Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Barcelona (Spain)
No doubt, Barcelona tourist attractions are the most admired in Spain that fascinates millions and millions of tourists every year. You would be wondering why is this city so famous? Well, one can only say it has all that a journeyer desires most of all the beautiful sightseeing spots.
A vibrant vibe, stunning sights, fascinating history, and architecture are just some of the reasons why Barcelona is such a popular destination. It is one of the most exciting places in the world with its magnificent buildings, lively beaches, and fantastic neighborhoods.
So, what to see in Barcelona?
Well, in an overview – Barcelona points of interest are densely concentrated in the cheerful Gothic Quarter and the lively Eixample District while others are scattered all over Barcelona.
So, if you’re still wondering about what to do in Barcelona during your trip, you now have this informative Barcelona city guide. You will never run out of things to do in Barcelona as its attractions are so many!
Some of the delightful places to visit in Barcelona include spellbinding buildings designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi.
A trip to this majestic Spanish city not only offers an opportunity to experience Catalan culture, art, music, architectural marvels, delectable food, and bustling public markets but also end up discovering something new even if you get lost in the mazes of alleys.
Sports fans especially football lovers also have a reason to cheer as this city is the base of the famous FC Barcelona, one of the most loved football clubs in the world.
Barcelona is said to be a ‘Wonderland’ regarding the enchanting monuments the city has. The city has made the ‘Diversity’ its signature word and offers beautiful places for everyone alike.
The city never stops to flaunt its beauty and colors residing along the seaside. Barcelona attractions and the incredible architectural work gets you on your toes in a second. Apart from all that, the winds from the Mediterranean double the charm of this city.
When you are done with Barcelona main attractions and the beautiful vibes offered by the city, you can relax by La Barcelonetta, a beautiful beach within the city.
Barcelona tourist spots never seem to end so take time to cool down and stroll down the sandy beaches and taste the leisurely foods in outdoor terraces overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean sea.
If you are planning a trip to Barcelona, here is a super-useful list of the top things to see in Barcelona you don’t want to miss:
Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in Barcelona
- 1.1 Walk Along La Rambla: Barcelona’s Social Hub
- 1.2 Visit the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic)
- 1.3 Enjoy the Food at La Boqueria Market
- 1.4 Go for a Stroll at Park Guell
- 1.5 A Fun Tour of Camp Nou
- 1.6 View and admire the Magic Fountain (Font Màgica de Montjuïc)
- 1.7 A Day Out at Barceloneta Beach
- 1.8 Appreciate Art at Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
- 1.9 Visit the Amusement Park and Scenic Views of Montjuïc
- 1.10 Explore Quadrat d’Or
- 1.11 Fundacio Joan Miro
- 2 Top Landmarks and attractions in Barcelona
- 2.1 Explore Sagrada Familia
- 2.2 Discover Casa Batlló
- 2.3 Admire the Beauty of Palau de la Música Catalana
- 2.4 See the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar
- 2.5 Take a Look at Casa Mila “La Pedrera”
- 2.6 Understand the Artwork at Museu Picasso
- 2.7 Experience Palau Guell
- 2.8 Monestir de Pedralbes
- 2.9 Museu de Zoologia
- 2.10 Museu Blau
- 2.11 Poble Espanyol
- 3 Practical information and Barcelona travel tips
- 4 Where to stay in Barcelona?
- 5 Short on time? Go sightseeing in Barcelona on a tour!
- 6 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experiences and top things to do in Barcelona
Walk Along La Rambla: Barcelona’s Social Hub
One of the fun things to do in Barcelona is to take a walk along the La Rambla street that is flanked by trees and buzzing with activity. All along it, you can see kiosks and shops selling various products. You can also spot multiple attractions including historical buildings, an opera house, museum, and much more.
La Rambla is said to be the ‘Beating Heart’ of Barcelona that keeps up the social life in a broad and lively avenue dividing the old town into two parts. The attractive street features many shops, restaurants, and cafe along the pedestrians walking space.
