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The 51 best attractions and places to visit in Barcelona

From massive museums and picture-perfect parks to modernista buildings and beaches galore, these are the best things to see and do in Barcelona

This epicentre of Catalan culture has enough must-see attractions to fill a lifetime. Barcelona is simply packed with excellent museums , restaurants and beautiful sights. No matter your tastes, you’ll easily find something to love here, you just have to find it.

Helpfully, we've whittled it down to the bucket list items for those short on time. From the world-famous to the decidedly local, our pick of the best attractions and places to visit in Barcelona covers a lot of ground. You’ll be pushed to do all of them in one trip, but there's no harm in trying – or you'll just have to come back again, and again, and again…

RECOMMENDED:  Barcelona's best Airbnbs RECOMMENDED:  The best hotels in Barcelona

This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click  here .

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Best Barcelona attractions

Sagrada Família

1.  Sagrada Família

  • Attractions
  • Religious buildings and sites
  • Sagrada Família

Soaring above Barcelona’s cityscape, the Sagrada Família will be the world’s tallest church upon completion (estimated, finally, for 2026). This 130-year labour of love, dreamt up by Antoni Gaudí, is one of the world’s most controversial basilicas, but also one of the most visited. Three million tourists flock here each year to gawk at the architectural achievement that has brought nature, light and religion together into one stunning ensemble. The interior is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with each new style blending into the rest of Gaudí’s visionary design.

Time Out tip: Don't forget to explore the basement. Admission also gives visitors access to the subterranean museum, which provides the chance to watch sculptors working at plaster-cast models IRL through a large window.

Park Güell

2.  Park Güell

  • Historic buildings and sites
  • price 1 of 4

Up in Barcelona’s Horta-Guinardó neighbourhood, is this maze of walls and walkways consisting of gardens, little architectural displays and more, all boasting breathtaking hillside views of the whole city. Highlights include the Hall of One Hundred Columns (though it actually has 86), the mosaic serpent bench and the salamander on the main steps. 

Time Out tip: Entry to the park is free, but if you have €10 to spare, enter the Monumental Zone, where you'll see the iconic mosaic bench and dragon (and more).

Montjuïc Magic Fountain

3.  Montjuïc Magic Fountain

  • Sants - Montjuïc

Most locals will only see this light, music and water show when they are little kids or have to act as tour guides for visitors. But whether you’ve got your own offspring in tow or not, the show brings out childlike wonder in us all. After all, it is magic . Designed by Carles Buïgas, it is one of the last remaining attractions made for the 1929 International Exposition.

Time Out tip: For that little extra je ne sais quoi, go down on New Year's Eve for Festa de Cap d'Any. It's one of the biggest party nights in town and the fountain display is even more spectacular than usual.

La Rambla

4.  La Rambla

This is undoubtedly the most famous street in Barcelona. Stretching from Port Vell to Plaça de Catalunya in the centre, La Rambla offers a bevvy of shops, flower stands, artworks and attractions. Don’t miss the ornate Canaletes fountain, Boqueria market, Liceu opera house and Teatre Principal.

Time Out tip: Think the opera is for fancy people? Think again. A night at Gran Teatre del Liceu can cost less than tickets to see the ‘in’ band of the moment. Plus, it's not just opera, they host ballet and concerts too.

Barcelona Cathedral

5.  Barcelona Cathedral

  • Ciutat Vella

It’s always worth checking out an inner-city cathedral and Barcelona is no exception. Its cathedral is an impressive example of Gothic architecture that’s now a Cultural Heritage Site and, since 1929, a National Historic Monument. It’s dedicated to the Holy Cross and to Saint Eulalia, patron saint of Barcelona, who was martyred by the Romans and whose remains lie in the crypt. Aside from the artistic and architectural riches of the interior, you should also visit the cloister with its 13 white geese (one for each year of Saint Eulalia’s life) and the well-worn engravings on the floor detailing which guild paid for each part of the chapel.

Time Out tip: If you visit on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you may get to witness the Catalan tradition known as the Sardana dance, performed in the square in front of the cathedral.

Picasso Museum

6.  Picasso Museum

If the quality of a museum is measured by the number of people queuing to get in, the Picasso Museum takes first place. The museum was created by the cubist painter and his friend and secretary Jaime Sabartès, who donated his collection to the cause. More than 3,800 works make up the permanent collection, and it also hosts an array of temporary exhibitions. 

Time Out tip: Queues can be punishingly long. Visit at lunch or shortly before the last entry in an attempt to avoid them (or book ahead of time online).

La Boqueria Market

7.  La Boqueria Market

  • Markets and fairs

Its stallholders have had to learn languages and indulge in public relations because as well as being the main food market in Barcelona, La Boqueria is now a major tourist destination. Just off La Rambla, this is the biggest market in Catalonia, with more than 300 stalls and a surface area of 2,583 square metres. That is a lot of bits to buy. Think of some obscure delicacy, and you’re almost guaranteed to find it here. Artisanal produce is, naturally, in abundance.

Time Out tip: Visit early in the morning to avoid heaving crowds. Your aptitude will be rewarded by the best produce – but remember to shop around, as prices vary hugely.


8.  Barceloneta

Barcelona has miles of beaches, from Sant Sebastià to Llevant. Many can be found in Barceloneta, the famous maritime and workers’ neighbourhood that sprung up on the island of Maians in the 17th century. It’s worth wandering through the streets of Barceloneta to admire its modest yet charming two-storey houses. Another draw is the area’s excellent and varied cuisine, ranging from tapas and vermouth to paella and seafood. You can also spend a few hours checking out the glitzy yachts lining the marinas, such as the Port Olympic complex. 

Time Out tip: Stop in at Can Solé. Founded in 1903, it's one of the city’s classic seafood restaurants, with possibly the most extensive selection of rice and fideuà dishes in the neighbourhood.

Casa Milà

9.  Casa Milà

  • Sightseeing
  • Dreta de l'Eixample

It has been described as looking like rising dough, molten lava or a stone lung. Let's just say you can make up your own description of this weird and wonderful bit of modernism. Casa Milà is a daring example of Gaudí’s use of stone. When La Pedrera, his last civic project, was first commissioned in 1906, the building became a laughing stock for its undulating façade, wrought-iron balconies and vast windows. Today, of course, it is viewed quite differently and Gaudí’s innovative self-supporting stone exterior has won it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. 

Time Out tip: Make a beeline for the roof. Its mosaic-tiled ventilation shafts are topped with what looks like the helmets of medieval knights, which led the poet Pere Gimferrer to dub the spot 'the garden of warriors'.

Botanical Garden

10.  Botanical Garden

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through 14 hectares of beautiful greenery from around the globe without leaving Barcelona. This botanical garden is split into five areas, with Australian, Californian, Mediterranean, South African and Chilean plants grouped neatly into each. Plus, if you look past the fauna, you’ll get a cracking view of the city. There are about 1500 species in the Jardí Botànic, so start ticking them off.

Time Out tip: On the other side of the park you’ll find a typical farmhouse, where volunteers help to organise public activities.

Olympic Ring

11.  Olympic Ring

In 1992, Barcelona captivated the world with the Olympic Games and the Olympic Ring was built on Montjuïc hill. Covering more than 400 hectares, it includes the Calatrava communications tower,  Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium ,  Palau Sant Jordi  sports hall, Picornell swimming pools, and the head office of the Catalan Institute for Physical Education, as well as the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum, which opened in 2007. The ring looks more like a sewing needle to us, but that's fine too. 

Time Out tip: When you book your vaycay, check bookings for Palau Sant Jordi and its adjoining Club. They host major sporting and music events, with anyone from the Back Street Boys and Lenny Kravitz to the basketball world championships held here.


12.  CaixaForum

  • Art and design
  • La Font de la Guatlla

Another example of a brilliantly restored building. Puig i Cadafalch built this former textile factory at the foot of Montjuïc for the entrepreneur Casimir Casaramona. After being abandoned for years, the Fundació La Caixa bought it and turned it into a cultural, social and educational centre. As well as permanent collections of contemporary art, there are three spaces for temporary exhibitions and a programme that includes concerts, lectures, screenings, guided tours and child-friendly activities. So yes, it might sound like a pharma company, but it is a wonderful place to visit, with scenery like no other. And the art is pretty good too.

Time Out tip: Scale one (or both) of its two towers. The 'water tower' culminates in a wonderful conical pinnacle covered in blue mosaic. The other is the 'clock tower' and, although it's clockless, it contains beautiful ironwork.

Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

13.  Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

For many in Barcelona, Sant Felip Neri is the prettiest square in the city – perhaps because of its sheer simplicity. The square is built over the old medieval cemetery of Montjuïc del Bisbe and features a church and school of the same name, some Renaissance buildings and the former head offices of the tinker and shoemaker guilds. If you look closely at the façade of the Sant Felip Neri church, you might notice shrapnel from a bomb thrown by Franco’s forces during the Civil War, tragically killing 42 people, most of them children.

Time Out tip: You'll find the Museu del Calçat (Shoe Museum) here, which is a delightfully quirky place detailing the cobbler’s craft, from Roman sandals to ’70s platform boots.

Maritime Museum

14.  Maritime Museum

Barcelona’s dockyards (declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1976) look better than ever. The Maritime Museum is responsible for preserving, studying and publicising one of the most important collections of maritime heritage in the Mediterranean. They are worth a look simply for their architecture, the museum hosts a variety of exhibitions, and the garden and café make for a thoroughly pleasant pit stop.

Time Out tip: Your ticket also allows you aboard the beautiful 1917 'Santa Eulàlia' schooner docked nearby in the Moll de la Fusta. The old ship was one of the last sail-driven boats to transport goods across the Mediterranean.

Illa de la Discòrdia

15.  Illa de la Discòrdia

In just one block in Barcelona, the section of Passeig de Gràcia between C/Aragó and C/Consell de Cent, there are five major buildings from the Catalan modernist era:  Casa Lleó Morera  by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Casa Mulleras by Enric Sagnier, Casa Bonet by Marcel·lià Coquillat,  Casa Amatller  by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and  Casa Batlló  by Antoni Gaudí. It was named the Block of Discord because of the rivalries between the five architects, and who doesn't love some good juicy architecture drama? Go with some mates, and battle it out for your faves. 

Time Out tip: Venture inside the Dutch-inspired Casa Amatller to see the vast photographic collection that once belonged to the chocolate baron for after whom the building is named.

Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

16.  Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

Not far from the Sagrada Família is another modernista gem, the spectacular hospital by Domènech i Montaner. The architect was inspired by hygiene ideals and state-of-the-art hospitals in Europe at the time, so he designed a centre with isolation wards (each for a particular speciality), surrounded by gardens and connected by underground passages. Montaner believed that aesthetic harmony and a welcoming atmosphere were good for health. After more than 80 years of service, the hospital moved to a more modern building and renovation of the old building began. You can now visit with or without a tour guide to discover the history of one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. It is, and was, a city within a city.

Time Out tip: Visit over the Christmas period to see the spectacular light show projected onto the exterior of Sant Pau. It usually kicks off on the winter solstice for a few weeks.

The Carmel Bunkers

17.  The Carmel Bunkers

The Carmel Bunkers never feature on the standard city tours, which is a shame because if you don’t visit them, you’ll miss some of the  best views of Barcelona . The anti-aircraft guns were built in 1937, during the Civil War, when Barcelona was hit by almost 200 bombings a day. From the 1950s, with the boom in immigration, people moved in. A shantytown sprung up and the residents fought for improvements (electricity, water, bins) and were later rehoused in buildings with better conditions. When Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games in 1992, the city demolished the shacks and abandoned the space. Locals later fought for its recognition as a place of historical importance.

Time Out tip: Get there just before sunset to catch some stellar lighting for your photos.

Estació de França

18.  Estació de França

The ‘French Station’ is a product of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and is the second largest station in Barcelona ​​after Sants. Comparable in elegance and grandeur to Paris’s former Orsay station, its vast metal arches are a fine example of cast-iron architecture.

Time Out tip: The lobby, designed by Duran i Reynals in the Noucentisme style, today hosts events, including vintage fairs.

Bellesguard Tower

19.  Bellesguard Tower

  • Sant Gervasi - La Bonanova

In September 2013, the Bellesguard Tower, one of the lesser-known works by Gaudí, opened its doors to the public. The architect was commissioned by Jaume Figueras, and the building is influenced by Gothic and Modernisme styles. Five centuries earlier, in 1409, Martin the Humane, the last king of the House of Barcelona, built his residence in the same spot at the foot of Tibidabo. 

Time Out tip: Join one of the guided tours of the attic area, which also allows access to the roof. Here you can take in stunning views of the city and peep Gaudí's cross, as well as an eye-catching face of a dragon.

Born Centre of Culture and Remembrance

20.  Born Centre of Culture and Remembrance

  • Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

After years of excavations, renovations and more than one dispute with the neighbours, the El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria finally opened in 2013 as a multipurpose cultural centre in the former El Born marketplace. The iron-and-glass structure was designed by Josep Fontserè in 1876 and was the city’s first market to be built in a Parisian style. Today visitors can see the archaeological remains of the Vilanova de Mar neighbourhood from 1700 and better understand the siege the city suffered in 1714. Huge walkways now criss-cross this impressive cultural centre, which also features exhibition spaces, a bookshop and a food hall. 

Time Out tip: Come for the history, stay for the copious amounts of food, drink, things to buy and things to see in the area.

Colònia Güell

21.  Colònia Güell

Jump on the train or car and head to Santa Coloma de Cervelló, in the Baix Llobregat area, to visit the Colonia Güell. The textile industrialist Eusebi Güell moved his facilities from the Sants neighbourhood to this small town to escape social unrest. Gaudí and his team were commissioned for the project, which included a hospital, food hall, school, theatre, shops, co-operative and chapel, plus factories and housing for the workers. Gaudí built the church crypt after Güell’s death and the project was abandoned halfway through.

Time Out tip: Go on a Saturday morning for the Colònia Güell farmers' market.

Botero’s Cat

22.  Botero’s Cat

This is the most famous cat in the Raval – in fact, in Barcelona. Since the Council bought it from Colombian artist Fernando Botero in 1987, the poor cat has been moved several times. First, it was in Parc de la Ciutadella, near the zoo; then, to coincide with the 1992 Olympic Games, it was moved to the Olympic Stadium; several years later, it was moved again to a square behind Drassanes. Now it seems very happy in its home in the Rambla del Raval, and the neighbours love it.

Time Out tip: While you're here, head ten minutes west to La Rambla de les Flors, which has maintained the spirit of the 19th century. You’ll find 100-year-old stands, like Flors María, as well as other colourful shops.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta

23.  Parc del Laberint d’Horta

  • Horta - Guinardó

This vast and incredibly well-manicured maze sits within the oldest park in the city. You’ll find it in the Horta neighbourhood, where, if you ever make it out of the labyrinth, you can mooch around a Neoclassical 18th-century garden and a 19th-century romantic one, plus the Desvalls mansion and an array of fountains and sculptures of mythical Greek characters.

Time Out tip: Bring a picnic. There are stone tables that make for the perfect pit-stop spot.


24.  Cemeteries

Cemetery visits help cultivate an appreciation for those who came before us. Graveyards don’t have to be gloomy – instead, consider their artistic value. In Poblenou and Montjuïc, the largest cemeteries in Barcelona, you can find examples of a marvellous array of architectural styles, funerary art and permanent works by renowned artists. Plus, they are generally free, surrounded by nature, and full of benches.

Time Out tip: Don’t miss the popular nighttime excursions ( Montjuïc  in March and  Poblenou  in October).

Museu Nacional (MNAC)

25.  Museu Nacional (MNAC)

Catalonia’s national art museum offers a complete overview of Catalan art from the 12th to the 20th centuries. The highlight is its Romanesque collection, featuring one of the oldest and biggest collections of paintings on wood in Europe. The museum’s modern art floor boasts pieces from an array of media up to the 1950s, including sculpture, painting, photography, posters, cinema, architecture and decorative arts.

Time Out tip: The climb from Plaça d’Espanya up to the museum is just as worthwhile as the museum.

Palau de la Música Catalana

26.  Palau de la Música Catalana

  • Music venues

When you visit the Palau de la Música, all your senses sit up and take notice because every inch tells a story of modernisme, music and Catalonia. It was built in 1908 by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Muses watch over the main concert hall, and on the façade, you’ll find busts of Palestrina, Bach, Beethoven and Wagner. The programme, predictably, is stellar.

Time Out tip: If you take a guided tour, be sure to ask questions, as they tend to concentrate mainly on the triumphs of the renovation.

Camp Nou

27.  Camp Nou

  • Sport and fitness

FC Barcelona’s home ground, or Lionel Messi’s former stomping ground as it is now (un)officially known. Camp Nou is one of the most visited places in the city and is high up on the bucket list of any big football fan (or fan of stadiums), but it is still incredibly impressive to laypeople. And tall. Standing at the top and looking down is something else. 

Time Out tip: Die-hard fans must check out the Camp Nou Experience, which offers a peek inside various players-only areas. 

Tibidabo Funfair

28.  Tibidabo Funfair

  • Theme parks
  • Vallvidrera, el Tibidabo i les Planes

This is possibly the coolest location for a theme park – on top of a mountain. It’s the only one in the city and you take the steep funicular to get there. There’s a good mix of classic and modern rides, with many suitable for all ages.

Time Out tip: If you don't mind heights, climb Sagrat Cor next door. You can reach the feet of the massive Jesus that sits up top – almost 600 metres from the base of the mountain.

Casa Planells

29.  Casa Planells

In the middle of Avinguda Diagonal stands Casa Planells, a building by Josep Maria Jujol – another of the great Catalan modernists, but more discreet than his contemporaries. In a tiny area, he managed to design an impressive building without overdoing the embellishments and with a rounded façade. Inside, the most striking aspects are the staircase and wrought iron railing. It doesn't look boring from the outside, either. It's small and quirky, unlike La Sagrada Família (just up the road), which is massive (and quirky).

Time Out tip: Get your fill of Catalan modernism with a trip to nearby Casa Vicens. It was the first major architectural assignment Antoni Gaudí got and it only opened its doors to the public for the first time in 2017.


30.  Montjuïc

It’s hard to imagine a hill with more things to see and do. If you fancy a day’s walk through parks and gardens, Montjuïc is a good option. You can visit the  castle  (originally a fortress and, after the Civil War, a military museum) , and then explore some of the most beautiful landscaped gardens in Europe. Among the very best are the  Gardens of Laribal  (with a lovely waterfall), the  Albéniz Mansion , the Gardens of  Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer  (dedicated to bulbs, rhizomes and aquatic plants), and the  Gardens of Joan Brossa  (a brilliant example of land restoration; for more than 30 years this was the Montjuïc amusement park).

Time Out tip: Hungry? Eat al fresco at Caseta del Migdia with Barcelona at your feet. Their BBQ combination plate is a particular highlight.

Joan Miró Foundation

31.  Joan Miró Foundation

The Miró Foundation has it all. First, the collection of more than 104,000 Miró works, including paintings, sculptures and tapestries, plus almost all of his drawings. Second, the setting, with its spectacular gardens and views of Barcelona from the top of Montjuïc. Third, the building was designed by Josep Lluís Sert, architect, co-founder of GATCPAC (Catalan Architects and Technicians for Progress in Contemporary Architecture) and a great friend of Miró. Fourth, the events they put on, many of which are for families. You can’t afford to miss it!

Time Out tip:  Photography fan? The foundation also houses the Joaquim Gomis Archive, which is a collection of 70,000 photos and documents.

Barcelona University

32.  Barcelona University

The most important building in Plaça de la Universitat is, obviously, the historic home of Barcelona University. It became a centre for education in 1871 and housed Barcelona’s main faculties and departments for an entire century, divided into arts and science quadrangles. It now houses the maths and philology departments. 

Time Out tip: Want to nosey inside? Join a guided tour. You'll get to see the most impressive areas of the building: main lobby, assembly hall, staircase of honour and the cloisters.

Mercat de les Flors / Teatre Lliure

33.  Mercat de les Flors / Teatre Lliure

  • El Poble-sec

British theatre director Peter Brook is credited with transforming this former flower market into a venue for the performing arts in 1985 when he was looking for a place to stage his legendary production of The Mahabharata. After decades of relatively diffuse programming, the Mercat has finally focused on national and international contemporary dance and offers a strong programme that experiments with unusual formats and mixes in new technologies and live music.

Time Out tip: No hablo Español? No problem. Many of the productions in the main space have English surtitles on Saturday evenings.

Ciutadella Park

34.  Ciutadella Park

  • Parks and gardens

Ciutadella Park is close to the city centre and is the green space most frequented by locals. There’s much to see across its 17 hectares; the  zoo , the  Catalan Parliament  buildings, the church, lake, bandstand and more. 

Time Out tip: Before you go, check their available activities, which regularly include markets and fairs, sporting events, concerts, DJ sessions, children’s parties, charity events and much more.

Palau Güell

35.  Palau Güell

Palau Güell may not be Gaudí’s most well-known work, but it was his first major project for the Catalan capital. A perfect combination of old-fashioned opulence and stylised modernism, this UNESCO World Heritage mansion will have you picturing yourself rolling up in a horse-drawn carriage. Tucked down a narrow street in the Raval, Palau Güell, designed by Gaudí for his patron Count Güell, stands today as a symbol of Catalan nationalism. 

Time Out tip: As you explore the house, notice how the rising levels (from the modest basement to the ostentatiously colourful roof with 20 mosaic chimneys) reflect the motif of wealth.

Santa Maria del Mar

36.  Santa Maria del Mar

One of the best surviving examples of the Catalan Gothic style, this graceful basilica stands out for its characteristic horizontal lines, plain surfaces, square buttresses and flat-topped octagonal towers. Its superb unity of style is down to the fact that it was built relatively quickly, with construction taking just 55 years (1329 to 1384). There’s also some stunning stained glass, especially the great 15th-century rose window above the main door. The original window fell down during an earthquake, killing 25. The incongruous modern window at the other end was a 1997 addition, belatedly celebrating the Olympics.

Time Out tip: Santa Maria del Mar is a traditional venue for concerts: look out for a Requiem Mass at Easter and Handel's Messiah at Christmas.

The Jewish Quarter (El Call)

37.  The Jewish Quarter (El Call)

The  ancient synagogue  of Barcelona – the oldest in Europe – can be found in the Old Jewish Quarter between C/ del Call, Plaça Sant Jaume, C/ Banys Nous and C/ Sant Sever. The narrow streets are a joy to wander and contain an array of Jewish cultural institutions. 

Time Out tip: Head to MUHBA El Call to see ritual lamps, headstones and some great temporary exhibitions.

Plaça de la Virreina

38.  Plaça de la Virreina

Gràcia is full of beautiful squares and great bars; this  plaça , however, has the most appeal for us. For its friendly, cosmopolitan atmosphere, for the church that overlooks it, for being a meeting place for locals and the rest of Barcelona, and for the healthy rivalry between the three main bars. Try them all!

Time Out tip: If you have the kids with you, head to Bateau Lune at number 7 – one of the most loveable toy shops in the city, thanks to the warmth of the owners and their incredible inventory.


39.  CCCB

Spain’s largest cultural centre was opened in 1994 at the Casa de la Caritat, a former almshouse constructed on the site of a medieval monastery. The massive façade and part of the courtyard remain from the original building; the rest was rebuilt in dramatic contrast, all tilting glass and steel, by architects Piñón and Viaplana, known for the Maremagnum shopping centre at the Barcelona port. Most of the building is given over to exhibitions, but it also hosts music festivals, films, lectures and debates. 

Time Out tip: Want to save some cash? Visit on a Sunday (3-8pm) for free entry or, alterntively, International Museum Day, Museums Night and La Mercè Holidays, when entry is also nada.

Plaça Reial

40.  Plaça Reial

  • Ships and boats

If you head towards the ocean, you’ll probably stumble through Plaça Reial. It contains a handful of palm trees and has a fountain in the middle known as Three Graces. This Neoclassical water feature was designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias, while the chunky lampposts are Gaudí’s. Restaurants and bars surround the square, making for a lively evening hub. And yes, it’s worth keeping a keen eye on your belongings as you pass through.

Time Out tip: Music lovers should step into Jamboree. This long-serving jazz club has been putting on live blues, jazz, hip-hop and dance music twice a day since the 1960s.

Sant Antoni Market

41.  Sant Antoni Market

After almost a decade of renovations, the traders of the provisional market of Sant Antoni returned to the impressive Rovira i Trias building in 2018. The octagonal dome is the crown that structures the market’s cross-shaped corridors. In those closest to the market façade, you’ll find the Encants market. Each part can be visited since they have different schedules. 

Time Out tip: On Sundays, stop by the book market just outside the market on Urgell Street.

Plaça dels Àngels and MACBA

42.  Plaça dels Àngels and MACBA

Slowly the skaters are taking over this square, but they cannot take away from the imposing Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona ( MACBA) . It’s an impressive building, designed by the American architect Richard Meier, with a large glass façade and a combination of straight lines and cylindrical shapes. Since its opening in 1995, the MACBA has become the city’s top institution for contemporary art in all its forms.

Time Out tip: La Capella, a former medieval convent on the other side of the square, is free to enter and provides a project space for specially commissioned works.

Plaça de Sant Jaume

43.  Plaça de Sant Jaume

This square is the administrative centre of Barcelona, housing the Catalan Autonomous Government and City Hall. It’s named after the church that once stood here in medieval times and was the site of the main crossroads in the Roman settlement of Barcino. The Roman Forum and Temple of Augustus were also located here, and four columns can still be seen in C/Paradís. Today, most major protests and demonstrations pass through the square.

Time Out tip: Check out the nativity scene at Christmas – it's mightily impressive.

Monestir de Sant Pere de les Puel·les

44.  Monestir de Sant Pere de les Puel·les

Sant Pere de les Puel·les may not be one of the better-known churches in Barcelona, though it should be. It was formerly a Benedictine monastery, but only the church remains from the original building, which was rebuilt after a fire in 1909. Along with its pretty square, packed with restaurants and terraces, this little-known gem is more than worth a visit.

Time Out tip: For a nice lunch spot after the monastery, walk ten minutes over to Parc de Joan Reventós – named for the former president of the Parliament of Catalonia – where there are tree-lined walks and a kids' play area.

Santa Maria del Pi

45.  Santa Maria del Pi

The main façade of this Catalan Gothic-style church in Plaça del Pi features a large rosette of 12 branches from the 14th century. It was destroyed in the fire of 1936 and rebuilt between 1939 and 1943 by architect Josep Maria Jujol. As well as admiring the two octagonal towers that flank it, the enormous bell tower and the image of the Virgin Mary with a child on the tympanum, visitors can catch classical guitar concerts and exhibitions here.

Time Out tip: Visiting in August? Try and time it with the Festes de Sant Roc. This festa major (street festival) in the Gothic Quarter is the oldest in Barcelona, dating back to 1589. There will be dancing, singing, puppets, DJs and more.

Temple of Augustus

46.  Temple of Augustus

Four stunning fluted Corinthian columns dating from the first century BC soar out of their podium in the most unlikely of places: a back patio of the Mountaineering Centre of Catalonia. Part of the rear corner is devoted to the Roman emperor Augustus, and the columns were discovered and isolated from the structure of a medieval building in 1835. The current layout is a slight fudging of the original, as the right-hand column resided separately in  Plaça del Rei  until it was slotted next to the other three in 1956.

Time Out tip: Got the kids in tow? Take them on a tour, Time Machine: From the Romans to the Middle Ages. Exploring the historic quarters at street level and underground, the guide will reveal secrets of the ancient architecture and what the Temple of Augustus must have been like.

Plaça de Prim

47.  Plaça de Prim

Poblenou’s most emblematic square is also home to some of its oldest residences. The humble, white 19th-century buildings that line the square were home to fishermen when Poblenou was a fishing village. Plaça de Prim doesn’t need a lot of frills to seduce passers-by. Three fantastic ombú trees, a less-than-spectacular fountain, a few benches and a single restaurant – but what a restaurant!  Els Pescadors  has the privilege of exclusive terrace rights.

Time Out tip: If you do eat at the Mediterranean joint Els Pescadors, you must get stuck into a selection of their fresh seafood dishes.

Torre Glòries

48.  Torre Glòries

All around Plaça de las Glòries, you’ll find quite a few of Barcelona’s architectural and cultural landmarks. On one side, you’ve got the  Torre Glòries  (formerly Torre Agbar), the work of architect Jean Nouvel that changed the city’s skyline. On the other is the  Mercat de Bellcaire  (aka ‘Encants’) flea market with its impressive wavy roof designed by Fermín Vázquez. But there’s also the  Disseny Hub Barcelona , home to the city’s design museum; the  Teatre Nacional de Catalunya , by Ricardo Bofill; and  L’Auditori , by Rafael Moneo.

Time Out tip: Get a great view of Barcelona from the 125-metre high observation deck of Mirador torre Glòries. Designed by Jean Nouvel in 2005, it looks somewhat like an irridescent version of London's 'Gherkin'.

Santa Caterina Market

49.  Santa Caterina Market

Opened in 1846, the Mercat de Santa Caterina is the city’s second oldest market. The renovation project was carried out by a team of architects led by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, its most distinctive feature probably being the gorgeous mosaic roof made with 325,000 pieces whose colours echo the fruit and vegetable stands beneath.

