ). But if you want to learn more about the artist and get a better understanding of his works, there’s also a very good guided tour of the museum .

TIP: Just like the majority of Barcelona museums, you can visit here free of charge at certain times. At the moment of writing, the entrance is free on the first Sunday of the month and from 4 PM on Thursdays.

Dwarf Dancer painting by Pablo Picasso in Barcelona

12. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site (also known as Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau or Sant Pau Recinte Modernista ) is a true architectural gem of Barcelona! However, this is one of those places that usually get overlooked in most Barcelona sightseeing itineraries which are mainly focused on the world-famous Gaudi buildings.

But if you have an hour to spare, I highly recommend visiting the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site! For us, it was one of the highlights of Barcelona that we really wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

Designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, this is a big architectural complex that housed a hospital for more than eighty years. Restored in 2009, it is now a museum called the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is just a 10-minute walk from La Sagrada Familia . But it has an entirely different feel to it, with few tourists and no street vendors. So close and yet a world apart!

The atmosphere here is magical and tranquil, with beautiful gardens surrounded by art-nouveau architecture. You can see many of the buildings of the former hospital and visit several of them.

Make sure you check out the interior of the Sant Rafael Pavilion. It has been restored to look exactly as it would have done in the 1920s, with antique radiators and hospital beds. And don’t miss the underground tunnels connecting the former hospital rooms with surgical facilities.

Sant Pau Recinte Modernista, Barcelona, Spain

Good to know: Sant Pau Recinte Modernista is open daily, except for some public holidays. Here, you can find more info and book tickets .

TIP: If you can, visit here in the late afternoon when the buildings turn bright orange, colored by the setting sun. It’s absolutely impressive! However, this will depend on the season when you visit – in the summer, the sun sets much later than in the fall when we visited.

Anyway, no matter the time of day or season, don’t miss this stunning landmark in Barcelona. It’s absolutely worth a short detour from La Sagrada Familia!

WINTER TIP: If you are visiting Barcelona during the holiday season (+-end November – mid-January), don’t miss Els Llums de Sant Pau Christmas Garden . The entire site is then lit up with millions of Christmas lights – it’s absolutely magical!

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau - one of the best things to do in Barcelona

13. Palau de la Música Catalana

The Palau de la Música Catalana is one of the architectural gems of Barcelona! Just as the above-mentioned Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, this beautiful concert hall was also designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

The exterior is very striking, with bright colors and detailed mosaics. Unfortunately, it is a little hard to appreciate because the streets surrounding it are so narrow. But step inside and you cannot help but be mesmerized by the lavish interior, with its ornate glass roof.

This music hall doesn’t appear in many Barcelona travel guides. And maybe that’s a good thing, as it allows you to enjoy the stunning beauty of this building in relative peace. But now that you know about it, be sure to visit!

We stumbled upon it by coincidence when researching something else and decided to check it out. It became one of our favorite places in Barcelona!

Palau de la Musica Catalana is one of the most beautiful places to see in Barcelona

Good to know: You can freely visit the entrance hall and cafe, both of which are stunning. Normally, you need to join a guided tour in order to see the main concert hall, but they now have an option for a self-guided tour as well.

Tours take around 45 minutes, so if you visit on your own, count at least half an hour.

Palau de la Música Catalana is a working concert hall, so you can also attend a concert here. The sightseeing visits during the day are usually available every day, year-round. However, during certain events, the music hall might not be open for visits. So if you want to see it inside, be sure to check in advance!

TIP: Whether you want to visit on your own or with their guide, be sure to book the tickets in advance . That way, you’ll also immediately see if some dates aren’t available. Also, while not very widely known, the place is popular enough to fill the available ticket slots, especially during the high season.

Colorful columns on the balcony of Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona

14. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Located below the Palau Nacional Art Museum ( MNAC ) on the Montjuïc mountain, The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc (Font Màgica de Montjuïc) is one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions. And it’s FREE!

Every evening, this dancing fountain offers stunning displays of music, light, and water acrobatics. These music- and light shows are very popular with locals and tourists alike and attract big crowds.

Arrive here at least 15-30 minutes before the show in order to secure a good spot close to the fountains. In the high season, people usually start to arrive an hour in advance.

Practical information: The best way to get to Font Màgica de Montjuïc is by taking a metro to Plaça d’Espanya. If you have more time, plan half a day for a visit – take a cable car from the waterfront area, explore the Montjuïc mountain and Miro Museum (see below), and then see the fountains in the evening.

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc - one of the most popular Barcelona attractions

Magic Fountain show times vary per season:

  • March: Thursday to Saturday from 8 PM to 9 PM.
  • April, May, October : Thursday to Saturday from 9 PM to 10 PM.
  • June, July, August, September: Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 PM to 10.30 PM.
  • November, December + the first week of January: Thursday to Saturday from 8 PM to 9 PM.
  • Rest of January and February: closed.
  • This is general info in ‘normal’ times, but be sure to double-check online for the up-to-date schedule before you go!

Good to know: If you are visiting the city in September, then you can see The ‘Piromusical’ here. This huge firework display with accompanying music and lasers is the closing event for La Mercè – Barcelona’s main festival.

TIP: Be sure to climb the staircase to Palau Nacional on Montjuïc – the views from the top are really nice . However, this is actually something that you’ll appreciate better during the day when it’s light or at sunset – a good reason to arrive earlier and explore the area. You can find more information about other attractions on Montjuïc further below.

Barcelona Magic Fountain light show

15. Montjuïc: Cable Car, Castle, Palau Nacional & City Views

Montjuïc (the Jewish Mountain) is the best-known hill in Barcelona. It houses several parks, botanical gardens, places, pavilions, and museums, many of which were built for the 1929 World Fair that was held in Barcelona.

Nowadays, it’s a popular place to visit in the city and some of the must-see sights mentioned in this guide are located in this area (such as the Magical Fountain, the Museum of National Art of Catalonia , Joan Miro Museum , or an open-air museum Poble Espanyol ).

But the majority of tourists come here for aerial views of the city from the Montjuïc cable car , the Montjuïc Castle, and other viewpoints nearby. Also the earlier-mentioned views from the staircase at Palau Nacional on Montjuïc are not to be missed.

Palau Nacional and fountains on Montjuic in Barcelona

Good to know: While you can walk to the top of the mountain from the city center, the easiest way to get here is by taking a cable car from the waterfront or by hop-on-hop-off bus .

TIP: A nice way to visit Montjuïc is by joining an e-bike tour . Or you can visit with a walking tour that includes a cable car ride .

With a local guide, you don’t have to wonder where exactly to go or what to see and do at Montjuïc (which is a big advantage because the area is really big and it’s quite overwhelming).

Barcelona Cable Car

16. Joan Miró Foundation

Located on Montjuïc Mountain, Joan Miró Foundation is one of the best contemporary art museums in Barcelona

There are artworks by Joan Miró throughout Barcelona, but this museum is dedicated purely to his art. Well worth a visit and fun for all ages!

Housing more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other pieces, it is located in an innovative building designed by the Spanish architect, Rafael Moneo. There are beautiful gardens to explore and frequent exhibitions of the works of other artists.

Joan Miro Foundation - one of the best museums to visit in Barcelona

TIP: Be sure to visit the rooftop terrace of the museum. Along with a collection of Miró’s colorful sculptures, you can also enjoy some wonderful views across the city.

Good to know: For the opening dates and tickets, see here .

We just got the tickets on the spot and there was no need to book in advance. However, we visited in a rather quiet season.

Colorful sculpture at Joan Miro Foundation Barcelona Spain

17. Port Vell

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a walk along its waterfront at Port Vell .

Port Vell is the Old Harbour of Barcelona, with a wide waterfront promenade leading down to the city’s famous beaches. It’s a bustling area with lots of cafes, restaurants, and also the History Museum of Catalonia .

Check out Rambla De Mar , a modern bridge/walkway that connects the city center to the modern bustling area with Barcelona Aquarium and Maremagnum shopping center.

It’s also nice to just take a stroll around the harbor and admire the yachts and boats moored there.

Barcelona Harbor Port Vell aerial view

18. La Barceloneta

Port Vell borders the historic neighborhood called La Barceloneta . This charming local area was an old fishing district .

La Barceloneta is lined with narrow one-way streets towered by high apartment buildings, with laundry hanging out the windows everywhere you look.

Despite its relatively central location in Barcelona, this neighborhood has a very traditional feel, with elderly gentlemen sitting in the streets outside their houses and women calling across to each other over balconies.

Plaça de la Barceloneta - the nicest town square of La Barceloneta neighborhood in Barcelona

Good to know: There are many good restaurants in this area offering fresh seafood options. It is a nice place to come for lunch or dinner.

The restaurants at the waterfront tend to be more touristy, but – despite having pictures on the menu and overly friendly waiters trying to convince you to choose their place – the food is generally very good.

TIP: For a more local feel a bit off the beaten path, check out the restaurants in the narrow side streets of La Barceloneta. There are many great choices and all types of cuisine, not just seafood.

Local street in La Barceloneta neighborhood in Barcelona

19. Barcelona Beaches & Waterfront

Barcelona Waterfront is a large coastal area stretching between Playa de Llevant Beach on the outskirts of the city center and the Cruise Ship Terminal in the city center. This commercial and recreational area was created in the early 1990s and has some of Barcelona’s best beaches and a beautiful wide pedestrian area where you can walk/bike/skate for miles .

Barcelona has miles of scenic coastline and some beaches are just a 15-minute walk from the city center. There is something very special about being able to spend half a day admiring Barcelona’s incredible architecture and visiting landmarks, and then relaxing in the sunshine on a beautiful beach in the afternoon!

Some beaches are bustling – crowded with tourists, hawkers, and street performers. Others are far more peaceful, perfect for unwinding with a good book and a cold drink.

Closer to the center, there is also a maritime station for ferries and you can watch cruise ships come in to dock. You’ll also find the Maritime Museum here, housed in a large medieval shipyard, plus L’Aquàrium , one of the largest aquariums in Europe.

Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona at sunset

TIP: Why not get a different perspective on the city by taking a trip in one of the Golondrinas (ferries) moored opposite the Columbus Monument and take in all the sights of the waterfront! Or book one of the amazing sailing cruises – it’s a great way to see the city from another perspective while at the same time relaxing from all the walking and sightseeing.

Good to know: If you’re looking for a party atmosphere and want to connect with like-minded visitors from all over the world, head to Barceloneta Beach. The nightlife in Barceloneta is very vibrant too! For the best family-friendly option, try Nova Icaria Beach. Whilst tranquil, it still has plenty of restaurants and bars, plus some excellent sports facilities.

You might want to avoid cocktails and drinks from vendors walking along the beaches. They are often unrefrigerated for long periods and tend to warm up!

Passeig Maritim de la Barceloneta - pedestrian waterfront area in Barcelona

20. Camp Nou – F.C. Barcelona Stadium

Update 2024: At the moment of the last update, Camp Nou Stadium is undergoing a complete renovation. It is still possible to visit the museum .

Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe and the home stadium of the world-famous F.C. Barcelona. This is a must-see for any football fanatics but is actually really interesting even if you are not a fan. Camp Nou is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Barcelona!

We went here mainly because of our kids who live and breathe football, but – despite having zero expectations – I loved it too. After all, it’s not every day that you get to experience such a large stadium with behind-the-scenes access!

Tours include the pitch, the stands, and the players’ bench, along with the changing rooms and press area. Also included is a visit to the museum where you can see the many trophies on display and learn more about the club’s amazing history.

Camp Nou FC Barcelona stadium tour

Good to know: The stadium is located a bit outside the city center. You can get here by metro or by hop-on hop-off bus .

TIP: There are various ticket- and tour options for a visit here. The most popular – and the option we chose – is a self-guided stadium- and museum tour. Another option is a guided tour, but I’d only recommend it to those who want to learn even more about the team and its history.

If you’re looking for a more exclusive experience, you can also opt for the Players Experience Tour which includes everything the standard tour does, plus access to the actual FC Barcelona players’ locker rooms, an official FC Barcelona gift, and a few other perks.

Best things to do in Barcelona - visit Camp Nou football stadium

21. Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens is a modernist building dating from the end of the 19th century. It is considered to be Gaudi’s first major project

Unique in style, Casa Vicens looks nothing like the other Gaudi buildings in Barcelona! Its look is distinctly oriental, with dome-shaped finishes and Moorish arches. Its design was influenced by the art of India, Persia, and Japan along with Hispanic Islamic works.

Built in 1883-85 as a family summer house in the former village of Gràcia (now one of the city neighborhoods), the building was expanded by another architect in 1925. By that time, Gaudi was mainly focused on La Sagrada Familia, with little interest in other projects. But the original style was retained.

Casa Vicens has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recently restored to its former glory.

As with all of Gaudi’s buildings, the interior of Casa Vicens does not disappoint either. You can easily spend 1 to 2 hours here admiring the bizarre but beautiful decorative elements of its rooms.

Casa Vicens gate - Gaudi Barcelona

TIP: Casa Vicens is hardly ever mentioned among the best places to see in Barcelona, and so many tourists don’t even know about it. This is mainly due to the fact that it was only opened to the public a few years ago is far less known than Gaudi’s other buildings.

This means that it is much quieter, making it a great place to visit in Barcelona if you prefer to avoid crowds .

Good to know: Casa Vicens is open daily. You can find more information and get the tickets here . Despite being somewhat of a hidden gem, it’s becoming better known as more and more people discover it. So get there before the rest of the world finds out!

Casa Vicens Gaudi building in Barcelona

22. Palau Güell

Güell Palace – not to be confused with Park Güell – is one of Gaudi’s early works and another popular landmark to see in Barcelona. This magnificent building is located in the Raval district – close to La Rambla shopping street in the heart of the city center. This is the only Gaudi building that is located in the old town .

This modernist mansion was commissioned by the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell in the late 19th century. He wanted somewhere luxurious to live in an area that was very run down at the time. He certainly got his wish – every part of this incredible palace is decorative and opulent, from the forged iron gates at the front to the roof terrace adorned with mosaics and fourteen chimneys.

Good to know: Palau Güell is open daily except for Mondays. A free audio guide is included with your ticket. For more info and tickets, see here .

TIP: If you are visiting in the summer, check if there are any events planned here during your stay. Frequent concerts are held on the rooftop terrace of Palau Gëull and tickets include a tour around the palace.

Palau Güell in Barcelona

23. Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA)

MUHBA – Museum of History of Barcelona – is one the most interesting museums in the city. Here, you can see the archeological site with the actual remains of streets and buildings of Barcelona as it looked like about 2000 years ago.

Located inside the Palau Clarina Padellàs (the Gothic Palace) on Plaça del Rei just behind the Barcelona Cathedral, this fascinating museum is dedicated to researching and preserving Barcelona’s history. It contains more than 35,000 historical and cultural objects.

There are also several other sites managed by the museum around the city. Some contain excavated portions of the Roman city of Barcino, whilst others date back to medieval times.

Good to know: The museum is open daily except for Mondays. Audio guides are included with your ticket, which includes admission to all MUHBA sites in the city. You can find more info on their (rather confusing) website . Or simply walk over there and likely, you’ll be able to just get a ticket on the spot. Despite its central location, many people seem to just pass by here, so it’s usually not too busy.

TIP: Even if you are not interested in visiting the museum, be sure to come and see the impressive medieval architecture of Plaça del Rei .

Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA) and Placa del Rei square

24. Arco de Triunfo & Ciutadella Park

Built in 1888 as the gateway to the Universal Exhibition, the Arco de Triunfo is located at the Passeig Lluís Companys promenade.

It is one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks, with a classic shape and beautiful decorative finishes. At the top, you can see the coat of arms of the city, under which are the shields of the 49 Spanish provinces.

The Passeig Lluís Companys leads to Ciutadella Park , probably Barcelona’s most idyllic spot. It’s a lovely place for a picnic, with palm trees, a fountain designed by Gaudi, and a pretty rowing lake.

There are also numerous attractions on the grounds, including zoology and geology museums, honorary statues, and the Barcelona Zoo . The Parliament of Catalonia and a few other interesting landmarks are located here as well. It’s a really large park with lots to see!

TIP: Be sure to climb to the top of the Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella fountain for nice views of the park. It’s especially nice late in the afternoon, around sunset.

Arco de Triunfo in Barcelona

25. Plaça d’Espanya & Views from Arenas de Barcelona

Plaça d’Espanya is a large square close to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. It’s somewhat of an eclectic mix of sculptures, monuments, and busy traffic with several major avenues coming together here. Just a few minutes walk to the south, you’ll find the earlier-mentioned Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.

On the northern side of Placa d’Espanya, you’ll find Las Arenas de Barcelona . This oval-shaped commercial shopping center was originally a bullfighting arena but was reconstructed in 2011.

There are countless shops here and its top floor is filled with restaurants that go all the way around the perimeter, and there are also cinemas (with all the movies in Spanish, however).

But the main reason to mention a shopping center in this Barcelona sightseeing guide is because of the awesome 360° city views from the large circular platform at the very top of Arenas de Barcelona. And also because it’s so close to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc which you’ll likely want to visit anyway. And if you’re already in the area, it’s just a small effort to check out those views.

We visited here around sunset, before heading to the fountain for the evening show, and the views were really nice. Well worth a small detour.

TIP: There is a glass elevator to the rooftop, but there is a small charge to use it. Unless you specifically want to enjoy views on your way up, then you can also just take the stairs or the escalator, which are free!

Plaça d'Espanya view from Arenas de Barcelona

26. Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

The beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is a 14th-century Gothic Church. Together with La Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral, this is one of the nicest churches to see in the city.

It is located in the El Born neighborhood, a maze of medieval streets lined with trendy boutiques and cafes. Taking 55 years to build – partially paid for and constructed by the parishioners themselves – it is famous as being an example of pure Catalan Gothic architecture. This is rare, as most churches and cathedrals have a mixture of different styles.

TIP: You can see the best of the church in 20 minutes or so. But if you have more time then I recommend taking the guided tour, which includes a visit to the rooftop. The views of the skyline of the Old City are quite beautiful.

Good to know: The Basilica is open daily, in the morning and in the evening (usually closed between 1 and 5 PM).

Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona Spain

27. Santa Caterina Market

Mercat de Santa Caterina is a covered food market located close to the Picasso Museum. It is easily spotted because of its brightly colored roof. If you want to visit a few local markets in Barcelona, this is a good option.

Clean, well-organized, and modern, it tends to be far quieter than the famous Mercado de La Boqueria, so it’s easier to sample the wares at all the different stalls and try some local specialties. It also has better prices and it is easier to get a seat if you decide to stop for lunch at one of the restaurants or bars.

The site now occupied by the market was originally home to the convent of Santa Caterina, of the Dominican Order or Order of Preachers. Remains of the cloister are still visible in the basement and can be seen with a ticket to the Barcelona History Museum.

Good to know: Santa Caterina market is open daily except on Sundays, from 7.30 AM to 8 PM. However, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays it closes at 3.30 PM already.

Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona

28. Day trip to Montserrat Monastery

No list of the best things to do in Barcelona would be complete without mentioning the most popular day trip near the city – a visit to the Abbey of Montserrat .

The mountain range of Montserrat is located around 50km northwest of Barcelona. Its main attraction is the Benedictine Monastery Santa Maria de Montserrat, one of Catalonia’s most important religious sites.

You can’t actually go inside the monastery, but you can visit the grounds, the church, and see the statue of the Black Madonna, Catalonia’s patron saint. You can also hear daily performances from the world-famous Montserrat boys’ choir. In addition, there are some hiking trails and you can enjoy the incredible views of the surrounding landscape.

Good to know: There are many ways to visit Montserrat Monastery – on your own by train or by car, or with one of the many tours from the city . Here you can read our Montserrat tour review , and via the link below – find all the info you need for a visit.

LEARN MORE: How to Visit Montserrat from Barcelona

Montserrat is not to be missed when visiting Barcelona

Additional suggestions for what to see and do in Barcelona

We have now covered most of the main sights in Barcelona. However – as you can imagine – a city like Barcelona has so much more to offer than just the main landmarks and top sights mentioned above !

There are just too many attractions in Barcelona than we can mention in one guide (while still keeping it somewhat manageable for tourists just looking to cover the musts…).

So here is a list of some other great activities in Barcelona that are well worth considering too . From local experiences to the best places to visit with kids, fun things to do in Barcelona at night, and more.

TIP: Even if you just add one or two of these activities to your Barcelona sightseeing itinerary, it will make your visit to the city so much more special. Take a look!

Fun experiences and attractions in Barcelona:

  • Food tours – one of our favorite ways to explore any city!
  • Cooking classes .
  • Sailing and catamaran cruises – a relaxing way to see the city from another perspective.
  • Bike and e-bike tours .
  • Segway- or e-scooter city tours .
  • Street art tour by bike .
  • Flamenco shows – a must in Spain.
  • Hot-air balloon rides .
  • Helicopter tours .

Things to do in Barcelona with kids:

  • Barcelona Aquarium .
  • Barcelona Zoo .
  • Family walking tour at the Gothic Quarter (ideal for families with kids aged 4-12 yrs).
  • Museum of Illusions (just next to La Rambla and La Boqueria market).
  • PortAventura theme park – spend a day at Spain’s largest amusement park and one of the largest theme parks in Europe.
  • Caribe Aquatic tour – a water park at PortAventura.

Things to do in Barcelona at night:

  • Sunset cruises .
  • Flamenco shows .
  • Casa Mila (La Pedrera) night experience .
  • Ghost tours .
  • Magic fountain show .
  • Cocktails and tapas .
  • Nightclubs and pub crawls .

More museums to visit in Barcelona:

  • Poble Espanyol Site – open-air museum at Montjuïc.
  • Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) – in the city center.
  • Egyptian Museum – close to Gaudi buildings in the center.
  • Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – at Montjuïc.
  • Salvador Dali Museum at Figueres – day trip from Barcelona.
  • Olympic & Sports Museum – at Montjuïc.
  • History Museum of Catalonia – at the old harbor Port Vell.
  • The World of Banksy, Immersive Experience – in the center.
  • Big Fun Museum – in the center, right on La Rambla.
  • Wax Museum – in the center.

Where to Stay

If you are visiting for the first time and want to explore the main sights and tourist attractions, the very best area to stay for sightseeing in Barcelona is around Catalunya Square.

