Things to do in Barcelona

por Postcards from IvI

Barcelona is a city full of activities and places to discover. Modernist architecture, museums, beach, mountains, there are endless things to do. Based on my experience living in the city, I will tell you what are the best things to do in Barcelona, ​​including both the most touristy plans and other lesser-known activities.


How to save money in activities in Barcelona

A great option to save money on the city attractions is to use Go City, which offers a sightseeing pass which will give you access to more than 20 attractions and activities in Barcelona. You can buy the pass to use it for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 days. Click here for more information about Go City.


50 THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA

1. Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is the most recognisable icon of Barcelona and of course it’s a must-visit. It is Gaudí’s masterpiece which construction began in 1882 and is still ongoing. It is the culmination of Gaudí’s work and in its design you can see his characteristic naturist style. The Sagrada Familia is visited by thousands of tourists every day, so it is necessary to book your ticket in advance because the capacity is limited.

>>Book your tickets to Sagrada Familia here

What to do in Barcelona

2. Park Güell

To continue learning about Gaudí’s architecture, I recommend you visit Park Güell. This public park of more than 17 hectares was designed by Gaudí and reflects his naturist stage. In the park you will find furniture, paths and sculptures designed by the architect. It is truly a unique park and a place you can’t miss in Barcelona.

If you want to know in depth the history of the park I recommend you take this Park Güell guided tour with skip-the-line access.

What to do in Barcelona

3. Barrio Gótico

This is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. It is the oldest part of Barcelona that still preserves part of the Roman wall built in times of the empire. Some of the main spots of the Gothic Quarter that you can’t miss are: the Cathedral of Barcelona, Plaça Real, the Plaza de Sant Jaume and the Bishop’s Bridge. The best way to explore this neighborhood is to let yourself go and get lost in the labyrinth of streets.

4. El born

Originally a medieval neighborhood, El Born is nowadays one of the coolest areas in the city known for its cafes, restaurants, shops and nightlife. It is a very picturesque neighborhood that also has some attractions that are worth visiting such as the El Born Cultural Center, the Santa María del Mar Basilica and the Picasso Museum.

5. Casa Batlló

Another of Gaudí’s most famous works in the city is the Casa Batlló. Located on Avenida Paseo de Gracia, this residential building is one of the most representative of Catalan modernism. The visit to the house includes an audio guide and an incredible immersive experience that make it really worth it.

Buy your ticket in advance to avoid lines (specially if you’re visiting during summer!).

6. La Pedrera (Casa Milà)

Another of Gaudí’s buildings that I recommend visiting in Barcelona is La Pedrera, built in 1912. This building has an accessible roof terrace that is a must see! It is one of the most visited places in the city so it is always better to get tickets in advance.

>>Book your tickets for La Pedrera here

Things to see in barcelona

7. Palau de la Música Catalana

The Palau de la Música Catalana is another of the most renowned modernist buildings in Barcelona, ​​designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner in 1908.

To enter the building you can either take a self guided tour or assist a music event at the palace like this Flamenco show.

8. Mercado de la Boquería

The Boquería Market is a huge market with more than 300 stalls offering all kinds of products. It has become a tourist attraction in the city so it is always overflowing with people, so I recommend that you go early.

9. Mercado de Santa Caterina

As a less crowded alternative is the Mercado de Santa Caterina, a huge market with fresh produce. This building was renovated by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue and despite the fact that it is located in a very touristy area, it is much less known and less visited than the Boquería market.

Things to see in barcelona

10. Paseo de Gracia

Another thing you have to do in Barcelona is to walk along its most famous avenue: Paseo de Gracia. Here you will find the most famous fashion stores and some of the most beautiful buildings in the city. I recommend you start at Plaza Catalunya and walk up to Gracia neighborhood.

11. Barcelona Cathedral

In the heart of the Gothic Quarter is the Barcelona Cathedral, built between the 13th and 15th centuries on top of the old Romanesque cathedral. It is really an imposing building and inside is the crypt of Santa Eulalia (the co-patron saint of Barcelona).