Time Out tip: If wandering among so much fresh produce makes you hungry, you can eat at Cuines de Santa Caterina, a bustling restaurant with international dishes available from its various bars.

Parc de Cervantes

50.  Parc de Cervantes

You can explore Cervantes Park by walking up from Avinguda Diagonal, where the main entrance is, or down from the Ronda de Dalt for a more relaxed stroll. This vast green space is much appreciated by walkers and athletes for its wide paths and (both) sunny and shady spots. But if anything, it’s known for its rose garden. From the beginning of spring through autumn, more than 10,000 roses fill four hectares of just one small part of the park.

Time Out tip: Since 2001, the garden has been hosting Barcelona’s International New Rose Competition, which takes place in early May and often features never-before-seen hybrid species of roses.

Street art in the Gothic Quarter and surrounding areas

51.  Street art in the Gothic Quarter and surrounding areas

Barcelona has tons of great graffiti and mural spots, but sniffing them out isn't easy if you don't know oyur way around. Thankfully, they have guides for things like that and you can enlist one to take you round the best areas to see unique, contemporary graffiti. Head round Raval, Gótico and Born, where urban art abounds.

Time Out tip : Want tosee some artists in action? Head to the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies in Poble-sec, where spray artists tend to meet up.

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28 Best Things to Do in Barcelona

By Gemma Askham

La Rambla is one of the best things to do in barcelona spain

The soul-caressing Spanish climate might set Barcelona up as an outdoor city, but its indoor activities have kudos, too. Find world-renowned museums that showcase artistic legends and rising stars, markets rich in local produce, and panoramic viewing platforms to take in the iconic architecture. If it’s sun you want, it’s sun you shall get—but the beach is only one option. From a secret maze to a hilltop fairground, Barcelona’s to-do list is every bit as varied as it is pure fun; Antoni Gaudí’s color-pop architecture ensures that dull moments simply don’t exist here. Consider this your capsule edit of attractions: the definitive list of what to do in Barcelona for the time-smart traveler, from art, iconic parks, and performing arts spaces to so much more. Spanning big-hitters and under-the-radar gems, these are the best things to do in Barcelona—the Catalan-speaking city's most unmissable spots.  Vamos .

Read our complete Barcelona travel guide here .

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

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"The World Begins With Every Kiss" Mural Arrow

This romantically named mural near the Catedral de Barcelona was only meant to be a temporary exhibition. It was unveiled in 2014 for the 300th anniversary of September 11, 1714, a day known as Catalonia Day, or La Diada, which commemorates Catalan surrender in the War of Spanish Succession. The day is a tribute to the Catalan lives lost, to regional identity, and to freedom. The mural is made up of 4,000 tiles with photos printed onto them arranged into mosaics by color and density so that, from afar, the 26-foot-tall mural shows two people kissing. This kiss—a symbol of affection, empathy, and liberty—felt so poignant that the local government never took it down.

Park Guell barcelona spain overhead

Park Güell Arrow

Park Güell is an almost make-believe landscape: home to Barcelona’s famous mosaic lizard—the image on a thousand postcards—plus spiral towers that look like fairground slides. The city’s grandest park began life as a collaboration between entrepreneur Eusebi Güell (hence the park’s name) and Antoni Gaudí. Know that you need to book in advance online, and arrive promptly for your allotted slot—there’s zero wiggle room with timing. An interesting add-on is Casa Museu Gaudí, the pink spired building inside the park. It’s not included in your entrance fee (so factor in an extra €5.50/$5.50 per person), but Gaudí actually lived there for 19 years—which makes it the home tour of all home tours.

Santa Maria del Mar barcelona spain

Santa Maria del Mar Arrow

Ask any local to pick their favorite church and we’d bet a glass of (sacramental) Catalan wine that Santa Maria del Mar would be it. (Sorry, La Sagrada Família !) If you’ve read Ildefonso Falcones’s thriller Cathedral of the Sea , you already know more about it than you think: the novel’s backdrop is the construction of this particular Gothic church, with the lead protagonist one of its stone workers. In real life, the church’s history is almost stranger than fiction: in 1428, it was shook by a major earthquake. Then, in July 1936, it was set on fire and burned for 11 days straight. Look inside, and you’ll still see the black scorch marks on the roof. The building has very tall columns, set 43 feet apart. Combine that airiness with vast stretches of stained glass and it almost feels like someone’s pulling you up into the sky.

Parc del Laberint d'Horta barcelona spain

Parc del Laberint d'Horta Arrow

Barcelona is famous for its buildings being works of art; this is one of the few examples of a garden stepping up to that level. On the wilderness spectrum, Barcelona’s oldest park is beauty-salon manicured: splendid temples, lily-glazed ponds, sculptures of mythological figures, and a cypress maze that’s clearly given the gardener’s pruning shears a workout. The labyrinth is definitely the standout feature, a maze made of elaborate swirls of thick foliage. It recreates the Greek myth of Theseus destroying the Minotaur (a part-human, part-bull monster) to fall in love with Ariadne. A similar fate awaits those who make it to the center—no bovine slaying required, but you will find love in the form of a statue of Cupid. If that all sounds a bit soppy, scoff later: the maze is harder than it looks.

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Tibidabo barcelona spain mountain

Tibidabo Arrow

While Tibidabo mountain is a fairground, it's also so much more. You’ll first notice it from the city center: high on a summit, the silhouette of a majestic temple makes you curious to go. Officially called the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (or Sacred Heart church, easier on the tongue), its roof is topped with an enormous bronze statue of Jesus that you can take an elevator to. Mind-blown (and a little breeze-blown), you suddenly see the charm of the amusement park next to it—like its retro-styled attractions, such as a Ferris wheel with color-pop seating pods, built for the views as much as the screams. Adults love the views; kids love the rides. Finish with a gin and tonic on the terrace of Mirablau Bar , near where the blue tram stops. The edge seats rule.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Gran Teatre del Liceu Arrow

As you’d expect from an opera venue, it’s grand, beautiful, doused with art, and occupies a prime piece of zip code on La Rambla . Yet, as with many of life’s most interesting characters, not all is quite what it seems. The vestibule, as you walk in, dates back to the building’s original construction in 1847. However, the main performance space—with a striking domed ceiling, red-velvet chairs and ornate gold moldings that have echoes of the Palace of Versailles—was actually unveiled in the grand old year of… 1999. A fire having wiped out most of the building’s structure in 1994. But you would never know. The acoustics and sight lines are excellent, and a small screen in your footwell provides subtitles. There's legroom to keep even the long-limbed content.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Mirador Torre Glòries Arrow

Even if you don’t know Torre Glòries by name, you’ll know it by sight. The gleaming, iridescent tower that pierces the cityscape like (some say) a gherkin, though architect Jean Nouvel had a geyser in mind. It’s possibly Barcelona’s most famous landmark that Gaudí had absolutely nothing to do with, and at 470-feet tall it’s definitely one of its tallest. Opened in 2005, and famous for housing Meta’s Barcelona outpost, it’s never offered much in the way of visitor interest beyond a snap. That changed in 2022, when the 30th floor became a panoramic public observation deck with unobstructed views across every angle of the city. Now, when we explain an example of an exhibit, you’ll think we’re joking—we are not joking; it’s a climbing frame, suspended in the air by 3.7 miles of tensioned cable, made of tiny platforms–many transparent–that you scramble up onto, with absolutely no safety protection. Some platforms have cushions to rest and savor the view. Others are so physically tricky to traverse that you’ll break into a sweat, slide on your butt, and have to logically plan a route out. The serious stuff: it’s hard! 

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Catedral de Barcelona Arrow

It might not have the quirkiness nor the hype of La Sagrada Família , but it holds court: a giant Gothic temple that looms large against the narrow lanes and matchbox shops. Its site originally housed a Roman temple some 2,000 years ago, when Barcelona was still called Bàrcino (you can track down parts of the old Roman walls and aqueduct nearby). Today, the cathedral’s official name, Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, honors Eulalia, a local girl who refused to accept Roman emperor Diocletian’s demand to recant her Christian faith. It’s beautiful and atmospheric, as religious buildings so often are. Regardless of your personal level of piety, the architecture inside—plus the city view from the short elevator ride to the top—is quite something.

La Boqueria barcelona spain

La Boqueria Arrow

La Boqueria might be Barcelona’s oldest market—it started life in 1217 as a mere huddle of meat stalls on La Rambla —but tradition isn’t staid. More than 200 stands unite like a foodie’s choir: traders’ shouts, the clink of glasses, welcome greetings sung out ("holaaaa"). Though, for all the atmosphere, it’s the smell that gets you: warm, ocean-salty, freshly fried fish: the kind that lines your nostrils, excites your stomach, makes your physician tense, and has to be washed down with a glass of cava. Grab a fruit smoothie from the technicolored stalls as you walk in. Then do a lap: the deeper you venture, the better the value.

La Rambla is one of the best things to do in barcelona spain

La Rambla Arrow

Barcelona’s most famous street—a nearly one-mile pedestrianized boulevard from Plaça Cataluyna to Port Vell—is still the strolling route for the city's visitors, even if selfie-stick vendors can’t match the charm of the old-school florists, gelaterías, and candy stalls offering bites of crema catalana (a form of crème brûlée) along the way. To predict your next question: But is it La Rambla or Las Ramblas? Well, it’s really both. Originally, the area consisted of five mini-ramblas: Rambla de Canaletes, Estudis, Sant Josep, Caputxins, and Santa Mònica, but they're often lumped together and today, the street sign says La Rambla. Annoying as it is to keep your purse clenched from pickpockets for a mile, La Rambla has a charm that keeps the 78 million coming.

Fundació Joan Miró Barcelona Museum

Fundació Joan Miró Arrow

It takes a certain type of space to accommodate Miró—an artist whose works range from a white canvas with a single black line to bold, primary-colored, robot-like sculptures. So it makes sense that Miró worked with his friend, architect Josep Lluís Sert, to design the building himself. It’s modern and minimalist by Barcelona’s standards—it's certainly no La Sagrada Família . But the coolest part is knowing that you’re seeing Miró’s work laid out exactly as he intended. However you feel about Miró, the collection is lively and energetic and devoid of the stuffy pretense that art museums can attract.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Els Encants Arrow

Els Encants is the flea market with the fabulous roof. That ceiling is over 80-feet high, built from undulating zinc and aluminum, and mirrored silver-gold to reflect a kaleidoscopic whirl of stalls below. This market of odds-and-sods has existed in Barcelona since around 1300; for years, as a nomad–goods laid out on ever-changing streets and squares around the city. That changed in 2013 when Els Encants’ sparkling new home opened in Poblenou. The design wizardry of architect b720 Fermín Vázquez (which is now modernizing the city’s iconic Camp Nou soccer stadium), it’s a visual stunner blessed with good-looking neighbors. On one side, the tin-foil-shiny Torre Glòries and Disseny Hub, the design museum. Turn 90 degrees, and there’s La Sagrada Familia saying hola in the background.

Casa Batlló barcelona spain

Casa Batlló Arrow

It’s easy to see why Casa Batlló has been likened to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies : Covered in shards of stained glass, it sometimes appears blue, then green, then shimmering like the glassy layer of a lake. Textile industrialist Josep Batlló commissioned Gaudí to design this home after seeing what Gaudí had done with Park Güell . Influenced by nature, Casa Batlló has no straight lines (because they don’t exist in nature, said Gaudí), stone pillars that contort like animal bones, and a tall, ocean-blue stairwell that’s very Jules Verne. The result is both grand and intimate. See our Barcelona Gaudi guide, here .

Palau de la Música Catalana barcelona spain

Palau de la Música Catalana Arrow

It might be the Palace of Catalan Music, but you come as much for your eyes as your ears. The auditorium is a kaleidoscope of roses, chandeliers, and stained glass. This is the work of Modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a building some say is even prettier than Gaudí's La Sagrada Família . Built to house the Orfeó Català symphonic choir, today’s musical acts span from choral to pianists, jazz, flamenco, and operas such as La Traviata and Carmen . A key decision is whether to visit in daylight, for a tour, when the building is at its most spectacular, or at night, when the music happens.

Barceloneta barcelona spain

Barceloneta Arrow

Barceloneta is the high-school jock of beaches: loud, popular, and boisterous. Its version of a buff torso? A strip of sand that’s no less of a showoff; at one end, there’s the metallic, sail-like silhouette of the W Hotel , at the other, the blinding gold sculpture of a fish by architect Frank Gehry. When you’ve arrived at Barceloneta, you know it. If you’re looking for the whitest sand and the most azure waters, you won’t find them at Barceloneta. But it is convenient, chaotic, and a must-see carnival.

Barcelona Spain Montjuic

Montjuïc Arrow

There are many grand elements to Montjüic, a historic hill that’s a whole lot more than ‘just a hill’. For starters, the approach at ground level. From the roundabout at Plaça España (which doesn’t sound sexy, we know), it appears majestically from nowhere, a dramatic, architectural staircase leading up to the  Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (National Museum of Catalan Art). It looks like a palace; the water feature in front is even called the Magic Fountain. (Some evenings, there’s a water-light spectacular; check the schedule  here ). So far, we’ve described about 400 meters of Montjüic: the rest has more museums, the 1992 Olympic site, exotic gardens, and enough panoramic views to jam a smartphone camera roll.

Palo Alto Market barcelona spain market

Palo Market Fest Arrow

Take an abandoned factory in the most up-and-coming part of town, plant enough foliage to fund your local garden center for life, and use the term "concept space" a LOT. Sounds trendy, right? On the thermometer of cool, Palo Market Fest is an icy Old Fashioned cocktail. Yet its atmosphere has the warm glow of having knocked a few back: live music provides a head-bopping shopping backdrop, while pop-up beer bars and insanely good food trucks mean that everyone is simply in a great mood.

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La Sagrada Família Arrow

It’s practically illegal to go to Barcelona and not visit La Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s extraordinary temple dedicated to the Holy Family—also known as the world’s largest unfinished church. The illusive end date remains a mystery—local theorists speculate it will never be done in order to preserve its in-process cachet. Be sure to book a ticket ahead (dates are available three months out) so you can get inside and gawk at the vaults and rainbow stained glass. When you go, spring for the extra audio guide and a trip up to one of the two towers—the Nativity Façade is our favorite.

a view of the top of the Mercat de Sant Antoni public market in Barcelona Spain built on 1879

Mercat de Sant Antoni Arrow

Imagine La Boqueria –the heaving, calamari-scented food market on La Rambla—before it became famous. When the only voices were local, and daily specials were scribbled in felt-tip pen on scraps on paper. That’s Sant Antoni today. A food and clothes market that’s revered by locals and cemented in their daily routines. Telling an international audience about it feels like breaking a secret code, so come with respect for that authenticity and a willingness to practice your high-school Spanish–as well as an appetite. Oh yes, you’ll definitely want the latter. Aim for that sweet spot where you’ll salivate upon seeing trays of olives piled like sandcastles, but aren’t so ravenous that you’ll blow all your hunger on the first stall of cured meats you come to. Built in 1882, it recently closed from 2009 to 2018 for an €80 million refurb. Today, it’s restored, reopened and thriving–with the surrounding blocks becoming car-free to enhance the community-first experience. If you're on a budget: the stall Ous de Calaf takes pretty presentation next-level with loose eggs displayed in straw among ornaments of hens. Regional wines are also likely to be gluggably affordable.

Picasso Museum barcelona spain

Picasso Museum Arrow

A museum spread over five palaces—we’d expect nothing less for Picasso, who moved to Barcelona as a 14-year-old boy and made frequent trips back throughout his life. Downstairs, a courtyard and Gothic archways lead into white studios that illuminate his works. Upstairs, the rooms are lavish: epic painted ceilings that almost drip crystal chandeliers. Visitors flock here to see Picasso's work, but the special setting is why they come back again and again. If you’re expecting Picasso’s big-hitters, you might be disappointed—for a few minutes. Guernica resides in the Reina Sofía in Madrid , The Weeping Woman at London ’s Tate Modern . What Barcelona’s museum has, is everything around those postcard images. In chronological order, it shows every brushstroke (all 4,251 works’ worth) of how he moved from a classically trained painter (see Ciencia y Caridad in Room 3) to a Cubist pioneer, plus some things we never knew he did, like ceramics.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Moco Museum Barcelona Arrow

Here’s the thing: you cannot be bored here. Even if you hit 10,000 steps by lunchtime, Moco’s fluorescent, lively, reaction-provoking collection is a guaranteed perk-you-up. Yes, even if you’ve been known to yawn at the word “museum”. Younger sister of the original Moco Museum in Amsterdam , the name–a snappy portmanteau of modern and contemporary–gives you an idea of the collection’s genre. In truth, the cliché of “expect the unexpected” runs true. There’s a room of Banksys. Talking-point pieces by Damien Hirst and Salvador Dalí sit alongside chuckle-inducing satirical wall quotes. Andy Warhol pops up; photography by David LaChapelle; a lot of KAWS–he of Smurf courtyard fame. And possibly some new-discovery names to add to your iPhone Notes, such as the beautifully macabre oil paintings of Chile’s Guillermo Lorca, which are part-fairytale, part-horror story. One hack: tickets for time slots before 11:00 am and after 6:00 pm are cheaper.

Hospital de la Sante Creu i Sant Pau barcelona spain

Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site Arrow

Built by legendary Modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (of Palau de la Música Catalana fame) with all the features of Catalan Art Nouveau—extravagant domes, stained glass windows, epic pillars—it was designed to be a building that people enjoyed recuperating in. His vision was a garden city for nursing the sick instead of the clinical-looking spaces we still know today—buildings are oriented for maximum sun exposure, for example. When the hospital was moved further north in 2009, this site went through its own rehabilitation: into a museum and arts venue. It now hosts the runways for Barcelona Fashion Week.

Parc de la Ciutadella barcelona spain

Parc de la Ciutadella Arrow

Barcelona's vast city park houses a zoo, regional parliament, and plenty of sites and spots for lounging. Cascada Monumental, built with input from a young Gaudí, is a stunning golden waterfall that both wows and relaxes you. Ditto the serene boating lake beside it. Enter through the Arc de Triomf and the elaborate Modernist building to your right is Castell dels Tres Dragons , built by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Currently closed for renovation, with no word on a reopening date, it was once the zoology museum. Another beautiful, yet no less mysterious, series of structures are the cast iron Umbracle (palm house) and Hivernacle (winter garden) in front. Go for an authentic slice of city-park life.

Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies Van de Rohe

The Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Arrow

This Pavilion was designed by German architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich for the 1929 International Exposition—a global showcase of architectural styles. Exposition over, the pavilion was duly dismantled back to Germany. It was only in the decades after—cue: a face-palming moment of hindsight—that the architectural community realized just how pivotal Mies van der Rohe’s founding symbol of modernist architecture was. In 1980, Barcelona City Council enlisted a team of Catalan architects to turn salvaged photographs and drawings into a delicate, atmospheric reconstruction. Most people’s overarching takeaway from the Pavilion is that it’s smaller than they imagined, so use this as your battery recharge before tackling the other arty big-hitters on Montjuïc , such as Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) and Fundació Joan Miró .

Barcelona Spain Camp Nou

Camp Nou Arrow

The importance FC Barcelona soccer club has in the city can be felt in the noise of its home stadium, the Camp Nou. At 99,354, it’s the biggest in Europe—and there's an expansion plan in place to push it to 105,000. All seats are actually owned by season-ticket holders, who then release them to the public if they can’t go. Don’t worry: it means there’s usually a good chunk available, especially against lower league teams, and 72 to 48 hours before a match. Barcelona’s home matches in La Liga—the Spanish soccer league—usually run from mid-August to the end of May, and tours of the stadium and the FC Barcelona museum are still kicking off (from €26, or $30). Glimpse Messi’s trophies, the players’ tunnel, and the first team’s bench.

Casa Vicens Barcelona Spain

Casa Vicens Arrow

Built in the 1880s as a summerhouse for stockbroker Manel Vicens, Casa Vicens was the very first house Gaudí designed. Forget the Gaudí of La Sagrada Família fame, this is his Orientalist Period. Imagine a Moorish palace merged with a Rubik’s cube. It’s crazy. Anyone who’s a fan of tiles or maximalist design will geek out on the oriental palms, pink walls, flower-adorned tiles and flying birds. Add in a terracotta roof terrace, a couple of elaborate domes, and some Gaudí ironwork and you’re left wondering how it all harmonizes together. Because, weirdly, it does.

IDEAL Centre dArts Digitals Barcelona

IDEAL Centre d’Arts Digitals Arrow

If a digital arts center was going to pop up anywhere in Barcelona, you’d bet your tapas fund on the district of Poblenou—the Catalan capital’s East London-like ‘hood, where once crumbling factories spawn start-ups, art studios, and museums like the Museu Can Framis . From the outside, IDEAL’s boxy exterior shouts movie theatre. And it was—for 67 years. Then it became a movie set, then nothing at all, before a regeneration project in 2019 turned the lights back on. It’s now southern Europe’s first facility dedicated to producing and showcasing digital arts projects, such as holography and virtual reality. Instead of watching an image, you’re thrown right into the image—meaning popcorn-munching to fill the slow scenes is a thing of the past.


Nau Bostik Arrow

Barcelona has a lot of well-known museums, with a lot of well-known names, in a lot of well-known parts of town. Nau Bostik is absolutely none of those—which is exactly why we love it. Take the metro to La Sagrera, walk 10 minutes through a residential district that makes you wonder if you've gotten lost, and look for a bold-colored striped mural on the side of a factory. This work, by Argentine street artist Elian Chali, sums up the spirit of the Nau Bostik.


Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

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Must-see attractions in Barcelona

top tourist places in barcelona spain

La Sagrada Família


The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family) is considered to be the symbol of Barcelona by many residents, and the…

Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain

Visitors and locals alike love Park Güell. The waving balcony and the colorful Guard’s House, with the imposing Barcelona skyline and sea in the…

Barcelona, Casa Batlló is one of the two great buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí on Passeig de Gràcia From the outside the façade of Casa Batlló looks like it has been made from skulls and bones.

Casa Batlló

One of Europe's strangest residential buildings, Casa Batlló (built 1904–6) is Gaudí at his fantastical best. From its playful facade and marine-world…

Barcelona, Spain - June 12, 2017 : Casa Mila  popularly known as La Pedrera or open quarry, a reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance, i

In the top tier of Gaudí's achievements, this madcap Unesco-listed masterpiece, with 33 balconies, was built in 1905–10 as a combined apartment and office…

Mercat de la Boqueria

Mercat de la Boqueria

La Rambla & Barri Gòtic

Barcelona's most central fresh-produce market is one of the greatest sound, smell and colour sensations in Europe. It's housed in a packed-out Modernista…

BARCELONA SPAIN EUROPE,: Inner courtyard of the famous Museu Picasso in Barcelona Catalonia Spain. Located in La Ribera district, it hosts the widest collections of artworks by Pablo Picasso

Museu Picasso

Located along the grand, medieval street of Carrer de Montcada, the Museu Picasso is dedicated to one of the world’s greatest artists, Pablo Picasso. Born…

Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Spain

Fundació Joan Miró

Joan Miró was a Catalan painter and sculptor born in Barcelona who combined abstract art with surrealism. He is considered one of the most influential…

OCTOBER 26, 2014: People walking past market stalls on the La Rambla street in Barcelona.

La Rambla is a tree-lined boulevard featuring a wide array of architectural delights, beautifully decorated flower stalls and particularly talented (and…

Image taken on Montjuïc

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

The spectacular neobaroque silhouette of the Palau Nacional can be seen on Montjuïc's slopes from across the city. Built for the 1929 World Exhibition and…

Outside of the Cathedral

La Catedral

Barcelona’s central place of worship presents a magnificent image. The richly decorated main facade, dotted with gargoyles and the kinds of stone…

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Museu d’Història de Barcelona

One of Barcelona's most fascinating museums travels back through the centuries to the very foundations of Roman Barcino. You'll stroll over ruins of the…

The Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Música Catalana

A fantastical symphony in tile, brick, sculpted stone and stained glass, this Unesco-listed, 2146-seat concert hall is a high point of Barcelona’s…

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Palau Güell

Built off La Rambla in the late 1880s for Gaudí's wealthy patron the industrialist Eusebi Güell, the Palau Güell is a magnificent example of the early…

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Barça Stadium Tour & Museum

A pilgrimage site for football fans around the world, Camp Nou is a must for FC Barcelona fans. On this tour, which can be guided or self-guided, you'll…

Santa Maria Del Mar Basilica in Barcelona, Spain

Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar

At the southwestern end of Passeig del Born stands Barcelona’s finest Catalan Gothic church, Santa Maria del Mar (Our Lady of the Sea). Begun in 1329,…

The exterior of the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art or Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona

An extraordinary all-white, glass-fronted creation by American architect Richard Meier, opened in 1995, the MACBA has become the city's foremost…

Museum of Frederic Mares in Barcelona. Sculpture collection - gothic, middle ages

Museu Frederic Marès

The wealthy Catalan sculptor, traveller and obsessive collector Frederic Marès i Deulovol (1893–1991) amassed one of the wildest collections of historical…

Barcelona, Spain - September 20, 2021: Casa Vicens is a modernist building located in Barcelona, in the district of Gracia. The work of Antoni Gaudí, it was the first important project of the architect.

Casa Vicens

A Unesco-listed masterpiece, this angular, turreted 1885-completed private house was Gaudí’s inaugural commission, when the architect was aged just 30,…

Entrance to Museu Marítim

Museu Marítim

The city's maritime museum occupies the mighty Gothic Reials Drassanes (Royal Shipyards) – a remarkable relic from Barcelona's days as the seat of a…

The cloisters at the Cistercian Monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet (Monestir de Poblet) in the Catalonia region of Spain. Parts of the monastery date from the 1150. The monks make their own wine and the monastery is surrounded by vineyards.

Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes

Founded in 1327, this serene convent is now a museum of monastic life (the few remaining nuns have moved into more modern neighbouring buildings). It…

Cosmo Caixa, a science museum located in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

One of the city’s most popular family-friendly attractions, this science museum is a favourite with kids (and kids at heart). The single greatest…

Locals shop in Mercat de Santa Caterina market in famous la rambla area of Barcelona

Mercat de Santa Caterina

Come shopping for your tomatoes or pop in for lunch at this extraordinary-looking produce market, designed by forward-thinking architects Enric Miralles…

Barcelona beach, Torre Mapfre

El Poblenou Platges

A series of beautiful, broad, sandy golden beaches dotted with xiringuitos (seasonal beach bars) stretches northeast from the Port Olímpic marina. They're…

Barcelona, Spain - January 21, 2024: Palau de Mar, a former port warehouse that houses the Museum of the History of Catalonia (Museu d’Història de Catalunya in Catalan). Port Vell, Barcelona, Spain

Museu d’Història de Catalunya

Within the revitalised 1880s Palau de Mar, this excellent museum travels from the Stone Age through to the arrival of Modernisme in Catalonia and the…

Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Modernista building by Domenech i Montaner - Barcelona, Cataluna

Fundació Antoni Tàpies

The Fundació Antoni Tàpies is both a pioneering Modernista building (completed in the early 1880s) and the major collection of leading 20th-century…

Exterior of Gran Teatre del Liceu

Gran Teatre del Liceu

If you can’t catch a night at the opera, you can still take in the awe-inspiring architectural riches of one of Europe’s greatest opera houses. Opened in…

Inside of Casa Amatller

Casa Amatller

One of Puig i Cadafalch’s most striking flights of Modernista fantasy, Casa Amatller combines Gothic window frames and Romanesque flourishes with a…

Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain - A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

Domènech i Montaner outdid himself as architect and philanthropist with the Modernista Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau, renamed the 'Recinte…

Casa de les Punxes

Casa de les Punxes

Puig i Cadafalch’s 1905 Casa Terrades is known as the Casa de les Punxes (House of Spikes) because of its pointed tile-adorned turrets. Resembling a…

Barcelona, Spain-August 18, 2022. Waterfall in Ciudadela Park, architectural ensemble with water jets in Ciudadela Park, Barcelona, Spain built 1875 by José Fontseré and Antoni Gaudí.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Come for a stroll, a picnic, a lake boat ride, a tour of Catalonia’s parliament or to marvel at the swirling waterfall-fountain in which Gaudí had a hand…

Inside Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol

Welcome to Spain! All of it! This ‘Spanish Village’ is an intriguing scrapbook of Spanish architecture built for the local-crafts section of the 1929…

Crypt of the colònia güell in Province of Barcelona

Colònia Güell

Apart from La Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s last big project was the creation of a utopian textile workers’ complex for his magnate patron Eusebi Güell outside…

Barcelona:Cannon in Montjuic Castle

Castell de Montjuïc

Enjoying commanding views over the Mediterranean, this forbidding fortress dominates the southeastern heights of Montjuïc. It dates, in its present form,…

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Framing the north end of the city, the pine-forested mountain of Tibidabo, which tops out at 512m, is the highest peak in Serra de Collserola. Much of its…

Exterior of MUHBA Refugi 307

MUHBA Refugi 307

Barcelona was the city most heavily bombed by Franco's air forces during the Spanish Civil War, and as a result developed more than 1300 air-raid shelters…

Inside El Fòrum

Once an urban wasteland, this area has seen dramatic changes since the turn of the millennium, including sparkling buildings, open plazas and waterfront…

Outside of Palau de la Generalitat

Palau de la Generalitat

The early-15th-century Palau de la Generalitat opens through a monumental late-Renaissance facade with neoclassical leanings, designed by Pere Blai, but…

Entrance of Museu Disseny

Museu del Disseny de Barcelona

Nicknamed la grapadora (the stapler), Barcelona's fascinating design museum lies inside a monolithic contemporary building with geometric facades and a…

BARCELONA, SPAIN. Unknown people walking on the Carrer de Montcada street in historical part of Barcelona.

