Barcelona is a beautiful and busy city, with over 20 million visitors exploring its colorful streets every year. What are they all doing there? What’s there to see or do? We’ve put together a list of 60 things to see and do in Barcelona, so take a look and see if there’s anything you want to add to your bucket list!
1. Lift Your Spirits at Sagrada Família
The most popular attraction in Barcelona is Antoni Gaudí’s stunning Sagrada Família, a church that has been under construction for over 135 years and counting! The attraction is extremely busy, so you’ll want to book tickets in advance, but it’s worth it to see the beautiful and brightly colored modernist interiors and climb the towers.
2. Watch a Match or Take a Tour of Camp Nou
Sports fans will recognize Camp Nou straight away as the home of the legendary soccer team, FC Barcelona. It’s the largest stadium in Spain, and the atmosphere at the matches there is incredible. If there aren’t any matches on during your stay then you can still get a taste of Barça by taking a guided tour of the stadium.
3. Meet the Salamander at Park Güell
Park Güell receives over 3 million visitors per year, making it the second most popular attraction in Barcelona! Like the Sagrada Familia, it was also designed by Antoni Gaudí, and you’ll enjoy his trademark colorful mosaics and sculptures as you explore the Area Monumental, which you’ll need a ticket to enter.
4. See Works of Genius at the Museu Picasso
Everyone can recognize the most famous paintings by Pablo Picasso, but the Museu Picasso highlights his less well-known early works, showing how his style developed before his co-founding of Cubism and later creative periods. The core of the museum is the private collection of Jaime Sabartés, Picasso’s long-time friend and secretary.
5. Walk down Las Ramblas
The pedestrian street called La Rambla is one of the areas that every visitor to Barcelona should explore! Each of its sections has a slightly different vibe, from the Rambla de Canaletes, with its famous fountain that combines a water feature with a lamppost, to the Pla de l’Os with its Miró mosaic, to the Rambla de Santa Monica where you’ll find souvenir stalls and art dealers. There’s a lot to discover, so take your time!
6. Take a Day Trip to the Amazing Montserrat Abbey
The monastery at Montserrat is set among some of the most impressive scenery that Catalonia has to offer – in order to visit you’ll need to take the cable car, funicular railway, or drive up the steep roads of the mountain. The impressive church and the statue of the Black Madonna are both important pilgrimage sites and interesting for art lovers, and a day trip to see them is highly recommended.
7. Explore the Poble Espanyol
The Poble Espanyol (or ‘Spanish Town’) is an open-air museum built during the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition to showcase architectural styles from different regions, eras, and cultures of Spain. It’s also a great place to go shopping for traditional and handmade souvenirs.
8. Get up High at the Bunker del Carmel
Get an incredible view from the bunkers of Carmel, bomb shelters which were built into the Turó de Rovira during the Spanish Civil War. They’re free to visit, you’ll just have to take a short hike to get there.
9. Discover More Gaudí at Casa Milà
Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (the ‘Stone Quarry’), is another part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites dedicated to the works of Antoni Gaudí. Even though it was built between 1906 and 1912, it has some very modern architectural elements, including innovative cooling via an ingenious ventilation system and an underground car park. And, like all buildings by Gaudí, it’s extremely beautiful!
10. See the City on a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
There are a few different companies offering hop-on hop-off bus tours through Barcelona, but they all have one thing in common: they let you get between the biggest sights in the city in comfort, avoiding public transport.
11. Chill out at the Parc de la Ciutadella
The Parc de la Ciutadella lets you discover spectacular modernist buildings, while also giving you the chance to rest your weary legs in lush green spaces. Highlights include the Arc de Triomf, the Castell dels Tres Dragons, and the Font de la Cascada.
12. Get Arty at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
You’ll find the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya inside the impressive Palau Nacional at the foot of Montjuïc mountain. The gallery boasts one of the largest collections of Romanesque art in the world, as well as featuring work by Catalan artists up to the 20th Century, and exhibitions on numismatics (or coins and currency), engravings, and photography.
13. Marvel at the Montjuic Fountain
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc was designed by Carles Buïgas and built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. After dark, visitors can enjoy watching the water dance with dreamy lights and music.
