If you’re the kind of person that loves to travel the world, you’ve probably got a few destinations on your bucket list. In fact, you’ve probably got so many places on your list that it’s now turned into your very own thesis! Despite the fact that tourists have a whole world to choose from, many people love to explore what Europe has to offer. After all, you can make your way around Germany and Norway, and you can even check out what England and Spain have to offer.
The city of Barcelona has become increasingly popular over the years, and it’s not hard to see why. There are so many things to see and do in this city, and you could spend weeks on end making sure that you see them all. However, if you have a limited time to explore this wonderful city, then you might want to have things whittled down for you. These are the 23 things to do in Barcelona.
Hop-on and off the bus
If Barcelona is on your bucket list, but you just don’t have a huge amount of time to explore every inch of the city, it might be worth buying tickets for one of the many hop-on-hop-off buses. While they might not be the most glamorous buses in the world, they give tourists the chance to see every inch of the city without having to worry about traversing the metro or getting lost.
You can simply head from place to place, and get off when you want to. Alternatively, you could just sit on the bus and allow the driver to give you a birds-eye view of the amazing city. Many bus tours also give people the chance to buy extra headsets, which then fills them in on the history of each location they pass. It’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to get to grips with Barcelona, so why not give it a try?
Wander around Park Güell
There’s a high chance that you’ve seen pictures of this amazing park before because it’s one of the most iconic attractions in the world. It’s the piece-de-resistance of this city and something that everyone needs to see before they head home. Located on Carmel Hill, one of the many attractions of this park is the fact that it offers unending views of Barcelona. You can see for miles, and you can see everything from the gothic buildings to the sandy shore beyond.
As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also one of the best ways to check out Antoni Gaudí’s naturalist phase. This incredible architect had a whirlwind career that took him through various different phases, and Park Güell focuses on organic shapes and structure. Because of this, it’s covered in stunning mosaics, animal statues, and some of the most intriguing shapes and colors the city has to offer. The park itself is split into two sections; free access, and the restricted ticketed area.
Check out El Raval
If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, you’ve probably seen that the whole city is split up into various different neighborhoods. While most tourists stick to the center of the city, it might be an idea to venture outside of the box. There are so many amazing neighborhoods in Barcelona that offer something new and unique, and El Raval is one of them. El Raval lies a short distance away from the likes of Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter, but it’s well worth a visit.
It’s considered to be one of the most diverse cultural melting pots within the city and is full of young artists and old bohemians that want to make their mark on the world. It’s covered in graffiti art, full of museums, chock full of bars, and you’ll normally pass a few skateboarders along the way. Of course, you can’t head to El Raval without checking out Botero’s Cat…
Try out the tapas
European food is famous for being delicious and delectable, so why would you not give it a try? There are various different foods that are famous in Barcelona, and it’s fair to say that tapas is one of them. This cuisine is perfect for those who don’t want to fill up on stodgy food as the sun shines down, and it’s great for those who love to share their food. When ordering tapas, you can order a variety of small plates and pop them in the middle of the table for everyone to enjoy.
You then pick what you want from each dish and add it to your own plate, while picking and choosing the delicacies that take your fancy. This could include patatas bravas, meatballs, croquettes, bread and oil, and so much more. Tapas can be found all across Barcelona, but it’s best to try and scope out independent restaurants for a more authentic vibe.
Stroll along Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas serves as the awesome epicenter of Barcelona, and it’s fair to say that you can’t visit this city without strolling along this beautiful street. Stretching through a large portion of this city, Las Ramblas is a 1.2-kilometer-long street that is lined with stunning trees and devoid of any vehicles. No, cars aren’t allowed down Las Ramblas, which means that you don’t have to deal with honking horns or the rev of engines!
Full to the brim with stores, restaurants, bars, and more, this promenade will take you right from the heart of the city to the beach. Of course, you can’t wander along Las Ramblas without also checking out the incredible street performers that show off their talent along the cobbles. Even if you don’t fancy buying the traje de flamenca – or “flamenco outfit” – it’s still worth a wander.