Carrer de Montcada

Today running between the Romanesque Capella d'en Marcús and Passeig del Born, this medieval high street (an early example of town planning) was driven…

Barcelona, Barrio Gotico

Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi

Begun in 1320, on the site of a 10th-century Romanesque church, this striking 14th-century basilica is a classic of Catalan Gothic, with an imposing…

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31 Best Things to Do in Barcelona — From Gaudí Landmarks to Cava Bars

  • Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Guide Formula 1 Racing Is One of the Most Exciting Sports to Travel for — Here's the 2024 Lineup The 31 Best Things to Do in Las Vegas, From Gondola Rides to Epic Stage Shows 11 Best Shows in Las Vegas Right Now 30 Best Things to Do in Austin, Texas — From Nightlife to Barbecue Restaurants I Visited a Secret Wellness Oasis in Austin, Texas — and Here's Why You Should, Too 25 Best Things to Do in Miami, From Art Museums to Food Halls This Florida City Has the Best Beach in North America 31 Best Things to Do in Barcelona — From Gaudí Landmarks to Cava Bars CLOSE Part of Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Guide

Local experts suggest how to explore the coastal city.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Daniel Gioia/Travel + Leisure

Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city with a reputation for its modernist architecture, diverse neighborhoods, Catalan cuisine, and ample opportunities to set your gaze on the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. When I add up my many return trips and extended stays here, I've spent nearly two years exploring this heart-stealing city, and I have seen how travelers new to the destination are often overwhelmed by its abundance. From Gaudí's iconic Sagrada Familia to Roman ruins hiding in plain sight, you would need a lifetime to discover all of this city's secrets. And yet, we took on the challenge of determining the best things to do in Barcelona, from cava tastings to historic landmarks. With help from tourism professionals Hannah Pentimaki, ground operations manager of Walk and Devour Tours , and Jaime Estellés, the front of house manager at Grand Hotel Central , here's how we suggest getting to know this incredible city.

Related : The Best Time to Visit Spain for Great Weather and Famous Festivals

Marvel at the Sagrada Familia.

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This site is well worth queueing up for — or buy your ticket in advance to save time. A work-in-progress, Sagrada Familia has yet to see the completion of its tallest towers, but you can still go inside to experience the Gaudí masterpiece.

Order tapas.

GMVozd/Getty Images

“Barcelona is a foodie paradise,” says Hannah Pentimaki of Devour Tours. “Go to a tapas restaurant so you can try a bit of everything. Order patatas bravas, which are prepared differently in every bar with their own secret recipe. I also recommend you try pan con tomate, or bread with tomato and olive oil, and the bomba, a fried potato croquette with ground beef simmered in a savory sauce. For dessert, get the crema catalana.”

Take a seat at Park Güell.

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Looking for those colorful mosaic benches and structures that look like gingerbread houses? That's Park Güell, and it's Pentimaki's top itinerary suggestion, right alongside having tapas. "If you only have one day in Barcelona, I recommend getting up early and starting with a visit to Park Güell. Book the first tickets of the day so you get there before it's too busy and too hot in the summertime."

Visit Casa Batlló at night.

Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Located in the heart of Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s main shopping street, this home is a perfect example of Catalan modernism, which Gaudí was the master of. Designed for the Batlló family, the home is a work of art from the inside and out. The museum can get very crowded during the day, but if you book a Magic Night ticket , you’ll have more space to move about, and you can enjoy live music and a drink on the rooftop.

Go to the rooftop at Casa Milà.

JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Just a few blocks from Casa Batlló is Casa Milà , another Gaudí-designed home; this one is also known as La Pedrera, which means “the quarry” in Catalan. The house's undulating façade is a marvel when you see it from the street, but you will need to go inside and climb to the rooftop to get the full effect of Gaudí’s genius.

See Gaudí’s early work at Casa Vicens.

Jamie Ditaranto/Travel + Leisure

Pentimaki also recommends visiting Casa Vicens , one of the best-kept Gaudí secrets in town. “Casa Vicens is a very underrated attraction," says Pentimaki. "This was the first house architect Antoni Gaudí designed, and it jump-started his career. Unlike some of his other houses — like Casa Batlló or La Pedrera, which he designed years later — Casa Vicens remains a bit unknown to tourists.”

Go cava tasting.

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This distinct, sparkling wine hails from Spain, specifically the Catalan wine regions surrounding Barcelona. You’ll find it in most restaurants, but Jaime Estellés of Grand Central Hotel recommends guests go to specialists if they want to learn more, including “Agúita in Born District, La Teca de Vila Viniteca , La Vinya del Senyor , and Vinitus .” Pentimaki adds that La Vinya is well-loved among locals. “The bar itself is quite small," Pentimaki says, "but it has a gorgeous outdoor terrace with stunning views of the Gothic church Santa María del Mar.”

Spend time with Picasso.

Reserve your ticket to this museum well in advance if you want to pay your respects to the great Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Set in a series of connected medieval palaces, the museum houses many of the artist’s early works, and exhibits share information about his life in Barcelona.

Walk down the Rambla.

Daniel Gioia/Travel + Leisure

The Rambla is Barcelona's pedestrian superhighway. It may be touristy, but it’s still worth walking at least once to orient yourself in the city. Start at Plaça de Catalunya and go all the way to the Columbus statue; from here, cross over to Rambla de Mar, a boardwalk that goes over the marina, where there is also an aquarium and a shopping mall.

Attend the opera at Gran Teatre del Liceu.

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On a busy night on the Rambla, it's possible you'll pass the Gran Teatre del Liceu when a show is just letting out. Ideally, you'll go inside yourself. No matter the type of show you see, the elaborate decoration of the city’s oldest-running theater is worth enjoying in person.

Admire the Hospital de Sant Pau.

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You don’t need a doctor’s note to check out this modernist masterpiece, built by another one of the city’s prominent architects, Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The unique building completely reimagines what a hospital might look like, using beautiful design, artwork, and natural light to facilitate the healing process.

Tour the Palau de la Música Catalana.

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If you like the Hospital de Sant Pau, enjoy more of Montaner’s style at the Palau de Música Catalana. Concerts are held here throughout the year, but if you’re visiting in the spring you may be able to catch a special show during the Barcelona Obertura , a classical music festival held across the city’s many music venues.

Visit the MNAC.

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Head inside Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) for the best art collection in Barcelona, or take a seat on the stairs and enjoy the views over Plaça d'Espanya. The collection includes pieces from modernists like Picasso and Renaissance painters like El Greco. Gaudí fans should make sure to visit the collection of the architect’s unique furniture pieces.

Ride the cable car to Montjuïc.

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You will find some of the best city views at the top of Montjuïc, plus a historic fortress and venues from the 1992 Olympics that are still in use as entertainment spaces. Skip the climb and hop on the cable car at Parc de Montjuïc to go straight to the castle.

Graze on pintxos in Poble Sec.

If you’re walking down from Montjuïc, you will end up in this charismatic neighborhood. Head down to Blai Street, where you will find a seemingly endless row of pintxo (or small snack) bars and many locals enjoying after-work drinks and tapas al fresco.

Get lost in the Gothic Quarter.

Getting turned around is half the fun of wandering the winding narrow streets of this medieval district. You never know when you will come across a hidden gem of a wine bar or the remains of an ancient Roman temple. There is plenty of shopping to do and many squares as well; find a sunny place to sit down or to order a traditional vermouth drink.

Visit the Barcelona Cathedral.

This cathedral is at the heart of the Gothic Quarter, and its beautiful architecture dates back to the 13th century. After appreciating the inside of the cathedral, get a view of its fantastic exterior from the rooftop of the Hotel Colon , which is just across the way from the cathedral.

Explore El Born.

One of Barcelona's most picturesque neighborhoods, El Born offers history, nightlife, and excellent shopping. If you're here just briefly, climb up the tower at the Catedral de Mar, then stop at the famous Patisserie Hofmann for one of their show-stopping croissants. On the last weekend of the month, there's a pop-up market on Passeig de Born, where you'll find neighborhood shops and vendors selling their wares.

Pose with the Raval Cat.

There’s no denying the charm of this rotund feline who sits on the Rambla de Raval; the sculpture was created by Colombian artist Fernando Botero. In this neighborhood, you can also check out vintage shops and rambunctious skateboarders, who regularly tear up the concrete in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona .

See Gaudí’s fountain at Ciutadella Park.

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The scene in Ciutadella is always lively, but the park’s centerpiece is this impressive fountain, also by Gaudí. The Cascada Monumental was one of the architect’s early projects, designed while he was still in university.

Rent a paddleboard in Barceloneta.

There’s plenty of activity on the sand at Barcelona’s busiest beach, but you’ll get better views if you’re on the water. Rent a paddleboard at one of the nearby neighborhood shops; hit the water at the right time, and you can watch the sunset behind the city.

Dance all night.

Barcelona’s nightlife is legendary, and people really do stay out until the sun comes up. Classic spots that keep themselves hip include Apolo and Razzmatazz . In Poble Espanyol, a recreation of a typical Spanish village, you’ll also find the music pumping well into the night on the outdoor dance floor of La Terrazza .

Visit many different markets, not just La Boqueria.

La Boqueria is the most famous market in Barcelona, but you can visit other neighborhood markets for smaller crowds and a more authentic shopping experience. Try the Santa Caterina Market in El Born or the Sant Antoni Market.

Have drinks at an incredible cocktail bar.

Barcelona has been making waves in the international cocktail scene for years, consistently ranking on the list of The World’s 50 Best Bars , which is curated by leading industry experts. Paradiso in El Born took the number one spot in the world in 2022, and you’ll probably find a line to match that reputation when you get there. If you don’t want to wait, check out other El Born neighborhood spots with their own specialty cocktail reputations, including Dr Stravinsky and Monk .

Take in the views from Tibidabo.

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The Temple of the Sacred Heart sits at the top of this hill, and the views of the city skyline and the Mediterranean make it a worthwhile trek; you can hike or take the cable car up. You'll also find a theme park on the hilltop. Tibidabo is, of course, yet another great place to watch the sunset.

Get a history lesson on the Spanish Civil War.

In addition to the many great walking tours and food tours available in Barcelona, Spanish Civil War Tours offers history lovers an education in the Spanish Civil War; many significant events happened here in Barcelona. Visit the company website to sign up for a tour with a local historian.

Find the human towers.

 Lola Bou/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

It’s not often that visitors get to experience casteller performances, and when you do, it’s a nail-biting sight you will remember forever. Team members work together to create gravity-defying human structures in this traditional art form. Check the online schedule to see if you might catch them in the act while you’re in town.

Make the pilgrimage to Montserrat.


The unique geology of this mountain gives it its name, which means “Serrated Mountain,” and the monastery at the top should be on your Barcelona itinerary. Guided tours are available, and note that it’s extremely easy to reach this site by train from Plaza Espanya.

Feast on calçots.

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If you visit Barcelona between January and March, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Catalan barbecue. Many restaurants offer these spring onions and tangy romesco sauce on the menu this time of year, but be forewarned: they can be so messy to eat that they're often served with gloves and a bib.

Take a day trip to Costa Brava.

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You will find the best beaches and the prettiest waters north of the city on the iconic Costa Brava. The easiest day trip is to Tossa de Mar, where you can rent a kayak and explore the nearby caves and coves that define this beautiful stretch of coast.

Related: Best Beaches in Spain

Watch a thrilling race.


The Formula 1 Aramco Gran Premio de España, better known as the Spanish Gran Prix , will remain in Barcelona only until 2026, when it moves to Madrid. It’s worth noting that the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, built as part of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics development program, sits 15 miles north of the city center. Held in late June, the race is often a nail-biter, thanks to the amount of year-round testing done there — meaning the drivers and mechanics are deeply familiar with it. A bit of history: The track enjoyed an incredible debut, with Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna near wheel-to-wheel racing down the straightaway (before Mansell took the victorious lead).

Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 Guide

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Full Suitcase Travel Blog

28 TOP Barcelona Sights & Tourist Attractions (+Map & Tips)

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: March 11, 2024

28 TOP Barcelona Sights & Tourist Attractions (+Map & Tips)

Looking for the best things to do in Barcelona, Spain, and feeling overwhelmed? Deciding which of the most popular Barcelona attractions to see is indeed not easy, especially if you are visiting for the first time and your time in the city is limited…

So to help you figure out where to go and what to see in Barcelona, in this guide we share the VERY BEST sights and TOP tourist attractions in Barcelona that are worth your time the most . For each place, we also include our top tips for your visit. We also created a map of Barcelona attractions that should help you plan your sightseeing itinerary. Find out!

Located between the sea and the mountains, the beautiful city of Barcelona is rich in culture and history. Its architecture is stunning, a contrasting mixture of Catalan Gothic and Modernism. The atmosphere is fun and cosmopolitan, with a relaxed and friendly vibe during the day and a vibrant nightlife when the sun goes down.

With so many things to do and interesting places to explore in Barcelona, you may be feeling a little daunted when it comes to planning an itinerary. This guide to Barcelona’s top sights and attractions will give you a good idea of what to expect, and our experience-based tips will help you make the most of your time. At the bottom of this article, you can find a map indicating all the top sights in Barcelona.

Good to know: In addition to the Barcelona must-sees featured in this guide, there are many more interesting things to do in Barcelona. While not a must on a short first visit, these experiences will make your visit to the city even more special than just ticking off the ‘must-see’ list . So in order to give you a more complete picture of what there is to see and do in Barcelona, we listed some of the coolest attractions and fun, local activities as well.

Best places to see and things to do in Barcelona Spain

Good to know: This list of the best sights and attractions in Barcelona is sorted starting with the must-sees first . So if you are really short on time, start with the top of this list and make your way down.

The top 10 sights on this list are not to be missed . If you have more time in the city, be sure to read all the suggestions and choose a few more places that interest you the most.

The top 15-20 are really nice to see and you should be able to cover most of these sights in about 3 days. The rest is well worth it too, and if you have 4-5 days in Barcelona, you should be able to see most of the places mentioned in this guide.

TIP: Be sure to also check our additional recommendations for fun activities and experiences that will make a nice addition to any sightseeing itinerary and will help you plan a much more memorable trip to Barcelona! You can find them at the end of this guide , right before the map of the main sights in Barcelona.

But first – the musts, best places to see and things to do in Barcelona. Take a look!

Top 3 Places Not to Miss in Barcelona:

  • Sagrada Familia (Be sure to upgrade to Tower access!) .
  • Park Güell .
  • Casa Batlló .

These are the main landmarks, best sights, and top tourist attractions in Barcelona:

1. La Sagrada Familia

One of Barcelona’s most famous buildings, the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia (Basilica of the Holy Family) is an architectural masterpiece that should be at the top of any Spain bucket list . If there is one landmark that you absolutely cannot miss in Barcelona, it’s Sagrada Familia. As impressive as it is, seeing the church from the outside isn’t enough – you really have to visit the inside too!

Designed by the genius architect Antoni Gaudí, La Sagrada is truly breathtaking. No words or pictures do it justice – it’s a place you have to experience first-hand.

Filled with rich detail, its interior is bathed in fairytale-like rainbow hues as the light filters through the colorful glass windows. The atmosphere is almost surreal and the view inside the naves – looking up at the tree-like columns surrounding the vaulted ceiling – defies description.

Good to know: Do not confuse La Sagrada Familia with the Cathedral of Barcelona . Whilst the most famous and most visited, Basilica La Sagrada Familia is not a Cathedral . The actual Barcelona Cathedral is also well worth a visit – you’ll find more information about it further below.

Interesting fact: Although the construction started at the end of the 19th century, La Sagrada Familia is still not completely finished. The building has been under construction for over 130 years! Whilst most of the interior is now complete, you’ll notice that work is still being done to the exterior. The aim is to finish it by 2026, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s passing. It’s fun to spot the differences in architectural styles and colors as you walk around.

Basilica La Sagrada Familia is the most beautiful place to see in Barcelona

Good to know: Be sure to get skip-the-line tickets in advance to avoid wasting time queuing. Plan 1.5-2 hours for your visit, and – in high season – allow some extra waiting time (even with priority tickets, you’ll have to locate the dedicated entrance, pass the security check, etc).

Best time to visit: If you want to avoid the crowds, visit La Sagrada Familia first thing in the morning. However, mid-morning or mid to late afternoon is the best time light-wise. That’s when the sunlight strikes the windows directly, enhancing the colorful illumination within the church. We visited at around 2 PM and the light was mesmerizing!

TIP: Instead of just getting tickets and going on your own, we highly recommend booking a guided tour which will come with priority access tickets. There is so much symbolism, so many interesting details, and stories about La Sagrada that you would totally miss without a guide. Having a guide will enhance your visit to any of the Gaudi buildings, but especially at La Sagrada Familia!

PRO TIP: If available for your travel date, upgrade your ticket to include tower access. Some guided tours also give this option. It doesn’t matter which tower you choose – Passion Facade Tower or Nativity Facade Tower, the views are just as spectacular, and you get to see the incredible architectural details of the towers and the rooftops from close by. It’s one of the most unique experiences in Barcelona!

We visited La Sagrada Familia as part of this amazing day tour that includes all the main Gaudi landmarks in Barcelona. You can read all about this tour via the link below.

READ ALSO: Best Gaudi Tour in Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia is a must see in Barcelona

2. Gothic Quarter – Old Town of Barcelona

The Ciutat Vella – Barcelona’s Old Town – is made up of four main areas. The most popular and the most beautiful to see is the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). No matter how long your trip is, this area is not to be missed in Barcelona!

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is a rather compact area located southeast of Pla ça de Catalunya and perched between the streets of La Rambla to the west and Via Laietana to the east.

It’s a fascinating part of the town, with a network of narrow medieval streets and stunning examples of the Gothic stone architecture that gave it its name.

It’s here that you’ll find many of the oldest churches of Barcelona, including the 13-15th-century Cathedral of Barcelona (more about it below). And be sure to explore the neighborhood’s many squares, including the most famous of them all, Plaça Reial (Royal Square).

TIP: The 19th-century  Plaça Reial is one of the must-sees in Barcelona! It’s a lively city square lined with tall palm trees, a fountain in the middle, and lamps designed by Gaudi. This is a popular meeting place with many restaurants and cafes – ideal to relax, have a drink, and do some people-watching. If you visit on a Sunday morning, you’ll find the coin- and stamp collectors’ market here as well.

Garden and inner courtyard of Barcelona Cathedral

But the history of the Gothic Quarter goes back much further, with parts dating back to Roman times. Inside the area’s City History Museum (MUHBA – more info further below), you can even visit a subterranean Roman town. Here you’ll see ancient houses, streets, and workplaces.

Good to know: The Gothic Quarter is packed with bars and restaurants and has a very lively nightlife. It’s also great for shopping, with plenty of little boutiques to explore.

TIP: There are many really nice tours that visit this part of town (often in combination with other popular sights in Barcelona). You can choose from walking tours , bike tours , or food tours – it’s a fun way to get to know the city a bit better.

Gothic Quarter in Barcelona Spain

3. Barcelona Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia – also known as Barcelona Cathedral – is the main attraction in the Old Town. It’s a traditional Gothic cathedral, totally different from La Sagrada Familia, but worth a visit just as much.

Dating back to the 13th to 15th centuries, Barcelona Cathedral is a beautiful building with a spectacular interior that simply must not be missed. Its facade is famous for its gargoyles, along with domestic and mythical animals.

But what many people don’t realize is that its elaborate exterior was actually a 19th-century addition! Its original features were much more simple and can still be seen along the Cathedral’s sides.

Be sure to take a walk in the picturesque garden , filled with tall palms and magnolias. Here you will find the Well of the Geese (Fuente de las Ocas). This is a large, raised pond filled with thirteen white geese. Some say they are there to safeguard the cathedral’s treasures – geese were traditionally kept by the Romans as security guards. Others say they are there to represent the age of Christian martyr Saint Eulàlia when she died.

Barcelona Cathedral

TIP: It’s also well worth taking the elevator to the Cathedral roof . Here you can get a good view of the Barcelona skyline.

Good to know: You’ll need a ticket to visit the Cathedral. It is now possible to book this ticket online and we highly recommend doing that! The ticket includes fast-track entry to the Cathedral, access to the rooftops, the Chapter Room, and more. For more info about opening times and tickets, see their website .

Also, you should wear appropriate clothing (knees and shoulders covered) for your visit here – shorts and revealing clothes are considered disrespectful.

Barcelona Cathedral interior

4. Park Güell

Park Güell is another of the most famous Gaudi attractions and a must-see in Barcelona!

This magical garden was commissioned by the Spanish entrepreneur Eusebi Güell. He wanted a stylish park for Barcelona’s aristocracy to enjoy and this magnificent open space was the result.

You can see beautiful tiling here, along with unique stone structures, detailed mosaics, and a wonderful dragon staircase with a fountain. There is even a small house in which Gaudi lived at one point. This is now a museum and contains interesting pieces of furniture that he designed.

Park Guell is one of the must sees in Barcelona

TIP: Be sure to book your tickets ahead of your visit, as they are usually sold out at least a few days in advance. Many of our readers told us that they weren’t able to visit the park because they didn’t think to book in advance, and our local guide confirmed that this is indeed often the case.

PRO TIP: If you didn’t get the tickets in time, try to see if you can still join one of the guided tours that visit the park . They usually prebook some extra tickets to accommodate last-minute bookings.

Good to know: Park Güell is located a bit outside of the city center. The closest metro station to the park is about 15 minutes away, so if you are very short on time you may prefer to take a taxi. Also, wear comfy footwear! Much of the walking is uphill and many of the paths are made from dirt. Sneakers are ideal.

Park Güell is one of top attractions in Barcelona

5. Plaça de Catalunya

Located in the very heart of Barcelona, Plaça de Catalunya is a large plaza, the central square of the city. It’s here that the Gothic Quarter, the neighborhoods of El Raval and l’Eixample, and the most prominent streets such as La Rambla and Passeig de Gràcia come together. It doesn’t get any more central!

Plaça de Catalunya is a popular meeting place in Barcelona – for locals and tourists alike. Many city tours start here, and – because there’s enough space for big buses to park – quite a lot of tours that go outside the city also start here.

This large city square is a hub of activity, with frequent fiestas and live musical performances. Its perimeter is lined with statues and there are fountains and green verges, giving you somewhere to sit for a while and soak it all up.

Surrounding the square are many great eateries (including the Hard Rock Cafe , for the fans). Shopping is good here too, with – among others – a large branch of El Corte Ingles, Spain’s biggest department store chain.

Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona

Good to know: To appreciate the plaza without the crowds (and noise) visit on the weekend in the morning.

TIP: For an impressive, birds-eye view of the plaza and the city beyond, check out the self-service restaurant at the very top level of the El Corte Ingles shopping center. It’s one of the best – and free – viewpoints in Barcelona’s city center.

Catalunya Square is a must see in Barcelona

6. La Rambla

La Rambla (aka Las Ramblas) is probably Barcelona’s most famous street and no trip to the city would be complete without walking through it. Connecting Plaça de Catalunya to the waterfront area La Rambla crosses the heart of Barcelona’s old town, with many of Barcelona’s most famous sights just nearby.

This wide tree-lined avenue with a wide pedestrian area in the middle is packed with street musicians, souvenir vendors, and people enjoying drinks on the restaurants’ terraces.

It’s busy – crowded – at La Rambla every day. But visit early in the morning and you’ll find it much quieter. This will give you an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful architecture and other interesting sights here.

Check out the Font de Canaletes , a small drinking fountain where Barcelona football club fans come to celebrate the team’s victories. Drinking from this fountain is said to guarantee your return to the city (I haven’t tried though)…

Other spots worth visiting include Gran Teatre del Liceu and Palau Güell , an impressive mansion designed by Gaudi. Also the earlier mentioned Gothic Quarter with Plaça Reial – beautifully decorated with palm trees – and Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol square with Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi is just nearby.

Casa Bruno Cuadros – a building at the corner of La Rambla and Plaça Boqueria – with Chinese mosaics, umbrellas, and a huge dragon on the facade is also noteworthy.

La Rambla Barcelona

Good to know: Restaurants and cafes on La Rambla tend to be of quite poor quality. Your best dining option in the area is to head to the Boqueria market instead (see below) or check out the restaurants in the Gothic Quarter just nearby.

Also, La Rambla is so busy and so touristy that it’s one of the places where you really have to watch out for pickpockets!

Pastisseria Escribà on La Rambla in Barcelona

7. Casa Batlló

Designed by Gaudi, the iconic architecture of Casa Batlló in the city center attracts a million visitors every year. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the building was originally constructed in 1877, at which point it had a very unoriginal appearance. But when local businessman Josep Batlló y Casanovas bought it in 1903, he called in Gaudi to work his magic. It then evolved into the spectacular work of art we see today!

Its exterior and interior – like all of Gaudi’s work – is absolutely unique, from the extravagant facade all the way to the dragon roof. The entrance hall has an underwater feel, whilst the Noble Floor features massive oak doors with stained glass panes. The dining room at its center leads out to a beautiful and tranquil rear courtyard, beautifully paved and dotted with tile and glass-coated flower pots.

Strange as it may sound, make sure you check out the building’s elevator too. Installed in the center of the patio of lights, it still uses its beautiful and original wooden car.

The newest addition is the immersive Casa Batllo 10D Experience with two immersive rooms – the Gaudi Dome and the Gaudi Cube. The art literally comes to life as you approach! Just be sure to choose the right ticket option – depending on what you want to see and how much time you have inside. See more info below as well.

Casa Batllo in Barcelona Spain

Good to know: Casa Batllo is open daily to visitors and takes around an hour to explore. Be sure to get your tickets in advance and plan to visit first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, when it is less crowded.

NEW! There’s now a special, early access available to Casa Batllo with this ‘Be the First’ ticket . If you don’t mind getting up earlier and want to see one of the most special Gaudi buildings in Barcelona without the crowds, check it out!

TIP: We visited here with this tour that also visits La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and allows you to see a few other Gaudi landmarks in about half a day. The guide took us inside Casa Batllo before the building opened to the general public. It was magical!

Casa Batllo is among top places to see in Barcelona

8. Casa Milà

Casa Milà , also known as La Pedrera (the stone quarry), is another famous Gaudi building and a very popular place to see in Barcelona. Like Casa Battlo, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is equally busy to visit!

Casa Mila is famous for its unusual rough-hewn, wavy appearance. Incredibly, it does not have a single straight line and looks almost organic rather than something manmade.

The most impressive is its rooftop and chimneys that you can see up close if you visit inside.

TIP: If you are looking for an even more special experience, you can visit here in the evening, after dark. The rooftop is lit up and you can experience a spectacular light show. For more info and tickets for the La Pedrera night experience, see here .

Barcelona attractions - Casa Mila

Good to know: Just like all the Gaudi sights, Casa Mila is an extremely popular attraction in Barcelona. So if you want to be sure to see the interior, you really should get skip-the-line tickets in advance !

Consider this: Casa Battlo and Casa Mila are both iconic landmarks, among the most visited Barcelona attractions. Even with fast-track access, trying to see both of them can eat up too much of your precious time in Barcelona.

So depending on your overall sightseeing itinerary, you might prefer to visit the inside of only one of these buildings and appreciate the other one from the outside.

Opinions differ on which is best – Casa Mila or Casa Battlo. The majority of visitors seem to agree that the interior of Casa Battlo really shouldn’t be missed, so if you can visit just one of the two, make it Casa Battlo, and then admire Casa Mila from the outside. They’re located very close to each other, just 5 minutes walk between the two.

Casa Mila on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona

9. Passeig de Gràcia

One of the city’s most important avenues, Passeig de Gràcia is another place you really have to see in Barcelona. Along this famous street, you’ll find some of Barcelona’s most remarkable architecture, high-end boutiques, plus cafés, bars, and restaurants.

Some of the most impressive buildings in Barcelona can be found on Passeig de Gràcia. The earlier-mentioned Casa Battlo and Casa Mila are located here.

Plus, there are many other buildings by other prominent architects including the most famous mansions such as Casa Amatller (this one can also be visited inside ), Casa Lleó Morera , Casa Mulleras , and Casa Josefina Bonet .

TIP: Note the hexagonal tiles on the pavements ! Designed by Gaudi, they all follow the same pattern with natural elements such as starfish, ammonites, and algae. The design was originally meant for the floors of Casa Batllo but was later used for the service floors inside Casa Mila. Recently, the sidewalks of Passeig de Gracia have been paved with tiles produced using this Gaudi design.