La Rambla stretches from the Plaça de Catalunya (the standpoint of the beautiful Convent of Santa Anna) making it one of the most popular Barcelona tourist spot. The fresh and lively ambiance of La Rambla captivates the tourists day and night alike.
Pubs and restaurants, as well as other tourist spots and activities in Barcelona, can be accessed through this street. Don’t miss the marvelous street performers! Take care of your belongings as it can get crowded.
Visit the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic)
Trips to Barcelona are incomplete without visiting the Gothic Quarter in the old part of the city. Enter into a world of interconnecting streets and alleys. A portion of it contains the remnants of Roman walls of the town.
Various streets go on to meet lovely open squares. There are several places of interest here including medieval remains, restaurants, pubs, and shops. If you wanted to know what to see in Barcelona that is different from the usual, this is it.
The spiritual and secular center of Barcelona still holds the ancient Roman relics and the Historic monuments represents the foundation of middle ages that date back to almost 2000 years. The cathedral on Monte Tabor is the triumph of the Gothic Architecture being the highest point in the town center.
The Gothic Quarter is the same point where the Catholic Monarchs received the Christopher Columbus after his first voyage. The magical medieval world and the enchanting alleyways temp the tourists to discover and soak up the fantastic vibes. Sidewalk terraces and the hidden corners in the Gothic Quarter amuse the wanderers too.
Enjoy the Food at La Boqueria Market
Any Barcelona guide to exciting places in this city always includes the La Boqueria market that can be accessed through La Rambla. A visit to this food market is one of the top activities in Barcelona if you are a foodie. It has a variety of fabulous fruits and vegetables as well as meat, jamon, seafood, spices, dry ingredients, and cheeses.
You can also enjoy ice creams in several delicious flavors, snacks, and juices. Head to any of the food stands or tapas bars and eat whatever it is that pleases you.
Go for a Stroll at Park Guell
A visit to Park Guell designed by Antoni Gaudi almost feels like you are entering a fantasy world. You will surely find this listed in any Barcelona city guide. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, entry to the park is free, but there is a fee to enter the monumental zone.
You can also visit Gaudi’s house where he lived for several years, which is now the Gaudi House Museum. See the impressive gardens, pathways, various structures, the main terrace, mosaics, and much more.
The colorful and marvelous Surrealist Park is the paragon of UNESCO World Heritage Site. This park was designed by Antoni Gaudi between 1900 and 1914. The surrealist park is one of the Barcelona top attractions featuring the bewitching landscape and impressive architectural work.
The colonnaded hall, viaducts and the winding staircases decorated with colorful fragments of ceramics giving it a whole new look. What’s even more interesting is the panoramic terrace which offers the full view of the city and the sea.
Also designed by Antoni Gaudi, Palace Guell is an excellent place to begin your journey. It is one of Antoni’s majestic works and said to be a starter for his marvelous creations.
Palau Guell was designed for a wealthy resident with a central hall to fit the family’s lavish needs perfectly.
Unquestionably one of the fun Barcelona tourist attractions!
A Fun Tour of Camp Nou
Avid football fans on their trips to Barcelona make a beeline for Camp Nou stadium. If you attend a match at Camp Nou, it promises to be an unforgettable experience. For fans, it would be the best time to visit Barcelona as major matches offer a super thrilling time.
With a seating capacity of almost one lakh, it is the home stadium of FC Barcelona and has hosted international competitions and matches. On your tour, you can see the stadium, its various sections, and take photographs. It is also the site of the famous FC Barcelona Museum.
View and admire the Magic Fountain (Font Màgica de Montjuïc)
There is something magical about fountains especially illuminated ones where the water cascades to the sound of music. Situated in the Montjuïc neighborhood, the Magic Fountain is a beautiful sight in the morning. At night during weekends, with the music and light show, the ornamental fountain and the area around it looks enchanting.
Colors in various shades light up the sprays of water that shoot up into the air to the sound of music. Watching this magical fountain is one of the best tourist attractions in Barcelona at night.
