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The 17 Best Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain

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From architectural wonders to sun-soaked beaches, and world-class art museums, Barcelona has an abundance of unforgettable experiences that will leave you in awe

Whether you’re strolling through the labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter, savoring tapas in local taverns, or marveling at the spellbinding works of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona is a treasure trove of amazing experiences.

Ready to explore Barcelona’s irresistible blend of culture, history, cuisine, and vibrant atmosphere? We’ve got you covered.

In this blog post, we’ll uncover the 20 ultimate best things to do in Barcelona.

Prepare to be enchanted as we unveil the most awe-inspiring attractions and hidden gems of the Catalan capital.

Of one thing we’re sure: your visit to Barcelona will be nothing short of extraordinary!

The 17 Top Things to Do in Barcelona

Get Lost In the Gothic Quarter

A free walking tour of the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) is a great way of experiencing Barcelona’s atmosphere.

Nestled in the city center, this historic area encompasses Barcelona’s oldest parts. 

While meandering through the cobblestone streets of the Gothic Quarter you’ll find atmospheric squares, remains of Roman walls, medieval buildings, and neo-Gothic constructions.

The area is home to the Jewish Quarter, which was the heart of the city’s Jewish community from the 7th to 14th centuries.

In addition, the Gothic Quarter is filled with picture-perfect cafes and bars. Just find yourself a table outside and settle in for an afternoon of people-watching.

You’ll also notice that the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter are home to an array of trendy shops and vintage stores, making it one of the best places to go shopping in Barcelona.

See The Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona's Gothic Cathedral.

While exploring the Gothic Quarter on foot, make sure to stop by the iconic Barcelona Cathedral.

Originally named Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, the church was erected on the site of a Romanesque temple over 150 years ago. 

Thanks to its architectural richness, this Gothic cathedral is considered a real Catalan Gothic jewel and is often regarded as one of the top Barcelona attractions.

You’ll certainly stand in awe with the cathedral’s massive bell towers, large windows, and majestic organ decorated with grisailles by Pedro Pablo Serafín “the Greek”.

Shop in Passeig de Gràcia

Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona, Spain.
Photo Credit: Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock

Paseo de Gracia is one of the best places to go shopping in Barcelona. 

Located in the city center, this famous boulevard is beautifully dotted with lush trees, eye-popping buildings, and an array of luxury stores.

Some of the high-end brands you’ll find in Paseo de Gràcia include Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, and Chanel.

Beyond luxury boutiques, Passeig de Gràcia also boasts flagship stores of many Spanish brands, such as Zara and Mango.

Recommended Read: The Ultimate Barcelona Travel Guide

Stroll Around Las Ramblas

The tree lined Las Ramblas avenue, in Barcelona, Spain.

Stretching from Port Vell to Plaça de Catalunya in the city center, Las Ramblas (aka La Rambla) is the most famous street in Barcelona

This iconic tree-lined boulevard is filled with souvenir shops, street performers, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect place for a leisurely stroll.

Las Ramblas is also conveniently located close to some major Barcelona attractions. Around the street, you’ll find the famous La Boqueria Market, where you can feast on delicious tapas and traditional Spanish dishes.

On the lower end of Las Ramblas lies the beautiful Christopher Columbus Monument, which features a 24ft tall bronze statue of Columbus sculpted by Rafael Atché.

Be sure to also drop by Cafè de l’Opera, which dates back to the 18th century and is one of the city’s last remaining historical cafés.

Soak Up The Sun In The Barceloneta Beach

Aerial view of the Barceloneta Beach, in Barcelona, Spain.

La Barceloneta Beach is a go-to place to visit during the summer in Barcelona.

Considered one of the best beaches in Barcelona, this vibrant urban beach stretches along the Mediterranean Sea coastline and offers visitors plenty of space for sunbathing, jogging, and enjoying water sports.

Around the beach, you’ll find a lively selection of tapas bars, restaurants, and cafés, where you can indulge in delicious seafood and a jar of sangria.

La Barceloneta Beach is located just a short walk from popular Barcelona neighborhoods such as El Raval, and the Gothic Quarter. 

Tour The Camp Nou Stadium

Camp Nou Stadium, in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo Credit: BearFotos/Shutterstock

Are you a sports fan? Then don’t miss the chance to go on a guided tour of the Camp Nou Stadium.

Home of the FC Barcelona team, this majestic stadium has a capacity of 99,354, making it the largest in Europe.

During the guided Camp Nou tour, you’ll be able to access every corner of the stadium, from the field to the player’s tunnel.

Visitors will also get the chance to discover the FC Barcelona Museum, which harbors a treasured collection of trophies, photos, and memorabilia related to the almost 120-year history of FC Barcelona.

Address: C. d’Arístides Maillol, 12, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

Discover The Beauty Of La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona's Sagrada Familia surrounded by blooming trees during spring.
Photo Credit: Mistervlad/Shutterstock

La Sagrada Familia is the most famous landmark not only in Barcelona but also in Spain.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historic and cultural significance, this iconic basilica was masterfully designed by architect Antoni Gaudí and captivates visitors with its immense beauty.