Barcelona Passeig de Gràcia and Gaudi tiles

Many people come to Passeig de Gràcia just to shop. Indeed, it’s one of the best places for luxury shopping in Barcelona.

There are plenty of renowned international designer stores to choose from, including Prada, Chanel, and Gucci. Or you can head all the way into Gracia Village, where Passeig de Gràcia ends. Here you’ll find an interesting collection of independent boutiques, organic health-food eateries, and stores selling up-cycled furniture.

And if you want to take a break from sightseeing and shopping, you’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars at which to stop and enjoy lunch or dinner.

Good to know: Gracia village has lots of outdoor squares lined with laid-back cafes and bars. And its nightlife is excellent, attracting a young and local crowd.

Casa Lleo Morera on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona

10. Mercado de La Boqueria

Barcelona has 12 large covered 19th-century markets scattered all over the city.

The best-known and most popular indoor market is the Mercado de La Boqueria , housed in a stunning glass and steel building in the heart of La Rambla.

Boqueria Market is a real foodie’s paradise, with local meats, cheeses, and seafood along with a range of exotic and colorful fruits and vegetables. It’s a great place to go for lunch or a quick snack when sightseeing in Barcelona city center.

Mercado de La Boqueria in Barcelona

Good to know: The marker is open every day from morning through to the evening (except on Sundays)

Market stalls and bars selling food and drinks are dotted throughout the market. You may not always be able to sit down as you eat, but you can certainly enjoy the lively atmosphere and bustle!

TIP: Head to the stalls at the back of the market for the best prices – those at the front pay more rent, so they charge more too! And be sure to try one of the many different kinds of freshly squeezed fruit juice while you’re here. They are yummy!

Colorful fruit stand at Boqueria Market in Barcelona

11. Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum is one of the most visited museums in Barcelona. Containing the world’s largest collection of Picasso’s work, the museum is well worth a visit, but you should know that the majority of art you’ll see here dates from his early years. So it might not be exactly what you expect to see based on Picasso’s most famous works…

Although Picasso was born in Malaga, he spent his formative years in Barcelona. Subsequently, it was the place he most considered home. The Picasso Museum honors that connection and contains an extensive collection of his lesser-known works. There are more than 4,200 pieces to view, all chronologically arranged to show the evolution of his art.

You don’t need to be a Picasso fan to appreciate this museum – indeed, there are very few Cubist paintings at all. This museum mostly showcases how his art developed from a traditional style into the rather more unconventional works that made him famous.

It’s really interesting to see how Picasso evolved as an artist and how his style changed with time!

The museum is located in a magnificent medieval building in the old town – somewhat at odds with the style of its subject. However, this also means that the rooms are quite small and it can get very busy at times.

Picasso Museum is one of the best places to visit in Barcelona

Good to know: The museum is open daily except for Mondays. Count about 1-1.5 hours for a visit.

You can visit the museum on your own (free entrance is included with Barcelona Card and also with the Top-6 Museums Card ). But if you want to learn more about the artist and get a better understanding of his works, there’s also a very good guided tour of the museum .

TIP: Just like the majority of Barcelona museums, you can visit here free of charge at certain times. At the moment of writing, the entrance is free on the first Sunday of the month and from 4 PM on Thursdays.

Dwarf Dancer painting by Pablo Picasso in Barcelona

12. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site (also known as Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau or Sant Pau Recinte Modernista ) is a true architectural gem of Barcelona! However, this is one of those places that usually get overlooked in most Barcelona sightseeing itineraries which are mainly focused on the world-famous Gaudi buildings.

But if you have an hour to spare, I highly recommend visiting the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site! For us, it was one of the highlights of Barcelona that we really wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

Designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, this is a big architectural complex that housed a hospital for more than eighty years. Restored in 2009, it is now a museum called the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is just a 10-minute walk from La Sagrada Familia . But it has an entirely different feel to it, with few tourists and no street vendors. So close and yet a world apart!

The atmosphere here is magical and tranquil, with beautiful gardens surrounded by art-nouveau architecture. You can see many of the buildings of the former hospital and visit several of them.

Make sure you check out the interior of the Sant Rafael Pavilion. It has been restored to look exactly as it would have done in the 1920s, with antique radiators and hospital beds. And don’t miss the underground tunnels connecting the former hospital rooms with surgical facilities.

Sant Pau Recinte Modernista, Barcelona, Spain

Good to know: Sant Pau Recinte Modernista is open daily, except for some public holidays. Here, you can find more info and book tickets .

TIP: If you can, visit here in the late afternoon when the buildings turn bright orange, colored by the setting sun. It’s absolutely impressive! However, this will depend on the season when you visit – in the summer, the sun sets much later than in the fall when we visited.

Anyway, no matter the time of day or season, don’t miss this stunning landmark in Barcelona. It’s absolutely worth a short detour from La Sagrada Familia!

WINTER TIP: If you are visiting Barcelona during the holiday season (+-end November – mid-January), don’t miss Els Llums de Sant Pau Christmas Garden . The entire site is then lit up with millions of Christmas lights – it’s absolutely magical!

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau - one of the best things to do in Barcelona

13. Palau de la Música Catalana

The Palau de la Música Catalana is one of the architectural gems of Barcelona! Just as the above-mentioned Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, this beautiful concert hall was also designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

The exterior is very striking, with bright colors and detailed mosaics. Unfortunately, it is a little hard to appreciate because the streets surrounding it are so narrow. But step inside and you cannot help but be mesmerized by the lavish interior, with its ornate glass roof.

This music hall doesn’t appear in many Barcelona travel guides. And maybe that’s a good thing, as it allows you to enjoy the stunning beauty of this building in relative peace. But now that you know about it, be sure to visit!

We stumbled upon it by coincidence when researching something else and decided to check it out. It became one of our favorite places in Barcelona!

Palau de la Musica Catalana is one of the most beautiful places to see in Barcelona

Good to know: You can freely visit the entrance hall and cafe, both of which are stunning. Normally, you need to join a guided tour in order to see the main concert hall, but they now have an option for a self-guided tour as well.

Tours take around 45 minutes, so if you visit on your own, count at least half an hour.

Palau de la Música Catalana is a working concert hall, so you can also attend a concert here. The sightseeing visits during the day are usually available every day, year-round. However, during certain events, the music hall might not be open for visits. So if you want to see it inside, be sure to check in advance!

TIP: Whether you want to visit on your own or with their guide, be sure to book the tickets in advance . That way, you’ll also immediately see if some dates aren’t available. Also, while not very widely known, the place is popular enough to fill the available ticket slots, especially during the high season.

Colorful columns on the balcony of Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona

14. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Located below the Palau Nacional Art Museum ( MNAC ) on the Montjuïc mountain, The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc (Font Màgica de Montjuïc) is one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions. And it’s FREE!

Every evening, this dancing fountain offers stunning displays of music, light, and water acrobatics. These music- and light shows are very popular with locals and tourists alike and attract big crowds.

Arrive here at least 15-30 minutes before the show in order to secure a good spot close to the fountains. In the high season, people usually start to arrive an hour in advance.

Practical information: The best way to get to Font Màgica de Montjuïc is by taking a metro to Plaça d’Espanya. If you have more time, plan half a day for a visit – take a cable car from the waterfront area, explore the Montjuïc mountain and Miro Museum (see below), and then see the fountains in the evening.

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc - one of the most popular Barcelona attractions

Magic Fountain show times vary per season:

  • March: Thursday to Saturday from 8 PM to 9 PM.
  • April, May, October : Thursday to Saturday from 9 PM to 10 PM.
  • June, July, August, September: Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30 PM to 10.30 PM.
  • November, December + the first week of January: Thursday to Saturday from 8 PM to 9 PM.
  • Rest of January and February: closed.
  • This is general info in ‘normal’ times, but be sure to double-check online for the up-to-date schedule before you go!

Good to know: If you are visiting the city in September, then you can see The ‘Piromusical’ here. This huge firework display with accompanying music and lasers is the closing event for La Mercè – Barcelona’s main festival.

TIP: Be sure to climb the staircase to Palau Nacional on Montjuïc – the views from the top are really nice . However, this is actually something that you’ll appreciate better during the day when it’s light or at sunset – a good reason to arrive earlier and explore the area. You can find more information about other attractions on Montjuïc further below.

Barcelona Magic Fountain light show

15. Montjuïc: Cable Car, Castle, Palau Nacional & City Views

Montjuïc (the Jewish Mountain) is the best-known hill in Barcelona. It houses several parks, botanical gardens, places, pavilions, and museums, many of which were built for the 1929 World Fair that was held in Barcelona.

Nowadays, it’s a popular place to visit in the city and some of the must-see sights mentioned in this guide are located in this area (such as the Magical Fountain, the Museum of National Art of Catalonia , Joan Miro Museum , or an open-air museum Poble Espanyol ).

But the majority of tourists come here for aerial views of the city from the Montjuïc cable car , the Montjuïc Castle, and other viewpoints nearby. Also the earlier-mentioned views from the staircase at Palau Nacional on Montjuïc are not to be missed.

Palau Nacional and fountains on Montjuic in Barcelona

Good to know: While you can walk to the top of the mountain from the city center, the easiest way to get here is by taking a cable car from the waterfront or by hop-on-hop-off bus .

TIP: A nice way to visit Montjuïc is by joining an e-bike tour . Or you can visit with a walking tour that includes a cable car ride .

With a local guide, you don’t have to wonder where exactly to go or what to see and do at Montjuïc (which is a big advantage because the area is really big and it’s quite overwhelming).

Barcelona Cable Car

16. Joan Miró Foundation

Located on Montjuïc Mountain, Joan Miró Foundation is one of the best contemporary art museums in Barcelona

There are artworks by Joan Miró throughout Barcelona, but this museum is dedicated purely to his art. Well worth a visit and fun for all ages!

Housing more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other pieces, it is located in an innovative building designed by the Spanish architect, Rafael Moneo. There are beautiful gardens to explore and frequent exhibitions of the works of other artists.

Joan Miro Foundation - one of the best museums to visit in Barcelona

TIP: Be sure to visit the rooftop terrace of the museum. Along with a collection of Miró’s colorful sculptures, you can also enjoy some wonderful views across the city.

Good to know: For the opening dates and tickets, see here .

We just got the tickets on the spot and there was no need to book in advance. However, we visited in a rather quiet season.

Colorful sculpture at Joan Miro Foundation Barcelona Spain

17. Port Vell

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a walk along its waterfront at Port Vell .

Port Vell is the Old Harbour of Barcelona, with a wide waterfront promenade leading down to the city’s famous beaches. It’s a bustling area with lots of cafes, restaurants, and also the History Museum of Catalonia .

Check out Rambla De Mar , a modern bridge/walkway that connects the city center to the modern bustling area with Barcelona Aquarium and Maremagnum shopping center.

It’s also nice to just take a stroll around the harbor and admire the yachts and boats moored there.

Barcelona Harbor Port Vell aerial view

18. La Barceloneta

Port Vell borders the historic neighborhood called La Barceloneta . This charming local area was an old fishing district .

La Barceloneta is lined with narrow one-way streets towered by high apartment buildings, with laundry hanging out the windows everywhere you look.

Despite its relatively central location in Barcelona, this neighborhood has a very traditional feel, with elderly gentlemen sitting in the streets outside their houses and women calling across to each other over balconies.

Plaça de la Barceloneta - the nicest town square of La Barceloneta neighborhood in Barcelona

Good to know: There are many good restaurants in this area offering fresh seafood options. It is a nice place to come for lunch or dinner.

The restaurants at the waterfront tend to be more touristy, but – despite having pictures on the menu and overly friendly waiters trying to convince you to choose their place – the food is generally very good.

TIP: For a more local feel a bit off the beaten path, check out the restaurants in the narrow side streets of La Barceloneta. There are many great choices and all types of cuisine, not just seafood.

Local street in La Barceloneta neighborhood in Barcelona

19. Barcelona Beaches & Waterfront

Barcelona Waterfront is a large coastal area stretching between Playa de Llevant Beach on the outskirts of the city center and the Cruise Ship Terminal in the city center. This commercial and recreational area was created in the early 1990s and has some of Barcelona’s best beaches and a beautiful wide pedestrian area where you can walk/bike/skate for miles .

Barcelona has miles of scenic coastline and some beaches are just a 15-minute walk from the city center. There is something very special about being able to spend half a day admiring Barcelona’s incredible architecture and visiting landmarks, and then relaxing in the sunshine on a beautiful beach in the afternoon!

Some beaches are bustling – crowded with tourists, hawkers, and street performers. Others are far more peaceful, perfect for unwinding with a good book and a cold drink.

Closer to the center, there is also a maritime station for ferries and you can watch cruise ships come in to dock. You’ll also find the Maritime Museum here, housed in a large medieval shipyard, plus L’Aquàrium , one of the largest aquariums in Europe.

Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona at sunset

TIP: Why not get a different perspective on the city by taking a trip in one of the Golondrinas (ferries) moored opposite the Columbus Monument and take in all the sights of the waterfront! Or book one of the amazing sailing cruises – it’s a great way to see the city from another perspective while at the same time relaxing from all the walking and sightseeing.

Good to know: If you’re looking for a party atmosphere and want to connect with like-minded visitors from all over the world, head to Barceloneta Beach. The nightlife in Barceloneta is very vibrant too! For the best family-friendly option, try Nova Icaria Beach. Whilst tranquil, it still has plenty of restaurants and bars, plus some excellent sports facilities.

You might want to avoid cocktails and drinks from vendors walking along the beaches. They are often unrefrigerated for long periods and tend to warm up!

Passeig Maritim de la Barceloneta - pedestrian waterfront area in Barcelona

20. Camp Nou – F.C. Barcelona Stadium

Update 2024: At the moment of the last update, Camp Nou Stadium is undergoing a complete renovation. It is still possible to visit the museum .

Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe and the home stadium of the world-famous F.C. Barcelona. This is a must-see for any football fanatics but is actually really interesting even if you are not a fan. Camp Nou is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Barcelona!

We went here mainly because of our kids who live and breathe football, but – despite having zero expectations – I loved it too. After all, it’s not every day that you get to experience such a large stadium with behind-the-scenes access!

Tours include the pitch, the stands, and the players’ bench, along with the changing rooms and press area. Also included is a visit to the museum where you can see the many trophies on display and learn more about the club’s amazing history.

Camp Nou FC Barcelona stadium tour

Good to know: The stadium is located a bit outside the city center. You can get here by metro or by hop-on hop-off bus .

TIP: There are various ticket- and tour options for a visit here. The most popular – and the option we chose – is a self-guided stadium- and museum tour. Another option is a guided tour, but I’d only recommend it to those who want to learn even more about the team and its history.

If you’re looking for a more exclusive experience, you can also opt for the Players Experience Tour which includes everything the standard tour does, plus access to the actual FC Barcelona players’ locker rooms, an official FC Barcelona gift, and a few other perks.

Best things to do in Barcelona - visit Camp Nou football stadium

21. Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens is a modernist building dating from the end of the 19th century. It is considered to be Gaudi’s first major project

Unique in style, Casa Vicens looks nothing like the other Gaudi buildings in Barcelona! Its look is distinctly oriental, with dome-shaped finishes and Moorish arches. Its design was influenced by the art of India, Persia, and Japan along with Hispanic Islamic works.

Built in 1883-85 as a family summer house in the former village of Gràcia (now one of the city neighborhoods), the building was expanded by another architect in 1925. By that time, Gaudi was mainly focused on La Sagrada Familia, with little interest in other projects. But the original style was retained.

Casa Vicens has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recently restored to its former glory.

As with all of Gaudi’s buildings, the interior of Casa Vicens does not disappoint either. You can easily spend 1 to 2 hours here admiring the bizarre but beautiful decorative elements of its rooms.

Casa Vicens gate - Gaudi Barcelona

TIP: Casa Vicens is hardly ever mentioned among the best places to see in Barcelona, and so many tourists don’t even know about it. This is mainly due to the fact that it was only opened to the public a few years ago is far less known than Gaudi’s other buildings.

This means that it is much quieter, making it a great place to visit in Barcelona if you prefer to avoid crowds .

Good to know: Casa Vicens is open daily. You can find more information and get the tickets here . Despite being somewhat of a hidden gem, it’s becoming better known as more and more people discover it. So get there before the rest of the world finds out!

Casa Vicens Gaudi building in Barcelona

22. Palau Güell

Güell Palace – not to be confused with Park Güell – is one of Gaudi’s early works and another popular landmark to see in Barcelona. This magnificent building is located in the Raval district – close to La Rambla shopping street in the heart of the city center. This is the only Gaudi building that is located in the old town .

This modernist mansion was commissioned by the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell in the late 19th century. He wanted somewhere luxurious to live in an area that was very run down at the time. He certainly got his wish – every part of this incredible palace is decorative and opulent, from the forged iron gates at the front to the roof terrace adorned with mosaics and fourteen chimneys.

Good to know: Palau Güell is open daily except for Mondays. A free audio guide is included with your ticket. For more info and tickets, see here .

TIP: If you are visiting in the summer, check if there are any events planned here during your stay. Frequent concerts are held on the rooftop terrace of Palau Gëull and tickets include a tour around the palace.

Palau Güell in Barcelona

23. Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA)

MUHBA – Museum of History of Barcelona – is one the most interesting museums in the city. Here, you can see the archeological site with the actual remains of streets and buildings of Barcelona as it looked like about 2000 years ago.

Located inside the Palau Clarina Padellàs (the Gothic Palace) on Plaça del Rei just behind the Barcelona Cathedral, this fascinating museum is dedicated to researching and preserving Barcelona’s history. It contains more than 35,000 historical and cultural objects.

There are also several other sites managed by the museum around the city. Some contain excavated portions of the Roman city of Barcino, whilst others date back to medieval times.

Good to know: The museum is open daily except for Mondays. Audio guides are included with your ticket, which includes admission to all MUHBA sites in the city. You can find more info on their (rather confusing) website . Or simply walk over there and likely, you’ll be able to just get a ticket on the spot. Despite its central location, many people seem to just pass by here, so it’s usually not too busy.

TIP: Even if you are not interested in visiting the museum, be sure to come and see the impressive medieval architecture of Plaça del Rei .

Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA) and Placa del Rei square

24. Arco de Triunfo & Ciutadella Park

Built in 1888 as the gateway to the Universal Exhibition, the Arco de Triunfo is located at the Passeig Lluís Companys promenade.

It is one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks, with a classic shape and beautiful decorative finishes. At the top, you can see the coat of arms of the city, under which are the shields of the 49 Spanish provinces.

The Passeig Lluís Companys leads to Ciutadella Park , probably Barcelona’s most idyllic spot. It’s a lovely place for a picnic, with palm trees, a fountain designed by Gaudi, and a pretty rowing lake.

There are also numerous attractions on the grounds, including zoology and geology museums, honorary statues, and the Barcelona Zoo . The Parliament of Catalonia and a few other interesting landmarks are located here as well. It’s a really large park with lots to see!

TIP: Be sure to climb to the top of the Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella fountain for nice views of the park. It’s especially nice late in the afternoon, around sunset.

Arco de Triunfo in Barcelona

25. Plaça d’Espanya & Views from Arenas de Barcelona

Plaça d’Espanya is a large square close to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. It’s somewhat of an eclectic mix of sculptures, monuments, and busy traffic with several major avenues coming together here. Just a few minutes walk to the south, you’ll find the earlier-mentioned Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.

On the northern side of Placa d’Espanya, you’ll find Las Arenas de Barcelona . This oval-shaped commercial shopping center was originally a bullfighting arena but was reconstructed in 2011.

There are countless shops here and its top floor is filled with restaurants that go all the way around the perimeter, and there are also cinemas (with all the movies in Spanish, however).

But the main reason to mention a shopping center in this Barcelona sightseeing guide is because of the awesome 360° city views from the large circular platform at the very top of Arenas de Barcelona. And also because it’s so close to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc which you’ll likely want to visit anyway. And if you’re already in the area, it’s just a small effort to check out those views.

We visited here around sunset, before heading to the fountain for the evening show, and the views were really nice. Well worth a small detour.

TIP: There is a glass elevator to the rooftop, but there is a small charge to use it. Unless you specifically want to enjoy views on your way up, then you can also just take the stairs or the escalator, which are free!

Plaça d'Espanya view from Arenas de Barcelona

26. Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

The beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is a 14th-century Gothic Church. Together with La Sagrada Familia and Barcelona Cathedral, this is one of the nicest churches to see in the city.

It is located in the El Born neighborhood, a maze of medieval streets lined with trendy boutiques and cafes. Taking 55 years to build – partially paid for and constructed by the parishioners themselves – it is famous as being an example of pure Catalan Gothic architecture. This is rare, as most churches and cathedrals have a mixture of different styles.

TIP: You can see the best of the church in 20 minutes or so. But if you have more time then I recommend taking the guided tour, which includes a visit to the rooftop. The views of the skyline of the Old City are quite beautiful.

Good to know: The Basilica is open daily, in the morning and in the evening (usually closed between 1 and 5 PM).

Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona Spain

27. Santa Caterina Market

Mercat de Santa Caterina is a covered food market located close to the Picasso Museum. It is easily spotted because of its brightly colored roof. If you want to visit a few local markets in Barcelona, this is a good option.

Clean, well-organized, and modern, it tends to be far quieter than the famous Mercado de La Boqueria, so it’s easier to sample the wares at all the different stalls and try some local specialties. It also has better prices and it is easier to get a seat if you decide to stop for lunch at one of the restaurants or bars.

The site now occupied by the market was originally home to the convent of Santa Caterina, of the Dominican Order or Order of Preachers. Remains of the cloister are still visible in the basement and can be seen with a ticket to the Barcelona History Museum.

Good to know: Santa Caterina market is open daily except on Sundays, from 7.30 AM to 8 PM. However, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays it closes at 3.30 PM already.

Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona

28. Day trip to Montserrat Monastery

No list of the best things to do in Barcelona would be complete without mentioning the most popular day trip near the city – a visit to the Abbey of Montserrat .

The mountain range of Montserrat is located around 50km northwest of Barcelona. Its main attraction is the Benedictine Monastery Santa Maria de Montserrat, one of Catalonia’s most important religious sites.

You can’t actually go inside the monastery, but you can visit the grounds, the church, and see the statue of the Black Madonna, Catalonia’s patron saint. You can also hear daily performances from the world-famous Montserrat boys’ choir. In addition, there are some hiking trails and you can enjoy the incredible views of the surrounding landscape.

Good to know: There are many ways to visit Montserrat Monastery – on your own by train or by car, or with one of the many tours from the city . Here you can read our Montserrat tour review , and via the link below – find all the info you need for a visit.

LEARN MORE: How to Visit Montserrat from Barcelona

Montserrat is not to be missed when visiting Barcelona

Additional suggestions for what to see and do in Barcelona

We have now covered most of the main sights in Barcelona. However – as you can imagine – a city like Barcelona has so much more to offer than just the main landmarks and top sights mentioned above !

There are just too many attractions in Barcelona than we can mention in one guide (while still keeping it somewhat manageable for tourists just looking to cover the musts…).

So here is a list of some other great activities in Barcelona that are well worth considering too . From local experiences to the best places to visit with kids, fun things to do in Barcelona at night, and more.

TIP: Even if you just add one or two of these activities to your Barcelona sightseeing itinerary, it will make your visit to the city so much more special. Take a look!

Fun experiences and attractions in Barcelona:

  • Food tours – one of our favorite ways to explore any city!
  • Cooking classes .
  • Sailing and catamaran cruises – a relaxing way to see the city from another perspective.
  • Bike and e-bike tours .
  • Segway- or e-scooter city tours .
  • Street art tour by bike .
  • Flamenco shows – a must in Spain.
  • Hot-air balloon rides .
  • Helicopter tours .

Things to do in Barcelona with kids:

  • Barcelona Aquarium .
  • Barcelona Zoo .
  • Family walking tour at the Gothic Quarter (ideal for families with kids aged 4-12 yrs).
  • Museum of Illusions (just next to La Rambla and La Boqueria market).
  • PortAventura theme park – spend a day at Spain’s largest amusement park and one of the largest theme parks in Europe.
  • Caribe Aquatic tour – a water park at PortAventura.

Things to do in Barcelona at night:

  • Sunset cruises .
  • Flamenco shows .
  • Casa Mila (La Pedrera) night experience .
  • Ghost tours .
  • Magic fountain show .
  • Cocktails and tapas .
  • Nightclubs and pub crawls .

More museums to visit in Barcelona:

  • Poble Espanyol Site – open-air museum at Montjuïc.
  • Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) – in the city center.
  • Egyptian Museum – close to Gaudi buildings in the center.
  • Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – at Montjuïc.
  • Salvador Dali Museum at Figueres – day trip from Barcelona.
  • Olympic & Sports Museum – at Montjuïc.
  • History Museum of Catalonia – at the old harbor Port Vell.
  • The World of Banksy, Immersive Experience – in the center.
  • Big Fun Museum – in the center, right on La Rambla.
  • Wax Museum – in the center.

Where to Stay

If you are visiting for the first time and want to explore the main sights and tourist attractions, the very best area to stay for sightseeing in Barcelona is around Catalunya Square.

Here are some of the best-rated hotels in this area for all budgets:

€€€€€ Ohla Barcelona €€€€ Hotel Jazz €€€ El Avenida Palace €€ Mothern by Pillow € Hostal La Palmera

Map of Barcelona Attractions

To help you plan your time in the city, we created this map indicating the main landmarks, sights, and tourist attractions in Barcelona mentioned in this article . It should give you a better idea of where everything is located and help you plan your itinerary.

This map shows the main places to see in Barcelona as described in our list above. To make it somewhat easier to use and keep the focus on the best sights, we didn’t indicate any of the additional suggestions or places that are outside the city (like Montserrat Monastery).

You’ll also see that we use different colors depending on whether the places are must-see (purple), highly recommended (red), or nice-to-see (yellow). They’re ALL worth a visit, but if you are short on time, this might help you decide what to see first.

TIP: Take a look at our suggestions on how to spend one day in Barcelona and also on how to plan a 2-day Barcelona trip . It will give you a better idea of how to see the main sights in just a few days.

How to use this map:  Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.

So, this is our guide to the top sights and attractions in Barcelona. I hope that it helps you plan your trip and enjoy every moment of your visit to this world-class destination and its charming mix of avant-garde and traditional style!

TIP: For more practical information for your visit, be sure to check Barcelona travel tips via the link below.

In this article, you’ll find more information about getting around, where to stay, tipping and haggling etiquette, bizarre dining hours, and more. Take a look!

READ ALSO: Top Tips for Visiting Barcelona for the First Time

More travel inspiration for Spain:

  • Best Things to Do in Spain
  • 1 Day in Barcelona
  • 2-3 Days in Barcelona
  • Best Gaudi Tour in Barcelona
  • How to Visit Montserrat from Barcelona
  • Montserrat Tour
  • Toledo Day Trip (from Madrid)
  • 1 Day in Seville
  • 1 Day in Madrid
  • 2 Days in Seville
  • Best Flamenco Tour in Seville
  • Read also our tips for planning a trip to Europe .

Have a great trip!

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

What to see and do in Barcelona, Spain

More travel inspiration for European cities:

If you are visiting other European cities and are looking for in-depth information for your trip, take a look at some of our city guides:

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Antwerp, Belgium
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Bologna, Italy
  • Brasov, Romania
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Bruges, Belgium
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Colmar, France
  • Edinburgh, UK
  • Florence, Italy
  • Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Krakow, Poland
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Liverpool, UK
  • Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Manchester, UK
  • Milan, Italy
  • Naples, Italy
  • Paris, France
  • Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal
  • Ravenna, Italy
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Rome, Italy
  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Siena, Italy
  • Sintra, Portugal
  • Venice, Italy
  • Verona, Italy
  • For more… check our destinations page.

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The 17 best things to do in Barcelona

By Jennifer Ceaser

View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona Spain

There is a dizzying array of things to do in Barcelona  – so many that it can be hard to narrow it down. After you’ve ticked the boxes on Antoni Gaudí’s Modernisme masterpieces – Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and La Pedrera – escape the crowds and explore some of the city’s lesser-known architectural treasures, including the world’s largest Art Nouveau site, Sant Pau Recinto Modernista. Not in a sightseeing mood? Then take advantage of Barcelona’s sunny Mediterranean climate: spend the day on an urban beach, enjoy long lunches in lovely restaurants , relax with a sundowner on a hotel terrace, and keep the party going at one of the city’s many cocktail bars and nightclubs. From must-see attractions to undiscovered local gems, these are our picks for Barcelona's best things to do.

Architecture by Antoni Gaudí

1. Discover Gaudí by night

Even with timed ticketing systems, Gaudí’s most famous residential buildings, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (aka La Pedrera), are plagued by long queues and daytime crowds. So for a more intimate experience, book a night tour – which limits the number of visitors and includes perks like live music and a free glass of Cava. Casa Batlló’s Magic Nights take place from  March to November, including an interactive self-guided tour of the house and a rooftop concert; tickets start at around £45. La Pedrera’s Night Experience operates year-round and features small-group guided tours of the courtyard and magnificent arched attic (though not the apartment), culminating in a visit to the roof terrace, where a fantastical light show plays out across its swirling chimneys. Admission is £34 and, in June and July , you can enjoy a live rooftop jazz concert included in the price.