Head to the beach
Barcelona is one of the greatest destinations in the world, and that’s because it offers so much more than other cities. Sure, it may have rambling streets and bustling squares, but on the edge of the city, you will also find some of the most beautiful beaches that Spain has to offer. It only takes a few minutes to make your way from Las Ramblas to the sandy shores of Barcelona, and there are so many amazing beaches to choose from.
You could head near to the Olympic Port for a more rugged experience, or you could make your way to the golden sands of Platja de Llevant for a more traditional beach experience. If you don’t like getting the sand between your toes, then the Barcelona boardwalk has you covered. You can even stop for a drink and a bite to eat along the way.
Climb up Tibidabo
The main center of Barcelona is extremely flat, which means that it’s perfect for those who want to walk along and simply take in the sights. However, there are a few peaks that definitely need to be explored. Located 1,700 foot above the ground, Tibidabo should definitely be added to your to-do list. That’s because it not only offers some of the most amazing views over the city but because it also offers an incredible attraction that needs to be seen to be believed.
At the top of this peak is a retro theme park that’s fun for all of the family! It offers everything from a Ferris wheel and carousel, and you just can’t come close to the feeling of sitting in a Ferris wheel and looking over a marvelous city. There are also various other hiking trails and walks for you to enjoy up Tibidabo.
Get arty at Fundació Joan Miró
There are so many museums and art galleries in Barcelona, you’ll have a hard time choosing which ones you really want to check out. It’s always best to research ahead of time, and then decide which ones float your boat. However, if you’re an art fan, we’d highly recommend the Fundació Joan Miró. This art gallery has been standing on the hill of Montjuïc for over five decades after Joan Miró decided that he wanted to make his art ready and available for anyone to enjoy.
Today, it’s full to the brim with cool and quirky surrealist paintings and sculptures that you can examine. In fact, there are over 10,000 pieces of artwork in this place! Even if you’re not the biggest art fan, it’s well worth a trip to the Fundació Joan Miró for the views alone. Thanks to its placement on the top of the hill, it offers stunning views over the city and the mountains.
Explore Casa Batlló
Remnants of Antoni Gaudí’s life can be found all across Barcelona, and you could spend days checking out his designs and seeing what were once drawings on a piece of paper come to life. Located on the side of the road in the center of the city is Casa Batlló, an apartment block that was designed by the artist himself. It’s one of the most intriguing buildings to look out because it juts in and out, it offers strange building blocks, and the windows are even a little wonky.
However, it’s this unique take on construction that makes it so incredible. You can buy tickets to make your way inside this building, where the architectural marvels continue. The attention to detail in Casa Batlló is outstanding, but don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself.
Tour around Camp Nou
Barcelona is full of amazing historical buildings and museums, but it’s also home to a whole load of sports fans. Soccer is particularly popular in this city, and FC Barcelona holds a dear place in the hearts of the people who live here. In fact, there are countless people across the globe who also support this team! Even if you have no affinity to the team, Camp Nou is definitely worth checking out.
This incredible stadium can seat a whopping 99,000 people, and you’ll soon realize that the top seats reach dizzying heights. There are three different ways to see this arena if you fancy adding this to your itinerary. You could either check it out from afar, you could buy tickets to watch one of FC Barcelona’s home games, or you could book a stadium tour! It’s important to choose your dates wisely though because tours are unavailable in the few days leading up to a game.
Drink through Passeig del Born
Barcelona is full of amazing and varied neighborhoods, and the Passeig del Born is one of them. This promenade has been a major player within the city for centuries and was once used when knights and jousters roamed the lands. Yes, those in ancient times would use the Passeig del Born as a fun and vibrant meeting place where they would celebrate weddings and births, and where they would also take part in sporting activities.
In fact, it was once used as a jousting arena! Today, this promenade isn’t quite as violent but is instead used as a watering hole for locals and tourists alike. It’s laden with bars and restaurants, and most of these offer outside seating. This means that you can enjoy the sun while also watching the world go by. What more could you want?
Taste everything at La Boqueria
There’s nothing better than checking out the local cuisine, right? Well, if you’re heading to Barcelona and want to try something tasty, then we’d definitely recommend a trip to La Boqueria. This is essentially the largest food market that Barcelona has to offer, and features some of the most amazing foods and ingredients under one iconic steel roof. Many of the locals head to La Boqueria every single week to pick up their supplies, but it’s also the perfect chance for tourists to see, smell, touch, and taste these traditional products.
