Barcelona is the second largest city of Spain (after Madrid) and it is the capital city of the community of Catalonia, as well as one of the World’s most popular tourist destinations.
Barcelona is in any traveler’s must-see cities list beacause it’s simply wonderfull and It is no doubt incomparable with its uniqueness particularly thanks also to the architectural works of Lluís Domènech i Montaner and of course Antoni Gaudí, which have been recognizes as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Food, culture, nightlife, entertainment, shopping, adventures; single, couple or family; there is everything to delight everyone in Barcelona!
This city is really big with so many things to do and everywhere you go you just enjoy and never get bored, I think even a week here ain’t enough to fully explore it. Anyway, let’s begin, here are my top things to do, where to stay and where to eat in Barcelona:
Top highlights and things to do in Barcelona
1. La Sagrada Família
The Sagrada Família is Barcelona’s indisputable symbol. Designed by Antoni Gaudí it’s considered to be the best example of modernist architecture and yet it’s still an unfinished temple and should be done in the year 2026. Inside this extraordinary masterpiece is where Gaudí’s genius is most evident, that is definitely worth a visit because is absolutely stunning! However, don’t expect to find this place empty. Every day thousands of tourists come here and tickets are always sold out.
You can buy the tickets in the Sagrada Família ticket office although I recommend you to buy the tickets in advance, online or through tour packages, you will avoid long queues and a possible tickets sold out.
17€ – basic ticket for adults
25€ – with audioguide
26€ – guided tour
32€ – ticket with audioguide and visit one of the towers
For more information and tickets online, visit their officialwebsite.
2. Park Güell
Park Güell is definitely one of the most impressive public parks in the world. Well “public” not really because you need to pay to enter, but it’s considered one of the most beautiful parks in the world and it’s one of those places you shouldn’t miss in Barcelona. This work of art was designed by Gaudí and it’s truly an outdoor museum that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. Even though it’s never been fully completed, it’s still remains one of Gaudí’s most colorful and playful works.
Only in a certain area you can access with the ticket, you can still enjoy the park and walk around for free. Find and visit the former residence (now museum) of Antoni Gaudí with furniture, objects & documents of the architect.
10€ – adults
7€ – 7-12yo/over 65yo
free – under 0-6yo
Gaudí House Museum:
5,50€ – adults
free – under 7yo
27,00€ – combined ticket with La Sagrada Família
Notes: It’s recommended to buy tickets in advance to avoid long queues and sold outs. For more information and tickets online visit their official Website.
3. Plaça de Catalunya
Featured with fountains and sculptures, this large square is a great meeting point in the city. Plaça de Catalunya is where Las Ramblas (a long pedestrian boulevard leading towards the port) and Passeig de Gràcia (a long way dedicated to shopping) start.
4. La Boqueria
La Boqueria is the most popular market in Barcelona and it is located on Las Ramblas, in the city center. The origins of the market are very ancient, here where the sale of meat and fish has been realized since 1200. But the structure of the Boqueria as we see it today was inaugurated only in 1840.
Fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, variety of choice. If you are staying in Barcelona in an apartment with kitchen, whether you are here for vacation, work or study, La Boqueria is the perfect place you can find your food supplies.
Have breakfast here and also try the Tapas (or appetizers/snacks in Spanish cuisine). La Boqueria is open from Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 8.30pm.
5. Plaça d’Espanya
Located in the outskirts of Barcelona, at the intersection of the main roads such as Gran Via and the Parel lel, Plaça D’ Espanya is easy to reach from the city centre. This place is a well-known tourist spot: a large square which boasts many popular attractions including historical ones. Some of the prominent names include the National Museum of Catalan Art, the old Barcelona bullfight ring, the Magic Fountain, Caixa Forum and the architectural hub village of Poble Espanyol.
Placa D’ Espanya was built in 1929 as a venue to serve the universal exhibition that was held in Spain. The square is famous for housing the former bullfighting ring which has now been converted to a grand shopping complex known as Arenas De Barcelona, on the top of which there are restaurants and you can enjoy a 360 degrees city view.
6. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Within walking distance of the Plaça D’Espanya, sitting atop a hill, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya looks like a massive castle and inside there’s even a coffe shop, it’s more like a mall than an art museum, a museum that holds a king’s ransom in treasures. Here you will find the greatest Catalan art from the 10th century to the 20th century and impressive Romanesque murals that graced church apses, and Gothic art from the era when Catalonia was expanding across the Mediterranean. The gallery also contains paintings by the great Spanish artists El Greco and Velasquez.
At the foot of the castle, there is one of the most favorite places in Barcelona especially at night, just watch its wonderfulness: the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. The fountain, erected in 1929, delights all ages with its light and water shows choreographed to music. It was designed by Carles Buigas for the 1929 International Exhibition, which took place in Montjuïc. The show lasts for about an hour.