Addresses: Casa Batlló, Pg. de Gràcia 43, 08007 Barcelona; La Pedrera, Pg. de Gràcia 92, 08007 Barcelona Websites: ;

Sant Pau Recinto Modernist

2. Explore less-crowded Modernista gems

While Gaudí is the undisputed king of Catalan Modernisme, he wasn’t the only one working in this fanciful architectural style. A short stroll uphill from the Sagrada Familia is the world’s largest Art Nouveau site, Sant Pau Recinto Modernista, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner in 1901. The former hospital complex spans nine city blocks and comprises dozens of red-brick buildings decked with flamboyant spires, colourful mosaic-tiled domed roofs, and ornate stained-glass windows – all surrounding beautifully landscaped courtyards. Close to Plaça d’Espanya is a marvellous example of industrial Modernisme architecture: the 1911 Casaramona factory designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, now home to the CaixaForum Barcelona art gallery. Crenellated rooftops, towers, and Moorish elements recall Spain’s medieval castles, and visiting its undulating roof terrace is a must.

Addresses: Sant Pau Recinto Modernista, Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret 167, 08025 Barcelona; CaixaForum Barcelona, Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia 6-8, 08038 Barcelona Websites: ;

The Moco Museum

3. Check out modern and contemporary art

A colossal, six-metre-high, wood-sculpted parody of Mickey Mouse by pop-culture phenom KAWS dominates the courtyard entrance of the Moco Museum Barcelona, offering a taste of what’s to come in this dynamic new art space. Spread across two floors of a 16th-century palace in the Born district are works by modern and contemporary masters – Warhol, Murakami, David LaChapelle, Damian Hirst – and legendary street artists like Banksy and KAWS, plus cutting-edge digital installations by emerging talents. Over in the Raval neighbourhood, the striking Richard Meier-designed Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) offers a great introduction to contemporary Catalan artists like Antoni Tàpies and Francesc Torres. Still, its collection also includes international heavyweights such as Alexander Calder, Donald Judd, and Basquiat. Don’t miss Keith Haring’s monumental 1989 mural  Todos juntos podemos parar el sida  (Together we can stop AIDS), just outside MACBA’s entrance.

Addresses: Moco Museum Barcelona, Carrer de Montcada 25, 08003 Barcelona; MACBA, Plaça dels Àngels 1, 08001 Barcelona Websites: ;

Parc del Laberint d' Horta

4. Get lost in Horta’s Labyrinth Park (Parc del Laberint d'Horta)

Escape the tourist hordes and get lost – literally – inside a life-size 18th-century labyrinth. Two-metre-high cypress hedges form the maze, which is dotted with sculptures and reliefs of characters from Greco-Roman romantic mythology. There are lots of twists, turns, and dead ends along the way until you reach its centre, where Eros, the god of Love, stands atop a pedestal. While the maze is the highlight, the 55-hectare park also features walking paths through a small forest, ponds, fountains, stone staircases, Roman-style temples, Italianate columns, and even a palace (not open to the public). It’s located at the foothills of the Collserola mountain range and is easily reached by Metro (L3).

Address: Passeig dels Castanyers 1, 08035, Barcelona Website:

A favourite local pastime is chilling with a cocktail and soaking in the views on the rooftop of onenbspBarcelona's best...

5. Chill out on a hotel terrace

A favourite local pastime is chilling with a cocktail and soaking in the views on the rooftop of one  Barcelona's best hotels . Check out Terraza de Vivi at the trendy  Kimpton Vividora  for the daily brunch (March to November) with bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys, plus fantastic views of the surrounding medieval Gothic Quarter; weekends are particularly buzzy, with live DJs. Nearby, the petite  Wittmore Hotel  roof flies under the radar, with a wonderful low-key vibe and incredible 360-degree city, sea, and mountain views from the topmost deck. If you’re looking to party, head up to  The Hoxton , Poblenou’s Tope (open March to November), a sprawling rooftop taqueria and bar with pumping music and weekend DJ sets, plus knock-out views of the Sagrada Familia, especially at sunset. Or if it’s tranquillity you’re after, the  El Palace Hotel  roof terrace’s shady pergolas, burbling fountains, and lush greenery provide a welcome oasis from the busy Eixample streets.

Jamboree Jazz Club Barcelona

6. Dive into Barcelona’s nightlife

From live music to high-energy DJ sets, Barcelona has some legendary nightlife worth staying up late for. Inside a massive industrial warehouse in Poblenou, Razzmatazz is five clubs in one: along with a main concert hall for A-list indie bands, other spaces see DJs spinning everything from reggaetón to techno to pop every night of the week. Ocaña, on the famed Plaça Reial, hosts live musical acts playing soul, flamenco, jazz, rock, and more — both in the ground-level club and below, in the hip subterranean Apotheke. Fridays and Saturdays, head underground to the sultry, red-velvet-clad Cabaret beneath the Barcelona EDITION , where top-notch international DJs spin until the wee hours.

Addresses: Razzmatazz, Carrer dels Almogàvers 122, 08018 Barcelona; Ocaña, Pl. Reial 13-15, 08002 Barcelona; Cabaret, Avinguda de Francesc Cambó 14, 08003 Barcelona Websites: ; ;

Bogatell beach Barcelona

7. Relax on a Poblenou beach

Leave the mobbed  beaches  of Barceloneta to the tourists and venture east to the less-crowded golden strands of the Poblenou district. Its trio of beaches – Bogatell, Mar Bella, and Nova Mar Bella – attract mainly locals, and each has a distinct vibe. As Bogatell is the closest to the Metro, it’s the busiest and liveliest, boasting plenty of chiringuitos ( beach bars ) and amenities like beach volleyball courts and table tennis. Mar Bella is favoured by a younger crowd and also has a separate section for nude sunbathing and swimming that draws a large gay contingent. Nova Mar Bella is the farthest, widest, and most laid-back of the three, appealing to families and older people living in the nearby residential towers of Diagonal Mar; it’s also a top spot for kite-surfing, with beachside rentals available.


8. Be awed by the views from Mirador torre Glòries

Atop Jean Nouvel’s glassy, bullet-shaped skyscraper, the Mirador Torre Glòries nets you some of Barcelona’s best vistas. A lift whisks you 30 storeys up for 360-degree views of the city – from the mountains to the Mediterranean – letting you gaze through large windows upon Barcelona landmarks like the Sagrada Familia, the sail-shaped W Hotel, and the tri-towered Sant Andreu power plant. From here, daredevils can don a jumpsuit (provided) and climb up into the dome via artist Tomás Saraceno’s ‘Cloud Cities,’ an installation of interlinked pods and steel cables that reaches 130 metres.

Address: Avinguda Diagonal 211, 08018 Barcelona Website:

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9. Hike around Montjuïc

Barcelona is famous for its beaches, but it’s the surrounding mountains that offer a true refuge from the city’s hustle and heat. Closest to the centre is Montjuïc, home to several free-to-visit botanical gardens, including a marvellous one devoted to cacti, Jardines de Mossèn Costa i Llobera. Trails wind through forests, past cascading water features, lily-filled ponds, and even a replica of a Greek theatre. It’s worth the steep climb to one of its many miradors (viewpoints), which provide different views — of the city, the surrounding mountains, the harbour, and the sea; a favourite is the Mirador de Miramar, which includes them all. You can also break up your hike with a visit to one of the many major sites dotting the mountain, including Montjuïc Castle, the Joan Miró Foundation, and the Olympic Stadium.

Heritage shopfront at Casa Gispert

10. Hit the shops

Among the many sites to see in Barcelona, there are also plenty of shops to get lost in. Start the day off by checking out the legendary grocer’s shop,  Casa Gispert . Founded in 1851 and recently renovated, it's famous for the locally-sourced nuts roasted on-site in an ancient wood-fired oven. Then pick up a fresh bouquet from  Marea Verde , a picturesque flower shop decked in trencadís by master mosaicist Lluís Bru. There’s no harm in going furniture shopping, especially at  Bénédicte Bodard   Mesa Bonita for restored covetable tables, consoles and trivets and  Cubiñá , which is a destination in itself – almost 5,000 square feet of high-design fabulousness, stretching over two floors of a glorious 19th-century building by Catalan-Modernism architect Domènech i Montaner. Visit the Mediterranean concept store, Bon Vent , on Carrer de l’Argenteria to marvel at the rich selection of Spanish-made pottery, fabrics, glassware and natural cosmetics while Artisan jeweller  Joan Rovira  works in silver and bamboo from a bijou shop-studio that epitomises the craft ethos gaining ground in the Born district.

La Boqueria Market Barcelona

11. Feast at a famed food market

Barcelona counts some 39 food markets scattered across the city – each with its own character – but the largest and best known is La Boquería, an essential foodie pilgrimage since 1836. Located just off La Rambla, the market is home to over 200 vendors hawking everything from local produce and cheeses to freshly caught seafood – plus Spanish staples like olives, olive oil, and of course, its famous jamón. Tucked among the stalls are tapas bars serving market-fresh fare; try for one of the coveted stools at the venerable Pinotxo Bar for classic Catalan dishes like cap i pota, a rich lamb stew. 

Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona Websites: ;

Park Güell Barcelona

12. Wander through Gaudí’s enchanting Park Güell

This hillside park is well worth the steep climb to experience what is one of Gaudí’s most fanciful creations. Originally intended as an upscale housing development of 60 luxury villas surrounded by green space, the project, which broke ground in 1900, was ultimately abandoned, but not before the architect completed many of its fantastical features. Among them are the grand main staircase guarded by a multi-coloured mosaic lizard and Sala Hipòstila, whose 86 towering Doric columns call to mind a temple, though it was meant as an outdoor marketplace. Certainly the biggest draw is the vast central plaza, framed by a 100-metre-long, undulating mosaic-tiled bench, that offers fabulous views of the city and sea below.


Picasso Museum

13. See a treasure trove of Picasso

Picasso spent his formative teenage years in Barcelona and many of his early works were donated to the city’s Picasso Museum, which does a particularly good job of tracing the artistic development of this Spanish master. The 4,000-plus-strong permanent collection is housed in five interconnected medieval-era palaces: a spectacular setting that nearly outshines the artwork inside. Highlights include several examples of Picasso’s earliest sketches and paintings, done at the age of 15, numerous works from his Blue Period, and his remarkable 1957 series Las Meninas – 58 paintings inspired by Velázquez’s masterpiece.

Address: Carrer de Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona Website:

Paradiso Barcelona

14. Sip award-winning cocktails

When it comes to cocktail bars, Barcelona's bests even top drinking capitals like London and New York. But don’t take our word for it: In 2022, The World’s 50 Best Bars ranked three Barcelona watering holes in the top 10 – including the number-one bar, Paradiso. This dimly lit speakeasy in the Born district is cleverly concealed behind a pastrami shop, though the ever-present queue snaking around the block makes it easy to find. Prepare to be wowed by the wildly inventive ingredients (mushrooms! seaweed sorbet!) and theatrical presentations. Other award-winning bars to check out on your cocktail crawl include the elegant, understated Sips (#3) and the lively, divey Two Schmucks (#7).

Address: Paradiso, Carrer de Rera Palau, 4, 08003 Barcelona; Sips, Carrer de Muntaner, 108, 08036 Barcelona; Two Schmucks, Carrer de Joaquín Costa, 52, 08001 Barcelona Website: ; ;

Palau de la Música Catalana

15. Catch a concert at Palau de la Música Catalana

With its colourful mosaic tilework, flamboyant sculptures, and decorative stained glass, this concert venue, designed in 1905 by Lluis Domènech i Muntaner, is a visual feast. And that’s just the façade – inside, things get even more OTT. The main auditorium is a kaleidoscope of Art Nouveau elements: ornate, mosaic-covered columns and arches, sinuous ironwork, and flowers everywhere — from the carved roses decorating the ceiling to the floral motifs on the towering stained-glass windows. It’s all crowned by a magnificent inverted skylight whose multi-coloured glass glows as the sun goes down. And the hall’s intimate size (around 2,900 seats) and excellent acoustics add to the magic of seeing a concert here; expect mainly classical, opera, and choral, though there’s the occasional jazz performance.

Address: Carrer Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona Website:

Gràcia neighbourhood  barcelona

16. Go plaza-hopping in Gràcia

Dozens of pedestrian plazas (plaças in Catalan) dot this charming, village-like district to the north of the city centre. Some are pocket-sized squares, with a few benches shaded by trees; others are large, lively gathering spots, lined with bustling terraces and filled with neighbourhood kids running and playing. Plaça de Virreina is one of the prettiest, with its tall trees, fountain, and stately stone church; if terraces on the plaza are full, there are a couple more next to the church. A short stroll away is Plaça de la Rovira i Trias, which has several cafes with outdoor tables; look for the seated bronze statue of 19th-century architect Antoni Rovira i Trias, who designed several of the city’s markets. For a rowdier scene, head to the bar-packed Plaça del Sol, where you can while away a hot summer evening drinking beneath the stars.

Sand beach in Sitges near Barcelona

17. Hop the train to Sitges

Just a 35-minute train ride from the city, Sitges is a great day trip option once the key things to do in Barcelona have been completed – it's also now one of Europe ’s most popular summer resort destinations . Narrow winding streets and whitewashed buildings ooze charm, smart boutiques and art galleries offer plenty of shopping options, and there are dining choices galore, from traditional tavernas to upscale restaurants to funky beachfront  chiringuitos . It’s all set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean with miles of wide, sandy beaches and a nearly 2-mile-long paved seafront promenade. Late evening, the nightlife scene hots up – with dozens of dance clubs and bars catering to an LGBTQ+ crowd. If you seek a calmer vibe and fewer crowds, plan to visit on a weekday or in the off-season.

How to get there: Trains to Sitges depart regularly from several stations in Barcelona (including Sants and Passeig de Gracia) on the Renfe Rodalies R2 line Website:

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25 Top Tourist Attractions in Barcelona

By Mike Kaplan · Last updated on May 4, 2024

Barcelona is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions upon millions of visitors each year. So why is it so popular? Well, it has almost everything any holidaymaker would desire. Easy access, favorable weather conditions, attractive beaches and surrounding mountains, a buzzing nightlife, tasty local cuisine and it’s steeped in culture and history.

It’s also a sight-seeing wonderland, housing many recognizable monuments. Variety’s the word with Barcelona and the city has something for everyone; families, couples and singletons alike. There are the tourist attractions in Barcelona travelers shouldn’t miss if they ever decide to visit the Catalan capital:

Map of Barcelona

Barcelona Map

25. Monastery of Pedralbes

Monastery of Pedralbes

The quiet beauty of the Monastery of Pedralbes provides a safe harbor for travelers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. This gothic monastery was built in 129y by Queen Elsenda who sought forgiveness for her sins. It is considered an outstanding example of Catalan gothic architecture.

Arched outer corridors overlook swaying palm trees. Its original occupants were Poor Clares, nuns from mostly noble families; they were charged with protecting the city. Some nuns still live in the monastery, which today houses the city museum.

24. Palau Guell

Palau Guell

Barcelona is filled with significant buildings designed by noted architect Antoni Gaudi. A good place for visitors to begin their appreciation of his work is Palau Guell or Palace Guell. It’s one of his first major works, and sets the tone for his designs to follow.

Gaudi designed Palau Guell for an extremely wealthy resident. Because the tycoon entertained a lot, the house was designed around a central hall, with other rooms designed to fit the family’s needs. Gaudi’s use of space and lighting in the Palau Guell was innovative for its time.

23. Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol

Built in 1929, Poble Espanyol is a huge open-air museum four times the size of FC Barcelona’s football pitch. The complex is composed of various sections, each of whom represent a specific Spanish region.

There is also a flourishing handicraft market which is perfect for souvenir shopping. Here you can wander from Andalusia to the Balearic Islands in the space of a couple of hours, visiting surprisingly good copies of Spain’s characteristic structures. The village also hosts the Fondation Fran Daurel, where you can enjoy an interesting collection by artists like Picasso and Miró.

22. Fundacio Joan Miro

Fundacio Joan Miro

Joan Miro was one of Barcelona’s most famous artists, a master who created works known around the world. Usually foundations are set up after a person dies to honor their ideas, but Miro created his own legacy by setting up the Fundacio Joan Miro himself.

It was designed to be a place where younger artists could explore contemporary art, with Miro’s own works providing the nucleus for this study. The foundation opened in a modern building in 1975 and is a good place to see a great collection of Miro’s work in one place.

21. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Sitting atop a hill, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya looks more like a massive castle than an art museum, a museum that holds a king’s ransom in treasures. It is here, however, that visitors will find the greatest Catalan art from the 10th century to the 20th century.

Here visitors will find impressive Romanesque murals that graced church apses, and Gothic art from the era when Catalonia was expanding across the Mediterranean. The gallery also contains paintings by the great Spanish artists El Greco and Velasquez.

20. Arc de Triomf

Arc de Triomf

The Arc de Triomf was constructed in 1888 to welcome international visitors to Barcelona’s Universal Exhibition, the world’s fair of its day. The massive decorative arch is located on the Passeig Lluís Companys, a promenade.

The classical style arch, now a famous Barcelona landmark, is noted for its sculptural decorations that are symbolic of Barcelona at that time. One frieze welcomes visitors to the exhibition, while reliefs extol agriculture, industry and commerce. The top of the arch features shields from Spain’s 49 provinces; they are topped by Barcelona’s coat of arms.

19. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

Travelers who are fond of art nouveau will definitely want to put Sant Pau Recinte Modernista on their Barcelona bucket. The former hospital, with a façade that resembles a church, is the top-ranked art nouveau site in Europe. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista was built in the first third of the 20th century as a hospital and healthcare research center.

It served this purpose for 100 years, and today houses a variety of international organizations. The complex, with underground tunnels connecting the building has a pavilion that is devoted to the history of medicine in Barcelona.

18. Placa de Catalunya

Placa de Catalunya

Every city has a big square where people congregate to celebrate, mourn or just see each other. NYC has Times Square, Beijing has Tiananmen Square and Barcelona has Placa de Catalunya. The city’s nerve center is a place to meet friends, sit on the grass or take a break from shopping at nearby stores.

Integral to the square are six sets of sculptures that represent the four capitals of Catalonia, labor and wisdom. The plaza opened in 1927 on land that once fronted the gates to a walled Barcelona.

17. Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana

People don’t go to the Palau de la Musica Catalana just to hear music, they go to see the concert hall’s over-the-top ornate interior. While the exterior is impressive, it just can’t compare to the main concert hall with its glass-top ceiling.

Built in the early 1900s, the Palau de la Musica Catalana is a tourist attraction in itself, with its stained glass windows and massive chandeliers. The inside of the old hall has been compared to the interior of a Faberge egg. A smaller hall is more modern and subdued, but still opulent.

16. Tibidabo


Travelers who collect panoramic views should go to the top of Tibidabo, at 512 meters (1,880 feet) high the highest mountain overlooking Barcelona. The easiest way to get there is via Spain’s first funicular. But there’s more than just stunning views on this mountain top.

There’s the Sagra Cor church that took 60 years to build and is topped with a sculpture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sharing space with this impressive church are an amusement park and a telecommunications tower. All three are visible from Barcelona below.

15. Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella

The Parc de la Ciutadella is a lot happier place today than when it was founded in 1714. After Philip V conquered Barcelona, he ordered a citadel – the largest in Europe – to be built by forced labor so he could maintain control over the Catalans.

Over the centuries it transformed into peaceful uses, becoming a major oasis of green in the city. Citadel Park was the site for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. Today it is home to a zoo, a small lake, the Museum of Natural Science, and Als Voluntaris Catalans, a sculpture honoring Catalans killed in World War I.

14. Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

Add Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, as it’s officially known, to the list of beautiful Gothic buildings in Barcelona. The church also known as Barcelona Cathedral or La Seu because it’s the seat of the archbishop.

The cathedral dates back to the 14th century and honors St. Eulalia, co-patron saint of Barcelona, who was killed by Romans by putting her in a knife-studded barrel and rolling her down the street. The entire church is ornate, with towers and spires reaching into the sky. It is a major tourist attraction and now boasts a gift shop that caters to visitors.

13. Museu Picasso

Museu Picasso

With over 4,000 works by the painter, the Museu Picasso houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.

In particular, the Museu Picasso reveals Picasso’s relationship with the city of Barcelona, a relationship that was shaped in his youth and adolescence, and continued until his death. The museum is housed in five adjoining medieval palaces in Barcelona’s La Ribera.

12. La Boqueria Market

La Boqueria Market

Foodies may think they’ve died and gone to heaven when they visit La Boqueria Market, a colorful market (and tourist attraction) in the old town. Located just off La Rambla, the market dates back to 1297 when meat was sold at the city gates. More than meat is sold there today.

There’s an array of foods, from farm-fresh produce, seafood, spices and candies being sold by more than 200 stalls. Buy the fixings’ for a picnic lunch or eat at one of the many restaurants before continuing sightseeing.

11. Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar

The beautiful Santa Maria del Mar (Saint Mary of the Sea) is an icon for Catalan Catholics. Construction of this massive church began in 1329 when Aragon King Alfonso IV laid the foundation cornerstone. It was finished in 1384, a prime example of Catalan Gothic architecture.

Though the outside seems severe, the inside more than compensates for this. Beautiful stained glass windows, high narrow columns and simplicity of design invoke feelings of spaciousness and serenity. Over the centuries, the cathedral has been damaged by earthquakes and fire, yet always regains its beauty.

10. Camp Nou

Camp Nou

One for the sports fans, yet still one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions. This stadium is home to formidable European football champions F.C. Barcelona.

With a capacity of 99,000 people, this breathtaking sporting arena is Europe’s largest. A tour of the ground is definitely worthwhile and you never know, you might be lucky enough to catch a game!

9. Montjuic


Montjuïc is a broad shallow hill with a relatively flat top to the southwest of the city center. The eastern side of the hill is almost a sheer cliff, giving it a commanding view over the city’s harbor immediately below. The top of the hill was the site of several fortifications, the latest of which remains today.

Another interesting sight is the Palau Nacional (National Palace), originally built as the central pavilion for the International Exhibition. The majestic building in neo-Baroque style is home to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). Montjuïc is also home to a number of sports facilities built for the 1992 Olympics.

8. Casa Mila

Casa Mila

Built between the years 1906 and 1910, Casa Milà (La Pedrera) was the last civil work designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. The colorful building is considered one of the artist’s most eccentric and enticing architectural creations with not one straight edge on the exterior.

Tours of the interior and the incredible roof structures are available. It also hosts a large exposition of Gaudi works, covering Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlio, not only La Pedrera itself.

7. Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

Old is good, especially when it’s the Gothic Quarter , located in the oldest part of Old Town Barcelona. Some say the quarter dates back 2,000 years, but what travelers will see today isn’t that old: a maze of narrow streets flanked by buildings from medieval times to the 19th century.

Travelers will see the Jewish Quarter, considered the Gothic Quarter’s prettiest section; walk the paths where a young Picasso went to school; eat at Can Culleretes, the oldest restaurant in Barcelona, dating to 1796, and shop at the colorful Boqueria market.

6. Barceloneta


Out of Barcelona’s seven different beaches, stretching over 4.5 km (2.8 miles) of coastline, Barceloneta probably tops them all. It is one of the most popular and is closest to the city center. Along the 1,100 meter (3,600 feet) sandy beach runs a walkway popular with joggers and cyclist.

Not surprisingly this place can get crowded, especially during the summer months when the beach bars open up and the beach quickly fills up with locals and tourist.

5. Font Magica

Font Magica

Font Màgica is a fountain located below the Palau Nacional on the Montjuïc hill and near the Plaça d’Espanya and Poble Espanyol de Barcelona. The fountain, like most of the surrounding developments, was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition.

On selected evenings, when the fountain is activated, it attracts hundreds of visitors who watch the spectacular display of light, water and music. At the same time, the Palau National is illuminated, providing a beautiful background.

4. Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

It’s hard to find the words to describe Casa Batllo, perhaps because it looks like a carnival gone insane. One of architect Antoni Gaudi’s most famous buildings, Casa Batllo is a mish-mash of colors, building materials and what-have-you styles.

There’s a large onion-like dome that’s reminiscent of a mosque; a colorful wavy tiled roof line and lots of sculptures. Gaudi turned an nineteenth century building into Casa Batllo, sometimes called the “house of bones” because of the many jaws on one sculpture. It was a home without equal, but not one most people would feel comfortable living in.

3. Parc Guell

Parc Guell

With other major works in the city including La Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, this has to be one of Antoni Gaudí’s most celebrated and it is certainly one of the most emblematic of Barcelona.

The area was originally meant to be a residential property development with Gaudi doing much of the planning and landscape design. Only two houses were built and the land was later sold to the city of Barcelona and turned into a park. It is home to the famous Salamander sculpture, as well as other buildings and structures designed by the architect. With stunning views of the city, this is a magical experience.

2. La Rambla

La Rambla

This is probably the city’s most famous street and is a bustling hive of activity. It is often called Las Ramblas, because it is actually a series of several different streets that all have a distinct feel.

Located just off Plaza Catalunya and leading right down towards the port and beach, visitors will find street performers, lots of bars and restaurants and the fabulous Boquería Market, a true feast for the eyes.

1. Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is the most popular attractions in Barcelona, attracting nearly 2.8 million visitors each year. It is a large and intricate basilica designed by Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan architect. Construction began in 1882 and continues to this day. The building is predicted to be completed within the next 30 years. It should be noted that this beautiful basilica has been funded completely by donations, as Gaudi had intended.

The design of La Sagrada Familia incorporates interpretations of many architectural styles, such as Arat Nouveau, Gothic and Catalan Modernism. Gaudi’s original plans called for a temple large enough to seat 13,000 people. Because he disliked straight lines, his towers were inspired by the peaks of Montserrat Mountain outside Barcelona, and had similar uneven lines.

Anyone interested in architecture will find this building fascinating to study. The plans include 18 spires, which represent Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and the Twelve Apostles. Work is still taking place on some of these spires, while others are open to the public.

The design also calls for three facades on the building. These include the Nativity Facade facing east, the Passion Facade facing west and the Glory Façade facing south. The Nativity Facade was completed in 1930. The Passion Façade and the Glory Façade are still under construction.

In his plans, Gaudi knew that his masterpiece would not be completed during his lifetime. He planned for it to be built in parts, thus assuring that each generation might be able to concentrate on one of the sections. This beautiful basilica is nearly finished, and when it is, Gaudi’s vision will finally be fulfilled.

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Reader interactions.

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January 29, 2016 at 12:15 am

I never knew there were so many beautiful attractions in Barcelona. Montjuic – the evening light and sound at the fountain, Sagrada Familia – architecture, La Rambla Street etc. – just marvelous. A visit to Montsarat is a must. The Crypt designed by Goudi and built with recycled material is a marvel indeed.

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December 28, 2015 at 1:47 am

Our holiday in Barcelona dedicated an entire day to the city center. Morning visit the Boqueria market and the Ramblas where we also ate. Then we were all afternoon store Paseo de Gracia and took advantage and had dinner there. We left the shop at the hotel and visited the quarry. I recommend going at night to this monument. It is amazing and well worth going.

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September 15, 2015 at 1:52 am

Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, in my opinion are the best. I love the architecture of Gaudi. His style is awesome. Also the place where are located are perfect. You must have to visit if you are there.

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September 8, 2015 at 4:25 am

My favorite place is Casa Mila, Casa Batlló and Sagrada Familia. Love it the architecture of Gaudi. But in my opinion, the place where are located Casa Mila and Batlló is better than Sagrada Familia. The avenue of Paseo de Gracia is amazing, full of art, best restaurants, hotels, stores. Perfect to shop and visit attractions 🙂

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July 27, 2015 at 2:10 am

Casa Batllo and Pedrera are an amazing buildings. I love Gaudi’s architecture. I think that every body that comes to visit Barcelona have to go there. Also the location of these two buildings is perfect, in the middle of Paseo de Gracia, one of the best streets.

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June 23, 2015 at 5:14 am

My favorite place in Barcelona is Paseo de Gracia street. It is amazing street with Gaudi’s buildings and luxury shops!!!!!

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May 3, 2015 at 10:53 am

I love Spain and Barcelona is one of my favorite places to visit. This page gives great information thank you.

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August 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm

My favourite is of course La Sagrada Familia. The sheer marvel of architecture.

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Home » Travel Guides » Spain » 15 Best Things to Do in Barcelona (Spain)

15 Best Things to Do in Barcelona (Spain)

Capital of Catalonia and Spain’s second city, Barcelona is utterly incomparable. It’s one of a few must-see cities with its own identity. This is partly down to a generation of early-20th-century artists and architects, like Antoni Gaudí, whose unforgettable buildings are like nothing you’ll see anywhere else.

There’s something to delight everyone in Barcelona. If you’re a food lover then the city has a total of 20 Michelin stars, and if you want culture you’ve got an inexhaustible choice of beautiful buildings and events. Add to this clean urban beaches, world-class nightlife and so much great shopping you won’t know where to begin.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Barcelona :

1. Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

Never mind that a lot of locals shun this sequence of promenades that runs from Plaça de Catalunya down to the Columbus Monument at the waterfront.

If you’re a tourist it’s one of those things that you have to do.

In summer you’ll be under the shade of the tall plane trees and shuffling through the crowds that pass living statues, street performers, bird-sellers and flower stands.

Occasionally you’ll catch the whiff of waffles (gofres) being baked.

Once you get to the water you can keep going along the boards to visit the Maremagnum mall or Barcelona’s Aquarium.

2. Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

This is where to begin your adventure through Barcelona and the dreamlike works of Antoni Gaudí.

His minor basilica is a project of incredible scale and ambition that is still only around three quarters complete more than a 140 years after Gaudí first became involved.

When its spires are finished it will be the tallest church building in the world, and hardly resembles any religious structure you’ll have seen in your life.

The Sagrada Família combines several architectural styles including Catalan Modernism, Art Nouveau and Spanish Late-Gothic, but Gaudí’s masterpiece defies these kinds of definitions when you look up open-mouthed at the ceiling of the nave.

Get a Skip-the-Line ticket for fast track entrance: Sagrada Familia Skip-the-Line

3. Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló

Another of Antoni Gaudí’s most postcard-friendly creations, this apartment block wasn’t created from scratch but was a remodel undertaken at the turn of the 20th century.

You won’t need to have visited Barcelona to recognise the building’s roof, the tiles of which are the scales of a great dragon.

Like all of his work the inside and outside of Casa Batlló has that sinuous quality, with few straight lines, and dazzling attention to detail.

Take the mushroom-shaped fireplace on the noble floor, which like a cosy grotto was designed for couples to warm up in winter.

Available tour : Casa Batlló Ticket and Video Guide

4. Casa Milà

Casa Milà

Also known as La Pedrera, as the front of the building looks a bit like the face of a quarry, Casa Milà was completed in 1912 and is another emblematic Gaudí building.

It’s one of several of Catalan modernist works to be UNESCO listed and was the fourth and final Gaudí building on Passeig de Gràcia.

Architects will appreciate the contemporary innovations here, including the self-supporting stone facade and underground car park.

It was designed for the industrialist Pere Milà i Camps to be his family home, with apartments for rent on the upper floors.

The coherence between the design of the building and Casa Milà’s furnishings is a real joy to see, and it’s all from a time when Gaudí was at the top of his game.

Available tour : Casa Milà Skip-The Line Audio Guide Tour

5. City Beaches

Barcelona Beach

Barcelona’s beachfront boardwalk stretches for miles. It will take a good hour to get from Barceloneta to Diagonal Mar on foot, but it’s a walk that really helps you understand the city.

The westernmost beaches like Sant Sebastià are busier and more touristy, but are backed by Barceloneta’s tight lattice of trendy shops and bars with terraces and outdoor seating.

As you move along the waterfront after the Olympic Port you’ll find a bit more room and more Barcelona locals.

Finally, just up from Platja de Llevant is the massive and new Diagonal Mar mall, revitalising a former industrial part of the city.

6. La Boqueria

La Boqueria

This is an iconic sight and educational experience in one. There’s been a Boqueria market in Barcelona since medieval times, though this exact spot has only witnessed trade for about 200 years.

That elegant and distinctive iron and glass roof you’ll see was put up in 1914.

Whether you want to do some food shopping or just take in the sights and sounds of a bustling urban market it’s a real eye-opener.

It’s a grid of permanent stalls selling fruits, vegetables, cold meats, cheese as well as olive products.

The whole market converges on an oval plan of fishmongers in the centre.

Cool off with a beer and a tapa at one of the market’s bars.

7. Camp Nou

Camp Nou

In the western Les Corts neighbourhood is the 99,000-seater stadium that has been the home ground of FC Barcelona since 1957.

It’s one of Europe’s football cathedrals and even if you have no affinity for the team you have to visit Camp Nou to appreciate the dizzying scale of the arena.

And if you are a fan you’ll be in heaven, touring the stadium and browsing the memorabilia of one of the world’s most prestigious teams at the museum.

The stadium tour is unavailable on or just before match days so keep an eye on the calendar.

Available tour : Camp Nou Experience: F.C. Barcelona Museum and Tour

8. Park Güell

Park Güell

Round off your Gaudí experience with a trip to this garden complex on Carmel Hill.

Many make the trip to this part of Gràcia for those gorgeous panoramas over Barcelona from the park’s main terrace.

You’ll have seen these serpentine benches and their mosaics on postcards and in movies.

Elsewhere there are colonnades, fountains and sculptures, all in the architect’s distinctive style.

If you still haven’t had enough Gaudí you can enter his House-Museum, where he lived from 1906 to 1926, with furniture and decorative items designed by him on display.

9. Barcelona City History Museum

Barcelona City History Museum

The History Museum preserves a few Roman sites across the Gothic Quarter, such as the temple of Augustus and the Funeral Way on Plaça de la Vila de Madrid. But Plaça del Rei is where you can see Barcelona’s ancient history in detailed layers.

You’ll take a lift down to where the remnants of a garum factory, laundries, dyeing shops and parts of ancient Barcino’s walls are all visible.

The site is large, covering 4,000 square metres, which you’ll explore via elevated walkways.

As you rise through the museum building you’ll step forward through time and enter the vaults of the Palau Reial Major, seat of the medieval Dukes of Barcelona.

10. Montjuïc


This city district was developed for the 1929 International Exhibition and features several high-profile museums including the National Museum of Catalan Art, the Museum of Archaeology and the Ethnology Museum.

Of those the art museum is particularly recommended, and the views of the city from its steps are stunning.

Below this, and also built for the exhibition was the Magic Fountain, which puts on light and music shows ever half-hour on the weekends. This is best seen at night of course.

At the very top of the hill is the 17th-century fortress, which saw action in the Catalan Revolt in the 1600s as well as during the Civil War in the late-1930s, after which it was a prison.

11. Fundació Joan Miró

Fundació Joan Miró

Just like Gaudí, Joan Miró was a quintessentially Catalonian artist, and a visit to his museum will give you a more vivid picture of Barcelona’s spirit and style.

The Fundació Joan Miró was set up by the artist in the 60s to encourage contemporary art in Barcelona, and Miró worked closely with the architect Josep Lluís Sert on the museum building’s design.

This means there’s a harmony between the venue and the work inside it that you won’t find very often.

Within there’s a large collection of the artist’s work, including sculptures, drawing and paintings.

There are also temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st century art, and all sorts of collaborative and educational projects going on.


If you wonder what life is like in the small towns of Catalonia then a visit to Gràcia is a way to find out.

This area wasn’t even part of Barcelona until the 20th century, and thanks to its layout of tapered streets and little squares, feels like a different place.

It’s a young, stylish and cosmopolitan area with students and artists, so there’s a multitude of bars, cafes and independent shops to be found.

If you come to Gràcia during the Festa Major in August the area is transformed as the residents come together to decorate individual streets in imaginative ways to be the best in the neighbourhood.

13. Palau de la Música Catalana

Palau de la Música Catalana

This turn-of-the-century concert hall is yet another piece of Barcelona’s UNESCO-listed heritage.

It was built by Gaudí’s contemporary, Lluís Domènech i Montaner for the Orfeó Català, a Barcelona choral society.

This was at a time when investment and commissions by wealthy Catalan industrialists were helping a generation of artists and designers to create a new sense of Catalan identity.

The hall is a sublime venue for opera, symphonies and folk music, so have a look at the schedule when you plan your trip.

14. Plaça de Catalunya

Plaça de Catalunya

This is the best meeting point in the city. It’s right at the bottom of the posh Passeig de Gràcia and at the top of Las Ramblas.

If you’re waiting for friends in the evening for a meal or getting ready for a shopping expedition by day nowhere in the Ciutat Vella or Eixample will be more than a few minutes on foot from this grand square.

Barcelona’s flagship branch of El Corte Inglés is right here, and if you’re new to the city and want to get oriented you could go inside to pick up a map.

15. Eating in Barcelona


International food is superb in Barcelona, especially when it comes to Japaese-style noodle bars, which have become popular in the last 10 years.

Another trend is pintxos, Basque-style bar snacks in which delicious things like croquettes and fish are served on a piece of bread held together with a toothpick (pincho).

For a typically Catalan snack there’s  Pa amb tomàquet, rustic bread covered in a mix of tomato pulp and oil. This often serves as a base for sandwiches or bocatas.

For a main course here on the coast nothing beats arròs negre, rice simmered with cuttlefish or squid, followed by rich crema catalana for dessert. Have a look at the available food tours in Barcelona .

Tip : Have a look at the tours offered by Barcelona City Tellers , they even offer a free walking tour! A great way to start off your visit as you’ll learn more about the city and will get lots of tips on which things to do and avoid during your stay.

15 Best Things to Do in Barcelona (Spain):

  • Las Ramblas
  • Sagrada Família
  • Casa Batlló
  • City Beaches
  • La Boqueria
  • Barcelona City History Museum
  • Fundació Joan Miró
  • Palau de la Música Catalana
  • Plaça de Catalunya
  • Eating in Barcelona


Visit Barcelona: Top 25 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

Things to do in barcelona: the 25 best places to visit and highlights.

You’re planning to visit Barcelona during your next trip to Spain?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have written this guide of the best things to do in Barcelona , with all the must-see attractions and points of interest.

From Parc Guell to La Sagrada Familia , you will discover all the best places to visit in the city as well as hidden gems , known only by locals.

And at the end of this article, you will also find itineraries to visit Barcelona in 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days (or even a week!) as well as my suggestions of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

So, what are the best places to visit in Barcelona? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

1. La Sagrada Familia

2. las ramblas of barcelona, 3. mercado de la boqueria, 4. plaza catalunya, 5. passeig de gracia: shopping in barcelona, 6. casa batlló, 7. casa milà or “la pedrera”, 8. park güell – where to walk in barcelona, 9. güell palace, 10. visit the national art museum of catalonia (mnac), 11. plaça d’espanya and the magic fountain of montjuic, 12. the olympic installations from the 1992 olympic games, 13. montjuic hill, 14. visit camp nou stadium, 15. the basilica of santa maria del mar, 16. barcelona port / barcelona cruises, 17. going to the beach in barcelona, 18. ciutadella park, 19. barcelona’s cathedral of the holy cross, 20. the palau de la música catalana, 21. the recinte modernista de sant pau, 22. the best viewpoints and lookouts in barcelona, 23. horta’s labyrinth park, 24. attending la mercè, 25. exploring barcelona’s gastronomy, the 6 best things to do around barcelona, best things to do in barcelona when it rains, visiting barcelona with kids, how many days to visit barcelona, 1 day in barcelona, 2 days in barcelona, 3 days in barcelona, 4 days in barcelona, 5 days in barcelona, where to stay in barcelona, where to eat in barcelona, my tips for a trip to barcelona, barcelona tourist map, how to get to barcelona, how to get around barcelona, what are the best places to visit in barcelona, when is the best time to visit barcelona, what to do in barcelona at night, you’re traveling in spain these articles will help you, visit barcelona: all must-see attractions.

You simply can’t visit Barcelona without planning a visit to La Sagrada Familia.

La Sagrada Familia is the most famous work of Catalan architect Gaudí , who shaped Barcelona’s architectural landscape until his death in 1926. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site , it’s Spain’s most visited monument and the emblematic symbol of Barcelona.

You’ll immediately understand why upon arriving at the Basilica: the building is impressive , with its details and Catholic references . Its unique architectural style, mixing Gothic and Art Nouveau , will take your breath away!

Under construction for 136 years , La Sagrada Familia is still unfinished and is not expected to be completed until 2027. In the meantime, the entry fees are used to fund the completion of the work. You can boast about having contributed to the construction of this masterpiece!

Practically speaking, La Sagrada Familia is open every day from 9 AM, and until 6 PM, 7 PM, or 8 PM depending on the season.

Of course, you can visit the interior as well as the museum displaying original plans and drawings that trace the evolution of the Basilica.

I highly recommend you book your ticket online before your visit to La Sagrada Familia. At any time of the day, the queue is often endless , and it would be a shame to waste hours waiting in line!

You need to book your skip-the-line ticket for La Sagrada Familia by clicking on the button below:

And if you prefer a guided tour of La Sagrada Familia with an official guide, simply click here to book it!

To visit Barcelona and La Sagrada Familia , you should get the Barcelona Pass.

Here’s what’s included:

  • Skip-the-line entry to La Sagrada Familia
  • Entry to Park Güell
  • Access to the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for 24 hours
  • Barcelona audioguide to download
  • 10% discount on other entrance tickets to buy online like Casa Batlló.

You need to book your Barcelona City Pass by clicking on the button below:

Sagrada Familia

La Rambla (or Las Ramblas) is another place you don’t wanna miss during your visit to Barcelona.

It’s the pedestrian boulevard that connects the port of Barcelona to Plaza Catalunya (Plaça de Catalunya).

What to see along Las Ramblas of Barcelona:

  • La Font de Canaletes: a gathering place for Barcelona residents during major events and football victories!
  • Joan Miro’s mosaic, created directly on the pavement
  • The Gran Teatre del Liceu, the oldest in the city
  • Plaza Reial and its numerous bars
  • Palau de la Virreina, which hosts temporary exhibitions.

Along nearly 2 km , you will also find numerous street artists, musicians, shops , and plenty of cafés and restaurants. Also, don’t miss the living statues : men and women dressed as creatures that are truly impressive.

You’ll find them towards the lower part of Las Ramblas , closer to the port.

Did you know?

las ramblas

During your stay in Barcelona, you should really go to the Mercado de La Boqueria.

The market, the oldest in the city, is the main tourist attraction on Las Ramblas . Look for an Art Nouveau portal and a crowd of tourists pouring in: that’s the spot!

This place is perfect for finding all kinds of Catalan products : tapas, Iberian ham, turron, fresh fruit… A true feast for the eyes and the palate. The stalls are beautifully presented, and the atmosphere is warm. You’ll want to try everything!

If you’re interested in Spanish cuisine , I recommend a super fun activity to do in Barcelona.

You can visit La Boqueria with a chef who will choose the best ingredients and then prepare for you a variety of hot and cold tapas as well as a paella . You’ll be able to watch the whole process and, of course, taste everything at the end accompanied by a small glass of sangria!

Book your visit to Mercado de La Boqueria and cooking class right here.

It will be hard to avoid the crowds on Las Ramblas, but if you don’t want to be with all the tourists, go there early in the morning , between 8 AM and 10 AM. You’ll be more at ease to admire the old buildings along the promenade.

mercado de la boqueria

To continue your tour of Barcelona, I suggest you then head to Plaza Catalunya (Plaça de Catalunya), located at the end of Las Ramblas.

It’s the heart of the city , at the crossroads of Las Ramblas, Rambla de Catalunya, and Passeig de Gracia.

There, you’ll find several statues , including the statue of Frederic Marès, a few cafés, and an El Corte Inglés . You should have a drink on the roof of the department store , the view is really nice!

Plaza Catalunya is also the starting point of many metro lines and the Barcelona equivalent of the suburban rail, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC).

So, this is the perfect starting point if you want to visit Barcelona using public transportation.

plaza catalunya barcelona

Continuing from Las Ramblas , past Plaza Catalunya, you will find Passeig de Gracia .

It’s one of the most famous avenues in Barcelona and one of the many places to see.

Originally, Passeig de Gracia was the avenue where wealthy Barcelona families lived . Hence, you will find magnificent villas , including some designed by Gaudí ( Casa Batlló and Casa Milà ), and Puig y Cadafalch , another renowned architect in Barcelona ( Casa Amatller ).

Passeig de Gracia is also the perfect place for shopping among the countless luxury stores that line the promenade (or just window shopping if your budget doesn’t allow), with brands like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Cartier, Hermès, Gucci…

The street lamps of Passeig de Gracia are also signed by Gaudí. It seems that Barcelona’s favorite architect truly left his mark everywhere.

passeig de gracia

To continue this guide of the best places to visit in Barcelona, let’s head to Casa Batlló.

It’s one of the two villas designed by Gaudí on Passeig de Gracia. Known as La Casa del Ossos (the House of Bones) by the locals, it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I strongly recommend visiting it as it is even more impressive inside than outside!

I suggest, again, that you book your ticket online in advance to avoid the potentially endless queue, even before 11 AM.

A 3D audiovisual guide makes the visit interactive and even more enjoyable:

Plan about 1 hour for the visit.

If you want to experience Casa Batlló differently , I recommend you get the “Magical Nights” ticket .

It includes an animated nighttime tour with live music on the rooftop terrace (at 8 PM), as well as 2 complimentary drinks .

casa battlo

The other Gaudí villa located on Passeig de Gracia is Casa Milà , nicknamed “La Pedrera” (which means “the stone quarry” in Catalan, a nickname given for its unique architecture).

Also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites , the building is recognizable from afar with its wavy white façade . Spanning 5 floors and 4,500 m², you can discover all of Gaudí’s architectural genius and immerse yourself in his world.

The view of Barcelona from the rooftop terrace is also breathtaking.

To book your skip-the-line ticket for Casa Mila, click here:

Should you wish to visit Casa Mila in a unique way , I suggest you book a night tour tickets (click here) with a show.

Starting from 9 PM, audiovisual projections take place in different parts of the building and on the roof. Plus, a glass of champagne is included.

If you wish to visit the three remarkable houses designed by Gaudí while saving money, you should get the Gaudí Houses Pass.

It includes:

  • Skip-the-line access to Casa Milà + audio guide
  • Entry to Casa Batlló + audio guide
  • Skip-the-line ticket for Palau Güell + audio guide

You need to book the pass to visit Gaudí’s houses by clicking this green button:

casa mila

Let’s continue with Gaudí’s works: Park Güell is another must-see tourist attraction in Barcelona.

Built between 1900 and 1914 by order of Eusebi Güell, a friend and patron of Gaudí, the park was originally intended to be a garden city housing about 60 homes. In the end, only 4 houses were built due to budgetary constraints.

However, Park Güell remains a treasure trove of Modernist architecture and Art Nouveau , showcasing the blend of modernism and nature that characterized Gaudí’s work.

It’s divided into two areas: the “Monumental” zone, which has an entrance fee (this is where the famous curvy benches, the salamander, and the columns are found) and a free area.

You should plan to spend several hours exploring this park.

You can also climb up to the viewpoint (Mirador de Virolai), and even though the climb is a bit tough, it’s worth it. The panoramic view of Barcelona’s landmarks is stunning.

Tickets to visit the park must be reserved well in advance as availability is really limited:

Don’t forget, if you have purchased the Barcelona City Pass , entry to Park Güell is already included!


Güell Palace is yet another commission by Güell for Gaudí , located in the Raval neighborhood, in the historical center of Barcelona. It actually served as the Güell family’s residence .

Do not be deceived by the rather modest facade of the villa: the interior is truly luxurious .

The must-see elements of Palau Güell include the wrought iron gate, the entrance hall , and also the mansion’s bedrooms.

The full price ticket is 12€ but you can visit the palace for free on the first Sunday of every month.

You need to buy your ticket by clicking here.

If you have purchased the Gaudi Pass , entrance to Güell Palace is included!

You’re going to Barcelona?

You probably know it: the hardest part of planning your trip is to find an hotel offering a good value for money!

And that’s even worse in the large European cities 😅.

The closer you get to your travel dates, the harder it will be to get a good deal. Tens of thousands of people will be visiting Barcelona on the same dates as you , so you can be sure that the best deals are booked extremely quickly!

Hopefully, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem: do like me and book your hotel as early as possible!

So, my best advice is to take 5 minutes (now) to have a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Barcelona.

And if you see a good offer, book it!

Most hotels offer free cancellation, so it’s quick, easy, and you will avoid the the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the current best deals for your hotel in Barcelona, simply click on the green button below 😎:

Once you’ve booked your hotel, it will be time to continue reading this guide and find out more about the best things to do in Barcelona!

Güell Palace Barcelona

What are the best things to do in Barcelona if you love art and culture?

Go visit the MNAC!

The National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) is famous for having the largest Romanesque art collection in the world. Besides its rich collections spanning all mediums and eras, it’s housed in a majestic palace specially built for the 1929 World Fair.

It’s also one of the largest museums in Spain.

You need to buy your MNAC entrance tickets by clicking here:

It’s possible to visit the MNAC for free , including both permanent and temporary exhibitions, on Saturdays after 3 PM and all first Sundays of the month.

If you plan to visit other museums in Barcelona besides the MNAC, you should buy the Barcelona Museum Pass. It will grant you access to the city’s 6 main museums (skip-the-line tickets):

  • National Art Museum of Catalonia
  • Barcelona Picasso Museum
  • Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Fundació Joan Miró
  • Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona
  • Fundació Antoni Tàpies.

You need to buy it by clicking on the button below:

MNAC Barcelona

Let’s continue this guide of Barcelona’s must-see attractions and head to Plaça d’Espanya.

Located opposite the MNAC, designed by architect Puig i Cadafalch , it was also built for the 1929 World Fair.

It’s recognizable by the former bullring , which is now a shopping center . I definitely recommend heading to the top floor , on the roof terrace: it offers a magnificent view of the square and Montjuic hill.

Don’t miss the Magic Fountain of Montjuic , located between the MNAC and Plaça Espanya.

Every evening, from Wednesday to Sunday , the fountain lights up to music . It’s an unmissable spectacle that both locals and tourists flock to see it: you should thus arrive early to get a good spot!

Spain Square Barcelona

You may already know that Barcelona hosted the 1992 Olympic Games . A lot of sites were built for the occasion, especially in the Olympic port and on Montjuic hill.

Here are the main Olympic facilities to see:

  • Montjuic Olympic Park , which includes the Olympic Stadium, Palau Sant Jordi, the Calatrava Tower, the Barcelona Sports Palace, and the Pavilion of Industrial Spain.
  • Parc del Mar , home to the Olympic Port of Barcelona and the Mar Bella Pavilion.

For a hassle-free (and fun!) way to explore the Olympic sites , you should opt for a 1.5 hours guided Segway tour.

Reserve your spot by clicking here!

Montjuic Olympic Park Barcelona

Aside from the Olympic Park, Montjuic Hill still has many surprises in store. It’s a very peaceful area in Barcelona, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Here are the best places to visit in Montjuic:

  • Montjuic Castle , which played a controversial role in the city’s history, notably as a vantage point for bombings during the War of Spanish Succession (18th and 19th centuries). It offers a breathtaking view of Barcelona’s coastline
  • Barcelona Botanical Garden , where you can admire plant species from Australia, California, the Mediterranean, and more
  • Miramar Gardens with their magnificent panorama over the entire city
  • The Greek Theatre Gardens
  • Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens , with a Californian theme.

To get to Montjuic , you can take the bus or go on foot, but I highly recommend taking the Montjuic cable car from Barceloneta. The view from the cable car is absolutely worth it!

Round-trip tickets are available right here.

Montjuic Hill

What’s the best place to visit in Barcelona if you’re a sports enthusiast, especially a football fan?

The Camp Nou Stadium, without any hesitation!

The “Camp Nou Experience” combined tour allows you to visit the home of FC Barcelona, which is not only the largest stadium in Spain but also in Europe, as well as the FC Barcelona Museum. You will be completely immersed into the world of Spanish football.

You need to book this experience directly here:

To get there, your best option is to take the subway: line L3 to Palau Reial or Les Corts stations; and line 5 to Badal or Collblanc stations.

Camp Nou Stadium

The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar , located in the historical Born district, is a must-visit for fans of Gothic architecture and religious history.

You’ll surely be impressed by the immensity of the Basilica from the inside. You should ideally visit at night when it’s illuminated – it’s even more beautiful!

You can find opening hours and access information on the official website.

Not many people know, but you can climb right to the top of the basilica. From the Terraces of Santa Maria del Mar , you’ll get an unbeatable view of the Born district and the surrounding areas. However, this privilege comes at a cost (8€).

Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar Barcelona

Port Vell is also worth a visit in Barcelona.

Theren you can find a shopping center ( Mare Magnum ), which might interest you if you’re fond of shopping. To get there, feel free to walk across the pedestrian bridge from La Rambla to the shopping center.

Here are some other attractions you can find at Port Vell:

  • Christopher Columbus statue : you can climb to the top for a nice view of La Rambla and the port
  • The IMAX cinema
  • Barcelona Aquarium: This is a great activity for families visiting Barcelona. Tickets available here .

Port Vell is also where you can embark on Golondrinas cruises .

These boats take you to see Barcelona from the water, offering a different perspective of the city. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy. You need to book your tickets by clicking here.

And if you prefer a more festive cruise,   you should opt for a catamaran ride.

The outing lasts 3 hours and includes a barbecue lunch (with drinks). A DJ is on board to set the mood, and there’s even a planned swimming stop.

Book by clicking the green button below:

You can also combine a cruise in the port with a helicopter flight over the city and a guided tour of the Gothic Quarter.

This 4-hour excursion for the three activities is around 135 euros, which is really a great deal considering the price of helicopter flights!

Book using the green button below:

Barcelona port

Where to go to the beach in Barcelona?

Barcelona is also famous for its beaches, and if you’re visiting Barcelona during the summer, it’s the best way to cool off.

There are 10 beaches in Barcelona, spread along the Passeig Maritim.

The beaches closest to the center ( Barceloneta, Sant Miquel, and Sant Sebastià ) are the busiest. For a quieter experience, head to Nova Icària Beach.

Nova Icaria Beach Barcelona

Let’s continue this guide with Ciutadella Park , another famous park in Barcelona, built for the 1888 Universal Exposition.

It’s a favorite spot for locals when the weather is nice, and you can even enjoy a boat ride on its lake.

In the park, you will find several tourist attractions such as:

  • The Arc de Triomf
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The seat of the Parliament of Catalonia.

If you’re visiting Barcelona with your children, you can also take them to Barcelona Zoo. Tickets on sale here!

And to save money when you’re visiting Barcelona with your family, I recommend 2 packages that include entry to the zoo (click the links to book):

  • Barcelona Family Pass : includes zoo entry + one-hour harbor cruise + fast-track entry to the Wax Museum
  • The Zoo and Aquarium Pack : includes zoo entry + aquarium ticket + a ride on Barcelona’s port cable car.

Another great way to explore the park and its surroundings is to opt for a 2-hour electric scooter tour.

The tour also includes a visit to the Olympic Port and the beaches.

The same tour is also available on a Segway:

Ciutadella Park Barcelona

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Barcelona is definitely the first landmark you’ll notice while wandering through the Gothic Quarter.

This impressive cathedral is one of Barcelona’s most majestic religious sights . Built in Gothic style, it is rich in detail and sculpture , both on the exterior and interior.

Admission costs 7€ and gives you access to the cathedral, the cloister, the terraces, the choir, the museum, and the chapel.

To explore other monuments in the Gothic Quarter , you can choose a guided walking tour.

For 2 hours, a professional guide will show you every corner of the neighborhood.

To book, click here:

Barcelona's Cathedral of the Holy Cross

This Art Nouveau concert hall is surely one of the most beautiful in the world.

This UNESCO World Heritage site was built in the early 20th century by Domènech i Montaner, who was a mentor to Gaudí and Puig i Cadafalch.

To visit the Palau de la Música Catalana , a guided tour is mandatory. Lasting 50 minutes, a guide will show you the intermission hall and balcony , the auditorium , and the upper balconies.

The tour is very interesting and full of fascinating anecdotes. It costs 20€ per person and various languages are available depending on the schedule.

Book your palace tour directly here.

Palau de la Música Catalana

The Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is another modernist masterpiece by architect Domènech i Montaner whom I just mentioned.

It was once a public hospital , designed as a garden city, and functioned throughout the 20th century.

You can visit several buildings on the premises, some of which host exhibitions, like the Sant Rafael Pavilion which shows what the hospital looked like in its early days.

You need to get your tickets here.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

What are the best places to go in Barcelona for a breathtaking view?

The best viewpoint in Barcelona is undoubtedly the Bunkers del Carmel , or Turó de la Rovira.

This site once hosted anti-aircraft bunkers that played a major role in the defense of the city during the Spanish Civil War. Today, not much remains except for a magnificent 360° view of the entire city of Barcelona.

Here’s a summary of the best spots to see Barcelona from above (most of which I have already mentioned)

  • Montjuic hill (the castle or the Miramar)
  • The Columbus Column
  • The rooftop of La Pedrera
  • Torre Glòries (tickets available here!) from its 33rd floor, you get a spectacular view of Barcelona!
  • The rooftop of the Las Arenas shopping center on Plaça Espanya
  • The rooftop of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
  • Mount Tibidabo
  • Torre de Collserola

Bunkers del Carmel

Horta’s Labyrinth Park is Barcelona’s oldest park , with a quiet and secretive atmosphere, ideal for a romantic stroll.

Once you’ve explored the labyrinth thoroughly, you can relax in the neoclassical park or even have a picnic.

Admission is 2€, but it’s free on Wednesdays and Sundays.

It’s a pleasant place to visit after seeing Barcelona’s more popular attractions.

Horta's Labyrinth Park

La Mercè is THE celebration in Barcelona you can’t miss . This religious festival , also known as “festa major d’estiu” in Catalan, takes place over a week around September 24th.

You’ll experience a full display of Catalan culture: castells and falcons, parades of Catalan giants, correfocs (fire runs), sardine barbecues, concerts, exhibitions, and more.

But the best way to understand what La Mercè is all about is to experience it for yourself!

