Barcelona, the energetic capital of Catalonia, is a beautiful coastal city that proudly displays her charm and cheerful way of life. Wherever you turn around, there is breathtaking nature, scenic beauty, and outstanding cultural attractions. Naturally, the pleasant Mediterranean climate adds the lure.
Barcelona’s romantic mediaeval neighborhood, the Barri Gtic, has an almost mystical mellow vibe, but its Modernist architecture is what makes the city famous. With his cutting-edge Surrealist structures, Antoni Gaud left a lasting impression on Barcelona.
Still wondering what to see in Barcelona? Check out architecture that is UNESCO listed and is one of the top things to do in Barcelona.
After all the sightseeing, visitors would just want to unwind and enjoy the lively mood of the city. Visitors will like taking leisurely strolls along La Rambla, where the residents congregate, sunning at the sandy beaches close to the port, and dining al fresco.
One of the best ways to experience the city is to hang out like locals to explore the city on foot and discover hidden alleys with little cafés. You can also simply stop and unwind at serene squares where street musicians jam on Spanish guitar.
If you have few days in the city, learn about the Top Attractions, and some of the best things to do in Barcelona –
- 1. The Beaches at Barcelona Won’t Disappoint
- 2. View Gaudi’s Work in the City’s Architecture
- 3. Explore the City’s Gothic Corridor
- 4. Browse the Food Markets of Barcelona
- 5. Tour the Hilltop Neighborhood – The Montjuic
- 6. Check Out the Sagrada Familia
- 7. Savour Some Catalan Food
- 8. Spend a Morning and Stroll Around La Rambla
- 9. Discover Barcelona’s Renowned Nightlife
- 10. Wander Through the Parc del Laberint
- 11. Relish on Some Tapas
- 12. Visit Camp Nou to Watch a Game
- 13. Discover the Life and Times of Picasso at His Namesake Museum
- 14. Visit Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia
- 15. Look for illustrations of Modernist Architecture
- 16. Visit Fundació Joan Miró to View a Variety of Artwork
- 17. Admire the Catalan Gothic Style of Construction
- 18. Go to the Renowned Barceloneta Beach
- 19. Visit the Magnificent Forests on 8 Acres Designed by Gaudi
- 20. Celebrate During the Holiday Season
- Places to Eat in Barcelona
- Places to Stay in Barcelona, Spain
1. The Beaches at Barcelona Won’t Disappoint
One of the free things to do in Barcelona is to visit the beaches. You can be here any time of the year, as this spot in the city won’t let you down. While summer provides everything from swimming and water sports to sunbathing. In winters, it is very ideal to relax by the beach and have a meal at one of the seaside restaurants.
There are nine separate beaches along a 5 km (3.1 mi) length of coastline in the city. Sant Sebastià beach offers a variety of expensive dining options, The beach at Somorrostro is lined with trendy nightclubs, and Nova Icaria has beach volleyball courts and a water sports center.
Bogatell Beach is a popular destination for locals to mingle, relax, play volleyball, and windsurf. Kayaking and kitesurfing are other activities.
The sandy shoreline of the 600-metre-long beach is complemented by first-rate amenities including bathrooms, showers, parking, a beachside promenade, snack cafes, and ice cream stores.
2. View Gaudi’s Work in the City’s Architecture
Although Gaud’s Sagrada Familia may be his most well-known structure and one of the best places to visit in Spain. All of his amazing, quirky works are UNESCO listed and are one of the best things to see in Barcelona.
The most well-known ones are La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, with its whimsical chimneys and balconies that resemble skulls and bones and shimmering dragon skin, respectively.
The Torre Bellesguard, Palau Güell, which he created for his patron Eusebi Güell, and Casa Vicens are some of his lesser-known but equally stunning structures.
3. Explore the City’s Gothic Corridor
The oldest and most atmospheric area of Barcelona is the Gothic Quarter. It is located to the east of La Rambla, the well-known pedestrian thoroughfare that passes through the heart of the old town. It is distinguished by little lanes, obscure plazas, and antique buildings and is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.
It is dotted with little pubs and cafés as well as century-old stores. The magnificent Plaça Reial is surrounded by cafés and palm trees and the little stroll here is worthwhile. The grand Palau de la Generalitat, located on Plaça Sant Jaume, and the striking Cathedral are some of the features of the Gothic Quarter.
4. Browse the Food Markets of Barcelona
La Boqueria may be the most well-known of Barcelona’s food markets, but there are many more great ones to select from as well.