Here are some of the best-rated hotels in this area for all budgets:

€€€€€ Ohla Barcelona €€€€ Hotel Jazz €€€ El Avenida Palace €€ Mothern by Pillow € Hostal La Palmera

Map of Barcelona Attractions

To help you plan your time in the city, we created this map indicating the main landmarks, sights, and tourist attractions in Barcelona mentioned in this article . It should give you a better idea of where everything is located and help you plan your itinerary.

This map shows the main places to see in Barcelona as described in our list above. To make it somewhat easier to use and keep the focus on the best sights, we didn’t indicate any of the additional suggestions or places that are outside the city (like Montserrat Monastery).

You’ll also see that we use different colors depending on whether the places are must-see (purple), highly recommended (red), or nice-to-see (yellow). They’re ALL worth a visit, but if you are short on time, this might help you decide what to see first.

TIP: Take a look at our suggestions on how to spend one day in Barcelona and also on how to plan a 2-day Barcelona trip . It will give you a better idea of how to see the main sights in just a few days.

How to use this map:  Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.

So, this is our guide to the top sights and attractions in Barcelona. I hope that it helps you plan your trip and enjoy every moment of your visit to this world-class destination and its charming mix of avant-garde and traditional style!

TIP: For more practical information for your visit, be sure to check Barcelona travel tips via the link below.

In this article, you’ll find more information about getting around, where to stay, tipping and haggling etiquette, bizarre dining hours, and more. Take a look!

READ ALSO: Top Tips for Visiting Barcelona for the First Time

More travel inspiration for Spain:

  • Best Things to Do in Spain
  • 1 Day in Barcelona
  • 2-3 Days in Barcelona
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What to see and do in Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona   Travel Guide

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17 Best Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has some of the most unique and inspiring architecture in the world, so a small-group tour to get behind-the-scenes at the city's parks, museums and churches is a must-do. Kick off your stay with tours of Antoni Gaudí's whimsical

  • All Things To Do
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La Sagrada Família (Church of the Sacred Family) La Sagrada Família (Church of the Sacred Family)

U.S. News Insider Tip: Wander 20 minutes north to reach Hospital de Sant Pau. This elaborate, UNESCO-listed former hospital was the brainchild of architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner and is a beautiful example of Catalan art nouveau architecture. – Laura French

From 1883 up until his death in 1926, Catalan art nouveau master Antoni Gaudí devoted himself to the construction of La Sagrada Família , a towering, Gothic-style-with-a-twist church. But even then, he was unable to finish it; Gaudí was known for saying "My client (God) is not in a hurry."

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Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter)

The Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, sits at the heart of the Ciutat Vella – the oldest part of Barcelona – and, considering its location next to the city center, is one of its liveliest neighborhoods. Here you'll find beautiful examples of Roman and Medieval-era architecture rubbing elbows with the many shops, restaurants, alfresco cafes, bars and clubs that line its narrow roads and picturesque plazas – and there are so many plazas to explore. Aside from Plaça de la Seu, which you'll no doubt end up in if you visit the Barcelona Cathedral , make sure you stop in the smaller Plaça Sant Felip Neri, which was bombed by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War (you can see scars from the attack on the church in the square). The palm tree-clad Plaça Reial is meanwhile much more energetic and usually buzzes until the wee hours of the morning. Another notable plaza is Plaça Sant Jaume, where the Catalan seat of government has been since the Middle Ages.

No matter where you end up in the Gothic Quarter, travelers say its Spanish splendor will leave you charmed long after you leave. Many enjoyed strolling its narrow alleys and admiring its atmospheric, back-in-time architecture, and several said it was the highlight of their stay. Some suggested taking part in a walking tour if you're interested in learning more about the history behind the neighborhood. 

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Casa Batlló Casa Batlló

U.S. News Insider Tip: From spring through fall, Casa Batlló hosts "Magic Nights" – a series of open-air concerts on the dragon roof terrace, with romantic views of the city. Tickets start at 59 euros (around $62) and include entry to Casa Batlló and a drink. – Laura French

The details highlighted in Casa Batlló show famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí at his best. Of all the Gaudí apartments in Barcelona, this is probably the most recognized (it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Sitting down the street from Casa Milà, Casa Batlló is known for its vibrant colors, intricate tile work and skeletal terraces. The unconventional façade is inspired by the legend of St. George, the patron saint of Catalonia, who is said to have slayed a dragon to save the king’s daughter. The roof depicts the dragon's scaly back, while the skeletal balconies and boney windows are said to represent the dragon's previous victims (the legend goes that someone would be sacrificed every day so the dragon wouldn't take the whole town).

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Park Güell Park Güell

U.S. News Insider Tip: For more sweeping city views and fewer tourists, grab a five-minute taxi or walk 20 minutes uphill to reach Bunkers del Carmel – a viewpoint popular with locals, especially at sunset, when the lighting over the city is spectacular. – Laura French

Antoni Gaudí's Park Güell is as whimsical as parks can get. The park was originally supposed to be a housing community for the rich, commissioned by Eusebi Güell. Güell hired Gaudí but the project eventually folded due to the land's incompatible building conditions. Gaudí continued on, modeling the park after gardens he had seen in England (Güell means English in Catalan) and building around the natural elements of the land instead of tearing them down.

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Las Ramblas Las Ramblas free

U.S. News Insider Tip:  Keep your hands on your bags and keep an eye out for pickpockets on this notoriously busy thoroughfare. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

This wide, tree-lined boulevard is one of the city's major tourist hubs – so much so that if you're visiting Barcelona, you're bound to end up here eventually. Las Ramblas is a pedestrian-friendly pathway situated right smack dab in the middle of the city, so expect it to be busy all hours of the day and night. During the day, you can peruse souvenir stands, watch buskers and street performers, pick up some local art from artists selling on the street, or sit down and enjoy a light snack at one of the many alfresco cafes found here. When the sun sets, head here to start your night out – many bars and clubs can be found in the surrounding area.

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Barceloneta Beach Barceloneta Beach free

U.S. News Insider Tip: While Barceloneta is a must-see with its lively bars and restaurants, it can get crowded, so if you're looking for a quieter alternative, wander 20 minutes up the coast to Playa de Bogatell (it attracts more locals and fewer tourists). – Laura French

In between all the cultural and artistic attractions Barcelona has up its sleeves, it's easy to forget that the city is situated right along the brilliantly blue waters of the Mediterranean. The city's swathes of sand are broken up into several different beaches – among them Barceloneta and the quieter Nova Icària. Both are separated by the Port Olímpic harbor, easily recognized by the two seafront skyscrapers and giant golden fish sculpture by artist Frank Gehry.

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Casa Milà (La Pedrera) Casa Milà (La Pedrera)

The nickname, La Pedrera (meaning "the Quarry"), is appropriate for Antoni Gaudí's stately, fortress-like Casa Milà. Bobbing around the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and Carrer de Provença , this eclectic Catalan-style art nouveau building rubs elbows with the more classic architecture usually found in its neighborhood, Eixample. It is known for its wavy stone façades and intricate carvings that can only be attributed to Gaudí's quirky style. Casa Milà was originally constructed as a home for the commissioners of the building (Pere Milà i Camps and his wife), who also requested the complex included apartments for rent. Casa Milà was not only Gaudí's last work on Passeig de Gracia ( Casa Batlló is just a few blocks south), but his last civil work as well. Since then, Casa Milà has been designated as a National Monument of Interest by the Spanish government and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Today, La Pedrera is a cultural center managed by the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation. Come here to admire the architecture: there are few single straight walls or right-angled corners in the entire building. Also head to the roof to get a good look at Gaudí's whimsical chimneys (many designed to look like guardian warriors in armor), then work your way down through the exhibits to learn more about Casa Milà and Gaudí himself.

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Mercat de la Boqueria (Boqueria Market) Mercat de la Boqueria (Boqueria Market) free

Even if you're not keen on visiting the touristy Las Ramblas , it's worth making the trek to this tree-lined thoroughfare to reach the foodie heaven that is the Boqueria Market. This was Barcelona's oldest local market, having opened in 1840 – but its foodie history spans much earlier than that. The first food vendors were said to have been around as early as the 13th century, selling meat on the streets. The market you see today wasn't around back then; it took four years to construct, once Saint Joseph's convent left the area (hence the name of the market). 

Today, that tradition of hawking goodies lives on, and the covered marketplace treats visitors to the vibrant colors and enticing aromas of everything from fruit juices and wines to fresh fish, meats, produce and desserts. Make sure to grab Spanish specialties while you're there, including jamón ibérico, manchego cheese and salted cod (or bacalao ). Bars and restaurants can also be found in and around the market, so food options truly abound here. 

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Palau de la Musica Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music) Palau de la Musica Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music)

Barcelona's Palau de la Música Catalana is considered to be a masterpiece of Catalan art nouveau. Built by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the palace earned the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its striking architectural features. Outside, make sure to snap a few photos of the intricate mosaic pillars and the busts nestled atop some of them, which depict famous musicians, such as Bach and Beethoven. The interior of the palace is even more of an eyeful, complete with mosaic pillars and intricate sculpture work of its own, as well as stained glass windows and beautiful motifs of flowers spread throughout. And you won't be able to miss the massive stained-glass central skylight – it protrudes from the ceiling, treating the concert auditorium to plenty of natural light. Aesthetics aside, the Palace of Catalan Music is a hub for classical and choral music and of course, Catalan musical arts. It also acts as a concert venue for local, national and international acts.

Travelers agree with the experts: the Palau de la Musica Catalana is an architectural marvel. Visitors thoroughly enjoyed admiring the many intricate details found throughout the music venue, saying even if you can't get tickets to a show, it's worth a visit just to see its magnificence in person. Some weren't crazy about the admission price, but many enjoyed the guided tour, and those who did attend a show said the experience was quite magical. 

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Museu Picasso (Picasso Museum) Museu Picasso (Picasso Museum)

U.S. News Insider Tip: You can visit for free on Thursday evenings (from 5 to 7 p.m.), all day on the first Sunday of the month and on special Open Door days; check here for details. – Laura French

When you feel like you've hit your Gaudí limit, head to the Picasso Museum ( Museu Picasso ) for a change of pace. While most people know Pablo Picasso for his distorted portraits, this museum displays his work on a timeline of sorts, allowing you to follow his progression from the more controlled works of his early years to the very whimsical paintings and sculptures from the end of his career. Make sure you dedicate plenty of time to Picasso: the museum itself holds around 5,000 pieces by him, including works from his famous Blue Period. The museum also explores the artist's lifelong relationship with Barcelona, explaining why he chose the city for his museum before he died. 

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Montjuïc Castle Montjuïc Castle

If you have even the slightest interest in history, make sure to add Montjuïc Castle to your Barcelona itinerary – the stone structure is teeming with history dating all the way back to the 11th century. The castle started out as a single watchtower that was occupied by a sailor looking out for enemy ships. During the Revolt of Catalonia during the mid-1600s, the government decided to add walls surrounding the watch tower when the threat of invasion from Spanish King Philip IV's fleet became imminent. Montjuïc Castle ended up defending the city from many attacks moving forward, including those carried out during the War of the Spanish Succession. It also served as a prison during the War of the Pyrenees and was occupied by Napoleon's troops in the early 1800s.

Montjuïc continued to serve as a prison under multiple political leaderships over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, including during the Spanish Civil War. Francisco Franco, Spain's dictator from 1939 to 1975, took over Montjuïc and it became an internment camp for Republican soldiers (Franco was part of the Nationalist party that overthrew the democratic Republic of Spain at the time). It was here that the President of the Catalan Government, Lluís Companys, was executed at Franco's orders. 

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Catedral de Barcelona (Barcelona Cathedral) Catedral de Barcelona (Barcelona Cathedral)

Towering above the center of the Barri Gòtic district is Barcelona's principal cathedral. The Gothic cathedral's construction began in the late 13th century, though it wasn't completed until the mid-15th century. While you're here, take time to explore the numerous examples of artisanship that went into completing the cathedral – from its exterior details to the many gold furnishings within, including its elaborate baroque altarpieces, as well as the 140-plus statues of saints that call the cathedral home. While you're here, make sure to stroll over to the cloister, which features a verdant tropical garden. 

Recent travelers found the Catedral de Barcelona to be stunning both inside and out, commenting on the elaborate altarpieces, stained-glass windows and impressive statues. Many recommended a stroll through the cloisters to see its pond, home to several geese, and climbing to the roof of the cathedral to get an eyeful of the spire up close, as well as prime city views. Make sure to wear the proper attire; according to recent visitors, the dress code here is strict and knees and shoulders should be covered. Shawls are said to be for sale for those who need to cover up. 

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Gràcia Gràcia free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Come in late August for the free Festa Major de Gràcia (Gràcia Festival). During the weeklong celebration, streets come alive with colorful lanterns and other creations, competing to be the best decorated; expect live music, food, parades and Catalan correfoc fire displays. – Laura French

If you've already seen the bucket list sites and want to escape the crowds, amble north of the city to explore the charming, bohemian streets of Gràcia. Once its own separate town, this elegant, colorful neighborhood has kept its independent village feel, with cobbled streets, lively plazas and laid-back cafes aplenty. At its heart is Calle Verdi, lined with trendy boutiques, vintage stores, bookshops and restaurants, and Plaça de la Virreina, where locals gather on outdoor cafe terraces in the shadows of the Church of Saint Joan. While you're here, pay a visit to the UNESCO-listed Casa Vicens – Gaudí's first home in Barcelona, now a museum – and the Mercat de la Llibertat, a large food market where stalls overflow with fresh produce between brick-and-iron architecture.

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Parc de la Ciutadella Parc de la Ciutadella free

U.S. News Insider Tip: A five-minute walk from the park will take you to El Born – one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods, with tapas bars, indie boutiques and bistros lining cobbled lanes. Head to the Bormuth tapas bar for great food in a lively atmosphere. – Laura French

Built in the late 19th century on the grounds of a former citadel, Parc de la Ciutadella is one of Barcelona's most popular green spaces. At its heart you'll find an elaborate fountain, surrounded by sculptures and designed by architect Josep Fontserè i Mestre – who asked Gaudí, then still at university, to help out (visitors might recognize Gaudí's iconic style in the winged dragons guarding the fountain).

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Mount Tibidabo Mount Tibidabo free

The highest mountain in the Serra de Collserola range, pine-forested Mount Tibidabo peers over the city, crowned by its neo-Gothic basilica, the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (or Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). Built in the early 20th century in the northwest of the city, this elaborate, Catalan art nouveau-style masterpiece can be seen from almost anywhere in Barcelona and is well worth a visit in itself – but it's the views over the city that really astound here. A lift and several steps take you up to the tower, where a viewing platform offers a full panorama of the skyline and sea below.

It's not just the church that lures visitors to the mountain, though; it's also home to Tibidabo Amusement Park, one of the oldest theme parks in the world and the oldest in Spain, with a carrousel, bumper cars, Ferris wheel and several other attractions drawing families. Hiking trails are on the doorstep too, with much of the area protected under the Parc Natural de Collserola – the largest green space in Barcelona and the city's green lung.

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Mercat de Sant Antoni Mercat de Sant Antoni free

There are ample reasons to visit the impressive Boqueria Market , but if you're after a less-touristy alternative, put Mercat de Sant Antoni on your list too. Located in the up-and-coming Sant Antoni neighborhood, the market originally opened in 1882 in an art nouveau, wrought-iron and glass building; neglected, it closed in 2009, but reopened nine years later following an 80 million euro refurbishment. Today, the market is home to a whole range of fresh products, from Spanish cured meats to fresh cheeses, fruit and vegetables, which sit beneath its striking, original octagonal domed ceiling. You'll also find stalls selling clothes, shoes, homeware and more. And on Sundays, the surrounding streets (which have been semi-pedestrianized under one of the city's traffic-free "superblocks") turn into one of Europe's largest outdoor book fairs.

Beyond the market, there's plenty to explore in the area, too; its opening helped revamp the neighborhood, turning it into something of a foodie paradise with tapas bars, bodegas and restaurants on almost every corner.

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Museo de la Ciencia CosmoCaixa Museo de la Ciencia CosmoCaixa

Whether you're coming with kids or just want to embrace your inner child, Barcelona's science museum is well worth a visit. Housed in a modernist glass-and-steel building, it's home to an array of interactive exhibits ranging from the "Flooded Forest" – an Amazonian-style glasshouse home to piranhas, crocodiles and exotic plant species – to "The Universe Gallery," which focuses on all things space, from the creation of the cosmos to evolution and the human brain. Families can get hands-on with different experiments, from creating sandstorms and tornadoes to learning how soundwaves are transmitted, and there are some impressive design features too – don't miss the Foucault pendulum, a heavy iron ball used to demonstrate the earth's rotation; and the spiral staircase, which winds around a towering Amazonian Acariquara tree.

Recent visitors were highly impressed by the CosmoCaixa and enjoyed the interactive exhibits, especially the Amazonian rainforest section. Several said it was the best science museum they'd been to, with state-of-the-art facilities and plenty to see, and many recommended spending a few hours here. Others were surprised at how reasonably priced it was. A few said there wasn't much for very young children, but for many it provided a welcome escape from the heat and an impressive alternative to the better-known Barcelona sites.

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

28 of the Best Places to Visit in Barcelona

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: February 5, 2023

Barcelona is loved by many and thought of as the best city in Spain to visit. It’s no wonder, there are so many amazing places to visit in Barcelona that will take your breath away. We’ve been to Barcelona many times and realized that we never really shared our list of the best things to do in Barcelona, so we decided it’s about time!

While  Paris  may have the reputation of the “city of love”, many travelers will be pleasantly surprised by the romantic charms of Barcelona. The difference between Barcelona and Paris is that you don’t feel the need to run around and see every famous site. Walking around and enjoying the city’s energy is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.

Table of Contents

Best Places to Visit in Barcelona

Top Places to Visit in Barcelona

This post was originally written by Illia and Nastia from crazzzytravel.com who shared their favorite romantic attractions in Barcelona. It has been rewritten by ThePlanetD with updated information and tours.

Looking for where to stay in Barcelona?

  • Hotel Mercer : Located in medieval Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) in the heart of Barcelona and the historic district near La Rambla. Booking.com / TripAdvisor
  • Majestic Hotel and Spa – Deluxe 5-star traditional hotel in, Eixample Neighborhood steps away from Gaudi monuments and La Rambla. Booking.com / TripAdvisor
  • Hotel Bagues – Located in El Reva,l La Rambla neighborhood, close to shopping areas, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house, the Cathedral and more. Booking.com / TripAdvisor
  • Read our Complete Guide of Where to Stay in Barcelona

Number 1 Money Saving Tip in Barcelona

Get your Go Barcelona Pass to save 40% on attractions and entrance fees. 2,3 and 5 day passes start at $99. There are so many perks including skip the line fast track entrances, and guided tours, on 30 popular Barcelona Attractions. Buy Now and Activate anytime in the next 24 months!

1. Sagrada Família

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona spain

You cannot mention Barcelona without including Gaudí’s famous unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família. It is usually one of the first places to visit in Barcelona on anyone’s list! La Sagrada Família stands proud above the entire Barcelona skyline. He began construction on the massive cathedral in 1882. It is scheduled for completion in 2026 to commemorate 100 years since Gaudí died.

Antoni Gaudí was an architect who led the Art Nouveau style of the Catalan region of Spain. Gaudí’s works are so prevalent in Barcelona, you will explore many places where his architecture is on display. Seven of his designs have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city. You can read more about it at the complete works of Gaudí here.

  • Get your  Skip The Line Tickets for Sagrada Familia in advance. Free/no-hassle cancellations up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Book a   walking tour of Barcelona   to discover Gaudí

If you and your loved one are planning a  romantic European holiday , then you should know that there are many romantic places to see in Barcelona for  couples . But solo travelers will fall in love with Barcelona as well!

2. Park Güell

Parc Guell in Barcelona

Our second choice for places to visit in Barcelona is a continuation of Gaudi architecture with a visit to Park Güell. This is a famous park that was also designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí . It’s one of Barcelona’s top attractions and a great place for couples to hide away from the touristic crowds, listen to street musicians, and kiss in the artificial caves. The place not to miss is a terrace with a spectacular view of the city.

  • The best way to explore Park Güell is to take a walking tour to learn about the life of Gaudi and of all the houses and architecture on display in the park.
  • Reserve now and pay later! – Book your skip the line tour of Park Güell with the guaranteed entrance. While exploring Park Güell be sure to go into the Gaudi House Museum to see how the architect lived his life.

3. Do a night tour of La Pedrera (Casa Milà)

Casa Mila in Barcelona Spain

Officially known as Casa Milà but called La Pedrera by the locals, this unique apartment block is another Gaudi design and a must-see for anyone visiting Barcelona.

To spice up the romance, we decided to see it at night and had no regrets. The soft lighting at night made the experience much more intimate and the building was truly spectacular. To cap off our romantic evening we finished up with a glass of Pinot Noir on the roof terrace. You can book tours of La Predera ahead of time

4. Casa Batlló

Casa Batllo in Barcelona

Casa Batlló is located along Passeig de Gràcia and this street is worth walking just for the row of houses that make it famous. This is a major thoroughfare of Barcelona and we stayed in the Majestic Hotel and Spa located on this street. There are several shops and restaurants, but it is Casa Batlló that is the star attraction. Another work by Gaudi, this townhouse was designed for the Battló family in the 19th century. If you look closely at the balconies, they look like skeletons. Get your entry ticket to Casa Battlo with an audio guide included.

5. Passeig de Gràcia

Speaking of Passeig de Gràcia , this is a major street in Barcelona that should not be missed. Not only does it contain many of Gaudi’s great works, it is the premier shopping street in Barcelona. The wide pedestrian sidewalk makes it easy to window shop where you’ll find the likes of Gucci, Prada, Dior and Dolce and Gabana. We stayed at Majestic Hotel and Spa on this street and it was amazing to walk out our door and be so close to everything.

6. Palau de La Música Catalana

Palau de La Musica Catalana in Barcelona Spain

A tour of the Palau de la Música Catalana is a wonderful experience for its ornate interior. It looks like something that Gaudi would design, but he didn’t. It was in fact designed by architect, Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Built between 1905 and 1908 it has that classic Catalan modernism feel.