14. Explore the narrow streets of the Gothic quarter
The Barri Gòtic is home to many wonderful sights including among others La Catedral and the Palau de la Generalitat. The atmosphere of the small, labyrinthine streets is one of the highlights of Barcelona’s Old Town (or Ciutat Vella).
15. See the Church of Santa Maria del Mar
The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar in the La Ribeira district is one of the prime examples of the Catalan-Gothic style. In addition to a stunning rose window, the interior of the church appears particularly spacious as a result of the width between the columns – at 43 feet (13 meters) apart, the columns are more widely spaced than any other Gothic church in Europe.
16. Tapas, Tapas, Tapas!
Let an expert guide teach you all about the importance of tapas and the culture of tapas bars on a food tour of the city! You’ll also get to taste a range of delicious bites, from patatas bravas, pimientos de padrón, and neatly prepared meat and seafood dishes.
17. Discover the Secrets of Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is another of Gaudí’s impressive buildings, designed as a residence for a wealthy patron. It’s cleverly themed around the legend of St. George, the patron saint of Catalonia, with elements of the knight and dragon appearing on the roof, in the arches of the ceilings, and on the staircase. Visitors can explore during the day or after dark to enjoy a concert on the roof terrace!
18. Enjoy a Concert at the Palau de la Música Catalana
Speaking of concerts, any music-lover should make a stop at the Palau de la Música Catalana, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can take a tour of the impressive building or see an opera or flamenco show in spectacular surroundings.
19. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Catalonia
Get a birds-eye view of Barcelona, the Collserola mountains, the countryside of Catalonia, and the Mediterranean when you take a hot air balloon flight. There are lots of providers with offers, including early morning rides where you can watch the sunrise from the air.
20. Visit the Palau Güell
Another of Gaudí’s masterpieces, the Palau Güell was the home of the industrialist Eusebi Güell, for whom Park Güell was named. In addition to Gaudí’s unique style of architecture, he also designed the modernist furniture which you’ll see on a tour of the interior.
21. Climb the Columbus Monument
The monument to the achievements of Christopher Columbus was erected in 1888 and is about 196 feet (60 meters) high. Inside you can climb to the viewing platform, which offers fantastic views of the city and its harbor.
22. For Visitors in August: Festa Major de Gràcia
In the middle of August, the Gràcia district of Barcelona hosts a week-long fiesta in which its streets compete to have the best decorations. With neighbors coming together to choose a theme and go all-out in the decorating, it’s a must-see if you’re in town on the right dates. Plus, there are shows, concerts and workshops, and plenty of street food to taste!
23. Modernism and Chocolate at Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller was designed by the modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch for Barcelona’s chocolate mogul, Antoni Amatller. Today you can take a guided tour which includes a chocolate tasting, making this the perfect destination for fans of art history and anyone with a sweet tooth!
24. Get on the Roof at Barcelona Cathedral
Forget the Sagrada Familia for a moment, because the Gothic cathedral of Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona and therefore the most important Catholic church in the city. In addition to exploring the interior, you can take a lift to the roof and enjoy stunning views of the city, the sea, and the Catalonian hinterland.
25. Explore Montjuïc Castle
You’ll find another great view of the city from the Castell de Montjuïc, which sits on top of Montjuïc Hill. The castle was a fortress used to defend the city, and in the time of the Francoist dictatorship, it was also a prison that held enemies of the regime. Today it’s used as a venue for temporary exhibitions.
26. Sail the Sea at Sunset
End your day of exploring the city in style, on board a sailing ship with a cold drink and enjoying the changing colors of the sky during sunset! These tours are especially perfect as romantic trips for couples.
27. Get Moving on a Bike Tour
Getting around Barcelona by bike is a great alternative to public transport and hop-on hop-off buses. If you’d prefer to be accompanied by a guide then you have plenty of options, including both historical and food-themed tours.
28. Gaudí’s Lesser-Known Masterpiece: Casa Vicens
Antoni Gaudí had plenty of wealthy patrons who paid him to design unique houses and a visit to Casa Vicens (the former home of a stockbroker) will show you how he used his commissions as chances to create art. The building has only been open to the public since 2017, and visitors can admire the ornately decorated walls and ceilings in addition to cavernous vaults. The whole house was influenced by the Mudejar style.