La Mercè

What would a trip to Barcelona be without trying Catalan gastronomy?

Tapas, paella, arroz negre (black rice) and fideua (a type of paella made with short noodles), calçots (a kind of onion), crema catalana, turron, and coca de San Joan …

You will certainly have plenty to enjoy during your holiday!

Tapas Barcelona

If you’re spending several days in Barcelona, don’t hesitate to leave the city and explore its surrounding areas.

Barcelona has the advantage of being located in a region rich in architectural treasures and diverse landscapes. Catalonia will delight lovers of urban art, ancient history, beaches, and mountains alike.

Here are the best places to visit around Barcelona:

  • Montserrat Mountain: you should visit Montserrat Abbey and enjoy one (or more!) hikes. There are organized day trips from Barcelona , which is super convenient if you don’t have a car. You need to book your trip here!
  • Colonia Güell: An industrial estate designed by Gaudí for the textile workers of Güell, featuring his unconventional church (the Crypt). To visit it, you should take the train from Barcelona. All-inclusive tickets with train journey, Colonia Güell and Crypt visit only cost 15€.
  • Sitges: for strolling along the seafront and enjoying the beach in summer. It’s the ideal place to relax near Barcelona. Book your guided tour here!
  • Tossa de Mar: on the Costa Brava, a unique village with a very charming medieval town center. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit near Barcelona. To book your day trip, you simply need to click here.
  • Girona and Figueres, the 2 most important cities in Northern Catalonia. In Girona, you will visit many medieval monuments and in Figueres, you will discover the world of the famous Salvador Dali! Book your visit here!
  • PortAventura Amusement Park: simply the best amusement in Spain and in Southern Europe. As an ultra-touristic attraction near Barcelona, you really need to purchase your skip-the-line tickets in advance . You can also reserve a  day trip to PortAventura with transport included from Barcelona (very convenient if you don’t have a car).

Montserrat Abbey

Even though Barcelona is a Mediterranean city renowned for its pleasant climate, it does rain in Barcelona sometimes!

So you’re not caught off-guard, I’ve prepared a list of the best activities to do when it rains in Barcelona:

  • Visit museums: in my opinion, Barcelona’s must-see museums are the MNAC, the Picasso Museum, and the Miró Foundation on Montjuic. All of them are included in the Barcelona Museum Pass . But you could also take the opportunity to visit more unusual museums, like the Museum of Eroticism or the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, dedicated to cannabis.
  • Drink a “chocolate a la taza”: this thick hot chocolate, often accompanied by churros, is a tradition in Barcelona. You can enjoy them in the numerous granjas, such as Granja Viader or Granja Pallaresa. One of my favorite spots is La Nena, in the Gracia neighborhood, an authentic café that’s quite popular with locals.
  • Watch a Flamenco show: Flamenco is Andalusian, but it’s still very popular in Barcelona. Show evenings are especially organized at Los Tarantos, one of the oldest tablaos in Barcelona. You can book this activity here.
  • Shopping: Barcelona has many shopping centers: Las Arenas, Glories (near Torre Agbar), L’illa Diagonal…

chocolate churros

What are the best things do in Barcelona with your family?

To plan your trip to Barcelona with family, I have prepared a list of the best activities to do with children:

  • Visit CosmoCaixa Science Museum, in Sarria district. Free for kids, it offers plenty of fun learning activities.
  • A trip to the Tibidabo Amusement Park: located on Mount Tibidabo, this amusement park is one of the oldest in the world and offers stunning views over the city.
  • The Blue Tram of Sarria: a century-old tramway connecting Avinguda Tibidabo with the funicular station. Note that it only runs on weekdays.
  • Barcelona Aquarium: You’ll see fish and aquatic creatures from all over the world.
  • The Magic Fountain of Montjuic: I mentioned it earlier on, and I can assure you that your children will love this show.
  • Poble Espanyol: This “Spanish Village” offers a pretty amazing reconstruction of typical villages from Spain’s regions, from Andalusia to Castile. It’s great because it hosts many events and workshops for kids. It’s the perfect visit for a family stay in Barcelona.

If you’ve decided to visit Barcelona with your family , you can also take them to Barcelona Zoo. Tickets available here!

And to save money on your Barcelona trip with kids, I recommend 2 packs that include a visit to the zoo (click the links to book):

  • The Barcelona Family Pass including: zoo entrance + one-hour harbor cruise + skip-the-line entry for the wax museum
  • The Zoo and Aquarium Pack with: zoo entrance + aquarium ticket + a trip on the Barcelona Port cable car.

poble espanyol

The length of your stay in Barcelona depends a lot on what you want to see and what kind of traveler you are.

It’s perfectly possible to visit Barcelona in a weekend or to spend a week there without getting bored.

To help you plan your stay, I’ve prepared itineraries to visit Barcelona in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days or even a week.

There are 2 discount cards (City Passes) for Barcelona, which will help you save time and money.

1) The best one in my opinion is the Barcelona City Pass . It includes:

  • The excellent visit to the Sagrada Familia
  • A skip-the-line ticket for Park Güell
  • The ticket for the hop-on hop-off bus for 1 or 2 days – Perfect to easily move from a point of interest to another and discover all the best places to visit in the city!

2) If you’re staying more than 3 days in Barcelona, you might also consider the Barcelona Card . Valid for 3, 4, or 5 days, it grants you free public transport and discounts or free entry to city attractions and museums. A city and metro map are also included.

If you’ve only got one day to visit Barcelona , you should focus your sightseeing around the heart of the city: the area that stretches from Ciutat Vella (the historic quarter) to Passeig de Gracia.

Here are the must-see attractions:

  • Start your tour with the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and the Gothic Quarter, and take the opportunity to enjoy some tapas in the historic center of Barcelona
  • Then, stroll down La Rambla
  • Do some shopping at La Boqueria Market
  • Taste tapas either at La Boqueria Market or in the upper Gothic Quarter
  • Walk up along Passeig de Gracia , including a visit to Casa Batlló
  • End your visit at the Sagrada Familia, so you can take your time to explore
  • Enjoy a flamenco show in the evening

To optimize your time, you should book your tickets in advance online . You’ll find reservation links at each point in the article.

And if you don’t want to walk, you can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city. It’s the best way to make the most of Barcelona in one day.

You need to buy your Hop-on Hop-off bus ticket here.

If you’re staying 2 days in Barcelona, you should follow the previous day’s itinerary, replacing the visit to the Sagrada Familia with a visit to Casa Milà.

Here are some ideas for your second day in Barcelona:

  • Start your day with a visit to Park Güell
  • Check out the Bunkers del Carmel, just a short distance away
  • Pass by the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau
  • Visit the Sagrada Familia (on the first day you would have visited Casa Mila)
  • End your day in the Born district

All the details to organize your weekend in Barcelona are in this article: 2-Day Itinerary in Barcelona.

Barcelona at night

If you’re planning to spend 3 days in Barcelona , you should do the itinerary mentioned above for the 2 first days and add a day on Montjuic hill.

Here’s how to organize your day:

  • Head to Plaça Espanya and enjoy the view from the top of the shopping center
  • If you have children, visit Poble Espanyol
  • Visit the MNAC
  • Have a picnic in one of the many parks on Montjuic (I especially like the Greek Theatre garden)
  • Take a tour of the Olympic installations
  • Finish your visit at Montjuic Castle
  • Return to Plaça Espanya to eat some tapas and watch the Magic Fountain show

For 3 days in Barcelona, I’ve also prepared a detailed guide with all my tips to make the most of your stay in Barcelona.

Here it is: 3 Days in Barcelona , the ultimate guide!

If you have 4 days in Barcelona , I recommend following the 3-day itinerary and adding a day around the beach and Port Vell:

  • Take a tour of Port Vell: if it’s raining, go shopping and visit the aquarium, and if it’s sunny, take a Golondrinas boat tour
  • Walk along Passeig Maritim to admire Barcelona’s beaches. In summer, you can even spend the afternoon at the beach.
  • Visit the Olympic Port
  • Return to the old town and rest in Parc de la Ciutadella
  • Visit Santa Maria del Mar Basilica and climb to the top to enjoy the view over the city.

All these details and the day-by-day program can be found in my other article: 4 Days in Barcelona: the perfect itinerary.

For 5 days in Barcelona , I recommend adding to the previous itinerary an excursion to visit Barcelona’s surroundings

Here are the best day trips from Barcelona:

  • A visit to the Costa Brava from Barcelona: explore Lloret del Mar and Tossa del Mar + boat trip, bus transport, and guide included for only 55€ per person
  • From Barcelona: Costa Brava, Kayak and Snorkeling: maximum of 12 people, transfer to the Costa Brava, kayak navigation and snorkeling (equipment provided) + lunch starting from 65€.
  • Hot air balloon ride departing from Barcelona: hotel pickup + one-hour hot air balloon flight and picnic included
  • Tickets for Montserrat from Barcelona + Museum: round trip – full-day tour with train ride, monastery and museum visit with audio guide included
  • In winter, you can go skiing at one of the stations near Barcelona (La Molina, for instance, is very renowned)
  • With children or with friends, go to PortAventura and don’t forget to book your skip-the-line tickets here.

To learn more about the best things to do in Barcelona in 5 days , you should read my detailed itinerary right here: 5 Days in Barcelona.

And if you’re planning to stay longer, for example, a week in Barcelona, no worries, there are still plenty of things to see, including the Camp Nou Stadium, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, the Palace of Catalan Music , and many museums.

You can also simply take your time and soak up the ambiance of the Catalan capital!

I detail the entire program in my dedicated article right here: A Week in Barcelona: the ultimate itinerary.

Port Aventura

As you know, finding a good hotel deal in Barcelona isn’t that easy!

That’s why I have selected for you the 5 best hotels in Barcelona , depending on your budget.

If you already know your travel dates and find a hotel that suits you, you should really book now, as the best deals don’t last long!

  • Hostel One Ramblas: This hostel is located in the center of Barcelona. Dormitory beds start from €33 with dinner included. Strong points: the atmosphere, the price. A great choice if you’re visiting Barcelona on a budget.
  • Hotel Grums Barcelona: Located next to Montjuic hill and 600m from Las Ramblas. Elegant and bright rooms starting from €134. Strong points: the spa with jacuzzi and sauna, room design, great location. It’s one of my favorite hotels in Barcelona for its excellent value for money!
  • Ohla Barcelona: Perfectly located luxury hotel in Barcelona, between the Cathedral and the Plaza Catalunya, and 200 meters from the metro. This 5-star hotel offers contemporary and comfortable double rooms starting at €325 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the beauty of the establishment both outside and inside, the rooftop pool with breathtaking views, the 3 gourmet restaurants. This is definitely the perfect choice for a romantic stay in the heart of Barcelona.
  • W Barcelona: The iconic Barcelona hotel is located in the Barceloneta district. Luxurious and well-equipped double rooms starting at €363. Strong points: the views, the two swimming pools, the facilities, the restaurants. Undoubtedly the most famous hotel in Barcelona!
  • Hotel Arts Barcelona: 5-star hotel located in the Olympic Port district, 250 meters from the beach and 300 meters from Ciutadella Park. Design and ultra-spacious double rooms starting from €670 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the 2-Michelin-star restaurant, the outdoor pool with panoramic views, the design, and the contemporary art collection. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Barcelona!

To get a complete list of the best accommodations in Barcelona , sorted by area and budget, you should read my dedicated guide: Where to Stay in Barcelona?

Gothic Quarter Hotel Ohla Barcelona

  • For tapas: Taller de Tapas . This restaurant is part of a chain (with 6 locations in Barcelona, mainly in the old city), offering very affordable prices and a good sample of Catalan cuisine such as pan con tomate, paella, seafood tapas, croquetas, crema catalana, and more.
  • For a good burger: Bacoa is also a chain, and it’s truly an institution in Barcelona. The burgers are artisanal, made with fresh products, and hearty.
  • For a taste of chocolate a la taza: Granja La Pallaresa is one of the most famous and the best place to enjoy churros con chocolate. Moreover, the setting is really cool (in the Gothic Quarter, near the Cathedral of the Holy Cross).

Here are my tips to ensure you have the best time in Barcelona:

  • Barcelona is known for its pickpockets . To avoid any unpleasant surprises, be very careful with your belongings in the busiest areas, especially Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, the metro, and the beaches. If possible, try not to look like a tourist (with a city map in hand, camera around your neck).
  • Embrace the Spanish schedule. In Barcelona, as in all of Spain, people live life late into the night. You’ll notice that shops and museums rarely open before 10 AM. Meal times are similar: Spaniards have breakfast at 11 AM, lunch between 2 PM and 4 PM, and dinner between 9 PM and 10 PM. Be careful not to fall into tourist traps: restaurants that open before 1 PM or 7 PM are usually targeting tourists.
  • Don’t just stay in the tourist areas , like the beaches and the old town. The Gracia and Poblesec districts, for example, are authentic and you should really take a stroll there to discover Catalan life.

To help you get a better sense of the city, I have created a tourist map of Barcelona listing all the places I mentioned in this top 25 things to do in Barcelona.

You can display the map legend by clicking on the button in the top left with a little arrow.

It’s really easy to get to Barcelona.

From the US, you have direct flights to Barcelona from major cities ( New York , Los Angeles ..)

From Europe, you can find cheap flights with Ryanair, or Vueling, the Barcelona-based low-cost airline.

It’s also possible to get to Barcelona by train. For example, the journey takes on average 8h20 to go from Paris to Barcelona. SNCF (the french train operator) offers 5-6 trips per day.

And you, what do you plan to visit during your stay in Barcelona?

If you need any help to plan your trip, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section below!

FAQ – I Answer Your Questions About Barcelona

  • The Hola Barcelona card (to be purchased by clicking here!) , Barcelona’s public transport card offers unlimited access to buses, metros, and trams for 2 to 5 days. Includes the metro line from Barcelona airport to the city center!
  • A ticket for the Hop-On Hop-Off bus from Barcelona Bus Turistic + audio guide
  • A ticket for the City Tour Barcelona bus + audio guide
  • A ticket for the Aerobus shuttle that runs between the airport and the center of Barcelona
  • La Sagrada Familia
  • Casa Batlló
  • Las Ramblas where the Boqueria Market is located.

In summer , you can enjoy the beaches , and in winter , the city’s rich architecture (and churros con chocolate).

To me, the best time to visit Barcelona is in September : the weather is still nice but not as hot as in mid-summer, the tourists have thinned out, and above all, it’s the time for La Mercè!

In September, you can still enjoy the beaches of Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

Here’s my list of things to do:

  • Explore Barcelona’s monuments by night . Casa Batlló and La Pedrera offer night tours with audiovisual projections and complimentary glass of wine.
  • Attend a flamenco show (tickets can be booked here!) at one of the best tablaos in Barcelona: los Tarantos.
  • A dusk catamaran cruise accompanied by a jazz concert
  • Watch the Magic Fountain of Montjuic – Every evening from Wednesday to Sunday.
  • Climb up to the Bunkers del Carmel to admire the view of the illuminated city
  • Embark on a tapas bar crawl in Barcelona
  • Go for a drink on a rooftop bar in Barcelona or join a guided bar tour with free shots!

Discover all my articles about Spain : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Spain are listed there.

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Best places to visit in Barcelona

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

28 of the Best Places to Visit in Barcelona

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: February 5, 2023

Barcelona is loved by many and thought of as the best city in Spain to visit. It’s no wonder, there are so many amazing places to visit in Barcelona that will take your breath away. We’ve been to Barcelona many times and realized that we never really shared our list of the best things to do in Barcelona, so we decided it’s about time!

While  Paris  may have the reputation of the “city of love”, many travelers will be pleasantly surprised by the romantic charms of Barcelona. The difference between Barcelona and Paris is that you don’t feel the need to run around and see every famous site. Walking around and enjoying the city’s energy is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.

Table of Contents

Best Places to Visit in Barcelona

Top Places to Visit in Barcelona

This post was originally written by Illia and Nastia from who shared their favorite romantic attractions in Barcelona. It has been rewritten by ThePlanetD with updated information and tours.

Looking for where to stay in Barcelona?

  • Hotel Mercer : Located in medieval Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) in the heart of Barcelona and the historic district near La Rambla. / TripAdvisor
  • Majestic Hotel and Spa – Deluxe 5-star traditional hotel in, Eixample Neighborhood steps away from Gaudi monuments and La Rambla. / TripAdvisor
  • Hotel Bagues – Located in El Reva,l La Rambla neighborhood, close to shopping areas, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house, the Cathedral and more. / TripAdvisor
  • Read our Complete Guide of Where to Stay in Barcelona

Number 1 Money Saving Tip in Barcelona

Get your Go Barcelona Pass to save 40% on attractions and entrance fees. 2,3 and 5 day passes start at $99. There are so many perks including skip the line fast track entrances, and guided tours, on 30 popular Barcelona Attractions. Buy Now and Activate anytime in the next 24 months!

1. Sagrada Família

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona spain

You cannot mention Barcelona without including Gaudí’s famous unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família. It is usually one of the first places to visit in Barcelona on anyone’s list! La Sagrada Família stands proud above the entire Barcelona skyline. He began construction on the massive cathedral in 1882. It is scheduled for completion in 2026 to commemorate 100 years since Gaudí died.

Antoni Gaudí was an architect who led the Art Nouveau style of the Catalan region of Spain. Gaudí’s works are so prevalent in Barcelona, you will explore many places where his architecture is on display. Seven of his designs have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city. You can read more about it at the complete works of Gaudí here.

  • Get your  Skip The Line Tickets for Sagrada Familia in advance. Free/no-hassle cancellations up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Book a   walking tour of Barcelona   to discover Gaudí

If you and your loved one are planning a  romantic European holiday , then you should know that there are many romantic places to see in Barcelona for  couples . But solo travelers will fall in love with Barcelona as well!

2. Park Güell

Parc Guell in Barcelona

Our second choice for places to visit in Barcelona is a continuation of Gaudi architecture with a visit to Park Güell. This is a famous park that was also designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí . It’s one of Barcelona’s top attractions and a great place for couples to hide away from the touristic crowds, listen to street musicians, and kiss in the artificial caves. The place not to miss is a terrace with a spectacular view of the city.

  • The best way to explore Park Güell is to take a walking tour to learn about the life of Gaudi and of all the houses and architecture on display in the park.
  • Reserve now and pay later! – Book your skip the line tour of Park Güell with the guaranteed entrance. While exploring Park Güell be sure to go into the Gaudi House Museum to see how the architect lived his life.

3. Do a night tour of La Pedrera (Casa Milà)

Casa Mila in Barcelona Spain

Officially known as Casa Milà but called La Pedrera by the locals, this unique apartment block is another Gaudi design and a must-see for anyone visiting Barcelona.

To spice up the romance, we decided to see it at night and had no regrets. The soft lighting at night made the experience much more intimate and the building was truly spectacular. To cap off our romantic evening we finished up with a glass of Pinot Noir on the roof terrace. You can book tours of La Predera ahead of time

4. Casa Batlló

Casa Batllo in Barcelona

Casa Batlló is located along Passeig de Gràcia and this street is worth walking just for the row of houses that make it famous. This is a major thoroughfare of Barcelona and we stayed in the Majestic Hotel and Spa located on this street. There are several shops and restaurants, but it is Casa Batlló that is the star attraction. Another work by Gaudi, this townhouse was designed for the Battló family in the 19th century. If you look closely at the balconies, they look like skeletons. Get your entry ticket to Casa Battlo with an audio guide included.

5. Passeig de Gràcia

Speaking of Passeig de Gràcia , this is a major street in Barcelona that should not be missed. Not only does it contain many of Gaudi’s great works, it is the premier shopping street in Barcelona. The wide pedestrian sidewalk makes it easy to window shop where you’ll find the likes of Gucci, Prada, Dior and Dolce and Gabana. We stayed at Majestic Hotel and Spa on this street and it was amazing to walk out our door and be so close to everything.

6. Palau de La Música Catalana

Palau de La Musica Catalana in Barcelona Spain

A tour of the Palau de la Música Catalana is a wonderful experience for its ornate interior. It looks like something that Gaudi would design, but he didn’t. It was in fact designed by architect, Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Built between 1905 and 1908 it has that classic Catalan modernism feel.

Tours can be booked to see the interior of the Palau de la Música Catalana including the concert hall and its ornate glass ceiling, the stained glass windows, and colorful design. It is definitely worth going inside as it is very impressive and this was one of our favourite places to visit in Barcelona indeed.

7. Barcelona Opera House – The Gran Teatre del Liceu

Barcelona Opera House

Sticking with our music theme, a visit to the Barcelona Opera House is another interesting place to visit in Barcelona. It is one of the most popular opera houses in all of Europe. It opened in 1847 and has seen some of the greatest performers in history grace its stage. Domingo, Pavarotti, you name it, they’ve played here.

Tours will take you to see the stage and seating area of 2300 patrons, but you will also get to see rehearsal halls and other important rooms.

8. Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona

Dave and I tend to explore our religious side when visiting cities in Europe, and Barcelona is no different. It is the Gothic Churches that interest us, and Santa Maria del Mar checks all the boxes. Dating back to the 14th century, construction began in 1329 and it was completed in 1350. It is dark and stark on the outside like the usual gothic cathedrals, but inside it is light and open feeling like a lighter basilica. Something of note to see is the tomb of the  Martyr Saint Santa Eulalia . And it is worth spending a couple of euros to go up to the rooftop for a view of the city.

9. Parc de la Ciutadella (Ciutadella Park) – Arc de Triomf

Did you know there is an Arc de Triomf in Barcelona? Well, not exactly the same as Paris, but Barcelona does have its own arch. Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf was built by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas for the 1888 World’s Fair. It is located at the northern end of Passeig de Lluís Companys a promenade in Ciutat Vella (Old City) The giant arch marks the entranceway to the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella. Here you’ll find the Parliament of Catalunya and a lovely lake with a fountain modeled after the Trevi Fountain. Barcelona’s city park, Parc de la Ciutadella houses a zoo, a small lake, and a fountain partially designed by Antoni Gaudí.

10. Cascada Fountain

Casacada Fountain in Barcelona

The Cascada Fountain is a beautiful fountain that is the centerpiece of Ciutadella Park. While working for designer Josep Fontserè Gaudi designed the water tanks and hydraulics. If it looks familiar, you are correct. This fountain was modeled after the Trevi Fountain in Rome .

One of the most romantic activities we did was to rent a rowboat at the lake in Ciutadella park. It cost us only twelve euros for a full hour (a bargain!) and it was a marvelous way to crown what was already a memorable vacation. Moving up and down the lake was a great way to reflect on the charm of Barcelona and get a close view of the beautiful scenery of the park.

11. Gothic Quarter Ciutat Vella

ciutat vella  in Barcelona

The Ciutat Vella – the old city of Barcelona is a place you will definitely find yourself experiencing a feeling of a bygone era. Built on top of old Roman ruins, the streets of Barcelona are a maze of small alleyways and walkways. Each turn takes you to yet another old church or remains of a Roman Wall. It is worth it just to wander away for an hour or two and stop at a café to have a draught beer at the bar before heading off for a late lunch.

Get lost in the streets, stop in a tapas bar for a glass of sangria or cava (Spanish sparkling wine), and wander the streets admiring the architecture and daily life.

12. La Rambla

Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Even though it is touristy, a trip to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without strolling along La Rambla. La Rambla is one of the top attractions in Barcelona and with good reason. Also known as Las Ramblas or just Ramblas, La Rambla is Barcelona’s bustling main tourist street.  It is a gorgeous piece of roadway that has a wide pedestrian walkway right down the middle. 

Street performers line the edges posing with tourists for a few coins. The famous human statues are a lot of fun to watch. Vendors sell chickens, guinea pigs, flowers, and vegetables. It is a lively place filled with swarms of people.  It is also the main walkway down to the water and towards many of the cities tourist sites.

This pedestrian boulevard runs for 1.2 km beginning at Plaça de Catalunya and ending at Port Vell. If this is your first time to Barcelona, La Rambla is a good place to start to get your bearings and a feel for the Barcelona tourism scene. Plus, it’s a great place to find a fix price meal, a cheap pitcher of Sangria, and free people watching.

13. Palau Guell

Palau Guell in Barcelona Spain

The 1st Count of Güell,” Eusebi Güell kept Gaudi very busy commissioning many of his famous buildings in Barcelona. This was one of his first commissions, beginning construction in 1886. It was the private residence of the Guell family and like many places in Barcelona, you must go inside to appreciate its true splendor. The Parabolic Dome is the showstopper.

Get your Barcelona City Pass offering access to all the top attraction s in Barcelona for one low price. Choose from 2, 3 or 5-day pass to visit as many attractions as you like.

14. Mercato Boqueria

La Bouqueria in Barcelona

Be sure to pop into La Boqueria to grab some snacks for a picnic. We filled up with meats and cheese, bread, and olives to take with us to the beach for a picnic lunch. Barcelona is known for its food culture and it doesn’t take long to walk around the city to realize how much the Barcelonians value this.

We hit the Boqueria market one morning and were amazed by the huge variety of fruit, vegetables, meats, and countless Spanish delicacies. If you are staying at a holiday apartment like an Airbnb or have access to a kitchen, then you must hit the market.

Going to the market and cooking in our apartment afterward gave us a sense that we were a couple living the romantic dream in a European city rather than just visiting for a short summer.

15. Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral at sunset

I nearly forgot about this beautiful cathedral that we visited on our first trip to Barcelona. Until I was looking through photos. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (aka Gothic Cathedral of Barcelona) may not be as famous as Sagrada Familia but it is much older. It dates back to the 13th century! Its steeple peeks out from the city skyline beckoning you to visit.

Book your Hop on Hop Off bus tour for your visit to Barcelona. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the city, plus tickets can be purchased in advance or last minute with easy and free cancellation within 24 hours of tour.

16. Plaza de España (Plaça d’Espanya)

Plaza de Espana in Barcelona

This gorgeous plaza which sits in will make you want to confess your love to the world. We walked through there in the evening by chance and it was hard not to be blown away by its beauty. The gorgeous Ciutadella fortress and the beautiful Venetian Towers create the atmosphere of a fairy tale.

The long walking street with hundreds of shops starts here as well, making it a perfect place to buy a souvenir to remember about your romantic getaway. Read: Catalunya, Spain in Photos

17. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

 Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Even though we aren’t the biggest museum fans, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is a sight to see in its own right. Inside you’ll see Catalan art dating back to the 10th century and you’ll browse, everything from Gothic and Romanesque to Modern and Baroque art. And it is here you’ll find some paintings by El Greco. But it truly is the outside that is beautiful as it looks like a grand palace more than a museum.

18. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc in Barcelona

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc was built in 1929 for the Universal Expo. It’s a beautiful fountain to see, but it is the colorful light show that attracts visitors at night. The show performs 3 to 5 days of the week from 8-9 pm or 9-10 pm depending on the time of the year. It is definitely one of the not to miss attractions in Barcelona.

The light show at Montjuic Fountain is marvelous. Read about all the things to do in Barcelona at night . Check out the  timetables  and note that it is closed from Jan 7 – Feb 28 for annual maintenance.

19. Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol is a replica of a Spanish Village that was built for the 1929 World’s Fair. During the day it is a spot to walk through replicas of Spanish buildings, craft workshops and museums honoring Dali to Picasso. When the sun goes down, it is alive with, Flamenco dancing, tapa bars, and night clubs. To really explore it, book skip the line tickets in advance.

20. Port Vell – Barcelona Harbour

Barcelona Harbor at night

The old port of Barcelona is a sight to see. We had never witnessed so many huge yachts and rows of boats lining the harbour. Who owns these multimillion-dollar floating homes? There were so many in port and we marveled at their extravagance and how someone could possibly afford one of these.   And what do we do to get one?

The waterfront is a perfect place to enjoy the afternoon. Port Vell is an enormous entertainment complex complete with Aquarium, Imax, shopping, restaurants, and a giant marina filled with yachts and sailboats.

A popular Barcelona attraction is The Port Vell Arial Tramway. Opened in 1931, it takes you from Montjuïc to Torre Sant Sebastià.  If you want to see it from above, this is a fun option for a bird’s eye view of the city.

21. Hit the beach

Barcelona Beach at sunset

One of the things that make Barcelona stand out among the large European cities is the beaches. We were blown away by the pristine Mediterranean waters of Barcelona’s beaches. As a bonus, the coastline is located right in the city center so it’s a great place to take your shoes off and walk after lunch or dinner.

Playa Barceloneta is the city’s most famous beach but there are many beaches you can visit in the city. We took a sailing trip from the harbor to see Barcelona from the sea and it was amazing.

22. Columbus Monument

Colombus Monument in Barcelona

While walking from Las Ramblas to Port Vell, we stumbled upon the Columbus monument. At 60 meters high (197 feet) it is an impressive monument.

Like a fountain, it was constructed for the Universal Exposition of Barcelona in 1881. It is there to commemorate his first voyage to the Americas and to remind that he reported to Queen Isabella I and Kin Ferdinand V here in Barcelona immediately upon his return.

23. Plaça de Catalunya

Placa de Catalunya in Barcelona

Another important square in Barcelona is Plaça de Catalunya. It is the major transportation hub of the city. Close to the university, you’ll see students enjoying the outdoors. If you are like us, we enjoy visiting Hard Rock Cafés and we couldn’t resist popping in for a beer to check out Barcelona’s version of the famous restaurant.