Tours can be booked to see the interior of the Palau de la Música Catalana including the concert hall and its ornate glass ceiling, the stained glass windows, and colorful design. It is definitely worth going inside as it is very impressive and this was one of our favourite places to visit in Barcelona indeed.

7. Barcelona Opera House – The Gran Teatre del Liceu

Barcelona Opera House

Sticking with our music theme, a visit to the Barcelona Opera House is another interesting place to visit in Barcelona. It is one of the most popular opera houses in all of Europe. It opened in 1847 and has seen some of the greatest performers in history grace its stage. Domingo, Pavarotti, you name it, they’ve played here.

Tours will take you to see the stage and seating area of 2300 patrons, but you will also get to see rehearsal halls and other important rooms.

8. Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona

Dave and I tend to explore our religious side when visiting cities in Europe, and Barcelona is no different. It is the Gothic Churches that interest us, and Santa Maria del Mar checks all the boxes. Dating back to the 14th century, construction began in 1329 and it was completed in 1350. It is dark and stark on the outside like the usual gothic cathedrals, but inside it is light and open feeling like a lighter basilica. Something of note to see is the tomb of the  Martyr Saint Santa Eulalia . And it is worth spending a couple of euros to go up to the rooftop for a view of the city.

9. Parc de la Ciutadella (Ciutadella Park) – Arc de Triomf

Did you know there is an Arc de Triomf in Barcelona? Well, not exactly the same as Paris, but Barcelona does have its own arch. Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf was built by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas for the 1888 World’s Fair. It is located at the northern end of Passeig de Lluís Companys a promenade in Ciutat Vella (Old City) The giant arch marks the entranceway to the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella. Here you’ll find the Parliament of Catalunya and a lovely lake with a fountain modeled after the Trevi Fountain. Barcelona’s city park, Parc de la Ciutadella houses a zoo, a small lake, and a fountain partially designed by Antoni Gaudí.

10. Cascada Fountain

Casacada Fountain in Barcelona

The Cascada Fountain is a beautiful fountain that is the centerpiece of Ciutadella Park. While working for designer Josep Fontserè Gaudi designed the water tanks and hydraulics. If it looks familiar, you are correct. This fountain was modeled after the Trevi Fountain in Rome .

One of the most romantic activities we did was to rent a rowboat at the lake in Ciutadella park. It cost us only twelve euros for a full hour (a bargain!) and it was a marvelous way to crown what was already a memorable vacation. Moving up and down the lake was a great way to reflect on the charm of Barcelona and get a close view of the beautiful scenery of the park.

11. Gothic Quarter Ciutat Vella

ciutat vella  in Barcelona

The Ciutat Vella – the old city of Barcelona is a place you will definitely find yourself experiencing a feeling of a bygone era. Built on top of old Roman ruins, the streets of Barcelona are a maze of small alleyways and walkways. Each turn takes you to yet another old church or remains of a Roman Wall. It is worth it just to wander away for an hour or two and stop at a café to have a draught beer at the bar before heading off for a late lunch.

Get lost in the streets, stop in a tapas bar for a glass of sangria or cava (Spanish sparkling wine), and wander the streets admiring the architecture and daily life.

12. La Rambla

Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Even though it is touristy, a trip to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without strolling along La Rambla. La Rambla is one of the top attractions in Barcelona and with good reason. Also known as Las Ramblas or just Ramblas, La Rambla is Barcelona’s bustling main tourist street.  It is a gorgeous piece of roadway that has a wide pedestrian walkway right down the middle. 

Street performers line the edges posing with tourists for a few coins. The famous human statues are a lot of fun to watch. Vendors sell chickens, guinea pigs, flowers, and vegetables. It is a lively place filled with swarms of people.  It is also the main walkway down to the water and towards many of the cities tourist sites.

This pedestrian boulevard runs for 1.2 km beginning at Plaça de Catalunya and ending at Port Vell. If this is your first time to Barcelona, La Rambla is a good place to start to get your bearings and a feel for the Barcelona tourism scene. Plus, it’s a great place to find a fix price meal, a cheap pitcher of Sangria, and free people watching.

13. Palau Guell

Palau Guell in Barcelona Spain

The 1st Count of Güell,” Eusebi Güell kept Gaudi very busy commissioning many of his famous buildings in Barcelona. This was one of his first commissions, beginning construction in 1886. It was the private residence of the Guell family and like many places in Barcelona, you must go inside to appreciate its true splendor. The Parabolic Dome is the showstopper.

Get your Barcelona City Pass offering access to all the top attraction s in Barcelona for one low price. Choose from 2, 3 or 5-day pass to visit as many attractions as you like.

14. Mercato Boqueria

La Bouqueria in Barcelona

Be sure to pop into La Boqueria to grab some snacks for a picnic. We filled up with meats and cheese, bread, and olives to take with us to the beach for a picnic lunch. Barcelona is known for its food culture and it doesn’t take long to walk around the city to realize how much the Barcelonians value this.

We hit the Boqueria market one morning and were amazed by the huge variety of fruit, vegetables, meats, and countless Spanish delicacies. If you are staying at a holiday apartment like an Airbnb or have access to a kitchen, then you must hit the market.

Going to the market and cooking in our apartment afterward gave us a sense that we were a couple living the romantic dream in a European city rather than just visiting for a short summer.

15. Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral at sunset

I nearly forgot about this beautiful cathedral that we visited on our first trip to Barcelona. Until I was looking through photos. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (aka Gothic Cathedral of Barcelona) may not be as famous as Sagrada Familia but it is much older. It dates back to the 13th century! Its steeple peeks out from the city skyline beckoning you to visit.

Book your Hop on Hop Off bus tour for your visit to Barcelona. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the city, plus tickets can be purchased in advance or last minute with easy and free cancellation within 24 hours of tour.

16. Plaza de España (Plaça d’Espanya)

Plaza de Espana in Barcelona

This gorgeous plaza which sits in will make you want to confess your love to the world. We walked through there in the evening by chance and it was hard not to be blown away by its beauty. The gorgeous Ciutadella fortress and the beautiful Venetian Towers create the atmosphere of a fairy tale.

The long walking street with hundreds of shops starts here as well, making it a perfect place to buy a souvenir to remember about your romantic getaway. Read: Catalunya, Spain in Photos

17. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

 Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Even though we aren’t the biggest museum fans, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is a sight to see in its own right. Inside you’ll see Catalan art dating back to the 10th century and you’ll browse, everything from Gothic and Romanesque to Modern and Baroque art. And it is here you’ll find some paintings by El Greco. But it truly is the outside that is beautiful as it looks like a grand palace more than a museum.

18. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc in Barcelona

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc was built in 1929 for the Universal Expo. It’s a beautiful fountain to see, but it is the colorful light show that attracts visitors at night. The show performs 3 to 5 days of the week from 8-9 pm or 9-10 pm depending on the time of the year. It is definitely one of the not to miss attractions in Barcelona.

The light show at Montjuic Fountain is marvelous. Read about all the things to do in Barcelona at night . Check out the  timetables  and note that it is closed from Jan 7 – Feb 28 for annual maintenance.

19. Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol is a replica of a Spanish Village that was built for the 1929 World’s Fair. During the day it is a spot to walk through replicas of Spanish buildings, craft workshops and museums honoring Dali to Picasso. When the sun goes down, it is alive with, Flamenco dancing, tapa bars, and night clubs. To really explore it, book skip the line tickets in advance.

20. Port Vell – Barcelona Harbour

Barcelona Harbor at night

The old port of Barcelona is a sight to see. We had never witnessed so many huge yachts and rows of boats lining the harbour. Who owns these multimillion-dollar floating homes? There were so many in port and we marveled at their extravagance and how someone could possibly afford one of these.   And what do we do to get one?

The waterfront is a perfect place to enjoy the afternoon. Port Vell is an enormous entertainment complex complete with Aquarium, Imax, shopping, restaurants, and a giant marina filled with yachts and sailboats.

A popular Barcelona attraction is The Port Vell Arial Tramway. Opened in 1931, it takes you from Montjuïc to Torre Sant Sebastià.  If you want to see it from above, this is a fun option for a bird’s eye view of the city.

21. Hit the beach

Barcelona Beach at sunset

One of the things that make Barcelona stand out among the large European cities is the beaches. We were blown away by the pristine Mediterranean waters of Barcelona’s beaches. As a bonus, the coastline is located right in the city center so it’s a great place to take your shoes off and walk after lunch or dinner.

Playa Barceloneta is the city’s most famous beach but there are many beaches you can visit in the city. We took a sailing trip from the harbor to see Barcelona from the sea and it was amazing.

22. Columbus Monument

Colombus Monument in Barcelona

While walking from Las Ramblas to Port Vell, we stumbled upon the Columbus monument. At 60 meters high (197 feet) it is an impressive monument.

Like a fountain, it was constructed for the Universal Exposition of Barcelona in 1881. It is there to commemorate his first voyage to the Americas and to remind that he reported to Queen Isabella I and Kin Ferdinand V here in Barcelona immediately upon his return.

23. Plaça de Catalunya

Placa de Catalunya in Barcelona

Another important square in Barcelona is Plaça de Catalunya. It is the major transportation hub of the city. Close to the university, you’ll see students enjoying the outdoors. If you are like us, we enjoy visiting Hard Rock Cafés and we couldn’t resist popping in for a beer to check out Barcelona’s version of the famous restaurant.

24. Afternoon Dessert at Plaça Sant Felip Neri

This chilled-out square has a violent history as it was bombed during the Spanish Civil War but today it is one of the most romantic hideaways in the city.

We ordered an amazing gelato and dessert at one of the nearby cafes and walked over to the plaza hand in hand to enjoy a nice and much-needed quiet escape from the city. If you are lucky enough as we were you might even catch some Spanish guitar being played by one of the lingering locals. Read: Gelato vs Ice Cream: a Tasty Showdown from Bologna

Fun Barcelona City Tours

25. seat 600 driving tour.

SEAT 500 Tour in Barcelona

Pretty much one of the coolest tours we’ve ever done was the Seat 600 Classic car tour through the city. These were the popular car from the ’60s and we all followed in a line on this self-drive tour through Barcelona.

Be prepared to drive a stick. If you aren’t comfortable, have someone else drive, the skinny steering wheels, sensitive clutch, and strange shifter made for quite the adventure as we drove around the city tasting tapas. We ended high on a hill overlooking the city and eating an outdoor feast under the stars.

26. Sidecar Tour

Views from the Sidecar Tour in Barcelona

We were picked up at the Barcelona waterfront by a pair of motorbikes with a couple of sidecars attached. We put on our helmets, hooked up our microphones and proceeded to enjoy a tour of the city.

We whizzed all through the streets seeing such famous sites as the Columbus monument, Old Port, Palau de la Música Catalana, Sagrada Familia Temple, Casa Milán Casa Battló, Plaza España, El Raval district and Las Ramblas promenade just to name a few!

We got to see the city from all different sides and enjoyed catching a glimpse of Barcelona’s nightlife. If you get the chance to try a sidecar tour in Barcelona, we highly recommend you do it. For more information on the side car, city tour visit  Ride The Brightside

27. Food and Market Tours

Barcelona Market Tour

When visiting Spain, a lot of your most memorable experiences will be about food. One of our favourite things to do in Barcelona was to join a local chef to visit the city’s two main markets, Mercat Boqueria and Mercat de Santa Caterina. The two oldest markets in the city. Food tours are the best way to learn about the local cuisine and it makes visiting the restaurants of Barcelona more fun because you now know what to order!

Check out these Barcelona Food Tours. Explore Barcelona through your stomach with these tasty tours. Free cancellation up to 24 hours notice plus last-minute bookings.

  • Santa Caterina and Boqueria Market Tours with Local Chef – Take a tour through one of the most famous markets in the world plus small local grocery shops. Tastes Spanish delicacies like olive oil, vinegar, olives, Iberian ham, tomatoes, Manchego cheese, pork sausage, and more.
  • Paella Cooking Class & Mercato Boqueria – Go shopping for ingredients to make your own Spanish Paella. Sample Catalan hot and cold tapas and learn about Basque Pintxos. Don’t forget the sangria!
  • Go off the usual Gaudi Route and instead take a Tapas Tasting tour with a visit to the Picasso Museum – Tour Ciutat Vella with tapas tasting at three different venues.

Day Tour from Barcelona

28. montserrat.

Day Trip from Barcelona Montserrat

A highlight of any trip to Barcelona is to take a day trip to the Benedictine Monk mountain retreat of Montserrat. It takes an hour to get there by train, or you can rent a car as we did. We actually had a car for most of our visits to Barcelona to give us the freedom to explore Catalunya with ease.

A funicular will take you to the top of the mountain for spectacular views and mountain hikes. And of course, listen to the Montserrat Choir boys perform. They perform daily at 1 pm.

Book Montserrat tours from Barcelona. Free cancellation and last-minute bookings. Monsterrat Cable Care and Easy Hike – Transportation from Barcelona to Montserrat where you’ll take the cable car up the world-famous Monastery. See the Black Madonna and take an easy hike with your guide.

Where to Eat in Barcelona

Where to eat in Barcelona

There are many places to eat in Barcelona and you can easily just walk the streets to find a packed restaurant, but one we wanted to mention was Bar Velodromo. Bar Velodromo where we checked the menu with 3D glasses and enjoyed great meat and cheeses

Barcelona Tourist Attractions Map

places to visit in barcelona map

  • A Local’s Guide to What to do in Barcelona at Night
  • The 16 Most Romantic Cities on Earth
  • Gaudi in Barcelona – 13 Must-See Architectural Wonders

Author Bio: Illia and Nastia are passionate about each other, traveling around the world and sharing their experiences at  crazzzytravel.com , a blog where you can find plenty of budget travel tips as well as practical information about numerous destinations. They have visited 40+ countries across 5 continents, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Visit their website to learn more about traveling as a couple! Follow them Facebook / Twitter  / Pinterest / Instagram

Going to Spain? Read more about these Spanish Cities

  • Toledo, Beautiful Spanish History Awaits
  • Cuenca and the Casas Colgadas
  • 15 Free Things to do in Seville, Spain
  • Andalusia Travel – 5 Reasons to Visit the South of Spain
  • Camping in Spain: Everything You Need to Know
  • Via Ferrata, Spain – Take your adventure to New Heights

Travel Planning Resources

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Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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17 thoughts on “28 of the Best Places to Visit in Barcelona”

Interesting article. Also romantic places; Casa Batllo (sometimes they have theatrical visits), the magic fountain and make from Park Guell a walk to the Bunkers del Carmel, for an amazing view over Barcelona. In the evening visit the area of Gracia.

First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Thank you!

Good write-up. I definitely appreciate this website. Keep writing!

Thanks so much for providing individuals with a very memorable chance to read articles and blog posts from this web site. It is often very nice and also jam-packed with a great time for me personally and my office co-workers to search the blog a minimum of three times every week to study the new things you have.

And indeed, I’m just actually astounded with the sensational ideas served by you. Certain two areas in this post are truly the most beneficial I’ve had.

You are veritable inspiration for couples looking for romantic getaways. Barcelona is the must visit place in a life time. Gaudi’s architectural styles are wonderful, I have seen interiors of the Sagrada Familia in many videos and they seem like a surreal. Thanks for sharing the most wonderful post.

Yes to Barceloneta beach! And there was that one restaurant with outdoor seating right by the shore that had the best paella. Brings back memories. Perfect list 🙂

Great blog, Barcelona is one of my favourites as a perfect & dream honeymoon destination too, so romantic and pretty 🙂

Great post on a place that’s still on the bucketlist! I’ve visited most of the South but need to venture up to Barcelona.

Totally agree with the authors 🙂 Barcelona is a great city to visit and it is very affordable even for a budget traveller. Haven’t see La Pedrera by night yet, but walking through the rooftop maze framed by the iconic chimneys also can be romantic, and sharing tiny tiny pintxos 😀

Its a Wonderful Travel Post to visit. Great Beautiful place. I will list this to my next travel. Amazing Post.

Great blog and amazing pics. Will try to go to Barcelona in my next trip. Thanx

Beautiful place. Great blog and I am going to add this into my bucket list.Barcelona is amazing and pictures are great.

What a beautiful market! Love the photos – Barcelona is a romantic city; with so much culture, interesting architecture and good food (not to mention cheap wine) its the perfect romantic destination!

Thank you for featuring us guys! Barcelona is definitely one of our favorite cities in Europe. We now reside in the US and are planning to live elsewhere in future. Barcelona is one of the top places we’d love to move to! ??

Great post! I love Barcelona such unique culture and architecture…. Loved this list though! A few different things that what you normally read – Although single I think they can still be appreciated haha

Hi, nice post on Barcelona. We’re off to Portugal later this year, and had considered including some of Spain in our tour. However, I’ve heard that Barcelona is getting very crowded to the point that the locals aren’t that thrilled about the number of tourists there. How did you feel when you were there? Get any strange vibes? Did you feel crowded or was it OK?

really enjoyed. They are really beautiful places. My dream

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What to see in Barcelona: 36 essential things to do in the city

Information

Barcelona is full of surprises. The cosmopolitan, Mediterranean city, full of light and life, is home to countless interesting places made for enjoyment. To help you plan your visit and so you get the most out of your city break, we have compiled a list of the essential things to do in the Ciudad Condal, as it is often referred to, that you cannot miss. Modernist buildings, parks, squares, museums and gourmet markets await, ensuring that your Barcelona city break is absolutely unforgettable. The Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, the Palau de la Música, Barceloneta beach, the Cathedral and Las Ramblas are just a small example of the many attractions that make Barcelona one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Legend has it that Barcelona was founded by the Carthaginian leader Hamilcar Barca, although other more spiritual types maintain that it was the god Hercules himself who founded the city after finding his ninth boat (barca nona) moored on the beach. What is documented is the presence of Romans from the first century B.C. Today the city’s streets and monuments bear traces of its long history and its attractions are enjoyed by the scores of visitors that come to the city to enjoy its many charms. In this guide you can find all of Barcelona’s must-visit places so that you get the most out of your trip to the city. So whether you are staying for three days or a weekend , don’t miss a thing.

  • The Sagrada Familia

Palau de la Música

  • Caso Batlló

Barcelona cathedral

Torre Agbar

Plaza de Catalunya

  • La Boquería
  • Montjüic fountain and Plaza de España
  • Monjüic castle

Ciutadella park

  • Arco del triunfo

Santa María del Mar basilica

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Port Olimpic

Palacio Güell

Passeig de Gràcia

Horta labyrinth

The Carmel bunkers

  • Tibidabo hill and Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor

Las Arenas shopping centre

  • Barcelona neighbourhoods in which to lose yourself
  • Where to stay in Barcelona

PLACES YOU CANNOT MISS IN BARCELONA

Sagrada Familia basilica

The  Sagrada Familia  is perhaps the most famous and most visited landmark in Barcelona – an emblem of the city. The architect Antoni Gaudí  dedicated 40 years of his life to its construction and it is for this reason that he was laid to rest beneath one of the basilica’s naves. His particular, striking brand of architecture leaves no one indifferent. The Sagrada Familia is a true gem and an emblem of modernist Barcelona that you cannot miss.

tourist areas of barcelona

Barceló Raval

  • Located next to the famous Ramblas
  • 360º terrace with swimming pool, solarium and panoramic views of the city
  • A Barcelona brunch that’s famous on twitter
  • Wellness Centre and Fitness

tourist areas of barcelona

Barceló Sants

  • Excellent position
  • Large 3,000 m² area for events and conferences
  • Ultra-modern Orbital rooms
  • Sensational restaurants

tourist areas of barcelona

Occidental Diagonal 414

  • Prime location, in the heart of Barcelona
  • Roof Top Terrace
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • Meeting rooms

tourist areas of barcelona

Occidental Atenea Mar - Adults Only

  • On the seafront
  • Next to the International Convention Centre
  • Fitness Centre and Sauna
  • Terrace with infinity pool

tourist areas of barcelona

Occidental Barcelona 1929

  • Superior, Premium and Family rooms
  • Pool, sun terrace and fitness studio with free access for hotel guests
  • Restaurants offering local cuisine
  • Excellent location and connections

sagrada familia barcelona

Sagrada familia Barcelona

Declared a Unesco Heritage Site in 1984, Park Güell  is one of Gaudí’s most outstanding creations, since it blends the unique style of his modernist works with other natural motifs. The dragon, on the main stairway, is the park’s icon.

parque guell

Parque Güell

If you like sport, especially football, you cannot miss the stadium of one of the world’s biggest clubs. The  Camp Nou  is the inner sanctum of blaugranas , as supporters are known, as well as an impressive, magnificent stadium with a capacity of 98,000 people that is well worth a visit.

Camp Nou

Built in 1908 by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the  Palau de la Música  encapsulates the history of modernism and world music and is one of the most spectacular auditoriums in the world with a large, beautiful concert hall. Be sure not to miss the main façade too. The building is a Unesco World Heritage Site for good reason.

Palau de la musica

Palau de la música

Commonly known as La Pedrera,  Casa Milá  is also categorised as a World Heritage Site. It is a work of art in itself due to its extraordinary architecture and the large windows dotted across its façade. Decorated with sea and mythological motifs, the building also houses an exhibition room and concerts are held on its roof terrace.

casa mila

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló , designed by Gaudí, was built between 1902 and 1906, converting an ordinary building into an impressive creation. Its multi-coloured walls, balconies and roofs covered in scales will leave you in awe.

Casa batllo

Barcelona cathedral  is an impressive example of Spanish Gothic architecture declared a Cultural Interest Site and a National Historical Monument. In addition to the interior, the cloister is also well worth a visit.

catedral de barcelona

Catedral de Barcelona

The most famous street in Barcelona, on  La Rambla  you can get a feel for the hustle and bustle of the city with people everywhere you look, shops, street artists and stalls selling crafts, souvenirs and flowers. Be sure to walk the full length from Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vell.

la rambla de barcelona

Standing at a height of 142 metres, Torre Agbar  dominates the Barcelona skyline. It was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, who took inspiration from the architecture of Gaudí. One of the building’s most interesting details are the lights that change colours, which are even more special at certain times of the year.

torre agbar

One of the city’s main hubs and a meeting point that separates the old city from the Eixample district, Plaça de Catalunya  was built in 1889 after the International Exposition that was held in Barcelona the previous year. It is lined with important buildings and boasts two large fountains.