In addition to visiting its interior (free admission) you can go up to the terrace and have a closer view of the towers. Access to this area is paid, more information about the visit here.

12. National Art Museum of Catalonia

If you are interested in art, you cannot miss visiting the National Art Museum of Catalonia or MNAC. It has a large collection of art, standing out above all that of Romanesque art. The museum is inside the National Palace, on the Montjuïc mountain, inaugurated in 1929 for the International Exhibition held in the city. Admission to the museum is free every Saturday from 3:00 p.m.

Places to visit in Barcelona

13. Montjuïc mountain

Montjuïc Mountain is one of the most complete attractions in the city. There are many activities to do in the mountains that I am going to describe in the following points. It is not a very high mountain but to be in the middle of the city it is a great option to go and have a picnic or enjoy one of its attractions.

To go up you can take the Montjuïc cable car, which has incredible views of the port of Barcelona.

>>Book your ticket for Montjuïc cable car here

In Montjuïc there are also many sports facilities built during the 1992 Olympic Games such as the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium, the Palau Sant Jordi, the Bernat Picornell Pools and the Montjuïc Communications Tower or Torre Calatrava.

14. Montjuïc Castle

Montjuïc Castle is an old military fortress located on top of the Montjuic mountain. Today it is administered by the city council and can be visited. Various events are held there such as exhibitions, movie nights, etc. The views from the lookout are very beautiful. Access to the castle is paid but it is free every Sunday from 3:00 p.m. More information on the Montjuïc website.

15. Fuente Mágica de Montjuïc

Another activity in Montjuïc is to witness the light, water and sound show that takes place in the fountain located in front of the National Palace. You can check the show schedule here.

16. Arco de Triunfo

This monument was designed as the main entrance to the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona in 1888. It’s a great spot for pictures and resting for a while.

Places to visit in Barcelona

17. Parc de la Ciutadella

If you walk from the Arc de Triomphe in a straight line you will arrive at the entrance of the Parc de la Ciutadella, a huge green area in the middle of the city. The park is ideal for walking and breathing a bit of tranquility. It has gardens, rest spaces, some incredible buildings, lakes, museums, sculptures and fountains!

Places to visit in Barcelona

18. La Barceloneta

La Barceloneta is one of the most touristy neighborhoods in the city, located next to the sea. In addition to seeing the beach, you can walk along the promenade that runs along the coast or even take a boat trip to see the city from another point of view. It is a very lively area, full of bars and restaurants. The beach itself is not the most beautiful because it is always very crowded with tourists, but it is worth taking a walk around the area.

Top 50 attractions in Barcelona

19. Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens was the first house built by Gaudí between 1883 and 1885 as a summer home for the Vicens family. ⁠An essential visit to fully immerse yourself in Gaudí’s universe. As always, the inspiration of nature is present throughout the building, decorated with plant motifs.

>>Get your ticket for Casa Vicens here

20. Palau Güell

Another building by Gaudí that is a little more “unknown” and less touristy is the Palau Güell, built between 1886 and 1890. The palace was commissioned by Eusebi Güell as his family’s residence. Güell financed several works by Gaudí, including the famous Park Güell. Undoubtedly one of the best parts of the visit is the terrace of the building where there are 20 colorful chimneys.

21. Mies Van Der Rohe Pavilion

Continuing with the architectural spots in the city, a unique work that you can visit in Barcelona is the German Pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. It is one of the most representative works of modern architecture.

General admission to the pavilion costs €8 and is free every first Sunday of the month.

Top 50 attractions in Barcelona

22. Bunkers del Carmel

An ideal place to have good views of the city are the Bunkers del Carmel. During the Spanish civil war, there was an air battery in this place. Today the “bunkers” are known for offering a 360º view of the city of Barcelona, ​​ideal for getting a great sunset view.

Top 50 attractions in Barcelona

23. Tibidabo

Another place with panoramic views of the city and nature is Tibidabo, the highest peak of the Collserola mountain range. In addition to finding natural spaces, Tibidabo is home to the Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Heart, the Tibidabo Amusement Park and the Collserola Tower, among other buildings. It is a very nice visit to breathe a bit of nature near the city. It can be easily reached by bus or by funicular.