29. Treat Your Inner Child at Tibidabo Amusement Park
If you fancy some pure fun, then why not try the Parc d’atraccions Tibidabo? It’s a family-friendly amusement park with attractions suitable for visitors of all ages, plus you’ll get a panoramic view of the city.
30. Dive into Modern Art at the Fundació Joan Miró
This gallery is dedicated to the work of Joan Miró, featuring many of his sculptures, but you’ll also find rotating temporary exhibitions of other contemporary artists. There are also concerts on Thursdays, so check the schedule before your visit! You should also watch out for the Alexander Calder’s mercury fountain which pumps pure (and lethal) mercury instead of water. Don’t worry, it’s well-protected so you won’t get close enough to touch.
31. Zip Around the City on a Segway Tour
For all the speed of a bike tour with none of the exertion, why not try a Segway tour? Options that last between one and three hours are available, and an expert guide will train you in using your vehicle before showing you all the sights!
32. Explore the Hospital de Sant Pau
The Hospital de Sant Pau Recinte Modernista is the largest Art Nouveau building in the world and is no longer a functioning hospital. Today visitors can take a tour of the modernist building to learn more about its history and its place in the history of art and architecture.
33. Admire Contemporary Art at MACBA
The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (better known as MACBA) features works by Tàpies, Saura, and Klee. Look out for fun workshops and performances, which are scattered throughout the gallery’s program.
34. Take a Day Trip to the Dalí Museum in Figures
Figueres, the hometown of Salvador Dalí, is one of the most popular destinations for day trips from Barcelona. Visitors to the town will see the unusual Teatre-Museu Dalí, which houses important works by the surrealist artist from all of his creative phases.
35. Get Lost in the Parc del Laberint d’Horta
The classical Parc del Laberint d’Horta is the oldest maintained park in Barcelona and its maze is one of the most elaborate in Europe. Can you find your way to the sculpture of Eros in the middle? And, more importantly, will you find your way back out again?
36. Spend a Day at the Zoo
Visit 7,500 animals from over 500 species at the Parc Zoològic de Barcelona! Visitors of all ages will enjoy spotting apes, reptiles, birds, and even dolphins and other marine mammals on their trip.
37. Shop in an Abandoned Bullring at Las Arenas de Barcelona
Las Arenas hasn’t hosted a bullfight since 1977, but the building lives on! Today, the complex is home to over 100 shops, restaurants, and bars, plus a cinema and a sports and wellness center. You can also take a trip to the roof terrace viewpoint, where you’ll enjoy a 360° view of Barcelona.
38. Visit the Gaudí House Museum
Gaudí’s home stands in the center of Park Güell, one of his masterpieces. It’s been a museum dedicated to the artist and architect since 1963, and exhibits include furniture and other household items designed by Gaudí.
39. Enjoy the Jardins del Teatre Grec
The Greek Amphitheater in these gardens might be a replica, but the peaceful atmosphere makes it worth a visit anyway. Set on the slopes of Montjuïc, the gardens also offer terrific views all the way to the Serra de Collserola mountain range.
40. Take a Tour of the Sewers
The local government of Barcelona offers tours of the city’s sewer system for groups of 10 or more. You have to book in advance, but it’s a unique chance to explore a vital part of the city’s infrastructure.
41. See a Flamenco Show
Although flamenco is not typically Catalonian, Barcelona is still home to plenty of high-quality flamenco performances. You can find particularly impressive shows at the fabulous Palau de la Música Catalana.
42. Experience an Exquisite Night at the Opera
The largest opera house in Barcelona, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, was tragically struck by fire in 1994 but reopened in 1999. Since then, operas and concerts take place almost daily, and you can also visit the theater (situated on La Rambla) by yourself or by taking a guided tour.
43. Explore la Boqueria market
The Mercat de la Boqueria (actually called the Mercat de Sant Josep) can be found on La Rambla. It offers fresh food, exotic ingredients, and local delicacies alike. With plenty of food tasting tours in the area, everyone will be sure to find something to delight their palate!
44. A Day on the Wild Costa Brava
The picturesque Costa Brava is about 37 miles (60 km) away from Barcelona but is definitely worth a day trip. Its rugged cliffs, stunning bays, and idyllic fishing villages await you, and for sporty visitors, there are also plenty of opportunities for kayaking and snorkeling.