Plaza Cataluña

Plaza Cataluña

Boquería market

In addition to being a municipal market, Boquería market has become one of Barcelona’s most important tourist attractions. Situated on Las Ramblas, its culinary offerings are so appetising that you won’t be able to resist trying the gourmet delicacies sold at its varied stalls.

mercado de la boqueria

The Montjuïc magic fountain and Plaza de España

After Plaça de Catalunya, Plaça d’Espanya  is one of the most important places in Barcelona. One of its great attractions is the Montjuïc magic fountain , where you can enjoy a water, light and music show. It is also home to the former bullring, which is now a large shopping centre.

fuente montguic

Montjuïc castle

On the top of the hill, Montjuïc castle  is a former military stronghold categorised as a Site of Cultural Interest and a National Heritage Site. Its walls have borne witness to countless battles throughout the history of Barcelona.

El Castillo de Montjuïc

Barcelona’s quintessential park, across 17 hectares you will find a zoo, buildings of the Catalan Parliament, a church, a secondary school and even a lake.   Ciutadella park  also hosts fairs, open-air markets and sporting events. You can reach this lovely park by metro getting off Arc de Triomf (L1), Ciutadella/Vila Olímpica (L4) or Jaume I (L4).

parc de la ciutadella

Arc de Triomf

The  Arc de Triomf  was built in 1888 as an entrance to the International Exposition that took place in Ciutadella park. Although its shape and proportions are built in classical style, its decoration is full of symbolic motifs. The arch is an emblem of Barcelona’s transition into modernity.

arco del triunfo barcelona

The  Santa María del Mar basilica is a simple, austere construction that is nevertheless steeped in a type of beauty especially associated with the Catalan Gothic. Particularly notable are its beautiful stained glass windows. The basilica served as inspiration for the writer Ildefonso Falcones and his famous novel Cathedral of the Sea . It is the resting place of the patron saint of sailors.

Basílica de Santa María del Mar

Situated on Las Ramblas, since 1847 the  Gran Teatre del Liceu  has played host to the very best opera singers and is regarded as one of the most important opera theatres in the world. A guided tour is a great way to explore it in depth and not miss any of its beautiful details as is, of course, catching a performance.

teatro del liceo

Port Vell is the oldest part of the port of Barcelona. Its facilities are currently used for recreational boats and the middle part is home to the Maremagnun shopping and entertainment centre.

port vell

In 1992, Barcelona’s Port Olimpic was the setting of the sailing competitions of the Barcelona Olympic Games and today it is one of the city’s liveliest entertainment areas. It is situated close to the beach where you can do water sports and boasts scores of restaurants where you can sample food typical of Barcelona.

port olimpic

The  Palacio Güell  was designed by Gaudí for the Güell family. The building remains practically the same as when the artist designed it. Touring through this unique building from the basement to the rooftop, passing through the house’s different rooms, is an experience you cannot miss.

palacio guell

Passeig de Gràcia is one of the best shopping streets in the city where you will find high-end fashion and accessories brands as well as more budget-friendly options. The street is also home to many of Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner’s most famous buildings.

paseo de gracia

Paseo de Gracia

One of the prettiest parks in Barcelona, this romantic space combines nature and interesting architecture to perfection. Situated at the foot of the Collserola mountains, it is named after the labyrinth made of trimmed Cypress trees that you can visit and explore in the lower part of the garden. In its day the land on which the park lies belonged to the Desvalls family, who donated it to the City Council in 1967. The garden-museum has been open to the public since 1971.

labertinto de horta barcelona

Located at the highest point of Turó de la Rovira, the bunkers in the Carmel neighbourhood are a fantastic viewpoint from where you can enjoy spectacular views of Barcelona. Despite its name, there have never been any bunkers on the top of Turó de la Rovira but rather an anti-aircraft battery, which was key to the city’s defence system during the Spanish Civil War. The site is very popular with young people and a popular tourist destination. It has served as a backdrop for adverts, films and TV series and countless images of it can be found on social media.

Bunkeres del Carmel

Tibidabo hill and the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor

Tibidabo is one of the most emblematic and magical places in the city of Barcelona as well as the highest point in the Collserola mountains providing almost unbeatable views of Barcelona and the Vallés region. Tibidabo amusement park offers visitors over 30 attractions for all ages in addition to lovely restaurants and a picnic area. Tibidabo is also the site of the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (Temple of the Sacred Heart), designed by Enric Sagnier in 1902 and completed in 1961. The neo-Gothic-style building is crowned by a large bronze statue of the Sacred Heart. A lift will take you to the highest part of the temple, 500 metres above sea level, from where you can enjoy incredible views of the city – a true window onto Barcelona.

barcelona-monte-tibidabo

Situated on Plaça d’Espanya, the Las Arenas shopping centre is housed within Barcelona’s former bullring, which had remained unused from 19 June 1977, the day on which the final bullfight took place. The complex was redesigned by the architect Richard Rogers and since 2011 it functions as a shopping centre, sports centre and music centre with 360-degree panoramic views of the city. The top floor is lined with restaurants, the one below houses a cinema and the rest are occupied with shops and small businesses.

BARCELONA NEIGHBOURHOODS IN WHICH TO LOSE YOURSELF

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Barcelona, with narrow medieval streets and hidden squares, the  Gothic Quarter  is one of the most charming places to stroll around and enjoy the city. Don’t miss walking through the square in front of the Cathedral, Carrer del Bisbe and Plaça Reial and sitting at one of its terraces.

barrio gotico

Gothic Quarter

Barceloneta beach and neighbourhood

Barceloneta  is not just the name of a famous beach, although that is often what we identify it with, but a neighbourhood with a seafaring spirit. Situated within the Ciutat Vella district, it was built to provide housing for residents from the La Ribera neighbourhood, who were evicted in the eighteenth century to make way for Ciutadella park.

Aside from its history, today Barceloneta is the place to go to eat at a seafood restaurant, go shopping, sunbathe, and enjoy the beach. Much of the city’s 4.5 kilometres of beaches are situated in the area. Make the most of your time in Barcelona to explore this authentic corner of the city.

playa barceloneta

Barceloneta beach

The Raval neighbourhood

Somewhere that you should not miss on a trip to Barcelona is  Raval , because, however many times you go there, you will always find something new. The ever-evolving neighbourhood is a favourite among art lovers, since it is home to MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum) and CCCB (Barcelona Centre of Contemporary Culture). What’s more, its design shops, art galleries and graffiti, which give the area an even more urban feel, always offer surprises. It is also the perfect place to go for tapas in bohemian bars and, if you like the atmosphere of markets, be sure to visit La Boquería, a real institution in the Catalan capital.

El raval

The Gràcia district

The Gràcia district, made up of five neighbourhoods, is the smallest district in Barcelona, which does not mean to say that it isn’t an essential place to visit on a city break. One of its most emblematic neighbourhoods is Villa de Gràcia, which dates back from the seventeenth century. Although it is today integrated into the city, the area still maintains its own identity and sense of belonging. It is a lovely place to take a stroll, have a drink on one of its terraces, visit an art workshop or listen to some Catalan rumba, since the district is the birthplace of artists such as El Pescaílla, and, of course, visit Park Güell , one of Gaudí’s greatest works.

Try not to confuse the Gràcia neighbourhood with Passeig de Gràcia, which has a very different feel.

gracia

BARCELONA’S MOST IMPORTANT MUSEUMS

Nacional Art Museum of Catalunya

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya  is housed in the National Palace, one of the most emblematic buildings from the 1929 International Exposition. It can be seen up high from Plaça d’Espanya, from where it can be reached via a lovely staircase. Works from throughout history await to be discovered.

museo nacional de arte

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

CosmoCaixa and CaixaForum

Belonging to Fundació La Caixa, these two cultural centres play an important educational role and are housed in historical buildings that have been painstakingly renovated.  CosmoCaixa , on the site of the former Science Museum, is housed in an old asylum for the blind built by the famous architect Josep Domènech i Estapà. Today it brings visitors of all ages in touch with nature and science. CaixaForum , meanwhile, is more linked to art, and is housed in a former modernist-style factory on Montjuïc hill designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch.

CosmoCaixa y CaixaForum

Poble Espanyol museum

Poble Espanyol  is an open-air museum situated on Montjuïc hill built for the 1929 International Exposition as a showcase of Spanish culture and architecture. In it you will find reproductions of the most representatives places from many Spanish cities.

Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol

Picasso museum

The  Picasso museum  possesses the largest collection of pieces from the Malaga-born artist’s youth and formative years in Barcelona. Touring this large art gallery housed in several medieval palaces is a true privilege in light of the paintings that hang from its walls and its sculptures and prints. It is worth stopping to observe some pieces that demonstrate the relationship that Picasso had with other contemporary artists, who he would meet up with at the famous café Els Quatre Gats.

MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum)

In this museum, more commonly known by the acronym  MACBA , art from the second half of the twentieth century takes centre stage. Over 5,000 artworks are distributed throughout a building that exudes modernity, spanning more than 14,000 m2. Its large white rooms, vast windows and the abstract art on offer help create an experience that you should not miss when in Barcelona.

The museum also boasts an extensive artistic and culture programme as well as interesting temporary exhibitions.

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona

Fundación Joan Miró

Fundación Joan Miró

The space housing the collection of Joan Miró  was conceived by the artist himself and the architect Josep Lluís Sert in the heart of Montjuïc hill. A visit to this art sanctuary is made all the more powerful by the building itself, the surrounding gardens and the dialogue that the Catalan artist’s works establish with the whole ensemble. To visit the Fundació Miró it to get lost amid its courtyards, terraces and exhibition rooms and round it all off by enjoying the surrounding nature.

As part of its permanent exhibition, in addition to admiring paintings, sculptures and tapestries by Joan Miró, you can also see works by other artists such as Chillida, Tàpies and Calder.

Casa-Museo Gaudí

Situated within the Park Güell complex, the Gaudí house-museum was the artist’s former residence for almost 20 years, between 1906 and 1925. In 1963 it opened for the first time as a museum and today houses a collection of furniture and objects designed by the architect, in addition to pieces by people that worked with him. After being put up for sale unsuccessfully, the building—designed by Francesc Berenguer, a regular collaborator of Gaudí between 1903 and 1905—was bought by Gaudí, in 1906, who took up residence in it together with his niece and father until 1925, several months before his death when he moved his studio to the Sagrada Familia.

The house-museum, which shows the architect’s most personal side with object and documents related to his life, is set across three floors. Visitors can view the bedroom, studio and the inner entrance door, in addition to the furniture designed by Gaudí for buildings such as Casa Batlló, Casa Calvet, Casa Milà, Casa Vicents and the crypt of Colonia Güell.

Dónde alojarse en Barcelona

Hotel barceló raval.

Rated with four stars and boasting excellent value for money, the  hotel Barceló Raval  is situated next to Las Ramblas and, therefore, is just a short walk from Plaça de Catalunya, the Teatre del Liceu, Boquería market and the Cathedral. Its 182 rooms and four suites boast all creature comforts and look out onto the Raval neighbourhood. The whole hotel exudes modernity, a cosmopolitan feel and urban DNA. The B-Lounge is the place to go for signature tapas, cocktails and one of the most famous Sunday brunches in the city.

Hotel Barceló Sants

Situated above Sants station, the four-star  hotel Barceló Sants resembles a spacecraft, inviting guests to enjoy a imaginary journey through space. Although the hotel has a futuristic, cutting-edge look, its 312 Orbital rooms, 52 Stratosphere rooms and 14 Orbital suites offer a cosmic ambience in which comfort and amenities come before design. In addition to being one of the best-located hotels in the city, it boasts floor space spanning 3,000 square metres distributed across 15 lounge areas, two restaurants, a cafeteria, a bar and a gym.

Hotel Occidental Diagonal 414

Situated on Avinguda Diagonal, this boutique design hotel is just a short walk from Casa de les Punxes, one of Barcelona’s modernist icons, and very close to Passeig de Gràcia and the city’s most important tourist attractions. The hotel boasts 100 well-decorated, welcoming rooms, a 25-square-metre gym open 24 hours a day and a private car park for hotel guests. In terms of dining options, the hotel Occidental Diagonal 414  has a buffet restaurant decorated in Nordic style serving a selection of Mediterranean and international specialities as well as a snack bar with a tapas and vermouth menu.

Hotel Occidental Atenea Mar – Adults Only

This four-star urban hotel is adults only and has an excellent location, 150 metres from Nova Mar Bella beach and a 15-minute walk from CCIB (Barcelona International Convention Centre). The  hotel Occidental Atenea Mar – Adults Only  boasts 191 modern, spacious rooms with sea or city views and a wealth of details. It also has a car park, a free-to-use fitness room, five lounge areas, a gourmet restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine, a terrace with a snack bar, a 48-square-metre infinity pool and a solarium with Balinese beds and sun loungers.

At Barceló Experiences you can continue your journey discovering Spain’s many charms by visiting our comprehensive tourist guides of other must-visit destinations such as  Madrid ,  Cádiz ,  Asturias ,  Valencia ,  Seville and  Granada .

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you not miss in Barcelona?

Barcelona is known for its wide range of options and attractions. Your first stop should be the Sagrada Familia followed by a stroll along Las Ramblas. You should also make a stop to see Boquería market as you make your way up to Plaça de Catalunya. Park Güell and Barcelona cathedral are other must-visits.

What is there to do for free in Barcelona?

There are many things to do in Barcelona for free, from strolling along Las Ramblas or through Plaça de Catalunya to visiting Plaça d’Espanya, where you can enjoy the Montjuïc magic fountain. We also recommend seeing Ciutadella Park and the Arc de Triomf and rounding off the day by walking along Port Vell and the Port Olimpic.

What transport options are there in Barcelona?

The best way to move around Barcelona on your city break is by public transport. Barcelona has an excellent metro and tram network as well as a very extensive bus network (urban, interurban and tourist buses). Not forgetting of course taxis and private hire vehicles.

How many days should you spend in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a very large city and in order to see its most important attractions we recommend a minimum stay of four to five days. Bear in mind that aside from the countless things on offer in the city, many nearby places are also well worth visiting.

What neighbourhoods should you visit in Barcelona?

Be sure to visit, in this order, the Gothic Quarter, Raval, Barceloneta and the Grácia neighbourhood.

What museums should you visit in Barcelona?

The Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Cosmocaixa, CaixaForum, Poble Espanyol museum, the Picasso museum, MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art), Fundació Joan Miró and the Gaudí house-museum.

What are the best beaches in the city of Barcelona?

The most famous and most beautiful beach in the city is Barceloneta beach, although there are others worth visiting such as Somorrostro, Sant Miquel, Sant Sebastià, Nova Icària, Bogatell, Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella and Llevant.

Related plans

La rambla, barcelona’s most emblematic boulevard, camp nou, barça’s temple, the basilica of santa maria del mar, a place of worship built by and for the people, park güell, the garden shaped by gaudí’s imagination.

Barcelona City guide

Tourism and attractions guide to barcelona, barcelona city guide.

Catalonia and Barcelona  have become one of the first tourist destinations of Spain, it has everything to please the majority of visitors: with a history among the oldest in Europe, a capital, Barcelona, which never sleeps and an inland full of charm not to forget beautiful beaches in La Costa Brava. The variety of artistic treasures, the Romanesque churches and the great names in modern art and architecture,  Dali ,  Gaudi ,  Miro ,  Picasso ..

Tip> We can help you find hotels in Barcelona close to the city's main monuments.

Barcelona  "The city of Marvels"...

Barcelona sited between the sea and the mountains, has found a formidable balance: a foot in the traditional things and the other in the avant-garde. Barcelona has the reputation of being the most cosmopolitan, modern and avant-garde city in Spain and it was renewed for the 1992 Olympic Games.

Barcelona Pass Skip the lines tickets to : Sagrada Familia & Park Güell + Hop-On Hop-Off Bus + 10% discount Book it now !

Barcelona GO!

BARCELONA in Flow Motion - A fast moving short film by Rob Whitworth. Gold prize winner at Timelapse Showfest 2014

While in Barcelona take a little time to visit Catalonia:

Costa Brava owes its name of "wild coast" to the uniqueness of the sudden encounter between mountain and sea. Nature, climate and history, the picturesque of its ports and certain villages have been enough to have a worldwide reputation. Costa Dorada , in the south of Barcelona, it is the color of gold, luminous, being in the maritime littoral the reason of its name "Costa Dorada" (Golden Coast).

The headings in this chapter " Barcelona City Guide " will enable you to book Barcelona tourist attractions before your arrival.

Tip! Tip! Think of the Hop On Hop Off Barcelona ! A good way to travel all over the city without ruining yourself and without getting tired ;-)

+ Find in Barcelona Tours   Top-rated guided tours with local experts and best skip the line tickets.

  And now follow the guide for the best places to visit in Barcelona !!!

Where to eat?

Where to eat in Barcelona?  Our editor's choices to find the best restaurants in Barcelona.Visit our dining guide.

The night In Barcelona:  our best nightlife addresses to go out: bars, clubs , discos, escorts services...

Shopping in Barcelona:  This is a selection of  shops  we like in Barcelona...

Barcelona Beaches

Barcelona beaches for sun worshippers!  We tell you where the beaches are, which are our favorites, what sports to do there...

With Children

Barcelona is one of the most child-friendly cities in Europe...

Things to do in Barcelona

Off the beaten path, some ideas to visit differently.

This page gathers our favorites, practical information, tips that will allow you once in Barcelona to do, to discover and to see the city in another way. Have a good stay! 

Quick Guide

Barcelona Quick Guide . All you need for your Barcelona weekend...

City visits

City visits of Barcelona: follow the guide with our suggested itineraries!!

Festivals in Barcelona : The best music festivals and exhibitions in Barcelona  !

Car Parking

If you need to park your car in Barcelona , then we give you some recommendations and a number of options.

Gay guide of Barcelona and Gay guide of Sitges : all information for your stay: hotels, hostels, clubs, restaurants, bars...

Picasso, Miro, Tapies, Macba...

Listing of best museums in Barcelona : Picasso, Miro, Tapies, Macba...

The genius modernist architect : Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, Park Güell..

Discovering Antoni Gaudí  the genius modernist architect: Sagrada Familia, Pedrera, Park Güell, Güell Palace, Casa Calvet...

Barcelona and Catalonia practical information

Barcelona and Catalonia general information and transportation : political institutions, Parliament, language, transportation, formalities, tips, useful numbers, health, money, budget, food and drink..

Visit our beautiful Catalonia regions

Tourist guide of Catalonia - discover the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada.. All best sightseeings

We Recommend >> Must-sees in Barcelona

These are the most recommended things to do in Barcelona for your holidays.

Barcelona Hotels

The ideal hotel for your stay.

Whether you are looking for a family or a business stay or just for a weekend, we have selected for you the best hotels in the city to choose from. All categories at all prices. But also the bargains according to your travel dates. Have a good stay!

Barcelona Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Best city tour: one single ticket, 3 routes and 45 stops.

Discover city sightseeing at your own pace with our selection of Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour tickets. An extraordinary and economic way to make the first connection with main tourist attractions.

Hola Transport Card

Unlimited access to public transport.

Enjoy unlimited access from 48 to 120 hours to Barcelona's public transport: Metro, bus (TMB), urban railway (FGC, Zone 1), Montjuïc funicular, tram (TRAM), regional railway (Rodalies de Cataluny) + 1 round trip from the airport to the city center. Only excluding NitBus, Aerobus & hop-on hop-off.

Barcelona City Pass

Incl. sagrada familia, park güell + hop-on hop-off...

The "City Pass Barcelona" our best selling pass! > Sagrada Família Fast Lane + Audioguide > Fast entrance to Park Güell + Audioguide > Hop-on Hop-off 24 or 48 hours or Casa Batlló or Casa Milà > 10% discount on other tours > Audioguide of Barcelona

37 comments

Travel - 02 wangmingru & 27 rao yujie (6 apr 2022 - 11:38).

Hi. We are students of English at Fujian University of Technology in China. In class, our teacher introduced us to the beautiful city of Barcelona and watched a video about Barcelona's scenic architecture, tourism and culture. Through the video, I learned that Barcelona is a world-renowned Mediterranean scenic tourist destination and a world-renowned historical and cultural city. I also saw that it is the most famous tourist destination in Spain, with its pleasant climate, beautiful scenery and monuments, as well as the "Pearl of the Iberian Peninsula". Everything there is artistic, the graffiti on the streets, the street food, the magnificent Romanesque buildings, and so on. Even the people of Barcelona say that "art and life are inseparable". Barcelona is full of art, and we are looking forward to it. We will come and see the beautiful city of Barcelona for ourselves some time.

Travel - linjie212,xiaopan206,ruihan231 (5 Apr 2022 - 08:36)

There's nowhere in the world like Barcelona. This city is magnetic. Food, Art, beaches, streets, buildings, and so on. Barcelona is all-inclusive. Summer is the best season to visit Barcelona because many festivals are celebrated in the summer, such as the European Music Festival. Barcelona is deeply proud of its Catalan heritage, which captivates me! Spaniards are elegant, even if they dress casually. Convenient traffic, a beautiful environment, and qualified talents are the advantages of Barcelona. As far as we know, if we have not seen the church of Barcelona, the trip to Barcelona is not complete. Therefore, this church also attracts us. Hopefully, after COVID-19 is over, we will be able to stroll through the streets of Barcelona and visit these famous churches.

travel - Yang Yinuo114 Chen Xin121 Zhou Yushu 123 (5 Apr 2022 - 08:36)

Hello, we are students from China. After browsing your website, we are interested in Barcelona. According to the information we got, Barcelona is also world famous because of Gaudi. We are very eager to have the opportunity to learn about the works left by this architectural genius, such as the famous architecture like Casa Vicens, Palau Guell, and Casa Milá. Can you offer us some suggestions for visiting these architectures? In addition, we have seen that Barcelona has a lot of delicious food and the island is surrounded by seawater, so we bet there are many desirable seafood dishes. Besides, we saw some flamenco dancing performances, which were very energetic. We hope that you will let us know about this kind of performance with Spanish passion and national spirit. I hope that we will be able to visit Barcelona after the epidemic is over.

Tavel - Yang Yinuo114 Zhou Yushu123 Chen Xin 121 (5 Apr 2022 - 08:36)

Travel - yu yunqin218 & tao kecheng222 (5 apr 2022 - 08:36).

Wow, so great! After browsing this website, we are particularly interested in Barcelona! Life in this city is really rich! In Barcelona, we can enjoy all kinds of Mediterranean cuisine and visit the art museum during the day. At night, the nightlife in Barcelona also attracts us. We can go to the bar to drink and listen to wonderful music, and we can dance in the discotheque. There are many special cultures that we really want to experience. We look forward to being here in person one day!

Travel - Linjie212 xiaopan206 ruihan231 (5 Apr 2022 - 08:36)

Travel - wang qiong 203 & xu chan221 (5 apr 2022 - 08:36).

Hello, we are Chinese students. We knew a little bit about Barcelona before. After your introduction, we have a better idea of it. Thanks to your website for giving us so many tips on visiting Barcelona. This guide is really useful for us. We have bookmarked this site and we hope we can use your guide on the day we go. We are looking forward to going to Barcelona.

comment - 08 Liu si qing 16 Wu seng ping 28 Jia mao zhen (5 Apr 2022 - 08:34)

Hello, everyone! Through this website, we have a simple and profound understanding of Barcelona. Barcelona has a long coastline. It has launched a "smoke-free beach" policy, which will better protect the environment. Besides, Catalan National Art Museum leaves a deep impression on us. There are the Renaissance and Baroque collections which attract us very much. Last but not least, music is everywhere. The Palace of Music has a stunning ornate appearance. There is a rule that photos cannot be taken during the performance. If you want to take pictures, you can do so before or after the performance. We are looking forward to going there one day.

comment - 08 Liu si qing 16 Wu sen ping 28 jia mao zhen (5 Apr 2022 - 08:34)

@zheng jiayi - barcelona.com (4 apr 2022 - 10:30).

Hello Zheng Jiayi, There is no taboo when visiting a religious place in Barcelona such as the Sagrada Família, but one must respect a dress code and have respectful behavior in the place. We find the same rules in many religious places in the world. Have a good stay in Catalonia,

Architecture - Zheng Jiayi216, Lai Xinying227 (4 Apr 2022 - 10:10)

Hi, we are Chinese students, after browsing this website, we have a further understanding of Barcelona and are deeply attracted by the ancient gorgeous architectural style of Barcelona. When we know that there are many famous artists in Barcelona, we are surprised by this kind of strong artistic atmosphere. I hope one day we can come to Barcelona and experience this atmosphere. By the way, we think many of the buildings in Barcelona have some religious elements, such as Barcelona Cathedral. However we are not very clear about religion, we wonder if there are any taboos when visiting?

Travel - Jianing224&Xiaoni226 (4 Apr 2022 - 10:08)

Costa Dorada, with its distinctive character and historical interest, is a place that I am longing for. The towns here have vineyards, olive groves, and even vegetable gardens that I would love to experience for myself. In addition, as far as we know, Barcelona has pickpockets, so the safety problem is one of our concerns. Besides, we are students who travel. The price is also something we need to consider. We are looking forward to the day of our trip to Barcelona.

living in Barca - zee (12 May 2019 - 14:12)

i am planning to live in this city ;)))

@jen harper - Barcelona.com (7 Mar 2019 - 09:20)

Hola jen harper, Barcelona is a city where people love to walk. The historical centre is not too extensive, you can visit it at any age without any problem. Of course, renting a segway or a bike makes it easier to get around. You can find some on this page of our website: https://www.barcelona.com/barcelona_city_tours/bike-tours-rentals/ Have a good journey!

Elder tourists - jen harper (7 Mar 2019 - 09:10)

How hard is the walking for elderly? Are there Segways or such to aid people?

thnks - all (18 Nov 2017 - 07:50)

from indonesia. just need visas europe . last week just trip asian. januari hope getting visas. i love BARCA

VERY HONEST TAXI DRIVER - Donna Lee (15 Nov 2017 - 08:28)

We had a great 2 week vacation in Spain but on our last night in Barcelona, we panicked when we realized that we left our luggage in the trunk of the taxi. Somehow I knew that the cab driver was a good man but we still prayed fervently that he will bring us back our luggage. ABDEL came back in 40 minutes!!! He sure reinstored our faith in the goodness of mankind. We commend ABDEL for his honesty. His cell is 691 073 391. May Abdel be blessed for his honesty.

I love tapas! - frank (18 Jul 2017 - 09:22)

can't wait to taste tapas and local natural wine... yeahhh coming soon!

food out let - jade (17 Sep 2016 - 09:34)

pls some can tell about the food outlet that available in this area when going baceolan i min tourism attraction too

barcelona - kamila (22 Jun 2016 - 09:28)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj3MdixcAjQ Barcelona- top attractions

access for disabled - abegail (3 Apr 2016 - 10:50)

I have hopes of holidaying in Barcelona this summer, but have concerns about how disabled friendly the city is? any guidance will be welcome

Statue of Pablo Casals - Carol Wilson (17 Jun 2015 - 08:54)

On my recent visit to Barcelona, I was disappointed to see that the statue of Pablo Casals near Placa de Francesc Macia has been vandalised. The cello bow has been broken off. Hope it gets fixed soon.

barcelona is safe - sheraz (17 May 2015 - 08:24)

Hi, to everyone coming to barcelona must keep in mind that barcelona is very safe city. means there is no chance of armed robbery or snatching. but to be honest pick pockiting is a common issue for those who come out of the bars really drunk and lost and it is always up to you to take care of your belongings especially in central area and las ramblas. in subways again u have such issues because pickpockets move on groups, they don't attack on you but always look for a chance to steel. A little care and nothing happens. I m living in barcelona since 2004 and I never get robbed.

confused - james franco (12 May 2015 - 08:58)

Hi, I just came back from a 6 days holiday in Barcelona 2 weeks ago. I am a 29 years old solo female traveller from Singapore. I agree that pickpocket is an issue in Barcelona. however, I would also like to add on that this is also an issue in many other countries, not just Barcelona alone. I was pretty scared at first but I did not let it stop me from going there. Barcelona is a very beautiful city with interesting cultures and delicious food. It is very convenient to explore as you can literally walk anywhere without getting lost. Just bring common sense along and carry your bag in front of you at all times. Do not bring too much cash and keep the cash separately. I did not face any problems or seen any crimes there. I can say Barcelona is a pretty safe city, and I am going back again in February 2015.

beautiful city - ronald (29 Mar 2015 - 11:04)

i have been to Barcelona a few times ,,, it changes with the years, but retains its beauty. never had a problem with any of the citizens and i did most of my touring on foot. my hats off to the city of Barcelona

Pickpockets - BarceLover (9 Dec 2014 - 09:30)

Pickpockets - nancy d. (19 nov 2014 - 08:45).

Hi, Pickpockets are an issue in Barcelona, but the police, as Tony suggested, are part of the problem. It is actually the Spanish Laws that need to be changed. Unless a thief is caught with more than €480 in cash on them, it is not consider a felony or major crime. So, within a matter of hours the thief is back on the streets. There are lots of uncover policeman now working all parts of the city, security cameras in Metro stations and on platforms and in particular a strong police presence at the most visited sites. It is Barcelona's interest to clean up this issue and there is no one who would like that more than the locals. After all, tourism is one of the biggest economic motors of this beautiful seaside city.

Barcelona Travel Video - Jay Ellard (16 Aug 2014 - 10:45)

I have just been to the beautiful city and have created a modern cinematic video of the wonderful place. The video shows the most popular places in Barcelona and some of the quiet spots. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktArVmzb38U

transfer - Les (14 Nov 2013 - 09:30)

Does any one know if there is a bus service from the Pier to the Airport? Or, if there is any kind of service for transfer with a couple of suitcases?

Pickpockets - tony (24 Oct 2013 - 08:45)

Barcelona is one of the world's great cities, it has wonderful sights & a vibrant culture, great food & drink. It's a shame it's so corrupt ! 40 years ago, I went to Barcelona & was warned about pickpockets on Las Ramblas & now after all these years it's worse than ever, not good for the city's reputation. How can this problem still exist ?? the police MUST be part of the problem, & getting a kickback from the thieves, because if they wanted the thefts to stop, they would crack down & stop, but no, the pickpockets flourish year after year, praying on tourists & locals alike, on the streets & even in the Gaudi Cathedral Shame on you.....Clean up the problem !!

Street Art in Barcelona - Unknown (30 Sep 2013 - 09:00)

Details about street art in Barcelona. A different way of seeing this amazing city: http://vimeo.com/60149775

new luggage storage near Barcelona´s Port - Amparo (3 Jul 2013 - 19:30)

there is a new luggage storage called Hastavuelo in the World Trade Center, near Barcelona´s Port. Opened everyday from 9 am to 8pm. We offer airport delivery too, so if you want to visit Barcelona without worrying about your suitcases that´s the place!!

store your luggage - Alicia (15 Mar 2013 - 09:15)

Hi everyone, If you need to store your luggage while you're spending some time in Barcelona, you can leave it in City Lockers, we're in Francesc Pujols, 7 Street, near Portal de l' Àngel. We open from 9 a.m until 9 p.m on Monday to monday. Come to visit us!

about keeping luggage - LOCKER BARCELONA (27 Oct 2012 - 10:30)

Hello Maria, there is a left luggage place at plaza catalunya (downtown) close to the main transport stations. Is located at ESTRUC 36 street, is a safety blue and green local named Locker Barcelona, check their web so, you could ask for information. :)

Information about keeping luggage - Maria (5 Jul 2012 - 06:15)

Dear all, I am a tourist from Macedonia, coming to Spain this July. I will be touring Spain by bus. So, I'd like to ask you if there is a place in Barcelona to store your luggage. Since i'm staying several hours in Barcelona, sightseeing, I 'll need some safe place to store my suitcases. Does the bus station of any other place offer such services? And what are the fees per hour? Thank you in advance

Best tapas in Barcelona! - EleanorP (21 Jun 2012 - 09:30)

Hello, We have just returned home from a evening with 'Papa Serra'. He runs cooking classes and tours of la boqueria and we joined an evening course which lasted for about 4 hours - a great evening activity. We enjoyed the tour and the class, and all the wine tasting! But the highlight was a tapa we learnt to make - chicken poached in a saffron liquid and then mixed with pine nuts and raisins and wrapped in greens. It was absolutely delicious and definitely not something we've seen in any of the tapas bars in barcelona. I would recommend the classes to anyone that loves food and wants a fun night of cooking, eating and drinking. I think they have a website but i'm not sure. Enjoy!

useful information - dr jagtesh (29 Feb 2012 - 11:15)

this page is helping me in planning my trip to barcelona this april

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Where to Stay in Barcelona

Barcelona › Best Places to Stay Updated: April 24, 2024 By Santorini Dave

Our Favorite Barcelona Hotels

• 5-star: El Palace • Cotton House • 4-star: Mercer • 3-star: Praktik Rambla • For Couples: Hotel Bagues • For Families: Grand Central • Hotel Pool: Grand Central • Near Beach: Hotel Arts • Airport: Sleep&Fly • Cruise Port: Grand Marina • Kitchen Suite: Citadines Ramblas • Best New Hotel: Casa Sagnier

Best place to stay in Barcelona for first time visitors.

El Palace is our favorite luxury hotel in Barcelona. Central location and great for first time visitors.

The Best Areas to Stay in Barcelona Our Barcelona Hotel Map Our Favorite Hotels in Barcelona The Best Hotels for Families in Barcelona The Best Things To Do in Barcelona We love Barcelona. It’s a big, cosmopolitan city but its historic center is compact, walkable, vibrant, and an absolute delight to explore. Since the 1992 Olympics gave its tourist (and cruise ship) industry a major boost, Barcelona has become one of Europe’s most popular cities. Unless you visit in mid-winter, expect it to be extremely busy, with parts of La Rambla frequently resembling Times Square on New Year’s Eve. What draws crowds more than anything else is the architectural legacy of Antoni Gaudí, the king of Catalan Modernism: Park Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà (La Pedrera), Palau Güell, and above all the mesmerizing Sagrada Família are all fantastic must-see attractions. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to lose the crowds, whether in the winding streets of Barri Gòtic or on the slopes of Montjuïc, and there is a huge stock of accommodation to suit every budget. We find it useful to think of Barcelona as three distinct cities. At its heart is the Ciutat Vella , the old city, comprising the narrow streets, crumbling towers, and plazas of the Barri Gòtic, El Born, and El Raval neighborhoods. Surrounding this is the “New City”: the Eixample , built in the 19th-century on a more orderly grid plan. Beyond this are the vast swathes of modern suburbs built up after World War II. Many of the best hotels in Barcelona and best hotels for families are dotted around the upscale Eixample neighborhood, though central Barri Gòtic and El Born also have their share of 4 and 5-star accommodations. Gràcia and Poblenou both have a good range of family-friendly accommodation, though the two neighborhoods are farther away from most of Barcelona’s attractions. Barcelona Neighborhoods Many of our favorite things to do in Barcelona are centrally located, but there are some that require a short metro ride, so your choice of neighborhoods to stay in will make a difference in what you are able to see and how you get there. All the central Ciutat Vella (Old City) districts of Barcelona are extremely atmospheric, but can be mobbed by tourists by day and can seem a little edgy at night. Barri Gòtic is Barcelona’s historical and geographical center, a 20-minute walk from numerous attractions and most other neighborhoods of interest. A romantic tangle of medieval streets and plazas, this part of the city has been inhabited since Roman times and is home to the city’s Gothic cathedral. It also attracts the tourist crowds, and with good reason: it’s an all-rounder, offering great dining, shopping, and numerous places to stay. Hotel Bagues on La Rambla, the tree-lined pedestrian street that runs through central Barcelona for 1 km. La Rambla is the boundary between the quarters of Barri Gòtic, to the east, and El Raval, to the west. Good hotels on or near La Rambla: Hotel Bagues • Hotel 1898 • Praktik Rambla • Casa Camper • Sonder DO Plaça Reial • Aparthotel Arai • Ramblas Apartments Barcelona’s iconic pedestrian thoroughfare, La Rambla , separates Barri Gòtic from the edgy, arty neighborhood of El Raval . Formerly one of the roughest parts of town, El Raval has mostly shed its negative image through gradual gentrification, though its independent character is still very much on display in its quirky stores, independent boutiques, and bars. To the east of Barri Gòtic is El Born , another maze of medieval streets with popular attractions of its own, ranging from the highbrow Picasso Museum to the family-friendly Chocolate Museum. There are plenty of tapas bars and boutiques in this area, as well as the vast Ciutadella Park that separates El Born from the hip neighborhood of Poblenou. Bordering the Old City to the northwest is Eixample (the “new city”, literally “the addition”), the expansive, upscale neighborhood whose bright, tree-lined avenues are a complete contrast to the Ciutat Vella’s dark and narrow streets. Here you’ll find most of Barcelona’s striking Modernist buildings, including Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, as well as the city’s most upscale shopping. At the southwestern edge of Eixample is the sub-neighborhood Sant Antoni, a foodie enclave, with plenty of contemporary tapas bars, fusion restaurants, and buzzy nightlife. Further northwest, between Eixample and the hills, is Gràcia – a village within a city. A largely residential neighborhood populated with young families and arty types, it’s home to Gaudi’s popular Park Güell.

A man and two small children walk underneath modernist cave-like arches in a park setting.

The trendy neighborhood of Poble Sec stretches across the base of Montjuïc hill and is adjacent to El Raval south of the Avinguda del Paral·lel, lined with restaurants and lively bars. Aside from a street full of tapas bars, Poble Sec itself has no attractions to speak of, but it makes an ideal base for exploring Montjuïc’s stellar art museums and hilltop fortress via cable car and on foot. Montjuïc (meaning “Jewish Mountain”) is a gorgeous hilltop named for the Jewish cemetery founded here in the medieval period, and is connected to the city by funicular and cable car. The hilltop is relatively flat and mostly parkland filled with lush botanical gardens, art museums, and a 17th-century fortress, all providing sweeping views over the port. There are few hotels and restaurants on Montjuïc; it’s a very quiet space. The nearest hotel and restaurant cluster is in Poble Sec. From Montjuïc, a second cable car traverses Barcelona’s yachting marina at Port Vell , connecting to Barceloneta , a former fishing village known for its seafood-heavy tapas bars and restaurants, as well as Barcelona’s liveliest beach. Barceloneta is also an easy walk from both El Born and Barri Gòtic, making it convenient to combine sightseeing in Barcelona’s center with a day at the beach. Further northeast up the coast and bordering Barceloneta is El Poblenou – all cutting-edge architecture, pumping nightlife, and beaches (it has five.) Poblenou is quite far from the city’s main attractions, but ideal if you’re looking for a beach holiday combined with intensive clubbing. Getting Around Barcelona While it’s relatively easy to explore Barcelona’s historic center on foot, it’s a big city and you’ll need to use its excellent public transport system to go further afield. The system comprises metro (subway), trams, and buses, with integrated single tickets (€2.40) and 24-hour tickets (from €10.50) valid throughout. For visitors, the Hola Barcelona Travel Card provides unlimited journeys on public transport in Barcelona for consecutive periods of 2, 3, 4, or 5 days, including trips to Barcelona-El Prat Airport. It can be useful to have a rental car when exploring the Catalunya region around the city, but there’s really no need to use one in Barcelona itself – streets are narrow, often congested, and parking can be tough to find, especially in the city center. Bike rental is available through traditional shops such as Barcelona Rent a Bike (bikeshare scheme Bicing is open to locals only). With over 125 miles (200km) of dedicated bike lanes, Barcelona can be a pleasant place to ride, though navigating the narrow, packed streets of the old city can be a hassle on a bicycle. The Best Places to Stay in Barcelona

The best hotel in Barcelona.

The Cotton House hotel in in Eixample.

Best Luxury Hotels in Barcelona Cotton House • El Palace • Condes de Barcelona • Mandarin Oriental Best Boutique Hotels in Barcelona Hotel Bagués • Casa Camper • Casa Sagnier • Mercer Hotel • Neri Best Barcelona Beach Hotels Hotel Arts • W Hotel • H10 Port Vell • Sofitel Barcelona Skipper • Hotel 54 Barceloneta Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels in Barcelona Hostal Oliva • Ciutat de Barcelona • Praktik Rambla • Chic & Basic Born Best Hostels in Barcelona Fabrizzios Terrace • Onefam Batlló • Ítaca Hostel Best Barcelona Hotels for Families Aparthotel Arai • Grand Hotel Central • Eurostars Grand Marina Our suite (family room) at Aparthotel Arai in Barcelona. Best Areas in Barcelona for… Best Neighborhoods in Barcelona for Sightseeing: Barri Gòtic, Eixample, Poble Sec If you’re looking to lose yourself among medieval lanes and admire the city’s oldest architecture, then Barri Gòtic is the place for you. If you’re more interested in Barcelona’s Modernist masterpieces, such as the Sagrada Familia, then Eixample should be your destination. Lovers of contemporary and classical art may wish to consider Poble Sec for its proximity to the art museums both on Montjuïc and in El Raval. Best Neighborhoods in Barcelona for Nightlife: Poblenou/Port Olimpic, Barri Gòtic, El Raval, El Born, Eixample There isn’t a single best area in Barcelona for nightlife; instead, several neighborhoods cater to the city’s night owls. If you’re into serious clubbing, head out of the center to Poblenou and Port Olimpic for beachside super-clubs that party until sunrise. Fun spots include CDLC , Opium , world-famous Pacha , and Shôko . Further north in Poblenou is excellent Razzmatazz . Eixample is locally nicknamed ‘Beerxample’ for its proliferation of craft beer bars, but there are plenty of upscale tapas and cocktail bars here as well. For beers, check out BierCaB , CocoVail Beer Hall , and Conesa Beer , or go to Slow Barcelona for club nights and La Whiskeria for cocktails. Barcelona’s main LGBT nightlife zone is also here (the so-called “Gaixample”), with most gay-friendly bars and clubs on Carrer de Villarroel and Consell de Cent. El Born, Barri Gòtic, and edgier El Raval (with La Rambla in between) all have clusters of lively tapas bars that cater to any taste and stay open until the wee hours of the morning, as well as cocktail bars. Top spots include Boadas Cocktails and The Wild Rover , oneof many Irish pubs around here. The clubs and live music venues around Plaça Reial attract a young international crowd: Jamboree , Sidecar , and Los Tarantos (for flamenco). In El Raval we like the cocktails at Bar Makinavaja and the clubnights at Moog . Best Neighborhoods in Barcelona for Food and Restaurants: Eixample, Barceloneta, Barri Gòtic, El Born, El Raval Eixample is particularly good for Michelin-starred restaurants and fine dining ( Angle , Besta , Disfrutar , and Lasarte are top examples), especially in the southwestern part called San Antoni, a foodie heaven featuring lauded spots like Maleducat . There are plenty of wallet-friendly options, too, particularly the traditional tapas bars and hipster cafes along Carrer del Parlament (try Els Sortidors del Parlament ). Barceloneta is the place to go for fish and seafood ( Can Solé and La Cova Fumada ). Barri Gòtic and El Born have a good mix of lively tapas bars, both traditional and contemporary (try Bodega La Puntual , El Xampanyet , and ELDISET ), as well as more upscale fusion offerings. El Raval has a number of hip restaurants, including several vegetarian options, as well as some great tapas bars. The Boqueria Market just of La Rambla is justly popular for its myriad food and snack stalls (go early in the morning to avoid the biggest crowds). Els Quatro Gats in Barri Gotic was a onetime hub for Barcelona’s Modernisme movement. Best Neighborhoods in Barcelona for Families: Barri Gòtic, El Born, Gràcia, Barceloneta Barri Gòtic appeals to families because it’s very central, very walkable, and close to many attractions. El Born is similar in that respect, with the added bonus of having the Parc de la Ciutadella next door, with the city’s zoo and open spaces for the kids to run around in. Barceloneta is great if you want to be near the beach and the attractions in the heart of Barcelona, while Gràcia is a quiet neighborhood in which you can mingle with local families in the many tiny parks and plazas – and its Park Güell is particularly fun for kids. Most Romantic Neighborhood in Barcelona: Barri Gòtic Montjuïc is ideal if you’re looking for romantic isolation, great views, and hilly, landscaped gardens to wander around. Eixample, with its strollable wide boulevards, lined with beautiful Modernist architecture and home to some of Barcelona’s most luxurious hotels, is another great pick. But if you’re looking for tiny, atmospheric, dimly lit streets, beautiful plazas to sip a drink in, cozy boutique hotels, and medieval splendor, Barri Gòtic’s your best bet. Best Neighborhoods in Barcelona to Stay for First Timers: Barri Gòtic, Eixample If it’s your first time in Barcelona, then you probably want to base yourself near the heavyweight attractions. For Modernist architecture, including the incomparable Sagrada Familia, Eixample is your best bet. For exploring the heart of the city, Barri Gòtic is ideal, especially since it’s an easy walk to El Born, El Raval and Eixample, and a short metro ride to attractions further out on Montjuïc and Gràcia. Best Neighborhood in Barcelona for a Local Vibe: El Raval or Gràcia Dynamic, bohemian, and ethnically diverse, El Raval is Barcelona’s counterculture neighborhood with a highly independent character. Notorious as the city’s former red-light district, it retains some of its former edginess, though these days it’s more known for its art, youthful vibe, and independent shops. Gràcia is the best place to escape the tourists, with its tranquil plazas and cafés full of locals and an appealing small-town atmosphere. Best Neighborhoods in Barcelona for Beaches: Barceloneta, Poblenou Barceloneta has the closest beach to the center of Barcelona, within easy walking distance from La Rambla. It’s also Barcelona’s longest beach, and popular with families. Poblenou has a string of five clean beaches, separated by breakwaters; these are further away from the city’s other attractions, though. Gaudi’s yet-unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. Best Neighborhood in Barcelona for Walking: Barri Gòtic and El Born Barri Gòtic’s maze of tiny lanes and streets, many of them closed off to cars, is a real joy to explore on foot and get lost in, with much of Barcelona’s beautiful, centuries-old architecture to discover along the way. That said, El Born, Barri Gòtic’s neighbor, is another extremely walkable part of the Old City, and much of it also pedestrianized. Safest Areas of Barcelona Barcelona’s safest areas tend to be the more affluent neighborhoods, such as Eixample, Poble Sec, and Poblenou. Though many of Barcelona’s neighborhoods are generally safe to walk around at any time of day, it’s a good idea to watch out for pickpockets in particularly crowded places. Unsafe Areas of Barcelona Parts of El Raval, and the Sants area around the train station, north of Montjuïc, can be sketchy at night. It’s also best to avoid tiny, deserted streets in Barri Gòtic and El Born late at night and stick to well-lit streets with more people. Opportunistic pickpockets operate along La Rambla and the La Boqueria food market, and parts of Barri Gòtic, El Born, and El Raval can get lively in the evenings with drunken bachelor and bachelorette parties. El Raval is much safer than it once was, but still suffers from a relatively high crime rate, drug activity, and a large homeless population – be watchful of handheld devices (phones etc), which can get snatched.

