Top 18 things to do in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family Church)

in the Calle Mallorca, was designed by Antoni Gaudi, who continued to oversee its construction until his death in 1926.  Unbelievably construction is still on-going and has over time Antoni Gaudí’s ideas have been open to interpretation, and the varying interpretations have caused much controversy.

Las Ramblas

a walkway of particular charm filled with flower sellers, newspaper stands, bird sellers, and street performers.  There are plenty of pavement cafés and tapas bars so you can take your time and stop for refreshments along the way.  Strolling along Las Ramblas is an experience not to missed.

Gothic District (barrio Gótic)

This beautiful area was once the site of a Roman village and remnants of its glorious past are easy to spot in its narrow winding streets.  This eclectic mix of modern and ancient is what draws many international visitors.  Within the Gothic Quarter also offers the visitor many peaceful spots to sit, and relax while soaking up the atmosphere.  Right in the centre of the district is the huge Gothic Cathedral with its geese and orangery.

Park Guell

Guadi was commissioned to design this fascinating park by Eusebi Güell, who intended it to be a stylish park for the aristocracy. It is full of typical Gaudi fantasy, which starts right at the entrance with an amazingly ornate dragon covered in beautiful coloured ceramic tiles.  Gaudi’s shapes, taken straight from nature, are breathtakingly unique.  There is very little that is regular in size and composition, everything is strange as nature would have created it.  At least half a day is needed to do the park justice, and you can take a seat on the many multicoloured mosaic tiled seats on the terraced area at the top of The Park to take in the glorious view of The Park.


El Palau de la Música Catalana

This over the top 1908 music hall designed by Lluís Domènech I Montaner does not appear to be anything greatly awe-inspiring from the outside but just wait until you are inside.  Inside is pure fantasy in a glass, carved pumice and ceramics all topped by the enormous yellow, blue and green stained-glass dome.  A guided tour is good but best of all is to be right there and experience all of this whilst being enveloped in a concert performance.


Camp Nou stadium

If you are a fan of football then this is a must-see.  There are tours every day and for the avid football fan, there is much to see and enjoy.  This famous stadium the largest in Spain but it is also the largest in Europe and the second largest in the World.  It was completed in 1957 although it has had several refurbishments since. Not only is it famous for hosting international football matches but this stadium has also hosted such famed performers as Bruce Springstein, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman and many opera stars have sung their arias here to the delight of thousands; such greats as Josep Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.


El Poble Espanyol

This recreation of a Spanish village with its 100 styles of emblematic Spanish architecture was erected in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exhibition.  This to-scale village recreates, mansions, churches, streets and squares and is great fun and well worth a visit either as a fun outing for the family or to introduce you to the country’s architectural diversity.

Santa Maria del Mar

Berenguer de Montagu’s mid-14th-century Gothic church once faced the Barcelona waterfront and thus its name “St Mary of the Sea“ was once a place of worship for ship owners, merchants and the sailors who came to pray for a safe return to their homes.  Well worth adding to your itinerary.

Magic fountain of Montjuïc (Font màgica de Montjuïc)

Magic fountain of Montjuïc (Font màgica de Montjuïc) was designed and built by Carles Buigas, for the Great Universal Exhibition of 1929.  This magnificent water fountain took more a year to complete by the more than 3000 workers commissioned for the project.

This fountain is a truly magical and spectacular display of music, colour and motion and really not to be missed.


Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

This museum at the base of Montjuïc is filled with religious art all salvaged from churches all over Catalonia.  There are superb altarpieces, polychromatic icons and fresco treasures all displayed in apes that mimic exactly how they were displayed in the churches where they were found and paintings by Velázquez, Ribera and Zurbarán adorn the walls.

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló is right in the heart of Passeig de Gràcia another amazing Gaudi creation which will leave you speechless.  You need time to just stand and stare at its organic forms and the innovative concepts that Gaudi employed to create the astounding structure.  There are irregular sculpted windows which are so large many locals call this “The House of Yawns”.  The balconies sport bone-like pillars, and skull-like protrusions can be seen on the upper floors which together have earned this house the second alias, ‘The House of Bones’.

The interior of the house is a revelation with wooden modernist doors of irregular shape, the cost of which would just not be possible today.  The Cas Batlló just has to be seen to be appreciated.

Museu Picasso

Much of Picasso’s early works are on display here and include his Blue and Rose periods.  2500 paintings and sculptures donated by Picasso make up the largest representation of his work in Spain.  Highlights not to missed are the series of 59 paintings based on Velazquez’s seminal Las Meninas, The Harequin and the not-to-be-missed young Picasso’s early sketch books.

Conjunt Monumental de la Plaça del Rei

This is where in the 1930s archaeologists unearthed the ruins of the original Roman settlement Barcino. The subterranean ruins can be visited by the public.  Here you will find the five story tower Mirador del Rei Marti built in 1555 as a lookout for foreign invaders and also watch over the peasants just in case they became rebellious.

Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de la Santa Creu í Santa Eulâlia)

in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, at the Pla de la Seu, is one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in Barcelona.  Its prominence in the religious life of not only Barcelona, but the whole region of Catalunya is because it is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona.  This remarkable example of Gothic architecture was constructed between the 13 and 15th centuries, however it was not completed until the early 20th century that construction was finally completed.

Museu Frederic Marès

This museum houses one of Spain’s finest private collections of medieval sculpture obsessively collected by the 20th century sculptor Frederic Marès.  Sculptures on display range through the pre-Roman, Romanesque, Gothic Baroque and Renaissance eras.  The museum itself is a palace and is in itself worth a visit.

Sant Pau del Camp

This is the oldest church in Barcelona once surrounded by countryside well beyond the city of Barcelona, now of course within the expanded city.  Built in the 9th century church of “St Paul of the Countryside” which had some sections rebuilt in the 11th and 12th centuries and was part of the monastery.  Somewhat amusingly the chapter house holds the tomb of Count Guifre Borrell, son of Wilfred the Hairy 912AD.

Fundació Joan Miró

It is worth exploring with the museums audio guide for insights into the whimsy of Miró’s abstract forms, as the themes are complex, representing sexuality, national identity, and opposition to the Spanish Civil War.  Highlights are the 1970s tapestry Tapis de la Fundació especially designed for the museum, the L’Estel Matinal. As well as the Sun Bird and the Moon Bird.


Transbordador Aeri

To appreciate all that you have seen or are about to experience there is no better way than taking the aerial cable car from Montjuïc down to the Port area and Barceloneta.  The cable car runs every 15 minutes daily.  Apart from seeing the L’Eixample’s grid you can take this opportunity to rest your feet.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply