15 Best Things to Do in Barcelona

Barcelona is full of activities, sights, and a unique vibe that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Whether it’s the historic streets of the Gothic Quarter or the panoramic views from Montjuïc Hill, each spot offers a different flavor of the city’s dynamic character. 

So if you want to know about the best things to do in Barcelona that keep even the locals coming back for more, let me share with you some of my personal favorites. After all, as someone who lives in Spain and has devoted plenty of time to discovering Barcelona, I’ve got quite the list to share.

PS grab great deals on all the attractions below through the GoCity Pass. Discounts, skip the line tickets, and experiences await!

1. Sagrada Familia

If you’re in Barcelona, you can’t miss the Sagrada Familia. It’s one of those places that even locals visit more than once. 

This towering basilica, designed by Antoni Gaudí, has been under construction since 1882, and it’s fascinating to see how it evolves year after year. 

An absolute must when traveling to Barcelona is that you have to make sure to book your tickets online to skip the long lines. Inside, the stained glass windows create a kaleidoscope of colors that flood the space with light – it’s pretty impressive on a sunny day. 

Don’t rush through – instead, take your time to absorb the intricate details and the sheer scale of the endeavor.

Guided tour included in Go City Pass.

Photo by Dorian D1 on Unsplash

2. Park Guell

Just a short metro ride from the city center, Park Guell is where you’ll find more of Gaudí’s magic. This park is less about swings and slides and more about artistic landscapes and architectural elements that blend with nature. 

The mosaic-covered terrace offers some of the best views of the city, and the winding paths lead you through a variety of sculptures and buildings that are unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. Because there’s a lot of walking involved, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes. 

Also, buying your tickets in advance is definitely recommended as the park limits the number of visitors each day to preserve its beauty. It’s part of what makes Barcelona one of the prettiest cities in Spain.

Guided tour included in Go City Pass.

3. Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló is another Gaudí masterpiece, but it’s quite different from the Sagrada Familia or Park Guell. Located in the heart of the city on Passeig de Gracia, this building stands out with its vibrant colors and whimsical design. 

The façade, inspired by nature, has no straight lines and seems to be made from skulls and bones, which are actually balconies and supporting pillars. Inside, the attention to detail continues with sculpted wooden doors, stained glass windows, and a central light well that changes colors. 

A visit here is truly like stepping into a fairy tale. And don’t forget to grab an audio guide – it’s a great way to help you understand just what you’re seeing as you explore the nooks and crannies of this fascinating building.

Included in Go City Pass.

4. La Pedrera

Also known as Casa Milà, La Pedrera is another one of Gaudí’s architectural wonders that you shouldn’t miss. This building stands out with its wavy brick work and twisted iron balconies. 

What’s really cool about La Pedrera is the rooftop, where chimneys look like medieval knights. Inside, there’s a museum dedicated to Gaudí’s work and an apartment showing what life was like when the building was new. 

It’s less about the furnishings and more about the architecture – notice how the natural light floods in, a trademark of Gaudí’s design. It’s busy most of the time, so booking a ticket online might save you some waiting.

5. Gothic Quarter

Walking through the Gothic Quarter feels like stepping back in time with its narrow, winding streets and historic buildings. It’s the heart of old Barcelona and is buzzing with life at any time of the day. 

You’ll find plenty of little shops, cozy cafes, and some of the best tapas bars here. Make sure to check out the hidden squares like Plaça Sant Felip Neri, which is a bit of a secret spot, tucked away from the usual tourist path. 

It’s easy to lose track of time here, so let yourself wander and discover the charm of this old part of town on your own.

6. Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is an impressive Gothic structure in the center of the city. Unlike the more famous Sagrada Familia, this cathedral is complete and has a grandeur that’s stood the test of time. 

Inside, the high ceilings and detailed stained glass give it a solemn but beautiful atmosphere. Don’t miss the cloister, where 13 white geese are kept—each one representing a year in the life of the martyr Santa Eulalia. 

It’s a peaceful place to take a break from the bustling city streets outside. And if you’re around in the evening, the facade is beautifully lit up, making for a great photo opportunity.

7. Plaça del Rei

Plaça del Rei is a true historical treasure right in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. This grand square is surrounded by towering medieval buildings that give you a real sense of Barcelona’s past. 

It’s not just about the architecture though – this spot is often buzzing with cultural activities. From live music to impromptu dance performances, there’s always something happening. 

Make sure to bring your camera, as the striking backdrop makes for some great photos. It’s a peaceful spot by day but truly comes alive during the evening when the locals come out to enjoy the cooler air.

8. La Rambla

La Rambla might be the most touristy spot in Barcelona, but it’s worth walking down at least once. Stretching from Plaça de Catalunya down to the waterfront, this bustling boulevard is lined with street performers, artists, and vendors selling everything from souvenirs to flowers. 

It’s a place to people-watch, to soak in the atmosphere, and to see a slice of Barcelona’s vibrant culture. 

Yes, you’ll need to watch your wallet because of the crowds, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the lively spirit of the place. Whether it’s your first visit to Barcelona or your fiftieth, a stroll down La Rambla always has something new to offer.

9. La Boqueria Market

Just off La Rambla, you’ll find La Boqueria Market, a vibrant hub where locals and tourists alike flock to sample a wide array of fresh produce, meats, seafood, and sweets. It’s a feast for the senses – the colors, smells, and sounds make wandering through the market an experience in itself. 

Grab a fresh juice to sip on as you explore, or sit down at one of the bar stalls for a quick bite – the tapas here are not to be missed. Consider taking a tour of this market while here as well.

It’s busy, it’s loud, but it’s a perfect slice of local life. Whether you’re shopping for dinner or just there for the experience, La Boqueria is a must-visit and has some of the best food in Spain.

Discover the food in Barcelona with a food tour included in the Go City Pass.

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10. Picasso Museum

If you’re keen on art, the Picasso Museum is a must-visit while you’re in Barcelona. Located in the Born district, this museum houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. 

With over 4,000 pieces, the museum not only showcases Picasso’s famous paintings but also delves into his deep connections with Barcelona. The chronological layout of the galleries provides a fascinating insight into his artistic evolution. 

It’s usually less crowded in the early morning or late afternoon, so plan your visit around these times for a more up close and personal experience.

Guided tour included in Go City Pass.

11. Camp Nou

For sports fans, a visit to Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona, is like a pilgrimage. Whether you’re a football fan or not, the sheer size of this stadium is impressive – it’s the largest in Europe! 

You can take a tour of the stadium and museum, which includes access to the locker rooms, the press box, and a walk through the players’ tunnel. 

Once there, you’ll soon feel the weight of the club’s history and achievements as you stand in the stands, imagining the roar of a full house on match day. It’s an exhilarating glimpse into the world of European football.

12. Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta Beach is the perfect place to relax after a busy day of sightseeing. This popular stretch of sand isn’t just for sunbathing – it offers a wide promenade for biking and skating, and plenty of cafes and seafood restaurants. 

The atmosphere here is lively and fun, with locals and tourists mingling together. While it can get quite crowded, especially on sunny weekends, the vibrant scene is part of its charm. 

Don’t forget to try some fresh seafood or a cold drink from one of the chiringuitos (beach bars) along the waterfront. A visit here is all about unwinding and enjoying the Mediterranean vibe.

13. Magic Fountain Show

The Magic Fountain Show is one of those experiences that might sound a bit touristy, but it’s genuinely a lot of fun. Located at the foot of Montjuïc, near Plaça Espanya, the fountain puts on a spectacular display of water, light, and music. 

The shows are typically held on weekend evenings, and seeing the bursts of color choreographed to music ranging from classical to contemporary is pretty mesmerizing. It’s free, making it a great option for an evening out. 

One quick point: Arrive a bit early to snag a good spot as it tends to get crowded with both locals and tourists.

14. Montjuïc Hill

For some of the best views of Barcelona, head up to Montjuïc Hill. You can hike up if you’re feeling active, or take the cable car for a more leisurely ascent. 

Once at the top, not only are the panoramic views spectacular, but there are also several attractions worth checking out. Visit the Montjuïc Castle, explore the various gardens, or check out the National Art Museum of Catalonia if you’re into art. 

It’s a peaceful place during the day and offers a fresh perspective on the city away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area.

Photo by Radubradu on Pexels.com

15. Palau de la Música Catalana

Even if you’re not a concert-goer, the Palau de la Música Catalana is worth a visit just to see the building. This concert hall is a masterpiece of Catalan modernism, with a stunning stained glass skylight and intricate mosaics throughout. 

Guided tours are available if you want to learn about its history and architectural details. And if you can, catch a performance here – the acoustics are incredible, and it’s an experience to remember. 

The Palau is a celebration of both visual and performing arts, located right in the heart of the city.

Discover Barcelona with this list of the best things to do in the city. Explore the historic sites and marvel at architectural wonders.
Discover Barcelona with this list of the best things to do in the city. Explore the historic sites and marvel at architectural wonders.

Author bio: Anna is the founder of Spain Inspired, where she shares insider tips and hidden gems to inspire visitors to take the road less traveled and explore Spain like a local. Now living in Valencia, Anna’s made it her mission to help fellow travelers experience the very best of this stunning country – with some great wine and tapas along the way, ideally!

Meghan

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