Two indoor market stalls lit by colorful neon lighting

Stalls at the Santa Caterina Market in El Born.

The 9 Best Neighborhoods in Barcelona for Tourists 1. Barri Gòtic & La Rambla If you’re looking to stay in the heart of Barcelona, you can’t get more central than the medieval Barri Gòtic – the city’s historical core. Amidst the Gothic Quarter’s narrow, maze-like streets, you’ll find a dense concentration of tapas bars, restaurants, and small boutiques – particularly along Carrer dels Banys Nous. There are also charming plazas such as arcaded Plaça Reial, and beautiful landmarks such as the Pont Gòtic on Carrer Bisbe; remnants of Roman ruins peek out from beneath Baroque and Gothic buildings. The Gothic Quarter is bordered to the southwest by La Rambla – Barcelona’s famous (and largely pedestrianized) boulevard, perpetually crowded with locals, visitors, street performers, and vendors. There are plenty of mediocre tourist trap resaurants here, with the exception of tapas stalls around the popular La Boqueria food market, but excellent food can be found just a block or two off La Rambla, from simple tapas bars to sophisticated, contemporary dining. The Gothic Quarter’s main draw is its historical ambiance; attractions here include the impressive Gothic cathedral , the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona (which preserves underground Roman remains), the art and sculpture at Museu Frederic Marès , and several appealing churches – 11th-century Santa María del Pi the most notable. There are some excellent boutique hotels here, but the best places tend to be very expensive, with a few good budget options noted below.

Hotel lobby with leather sofas and floor-to-ceiling views of an exterior courtyard

The exceptional boutique Mercer Hotel in the Gothic Quarter features a lovely garden courtyard and a rooftop swimming pool.

Best Hotels in Barri Gòtic & Las Rambla Aparthotel Arai • Hotel phone: +34 933 20 39 50 H10 Cubik • Hotel phone: +34 933 20 22 00 Hotel Bagués • Hotel phone: +34 933 43 50 00 Hotel Catalonia Catedral • Hotel phone: +34 933 43 67 75 DO Plaça Reial • Hotel phone: +34 618 56 78 74 Kimpton Vividora Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 936 42 54 00 Mercer Hotel • Hotel phone: +34 933 10 74 80 Hotel Neri • Hotel phone: +34 933 04 06 55 Ohla Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 933 41 50 50 Serras Hotel • Hotel phone: +34 936 06 16 32 Yurbban Ramblas • Hotel phone: +34 933 17 48 98 Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels H10 Racó del Pi • Hotel phone: +34 933 42 61 90 Hotel Cantón • Hotel phone: +34 933 17 30 19 Citadines Ramblas • Hotel phone: +34 932 70 11 11 Hotel Denit • Hotel phone: +34 935 45 40 00 Hotel Nouvel • Hotel phone: +34 933 01 82 74 Hostal Mare Nostrum • Hotel phone: +34 933 18 53 40 Best Hostels Ítaca Hostel • Hotel phone: +34 933 01 97 51 Kabul Party Hostel • Hotel phone: +34 933 18 51 90 2. El Raval Adjacent to Barri Gòtic and west of La Rambla, El Raval is an edgier melting pot of a neighborhood that’s worked hard to shed its seedy reputation as Barcelona’s former red-light district (aka Barri Xinès, anchored by Nou de la Rambla) – though it still pays to watch your wallet. These days, El Raval attracts bohemian types, artists, and foodies, and is home both to the MACBA contemporary art museum and Palau Güell , one of Gaudí’s lesser-known buildings completed in the 1880s (its interior has been artfully preserved and is open for tours). El Raval’s picturesque Sant Pau del Camp is likely the oldest church in Barcelona. For the best vintage fashion boutiques and quirky arts and crafts shops, head for Carrer Tallers and Carrer de Riera Baixa. El Raval is also known for global cuisine, hip tapas bars, and vegetarian restaurants, with the densest dining clusters around Carrer del Dr. Nou, Carrer Pintor Fortuny, and Carrer Joaquin Costa. El Raval has some of the best-value accommodation in central Barcelona, along with one-of-a-kind boutique hotels and a couple of luxury options. Most of the budget hotels here are poor quality, but exceptions are noted below.

Large white hotel building with bicycles parked in front

Eurostars Grand Marina in El Raval is one of Barcelona’s best hotels for families.

Best Hotels in El Raval Antiga Casa Buenavista • Hotel phone: +34 933 30 30 30 Eurostars Grand Marina • Hotel phone: +34 936 03 90 00 Eco Boutique Hostal Grau • Hotel phone: +34 933 01 81 35 Casa Camper • Hotel phone: +34 933 42 62 80 Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels Andante Hotel • Hotel phone: +34 934 41 25 45 Ciutat Vella • Hotel phone: +34 934 81 37 99 Niu Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 936 55 02 55 Sixties Ramblas • Hotel phone: +34 933 02 71 11 Best Hostel St Christopher’s Inn • Hotel phone: +34931751401 3. El Born El Born is part of the Ciutat Vella (Old City), separated from the Barri Gòtic to the south by the Via Laietana. It’s a maze of tiny streets that are a little quieter than its neighbor, but not at all short of attractions. The Picasso Museum is here (the artist left many of his works to the museum when he died in 1971), as is El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria (a 19th-century market hall displaying excavated remnants of an 18th-century neighborhood), Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món (world cultures museum), Chocolate Museum , the European Museum of Modern Art , and the Moco Museum of contemporary art. El Born’s primary church of Santa Maria del Mar is one of the city’s most beautiful examples of Catalan-Gothic architecture. Northwest of here is the stunning modernist masterpiece concert hall Palau de la Música Catalana , built in 1908 to a design by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria Though it’s a shorter walk to Barceloneta’s beach from El Born than from Barri Gòtic, its streets are still dense with tapas bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and vintage fashion boutiques. The area around Plaça Comercial is your best bet for contemporary dining, while Plaça de Santa Maria and Passeig del Born are better for traditional restaurants and bars. The 19th-century Santa Caterina Market is the best spot for local food stalls and snacks. To the northeast, El Born is bordered by the zoo, lakes, and fountains of the vast Parc de la Ciutadella ; the Catalan parliament building, whimsical red-brick Three Dragons Castle , and two giant greenhouses ( Hivernacle and Umbráculo ) are also here. El Born is another area that offers good value, with a large stock of budget/midrange hotels, as well as imaginative boutique hotels and family-friendly midrange options.

Stylish modern restaurant hung with striking artwork

El Born’s Grand Hotel Central

Best Hotels in El Born Barcelona EDITION • Hotel phone: +34 936 26 33 30 Grand Hotel Central • Hotel phone: +34 932 95 79 00 Yurbban Passage Hotel & Spa • Hotel phone: +34 938 82 89 77 Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels Chic & Basic Born • Hotel phone: +34 932 95 46 52 Ciutat de Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 932 69 74 75 Hotel Motel One Ciutadella • Hotel phone: +34 936 26 19 00 Hotel REC Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 935 56 99 60 Musik Boutique Hotel • Hotel phone: +34 932 22 55 44 Best Hostels Ant Hostel • Hotel phone: +34 932 69 42 43 Born Barcelona Hostel • Hotel phone: +34 935 32 36 63 4. Eixample The affluent Eixample neighborhood, north of the old city, was laid out on a grid plan in the 19th century and makes a dramatic contrast to the latter’s narrow streets and compact plazas. The boulevards here are wide and tree-lined, and are home to some of the city’s best luxury hotels and Barcelona’s most impressive Modernist architecture. Eixample tends to attract as many locals as tourists, and as the city’s traditional hotel district, it’s a great place to stay, with excellent transport links to other districts. Gaudi’s most renowned buildings – La Pedrera (Casa Milà) and Casa Battló – are found off the main thoroughfare, Passeig de Gràcia, while the iconic yet incomplete Sagrada Familia church (construction of Gaudí’s masterpiece is expected to finish in 2026 or 2027) is a couple of blocks north of Avinguna Diagonal. Gaudi’s La Pedrera is also known as Casa Milà Nicknamed “Quadrat d’Or” (the Golden Square) for its high-end shopping, Eixample is also home to many designer stores along the Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla da Catalunya. To the south, the sub-neighborhood of Sant Antoni is known for its 19th-century market and the tapas and vermouth bars along Carrer del Parlament. There is a vast selection of accommodation here, especially at the high end, with numerous luxury options. But there’s a surprisingly good choice of midrange and budget hotels here as well, including some excellent hostels.

A man sits at a bar in an ornate blue room with crystal chandeliers

Swanky El Palace is the best of Eixample’s many 5-star hotels.

Best Hotels in Eixample Ca La Maria • Hotel phone: +34 648 48 67 68 Casa Sagnier • Hotel phone: +34 935 95 95 45 Claris Hotel & Spa • Hotel phone: +34 934 87 62 62 Condes de Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 934 45 00 00 Cotton House • Hotel phone: +34 934 50 50 45 El Palace • Hotel phone: +34 935 10 11 30 H10 Casa Mimosa • Hotel phone: +34 932 14 23 30 Majestic Hotel & Spa • Hotel phone: +34 934 88 17 17 Mandarin Oriental • Hotel phone: +34 931 51 88 88 Ohla Eixample • Hotel phone: +34 937 37 79 77 Olivia Balmes Hotel • Hotel phone: +34 932 14 41 63 Sir Victor • Hotel phone: +34 932 71 12 44 Best Cheap/Midrange Hotel B Hotel • Hotel phone: +34 935 52 95 00 Hostal Oliva • Hotel phone: +34 934 88 01 62 Mihlton Barcelona B&B • Hotel phone: +34 608 16 16 61 Praktik Rambla • Hotel phone: +34 933 43 66 90 Best Hostel Fabrizzios Terrace • Hotel phone: +34 931 62 16 12 Onefam Batlló • Hotel phone: +34 931 78 43 43 Sant Jordi Rock Palace • Hotel phone: +34 934 53 32 81 Pars Tailor’s Hostel • Hotel phone: +34 932 50 56 84 5. Gràcia Once its own separate village, Gràcia was incorporated into Barcelona in 1897, though it retains a distinctive low-key, bohemian vibe. This quiet neighborhood, home to young families, artists, and ex-pats, sits on a gentle slope between Eixample and the hills to the north of the city. Gràcia’s biggest attraction is Parc Güell , one of Gaudí’s biggest Modernist creations; an imaginatively landscaped, hilly park full of colorful tilework edifices, including the home in which the architect himself lived from 1906 until 1925 ( Casa Museu Gaudí ). Parc Güell Gràcia is also known for its independent fashion stores, many of them clustered along Carrer de Bonavista, while Carrer de Asturies and the adjoining Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla are lined with hip bars, ethnic restaurants, and quirky shops. The neighborhood is a lot less touristy than the districts to the south – soak up the vibes in Plaça del Sol, or under the distinctive clock tower of Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia. Gràcia contains plenty of hotels in its southern half; these are cheaper than those in the old center because of their longer distance from the main sights, but you’ll feel more like a local staying here. It also boasts some of the best hostels in the city.

Ornate stone facade of a hotel in Barcelona

The fabulous El Palauet Royal Suites in Gràcia.

Best Hotels in Gràcia Casa Fuster • Hotel phone: +34 932 55 30 00 El Palauet • Hotel phone: +34 932 18 00 50 Seventy Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 930 12 12 70 Well And Come • Hotel phone: +34 937 37 97 99 Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels Be Mate Paseo de Gracia • Hotel phone: +34 935 22 28 40 Casa Gràcia • Hotel phone: +34 931 74 05 28 Best Hostels Casa Jam Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 933 15 53 38 Factory Hostels • Hotel phone: +34 932 85 22 56 Rocket Hostels • Hotel phone: +34 936 24 22 59 Yeah Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 935 31 01 35 6. Poble Sec Poble Sec is a young and trendy neighborhood spread along the foothills of Montjuïc and across Avenida de Paral·lel from El Raval and Sant Antoni. It’s ideal for visiting attractions on Montjuïc and has an excellent dining scene and nightlife, with a high concentration of live music venues and tapas bars lining the leafy Carrer de Blai. This is a relatively small district with only a smattering of hotels and hostels, but most offer good value. It’s served by the Poble Sec, Plaça d’Espanya, and Paral·lel metro stations. Best Hotels in Poble Sec Hotel Brummell • Hotel phone: +34 931 25 86 22 InterContinental Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 934 26 22 23 Best Cheap/Midrange Hotel Hotel Paral·lel • Hotel phone: +34 933 29 11 04 Best Hostels HelloBCN Hostel • Hotel phone: +34 934 42 83 92 Onefam Paralelo • Hotel phone: +34 934 43 98 85 7. Montjuïc Rising above the port and the sea, ‘Jewish Mountain’ has been the symbol of Barcelona since ancient times. The fortress at the top of the hill is a superb lookout point with tremendous views over the city, and Montjuïc’s landscaped parks and botantical gardens are ideal for hours of wandering. Also on the hill are the Olympic stadium and its small museum (next to Santiago Calatrava’s curvy communications tower), Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village), and two of the city’s heavyweight art museums: Fundació Joan Miró and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – the latter housed inside the impressive Palau Nacional (national palace) and featuring a precious collection of Romanesque Catalan art. Fundación Joan Miró The fortress, parks, and Fundació Miró are easily reachable via funicular and cable car from Paral·lel metro stop, though the main approach to Montjuïc is from Plaça Espanya. Grand buildings from the 1929 International Exhibition line the pedestrian boulevard that leads to the Magic Fountain ; in the summer months, there is a sound-and-light show here in the evenings. Beyond, escalators take you up to Palau Nacional. Apart from the Miramar on the northern slopes, there are no hotels on the hill itself, though there are some upscale options to the south in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, around the Fira Barcelona (a major trade show venue). You’ll find a lot more choice in neighboring Poble-Sec.

Car park and entrance of a high-rise hotel in the trees

The 4-star contemporary Hotel Miramar is the only hotel located on Montjuïc itself.

Best Hotels in Montjuïc Hotel Porta Fira • Hotel phone: +34 932 97 35 00 Leonardo Royal Hotel Fira • Hotel phone: +34 930 88 28 00 Miramar • Hotel phone: +34 932 81 16 00 Renaissance Fira • Hotel phone: +34 932 61 80 00 8. Barceloneta, Port Vell, & Port Olímpic Formerly the old fishermen’s quarter, Barceloneta sits a short walk away from the southern end of La Rambla, south of El Born and next to the revitalized Port Vell marina district filled with yachts of the global glitterati. This largely working-class neighborhood manages to maintain its down to earth vibe, and its narrow streets are lined with low-key neighborhood tapas, bodegas, and some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. Before the 1992 Olympics, it was known solely for its ramshackle waterside restaurants; since then, the restaurants have been demolished and the shore cleaned up, and now Barceloneta’s big attraction is its wide, sandy beach that stretches for miles – its bustling promenade always busy with families, joggers, and rollerbladers. The Barcelona Aquarium , next to the marina, is popular with families and schoolchildren, and the cable car that crosses Barcelona’s harbor to reach Montjuïc departs from near the beach. The Rambla De Mar walkway crosses the harbor, providing a view of the bustling Port Vell waterside; there are numerous bars and restaurants here, as well as the huge Museu d’Història de Catalunya , with more development expected in future years. The Barcelona Maritime Museum , preserving some of the medieval port buildings, lies nearby at the end of La Rambla. Museu d’Història de Catalunya A little further north along the coast, Port Olímpic is another plush marina fringed by a couple of beaches and several bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. It is especially lively in the spring and summer, and slated to be the main venue for the 2024 Americas Cup. The Barcelona Photo Center (KBr Fundació MAPFRE) is also here, as well as Casino Barcelona and the city’s tallest skyscrapers: Hotel Arts and Torre Mapfre (both 505ft/154m). Don’t miss the giant steel goldfish sculpture by Frank Gehry in front of Hotel Arts, created for the 1992 Games. Apartment rentals are more common than hotels in this up-and-coming seaside area, especially in Barceloneta. Of the hotels available, those facing the sea are usually very expensive.

People on a sandy beach with a large, half-moon shaped building in the background

The crescent-shaped W Hotel rises like a sail above Barceloneta Beach.

Best Hotels in Barceloneta, Port Vell, & Port Olímpic H10 Port Vell • Hotel phone: +34 933 10 30 65 Hotel 54 Barceloneta • Hotel phone: +34 932 25 00 54 Hotel Arts • Hotel phone: +34 932 21 10 00 Sofitel Barcelona Skipper • Hotel phone: +34 932 21 65 65 W Hotel • Hotel phone: +34 932 95 28 00 Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels Hotel Oasis • Hotel phone: +34 933 19 43 96 Best Hostel Unite Hostel • Hotel phone: +34 930 18 66 60 9. Poblenou & Diagonal Mar Just north of Barceloneta along the coast, Poblenou and Diagonal Mar are old industrial districts where decrepit warehouses have given way to sleek office buildings, contemporary design hotels, industrial-scale nightclubs, and trendy beach bars. Poblenou has the city’s best and cleanest beaches and is particularly popular with businessmen and night owls looking to party. Its main thoroughfare is the pedestrianized boulevard of Rambla de Poblenou, which runs inland from the coast; the streets branching off it are where you’ll find a mix of traditional restaurants and cafes, as well as hip cocktail bars, specialist coffee shops, and contemporary fusion eateries. Poblenou’s one downside is that it’s quite far from most of Barcelona’s attractions. The adjacent convention and business district of Diagonal Mar is Barcelona at its most modern, with skyscrapers, a huge shopping mall, the International Barcelona Convention Center , and giant trade show venue Parc del Fòrum . Diagonal Mar’s main attraction is the family-friendly Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona . Trams run along Avinguda Diagonal from here to Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, home of the iconic cigar-shaped Torre Glòries by Jean Nouvel, and the Disseny Hub design museum. Barcelona’s Museum of Natural Sciences There are a few hotels along the coast and further inland here, but quality is hit or miss. Most hotels are a stiff walk from the nearest metro station, so staying here you are more likely to rely on trams or buses. Best Hotels in Poblenou & Diagonal Mar Hilton Diagonal Mar • Hotel phone: +34 935 07 07 07 Novotel Barcelona City • Hotel phone: +34 933 26 24 99 The Level at Meliá Sky • Hotel phone: +34 933 67 20 80 Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels Hostal Poblenou • Hotel phone: +34 932 21 26 01 ibis Barcelona Glories 22 • Hotel phone: +34 933 00 77 77 ibis Styles Bogatell • Hotel phone: +34 934 83 37 48 Social Hub Barcelona • Hotel phone: +34 932 20 72 79 Best Hostel • Hotel phone: Jacob’s Inn • Hotel phone: +34 644 40 37 81 More Barcelona Neighborhoods

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View over Barcelona from Tibidabo Amusement Park.

