- Jonathan Chum
Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Spain. It's full of culture, history, and some of the best food in all of Europe. There are so many things to do in Barcelona that it can be hard to know where to start. If you have limited time (or money), don't worry! We'll show you how to get the best bang for your buck by hitting some of our favorite spots:
Visit Gaudi's Sagrada Familia
If you're a fan of Gaudi's work or his art in general, you can't pass up the Sagrada Familia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Barcelona's most iconic attractions. It's also the largest church in the world---it's taller than Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and has over a million visitors each year. Inside its façade, you'll find more than 4,000 sculptures depicting scenes from Christianity's Old Testament and New Testament stories as well as angels and archangels. The exterior was completed by 1929 but construction continued until 1940 under Gaudí himself; since then it has been undergoing continual renovation and restoration work to bring it back to its original condition (or as close as possible).
Shop at La Boqueria
La Boqueria is a market in Barcelona, Spain that's considered one of the best places to buy food and drink in all of Barcelona.
The market is open from 8 am to 8 pm daily. In addition to its amazing selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood (along with other delicious treats), it also has an outdoor plaza area where you can sit down at one of its many tables and enjoy your purchases with friends or family members in an atmosphere that feels very Spanish.
La Boqueria is located near Las Ramblas street which means it's easy for you to find if you're staying in any part of Barcelona except maybe the El Born neighborhood.
If you want to visit this iconic market while visiting Spain then check out our guide on how to get there below!
Explore Las Ramblas
Food and drink
Entertainment (street performers, artists, etc.)
Go to the beach at Barceloneta
The beach at Barceloneta is a wonderful place to go for a swim. It's clean, safe, and full of restaurants and bars that serve some of the best cava in Barcelona.
See Casa Mila and Casa Batllo
The first stop on your Barcelona itinerary should be Casa Mila (La Pedrera), a huge apartment building designed by Antoni Gaudí. It's one of the most famous buildings in Barcelona and was built as part of a complex called Les Cinc Dieses (The Five Days). When it opened in 1912, it was the tallest residential building in Europe---and it still looks pretty impressive today! You can take an elevator to the roof for panoramic views of the city, or head into La Pedrera itself and tour rooms such as "The Nave," which has a rock-like ceiling made up entirely out of plaster.
Next up: Casa Batlló. This is another Gaudi masterpiece located right next door---you'll recognize it as soon as you step inside because its facade is covered with swirls that look like they were torn from some 60s album cover art. Inside, you'll find more incredible details like stained glass windows and mosaic floors; there are even some rooms that have been left empty so visitors can see how light bounces off different surfaces at different angles (it's probably not what your dad had in mind when he taught you about refraction when you were ten).
Check out the Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter is the old part of Barcelona and it is where you will find most of the interesting things to do in Barcelona.
The Gothic Quarter is home to many historic buildings and attractions built hundreds of years ago, such as the Cathedral de la Seu, Palau de la Generalitat, Casa Batlló by Gaudi, and the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. If you're into architecture or art history then this will be your favorite part of Barcelona!
In addition to its history, there are many shops selling products from all over Spain as well as restaurants that serve traditional dishes like paella or sangria (Spanish wine).
Take a day trip to Montserrat
Take a day trip to Montserrat. The easiest way to get there is by taking the train or bus from Barcelona, but you could also rent a car if you want a more independent experience. If you choose this option, make sure to check out the Miracle of the Holy Cross on your way back down---it's not far from Montserrat Monastery.
Visit Santa Cova Cave and La Pedra de Montserrat (the Stone of Montserrat). The Santa Cova Cave is where Saint Otter found what would be known as "La Verge" or Our Lady Of The Snows---a statue of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms that was carved by Saint Jerome around 500 AD."
Admire Park Guell
Park Güell is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona, and with good reason. The work of art and architecture is unique in the world, and it's been described as "a masterpiece of modernism" by UNESCO.
The park was designed by Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) during his final decade, from 1900 to 1914. At that time he was already famous for his unique style --- a combination of Gothic Revival and Art Nouveau --- but this park was different from anything else he had ever done before. It featured over 50 mosaic benches with floral motifs; an artificial waterfall; stone archways; staircases leading up to a central plaza featuring a large mosaic tile cone sculpture called "El Capricho" (or "The Fantasy"); several large birdhouses perched atop poles above ground level near the walls; and three free-standing pavilions constructed around large circular planters made out of exposed brick masonry set atop wooden columns along each side street between Casanova Street on one side and Mosaic Path on another
Casa Batlló is one of Gaudí's most famous works, a masterpiece that has been frequently replicated by others. It's also his first major project and an excellent example of how he was inspired by the shapes and forms of nature when designing his buildings. The building itself is a surrealist fantasy: it looks like it could be an ancient Greek temple or a scene from a fairy tale, but every inch is unique to this building alone.
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya is a museum in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It contains an extensive collection of sculptures as well as paintings and drawings by artists who lived in the Catalan Countries between the 14th and 19th centuries. The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya includes four more museums: one dedicated to the art of the medieval period (Museu Nacional d'Art Medievals) and three dedicated to modern art (Museu del Modernisme Català, Museu de Les Arts Decoratives I Museu Tèxtil I Diverses).
The museum has been closed for renovations since 2015; it will reopen in 2020 with some changes
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
If you want to see a fountain that's not your typical fountain, the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is the place to go. This fountain is located on Montjuïc mountain and plays different shows every evening. The castle, which houses this magical fountain, also has many other things to do such as exploring its gardens, taking pictures with friends and family, or even enjoying an ice cream in one of its restaurants. The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is one of those attractions in Barcelona that cannot be missed when visiting Barcelona!
If you love art, then there's no better place to go than Museu Picasso. The museum has more than 2,000 works of art by Pablo Picasso himself as well as others from his family and friends. There's also a special section of this museum dedicated to children so they can learn about art while having fun.
Hospital de Sant Pau
The Hospital de Sant Pau is a world heritage site and one of Barcelona's most famous landmarks. The building was designed by Lluís Domènech I Montaner, who was inspired by the work of Gaudi, another Spanish architect. It's a beautiful place to visit and get an idea of how Barcelona used to look before its current makeover into a modern city with skyscrapers and flashy buildings.
The hospital has been converted into a hotel now so it can be used for things like weddings or conferences, but you can still walk around inside if you're interested in seeing how this historic building looks from the inside out!
Eat at El Quim de la Boqueria
El Quim de la Boqueria is one of the best tapas bars in Barcelona. With over 50 choices on its menu, this bar has a little bit of everything. If you're looking for an intimate atmosphere to enjoy some wine with friends or family, this place is perfect.
La Roca Village day trip to Barcelona
La Roca Village is a theme park based on the history of Catalonia, which is just outside Barcelona. It's the perfect place to learn about Catalan history and culture and can be visited as part of a day trip from Barcelona.
The La Roca Village theme park features attractions such as an aquarium, waterpark, and caves that have been carved out in the rock face over thousands of years. There are also numerous restaurants selling traditional Catalan cuisine like paella or cava (Catalonian sparkling wine).
These are just a few ideas for things to do in Barcelona, but there's no shortage of options. From museums to parks, food markets, and bars, there's something for everyone. Try out some of these suggestions the next time you visit this magical city!