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What to do in Barcelona (Spain)

Barcelona City Guide: what to visit, where to go and places to see

What to do in Barcelona Spain

What to do in Barcelona Spain? No.1 Barcelona City Guide with the Top 25 Best places to see, activities and visit in Barcelona. What to visit and where to go in Barcelona?

What to see in Barcelona? 25x Places to visit & Activities

What to do in and near Barcelona city? Wondering what the most important things to do in Barcelona are, check out these Top 25 must see highlights and places to see in Barcelona. This city in Spain has much more to offer than Gaudí's famous monuments such as the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló. The best tips on where to go, places to visit and 'What to do in Barcelona Spain’:

1. Must See: Sagrada Familia

What to see in BarcelonaThe Sagrada Familia, must see in Barcelona Spain
barcelona spainBeautiful interior of the Sagrada Familia

The absolute highlight on the list of 'what to see in Barcelona' is the Sagrada Familia. Even if you are not a fan of churches, this masterpiece by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí is worth a visit. He started the design in 1882 and worked on it until his death in 1926. The design is characterized by organic shapes, Gothic influences and religious symbolism. It is an ongoing project expected to be completed in the coming years. Funding depends on donations and entrance fees from visitors. What to see? The Sagrada Familia has striking features, including towers representing the twelve apostles, sculpted facades illustrating various episodes from the life of Jesus, and colorful glass stained glass windows that illuminate the interior. Important: Due to its enormous popularity, it is necessary to book your tickets in advance.

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2. Park Güell

what to do in barcelona spainThe entrance of Park Güell
places to see in BarcelonaWhat to see: the salamander from Gaudi's Park Güell

One of Antoni Gaudí's other famous works in Barcelona is Park Güell. Just like the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell has also remained unfinished. When you visit the park, you can marvel at the famous mosaics, the snake-shaped benches, the stairs with the salamander (or dragon fountain) and Gaudí's house. Since 1984, Park Güell has even been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. If you are in Barcelona city for the first time, a visit to this park should not be missed. Please note: Unfortunately, you can't visit the park anymore for free, so you are forced to book tickets for Park Güell. In high season it is strongly recommended that you book your tickets at least a few days in advance.

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Recommended: Barcelona City Pass

Would you like to visit both the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell in Barcelona? Then consider the Barcelona City Pass. With this handy Barcelona City Pass you have, in one purchase, access to both Park Güell and the Sagrada Familia for the time slots you want. In addition, you choose one of the following three tickets: Casa Batlló, Casa Milà or a 24-hour ticket for the Hop on Hop off Bus (more info and booking Barcelona City Pass).

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3. Casa Batlló

activities barcelonaThe colorful facade of Casa Batlló
barcelona city guidePlaces to see in Barcelona: roof o Casa Batllo

Casa Batlló is a building, just like being in a fairy tale, and another masterpiece built by Antoni Gaudí between 1904 and 1906. Gaudí did this on behalf of the Batlló family. Gaudí worked very creatively and the house has an imaginative facade, with the roof in the shape of a dragon. Casa Batlló is now on the World Heritage List and is today one of the icons of Barcelona Spain. Casa Batlló is located next to Casa Amatller, this is a beautiful house that used to belong to a wealthy chocolatier. If you are a true lover of Gaudí's works, then Casa Batlló should not be missed during a visit to Barcelona (book your tickets and time slot).

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4. Gothic Quarter, Barcelona old town

Highlights BarcelonaWhat to visit in Barcelona Gothic Quarter?
barcelona what to seeThe Cathedral of Barcelona city

Interested in Barcelona's ancient history, visit the Gothic Quarter. This 'Barri Gotic' district is full of medieval streets and attractive squares. And in between you will find remains of the old Roman city. The most famous sight in the Gothic Quarter is without a doubt the Cathedral of Barcelona. The outside is beautiful and the inside is even more beautiful. Also interesting in the Gothic Quarter is Plaça Reial. This square is considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Barcelona Spain. There was once a Capuchin monastery, but nowadays you will find all kinds of different clubs, cafes and restaurants. After a day of walking, you can sit quietly on the terrace and enjoy a nice drink and some tapas.