A Day Out at Barceloneta Beach
Are you looking forward to enjoying the sun, sand and the sea?
There’s plenty of beach fun in this city and a day out at the Barceloneta Beach is one the top sights in Barcelona.
Located in a vibrant neighborhood, you can relax on the beach, take a dip in its waters or play a volleyball game. Satisfy your hunger pangs at one of the restaurants in the area or unwind at a nightclub.
Early summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit Barcelona and enjoy time at the beach.
Appreciate Art at Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
For those looking to enjoy museum-related activities in Barcelona, this one will surely please you. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is notable for its incredible art collection, especially Romanesque art including mural paintings that cannot be found as extensively in other museums in the world.
The museum in itself is a spectacular building with beautiful architecture and ornate design. It also contains collections of Renaissance and Baroque Art, Gothic Art and Modern Art.
Visit the Amusement Park and Scenic Views of Montjuïc
Mont Juïc translates to Mountain of the Jews as this as this hilltop neighborhood is constructed on an Old Jewish Cemetery. The hillside stands 213 meters above the sea and has a fortress on its top with enriching ancient history.
Tibidabo Amusement Park is famous for its panoramic view and exuberant museums adding to Barcelona tourism. The collection of Catalan Art that includes sculptures, paintings, engravings and photos from 10th to 20th century can be found in National Art Museum of Catalonia.
Explore Quadrat d’Or
The crown of Eixample District, Quadrat d’Or is known as the Quadrant of gold. It is famous for its modern architecture. The avant-garde buildings in this area were constructed between 10th and 20th century inspired by the work of Antoni Gaudi. The place is in the center of Plaça de Catalunya and Passeig de Sant Joan.
A road that passes through this quadrant is called Passeig de Gràcia. The modernist style wonderfully depicted by this quadrant.
Fundacio Joan Miro
The Foundation created by Juan Miro himself to leave behind his legacy is known around the world. Juan Miro was a famous artist who touched the soul of the world through his brush.
This place is a motivation for young artists to learn about the driving force behind Art with Miro’s paintings serving as the core of this foundation.
Top Landmarks and attractions in Barcelona
Explore Sagrada Familia
The famous Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is one of the most spectacular churches in the world with a breathtaking sight. The 18 spindly towers soar high above in the sky dominating the other towers and monuments present in the surroundings.
Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is said in the Spanish language. Antoni Gaudi created this surreal church and one of the best attractions in Barcelona in 1883 which was initially planned to be a neo-Gothic church.
The lavish exterior gets the visitors stunned and mesmerized and what follows is the sparkling ceiling and opulent colors with decorative details in its interior.
When you see the Sagrada Familia in front you, it’s impossible to take your eyes off this massive architectural spectacle. It looms high with a structural complexity that stuns the viewer. It is one of the Barcelona top sights.
Construction on this UNESCO World Heritage Site began in 1882. Antoni Gaudi’s vision and design have made this structure genuinely monumental. The exciting part is that it is still unfinished and work continues on this massive church.
Undoubtedly, a visit to Sagrada Familia is one of the best tourist attractions in Barcelona!
Discover Casa Batlló
The best thing about Barcelona points of interest is Casa Batllo giving the city whole new horizons.
Another fascinating work of architecture, the Casa Batlló was remodeled from an existing house by Antoni Gaudi in 1904. This building has to be on your list of places to visit in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s unmistakable style is present in every floor of the house from its uneven windows, bulging balconies, and usage of blue and white ceramic tiles to the fantastic roof which seems to resemble the back of a reptile.
This characteristical building was initially designed as a residential building for Josep Batlló I Casanovas. The ornamental and mesmerizing front makes it look like an idyllic castle.
Even the architectural engineers are themselves amazed at the creation of this masterpiece. The swinging shapes on the first floor make the visitors confused and add to the flamboyance of the building at the same time.
It’s hardly surprising that Casa Batlló makes it to every Barcelona must see city guide.
