Top 10 Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, the capitol of Spain’s Catalonia region, is known for art, architecture, and the fantastical Art Nouveau landmarks designed by the famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. I had wanted to see these magnificent buildings for so long and I was lucky enough to get to share the experience with my little sister on our recent trip to Europe. I’ve put together my top ten things to do in Barcelona along with tips to help you make the most of your trip! Bonus; at the end of this post you will find a list of some of my favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and views in the city.
Parc Guell is one of Gaudi’s major works and a must-see when visiting Barcelona! Nature Square is the most photographed area in the Parc with a gorgeous view of the city. Unfortunately, it was under construction when we visited! You can purchase tickets up to 3 months in advance and reserve a time slot for 7 euros. We visited Parc Guell at 6 pm in August; it was quite busy and the lighting wasn’t the best as the sun was going down. I would recommend visiting earlier in the day from 8 am to noon to capture the best photos!
Tip: they will only allow you in exactly at your reserved time slot, not before or after.
La Rambla is a very popular shopping street in Barcelona, stretching from Placa Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus monument. It’s like an open mall with vendors selling souvenirs, entertainment, and restaurants. Right off the street is the famous Boqueria Market and the Gothic Quarter.
Tip: Don’t eat at the restaurants on La Rambla! Instead, opt to eat in the Boqueria Market.
La Boqueria is a large public market and a landmark of Barcelona. It is boasted to be one of the best in the world and I would have to agree! The vibrant market is filled with vendors selling fish, fruit cups, fresh juices, meat, bread, and so much more. Do yourself a favor and snack on anything that catches your eye; it’s the perfect way to get a taste of mediterranean food and spanish culture.
Tip: Don’t get tricked into buying food at the entrance into the market like we did. As you get closer to the center, you will find vendors with much better deals! Everything is pretty inexpensive though, so you really can’t go wrong!
The beautiful neighborhood known as the Gothic Quarter is the center of the old city. It surrounds La Rambla on both sides. The narrow medieval streets are lined with trendy restaurants, coffee shops, and art and flower vendors. You will find other landmarks here like La Cathedral and the ‘Pont del Bisbe’ (or Bishop’s bridge). We loved exploring and getting lost in in the Gothic Quarter. It felt like we had gone back in time!
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, also known as Barcelona Cathedral or La Catedral, is a gothic cathedral located in Barcelona’s Barrio Gotico (Gothic Quarter). It’s a beautiful cathedral with a lively square in front of it where you will find street performers and vendors. Entry into the cathedral is free.
Tip: If you plan to enter the cathedral, make sure you are dressed respectfully.
Passeig de Gracia
The Passeig de Gracia is a major avenue in Barcelona for shopping and business. The Passeig de Gracia links Placa Catalunya with the colorful Gracia neighborhood, hence the name. On this avenue is where you will find some of Gaudi’s other famous buildings, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (also known as La Pedrera). You can purchase tickets to enter Casa Batllo here and Casa Milla here. If you have time, I also recommend strolling through the Gracia neighborhood. We found tons of colorful spots to photograph there.
Tip: Our budget didn’t allow for us to enter either building but I heard they were beautiful and worth entering. The lines didn’t seem unreasonably long when we visited.
The Sagrada Familia is another famous Barcelona landmark. It’s a Roman Catholic Church designed by Antonio Gaudi in the Art Nouveau style. The intricate and symbolic details give this church so much character. We loved the colorful stained glass and stone work in the interior. A lift took us to the top of the Nativity Tower for stunning views of the city. We took our time walking down the stairs to admire the view from different windows.
Tip: Buy your tickets in advance so you don’t miss this incredible landmark! You can buy your tickets here. We payed 29 euros for entry into the church and the Nativity Tower.
Palau de la Musica
The stunning Palau de la Musica is a famous concert hall located at the top of the Gothic Quarter near Placa Catalunya. The interiors and the architecture, designed in the Catalan modernista style, are absolutely stunning. We visited the Palau at night for a flamenco show (famous Spanish dance). You can book tickets here for around 35 euros.
Tip: We stopped by the gelateria Palau after the show for some yummy gelato.
Parc de La Cuitadella
The Parc de la Cuitadella is Barcelona’s central park, complete with a zoo, lake, a fountain, and several museums. It’s the greenest area in the large city. The Parc is a great place to ride bikes, have a picnic, and rest your feet. Across the street from Parc de la Cuitadella is the Spanish version of the Arc du Triomphe in Paris.
Arc de Triomf
The Arc de Triomf was built as the main entry into the 1888 World Fair which was held in the Parc de la Cuitadella. It’s made of colorful red brick in the Mudejar style. Street artists and performers entertain in the square in front of the arc. Not nearly as large as the Arc du Triomphe but just as beautiful.
Tip: Not far from the Arc is the popular Barceloneta Beach and other beaches that line the shore. We stopped by to dip our legs into the ocean.
Bunkers del Carmel
Tip: We didn’t get the chance to see them, but I heard there are amazing views at Mont Juic and Bunkers del Carmel. The Bunkers del Carmel are very close to Parc Guell. Mont Juic is on the opposite side of the city. There is a chairlift that will take you to the top for panoramic views of the city.
Satan’s Coffee Corner
Cup & Cake