General admission: 12€ (valid for two days during a month from the purchasing date)
Audio guide: 4€
To the Rooftop Viewpoint: 2€
annual fee: €18 (from the date of purchase,unlimited access to the permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions)
Free: under 16 years old and over 65 years old.
For more information visit their official website, and tickets online here.
7. Montjuïc Castle
Montjuïc Castle (in spanish Castell de Montjuïc) is a 17th-century military fortress perched atop Montjuïc Mountain. After an eventful history, including various wars, the site now functions as a municipal facility and hosts cultural events and offers great views of the city and beyond.
Standing more than 558 feet (170 meters) above the city, Montjuïc Castle and the hill on which it sits feature some of the best panoramic views of Barcelona, distant mountains, and Mediterranean Sea. Castle visitors learn about the turbulent history of the building and the city, from the Catalan Revolt in the 1600s through the Napoleonic Wars and into the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was used as a place to execute political prisoners. You can also walk around the surrounding gardens and see a number of renowned sculptures and the castle’s ancient drawbridge.
To get there take the metro to Paral lel station and then bus 150 to the top of Montjuïc Mountain. Alternatively, from Barceloneta Beach you can board the Montjuïc Cable Car (recommended), which drops you in front of the castle.
Cable car ticket prices:
adults: 8.90€ (single), 13.50€ (return)
children 4 to 12: 7.10€ (single), 9.70 (return)
children under 4: Free.
Standard admission fee: € 5
Reduced admission fee: € 3 (16 to 29 yo, over 65yo)
Free admission: Sundays after 3pm and all day every first Sunday of the month. Children under 16.
Built in 1901, Tibidabo Amusement Park is a century old park and one of the oldest amusement parks in the world and definitely the oldest one in Spain. It stands on Mount Tibidabo at the highest point on the Collserola Ridge. Situated just 15 kilometers from the center of Barcelona, Mount Tibidabo offers some splendid sights of Barcelona. Since its inception, the various rides and attractions have been continuously revamped and extended, to keep it appealing to visitors of all ages.
9. Barcelona Beaches
Barcelona boasts a number of beautiful beach locations to suit everyone, from those looking to simply relax, to those looking for some extreme sports.
When most people think of beaches in Barcelona, Barceloneta is probably the first that comes to mind. It’s the most busiest and most crowded, it may be the most dirtiest, but it’s definitely the most entertaining.
With 100 miles of coastline stretching across the province, Barcelona is a beach lover’s dream come true. Here are the other best beaches in the city:
Nova Icaria Beach
Mar Bella Beach
Visiting Montserrat is a must and it’s definitely worth a day of your time while you are in Barcelona, not surprisingly, it’s one of the most popular day trips from the city. It’s easy to get to and gives you an opportunity to see the Spanish countryside.
The views from the monastery are breathtaking, infact a visit to a unique mountain range offers stunning views over Catalonia. However for some people, a visit to Montserrat is also a religious pilgrimage.
From the monastery you can also take short hikes through the mountain peaks, and take a funicular higher up onto the mountain for even better views. Or you can walk to Sant Jeroni, the highest peak of Montserrat.
How to get there
From Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, take the R5 line train to Manresa. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket machines. Combined return tickets: train+cogwheel train or train+cable car cost 22€. Tickets can also be purchased at the assisted ticket office but somehow they cost more.
If you chose to ride the train + the cable car, your stop will be at Aeri de Montserrat and from there take the cable car to the top. The cable car typically runs every 15 minutes but can run as frequently as every 5 minutes depending on number of passengers.
If you choose the cogwheel train instead, you will stop at Monistrol de Montserrat from where the cogwheel train will take you to the top.
With all these main attractions you will probably have spent at least a week and yet there are still many things to do here in Barcelona to say that you have really been here. Explore the city!
La Rambla is the long boulevard that leads from Plaza de Catalunya to the statue of Columbus, a short walk from the sea. Here, immersed in the vibrancy of the crowd, you can admire street artists, take a look at the bustling Food Market of the Boqueria and dive along the Rambla de les Flores, the kingdom of florists between scents and colors.
From the city’s most degraded district to one of the neighborhoods to visit absolutely and tourist attraction: here is the extraordinary transformation of the Barceloneta district, renovated for the 1992 Olympics. Today this place allows you to take a dip in 150 years ago of Barcelona among alleys, alleys, old bars and fishing houses. A completely different reality from the lights of the nightclubs and the worldly liveliness where you can enjoy excellent seafood dishes in the many restaurants that are located here.
Another undisputed masterpiece by the architect Gaudi in Barcelona, the Casa Batllò is one of the most extravagant and original buildings in Europe and a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2005 and one of the seven wonders of Barcelona since 2007. The exterior amazes: just think of the roof covered with colored scales to simulate the back of a dragon and the balconies reminiscent of skulls supported by columns similar to vertebrae. But the real surprises are inside: no straight line but a crazy vortex of curves, waves and spirals, natural light in every single environment and maximum attention to detail. The visit includes the first two floors of the building including the Piano Noble where the Batllò family resided.