Admire the Beauty of Palau de la Música Catalana
Witness the sheer magnificence of the Palau de la Música Catalana, a concert hall. It is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable activities in Barcelona. The building’s structural beauty, outstanding architecture, and the detailed, ornate design are breathtaking.
In the spectacular concert hall, the side walls with arches and stained glass panes, as well as a central blue stained glass ceiling with a golden inverted dome, are gorgeous. Your experience is elevated if you attend a music concert here. A tour of this concert hall is one of the fabulous Barcelona tourist places.
See the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar
A striking yet serene church, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar is one of the fascinating places to visit in Barcelona. What you see in the exterior of the church constructed between 1329 and 1383, it is very different from its interiors. A great example of Catalan Gothic style architecture, the church doesn’t contain too much of imagery.
The interiors exude a calming presence with its tall stone built columns in beautiful proportions. If you go up the cathedral towers to the rooftop, you will be rewarded with stunning views.
Take a Look at Casa Mila “La Pedrera”
The famous secular building UNESCO-listed Casa Mila was also designed by Antoni Gaudi. The structure resembles an open quarry that’s why It is affectionately called La Pedrera meaning The Stone Quarry. The buoyant avant-garde is a masterpiece of sculpture art. The outstanding Iron gate that leads into the inner courtyard on Carrer de Provença makes it a fascinating entrance.
The stone exterior is constructed in a naturally curved way with rounded windows and the balcony railings twinning around. The decorative chimneys give the roof an undulating shape. The ribbed arches designed to bear the load speak of the genius architectural techniques of Gaudi.
Antoni Gaudi’s works are an essential part of the city as well as any Barcelona guidebook, and The Casa Mila “La Pedrera” is another unusual example of his architecture. One of his last works in private residences, this building has an irregular stone façade.
Despite its unconventional design and gnarled wrought-iron balconies, it is still a fascinating structure. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this building with various sections has a natural ventilation system. Casa Mila is one of the sites mentioned in Dan Brown’s 2017 novel ‘Origin’. A visit here is one of the fun Barcelona highlights.
Understand the Artwork at Museu Picasso
This museum is our recommendation on what to do in Barcelona if you are an art lover. For those interested in the initial years of Picasso’s work and life when he was a young artist, the Museu Picasso is the place to go.
While many of his leading masterpieces can be found in museums across the world, this museum is for those art lovers who would like to see his art from the early years. The museum does not have a visibly extensive collection, but it has impressive displays that show Picasso’s advancement as an artist.
Experience Palau Guell
Any Barcelona guide to Gaudi’s works will mention the Palau Guell, another of his fascinating creations. The design and structures at Palau Guell look straight out of the pages of a fairytale.
Intricate designs, patterns, and structures dominate every room. The interiors are impressive, and the main event room has a high ceiling with tiny holes that give a starry appearance at night with the help of lights. Gaudi’s craftsmanship is visible everywhere from the ornate walls to various objects and furniture.
Another highlight is the rooftop with its magnificent, mystical chimneys and exquisite design. One of the best things to do in Barcelona if you are a Gaudi fan!
Monestir de Pedralbes
Monestir de Pedralbes is one of the gems of Catalan Gothic architectural and structural engineering. This convent lies in Jardines Reina Elisenda, a little park in Barcelona. It was found in 1326 for the Order of Saint Clare by Queen Elisenda de Montcada. The colorful and vibrant garden has all kinds of palms, shrubs, cypresses and shady trees.
The visitors can find the Gothic church, a three-story cloister along with the convent buildings. They can relax in the serene settings and learn about the work of 14th-century nuns at the same time.
The visitors running from the hustle of the cities are offered a haven in the Monastery of Pedralbes. Queen Elsenda to forgive her sins built this monastery in 1290.
This monastery is also an excellent example of the ancient Gothic architecture. The pleasant palm trees in front of the outer corridors make it a worth visiting Barcelona attraction.
