14 Unforgettable Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona is a city that leaves anyone who visits here dazzled. Not only is it strikingly beautiful with its modernist architecture and Roman archeological sites, but it’s also a melting pot of different cultures and communities.

If you’re looking for a place to party, Barcelona offers that. If you’re looking for beaches, check! If you’re looking for world-class cuisines, you won’t find better in Spain. Needless to say, there are plenty of things to do in Barcelona to leave you in awe.

Aerial view of La Rambla of Barcelona, Spain
La Rambla of Barcelona, Spain

As part of our city guides series, we interviewed Mariana Calleja who has been living in Barcelona, Spain since January 2010, after she visited the city, fell in love with it, and decided to stay longer.

Mariana shares with us her insider tips on what to do in Barcelona plus some hidden gems. She also gives us some tips on where to eat, sleep, drink, shop, and explore. But first…

How Long is Enough Time in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a very rich city in many aspects. It has so much to see and do, but also there’s so much culture to soak up as well. Whether you want to hit the beaches, check out iconic Gaudi architecture, or try delicious Catalan food, you need at least 3 days to really see all the highlights.

Why Visit Barcelona?

Barceloneta Beach from sea with crowds of people
Barceloneta Beach from sea.

Barcelona is a city that offers something for everyone. Musicians all over the place make my day every day life here vibrant and colourful. Inside the metro, on the streets, and along the beach. To me is like being in a movie every time!

Just walk around Barcelona, there’s magic everywhere, and it’s hard to describe. There is a friendly ambiance. Safety too somehow depends on where you are coming from but still is a safe city to just enjoy day or night. Barcelona is vibrant and intense, yet relaxing and welcoming.

In this city, you get to eat really good food overall. Catalan cuisine is quite exquisite, from main dishes to pastry shops. No matter what time of the year, they always have special delights for everyone. Definitely, a place to come, eat and relax!

Things to Do in Barcelona

Now you know a little bit about why you should visit Barcelona and for how long, it’s time to introduce you to the top attractions in Barcelona! Don’t miss these unforgettable things to do in the capital of Catalonia!

1. Check out the Gaudi Buildings

Gaudi mosaic tiled seats and sculptures and view overlooking barcelona

Barcelona is full of amazing architecture, but nothing quite compares to the scattered works of one of the world’s most famous architects, Antoni Gaudí, throughout the city.

His bold, art nouveau designs have made Barcelona one of the most iconic cities in Europe thanks to such iconic works as La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera (Casa Milà), and Casa Battló.

If it’s your first time in Barcelona, checking out these unique constructions is an absolute must thing to do!

While he has several works all over the city, many of which are a Unesco World Heritage Site, you simply must check out Park Güell, which has one of Gaudi’s most renowned masterpieces. Winding up the bank above the Market Hall is a dragon made out of split ceramics. You won’t miss it, since it’s also the park’s entrance.

Be sure to head to the nearby Gaudi House Museum at Parc Guell to learn more about his life and inspiration. With Gaudi, every detail tells its own story.

2. Watch a Magic Montjuic Fountains Show

Magic Montjuic Fountains in Barcelona, Spain
Magic Montjuic Fountains – Image: Shutterstock.com

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is located on Avinguda Maria Cristina, below the Palau Nacional on the Montjuïc mountain.

Every Friday to Sunday from October through to April, the fountain reveals a free light and water show. The show takes place from 7pm to 9pm, and is one of the best free things to do in Barcelona at night.

3. Rent a bike and ride along the beach

Promenade of Barceloneta beach with people enjoying a sunny day in Barcelona.
Promenade of Barceloneta beach

What’s special and unique about Barcelona is that it sits right on the coast. The beaches in Barcelona are clean, well-maintained, and buzzing with people.

You’ll see groups playing volleyball on the soft golden sand, kids playing football, many people swimming and everyone having a good time.

One of the best ways to experience the beach is to rent a bike and cycle along the promenade.

Stretching for 4 kilometers along the coastline, it offers breathtaking views out to sea and over the city. When you need to stop for a break, there are plenty of little beach bars where you can grab an ice cream or enjoy some sangria.