La Boqueria is the oldest and one of the most iconic markets. In recent years, many vendors have shifted away from traditional produce and towards items like tropical fruit smoothies and exotic candies.
Visit the contemporary Mercat de Santa Caterina with its multicoloured wavy ceiling or the large Mercat de Sant Antoni, which finally opened in 2018 following 9 years of renovations, for a more genuine experience.
5. Tour the Hilltop Neighborhood – The Montjuic
This hilltop community of Mont Juc or “Mountain of the Jews,” derives from the location of a historic Jewish cemetery. The hillside descends sharply down to the shoreline and is capped by the Castell de Montjuic on its peak. The Parc de Montjuic, a lovely natural park with fantastic vistas, crowns this picturesque neighborhood.
One of the key attractions here is the National Art Museum of Catalonia. The museum, which is located inside the Palau Nacional, is home to a remarkable collection of Catalan artwork from the 10th to the 20th century, including statues, portraits, and engravings.
European Renaissance and Baroque art are also on show in the museum, along with a collection of modern art that includes avant-garde pieces produced following World War II.
Another well-liked destination is the Poble Espanyol. This adorable manufactured community was built for the 1929 World Exhibition.
The 1992 Summer Olympics were hosted at Montjuic, and today visitors may see the stadium where it took place.
6. Check Out the Sagrada Familia
With its 18 lanky towers rising above all other structures in the city’s northern region, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia dominates its surroundings. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this extraordinary structure is one of Europe’s most unusual churches and is one of the top Barcelona’s attractions.
This Basilica was built in 1883 as a neo-Gothic church by the renowned Catalan architect of contemporary times, Antoni Gaud.
Instead of building according to the blueprints, he produced a notable example of his dreamlike Art Nouveau architecture.
He didn’t have any set plans in mind; instead, he preferred to change and expand the plans as work went on.
The opulent façade with its expressive Nativity front representing the birth of Jesus and the dramatic Passion front depicting the agony, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Even though the Basilica is still under construction, visitors are welcome to explore the inside to marvel through the magnificent artwork and reverent atmosphere. Beautiful light pours in through vibrant stained-glass windows and lavish artistic accents on the ceiling.
7. Savour Some Catalan Food
what to do in Barcelona for food lovers? Barcelona is a fantastic gourmet city, renowned all over the world for its unique cuisine and creative chefs. While tapas bars are commonplace, you should also try some regional Catalan cuisine.
Participate in l’hora del vermut at a traditional margarita bar before your meal to pique your appetite with tastes of pickled olives and walnuts.
A classic Catalan meal should be followed with butifarra amb mongetes (chorizo with white beans), suquet de peix (fish broth), escalivada (roasted red peppers, garlic, and zucchini), and crema catalana (similar to custard vanilla creme).
8. Spend a Morning and Stroll Around La Rambla
The La Rambla, a long, tree-lined boulevard that splits the Old Town in two, is the center of Barcelona’s social life. La Rambla runs from the Plaça de Catalunya, where the stunning Romanesque Convent of Santa Anna from the 12th century is located, all the way down to the coast.
This street is one of the most well-liked hangouts in the city because of its broad sidewalks, which are surrounded by stores, eateries, and outdoor cafés. And, it is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.
Many residents may be seen conducting their regular shopping at the Mercat de la Boqueria during the day. Families and groups of friends wander down La Rambla at night to revel in the fresh air and vibrant atmosphere. On some days, passersby may be treated to spontaneous street entertainment like live music, gestures shows, or other events.
La Rambla borders the Barri Gtic on its northeastern side, and halfway down the avenue lies the Plaça Reial.It is a picturesque area with palm trees and is surrounded by old residences. These magnificent structures contain arcades that are crammed with stores, cafes, and eateries.
The Palau Güell, an extravagant house built in 1886 and included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is another significant landmark on La Rambla. The building is open to the public for tours and is decorated with opulent furnishings and priceless fabrics made by Gaud.
9. Discover Barcelona’s Renowned Nightlife
There are countless alternatives for Barcelona’s nightlife. Start your evening with cocktails on a rooftop patio or dig your toes into the sand at a xiringuito on the beach. As night sets, the city changes with lively squares and live music, and as midnight approaches, the bars throng.
Choose from classic pubs, luxurious lounges in lamp-lit mediaeval dungeons, chic cocktail lounges, noisy cava bars, basements jamming on jazz, and more.