We’ve covered our favorite neighborhoods to visit and stay in more detail below, but with more time these districts are also worth checking out. Tibidabo : For the best views across the whole of Barcelona, take the tram and funicular to the peak of Tibidabo, at the western edge of the city. Families come up here to enjoy the old-school amusement park, the Parc d’atraccions Tibidabo , or the science museum at the base of the hill, the Museu de la Ciència Cosmo Caixa . There are also plenty of beautiful walks and trails beyond the amusement park in the wooded Parc de Collserola. Excellent places to stay up here include Anita’s Bed and Breakfast , Gran Hotel La Florida , ABaC Restaurant Hotel , and Hotel Mirlo , though none of them are convenient for exploring the rest of the city. FC Barcelona at Camp Nou : One of the world’s best soccer teams is based at the legendary Camp Nou stadium , west of the city center in Les Corts district. Fans can tour the stadium and visit the FC Barcelona Museum . The best hotels nearby are the Grand Hyatt Barcelona and NH Barcelona Stadium , but there’s no need to spend the night out here. Note that the local Collblanc metro station becomes jam-packed on match days. There’s not much point in staying near Barcelona-El Prat Airport southwest of the city unless you have an early flight – the nearest hotels are nothing special. If you do need to stay here due to a very late or early flight, the Sleep&Fly inside Terminal 1 is adequate and is very convenient. Otherwise Hotel Barcelona Aeropuerto and the cheaper (but further away) Best Western Plus Alfa Aeropuerto aren’t bad. Barcelona Travel Tips Barcelona-El Prat Airport is only about 9 miles (15km) southwest of the city center. As the second largest airport in Spain, it’s well connected to cities all over the world. American, Delta, budget carrier Level, and United all offer non-stop flights between here and the USA. Metro (€5.15) and regular trains zip into the city, but depending on where you’re staying, you’ll likely have to change once or twice. A taxi into town will usually cost €30–40 (on the meter). Almost everyone you are likely to deal with in cosmopolitan Barcelona will be able to speak (or at least understand some) English, except for a few taxi drivers and owners of small cafés/shops. The city has two official languages, Catalan and Spanish, and though street names and most road signs are in Catalan, it’s fine to use Spanish (most locals are bilingual). There are several tourist passes on offer for Barcelona; as always these are good value only if you intend to do a lot of sightseeing in a short amount of time. Given how busy Barcelona is, the ability to gain fast track entry is a plus. The Barcelona Card is the official tourist pass of Barcelona. It provides free unlimited use of public transport, free entry to over 25 museums and attractions (but NOT the Sagrada Familia), “skip the line” benefits, and other discounts. Prices range from €48 for 3 days to €63 for 5 days. This can save you a lot, but be realistic about how much you can pack in to 3 days (it’s generally not worth buying it if you’re here for less than that). The Go City Barcelona Pass and Barcelona City Pass DO include the Sagrada Familia, but cost a lot more. If you intend to pack in the major sites over a minimum three days, 8 hours a day, the Go City Barcelona Pass is probably the best option, but the only way to pick the right pass is to come up with an itinerary and compare savings pass by pass – tedious but effective. Free wi-fi is available at Barcelona airport, and at cafés, city buses, metro stations, most parks, and museums through the city itself. The free “Barcelona WiFi” service also offers hot spots throughout the city center.

About Santorini Dave

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Hello. This is my first time in Spain and I will be traveling alone. I would like to be in the most centrally located area. Can you recommend the best area?

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Near La Rambla is where you want to be. Hotel Bagués has a great location and trendy single rooms.

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We stayed at the H10 Montecada in the heart of the Barri Gothic area. Best hotel in Barcelona for seeing all the sites. Walking distance to most areas.

Thanks Patrick. I’ll check it out next trip back.

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Can you recommend a good hotel close to the Barcelona cruise terminal?

The Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel is the closest hotel to the Barcelona cruise port. It’s a good 4-star hotel. But Barcelona is compact. You’ll probably need a taxi for your luggage regardless of where you stay so whether you’re in the taxi for 3 minutes or 8 minutes isn’t a big deal. Stay at the Eurostars if you don’t have a preference but if you’d rather be closer to La Rambla then you’re not losing much in the way of convenience.

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Where to Stay in Barcelona: Best Areas & Neighbourhoods

It’s no secret that choosing the right hotel or apartment can make or break a holiday, and deciding where to stay is possibly the most important decision you’ll make when planning a trip to Barcelona.

In this post, I’ve pooled together the knowledge gained from more than twenty years of living in the city to help you decide which neighbourhood is best and find a hotel that fits your needs and expectations.

Where is the best area to stay in Barcelona?

If this is your first time in Barcelona, I recommend staying near Plaça de Catalunya. This very central location is close to many of Barcelona’s main attractions and is a transport hub with easy connections to the airport and other parts of the city.

Plaça de Catalunya is located at the intersection between the Gothic Quarter, L’Eixample and El Raval neighbourhoods. Many of Barcelona’s best-known sights are within walking distance, and there are a wide variety of restaurants, bars and nightlife options nearby.

There are plenty of hotels in this area including the highly popular Olivia Plaza Hotel which overlooks the plaza or the family-friendly Hotel Regina which has several family rooms that sleep three or four people.

View of La Rambla and Barcelona's Gothic Quarter

Having said that, Barcelona is a relatively compact city and has an excellent public transport system and many visitors prefer to stay in other areas of the city. Hotels in the less central neighbourhoods are often slightly cheaper and offer better value for money.

In this article, we take a look at Barcelona’s most popular neighbourhoods and weigh up the pros and cons of staying in each of them.

Barcelona Neighbourhood Guide

1. gothic quarter.

The Gothic Quarter is the oldest part of the city and, even today, is still the living heart of Barcelona. A maze of narrow streets and alleyways connecting romantic plazas surrounded by historic buildings, it’s a great place to stay if you want to have everything close to hand.

Not only is this the area where many of the city’s best-known attractions are located, but there are also lots of places to eat and drink as well as plenty of nightlife to choose from. If you will only be in Barcelona for two or three nights, then the Gothic Quarter is an ideal area to stay within walking distance of most of the top sights.

Due to its popularity, the Gothic Quarter has a wide range of hotels for all budgets, from luxury five-star accommodation to budget hotels and backpacker hostels. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants that cater to tourists, many of which are located on or near the famous La Rambla .

The only downside to staying in the Gothic Quarter is that, depending on where you stay, it can be a bit noisy. Many of the narrow, pedestrianised streets are a hive of activity both day and night. If you are a light sleeper and want to stay in the old town, you should either choose a hotel with good soundproofing or stay in the area between Plaça de Catalunya and Barcelona Cathedral which tends to be a bit quieter.

Main attractions in the Gothic Quarter

  • Barcelona Cathedral
  • Plaça Reial
  • Barcelona Town Hall & Plaça Sant Jaume
  • Bishop’s Bridge
  • El Call (Jewish Quarter)
  • MUHBA (Barcelona history museum)
  • Temple of Augustus
  • Port Vell harbour
  • Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol
  • Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
  • Basilica of La Mercè
  • The Columbus Monument

If you arrive by taxi from the airport, some of the narrowest streets in the Gothic Quarter are closed to traffic, and the driver may have to drop you a few metres from your hotel.

Recommended hotels in the Gothic Quarter

  • H10 Madison (4 star hotel)
  • Hotel Barcelona Catedral (4 star hotel)
  • Hotel El Call (Budget hotel)
  • Hostal Fina (Budget hotel)

2. L’Eixample neighbourhood

The Eixample was built during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries after the old city centre’s medieval walls were torn down. The area is characterised by wide streets and tree-lined avenues flanked by elegant five to seven-story buildings.

The Eixample is where most of Barcelona’s famous Modernista buildings are located, including Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, and La Sagrada Familia . This is also where many of the city’s most upmarket shops, restaurants and hotels are located.

Strictly speaking, l’Eixample is a district of Barcelona that is divided into ten neighbourhoods, including Eixample left, Eixample Right, Sagrada Familia, Fort Peinc and Sant Antoni.

When choosing a hotel in l’Eixample, as with most areas outside the Gothic Quarter, I recommend you base your choice on what the hotel offers and proximity to a metro station rather than the exact location.

Main attractions in the Eixample neighbourhood

  • Sagrada Familia
  • Casa Batlló
  • Casa Amatller
  • Passeig de Gràcia
  • Casa de les Puntxes
  • Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site
  • La Monumental bullring
  • Las Arenas shopping centre
  • Joan Miró Park

Recommended hotels in the Eixample neighbourhood

  • Praktik Essens (3 star hotel)
  • Hotel Jazz (3 star hotel)
  • Ibis Barcelona Centro (Budget hotel)
  • Sant Jordi Hostels Rock Palace (Backpacker hostel)

Photo of the Eixample neighbourhood Barcelona

3. El Raval neighbourhood

South of the Gothic Quarter, the Raval neighbourhood has always had a rather dodgy reputation and used to be the city’s main red-light district. Although some areas have been cleaned up and gentrified in recent years, other parts are still rather run down and a bit seedy late at night.

Having said that, El Raval is a lively, colourful neighbourhood that attracts students and young people. Streets like Joaquin Costa, La Rambla del Raval and Pintor Fortuny are good areas for going out at night with a wide range of lively bars and restaurants to choose from.

The Raval is also home to the world-famous La Boqueria food market and the MACBA and CCCB art museums.

If you decide to stay in El Raval, I recommend looking for a hotel in the area between Carrer dels Angels, Carrer del Carme, La Rambla and Carrer Pelai.

Main Attractions in the Raval neighbourhood

  • La Boqueria food market
  • El Liceu opera house
  • MACBA modern art museum
  • Barcelona Maritime Museum
  • CCCB art museum
  • Palau Güell
  • The Church of Sant Pau del Camp
  • Botero’s cat sculpture and La Rambla del Raval

Recommended hotels in the Raval neighbourhood

  • Hotel Lleo (3 star hotel)
  • Eco Boutique Hostal Grau (Boutique hotel)
  • Hostal la Palmera (Budget hotel)
  • Boutique Hotel Casa Volver (Boutique hotel)

4. El Born; Sant Pere, Santa Caterina and La Ribera neighbourhoods

Strictly speaking, El Born refers to a small area that runs from the Santa Maria del Mar Church to El Mercat del Born. However, most people use the term El Born to refer to the neighbourhoods of Sant Pere, Santa Catarina and La Ribera.

Part of the old city, but less touristy than the Gothic Quarter, El Born is an attractive neighbourhood of old buildings, narrow streets and charming plazas where you can sit and enjoy a drink while watching the world go by.

The Born is an excellent area to stay if you are looking for a lively, central location with a good variety of places to eat and drink but without the Gothic Quarter’s tourist crowds.

Traditionally an area of artisans and tradespeople, the neighbourhood is dotted with picturesque plazas and tiny boutique shops selling handmade clothing and art. It is also within easy walking distance of the beach.

Main Attractions in the Born neighbourhood

  • The Picasso Museum
  • Palau de la Musica
  • Saint Catherines Market
  • Santa Maria del Mar Church
  • Ciutadella Park
  • Barcelona Chocolate Museum
  • El Born Cultural Centre

Recommended hotels in El Born Area

  • H10 Port Vell (4 star hotel)
  • Hotel K&K Picasso (Boutique hotel)
  • Hostal Orleans (Budget hotel)
  • Pension Ciudadela (Budget hotel)

A pretty tree lined plaza with a cast iron water fountain in Barcelonas el Born neighbourhood.

5. Barceloneta neighbourhood

The Barceloneta neighbourhood is the old fishermen’s district that was built during the eighteenth century. Located between the beach and the Port Vell harbour, it’s a traditional working-class neighbourhood reminiscent of the old quarter of other Mediterranean cities.

The main reason for staying in La Barceloneta is its proximity to the beach since there aren’t many attractions in the area. The neighbourhood’s other draws are many seafood restaurants and small tapas bars.

There are very few hotels in the Barceloneta neighbourhood and most people who choose to stay here rent an apartment. When renting an apartment, you should ensure that it is correctly licensed by the local authorities and bear in mind that some of the apartments are very small (35m square isn’t uncommon in this part of the city), and many of the older buildings don’t have lifts.

Main attractions in the Barceloneta neighbourhood

  • La Barceloneta beach & waterfront
  • The port cable car
  • Museum of the history of Catalunya

Recommended hotels in the Barceloneta neighbourhood

  • Hotel 54 (3 star hotel)

6. Gràcia neighbourhood

Once a separate town that Barcelona annexed during the early part of the twentieth century. Gràcia still maintains its own village-like identity. Life here revolves around the many picturesque plazas where you can sit, drink a coffee or a beer and watch the world go by.

The neighbourhood attracts ex-pats and artists who are drawn to its independent and alternative nature. This bohemian population is reflected in the number of small boutique shops selling handmade items and organic or recycled products.

A good choice if you want to try and avoid the tourist crowds and experience Barcelona like a local, the only big-name attraction in Gràcia is Antoni Gaudí’s Park Güell .

The downside of staying in Gràcia is that it’s not very central and you’ll have to use public transport quite a lot when visiting other parts of the city. Having said that, Barcelona’s public transport system is excellent and inexpensive.

Main attractions in the Gràcia neighbourhood

  • Casa Vicens
  • Gaudi Experience
  • Plaça del Sol & Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia (squares)
  • Mercat de la Llibertat (market)

Recommended hotels in the Gràcia neighbourhood

  • Hotel la Casa del Sol (3 star hotel)
  • Gràcia Garden Boutique Hotel (2 star hotel)
  • Hotel Bestprice Gràcia (Budget hotel)
  • Generator Barcelona (Backpacker hostel)

A child and his mother playing in front of the clock tower in the Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, Barcelona

7. Poble Sec & Sant Antoni neighbourhoods

In recent years the Poble Sec and Sant Antoni neighbourhoods have earned a well-deserved reputation for being the best area in Barcelona for foodies.

Carrer Blai, Carrer del Parlament and Ronda de Sant Antoni are home to a host of tapas bars that are as good as any you’ll find anywhere in the city. You’ll also find a selection of ethnic and vegetarian restaurants in this area, not to mention Tickets, the famous tapas bar owned by Ferran and Albert Adrìa.

Apart from the food, the Poble Sec and Sant Antoni Neighbourhoods are an excellent choice for budget-conscious travellers.

The slightly less central location means that hotels in this area offer better value for money than those in Barcelona city centre. Having said that, Poble Sec is only four stops on the metro from the city centre, and you could easily walk to the centre of town in less than twenty minutes.

Main attractions in the Poble Sec & Sant Antoni neighbourhoods

  • Mercat de Sant Antoni (market)
  • Jardins de les tres Xemeneies (graffiti park)
  • Shelter 307 (air raid shelter)

Recommended hotels in the Poble Sec & Sant Antoni neighbourhoods

  • Hotel Barcelona Apolo (3 star hotel)
  • Hotel Brummell (4 star hotel)
  • Hotel Paral.lel (Budget hotel)
  • Mambo Tango Youth Hostel (Backpacker hostel)

8. Poblenou neighbourhood

Once an industrial area full of factories and mills, in recent years, Poblenou has reinvented itself as one of Barcelona’s most up and coming neighbourhoods.

Investment in the area started during the nineteen eighties when the Olympic Village and Marina were built. The waterfront was cleaned up, and tons of sand were shipped in from the Sahara to create several kilometres of sandy beaches.

In more recent years, the old factory buildings have been torn down and replaced by modern start-ups, and tech companies in an area called the 22@ technological district. Several international hotel chains have also built large hotels in the area that cater to both business travellers and families or couples looking for a modern hotel near the beach and well connected to the city centre.

Although Poblenou is a long walk from the city centre, it’s easy to get into town by metro or bus in around twenty minutes. If you want to eat near to your hotel, there are plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from on the charming Rambla del Poblenou .

Main attractions in the Poblenou neighbourhood

  • La Rambla del Poblenou (boulevard)
  • The Agbar Tower
  • The Encants fleamarket
  • DHUB Barcelona (design museum)
  • Barcelona’s Beaches
  • The Olympic Marina
  • Poblenou Cemetery
  • Museu Blau (natural history museum)

Recommended hotels in the Poblenou neighbourhood

  • Four Points by Sheraton (3 star hotel)
  • Acta Voraport (3 star hotel)
  • Hostal Pobenou B&B (Bed and breakfast)
  • Ibis Barcelona Plaza Glòries 22@ (Budget hotel)

People relaxing on the beach in the Barceloneta neighbourhood of Barcelona

9. Sants-Montjuïc neighbourhood

Sants Montjuïc is the largest district of Barcelona. It includes the residential neighbourhoods of Sants, Hostafrancs and Poble Sec, as well as the mountain of Montjuïc and the Zona Franca Industrial area.

With a few notable exceptions, most of the area’s hotels are in Sants, Hostafrancs and Poble Sec. Hostafrancs and Sants are ideal neighbourhoods to stay in if you are attending one of the many trade fairs that take place in the Fira conference centres located at Plaça d’Espanya.

Many of the hotels in the area cater to business travellers and offer accommodation aimed at this type of customer; comfortable modern rooms with good Wi-Fi, a desk in the room and buffet breakfast.

The main attractions in the area are located on Montjuïc , which can be accessed by bus from Plaça d’Espanya, by cable car from the Barceloneta or by funicular railway from Paral·lel.

Despite the lack of tourist attractions, the Sants neighbourhood is a transport hub that includes Barcelona’s main train station and is about 15 minutes from the city centre by metro. The number 46 bus from Barcelona Airport plus the Aerobus fast shuttle bus both stop at Plaça d’Espanya.

The Camp Nou football stadium is also nearby. If you visit Barcelona to see a football match, a concert at the Palau de Sant Jordi, or take part in a sporting event such as the Barcelona Marathon, Sants would be a convenient area to stay.

Main attractions in the Sants Montjuïc district

  • Plaça d’Espanya
  • The Magic Fountain
  • Montjuïc castle
  • Palau Nacional and the MNAC museum
  • Poble Espanyol (Spanish village)
  • La Caixa Forum (art museum)
  • Montjuïc cable cars
  • Olympic stadium
  • Miró foundation
  • Montjuïc parks & botanical gardens

Recommended Hotels in the Sants Montjuïc neighbourhood

  • Barceló Sants
  • Catalonia Barcelona Plaza
  • Ayre Hotel Gran Vía
  • Hostel One Sants (Backpackers hostel)

Other Barcelona Neighbourhoods

So far, we’ve focussed on the most convenient neighbourhoods to stay in Barcelona when visiting the city. There are plenty of hotels in other areas of the city but, depending on where you stay, you might end up having to take a long bus ride or metro journey to get to and from the city centre.

If you don’t mind the inconvenience, then you may be able to find a bargain, but you should try and work out exactly how long it will take to get to and from the city centre before making a reservation.

If you’re unsure, feel free to leave a comment below with the hotel’s name and address, and I’ll let you know what I think of the location.

Where to stay in Barcelona FAQs

Where is the best area to stay in barcelona for first-timers.

If this is your first time in Barcelona, I recommend you stay near Plaça Catalunya. This very central location is close to many of Barcelona’s main attractions and is a transport hub with easy connections to the airport and other parts of the city.

Where is the best area to stay in Barcelona on a budget?

Generally speaking, hotels located outside the main tourist areas offer better value for money. The Poble Sec and Sant Antoni neighbourhoods are a good choice for budget travellers due to their proximity to the city centre and generally lower prices. Both neighbourhoods also offer a wide range of places to eat and drink at all price points.

A typical narrow crowded street in Barcelonas colourful Raval neighbout¡rhood.

Where is the best area to stay in Barcelona for families?

When visiting Barcelona with kids, I recommend staying in the Gothic Quarter or the Eixample neighbourhoods, in the area nearest to Plaça de Catalunya. By staying in this very central location you’ll minimize time spent travelling to and from the city’s main attractions.

The only exception would be if you are travelling with infants or small children in which case you might prefer to stay in a quieter area such as Gràcia or Poblenou.

Check out our guide to visiting Barcelona with kids here >>

Where is the best area to stay in Barcelona for nightlife?

Barcelona’s largest and best-known nightclubs are located in the Poblenou neighbourhood. Pacha, Shôko and Opium are all located on the beach next to the Olympic Marina. Razzmatazz, a massive club with five dance floors and three live music venues, is located near the Bogatell and Llacuna metros stations.

Having said that, Barcelona’s nightlife isn’t confined to one area, and there are plenty of nightclubs, theatres and music venues in other parts of the city. Areas such as the Gothic Quarter, El Born Sant Antoni and Poble Sec and the more central areas of l’Eixample have plenty of restaurants and tapas bars to choose from.

Where is the best place to stay in Barcelona before a cruise?

The nearest hotel to Barcelona’s cruise port is the Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel , an excellent five-star hotel located right at the harbour. Alternatively, there are plenty of other hotels located along La Rambla or Av. Parallel, which is also a short taxi ride from the cruise terminals.

Which hotels are located nearest to the beach in Barcelona?

There are four hotels located right on the beach in Barcelona; three luxury five-star hotels and one backpacker’s hostel:

  • W Hotel Barcelona (5 star hotel)
  • Safestay Barcelona Sea (Backpackers hostel)
  • Pullman Barcelona Skipper (5 star hotel)
  • Hotel Arts (5 star hotel)

If you want to stay near the beach but don’t need the luxury of a sea view, look for a hotel in the Barceloneta or Poblenou neighbourhoods. There are also several hotels with waterfront views located next to the Port Vell marina .

If this is your first visit to Barcelona or you’re only visiting for two or three days, I recommend that you look for a hotel near Plaça de Catalunya . This very central location is within walking distance of most of Barcelona’s main sights, and there are a wide variety of places to eat and drink nearby.

Plaça de Catalunya is also a transport hub with frequent metro, bus and trains to other parts of the city and fast shuttle buses to and from the airport.

If you are a light sleeper or want to experience the city like a local. In that case, you might want to stay in areas such as Poblenou or Gràcia, which, even though they are less central, offer easy access to the city centre by public transport.

For budget travellers, accommodation in Poble Sec and Sant Antoni is generally better value than the Gothic Quarter and is still within walking distance or a short metro ride from most sights.

At the end of the day, Barcelona is a compact city with an excellent public transport system. If you find a hotel that you like the look of and which gets good reviews online, then you shouldn’t obsess too much about staying in a specific location. All the neighbourhoods mentioned in this post are good areas to stay in.

As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

If you book a hotel after clicking through one of the links on this page, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

As a longtime Barcelona resident, I haven’t stayed at any of the hotels mentioned in this article. I’ve selected a mixture of mid-range and budget hotels based on their location and the reviews they receive online, plus comments that I get from readers of this blog.

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Locals and tourists enjoying the spring sunshine on the Barcelonata beach.

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Barcelona vs Valencia: A Comparative Travel Guide

B arcelona and Valencia are comparable destinations in Spain so it is no surprise that travelers wonder which destination comes out on top in a Barcelona vs Valencia face-off. The port cities are two of Spain’s most metropolitan areas. Valencia is located on the eastern coast of Spain while Barcelona is farther north . The destinations are technically a little over 200 miles away from each other. Tourists can travel between the two via car, bus, plane or train. The quickest commutes are by plane or train ride. While they are not very close to each other, travelers often seek to explore both locations during one trip.