I highly recommend you come to the beach in the evening to see an incredible sunset.

Barcelona Beach Bikes is the place to get your bike rental from – they have an excellent reputation and the bikes are kept in good condition.

Want to experience Barcelona in a unique way? Check out this e-bike tour!

4. Visit the Santa Llucia Christmas Market (Seasonal)

people walking past stalls at the Santa Llucia Fair i
Santa Llucia Fair is a Christmas market.

The Santa Lucia Christmas Market in Barcelona is a must-visit if you’re looking for things to do in Barcelona in December.

This vibrant and festive market is the biggest and oldest Christmas market in Barcelona and takes place outside Barcelona Cathedral (Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia).

Here, there is something for all to see and do; visitors can browse the artisanal stalls showcasing local products or take a gander at the festive decorations lining the square.

Enjoy warm and delicious traditional culinary treats, find some unique gifts for your loved ones, or simply get into that special Christmas spirit while singing along to live carols.

5. Explore the Neighborhoods of Barcelona

Barcelona is a huge city and the best way to really get a feel for the culture, the people, and the way of life, is to just wander around the neighborhoods and soak it all in.

colorful buildings in barcelona neighborhood

I highly recommend you do this by walking down La Ramblas, Barcelona’s most famous street. This palm-lined pedestrian street is 1.2km long and passes through some incredible neighborhoods, as well as iconic attractions such as Plaça de Catalunya.

Be sure to check out the Gracia neighborhood, a traditional old Spanish kinda neighborhood. It’s filled with little plazas perfect for a coffee afternoon or some beer and tapas. Also known both for its nice nightlife and a family-friendly place.

Of course, no trip to Barcelona would be complete without visiting the Gothic Quartier. This mystique area is perfect for nightlife as well. It has all kinds of bars, cafes, restaurants, and international food options, which makes this neighborhood one of the best in Barcelona in my opinion.

Cozy, alive, and magical.

Raval is a unique and contrasting place. It deserves a good stroll around its authentic and ethnic streets, filled with an incredible mix of Islamic and Hindu cultures all around. It’s great for curious travelers into something beyond the city guides.

Eixample is the modernist heart of Barcelona. It’s ideal for long walks while getting delighted with its great architecture and buildings, including Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and Casa Milá, the most known Barcelona attractions.

Not to mention the endless number of nice places for eating, having coffee, or just a nice chat.

Explore Barcelona with a local on a free walking tour!

6. Check Out The Food Markets

Fish in the Sant Josep La boqueria market
Fish in the Sant Josep La boqueria market

Food markets are one of the best things to do in Barcelona! La Boqueria is the touristy one but is a nice place to admire and get the senses to go active. Not on a budget but just watching and smelling is free.

Mercat de Santa Caterina is worth visiting for its unique architecture. Be sure to look up at the wavey roof!

Then, there are local markets such as Mercat de L’Abaceria in Gracia, located in a quite unique old building.

For a unique market experience, the Book Market in Sant Antoni on Sundays is a must-see! And last but not least, just get lost any weekend around El Raval neighborhood, over its cozy Rambla you will find local artisan market stands, away from the city rush.

Any other local markets such as Mercat de L’Abaceria and Mercat de la Barçeloneta are great places to find something to eat. At dinner time, I recommend you head to Ciutat Comtal for quality Catalan food.

7. Try Tapas and Regional Cuisine

person sitting at table with drinks and tapas

No trip to Barcelona is complete without sampling its delicious regional cuisine. Barcelona is famous for its Catalonian food, such as Fideua, which is like a paella but made up of little special noodles and served with a traditional sauce called “alioli”.

In the winter, Calçots are a winner. Your fingers and palate will be grateful forever.

When looking for the best places to try regional food, La Bodegueta has really good tapas with a homemade feeling. Also nice to have some wine and relax inside. Very local.

Not very Catalan but good food around if you go to Arepería La Taguara in El Born neighborhood, inside the gothic quarter. Although it’s Venezuelan traditional food, it’s definitely not on the city guides and for some reason, I can’t explain, you’ll love it too!

I haven’t found another like this on my travels so worth a try.

8. Attend One of The Top Festivals in Barcelona

a glass of beer
Barcelona Beer Festival

Barcelona is one of the most lively cities in Europe and it’s because there is always something happening. If you enjoy entertainment and festivals, then this is the city for you. Some of the most unmissable festivals in Barcelona you should add to your itinerary are:

  • Festa Major de Gracia: an amazing display of community street art for a whole party week!
  • Sant Joan: the shortest night of the year must be lived on the beach over bonfires, good friends, and endless fireworks in the sky.
  • Festes de Gracia in August is a must-see!
  • Sant Jordi: on April 23rd, a special event takes place: red roses and books take over the city entirely, celebrating the defeat of the dragon by Sant Jordi, saving the princess and giving peace to the whole town from the dragon’s menace.

If you’re visiting in the summer, no doubt you’ll stumble across a live music event or some street performers out showing off their skills, even without looking for it.

9. Take a Day Trip to Montserrat

building near the cliff faces in montserrat

Montserrat even though it’s touristy, is an amazing place to visit. Located in Spain’s northeastern region, this stunningly beautiful mountain region is filled with an abundance of religious monuments, breathtaking landscapes, and fascinating history.

Its first inhabitants date back to prehistory, while the iconic monastery, one of the most famous landmarks in the city, has called Montserrat its home since the 10th century.

Be sure to check out Santa Cova (a small cave thought to be where the Virgin Mary appeared), or admire the incredible mountain views.

Adventure seekers should also make sure to hit up some of Montserrat’s famous hiking trails – you can’t beat those majestic mountains! With all that Montserrat has to offer, it’s the perfect day trip from Barcelona.

10. Take a Day Trip to Tarragona

Sunny day in Tarragona Amphitheatre in Spain
arragona Amphitheatre in Spain – A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Tarragona is an incredible port city just outside Barcelona. With thousands of years of history that go back to the Romans, it’s no wonder why there are so many amazing sights to explore here.

The Tarragona Cathedral is known for its stunning Gothic architecture combined with a bit of Romanesque influence.

Then head over to the Amphitheatre of Tarraco and be brought back over 2,000 years into time for a close-up look at some Roman Ruins.

Be sure to explore the Ancient Necropolis and count the countless tombs that are scattered around the grounds.

Of course, no trip would be complete without checking out what the Mediterranean coastline has to offer.

Tarragona has multiple beaches around it that make a great spot for soaking up some Spanish sun and even enjoying some water sports like diving and sailing.

With amazing Roman ruins and a gorgeous stretch of coast, and definitely not as crowded as Rome, it’s an interesting place for a day trip from Barcelona.

If you want to go further afield, read this post sharing a three-day itinerary for Basque country.

11. Check out the Picasso Museum

Entrance to Museu Picasso Museum
Entrance to Museu Picasso Museum

One of the most famous Spanish artists is Pablo Picasso. You can learn all about the formative years of his life through a well-curated and intimate exhibit at the Picasso Museum.

The museum contains 4,251 pieces in its permanent collection, some of the most notable are the series Las Meninas from 1957 and some older pieces from 1917.

Since it opened in 1963, the museum has been dedicated to showcasing the fascinating life and works of one of the world’s most recognisable artists.

12. Admire The Beauty of Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music)

stairs leading up to stained glass window in concert hall

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall that was built by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner in 1908. Its unique design is one of the most striking works of Catalan modernista style in the city. It’s most famous for its stunning stained-glass windows, which not only line the walls but the ceiling as well.

Originally intended for Orfeó Català, a choral society that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement, the palace quickly became one of the most treasured buildings in Barcelona.

In 1909, it won an award from the Barcelona City Council as the best building built in 1908, and in 1997, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today you can visit to watch a variety of musical performances.

13. Learn About Football History at Camp Nou Stadium

Camp Nou Stadium

Football fans should not miss this exciting attraction in Barcelona. Camp Nou, which is also known as Spotify Camp Nou for sponsorship reasons, is Barcelona’s football stadium and home to the FC Barcelona.

This huge stadium can seat nearly 100,000 and is the largest stadium in Spain and the third largest football stadium in the world.

Tourists can now tour the stadium and visit the Barcelona museum and learn all about the history of the football club and its legendary players, such as Kubala, Cruyff, Maradona, Guardiola, and Ronaldinho.

On a guided tour of the stadium, you not only explore the stands but some behind-the-scenes areas such as the visitors’ changing room and the tunnel onto the pitch, the television studio, the press room, and the commentary boxes.

14. Check Out The View from Bunkers del Carmel

Girls talking and looking at Barcelona cityscape from a viewpoint in Bunkers del Carmel
Barcelona cityscape from a viewpoint in Bunkers del Carmel

The Bunkers of Carmel is a panoramic viewpoint that offers a 360º view of Barcelona. It’s most famous as a viewpoint, but it was also a Spanish Civil War bunker that housed anti-aircraft guns.

Check out a bit of Spanish defense history and watch the sunset over the beautiful city it once protected.

Best Time to Visit Barcelona

Dragon salamandra of gaudi mosaic in park guell
Park Guell

Barcelona is a very weather-friendly city all year round. Summer is not extremely hot and winter is not extremely cold.

Of course, the best seasons would be in the Spring and November when the weather is at its most comfortable.

The shoulder season is from late March to April, and from late September to October. This is when you see the fewest amount of tourists, but fair warning, it’s still busy.

There are a few rainy days throughout the whole year and even in winter, you get sunny days with deep blue skies.

Getting To and Around Barcelona

Fountains and historic columns and the mountain of Tibidabo
Fountains and historic columns and the mountain of Tibidabo

Barcelona is a great place in terms of location and transportation. Getting there is easy in any way: car, train, bus, airplane, or ship. You choose!

The airport is well located and well connected to downtown with bus and train service, all on a budget and in good timing. We recommend you take the Aerobus as it’s the fastest way to the city from the airport.

Vueling Airline is one good low-cost company that arrives in BCN from lots of destinations. Just to mention one. But definitely, BCN is a VERY well-connected city with the world, so no trouble here!

When it comes to exploring the city, the Barcelona Metro is the way to go. It connects pretty much everywhere and is the easiest and most economical way to get from A to B.

Barcelona is also very walkable if you don’t like spending too much time on trains. However, the best thing would be to organize each day during your visit around one neighborhood. This way you can enjoy walking, taking in the views, and the local feeling while going on your own feet.

Where to Stay in Barcelona

Anywhere close to La Rambla and Paseo de Gracia are good spots since they are close to the transport system. Look for accommodation anywhere around the street called Passeig de Gracia and/or Plaza Cataluña-Las Ramblas if it’s your first time, as this puts you close to many top attractions in Barcelona.

For budget accommodation in Barcelona, Safestay Passeig de Gràcia is in a great location and has a social vibe. They offer plenty of activities for travelers so you will never be lonely in the city.

You’ll find plenty of hostels around Plaza Cataluña and Passeig de Gracia that are reliable.

If you have a mid-level budget for accommodation in Barcelona, check out Sercotel Caspe Hotel which is in a good location and has top-class service.

For luxury hotels, you won’t find much better than Casa Fuster Hotel, which is like staying in a castle! The hotel is simply beautiful and is located in a central location near many top attractions.

Tips for Visiting Barcelona

To make the most out of your trip and to find some hidden gems, here are some final tips for you:

  • For tea lovers, you might not want to miss El Salterio Tea House, in the gothic quarter.
  • Ciutat Comtal is one great spot for tapas & montaditos. Really good food all year round. Very popular among the Catalan community.
  • As always a good idea to try eating at the local markets, where any food will be 100% fresh and tasty!
  • Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in touristy areas. Pickpockets are common in Barcelona.
  • Book tickets for attractions in advance to skip the line and avoid massive queues.
  • Use the Aerobus from the Airport as it’s the fastest way to the city.

The most popular tours and attractions in Barcelona:

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Barcelona

Barcelona has given me life experiences, more than just travel.

It has given me a dream come true, a life, a home away from home, a new language and culture, and new friends too.

But above all, it has given me a base to do my whole travel dream, to move around, and to learn more.

There is so much to see and do in Barcelona, I hope this guide helps inspire you and gives you some ideas to help you plan your itinerary.

Author Bio:

Mariana Calleja is a costarican travel blogger based in Barcelona since 2010 with her travel and life partner, both curious for experiences involving the five senses in a conscious way. Check out her blog “Travel Thirst” and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

More Travel Tips for Spain

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86 thoughts on “14 Unforgettable Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain”

  1. Glad I saw this because I hope to go back to Barcelona someday soon. I didn’t have a great experience my first time but know that I missed so much, so this information will definitely come in handy.

  2. The Montjuïc’s Magic Fountain is also my top tip when people ask me about Barcelona recommendations. It`s such a great experience, make sure though you check the hours/days of the show as I know from when I visited the shows are on different days and later during the summer time. Also consider taking the metro or bus out there, as it`s about 30 min walk from Plaza de Catalunya.

    1. My family n I are going to be in Barcelona on New Years Eve this year. .where would you recommend we be to watch a spectacular fireworks display?
      And we leave for Malaga the next day, so would we not be able to enjoy the Magic fountain as it says it only opperates from fri-sun..? Would it possibly be open on other week nights being the festive season?

  3. Craig Flashpackatforty

    After many many months of travel Barcelona still remains one of my favourite cities in the world. The food, the architecture, the culture the… well everything

  4. The article would do all travellers a big favour if it pointed out the negative aspects of a trip to Barcelona, particularly petty crime. After 10 years in Catalunya the first thing i say to anyone new to Barcelona is ‘look after your stuff’. Theft is incredibly common in the central areas (Barrio Gotico, Raval, Born) and the beaches. Be careful!

    1. Yes and no. I think all countries pose some sort of danger, some more than others. I think it is best not to dwell on these and allow them to spoil a destination, but instead to be aware of them and take necessary precautions. I myself traveled to Barcelona and never had a problem. I have been to places taht are considered far more dangerous and have not had a problem either. I am so glad that I went.
      But to help people be aware is a good thing so thank you for reminding future visitors to be careful and in those areas as well.

  5. Wow, great post! Very thorough! Who needs Lonely Planet?!
    One word of caution is Barcelona, like many cities, has a bit of a problem with pick-pocketing and theft. Within 30 minutes of my arrival my bag was stolen right off of me as I walked down the street. A funny side note is that I found some police officers just after it happened but my Spanish was so limited that I couldn’t really explain what had just happened. I managed to get out, “Tango un problema con mi maleta” (I have a problem with my bag). But then they asked what the problem was and all I could think of to answer was “Banditos (bandits)” to which they laughed. I laughed too as I knew how ridiculous this must have sounded. They helped me make a police report.
    I’ll be sure to be more alert the next time I go to Barcelona. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your tips and advice Ligeia. So funny, I had a comment on another Barcelona post just the other week talking about the theft problem. Must be getting bad. It’s important for people to be aware so they can be more alert!

  6. Great post. I love walking around the Eixample area and looking at all the amazing buildings. The fountains are one of my favorite things to see and one of the few attractions in Barcelona that are free.

    For travelers I would recommend visiting the bookstore Altair. It is a bookstore that is devoted to travel books. I have never seen another bookstore like it.

  7. okay….I am single, open minded, friendly and curious afro american woman, traveling alone to Barcelona. After reading your blogs/web site I feel that I can do this and I will use your information as my guide. I plan on going in May 2013. Wish me luck!

  8. Amazing guide – you should get these published one day! Question – have you tried eatwith.com? I read abou them on Fodors but couldn’t find any reviews. looks like a pretty exciting way to travel and eat and thought someone might have some feedback on the experience/food… keep up the great work!

  9. I’m living in Barcelona from 3 months ago, and my fav place is Bimbas, what a cool Trattoria, thefood and service are amazing, I love this kind of places, this is why I love Barcelona!!

  10. Hi, I lived in Barcelona for three years and agree with the majority of what has been written. There is just one thing that I think has to be noted though.. for places to stay, Las Ramblas is the worst place. It is the most expensive area for a hotel and is not somewhere you want to be at night. Areas like El Born, Gracia or Eixample are better to stay. Las Ramblas is a fun place to visit, as is the market which is in the middle of Las Ramblas, but if you want to stay safe, it isn’t somewhere to visit at night. Lots of pickpockets etc looking for tourists.

  11. Great post. I love walking around the fountains ,Last month i visited the Barcelona with my friends and really great fun and this is very beautiful city to see. Before going to Barcelona, i have read your post and noted the main things to do in Barcelona and really its works . Thanks and the pics you have clicked are

    really awesome clicks.

  12. Great article about a amazing city, Barcelona! What I love the best is gastronomy, the tapas is a great invention! And the best tapa you can eat is the Pata negra ham one! The Spanish pata negra is really incredible, its taste is fruity and strong, it has no similar taste, any of the other hams I’ve ever eaten taste as this one… Check here some info about Spanish ham, it very interesting: http://www.jamonarium.com/en/content/27-spanish-ham-pata-negra-bellota-serrano-iberico-iberian

    I love Barcelona because its a city with joy!

  13. Hi, I was in Born Street last weeks and this neighborhood is so cool, in Addition I went to Gran Café restaurant, one of the best ever been in Barcelona! 🙂

  14. Barcelona Getaway

    Nice list, I’d like to add climbing up the magical Montjuïic, one of the best activities to do when in Barcelona.

  15. Wow! What a nice market La Boqueria, it’s amazing, there are many differents kinds of food, frutis, meat, fish… really cool.

    I went to lunch next to La Boqueria 2 days ago, at Gran Café restaurant, and the service and food was so good, I recommend you to go here.

  16. I love Raval neighbourood, Barcelona is so cool, there many differents kinds of cultures.
    One of the best restaurants in the city are in my opinion Bimba’s and Tenorio.

  17. Thank you for posting this! I’m using this for my school project! My project is due tomorrow but I was wondering if you had any last minute information on Barcelona like what is it most famous for and why someone should visit? I’d love to see different views so I can get the most amount of research possible! Thank you to whoever comments and thank you for doing it in time hopefully! Have a great day(:

  18. I am so glad I found this, I just scheduled a family vacation for Easter break. I am so excited to finally get to visit Barcelona. This article has some great advice.

  19. I can’t believe you included the Salterio tea house! It is an extraordinary hidden place that no many people know about.
    Great tips about Barcelona! Although I would include also Calella de Palafrugell for a side trip. Or Cadaqués if you have the time. The Dos cielos restaurant is also a great place to go and enjoy the views of the city.
    I understand you can’t include everything in a post but since these are some of my favorites places I couldn’t help to write about them 🙂

  20. hi,
    Ive been to Barcelona and just love this city. I stayed at this cute quaint hotel named the continental palacete, conveniently located near to the end of the Ramblas and can walk to it from plaza catalunya. – very small rooms but nicely decorated and surprisingly the environs were quiet. (food is non descript)
    While Antonio Gaudi’s fantastic and beautiful architecture especially Casa Battlo, is not to be missed, i would like to point out a few more attractions that are worth seeing.
    1.The cable car ride back from Montjuic castle, torre Colserola with a beautiful view of the Barcelona harbor.
    2. walk down the Ramblas from plaza catalunya all the way to the Columbus monument and the harbor front.
    3. Catalan village- spanish village, a recreation of the catalan part of spain.
    4. Parco Guell- a gaudi wonderland.
    5. Torre agbar
    6. The Barcelona pavilion which is a reproduction of the Mies Van der rohe pavilion built for the world exposition.
    7. soccer fans will like the stadium where FC barcelona plays.
    8. Barcelona cathedral in the Barri gottic.
    Most of these sites can be visited on the Red bus tour a convenient way to tour Barcelona i felt.

  21. Hi,
    I’m going again to Barcelona in June. I can’t get enough of this city. I like your post, it’s really well organized and you posted the Catalan meal : Fideua! Let me add a must must must : The Arroz Negro.
    You might want to have a look to this VLOG : http://youtu.be/uAb4vcPKJYM
    That gives additional tips on Catalan culture/languages and more things to see in Barcelona. 🙂

  22. We just got back from a 2 week trip to Barcelona with our 4 small children. We had so much fun. We were there for Sant Jordi day and it was so much fun to see all of the rose and book sellers in the streets. We stayed in Sant Cugat and we loved it. It is a small city just through the tunnel from Barcelona and they have a charming little monastery in a great downtown area. We were able to rent a 4 bedroom house with a pool for our stay. We enjoyed our day trips to Tarragona and Montserrat as well.

  23. I’m headed to Barcelona soon – my first trip to Spain but will just spend the whole 10 days in Barcelona. Staying in El Born so I can walk to most places. Thanks for the great tips – just added Montjuïc’s Magic Fountain to my list!

  24. I’ve been several times now and there are always things to see. The last time I completely fell for the Montserrat Monastery! I would recommend, if people have the time, they visit Montserrat for the day — a beautiful beautiful mountain monastery that’s easily reached.

  25. We visited barcelona a couple of months ago and stayed in the born area which was great. I’d say avoid the ramblas area which is overpriced and not a very nice area after dark. We went on a scooter tour with a guide which lasted four hours and was the highlight of our trip. We booked prior to arriving via a travel website and I would recommend this way of exploring the city to anyone!

  26. Went to Barcelona last summer and could have stayed longer! A few words of advice though. Lineups during tourist season can be very long around the Sagrada Familia and the other Gaudi sites It’s also know as the pickpocket capital of Europe so just be smart and aware. Food-wise, if you take a walk a few blocks off the beaten path of la rambla the food is much, much cheaper ( I highly recommend a tapas place called bar easo) Happy travels!

  27. To see it the fun way, can we recommend renting an electric bike? It has a GPS (to get lost…and found!) as well as an audioguide for each sight. Do it like the locals. We’d love to hear from you and help you enjoy the city.

  28. I went to Barcelona for the first time in May / June for over a month, and it’s now my all time favourite city in Europe, and also my top 4 fave in the world overall, after all of my travels. I could easily see myself living there (well, for as long as I can ever stay in one place).

    I’ve put together a roundup of all of my recommendations – they’re mainly food, but also a few sites and accommodations that aren’t already on this list! http://victoriasfoodsecrets.com/2014/07/barcelona-spain-travel-map-food-accommodations-sites/

    Hope they come in handy for those who are yet to go. I’m hoping to head back to Spain again this fall!

  29. Barcelona is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world! It’s unique position in the Mediterranean has allowed it to develop a culture that blends influences from all over Europe (and beyond!). This is especially obvious in it’s food, with typical dishes like canelones and meatballs! Check out our Barcelona food blog for tips about eating in Barcelona!

  30. Great piece – thanks! Barca is one of the most visually stunning and intriguing cities in the world, so we decided to set up a company (just launched) called Foto Ruta http://www.foto-ruta.es to offer tourists and locals a chance to explore it creatively using photography… check us out. Its not just for photographers. Anyone with an interest in seeing the city from a different perspective will enjoy!

  31. One day I’ll visit it again… Been so many times, but Montserrat got away…
    I think it’s not just the city is that’s interesting, but the entire area around it… From Cadaques, Figueres to Girona…

  32. John @ GoodPlanetLiving

    Barcelona is so awesome ! I was a couple weeks ago in RoigRobi cafe I liked this place! it’s awesome, there are many differents types of food, frutis, various meats, fish… really awesome.

  33. This post was so helpful on my trip to Barcelona! I didn’t do nearly as much as I wanted, but definitely as much as I could in the little time I had. I hope to go back one day. Thanks for your guidance!

  34. Planning on taking my daughter on a trip for her college graduation. She is a fashion major with a Spanish minor can you tell me if Barcelona would be a good fit for a fashionista or would another city in Spain have more to offer?

  35. Wow what a well written and well presented guide.
    One extra tip: Use the Metro in Barcelona. It is really cheep and easy to get around. Are you there for a weekend, then buy a 2 or a 3 day ticket.

  36. Thanks for this post! Glad I found it as we are off to Barcelona next month so its great to have some suggestions as to where to go.

    I’m particularly excited about Salterio Tea House! We always like to hunt down a good place for some tea!

  37. I just wanted to drop by and give my thanks to Mariana for putting this post together.

    I’ll be honest that I didn’t really enjoy Barcelona on the first visit there a couple of years ago, but on my recent trip in April I did a couple of the things here and visited places like Gracia and fell in love. It’s full of little indie places and cool cafes – just my kind of thing.

  38. Great help thanks!
    But if we only have 2 days in Barcelona and this is our first time here, and we are a couple age 62 with ours 2 sons 25 and 35……….suggestions? Thought of doing the electric bike drive? Like to relax and eat & drink good local food and wine & beer. Like beautiful views and great architecture, seaside etc. Not mad about city life. Shopping
    is on the list too.
    Would love to hear what you suggest !

  39. What a lovely guide! I’m a big fan of La Bodegueta myself! And my favourite neighbourhoods are definitely Raval and Gracia… I love the Festas de Gracia festival! It’s so much fun, and the decorations of the streets are amazing!

  40. Great post! A tip from budget traveller: consider staying at nearby resorts of Costa Brava (Calella, Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar) and commute by train or bus to Barcelona. The resorts are just 1 hour away from Barcelona centre, but hotel prices start as cheap as 10 EUR per person per night in a 2-star hotel.

  41. Camp Nou, Barcelona’s famous football ground where many ‘legends’ have played, is also worth a look in my opinion, regardless to who your favourite team is.
    However, don’t fall into this same trap. If you have the chance to see a live match, get your tickets early online at the official FC Barcelona website.
    Although it may tempting when offered cheap match tickets from a street vendor, especially if he looks trustworthy and his story is believable, but beware, it’s a lot of money to lose if they are counterfeit and of course you won’t be let in the grounds.
    Expect the museum and shop to be a little overpriced and the experience to be a busy one and you’ll be prepared in advance. Plan around 1 – 2 hours out of your day.
    Overall, an excellent trip even for the wife who may not appreciate it as much as you and the photographs from the stands will be a memory you’ll want to boast about.
    If you’re fortunate enough to get tickets for a match, and you want to stay close by, there’s apartments by Placa Espanol just 6 minutes away from the stadium (by bus) and it can be surprisingly nice and quiet yet there is good access to the local metro stop as well as bus stop.

  42. This is a fantastic and thorough list of things to do in Barcelona for sure. We have visited a few times and still haven’t seen it all. So of course we are planning a drive back up from our small Spanish town, in the south, and this will be so helpful. Thanks!

  43. Great tips about Barcelona – Jump the Sightseeing Bus one of the first days its a great way to see the city. If you want city views Montjuic is perfect or Parc Güell even The Bunker on Carmel Hill. A must see is Casa Mila and Casa Battlo and if you want to know about Gaudi’s work The Gaudi Exhibition would be a great place to start. To avoid queuing book you tickets in advance – I can recommend http://visitwithticket.com

  44. We’ve been living and eating our way around in Barcelona for more than 10 years. We felt in love with the deepness and extensiveness of culinary options and profound relationships between local restaurateurs and producers. And this blog is so much about it, and its amazing how, along the years, people keep reading it. Great entry!

    1. Hi Andre. Glad you love the city, food and people of Barcelona. And happy to hear our things to do in Barcelona guide is helpful to others.

  45. Amazing article,
    Super helpful! I am visiting Barcelona in July. Solo traveling for the second time! I still didn’t book my airbnb or hostel. Where should I stay? I love to be in vivid busy streets, close to restaurants and metros or other transportation means. Help please!
    Thank you in advance:)

  46. One more thing that you can do in Barcelona for free it’s a book free city tour. I got one when I was travelling around the Europe last summer. It was amazing experience for me, the coolest things that you could meet new people. You can walk together, laugh and see unforgettable views.Seems it was Generation Tours.

  47. This is a great post, truly explains why visit Spain is a must! Spain has a wonderful culture and gastronomy. If you do go to Barcelona, I highly recommend that you get in touch with Barcelona Private Experiences as they offer to design you a custom-made itinerary and have very luxurious things you could do in Barcelona such as classic motorbike rides, skiing, bodegas tasting and much more.

    All the best

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