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5. Camp Nou

BarcelonaThe old Camp Nou stadium
visit barcelonaThe museum of the Camp Nou Experience

FC Barcelona is the club of the city and Camp Nou has been its home stadium since 1957. In 2024, Camp Nou will undergo a major renovation, after which the new stadium will have a capacity of around 104,000 spectators. If you are a football fan, a visit to Camp Nou is a must see. In general, tickets for a football match are easy to buy. Even if there is no match being played, it is still worthwhile to schedule a tour of the stadium and museum.

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6. Casa Milà (La Pedrera)

What to visit in Barcelona SpainCasa Milà, highlight of Gaudi
barcelona must seeWhere to go in Barcelona: the roof terrace of La Pedrera

Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (the 'stone quarry'), is another modernist work by architect Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona city. La Pedrera resembles a rock formation carved out of stone, with wavy lines and organic shapes. Construction of the house began in 1906 and consists of several apartments, painted courtyards and an undulating facade. The highlight is the world-famous roof terrace, dotted with striking chimneys that look like "soldiers". You also have a very nice view of the city. As a tourist you can book these tickets to visit Casa Milà with its roof terrace.

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7. What to visit in Barcelona: Boqueria Market

If you are in Barcelona and Spain, you should also stimulate your senses in the covered Boqueria Markt located on Las Ramblas. It is one of the largest fresh markets in Spain and you can enjoy a wide range of cheese, meat, fish, vegetables and much more. Once you are at the free market, you will notice that it is a major tourist attraction. Also an ideal place to taste tapas at one of the market stalls.

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Barcelona what to seeLa Boqueria, the fresh market on the Ramblas
what to visit in barcelonaLas Ramblas, the busiest street in Barcelona city

8. Las Ramblas

The most famous promenade in Spain is of course Las Ramblas in Barcelona. If you are in Barcelona city for the first time, you should actually visit it, with the risk that you will experience it as too touristy. Your walk on the Las Ramblas takes place between terraces, fountains and flower kiosks. The promenade is 1.3 kilometers long and runs from the central square Placa de Catalunya to the Columbus monument at the port of Barcelona. It is always full of life and you see different types of street performers.

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9. Special buildings: Palau de la Musica

Barcelona cityPalau de la Musica
what to see in barcelona spainA beautiful modernist concert hall

The Palau de la Musica Catalana is one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world. The concert hall with a huge central skylight opened in 1908 and is a very representative building of the modernist Catalan style. UNESCO included Palau de la Musica on the World Heritage List in 1997. Palau de la Musica is very impressive as a whole, from the outside to the inside with the café. You can visit the concert hall when a concert is taking place, buy tickets for this tour or simply admire the building as a passer-by.

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10. Places to see: Montjuïc

Barcelona highlightsThe Palau Nacional with the MNAC Museum
what to do montjuicWhat to visit in Barcelona: the El Poble Espanyol open-air museum

If you like to take a walk, go to the Montjuïc hill where you can enjoy all kinds of fun and surprising places. You can visit the castle, but also go to El Poble Espanyol, an open-air museum about Spain. There are all kinds of spacious parks and you also have a great view of Barcelona city (especially if you take the cable car to the top at the castle of Montjuïc. Other highlights on the hill are the Palau Nacional in which the MNAC Museum is located, the magic fountain show and the Miro Museum.

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11. What to do: Teleferic de Montjuïc

Places to visit in Barcelona SpainWhat to do in Barcelona: Teleferic de Montjuïc
Barcelona SpainThe castle on top of Montjuïc mountain

A great way to visit Montjuïc is to use a cable car, also called the Teleferic de Montjuïc. On the mountain of Barcelona you will find two cable cars. Most important is this Teleferic de Montjuïc, which takes you to the highest point of the hill with the castle of Montjuïc. And you also have the Teleferic Aeri del Port. This cable car goes from the Port Vell harbor to halfway up the Montjuïc.

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12. What to do in the evening: Magic fountain

What to do in Barcelona at night

This magical fountain ('Font Magica') on the Montjuïc hill was designed especially for the 1929 World Exhibition by architect Carles Buïgas. The Font Magica is located at the foot of the imposing Palau Nacional and is a great water and light show. This attraction is one on the best places to see in Barcelona at night, especially for children. The show is also completely free and a very tourist attraction. The best time to visit Font Magica is when it is dark.

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13. Parc de la Ciutadella

Things to see in BarcelonaThe Barcelona city park Parc de la Ciutadella
barcelona cataloniaVisit the Arc de Triomf, near the park

The city park Parc de la Ciutadella is located in the middle of Barcelona city and is used for running and picnics, walking or relaxing. You will also find various sights and also the popular Barcelona Zoo. The park contains beautiful buildings such as the Parlament de Catalunya, the Hivernacle and the Castell dels Tres Dragons. Surprising places to see in the park are the bandstand, the large mammoth and the Arc de Triomf on the access road. If you want to experience peace during your visit to busy Barcelona, it is recommended to visit Parc de la Ciutadella.

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14. Hospital de Sant Pau

best places to visit in BarcelonaRecommendations in Barcelona: Hospital de Sant Pau
what to see in spainA beautiful modernist hospital

The Hospital de Sant Pau is not just a former hospital, but perhaps the most beautiful hospital in the world. It is also praised as the most important Art Nouveau complex in Europe. Its real name is Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and if you are a lover of Catalan modernism and architecture, then this former hospital is a must-do. During the visit to the hospital you will see beautiful details (book your tickets online). For example, the facade is beautifully decorated with palm trees, stained glass windows, ironwork and sculptures. Due to its location, a visit to Hospital de Sant Pau can easily be combined with the Sagrada Familia.

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15. Picasso Museum of Barcelona

You will find the Picasso Museum in the El Born district and the art museum contains a large collection of the legendary painter Pablo Picasso. This museum can be seen as a tribute to the painter who had a very strong bond with the city. The collection consists of more than 4,000 works from various periods of Picasso's life. However, most of the works of art come from his younger years as a painter. The Picasso Museum is located in an imposing medieval palace on Carrer Montcada.

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16. Places to see: Palau Güell

Barcelona what to see
Sightseeing Barcelona

The legendary designer Antonio Gaudí created one of his best-preserved works with Palau Güell. Palau Güell was fully completed by Gaudí and that's something different, because many of his works are unfinished. The facade is sober, but behind it you will find a very beautiful building with one of the most beautiful roof terraces of Barcelona. It is not without reason that UNESCO has decided to put Palau Güell on the World Heritage List. Did you know that this building located near the Ramblas was Gaudí's first major commission?

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17. Fundació Joan Miró

If you are an art lover, then the Fundació Joan Miró on top of the Montjuïc hill is worth a visit. You can enjoy more than 14,000 works of art by the artist Joan Miró. It was founded by Joan Miró himself with the aim of making art accessible to everyone. The permanent collection of the Fundació Joan Miró includes paintings, sculptures, drawings and graphic works by Joan Miró. The artworks provide an overview of Miró's artistic development throughout his career. In addition to the permanent collection, the foundation regularly organizes temporary exhibitions.

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18. What to do in Barcelona: Bike Tours

Barcelona what to visitBike tours in Barcelona
barcelona highlightsThe easiest way to discover the city

A popular way to discover the city is by bicycle. During this BajaBikes bike tour with an English speaking guide you will visit many important Barcelona sights. Consider, for example, the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and other unique works by the legendary designer Antonio Gaudí. The bike tour also takes you to the old part of Barcelona city. Also think of neighborhoods such as El Born and El Gotico. This Barcelona highlights bike tour is the ideal first introduction to the city. Plan it at the start of your city trip, so that you know where to go and what to visit in the following days (meer info en reserveringen).

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19. Discover the El Born district

You can consider the El Born district as a very pleasant neighborhood and part of the old town of Ciutat Vella. The district is located on the route from the Gothic Quarter towards the Parc de la Ciutadella. The charming neighborhood has many small streets, bars and boutiques. If you are exploring Barcelona city, you don't want to miss the El Born district. Visit a museum such as the Picasso Museum or stroll along the many galleries. The heart of this district is the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar, a beautiful church from the Middle Ages. There are many authentic restaurants, cafes and bars near this church.

Where to go in BarcelonaEntrance of the Picasso Museum in El Born
barcelona spainThe basilique Santa Maria del Mar in El Born

20. Santa Maria del Mar

A beautiful example from the Gothic period is the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. Outside the Cathedral of the Sea you can see the Gothic sculptures, the towers and the enormous rose window. Inside the basilica you can enjoy the many chapels, the beautiful stained glass windows and the impressive medieval constructions. It is even possible to visit the roof terrace. If you are in the pleasant El Born district, or if you want to visit a beautiful basilica in Barcelona Spain, then you should visit the Santa Maria del Mar.

21. Day trip to Montserrat

Barcelona visitMontserrat Monastery, a day trip from Barcelona
barcelona travel guideThe Basilica of the Montserrat Monastery

A day trip to Montserrat is the best day out from Barcelona city. There is plenty to do in Montserrat: culture, tranquility, spirituality and nature. On top of this holy Montserrat mountain you will find beautiful buildings such as the basilica and the monastery. You can visit the mountain by train and cable car and then enjoy the fresh air of the mountains and fantastic views on top of Montserrat. Montserrat has a special place in the hearts of Catalans. You can see it as a symbol and place of pilgrimage of Catalan identity and culture. There are several day trips from Barcelona to Montserrat organized.

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22. Gracia Quarter & Casa Vicens

Best places in BarcelonaBarrio de Gracia, loved by locals
Casa VicensCasa Vicens, Gaudi's first commission

Gaudi's very first designed house can be found in the district Barrio de Gracia, called Casa Vicens. The building only opened to the public in 2017 after extensive restoration. The house has a unique colorful design and contains typical features that Gaudí is so famous for. Casa Vicens has a somewhat special location, because the building is located in the Gracia district. However, the charming Barrio de Gracia is the most beloved neighborhood among locals. In the 19th century this was still a separate municipality, and today the district is known for its lively atmosphere, narrow streets and artistic community. Gràcia is also known for its annual neighborhood party in August called "Festa Major de Gràcia".

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23. Aquarium of Barcelona Spain

Barcelona where to goThe aquarium of Barcelona Spain
barcelonaThe Port Vell harbor with the aquarium

One of the most popular attractions in Barcelona Spain is the Aquarium, located in the Port Vell harbour. You can walk among sharks, discover the tropical seas and admire the underwater world of the Mediterranean. The Aquarium opened in 1995 and is one of the most important Mediterranean aquariums in the world. You will find 11,000 fish, 450 different fish species and 65 tanks. There is an underwater tunnel of 80 meters long, where the most beautiful fish swim past, such as sunfish, sea bream, sandbar shark and sand tiger shark.

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24. Port Vell

Port Vell is the old port of Barcelona. You will find this old port between the districts of La Barceloneta, El Born and El Gotic. If you want to take a quiet walk or enjoy watching boats, visit the Aquarium or go to the large shopping mall Mare Magnum, then Port Vell is the place to go. Port Vell, literally old port, starts at the Columbus Monument. Then it continues to the La Barceloneta district. In honor of the 1992 Olympic Games, Port Vell was renovated and a completely new area was created with the Aquarium and the Maremagnum shopping center. From Port Vell you can also enjoy these boat trips in the port of Barcelona.

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25. Places to visit in the evening: Flamenco Shows

An fun thing to do in Barcelona Spain is to visit a flamenco show. Let yourself be delighted and moved by the singing and the music. For example, a beloved flamenco show is held at the Tablao Flamenco Cordobés theater. You can not only enjoy the flamenco show, but also the attractive design of the building, inspired by the old times. Located in the Gothic Quarter, Los Tarantos is a historic flamenco bar. They regularly offer short flamenco shows. Palau Dalmases is located in the El Born district and offers flamenco shows in a historic palace from the 17th century with the shows taking place in an intimate courtyard.

26. What to do with kids: CosmoCaixa

On the list of 'what to do with kids in Barcelona'. The most important science museum in Barcelona is CosmoCaixa. You can experiment endlessly within the museum and learn all kinds of things about the earth, science, people and animals. The museum is for all ages, but it is extra fun if you go with children. What is striking upon entering the museum is the enormous staircase leading down with an enormous tree from the Amazon. Another special feature is a replica of the Amazon ecosystem where you can see various plants and fish.

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More links: What to do in Seville, What to see in Rome and Things to see in Edinburgh

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May 19, 2024 : "We had an amazing trip to Barcelona city because of the interesting local tips for sightseeing, activities and best things to do in Barcelona Spain."