The whole market is set out in an oval shape, which means that you start from the outside, and work your way in. You’ll make your way past cheeses, meats, fruits and vegetables, candy, and then finish up with fishmongers. Be warned, though, because it’s impossible to control yourself – and your wallet – when surrounded by so many delicious foods!
Shop around Barri Gòtic
Barcelona is hailed around the world for its gothic architecture, and no area of the city shows that off more than the Barri Gòtic. Shrouded in buildings, streets, and structure that scream everything to do with the gothic era, it’s absolutely stunning in more ways than one. While you could just wander for hours and check out the gargoyles and the spikes coming down from the windows, you could also take advantage of the transformation within the Barri Gòtic.
Over the years, these medieval squares and labyrinthine walkways have been given a slightly modern makeover, and are now full to the brim with stores. Thankfully, they haven’t quite taken away the traditional vibe. That’s because these stores are almost all run by those who live in Barcelona. They sell authentic products, such as beautiful alpargatas – or espadrilles – and beautiful clothing. The best part? This area and the products within it are also super affordable.
Visit the Sagrada Famίlia
Barcelona is one of the most architecturally amazing cities in the world, and the Sagrada Famίlia often considered one of the greatest buildings this world has to offer. Visitors flock to see this church with their very eyes because it’s long been a source of amazement and controversy. Although this basilica was not originally designed by the esteemed architect, Antoni Gaudí, he took over responsibility of the project in 1881 and transformed it into something truly special.
In true Gaudí form, this building encapsulates everything that Art Nouveau and the Gothic has to offer, but unfortunately, it’s not finished. In fact, Gaudí passed away before he could complete the project, and it’s still under construction today. The building work is due to be completed inside and out by 2032, but you can still check it out for yourself. You can even head inside and marvel at the stained glass windows and the incredible ceiling.
Take in the Santa Maria del Mar
There are so many churches and iconic buildings in Barcelona, so what’s so special about the Santa María del Mar? It’s believed that this church was first constructed in 1383, and although it has been damaged and restored on numerous occasions, it has been standing strong ever since. What’s so amazing about the construction of this church is that it was built by everyday civilians, who put their all into chiseling rock from the nearby mountains, and then dragging them down the hill to rest on the grounds of the church.
Since then, it has become a figure of resilience within the city. Of course, the church is also incredibly beautiful and features the gothic style that was so popular within Catalan culture. Because it’s still a working church, the Santa María del Mar is only open to public and cultural visits in the afternoons. However, you can attend one of their famous masses if you fancy it.
Listen in Palau de la Musica
If you’re a fan of music and architecture, then Barcelona is definitely the right place for you. Although the work of Gaudía does often dominate this city, it’s fair to say that Barcelona has also been home to many other esteemed architects over the years. In fact, we have Lluís Domènech i Monater to thank for gracing the world with the Palau de la Música. This auditorium is considered to be of huge importance, which is why UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site.
It was built in 1908 and features some of the most impressive decor you may ever lay your eyes on. From the giant stained-glass skylight to the multiple hanging chandeliers, this auditorium comes alive when the candles are lit and the sun goes down. Nowadays, the Palau de la Música focuses on choral and classical music concerts. Yet, if that genre of music isn’t up your street, you could have a guided tour instead.
Visit the Museu Picasso
Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous Spanish painters to ever walk this earth. Fans of the painter may know that he lived in Malaga for a huge portion of his life, but he felt a huge fascination with the city of Barcelona. He was once a young apprentice in the city, and he was inspired by the various architectural buildings, the people, and the way of life. Because of this, he decided to start his namesake museum in Barcelona – and you can visit it!
Tucked away from the main hustle and bustle of the city, the Museu Picasso allows you to shut off for a while, and truly embrace the power and the talent of Picasso’s art. With over 4,000 pieces for you to enjoy, you can not only check out his portfolio over the course of his career, but you can also learn more about his impressive life. It’s well worth the €12 entry.