Some travelers may even need to choose between the two if the journey is not plausible. Instead of travelers commuting between Barcelona and Valencia, it may be wiser for them to select which destination is a better fit for their itinerary. But some travelers may have extended trips and therefore are able to visit both destinations. If that is the case, this assessment of both destinations in Spain will provide guidance on their popularity and local offerings.

Tourism and Attractions

These activities are the top options for travelers in these two cities of Spain. Tourists will find that both areas offer distinct experiences and attractions. Barcelona and Valencia have plenty for tourists to do while they are in town. Learn more about the tourism industry in both cities and the popular stops for visitors who are considering traveling to Barcelona vs Valencia.

Tourism in Barcelona

This city is popular for its vibrant nightlife and thriving modern culture. Barcelona may be a better tourist destination for younger and more active travelers since the city is faster-paced and tourist-friendly. But this also means that this destination may have more crowds. The beaches of Barcelona are not as pristine, seemingly due to their popularity, so this city may not be the best place for beachgoers. On the other hand, Barcelona is popular for its food and shopping scene. It is a world-class shopping destination with many shopping districts. Travelers surely will not go hungry since Barcelona is filled with taverns and gourmet spots that offer fresh plates of Spanish dishes.

Things to Do in Barcelona

Barcelona has many popular tourist attractions that travelers should not miss. At the top of that list are Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, the Picasso Museum, La Boqueria Market, Barceloneta and Casa Milà. Sagrada Familia is soon to be the world’s tallest church. The church has been worked on for 130 years and is set to be completed in 2026. The grand church is a huge architectural feat and attracts millions of tourists per year. Travelers can book a tour to get the full experience. La Rambla is the iconic street that locals and tourists love. The street is filled with shops, art and markets, so tourists in need of any necessities can rely on this central area.

The art scene of Barcelona is thriving, which is clear because so many of its popular attractions are works of art. The Picasso Museum and Casa Milà are testaments to that legacy. The museum holds nearly 4,000 works in its collection and is quite popular. Travelers should book their tickets for admission ahead of time to avoid lines or extended waits.

Casa Milà, on the other hand, is enjoyed by tourists from outside of the building. The building is an architectural gem and has even gained recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its innovative stone construction. La Boqueria Market and Barceloneta are both charming areas for recreational activities. Barceloneta lines the marinas and has seafood restaurants that serve fresh catches. The market is another place that travelers can taste local delicacies since there are usually over 300 stalls to explore.

Tourism in Valencia

Much of Valencia’s appeal is due to its historic importance. Valencia is technically one of the oldest cities in Spain. It was founded in the Roman period, around 138 BC. Valencia is also an aesthetically pleasing destination but it offers a more classic beauty for travelers to admire. It is a good walkable city with plenty of accommodation options that fit an array of budgets. Valencia is also a popular option for hikers. If tourists venture out of the central areas they will find that the countryside has nice walking trails. They can explore orange groves, vineyards and even pine forests while on foot.

Things to Do in Valencia

Valencia has plenty of popular tourist attractions to offer visitors. The Mercado Central, Oceanografic Valencia, Bioparc Valencia, Valencia Cathedral, Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas (the Ceramics Museum) and Plaza del Ayuntamiento are the top tourist spots in Valencia. The Plaza del Ayuntamiento and Mercado Central are the best spots for shopping and cultural immersion. The Plaza del Ayuntamiento encompasses the town hall and square. It is a great area for first time tourists of Valencia since the tourism office is located there and there are seasonal community festivals.

Mercado Central is a central shopping area that even locals love. It is one of the oldest food markets in Europe and has over 1,200 trusted local vendors. The building that the market is held in spans 86,000 feet and has been standing since 1928, so it is historically significant. Oceanografic Valencia and Bioparc Valencia are exciting attractions that are good options for families. The former is the largest aquarium in Europe and boasts unique architecture. It has the longest underwater tunnel on the continent. Travelers that have a soft spot for aquatic animals will appreciate this attraction.

Bioparc Valencia also offers travelers unique experiences. It is a 25 acre immersive zoo. The immersive element of the zoo comes from its organization of animals and displays. The complementary animal species reside together. The barricades between humans and the animals are not easily visible, which provides the illusion that visitors are out in the wild.

The Valencia Cathedral and Ceramics Museum are also significant cultural centers. The cathedral dates back to 1262 and has diverse architectural influences. Once travelers obtain admission tickets, they get an audio guide that provides information about the historical context of the site. The museum building was rebuilt by the order of Brother Andreu d’Albalat during the 15th century. It officially houses the largest collection of ceramics in the country and even has work by Pablo Picasso.

Safety: Barcelona vs Valencia

Overall, both Barcelona and Valencia are safe areas for travelers. But the level of crime is technically lower in Valencia. Locals and tourists generally feel safer in the destination too. Neither city is considered dangerous, but travelers may notice they feel a different safety level in each location. Barcelona is a bit more of an urban city, so that may make a difference to some travelers concerning where they should stay . Travelers should really only be concerned by local petty crimes. Barcelona does have a higher rate of pickpocketing, so travelers should secure their belongings in public areas.

Affordability: Barcelona vs Valencia

The cost of living in these cities in Spain differ pretty noticeably. The cost of living in Barcelona is certainly more expensive. It is actually one of the pricier areas of Spain. Many locals say that the cost of living is comparable to Madrid, the metropolitan capital of Spain. Things like groceries, transportation and restaurants are higher priced in Barcelona. Since Valencia is more affordable in comparison travelers may find it to be a more appropriate option for lodging and recreational spending. Travelers that are on a budget are commonly partial to Valencia.

Check out this travel guide that compares Barcelona and Valencia for the ultimate Spain destination. pictured: the iconic and historic architecture of Barcelona on a bright blue day

The best hidden gems to visit in summer tourist hot spots, from someone who's been to every European country

  • Lee Abbamonte is a banker turned travel blogger who has visited every country in Europe.  
  • He calls Spain, Italy, France, and Greece Europe's "Big Four" because of how popular they are.
  • If you're visiting one of the "Big Four," here are Abbamonte's off-the-beaten-path tips. 

Insider Today

Traveling to Europe this summer? If so, we'll take a wild guess that you're visiting either Spain, Italy, France, or Greece.

These countries, nearly all of which are in the southern or Mediterranean regions, are what travel blogger Lee Abbamonte dubs Europe's "Big Four" because of their popularity among American tourists .

Abbamonte, 45, knows a thing or two about travel. He's not only visited every state in the US but every country in the world, as well as the North and South Poles.

Across the pond, Abbamonte prefers exploring underrated European countries , but he gets why people gravitate to the "Big Four."

"If you don't like it, you're the problem," he said. "They're all good."

Still, he's a fan of venturing off the beaten path.

Here, Abbamonte shares a few alternatives to popular tourist hot spots that anyone visiting Spain, Italy, France, and Greece should check out.

In Spain, forget Barcelona or Madrid and explore the cliffside city of Ronda

"Everyone knows Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Ibiza, Majorca," Abbamonte said. But not many Americans are familiar with the historic city of Ronda, perched atop a deep rocky gorge covered in lush greenery in the Andalucia region.

"If you're in Marbella, or if you're in Sevilla or Gibraltar, you can go out there and check out this awesome little town," Abbamonte said.

He also can't speak highly enough of northern Spain. One highlight is the seaside town of A Coruña, which is close to the Camino de Santiago, a network of pilgrimage routes leading to a holy site in the city of Santiago de Compostela.

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"I've done a lot of road trips around the north of Spain," Abbamonte said. "It's just an awesome little slice of Europe that nobody ever goes to."

If you're planning to island-hop in Greece, Abbamonte has recommendations that aren't Mykonos or Santorini

Mykonos and Santorini are two of the most well-known islands in Greece. Naturally, they're also two of the most overcrowded.

People familiar with Greece, like Abbamonte, often advise against visiting Mykonos and Santorini in favor of smaller islands that are quieter but just as beautiful, such as Aegina, Poros, and Hydra.

Abbamonte said Hydra, in particular, is worth seeing.

"There are no cars, and it's just goats and donkeys and walking. It's a very cool place to go."

On the mainland, he'd also advise stopping by Meteora in Thessaly, known for its "otherworldly" monasteries built atop towering rock formations.

In Italy, there are places just as beautiful as Lake Como and Florence that are far less crowded

According to Abbamonte, "With Italy, you can just throw a dart at a map, and you're in the coolest place you've ever been to."

Even so, some of Abbamonte's favorite spots in Italy don't get the love he believes they deserve. In the region of Tuscany for example, he says people tend to prioritize Florence, Pisa, or Siena.

All three are definitely worth seeing at least once, Abbamonte said, but he'd also recommend exploring smaller villages nestled between Tuscany's rolling hills, such as San Gimignano, Montalcino, and Montepulciano — all known for their endless vineyards and wines.

"Those are actually really awesome little villages and well worth checking out," he said.

Up in the north, Abbamonte said he'd skip Lake Como for any of the other Italian lakes close to the Dolomite mountains.

"It's my favorite place to road trip, probably, in all of Europe," he said.

Vacation like a local in France and visit Biarritz instead of Paris or Nice

Abbamonte cited Paris and Nice as examples of some of France's best-known vacation spots.

However, he said they are mostly hot spots for tourists rather than French locals, who tend to vacation in places "completely overlooked" by outsiders.

One of his favorites is Biarritz, a seaside hub known for its surfing culture in the Basque region of France. It's north of San Sebastian, a coastal Spanish city popular with tourists that is about a half-hour drive from the French border.

"Everyone knows San Sebastian now. Not a lot of people know Biarritz except for French people," he said. "But that's why I like it because it has a real, local kind of old money, Grace Kelly feel."

Other spots in France that he recommends checking out are the medieval town of Saint Paul De Vence on the French Riviera , beloved by generations of artists and poets, and the riverside city of Avignon in the southeast, one of his "favorite towns in all of Europe."

Correction: June 4, 2024 — An earlier version of this story misstated the location of A Coruña. It's in northwestern Spain, not in Spain's Basque region. The story also misstated the location of Monte Carlo, which is in Monaco, not France.

Watch: Was Italy's $1 home scheme worth it?

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  • Main content

The top 10 day trips from Barcelona, from divine sights to beautiful beaches

Dec 6, 2023 • 7 min read

There are lots of lovely restaurants in the square surrounding the cathedral in Tarragona

Tarragona has lots of lovely restaurants in the square surrounding the cathedral © frantic00 / Getty Images

You could spend weeks in Barcelona and never run out of neighborhoods to explore , things to do , food to try and bars to hop.

But for a taste of Catalan life beyond the metropolis – or simply for a change of pace – take a day trip from Barcelona to experience the mountains, beaches and pretty little towns that are just a short ride away. Here are the 10 best short escapes from beautiful Barcelona. 

1. Savor divinely beautiful views in Montserrat

Travel time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

The mountain of  Montserrat  is home to  Catalonia 's holiest site, the monastery of the same name. The views are spectacular – take walking shoes – and season permitting, you might be able to catch a choir performance inside the  basilica . Afterward, ride the funicular or take a walk down to the  Santa Cova , the spot where La Moreneta – a holy effigy of the virgin – was found, or up to the Sant Jeroni peak for a splendid view of the valley below.

How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona:  The R5 line trains operated by FGC run half-hourly to hourly to and from Barcelona's Plaça d’Espanya station. Next, get the AERI cable car to the monastery from the Montserrat Aeri stop. Alternatively, take the R5 to the next stop (Monistrol de Montserrat), from where cremallera trains run up to the monastery every 20 to 40 minutes.

An onboard camera captures the moment when a cyclist rides through the forests of Collserola, a natural park near the city of Barcelona.

2. Escape the city to the forests of Collserola

Travel time: 15 minutes

Barcelonins seek out the vast  Parc de Collserola  up in the hills for an escape from city life. Walking and cycling trails run throughout the park, which is dotted with farmhouse-style restaurants. Pick up a map of the various routes from the info center at Carretera de l’Església 92, close to the Baixador de Vallvidrera FGC train station. From here, those with a bit of energy can walk across the hills to Sant Cugat and take the train back to Barcelona from there.

How to get to Collserola from Barcelona:  Get the FGC suburban train from Plaça de Catalunya, Carrer de Provença or Gràcia to Baixador de Vallvidrera.

3. Sunbathe and party in Sitges

Travel time: 40 minutes

The pretty, whitewashed town of  Sitges  is perfect for seafront promenading and sun-worshiping, so in warmer weather, you’ll find the most central beaches quite crowded. Luckily, there are quite a few to choose from, so pick your spot for a morning of sunbathing (or skinny dipping off the nudist beach) before choosing a seafood restaurant nearby.

It’s not all about the sea in Sitges. If you have an interest in contemporary art and in the Modernisme movement, the classy old center’s array of elegant buildings – many housing museums – is well worth some of your time. The town also has great nightlife and a vibrant LGBTIQ+ scene. One of Spain's best Carnaval celebrations is held here (dates change annually), and October brings the Sitges International Film Festival to town.

How to get to Sitges from Barcelona:  From 5am to 10pm, regular trains run from Barcelona Passeig de Gràcia and Sants. Monbus runs from Barcelona every 15 to 50 minutes.

Woman looking at colorfully painted buildings in Girona, Spain

4. Walk through a rainbow in Girona

Travel time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Girona 's old town is a tight huddle of ancient arcaded houses, grand churches and sloped cobbled streets, with the grand cathedral  looming over it. Until the virtual expulsion of the Jewish population in 1492, Girona was home to a huge Jewish community, and the  Museu d’Història dels Jueus  tells their story.

For a different slice of history, visit the 12th-century  Banys Àrabs  (Arab Baths), which was used as a filming location in  Game of Thrones , and the pretty Romanesque  Monestir de Sant Pere de Galligants . Stroll along the Onyar River to look at the colorfully painted houses that flank it or to reach the newer part of town, where you’ll find some excellent tapas bars.

If your pockets are deep enough, Girona also has one of the world’s best restaurants:  El Celler de Can Roca .

How to get to Girona from Barcelona:  Take the train from Barcelona, which runs about every 30 minutes.

5. Relax in friendly and welcoming Vilanova i la Geltrú

Travel time: 45 minutes

Just down the coast beyond Sitges (there is a lovely, hour-long walk along the cliffs you can do to reach it), Vilanova i la Geltrú is a larger, more down-home version that has long dedicated its efforts more to fishing and industry than the leisure business, with a pleasantly unpretentious air.

If you want to spend the day on the beach, Vilanova i la Geltrú is an excellent place to do it. There are some decent, wide beaches (head straight to the south for a lovely little cove) and an interesting railway museum, the Museu del Ferrocarril . 

How to get to Vilanova i la Geltrú from Barcelona:  From 5am to 10pm, regular trains run from Barcelona.

6. Revel in Roman ruins in Tarragona

Travel time: 1 hour

Of a similar size and scale to Girona,  Tarragona  is known for its Roman remains. Since the  Museu d’Història de Tarragona  – which comprises the main Roman sites – tends to be busiest from mid-morning onward, it’s best to start with its  Amfiteatre Romà  and the  Fòrum Provincial  or the excellent  Museu Nacional Arqueològic de Tarragona , which gives a useful overview of the city’s impressive Roman past.

Afterward, head for the grand  cathedral , followed by lunch in one of the many restaurants thereabouts or in the fishing neighborhood of El Serrallo, where you’ll find many fine seafood restaurants.

How to get to Tarragona from Barcelona:  The train station is a 10-minute walk south of the old town near the beach, with services to and from Barcelona every 10 to 30 minutes.

Inside the theatre of the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres Spain

7. Get surreal in Figueres

Travel time: 2 hours

Figueres  has some handsome Modernista architecture, a sprawling 18th-century castle  and a delightful little toy museum, the  Museu del Joguet , but it is best known for the  Teatre-Museu Dalí .

A former theater, it was converted by Dalí himself into a palace of surrealism, protected by tall red walls that bristle with giant eggs, Oscar-like statues and plaster croissants. Inside, you’ll find paintings, a jewelry collection designed by Dalí and some entertaining trompe l’oeil installations. A Teatre-Museu Dalí ticket will get you free entry to the  Museu de l'Empordà , a fantastic art and archaeology museum that's considered one of the best in the region.

How to get to Figueres from Barcelona:  Figueres train station, 800m (0.5 miles) southeast of the center, has half-hourly trains to and from Barcelona.

8. Step back in time in medieval Montblanc

Montblanc is a good-sized medieval walled town with a decent selection of places to eat and sleep. It’s worth a visit on its own merits; however, ideally, you should go with a car to fully explore the Cistercian Route, a triad of stunning monasteries within easy reach of one another at  Poblet ,  Vallbona de les Monges  and  Santes Creues . You’ll need to set off early if you are hoping to see all three.

How to get to Montblanc from Barcelona: Five direct trains a day run from Barcelona Passeig de Gràcia and Sants; the first is around 7am.

A child rides a bike and people walk around Plaça Mayor in Vic, Spain

9. Shop the local markets in Vic

Travel time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Vic, with its attractive historic center and some fine restaurants, dominates the flatlands of La Plana de Vic to the south of the Pyrenees and is an easy train ride from Barcelona. Plaça Major, the largest of Catalunya’s central squares, is lined with medieval, Baroque and Modernista mansions. It is still the scene of regular markets, hence its other name, Plaça del Mercadal.

How to get to Vic from Barcelona:  Regular rodalies trains (line R3) run to and from Barcelona.

10. Find a buried treasure in Colònia Güell

Apart from La Sagrada Família , Gaudí’s last big project was the creation of a utopian textile workers’ complex for his magnate patron Eusebi Güell outside Barcelona at Santa Coloma de Cervelló. Gaudí’s main role was to erect the colony’s church,  Colònia Güell , although he only managed to finish the crypt, which is open to visitors. Its mostly brick-clad columns that support the ribbed vaults in the ceiling are inclined at all angles in much the same way that trees in a forest lean and are key to understanding the physics behind his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.

How to get to Colònia Güell from Barcelona:  Take FGC lines S4, S8 or S33 to Colònia Güell.

This article was first published Jun 21, 2019 and updated Dec 6, 2023.

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5 of the best places to eat in the Trastevere neighbourhood of Rome

Visit this picturesque cross-river quarter known for its vibrant colours, lively nightlife and delicious food scene. Trastevere has something to offer culinary-minded visitors at every hour of the day, from little shops selling artisanal salumi to classic trattorias.

A bridge in Trastevere, Rome

Literally meaning ‘the other side of the Tevere (Tiber River)’, Trastevere is one of the most historic neighbourhoods of Rome. It used to be a working-class district, and although much has changed since those times, plenty of its charm has remained: the tight alleys with fascinating angles, laundry hanging from building to building, old men playing cards in the bars, the smell of tomato sauce wafting from homes and trattorias alike. Its streets abound with historical sights such as churches and palazzos to explore. And at night, you can find the same streets buzzing with huge crowds of young people out for a drink and a bite in one of Trastevere’s many bars, or in its extraordinary piazzas. Here are a few of the best places to eat while in Trastevere.

1.   La Norcineria di Iacozzilli

Near the characterful San Cosimato market, this family-run deli shop has just turned a century old and is still where locals do their shopping. The market itself is well worth a visit, while this old-school deli — with all the retro vibes of a corner shop from the movies — is the perfect spot for a snack or a light lunch. It has a large variety of salami, hams and other types of cured meat, as well as cheeses and a very good porchetta (pork roast), which you can have in the form of a panino, if you want, with the addition of mozzarella.

Fruits and vegetables are on display at the outdoor San Cosimato market in Trastevere, Rome

2. Supplì Roma

It’s traditional to have fritti (a variety of deep-fried bites) before a pizza in Rome and Naples. The classic Roman fritti are deep-fried courgette flowers ( fiori di zucca ) stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies; deep-fried cod fillet ( filetto di baccalà ); and supplì , little rice balls dressed with tomato sauce and stuffed with mozzarella, then breaded and fried. Some compare supplì to Sicilian arancini , but they’re supposed to be different, both in size and in condiment. Supplì Roma in Via di San Francesco a Ripa has gained fame for making its   supplì using other traditional Roman recipes such as cacio e pepe , aubergine parmigiana and even non-traditional options such as pulled pork — the latter two are especially popular. Many locals have these supplì for a workday lunch.

A woman walks down a tight alley in Trastevere, Rome.

3. Alice Pizza Trastevere

There’s a Roman tradition of pizza al taglio that is quite unmatched in the rest of Italy. Literally meaning pizza by the slice, pizza al taglio is made in large trays, topped with a variety of ingredients that can be quite far from the classic round pizza flavours, and is sold in the quantity you want — so it’s a perfect solution for a little snack, a light lunch or feeding a big crowd at a party. Alice Pizza, born 35 years ago in Rome, is famous for its light and highly digestible pizza dough, which manages to retain its quality across branches throughout the country. Alice’s toppings, however, are locally provided, which means the pizzas in different cities are not quite the same. Go for the classic potato and the amatriciana if they’re available.

4. Taverna 51

This one of Rome's oldest and most classic trattorias, run by generations of trasteverini who have been making the same dishes for more than 70 years. It’s a trusted institution run by generations of trasteverini . They make tonnarelli (a fresh pasta not unlike spaghetti) in house and serve it with amatriciana, carbonara, gricia or cacio e pepe — all the Roman classics to try. Another standout menu option at Taverna 51 is the tonnarelli with mussels and pecorino — an unlikely but very interesting combination. For the main, the meatballs ( polpette ) and saltimbocca alla romana (veal with ham and sage cooked in wine), are highly recommended choices.

A woman at a restaurant holds a large forkful of pasta above her plate.

5. Fiordiluna

For over 25 years, this small gelateria has been a source of refreshment on cobbled Via della Lungaretta. The pleasantly surprising element about Fiordiluna is its attention to the ingredients; not only does it source them from fair-trade and local producers — many of which are organic — it also takes particular care to use as few ingredients as possible for each gelato flavour. You can also find sugar-free gelato   that’s truly indistinguishable from the conventional kind.

Related Topics

  • FOOD TOURISM
  • FOOD HISTORY
  • STREET FOODS
  • FOOD CULTURE

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