45. Church of Colònia Güell
The crypt of Colònia Güell was never finished. It’s yet another design by Gaudí and can be found in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, about 6 miles (10 km) from the center of Barcelona. It was a site where Gaudí tested new materials and ideas, some of which you can see incorporated in the structure of the Sagrada Família.
46. Get Nerdy at a Model Train Market
Attention, model train lovers! On the first Saturday of every month, the Estació de França is transformed into a specialist flea market for model trains and other pieces of railway memorabilia. It might also be a fun trip for kids or people who love to see experts rave about their hobbies.
47. Discover Casa Figueres
Casa Figueres, also known as Bellesguard, is another of Gaudí’s buildings (yes, another one!), found in the district of Sant Gervasi – La Bonanova. Compared to other Catalan Modernist buildings, it has more Gothic influences, but Gaudí’s trademarks can still be seen in the mosaics, colorful stained glass windows, and the playful use of shapes and colors.
48. Enjoy a swim with a view at Picornell
The Piscines Bernat Picornell were built on the slopes of Montjuïc mountain for the 1992 Summer Olympics, but are open all year round to members of the public. Enjoy some exercise, and cool off in the refreshing water while enjoying the view.
49. Learn about the Region at the Museu d’Historia de Catalunya
The state of Catalonia has a rich history, and you can learn all about it at the Museu d’Historia de Catalunya. Located directly on Port Vell, the engaging multimedia exhibits cover the development of the region from the Stone Age to the present day.
51. Visit the Spiky Casa de les Punxes
The Casa de les Punxes (or “House of Spikes”) is a stunning modernist residential block, famous for its characteristic towers. Visitors can take a guided tour and discover the colorful glass windows, floral sculptures, and innovative use of steel. Some ticket options even include a delicious brunch or glass of cava.
52. See Another Side of Catalonia
There are plenty of day trips that combine trips to Sitges and Tarragona, taking visitors outside of the bubble of the capital and helping them to explore another side of Catalonia. The old town of Sitges is home to many beautiful Art Nouveau houses, while you’ll enjoy exploring the ancient Roman ruins in Tarragona.
53. Meet the Fish at Barcelona Aquarium
The old port (Port Vell) is where you’ll find the largest marine aquarium dedicated to the Mediterranean Sea. Visitors of all ages will enjoy spotting the different creatures on display and learning more about how they live in the wild.
54. Get Bookish at the Biblioteca Pública Arús
The Biblioteca Pública Arús opened in 1895 and is one of the most beautiful libraries in Spain! Library lovers should definitely take a guided tour to learn more about its history.
55. Go to the Beach!
Barcelona is the ideal destination if you want to combine a city break with a beach vacation. There are some extremely popular beaches, like La Barceloneta and Sant Sebastià, or you can find quieter options like Bogatell or Mar Bella – all of them are perfect for a day relaxing by the sea.
56. Meet the Stars at the Museu de Cera
The oldest wax museum in Barcelona was founded in 1973 and it has a unique cast of famous characters. Be warned – the horror department on the first floor might not be suitable for the faint-hearted!
57. Learn to make Paella!
Put on your apron and chef’s hat and learn to make one of Spain’s national dishes! Under the guidance of professional chefs, you’ll be rustling up a delicious meal in no time – not only will you have made yourself a delicious dinner, but you’ll have learned a skill that you can use to impress all your friends back home.
58. Enjoy the Mysterious Atmosphere in the Jardins de Ca n’Altimira
The Jardins de Ca n’Altimira is a peaceful park, ideal for a romantic excursion. It was built in the late 19th Century and features lush greenery and raised bridges that connect different areas of the park. Another highlight is a hypostyle hall held up by tall Romanesque columns.
59. Experience the View from the Torre de Collserola
The 944 foot (288 meters) high Torre de Collserola was built on the Tibidabo mountain for the Summer Olympics in 1992. You can climb to its observation deck to see the whole of Barcelona spreading out beneath you.
60. Take an Air, Sea and Sky Tour of the City
Some of the most thorough tours of Barcelona combine a helicopter flight, a boat tour, and a tour by car or bus. Pick this option and you’ll see the city from every possible perspective!
Did we miss something? Let us know what’s on your Barcelona bucket list in the comments below!
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