“Here in Barcelona, it's the architects who built the buildings that made the city iconic who are the objects of admiration - not a bunch of half-witted monarchs.” - Julie Burchill
Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest city and with 82 million annual tourists, it’s also one of Europe’s most popular destinations. It's an excellent city to visit because of just how many amazing things there are to see there. Are you heading to Barcelona on holiday or just planning a city break on the weekend? Here’s our guide to what to see in the capital of Catalonia. From L’Eixample to Diagonal, here are the best things to see in Barcelona! Thanks to our guide, you’ll know exactly what to see. Wondering what you should do in Barcelona? Here we go.
Barcelona’s Best Areas
There are entire areas of Barcelona that you shouldn’t miss. However, it’s not entirely obvious which ones you should visit, especially if it’s your first time. While you can always ask at the tourist office, we’ve got the answers that you’re looking for right here. This will also save you some time as you can plan your trips more effectively if you know which areas you’ll be in. Let’s go for a trip around Barcelona. Find out more about visiting Barcelona
The City Centre
Plaça Catalunya is in the heart of Barcelona’s city centre and it’s also the central hub of the city with the largest avenues and main metro lines intersecting the square. It’s also an important place for various events and festivities. There’s the Palau de la Musica concert hall just a few steps from the square, a 20th-century building designed by Domènech i Montaner.
The Gothic Quarter
The Barri Gòtic has a special kind of charm with its Medieval alleys that are great for walking around any time of the day. Of course, the Catalan bars here are also great at night. The Ramblas should also be on everyone’s itinerary. This pedestrian street joins Plaça Catalunya to the Port of Barcelona where you can find artists and performers on the street every day. Keep an eye out for the art nouveau entrance to the Boqueria market. This is a great place to find typical Catalan produce including tapas, paella, wine, seafood, meat, fruit, and vegetables. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross should also be part of your trip to the Gothic Quarter.
The Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the city’s most famous parks. It was built for the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition and remains a popular spot for locals and tourists to enjoy when the weather is nice. Don’t forget to visit the Arc de Triomf by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas. While originally designed and built for the exposition, it now welcomes people into the park.
This is one of the city’s most beautiful neighbourhoods. It’s home to beautiful squares as well as the Passeig de Gracia, one of Barcelona’s prettiest avenues. Barcelona’s richest families had magnificent villas here and this is also the neighbourhood where you can find shops as well as the famed Casa Batlló, la Casa Milà, and Casa Amatler buildings.
Have you heard of Barcelona’s beaches? There are 10 in total across 4km with the Barceloneta being the most popular. The Olympic Port at the bottom of the Ramblas is home to a shopping centre, a statue of Christopher Columbus, and the Barcelona Aquarium. It’s an excellent part of the city to visit on foot, by bike, or even rollerblading.
A little way out of the centre, Montjuïc is a mountain that can be accessed from the Plaça d’Espanya and is home to the Olympic Park from the 1992 summer games. Don’t miss:
- Palau Nacional
- Montjuic Castle
- The Joan Miró Foundation
- The Botanic Gardens
- The Olympic Stadium
- The Poble Espanyol Museum
You may also want to visit the Camp Nou football stadium, the Parc del Laberint d’Horta, and many other excellent parks.
Antoni Gaudi Monuments
Let’s continue our trip around Barcelona with the monuments and buildings designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi as you can’t leave Barcelona without visiting a few of them. You might want to invest in queue-jump tickets as they’re rather popular. You can’t go to Barcelona without visiting:
- Casa Batlló
- The Sagrada Familia
- Parc Güell
- Casa Milà
When in Barcelona, you have to visit one of Gaudi’s buildings just to appreciate his genius.
If you can only visit one, then we recommend Casa Batlló, a building that’s as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. The façade is one of the most original. On the inside, you can also appreciate how good of a designer Gaudi was. From the tables to the doorhandles, everything is in his particular and unmistakable style. Useful info:
Located in L’Eixample Area of Barcelona Address: 43 passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona. Typically takes 45 minutes to visit: Cost: €25 adults, €7 children, under 7s free. Opening Hours: 9:00 to 21:00.
The Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is another iconic building in Barcelona. This magnificent building is still under construction and one day, it may even be finished. This 19th-century basilica is full of surprises. Find more Spanish classes London here on Superprof. Useful info:
Located in L’Eixample Area of Barcelona Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, Barcelona. Typically takes 30 to 45 minutes to visit. Cost: €17 for adults, under 11s free. Opening Hours: 9:00 to 21:00 every day.
Parc Güell is one of Gaudi’s most colourful creations. This 17-acre park blends his typical style and nature. Useful info:
Located in the Gràcia area of Barcelona. Typically takes 2 to 4 hours to visit. Cost: €10 adults, €7 children, under 7s free There’s also an area that can be visited for free. Opening Hours: 8:00 to 21:30.
The last Gaudi monument on our tour is the Casa Milà, which is also known as Pedrera. While not as colourful as the nearby Casa Batlló, it does have a roof terrace that offers an excellent view over Barcelona. You can view some of Gaudi’s models and plans in the attic, too. Useful info:
Located in L’Eixample Area of Barcelona Address: 92 Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona. Typically takes 45 minutes to visit. Cost: €22 adults, €11 children, under 7s free. Opening Hours: 9:00 to 21:00.
Museums in Barcelona
If you’re not that big a fan of art, we still recommend visiting Barcelona’s museums. You can learn about the city’s fascinating history. Here are some of our favourites:
- National Museum of Art (MNAC)
- MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona)
- The Joan Miró Foundation
- The Picasso Museum
National Museum of Art (MNAC)
The MNAC has an impressive collection. There are paintings, sculptures, and photography and pieces ranging from the Roman era to Catalan pieces. Useful info:
Located in the Montjuïc Area Address: Parc de Montjuïc, Barcelona. Typically takes around 90 minutes to visit. Cost: €12 for adults, free for kids. Opening Hours: 9:00 to 19:00.
MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona)
The MACBA is the city’s contemporary art museum. This is home to many pieces from the second half of the 20th century. It’s also a popular site for skaters. Useful info:
Located in the El Raval neighbourhood. Address: Plaça dels Àngels, Barcelona. Typically takes around 90 minutes to visit. Opening Hours: 9:00 to 19:30 every day except Tuesdays.
The Joan Miró Foundation
For fans of Joan Miró, the eponymous foundation is worth visiting. His plan to highlight 19th and 20th-century artists resulted in his work being permanently on display. Useful info:
Located in the Montjuïc Area Address: Parc de Montjuïc, Barcelona. Typically takes around 90 minutes to visit. Opening Hours: 10:00 to 20:00 every day.
The Picasso Museum
Finally, the Picasso Museum covers the work of the artist from the early days to his career in Barcelona. Useful info:
Located in the El Born neighbourhood. Address: Carrer de Montcada, Barcelona. Typically takes around 90 minutes to visit. Opening Hours: 10:00 to 19:00 every day except Mondays.
The Best Views of Barcelona
Are you looking for a view of the city? To finish a trip around Barcelona, consider taking in a spectacular view. While the city’s rather expansive, there are a number of exceptional viewpoints that allow you to see almost all the city in one go. Here are some of the best spots to look out over the city:
- The Columbus Monument
- Montjuïc Park
- Plaça del Rei
- The Pedrera Roof Terrace
- The Virolai viewpoint at Parc Güell
- Mount Tibidado
- The Collserola Tower
Find out more about planning a trip to Barcelona Enjoy your trip to Barcelona!
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