If you’re still up at three in the morning, going out and seeing the city’s unapologetic wild side is one of the crazy things to do in Barcelona.
10. Wander Through the Parc del Laberint
One of the oldest cultivated green zones in Barcelona, this 55-acre park dates back to the 17th century and is located behind the Collserola Ridge in the Horta-Guinardó neighbourhood.
The park is an eclectic mix of romantic gardens which includes a waterfall and woodlands and is one of the free things to do in Barcelona.
Charming squares, vibrant flower beds, neoclassical statues of legendary figures, and a labyrinth may all be found while strolling around the Parc del Laberint. The Torre Soberana, a 14th-century manor house that was renovated in Moorish style in the 19th century, is another gem discovered inside the park.
11. Relish on Some Tapas
Sample some of the best tapas bars in this part of the world when hunger strikes in the afternoon. Going to the neighbourhood favourite will let you sample some sardines, sausage, calamari, wild mushrooms, roasted peppers, or any number of other mouthwatering treats. Beer, wine, and cava are all excellent nick knacks.
Numerous tapas bars include crowded stand-around bars and is one of the fun things to do in Barcelona. Barcelonans may decide to go to dinner when they want a change of scene or they may just go to another tapas bar and skip the sit-down formality entirely.
12. Visit Camp Nou to Watch a Game
For aficionados of football (soccer), Camp Nou is a must-see in Barcelona. Camp Nou, which is now the home of FC Barcelona, was one of the sites for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The second-biggest stadium in the world, with 99,354 seats, is the largest in Europe.
Official FC Barcelona Guides who speak both English and Spanish lead tours of Camp Nou. The tours cover the stadium’s attractions, including the pitch, locker rooms, player tunnels, and commentators’ boxes.
Visits to the Barça Museum are also part of the guided excursions. Trophies, images, and multimedia displays, such as clips of FC Barcelona’s victorious goals, are all on display here. And it is one of the great things to do in Barcelona with kids.
The greatest way to get a taste of Barcelona passion is to attend a football game at Camp Nou, and is one of the best places to visit in September.
Barça Cafe at Camp Nou is another hotspot where you must go where you can to enjoy live and recorded sporting events on large-screen. The kitchen prepares traditional Catalan delicacies including barbecued fish and meats cooked on a wood-fired oven. Daily hours for the Barça Cafe are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
13. Discover the Life and Times of Picasso at His Namesake Museum
The Picasso Museum is housed in five ancient palaces on the Calle de Montcada in the Gothic Quarter. The five palaces on Calle de Montcada. These Catalan Gothic structures are noteworthy from the 13th and 14th centuries. Each building’s construction has a large outside stairway and a central patio.
The museum’s collection is dominated by works made by Pablo Picasso when he was still a young artist. The collection, which includes more than 4,000 pieces, showcases the artist’s skills throughout his early years. An extensive collection includes works produced between 1895 and the beginning of Picasso’s Blue Period (1901 – 1904). Taking a visit here is one of the artsy things to do in Barcelona Spain, and the admission here is free of charge.
The artist used a dancer from a Russian ballet company as his subject for the picture Arlequn, which depicts her beauty. The El Paseo de Colón shows the Hotel Ranzini at number 22 on the Colón corridor; and Blanquita Suárez, portrays a well-known singer of the time. The Las Meninas art series, which depicts the Infanta Margarita Mara, is also not to be missed.
14. Visit Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia
The Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia is located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter on the Monte Tabor. With its intricately carved front, this ancient cathedral is a marvel of Catalan Gothic architecture and is one of the top things to see in Barcelona.
The altarpiece of the Transfiguration by Bernat Martorell, and an amazing glittering, gemstone monstrance, are among the great works of art found in the sanctuary. A gorgeous Gothic quartet and keystones from the 14th and 15th centuries may also be seen throughout the cathedral.
Many tourists are surprised to learn that the cathedral’s courtyard and garden are home to 13 live geese that symbolises Saint Eulalia’s martyrdom. The geese have a home in the pond of the monastery.
Mediaeval paintings are on exhibit in the Cathedral Museum. Particularly remarkable is Bartolomé Bermejo’s artwork of La Pieta.
This top-rated attraction hosts many Masses every day. There is at least one Spanish-language Mass every day, and services are conducted in either Spanish or Catalan.
15. Look for illustrations of Modernist Architecture
Barcelona’s Modernista architecture is one of the factors that contributes to its appeal. The Modernism era, which spanned the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was a creative movement that had an impact on everything from literary to arts to architecture.