If you pay attention from several streets in the city of Barcelona you can see Mount Tibidabo with the Church of the Sacred Heart that lights up every night.

Top 50 attractions in Barcelona

24. Mercat dels Encants

The Mercat dels Encants is basically the Barcelona flea market, originated by the fusion of various street markets that were held in that area. Since 2013, the market has been held under a large mirrored roof where, in addition to street sales, there are several formal stores. Here you can find everything: antiques, clothing, fabrics, electrical appliances, art, etc. It is a very curious place, if you like antiques or simply want to know something different, I recommend it.

25. Casa Amatller

In the Golden Apple of Discord in the heart of the L’Eixample neighborhood, stands the Casa Amatller, one of the great works of Catalan modernism. Casa Amatller was designed by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch between 1898 and 1900, and was commissioned by the chocolate businessman Antoni Amatller.

If you are interested in getting to know one of the houses with the most history in the city, I recommend that you take a guided tour of Casa Amatller.

Read more about this house here: Visiting Casa Amatller in Barcelona

Top 50 attractions in Barcelona

26.Torre Glòries

The Glòries Tower, Agbar Tower or Cucumber Tower, is a 144 meter high building (one of the tallest in the city). It is located in Plaza Glories, in the Poblenou neighborhood and is a bit of a landmark in the city’s technology district. Although it is an office building, its viewpoint was recently opened on the 30th floor, with incredible views of Barcelona!

>>Book your ticket for Torre Glories lookout here

27. Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

One of the most incredible places in the city is undoubtedly the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, a group of buildings designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, built between 1902 and 1930. After operating for a century as a public hospital, its buildings were rehabilitated and declared World Heritage by UNESCO due to their architectural value.

In my opinion, visiting the site is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.

>>Book your ticket for Sant Pau here

28. El Raval

El Raval is one of the oldest and most multicultural neighborhoods in the city. There are several well-known places in the neighborhood such as Gato de Botero, Palau Güell, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona and Rambla del Raval.

Don’t forget to stop by for a coffee in the patio of the bookstore La Central del Raval.

29. Gracia

The Gracia district is one of my favorite areas of Barcelona. This neighborhood is one of the most picturesque in the city and here are several tourist attractions such as Casa Vicens and Park Güell. It is full of restaurants and bars, ideal for tapas.

Things to do in Barcelona

30. MOCO Museum

A museum that recently opened is MOCO, where you’ll find contemporary and modern art from artists like Banksy, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, and more. It is located in the Gothic Quarter and it is a very interesting visit to do in Barcelona.

>>Book your entrance for MOCO Museum Barcelona here

31. Basílica de Santa María del Mar

The Basilica of Santa María del Mar was built between 1329 and 1383 and is a beautiful church to visit. It became very famous for the book “The Cathedral of the Sea” and the Netflix series based on the same novel.

32. Camp Nou

Of course one of the most famous things about Barcelona is its soccer team. So if you are a fan of this sport, an activity that you are going to love is going to visit the emblematic Camp Nou, FC Barcelona stadium. The club offers guided tours of the stadium in which they tell you the history of the club.

>>Book your ticket for Barcelona FC immersive tour

33. Poblenou

Poblenou is a neighborhood that is very fashionable in the city. It has very traditional parts such as Rambla del Poblenou, mixing with modern buildings in the area known as @22, the city’s technological district. In Poblenou you will find places with a lot of vibes such as cafes, restaurants and designer shops.

34. Plaza Cataluña

Plaza Catalunya is the center of Barcelona. Many metro or railway lines begin here and it is considered the heart of the city.

Things to do in Barcelona

35. Las Ramblas

One of the most popular places for tourism in Barcelona are its famous boulevards or La Rambla. It is a street that begins in Plaza Cataluña and goes to the Columbus Monument (reaching the sea).

It is a street that is full of restaurants (the worst in the city though), shops, and MANY people. Honestly, living in Barcelona, ​​it is one of the places that I avoid the most and that I like the least, but I understand that if you come to the city you want to know this famous street and see what is all about.