The cathedral combines several architectural styles such as Catalan Modernism, Art Nouveau, and Spanish Late Gothic.

It boasts an artfully carved façade with 18 spires, which represent Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists, and the Twelve Apostles.

The interior of La Sagrada Familia, with inclined columns representing tree trunks, and colorful stained glass windows, is just as beautiful. 

Be sure you read this ultimate guide to La Sagrada Familia for more information on the history of the basilica, ticket prices, tips for visiting, and more.

Address: Carrer Mallorca, 401 08013, Barcelona, Spain

Explore The Picturesque Park Güell

Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain.

Parc Güell (Park Güell) is considered one of the greatest works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, and a must-see site for anyone visiting Barcelona.

This picturesque park is famous for its fascinating architecture, and surrealist ambiance that’s unlike any other place in the world.

Park Güell is located amidst a dense forest on top of Carmel Hill. The park leaves visitors in awe with its sinuous shapes and architectonic details that evoke the shapes of nature. 

Several structures of the park are embellished with multi-colored ceramic pieces, which provides the place with an otherworldly aesthetic.

Antoni Gaudí lived in one of the houses of Park Güell until his death, in 1926. The residence is now the Gaudí House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí), which harbors a collection of furniture and objects designed by the Spanish architect.

Make sure to read this ultimate guide to Park Güell for complete information on visiting the park (tickets, how to get there, and more).

Address: 08024 Barcelona, Spain

Have a Picnic At Parc de la Ciutadella

Ciutadella Park, Barcelona, Spain.
Photo Credit: Trabantos/Shutterstock

Parc de la Ciutadella is a lush urban park located on the northeastern edge of Ciutat Vella, on the grounds where Barcelona’s fortress once stood.

This 17-hectare park comprises verdant landscaped areas that are simply perfect for a leisurely picnic. 

Visiting Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the best things to do in Barcelona with kids. Inside the park, visitors will also find an array of family-friendly attractions such as the Zoological Museum.

On the pathway that leads to Ciutadella Park, you’ll find the Arc de Triomf, built by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas.

The monument is known for its reddish brickwork in the Neo-Mudéjar style and is one of Barcelona’s most famous photo spots.

Address: Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Marvel At Picasso’s Works At The Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum, in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo Credit: csp/Shutterstock

Considered one of the top Barcelona museums, Museu Picasso is a must-visit for art lovers.

The museum opened in 1963 within five Catalan Gothic-style palaces in the Gothic Quarter and is the first museum dedicated to the work of legendary Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.

Inside this fascinating art museum, visitors will find a collection of over 4,000 works by Picasso, making it one of the world’s largest art collections by the Spanish painter.

Address: C/ de Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Watch The Sunset At Bunkers del Carmel

A woman in Bunkers de Carmel, in Barcelona, Spain.

Bunkers del Carmel was built as a series of anti-aircraft fortifications during the Spanish Civil War.

The place is located on top of the Turó de la Rovira hill, and rewards visitors with the most heart-warming 360º views of the Barcelona skyline, making it one of the city’s most desirable sunset spots.

Make sure to buy a bottle of Spanish cava, pack some snacks (bread, fuet, and cheese), and head to Bunkers del Carmel for a stunning sunset with views of the Sagrada Familia, and Montjuïc Hill.

Address: Carrer de Marià Labèrnia, s/n, 08032 Barcelona, Spain

Go On A Barcelona Food Tour

Tapas and wine on a table.

Embarking on a Barcelona food tour is an absolute must for any culinary enthusiast or adventurous traveler.

Prepare your taste buds for a symphony of flavors as you sample an array of mouthwatering tapas, savory seafood dishes, and traditional Catalan delicacies.

As you explore the city’s hidden culinary gems and bustling markets, you’ll not only taste the exquisite flavors but also engage with passionate chefs and artisans who proudly share their knowledge and stories. 

The tapas culture is big in Barcelona, so we recommend you try some of the city’s top tapas restaurants. These include Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria), famous for its delicious croquetas, and local cava. 

Make sure to also visit El Xampanyet, where you’ll indulge in sparkling wine, cheese, tortilla de patatas, and jamón Iberico.

For a life-changing paella and fideauá (a type of paella made with noodles instead of rice), go to Can Solé restaurant, close to Barceloneta Beach.

Explore Antoni Gaudí’s Houses

Outdoor view Gaudi's creation-house Casa Batlló, in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo Credit: V_E/Shutterstock

Exploring the houses designed by Antoni Gaudí is one of the best things to do in Barcelona because it provides visitors the opportunity to witness the genius of this visionary architect firsthand.

Visit Casa Batlló to marvel at its undulating facade, whimsical interior, and a picturesque roof that resembles the scales of an aquatic creature.

Similarly, Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, offers a glimpse into Gaudí’s unconventional approach with its undulating stone facade, sculptural chimneys, and mesmerizing rooftop terrace.

Casa Vicens, a lesser-known gem, unveils another facet of Gaudí’s brilliance. This architectural gem, adorned with intricate ceramic tiles and vibrant colors, showcases his early works and reflects his fascination with Moorish and Oriental influences.