These structures may be recognised by their vibrant hues, floral or botanical patterns, patterned tiles, and curved lines.
The Eixample district has some of the nicest specimens, but you can see them all throughout the city and is one of the best things to see in Barcelona.
Aside from Gaud’s Modernista creations, two more outstanding examples in the city are the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau and the Palau de la Msica Catalana. Both of these were created by the architect Llus Domènech I Montaner.
16. Visit Fundació Joan Miró to View a Variety of Artwork
The Fundació Joan Miró at Parc de Montjuïc is a must-see in Barcelona for everyone who appreciates conceptual art. The Fundació Joan Miró was established as a centre for contemporary art studies and opened in 1975.
The Fundació is devoted to showcasing modern art as well as studying Miró’s work. Contemporary artists’ ephemeral shows have been held in the museum since 1975.
The permanent collection of Joan Miró’s paintings, sketches, and sculptures, as well as the themed exhibitions, will appeal to visitors.
The museum’s layout and architecture are a wonderful match for Miró’s avant-garde style of painting. The contemporary interior has huge, lamp halls that open out into an indoor courtyard or gardens and are lighted by skylights. Views of the whole Barcelona skyline are available from a rooftop patio.
The museum’s layout and architecture are a wonderful match for Miró’s avant-garde style of painting. The contemporary interior has huge, lamp halls that open out into an indoor courtyard or gardens and are lighted by skylights. Views of the whole city’s skyline are available from a rooftop patio and are one of the top things to see in Barcelona.
The public is welcome to take both self-guided and guided tours of the museum. The guided tours are offered in English, Spanish, Catalan, and French.
17. Admire the Catalan Gothic Style of Construction
The Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes, a magnificent specimen of 13th century Catalan Gothic architecture, is located just outside of Barcelona on the gentle slopes of the Sant Pere Màrtir mountain. And, is one of the top Barcelona’s attractions.
The monastery contains two places of worship: Saint Michael’s Chapel, a modest chapel with beautiful murals, and a Catalan Gothic church from the 1400s. The murals were made by Ferrer Bassa in the Neo – renaissance style. Thanks to a meticulous conservation effort, the murals still exhibit their former splendour.
The monastery’s tranquil three-story cloister, the biggest Gothic monastery in the world, is one of its distinctive features. The monastery’s primary structures, including the chapter house, refectory, dormitories, etc.are the main attraction. The cloister’s quiet garden in the middle is there to encourage meditation and spiritual reflection.
The monastery houses a magnificent collection of 20th-century religious art as well as mediaeval clerical art from the 14th century.
18. Go to the Renowned Barceloneta Beach
The long, broad Sant Sebastià Beach, where inhabitants flock to bask, surf, and socialise in the numerous seafood restaurants and tapas venues is bordered by the historic fishing hamlet of La Barceloneta.
Lifeguards, public bathrooms, saunas, sport courts, lounge chairs and sun covers, ice cream parlours, and snack bars are just a few of the amenities available here. The beach area is connected to marinas filled with sailboats by a lengthy boulevard adorned with palm groves.
Take a trip on the Port Cable Car, which ascends to the mountaintop Montjuc, to enjoy views of the coastline, docks, and port area of La Barceloneta.
19. Visit the Magnificent Forests on 8 Acres Designed by Gaudi
This lavish 19-hectare hillside park, which is full of colour, brightness, and fun, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And, it is one of the best things to see in Barcelona. The 19th century Park Güell which was designed by Antoni Gaud has 12 acres of beautiful gardens with Surrealist architectural features and eight acres of pine forest and olive groves.
The garden area is filled with magnificent waterfalls, underpasses, ancient ruins, a palladian hall, spiral stairs, and semi-closed picnic tables.
There are picnic spaces, as well as a magnificent terrace with sweeping views of the city and the water. The Gràcia neighbourhood in the city was a favourite of Gaud’s, and it was also where he lived.
The Gaudi House Museum is located within the park and is where Gaud lived for over 20 years. Visitors to the museum may learn about Gaud’s life and achievements in architecture. The collection contains furniture and ornamental items that Gaud created.
20. Celebrate During the Holiday Season
It won’t be difficult to time your visit to Barcelona to coincide with one as there are festivals happening there about every other month. The patron saint celebrations of Santa Eulalia and La Mercé are held in February and September, respectively.
La Diada de Sant Jordi, a time when people exchange books and flowers to honour Saint George, and the Sant Joan Fire Festival are held in the middle of June.