Look at Casa Milà
Casa Milà is often called La Pedrena and is another construction that Antoni Gaudí added to his portfolio. However, you probably already knew that! With his signature gothic style, the amazing shapes and details were obviously the work of the famous Catalonian. The building is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means that visitors to this great city can look at it in all of its glory.
Although it might not be as colorful or as exotic as some of the other buildings in the city, many fans of Gaudí love this building because it showed his progression as an architect. With modern touches and structural innovation, it’s truly extraordinary. Of course, you can learn even more about this building if you make your way inside and check out the many exhibitions that reside within the beautiful walls.
Take a seat in Plaça del Rei
If you’re the kind of tourist that loves to people watch and relax as the world goes by, then the Plaça del Rei has everything you could want and more. Located within the Gothic Quarter, this square was once one of the most important areas in the city. That’s because it lies underneath the towering walls of the Royal Palace, where queens and queens used to reside. Today, you can check out the Royal Palace for yourself, and then head to the Plaça del Rei to rest your weary legs.
It offers a rustic charm and a slice of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. With various restaurants and bars around this square, you can take a seat, enjoy the sunny weather, stare up at the royal arches, or watch as people walk by. While it may not get your heart pumping, it will certainly make you appreciate this stunning city.
Walk along Carrer de les Aigues
When you think of Barcelona, you probably think of a vibrant, cultural melting pot. After all, it’s first and foremost a city. However, as with any city, there are spaces outside of the main arena that offer sanctuary. The Carrer de les Aigues is one of those sanctuaries, as this ancient road snakes its way up the nearby mountains of Barcelona. Many people forget that Barcelona is shrouded by high peaks and tree-laden hills, but that’s exactly what this place has to offer.
To get to the Carrer de les Aigues, you’ll need to take the Funicular de Vallvidrera up to the top, and it’s definitely worth the €2.20 it takes to get up there. Once you get to the top, you’ll be greeted with the Carrer de les Aigues road, which offers you some of the best views over the city as a whole. It’s a view you really can’t miss. Plus, the funicular is pretty fun!
Hit up a barrio festival
The people of Barcelona love to celebrate and embrace the warm weather in their city, and they love any excuse to head into the streets and mingle with their friends. If you head to Barcelona in the summer, there’s a high chance that you’ll be able to hit up one of the many barrio festivals. They are completely free to attend, and all you have to do is work out where they are going to be held and at what time! So, what is s barrio festival?
These huge parties take place in the streets and allow residents and tourists alike the chance to eat delicious food, drink yummy drinks, and listen to music. It’s the ultimate street party, and will often involve performances from local bands and musicians, dancers, fire-breathers, and others who want to show off their talent. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the streets are also decked out in awesome decorations to create the perfect mood.
Dance the flamenco
If you’re heading to Barcelona for a vacation or a little trip away, why not let your hair down and get involved with a few traditions? The flamenco has been a huge part of Spanish folklore for centuries, and it’s the dance that many people associate with this region as a whole. It’s passionate, it’s intense, and it’s utterly mesmerizing to watch. It’s easy to find flamenco performances when you head to Barcelona, but would you ever give it a go yourself?
Many bars and restaurants offer their customers the chance to get up and dance with them, but you can also book yourself onto a dance class. This way, you can learn from those who know what they’re doing, and you can embrace a new style of dance in the process. You never know, you may find yourself falling in love with the dance, and you might even find yourself a new hobby!
Watch the fountain show
Although the city of Barcelona is largely known for its churches and beautiful buildings, it’s also known for being the home of the Magic Fountain Show. This fountain show gives you the chance to see something a little different, and experience what life in Barcelona is like when the sun sets. Yes, although you can check out the fountain show during the day, it’s best to head to the Font màgica de Montjuïc at night.
When the sun sets, a display of lights, water jets, and music fill up the beautiful square. In fact, the light show uses over 3,500 water jets and more than 4,500 lights to create more than 7 billion combinations that are then put to some of the coolest music in the world. It’s a spectacle that really does need to be seen to be believed. Definitely add it to your to-do list.
To summarise, Barcelona is an amazing destination for all ages, and if you are thinking about a trip to a europian city this year, Barcelona should be on top of your list.