Exploring these houses allows you to appreciate the evolution of Gaudí’s style, from his early artistic inspirations to his mature and iconic architectural achievements.

Recommend Read: Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona: 10 Must-See Buildings

Watch A Concert In Palau de la Música Catalana

Palau de la Música Catalana, in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo Credit: Marco Rubino/Shutterstock

Palau Nacional de la Música Catalana is a stunning concert hall designed by Lluís Domènech I Montaner.

Regarded as an architectural gem of the Catalan Art Nouveau style, the concert hall has a marvelous glass-top ceiling, making it the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light.

Aside from marveling at the eye-catching architecture of Palau, visitors can also watch a music concert in the venue, which hosts a variety of performances, from symphonic and chamber music to jazz.

Address: C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Visit The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

MNAC: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo Credit: The Escape of Malee/Shutterstock

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is considered one of the best museums in Barcelona.

It’s gloriously located atop Montjüic hill, in the majestic Palau Nacional, and displays a precious collection dedicated to Catalan art spanning from the 12th to the 20th centuries.

The National Museum of Catalan Art offers visitors a fascinating glimpse through Catalunya’s rich artistic heritage, from Romanesque and Gothic art to Renaissance, Baroque, and Modernist works.

One of the highlights of the museum is its exceptional collection of Romanesque art, considered one of the most important in the world. 

Visitors can marvel at the intricate frescoes, sculptures, and illuminated manuscripts, many of which originally adorned rural churches in the Pyrenees and other sites in Old Catalonia.

The museum’s collection also includes impressive Renaissance and Baroque art, showcasing works by creative geniuses like El Greco, Velázquez, Rubens, Rubens, and Tintoretto.

Address: Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain

Marvel At The Fountain Show At Montjuïc Castle

Fireworks in front of the Montjuic Castle, in Barcelona, Spain.

At the bottom of Montjuïc Mountain lies the spectacular Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.

This majestic fountain was built by Carles Buigas for the International Expo in 1929, and from Thursday to Saturday, the fountain hosts the famous Barcelona Magic Fountain show. 

The spectacle features 3620 water jets, and 4760 lights choreographed to classical and contemporary music. A sight to behold!

Address: Pl. de Carles Buïgas, 08038 Barcelona, Spain

Go A Day Trip To A Nearby Destination

Coast with the people on the beach on a sunny day in Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain.

Just a stone’s throw away from Barcelona you’ll find an array of amazing destinations that are perfect for a day trip.

In case you want to discover secluded coves and pristine sandy beaches, head to Costa Brava, the stunning coastal region of Catalonia.

Visit Montserrat to discover the dreamy Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery, and go to Castellfollit de la Roca to discover well-preserved, medieval buildings.

Are you a foodie? Then a day trip to Penedès is a must. The area is considered one of Spain’s premier wine-producing regions and is renowned for its sun-kissed vineyards and premium wineries where Cava, the sparkling wine of Spain, is made.

Read this guide to the best day trips from Barcelona to know more about the bucket-list destinations to visit around the city.

FAQ

Is 3 days enough to see Barcelona?

3 days can provide a satisfying introduction to Barcelona and its highlights.

Is 2 full days in Barcelona enough?

While Barcelona is a city with endless attractions and experiences to offer, two full days can provide you with a taste of its vibrant culture and iconic landmarks. With careful planning and prioritization, you can make the most of your time and create a memorable Barcelona experience. Here’s a suggested itinerary for two days.

How many days is best to spend in Barcelona?

A recommended duration for a well-rounded Barcelona experience would be around 4 to 5 days.

What is the best time for visiting Barcelona?

Spain offers diverse climates and landscapes, so the ideal time to visit can vary. But generally speaking, Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November) are considered to be the best times to visit Barcelona. For beach lovers, the summer months of June to August are popular.

What is Barcelona best known for?

Barcelona is famous for its distinctive blend of architectural wonders, vibrant cultural scene, and breathtaking Mediterranean coastline.

What is the most tourist thing in Barcelona?

The most famous tourist attraction in Barcelona (and in Spain) is the Sagrada Familia Basilica.

What are the top things to do in Barcelona?

The best things to do in Barcelona are:

  • Get Lost In the Gothic Quarter
  • See The Barcelona Cathedral
  • Shop in Passeig de Gràcia
  • Stroll Around Las Ramblas
  • Soak Up The Sun In The Barceloneta Beach
  • Tour The Camp Nou Stadium
  • Discover The Beauty Of La Sagrada Familia
  • Explore The Picturesque Park Güell
  • Have a Picnic At Parc de la Ciutadella
  • Marvel At Picasso’s Works At The Picasso Museum
  • Watch The Sunset At Bunkers del Carmel
  • Go On A Barcelona Food Tour
  • Explore Antoni Gaudí’s Houses
  • Watch A Concert In Palau de la Música Catalana
  • Visit The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
  • Marvel At The Fountain Show At Montjuïc Castle
  • Go A Day Trip To A Nearby Destination

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