The castellers (human towers), enormous marching giants, and correfocs, where fireworks-wielding demons dance through the streets, are some of the indulgence from the Catalan festivities.
Places to Eat in Barcelona
Barcelona is home to some of the top restaurants in the world as well as traditional pubs from bygone eras. Here is a list of some of the greatest places to dine in Barcelona. Of Course! there is no better way to get to know a city than through its cuisine. Here is our list of the top restaurants in Barcelona for all preferences, events, and price ranges.
- Disfrutar – You don’t want to miss this exceptional fine dining experience in Barcelona, which combines innovative Mediterranean food with excellent service. The meals are highly creative and expertly prepared, including the well-known penne à la carbonara with bacon sauce. The greatest food in Barcelona can be found here, along with an explosion of the senses that happens at just the right pace.
Address – C. de Villarroel, 163, 08036 Barcelona
- Bar Ramón – If you’re searching for a place to dine in Barcelona that will make you feel wonderful, this is one of those local eateries close to you that you should visit. Bar Ramón is a location where you can dine very well on a budget and is renowned for its distinctive dishes like seared foie gras with beef fillet on toast and traditional tapas like croquettes and garlic shrimp.
Address – C. del Comte Borrell, 81, 08015 Barcelona
- LomoAlto – The most well-known feature is its chic grill, which serves burgers, steaks, and burritos with a selection of meats and is grilled over a variety of coals. The age and breed of every beef cut are precisely recorded and tagged, and the steaks are grilled to perfection over charcoal fires. Spend a little more on a tableside-carved, 150-day-aged Rubia Gallega T-bone steak for a special occasion.
Address – C/ d’Aragó, 285, 08009 Barcelona
- Bar Brutal – A modern twist on cold cuts, meats, and crustaceans can be found at Bar Brutal, which is housed in a rustic tavern famed for its organic wines. A variety of salty, sweet, rich, and acidic small dishes, like seared scallops with cucumbers and beet pulp and smoked anchovies with apple sauce, are offered on the menu. The place mixes Italian and Catalan cuisine.
Address – Carrer de la Princesa, 14, 08003 Barcelona
Places to Stay in Barcelona, Spain
The Gothic Quarter and the neighboring Example neighborhood are home to many of Barcelona’s attractions. Many attractions are scattered widely in various directions. Thankfully, there is a vast selection of hotels in every price range in the most convenient areas for travellers. Here are a few of Barcelona’s top-rated hotels:
- Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona – The Plaça de Catalunya, La Rambla, and the Mercat de la Boqueria are all close to this 4-star property. The chic Michelin-starred tapas-style and Japanese-inspired restaurant, the rooftop terrace with breathtaking city views, the gym, and the gaming room are just a few of the main features of this contemporary boutique hotel. Breakfast and complimentary snacks are free.
Address – Carrer d’Elisabets, 11, 08001 Barcelona
Phone number – +34-933-42-62-80
- Hotel El Palace Barcelona – The hotel offers luxurious five-star accommodations with top-notch amenities in a historic building on the outskirts of the Gothic Quarter. These include parking, a fitness centre, a rooftop pool, a spa with Mayan influences, several gourmet restaurants, and a magnificent old hall where traditional high tea is served.
Address – Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 668, 08010 Barcelona
Phone number – +34-935-10-11-30
- Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel – The three-star hotel features one of Barcelona’s greatest rooftop terraces with panoramic city views close to La Rambla and on the outskirts of the Gothic Quarter. This stylish, modern hotel also features a rooftop swimming pool, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant, and a fitness facility.
Address – Carrer de Trafalgar, 30, 08010 Barcelona
Phone number – +34-932-68-07-27
- Hotel Europark – In the thriving Eixample neighbourhood, which is located between the Gothic Quarter and the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, the Hotel Europark is surrounded by stores and eateries. This three-star boutique hotel includes a rooftop patio with a pool, a tapas bar, free hot breakfast and a fitness facility.
Address – C/ d’Aragó, 323, 325, 08009 Barcelona
Phone number – +34-934-57-92-05
Regardless of why you are visiting Barcelona, there are many amazing things to do in the lazy and culturally alive city. When you have exhausted the big attractions, you can visit neighborhoods that challenge your senses and will leave you shedding your preconceived notions of what it means to be Catalan. La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s most famous work, is a must-see in Barcelona. From the first look at this architectural miracle with its gargantuan towers and intricate stained-glass mosaic; its completion date is set well into the 22nd century.