36. Barcelona beach

If you come to Barcelona in summer, you will surely want to visit its beach. La Barceloneta is the most famous and central beach in the city, however I do not recommend to go to this beach as it is full of tourists in summer. If you want to enjoy the sea without leaving the city, I recommend that you go to the Bogatell or Marbella beaches, located in Poblenou.

Also, less than 1 hour by train from the city to the north, I recommend the beaches of El Masnou, Premià de Mar, Arenys de Mar, Sant Pol de Mar, etc. And to the south I recommend the beaches of Castelldefels or Sitges.

And if your plan is to really enjoy the beach you should visit the best beaches in Costa Brava, located 1h-1h30 min from the city center.

Things to do in Barcelona

37. Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol is an open-air museum that contains typical buildings, streets and squares from each region of Spain. It was built in 1929 for the International Exhibition and is located in Montjüic.

38. Plaza España

Plaza España, located in front of the Montjüic mountain, is one of the most emblematic squares in the city. Right in front is the Plaza de toros de las Arenas, an old bullring that today functions as a shopping mall.

39. Design Museum

The Museu del Disseny de Barcelona located in the Plaza de las Glorias is a must if you like art and design. On Sundays after 3:00 p.m., admission to the museum is free.

40. Modernist Architecture

One of the main characteristics of Barcelona is its incredible modernist architecture, you will see buildings from this movement all over the city. On my Instagram I constantly recommend buildings that I see around the city.

41. Centro Cultural El Born

El Born CCM is a space where exhibitions and cultural activities are held. The original building was the Born market. Inside the building there is an archaeological site that corresponds to different eras of Barcelona, ​​from Roman, Muslim and medieval to the time of the war of succession. More information about the visit here here.

42. Horta Labyrinth

A rather curious place in the city is the Horta Labyrinth, the oldest garden in Barcelona. In the park you will find different styles of gardens, sculptures, fountains and its famous labyrinth, which I recommend you enter and have some fun looking for the exit.

Things to do in Barcelona

43. Torre Bellesguard

Perhaps the most unknown Gaudí work in the city. The Bellesguard Tower was designed by Gaudí and built between 1900 and 1909. It is located in the Sant Gervasi neighborhood and the building is listed as an Asset of Cultural Interest.

Book your ticket for Torre Bellesguard here

44. Picasso Museum

In the Gothic Quarter you will find the Picasso Museum. The famous painter, originally from Malaga, lived in Barcelona since he was 14 years old. The museum has a collection of more than 3,500 works by the painter, mostly from his youth.

If you want to know more about the life and work of the artist, I recommend this skip-the-line guided tour.

45. Museum of history of Barcelona

If you want to know the history of the city of Barcelona, ​​you can visit the Museum of the history of Barcelona. The museum depends on the Barcelona City Council and helps preserve and disseminate the historical heritage and history of the city. It is located in the Gothic Quarter.

46. Pedralbes Monastery

In Pedralbes (one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city) you can visit the Pedralbes Monastery, a group of Gothic-style buildings, founded by King James II and his wife Elisenda de Moncada in 1326.

47. Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona or MACBA is located in the Raval neighborhood and offers different art exhibitions. Every Saturday from 4 pm entrance to the museum is free.

48. Bothanical Garden of Barcelona

The Botanical Garden of Barcelona is located on Montjuïc and it is a very nice visit not only to get to know different species of plants but also for its views of the city and the sea. Admission is free every first Sunday of the month, and every Sundays from 3:00 p.m.

49.Unlimited Barcelona viewpoint

If you love panoramic views, the Urquinaona Tower located in the heart of the city offers 360º views of Barcelona. The Unlimited Barcelona viewpoint is located 70 meters high and is considered one of the best viewpoints in the city.

Book your ticket for Unlimited Barcelona here

50. Day trip from Barcelona

If you have the time, I recommend that you pay a visit to some of the places near Barcelona. Here are some ideas:

 

Other useful posts about Barcelona:

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Things to do in Barcelona Things to do in Barcelona Things to do in Barcelona

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