Museu de Zoologia
The zoological museum lies in a Moorish-inspired building in Parc de la Ciutadella. The building was built for 1888 World exhibition but now holds this famous Barcelona tourist attraction and known as Castell dels Tres Dragons because of the three dragons like towers.
This museum has a great collection of extensive showpieces ranging from diverse animal species to mollusks and even skeleton of mammoths.
A modern building built in 2004 in Forum Park occupies the Museum of Earth Science near the sea and Besos River. Not only the nature lovers, but even the visitors can immerse themselves in the world of Biology and Geology displayed beautifully.
The earth and evolution section highlight the surreal habitats of our planet Earth in a very realistic world.
Poble Espanyol is a vast open-air museum built in 1929. The museum is four times the size of Barcelona football pitch. The museum has diverse sections representing the Spanish.
The handicraft market makes this place even delightful. Visitors can roam around Andalusia and Balearic islands in a couple of hours.
Practical information and Barcelona travel tips
Why should you visit Barcelona?
Not only Barcelona is one of the top destinations in Europe (or the world), it is also a hub for culture and tradition as the city has a long history in food, arts, and festivities. Also, it has been home to some of the notable artists that have ever lived such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Antoni Gaudi all of which have a monumental place in Barcelona you can check out.
Sports fans also have a place in Barcelona as one of its biggest tourist attraction is Camp Nou and is famous amongst football fans.
Of course, on the last note, there’s a plethora of amazing restaurants, cafes, and bars you can chill, eat good food, drink amazing wines and spend some relaxing time in between sightseeing Barcelona.
When is the best time to visit Barcelona?
- Summer (May to August)
- Summer is the highest season in Barcelona and you can expect big tourist crowds around this time of the year
- You can witness the Midsummer parade where they have several festivities and traditions happening in the center of Barcelona
- Expect humid weather that can be up to 30°C
- Autumn (September to November)
- Schools usually start around autumn so tourists from European countries are a lot less and the locals are starting to get back to their usual days after the summer holidays
- The water is still warm enough for refreshing dips and swims
- Bu the weather is starting to get colder at nights
- Towards the end of autumn and the beginning of winter starts to be a bit rainier
- Winter (December to February)
- Winter in Barcelona isn’t so bad as the temperature rarely goes down below 0°C
- It is comfortable to walk around (it keeps you warm) and explore other parts of the city by foot
- There are lesser crowds as this is the low season for this city
- Spring (March to April)
- This perhaps is the best time to visit Barcelona as the weather starts to be warmer
- Trees are starting to bloom and there’s more sunshine
- There are also several festivities happening around this time of the year notably the famous Calçot – spring onion grilled in open fire and served with romanesco sauce
Do you need a visa for Barcelona?
Spain is part of the Schengen area and citizens of EU group of countries can freely enter while citizens of USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia can enter the country just with their passports and stay for 90 days. You can check our complete guide on how to get a Schengen visa and as well to see if you’re eligible to enter the country with just your passports or if you’ll need to apply for a visa prior entry.
Where to book your flights to Barcelona?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Where to stay in Barcelona?
H10 Casa Mimosa
Just a walking distance from some of Barcelona’s famous tourist attractions: Casa Batllo, Plaza Catalunya, and La Ramblas. This beautiful hotel with a classic 19th-century architectural design is one of the best hotels in Barcelona to stay at for people with a mid-range budget.
You’ll find amazing other facilities in this hotel such as a fitness center, roof deck, a pool, and an amazing restaurant and bars.
Petit Palace Museum
A beautiful design hotel located near Paseo de Gracia Boulevard, you’ll also find amazing restaurants and shops around the area. This hotel has amazing facilities to offer apart from its stylish modern rooms!
Hotel de Serras
A 5-star hotel that is located in the same building where Pablo Picasso started his career in 1896, this luxury hotel offers amazing facilities that include a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a solarium. This hotel has so many favorable reviews and was praised for its amazing service!
Short on time? Go sightseeing in Barcelona on a tour!
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