24. Afternoon Dessert at Plaça Sant Felip Neri

This chilled-out square has a violent history as it was bombed during the Spanish Civil War but today it is one of the most romantic hideaways in the city.

We ordered an amazing gelato and dessert at one of the nearby cafes and walked over to the plaza hand in hand to enjoy a nice and much-needed quiet escape from the city. If you are lucky enough as we were you might even catch some Spanish guitar being played by one of the lingering locals. Read: Gelato vs Ice Cream: a Tasty Showdown from Bologna

Fun Barcelona City Tours

25. seat 600 driving tour.

SEAT 500 Tour in Barcelona

Pretty much one of the coolest tours we’ve ever done was the Seat 600 Classic car tour through the city. These were the popular car from the ’60s and we all followed in a line on this self-drive tour through Barcelona.

Be prepared to drive a stick. If you aren’t comfortable, have someone else drive, the skinny steering wheels, sensitive clutch, and strange shifter made for quite the adventure as we drove around the city tasting tapas. We ended high on a hill overlooking the city and eating an outdoor feast under the stars.

26. Sidecar Tour

Views from the Sidecar Tour in Barcelona

We were picked up at the Barcelona waterfront by a pair of motorbikes with a couple of sidecars attached. We put on our helmets, hooked up our microphones and proceeded to enjoy a tour of the city.

We whizzed all through the streets seeing such famous sites as the Columbus monument, Old Port, Palau de la Música Catalana, Sagrada Familia Temple, Casa Milán Casa Battló, Plaza España, El Raval district and Las Ramblas promenade just to name a few!

We got to see the city from all different sides and enjoyed catching a glimpse of Barcelona’s nightlife. If you get the chance to try a sidecar tour in Barcelona, we highly recommend you do it. For more information on the side car, city tour visit  Ride The Brightside

27. Food and Market Tours

Barcelona Market Tour

When visiting Spain, a lot of your most memorable experiences will be about food. One of our favourite things to do in Barcelona was to join a local chef to visit the city’s two main markets, Mercat Boqueria and Mercat de Santa Caterina. The two oldest markets in the city. Food tours are the best way to learn about the local cuisine and it makes visiting the restaurants of Barcelona more fun because you now know what to order!

Check out these Barcelona Food Tours. Explore Barcelona through your stomach with these tasty tours. Free cancellation up to 24 hours notice plus last-minute bookings.

  • Santa Caterina and Boqueria Market Tours with Local Chef – Take a tour through one of the most famous markets in the world plus small local grocery shops. Tastes Spanish delicacies like olive oil, vinegar, olives, Iberian ham, tomatoes, Manchego cheese, pork sausage, and more.
  • Paella Cooking Class & Mercato Boqueria – Go shopping for ingredients to make your own Spanish Paella. Sample Catalan hot and cold tapas and learn about Basque Pintxos. Don’t forget the sangria!
  • Go off the usual Gaudi Route and instead take a Tapas Tasting tour with a visit to the Picasso Museum – Tour Ciutat Vella with tapas tasting at three different venues.

Day Tour from Barcelona

28. montserrat.

Day Trip from Barcelona Montserrat

A highlight of any trip to Barcelona is to take a day trip to the Benedictine Monk mountain retreat of Montserrat. It takes an hour to get there by train, or you can rent a car as we did. We actually had a car for most of our visits to Barcelona to give us the freedom to explore Catalunya with ease.

A funicular will take you to the top of the mountain for spectacular views and mountain hikes. And of course, listen to the Montserrat Choir boys perform. They perform daily at 1 pm.

Book Montserrat tours from Barcelona. Free cancellation and last-minute bookings. Monsterrat Cable Care and Easy Hike – Transportation from Barcelona to Montserrat where you’ll take the cable car up the world-famous Monastery. See the Black Madonna and take an easy hike with your guide.

Where to Eat in Barcelona

Where to eat in Barcelona

There are many places to eat in Barcelona and you can easily just walk the streets to find a packed restaurant, but one we wanted to mention was Bar Velodromo. Bar Velodromo where we checked the menu with 3D glasses and enjoyed great meat and cheeses

Barcelona Tourist Attractions Map

places to visit in barcelona map

  • A Local’s Guide to What to do in Barcelona at Night
  • The 16 Most Romantic Cities on Earth
  • Gaudi in Barcelona – 13 Must-See Architectural Wonders

Author Bio: Illia and Nastia are passionate about each other, traveling around the world and sharing their experiences at , a blog where you can find plenty of budget travel tips as well as practical information about numerous destinations. They have visited 40+ countries across 5 continents, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Visit their website to learn more about traveling as a couple! Follow them Facebook / Twitter  / Pinterest / Instagram

Going to Spain? Read more about these Spanish Cities

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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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17 thoughts on “28 of the Best Places to Visit in Barcelona”

Interesting article. Also romantic places; Casa Batllo (sometimes they have theatrical visits), the magic fountain and make from Park Guell a walk to the Bunkers del Carmel, for an amazing view over Barcelona. In the evening visit the area of Gracia.

First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Thank you!

Good write-up. I definitely appreciate this website. Keep writing!

Thanks so much for providing individuals with a very memorable chance to read articles and blog posts from this web site. It is often very nice and also jam-packed with a great time for me personally and my office co-workers to search the blog a minimum of three times every week to study the new things you have.

And indeed, I’m just actually astounded with the sensational ideas served by you. Certain two areas in this post are truly the most beneficial I’ve had.

You are veritable inspiration for couples looking for romantic getaways. Barcelona is the must visit place in a life time. Gaudi’s architectural styles are wonderful, I have seen interiors of the Sagrada Familia in many videos and they seem like a surreal. Thanks for sharing the most wonderful post.

Yes to Barceloneta beach! And there was that one restaurant with outdoor seating right by the shore that had the best paella. Brings back memories. Perfect list 🙂

Great blog, Barcelona is one of my favourites as a perfect & dream honeymoon destination too, so romantic and pretty 🙂

Great post on a place that’s still on the bucketlist! I’ve visited most of the South but need to venture up to Barcelona.

Totally agree with the authors 🙂 Barcelona is a great city to visit and it is very affordable even for a budget traveller. Haven’t see La Pedrera by night yet, but walking through the rooftop maze framed by the iconic chimneys also can be romantic, and sharing tiny tiny pintxos 😀

Its a Wonderful Travel Post to visit. Great Beautiful place. I will list this to my next travel. Amazing Post.

Great blog and amazing pics. Will try to go to Barcelona in my next trip. Thanx

Beautiful place. Great blog and I am going to add this into my bucket list.Barcelona is amazing and pictures are great.

What a beautiful market! Love the photos – Barcelona is a romantic city; with so much culture, interesting architecture and good food (not to mention cheap wine) its the perfect romantic destination!

Thank you for featuring us guys! Barcelona is definitely one of our favorite cities in Europe. We now reside in the US and are planning to live elsewhere in future. Barcelona is one of the top places we’d love to move to! ??

Great post! I love Barcelona such unique culture and architecture…. Loved this list though! A few different things that what you normally read – Although single I think they can still be appreciated haha

Hi, nice post on Barcelona. We’re off to Portugal later this year, and had considered including some of Spain in our tour. However, I’ve heard that Barcelona is getting very crowded to the point that the locals aren’t that thrilled about the number of tourists there. How did you feel when you were there? Get any strange vibes? Did you feel crowded or was it OK?

really enjoyed. They are really beautiful places. My dream

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10 Most Important Places To Visit In Barcelona

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If I need to describe Barcelona in just one word, it will be FUN. This is the basic feeling that fills up your heart when you walk in the streets of this city. The people of Barcelona are hospitable and the streets invite you to explore them. Adding to that the landmarks and the places to visit in Barcelona, you can easily spend a week here and you won’t get bored. No doubt that Barcelona is one of the best places to visit in Spain.

Gaudi’s Architecture will make you smile and think, while Picasso’s art might confuse you. The nightlife of Barcelona is world-famous, just be ready to start late and return late. The local cuisine of tapas and paellas will amaze you, and with a glass of cava or sangria – this is what I call having a great time! Here are the best places to visit in Barcelona:

Visit La Rambla and La Boqueria Market

La Rambla is the most famous street in Barcelona, and thus the first destination I visited in the city. The street is about 0.75 miles (1.2 km) long, going from Port Vell and Christoper Columbus Colum to Placa de Catalunya. It is crossing the old city of Barcelona, which makes it close to many of the city’s sites and a great area for accommodation . While some might say it’s too touristic, La Rambla is fun to stroll on and absorb the Barcelona vibes. Restaurants, Cafes, Ice cream shops – make a stop and watch the locals and visitors passing by, or gaze at the human statues that are an integral part of the street’s view.

As you make your way up from the port towards Plaça Catalunya, on your left side is La Boqueria Market. This is a huge open market and one of the icons of the city. It dates back to the 13th century and is still in the same place today. With more than 300 food stands that sell meat, cheese, fruits, and veggies, it is the biggest food market in Europe. Enter under the iconic metal gate, and find your place for a cold smoothie or some tapas with a glass of cava.

Tip: At the north end of La Rambla, at Placa de Catalunya, you can find El Corte Inglés. This is a huge department store with everything you might need from electricity adapters, through clothes, to food.

La Rambla, Barcelona - sights in barcelona, sights barcelona, barcelona sightseeing, places to visit in barcelona for free

Admire Gaudi’s work at Park Güell

One of Barcelona’s most famous architects is Antoni Gaudí. His work is part of the city’s urban views, and his life and death stories are part of the city’s history. His work is very unique and individualized and he is one of the pioneers of Catalan Modernism.

Park Guell, is a great place to look and feel Gaudi’s style and work and one of my favorite sites of Barcelona. The park was designed to be a part of a bigger neighborhood, but eventually, only two houses out of 60 were built. As it is located on Carmel Hill, the view of the city from here is amazing. This place is a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-visit when you are in Barcelona.

Purchase the tickets to the park in advance. You can book through this link .

The main entrance to Park Guell - barcelona places to visit, beautiful places in barcelona, barcelona tourist attractions map

Be Amazed at La Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Familia is Gaudi’s most famous work and another icon of Barcelona. The constructions started in 1882 and unbelievably they are yet to be done. It is now expected to be completed in 2026 – making it the world’s largest unfinished church.

La Sagrada Familia is very unique. From both the inside and the outside, it looks like no other church you have ever been to. I was astounded by both the shapes and small figures on the outside, and the strong white and bright colors on the inside. The weather wasn’t on my side when I visited, but when it is not windy, you can go up to the towers and get an amazing panoramic view of the city.

The entrance requires purchasing a ticket. You can buy on the spot, or book in advance an entrance with a guided tour .

La Sagrada Família - best of barcelona spots, barcelona visit places, attractions of barcelona, place to visit in barcelona

Visit Basilica De Santa Maria Del Mar

This 14th-century church is a perfect example of the Catalan Gothic architecture style, and one of the most beautiful churches I have seen. Something about the high ceilings, the dramatic arches the huge sizes of it, made me fall in love with this place.

It is located in the El Born neighborhood in the gothic quarter, once a place for fishermen and dockworkers, that evolved to be a fun and vibrant neighborhood. The small medieval streets will lead you to the dramatic entrance of the church, but the inside is very spacious and impressive.

Tip: Spanish author Ildefonso Falcones wrote his novel Cathedral of the sea (2006). This book tells the story of Arnau Estanyol with a backdrop of the church’s constructions. It’s a great book, and I highly recommend reading it before your visit. it is available on Amazon .

The Gothic church Santa Maria del Mar - historical place in barcelona, attractions barcelona, tourist attraction in barcelona, spain barcelona,

Explore Picasso Museum

Spread over 5 medieval palaces the Picasso Museum is one of the most impressive places to visit in Barcelona. Located in El Born Neighborhood, the museum holds the largest collection of Picasso. From paintings to ceramics, all the items are chronologically organized, and it allows you to see how Picasso’s unique footprint has developed over the years.

Get your Skip-the-line tickets here .

Inner courtyard of Picasso Museum - cultural sites in barcelona and one of barcelona must sees, attractions in barcelona, tourist barcelona

Visit Camp Nou

The Stadium of FC Barcelona is the biggest stadium in Europe and even though I am not a big fan I appreciated it and was excited to visit. The stadium was built in 1957 and since then it’s been the home of the Barcelona Soccer Club. It has 100,000 seats and it covers a surface area of 590,000 sq ft. (55,000 sqm.). There’s a museum next to the stadium, showing the history of the team, the players, and the best of them all – Lionel Messi. If you are lucky, and there’s a game – come to watch it. The excitement and the passion of the crowd are contagious.

Tip: If you are looking for another activity in the area, you can go to the FB Barcelona Ice Skating rink. I visited on a hot day, and it was a fantastic way to cool down.

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Climb on Montjuic

Montjuic is a green and attractive hill, overlooking the entire city of Barcelona. On one side the buildings and streets of the city, and on the other the Mediterranean sea – this is one of the best sights of Barcelona. The name montjuïc means the mountain of the Jews as it was the Jewish neighborhood in Medieval times.

Thanks to its strategic location and landscape, a castle was built on the east side of the mountain to protect the harbor beneath it. From the castle, you get to see a beautiful 360 degrees view of Barcelona. The Port and Harbor area is on the east side; The city center is to the north; Tibidabo is on the west, and Barcelona’s airport is on the south side.

Some of the interesting sites in Montjuic are the Botanic gardens, the huge Olympic stadium, and The National Museum of Catalan Art – MNAC . The latter is a beautiful palace that holds a mix of old and modern art, including works of Picasso, Dali, and others.

Tip: The climb up to the castle might be exhausting and the cable car is not just a better option, but also one of the most fun in Barcelona attractions. The view during the ride is gorgeous so don’t forget your camera.

The National Museum of Catalan Art, on Montjuic - places to visit at barcelona, things do barcelona, tourist attractions barcelona spain, museu nacional

Feel the magic of the Magic Fountain

Located at the foot of Montjuic, between MNAC and Placa d’Espanya, the Magic Fountain show is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona. People come here to watch the spectacular performance of water, lights, and music, which I think is one of the best. Using more than 3000 water jets, the fountain does its magic on weekend evenings. The exact times change with the season, so you can check here before your travel.

Tip: It’s best to combine a visit to the fountain with a visit to MNAC. As soon as you finish exploring the museum, catch your seat with a good view on the stairs outside, and wait for the show to start.

The Magic Fountain of Monjuic - sights to see in barcelona, things do in barcelona, spain bacelona, música catalana

Chill out at Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella was built in the mid-19th century and for decades it was the only green park in the city. Its royalty was kept until these days, and it’s a great place for a relaxing break from the hectic city. The park is located on the north side of the old city, about a 15-20 minutes walk from La Rambla. The park covers 18 hectares with a beautiful fountain, a lake with rowing boats, the parliament of Catalunya, the city zoo, and more. Don’t miss the giant mammoth – the best spot for photos!

Tip: Get some groceries at La Boqueria market and go to Parc de la Ciutadella for a brunch picnic – one of the unique things to do in Barcelona.

The fountain of Parc de la Ciutadella  -things to do barcelona, barcelona things to do, tourist in barcelona

Explore Mount Tibidabo

The amusement park of Tibidabo opened in 1901, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the world and one of the most famous landmarks in Spain . It is located at the top of Tibidabo mountain, overlooking the city. Some of the rides give a higher view – not just fun but also breathtaking.

If the amusement park is not your type of fun, Mount Tibidabo offers other attractions. Nature lovers will enjoy the Collserola Natural Park where you can get a panoramic view of the city from the Collserola Tower – the tallest building in Barcelona. Another interesting site here is the neo-gothic Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – another famous landmark of Spain.

The Tibidabo amusement overlooking Barcelona - places to see in barcelona, sightseeing in barcelona, barcelona what to visit, spain barcelona

General Tips

Barcelona is considered very safe for tourists, but tourist areas still suffer from pickpocketing . Keep your eyes open, especially in La Rambla, around Sagrada Familia, and when watching street shows.

On Passeig de Gràcia you can find two more masterpiece works of Gaudi . In number 43 you will see Casa Batlló, and Casa Milà is in number 92. It’s really hard to miss them when you walk down this street.

For an alternative shopping experience , go to Mercat dels Encants . It is one of the oldest flea markets in Europe with over 300 vendors.

If you want to take a one-day trip outside of the city, go to Montserrat . On the top of this mountain, there’s a Benedictine monastery that began construction in the 16th century. The way to get there is by train from Plaça d’Espanya, about a 1-hour ride.

Looking for other places to visit in Spain? Check out my post about the best places to visit in Madrid!

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist that was born and raised in Barcelona. His books take place in Barcelona and they let the reader experience the city from a historical but fictive point of view. I read his two bestsellers The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game and recommend both.

Final Thoughts

Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in Europe. There are so many places to visit in Barcelona and the sightseeing is unique, as it combines medieval old style with a more recent, yet still special architecture. The culinary scene of tapas is amazing and it inspires many chefs and restaurants. I recommend planning at least a week for seeing all the city has to offer, to take it easy and enjoy.

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Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a special city. I traveled to Madrid with high expectations because of the great memories I had from the other Spanish queen – Barcelona…

30 thoughts on “ 10 Most Important Places To Visit In Barcelona ”

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Great selection! I have seen some of these but still have a few to visit. Next time I’ll go for the ferris wheel ride in the Tibidado Park 🙂 I am not into amusement parks but the view is breathtaking.

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It’s not a thrill ride, and it’s totally worth it for the view! Thank you 🙂

top tourist places in barcelona spain

There are some great things on this list, but you’ll probably find me at the Fountain or the theme park!

Theme park in the morning, and the fountain at night! 🙂

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Barcelona was the last city on our Spain trip four years ago. It it beautiful and seems that you visited very different destinations in the city compared to the locations that we explored.

I was there for a week, and I guess I still haven’t seen it all. It’s a great city, and I would happily go there again!

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Barcelona is an awesome city! Unfortunately, I only spent two days there and didn’t get to visit all the places on this list. Will definitely need to return!

Barcelona is one f my favorite cities in Europe. I am sure you will have a great time on a second visit!

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Great post, thanks for sharing! I’ve been to Barcelona a few times now, the last time was two years ago. We were there for work and had the Monday off before leaving the next day. We wanted to visit Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and see the Magic Fountain that night but didn’t realise they were all closed on Monday so had a wander in the area instead which was just as great 🙂

Thank you, Zarina! I really miss just wandering around in the streets of the city. I remember how we walked from Parc Guell all the way down to La Rambla, just enjoying the streets, the shops, and the people 🙂

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Barcelona looks amazing- the market and the Picasso museums would be my favorites!!

2 great choices, but I am sure you will love it all 🙂

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Great information! We had a short stay in Barcelona before a cruise and only got to see a few on your list… We guess that means a trip back!

sounds like a perfect plan! 🙂

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Barcelona is such a beautiful area. I would love to visit La Sagrada Familia, I have heard so much and seen so many pictures. It is at the top of my list for when I am finally able to visit. The fountain at Parc de la Ciutadella is beautiful, I would love to spend an afternoon relaxing at the park and enjoying the views. Thanks for the ideas, I will definitely add them to my list!

I am so happy you find it useful! I am sure you will enjoy Barcelona when you be able to get there 🙂

top tourist places in barcelona spain

I loved visiting Barcelona too! You hit all the important spots. I especially liked visiting the markets, and just wandering the different neighborhoods.

Thank you 🙂 Yes, wandering in the streets of the city is a big part of the fun!

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Oh Barcelona! Beautiful city that it is! Very good selection for your top 10 list! Park Guell is my personal favourite!

Thank you, Thomas! Parc Guell is a very very very unique place, so I can definitely relate to that 🙂

top tourist places in barcelona spain

I looove Barcelona. I think my favourite part was just wandering around the streets and look at all the amazing architecture. I liked that even more than the famous sights.

Ooooh and the food!

You are right! In every city I go to, the biggest part of the fun is to walk in the streets and absorb the local vibes. And in Barcelona – it was amazing!

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Ah this brings back such sweet memories of our travels in Barcelona this February. Sad we missed some beautiful ones on your list though like Basilica De Santa Maria Del Mar and Parc de la Ciutadella (would have loved to picnic there!). I will say for Parc Guell, we found the free part of the park much more enjoyable than the paid part which was small, under construction and crowded.

Santa Maria Del Mar was one of my desired destinations to see in Barcelona because of the book I read about it. I really loved it 🙂 I hope you get to go again. I know I really want to visit one more time and enjoy more of this charming city.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

I will love to visit Barcelona and Park Guell. The pictures are stunningly beautiful.

Thank you Sneha. The Gaudi sites in Barcelona are really unique and beautiful!

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Very nice post. Thank you very much. I love to walk in the Rambla and walk in the port area.

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top tourist places in barcelona spain

Think of Barcelona’s architecture and what pops into your head? It’s probably going to be Antoní Gaudí. But Gaudí wasn’t the only architect responsible for Barcelona’s flamboyant good looks. There’s also Lluis Domenéch i Montaner…

So, if you’re visiting Barcelona, make sure The Palau de la Música Catalana is on your to-do list. When we first laid eyes on it, we were mesmerised by its beauty and colour. It’s so good we’ve visited on twice, on different visits to Barcelona.

Great tip, I didn’t know about this place. Thank you for sharing!

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Best places to visit in spain.

Spain's dynamic metropolises, breathtaking beaches and cultural offerings are second to none, making the country an undisputed stop on many travelers' European vacation itineraries. With so many varied destinations, each with its own celebrated sites and unique hidden gems, it may be hard deciding which cities are worth visiting. U.S. News factored in sights, culture, seasonality and expert opinion to come up with the best places to visit in Spain for all types of travelers – from city slickers to beach bums to outdoorsy types. Have an opinion? Vote below to influence next year's ranking.

Santiago de Compostela

Costa brava, san sebastian, canary islands.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

In addition to being one of Europe's top travel destinations , Barcelona is without a doubt Spain's cultural capital. The Catalonian city's urban sprawl is dotted with Antoni Gaudí's whimsical architecture, including Basílica de la Sagrada Família and Park Güell, as well as museums carrying world-renowned artists, such as the Picasso Museum. You can also explore centuries-old neighborhoods like Barri Gòtic, which dates back to the Roman Empire. Don't forget to take advantage of the city's equally magnificent outdoor offerings, too, including La Barceloneta beach.

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The final stop on an ancient pilgrimage route called Camino de Santiago (or Saint James' Way), this medieval city in northwestern Spain attracts hundreds of thousands of travelers every year. With centuries-old architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, Santiago de Compostela is an ideal destination for history buffs and culture hounds. First up on your to-do list should be a tour of the awe-inspiring Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, a massive Romanesque structure said to house the remains of Saint James the apostle. Then, take advantage of the city's number of beautiful parks, museums, restaurants and nightlife.

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You won't want to skip this romantic Spanish city about 55 miles northwest of Madrid on your next trip to Spain. See for yourself what makes Segovia special while you stroll through the enchanting Plaza Mayor, home to a mix of restaurants and shops, or soar high above the city on a hot air balloon ride. Can't-miss sights include the two-tiered Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the world's best-preserved Roman aqueducts, and Alcázar De Segovia, a massive, fairy-tale fortress dating back to the 12th century.

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Stretching from the idyllic resort town of Blanes all the way to the French border, this coastal region in northeastern Spain offers miles of shoreline along the Mediterranean Sea. After spending the day with your toes in the sand at one of Costa Brava's gorgeous cove beaches, indulge in a delicious dinner at one of the region's many seaside restaurants. But Costa Brava is not just for beach bums. Whether you're touring the unique Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres or exploring the Santa Clotilde Gardens in Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava is a can't-miss destination on any Spain itinerary.

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The UNESCO-listed historic center of Cordoba is the stuff of Spanish dreams. Its winding, compact cobblestone streets are lined with whitewashed inns, shops, restaurants and homes that feature stunning Andalusian accents, including wrought-iron balconies, bright blue planters and painted archways. Visitors can also enjoy all of the city's famous historical sites, such as the Castle of the Christian Monarchs and the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, commonly referred to as the Great Mosque, which is one of the best-preserved structures in Spain.

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Mallorca's smaller sister island is a solid option for travelers wanting to visit the Balearic Islands without the crowds of Ibiza and Mallorca. Menorca offers the same kind of jaw-dropping beaches (think: white sands overlooking clear turquoise waters) you'd expect to find on other Balearic Islands – travelers say Cala Mitjana, Cala Macarelleta, Cala Turqueta and Cala Pregonda are some of the island’s most popular shorelines. You'll also discover several architectural marvels throughout Menorca. Head to Ciutadella (the island's original capital) to see old-world structures like the Catedral de Menorca and the Convent of Sant Agusti, which houses the Diocesan Museum.

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Travelers who want to experience small-town Spain without venturing far from a big city will love visiting Toledo. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, which sits 45 miles southwest of Madrid, is breathtaking thanks to its location on a hilltop overlooking the Tagus River and its historical architecture. For the best views, visit Mirador del Valle, a scenic overlook boasting breathtaking panoramic vistas. Then, get a sense of Toledo's rich history by checking out attractions like Catedral Primada and San Juan de los Reyes Monasterio. Don't forget to try some of the city's famous marzipan before you leave.

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Of all the cities in Spain, Madrid is the one that knows how to show travelers the best time. The city's party-hard reputation is really all it's cracked up to be, but that's not all Spain's capital has going for it. Madrid is filled with varied, vibrant neighborhoods, plus stunning parks, enviable shopping and some of the best art institutions in Europe, including the world-renowned Prado Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum. Not to mention, the city’s grandiose architecture – showcased by structures like the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor – makes the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway.

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Mallorca is easily one of Spain's greatest assets. This dreamy island getaway features sun-kissed beaches, picturesque small towns and outdoor pursuits that draw tourists and lovebirds in droves. Revel in the see-through blue waters of Playa de Muro and Cala Llombards, then hop in a car and drive around the striking mountains that make up Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make sure you spend your downtime taking leisurely strolls along the darling streets of Alcúdia's old town and by the water to admire the awe-inspiring Palma Cathedral (La Seu).

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This beautiful Andalusian city in southern Spain is awash with romantic allure. During the day, you'll find outdoor cafes along cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages meandering through pastel-colored plazas. And when night falls, flamenco dancing comes out in full force. Seville is the kind of place you should allow yourself to get lost in, but don’t forget to carve out time for must-see sites such as the Plaza de España, the Real Alcázar and the Catedral de Sevilla, the largest Gothic cathedral of its kind in the world.

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Situated along Spain’s northern coast in Basque Country, San Sebastian is one of the most underrated destinations in Spain. Locals understand its majesty and every summer flock to this beach destination for its breathtaking shorelines, hiker-friendly mountains and unmatched foodie scene. For a quintessentially Basque experience, travelers suggest pintxo bar hopping in San Sebastian’s city center, Parte Vieja, or signing up for a pintxos (Basque tapas) food tour. Don’t leave without taste testing San Sebastian’s world-famous anchovies and txuleta, a specialty steak that is made from aged grass-fed beef.

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Granada's Arabic influence makes this destination different from the rest of Spain. Thanks to its history as part of the Moorish Empire, Granada is home to tapas bars and flamenco venues that rub elbows with Moroccan tea cafes and Arab bathhouses. This confluence allows you to experience two cultures simultaneously. And you must make time to behold the breathtaking local treasures, including the Alhambra, the white-washed caves of the Sacromonte district and the snow-capped mountains of Sierra Nevada National Park.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

A popular daytrip destination for travelers visiting Barcelona, Girona stands out for its medieval architecture and wealth of attractions. From the magnificent Girona Cathedral to the city's famous 12th century Arab baths, travelers are sure to find something to suit their interests in this Spanish city. Spend some time in La Devesa Park, one of the largest green spaces in Catalonia. Don't forget to pack your walking shoes – whether you're exploring the winding, cobblestone streets of Girona's Jewish Quarter or strolling the Passeig de la Muralla path atop Girona's ancient city walls, the best way to enjoy this historic city is on foot.

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Rioja is Spain's wine country. Like France's Champagne, winemakers can't label a wine "Rioja" unless it is produced and distributed from the Spanish region of La Rioja. As such, you'll want to sample plenty of vino while you visit, which will be pretty easy to do since there are more than 500 wineries plus many restaurants that serve large selections of Rioja wine. If you're looking for other things to do, take advantage of Rioja's Michelin-starred restaurants and lively tapas bars when you're not hiking or skiing its surrounding mountains.

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This northern city in Spain’s Basque Country sits in the middle of a beautiful valley, affording incredible views of the city and its rolling hills. Visit Casco Viejo (the city's old town) for authentic pintxos and to explore Parque Etxebarria, where you'll find some of Bilbao's best vistas. Or, ride the Funicular de Artxanda for even more spectacular panoramas. No visit would be complete without checking out the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and other local cultural institutions, such as the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Plan a trip to this small Andalusian town if you enjoy visiting destinations with unique geography and stunning architecture. Ronda sits atop a striking gorge that separates the town. To cross the gorge, walk across the Puente Nuevo, a beautiful bridge built in the 18th century. Below, you'll get an eyeful of El Tajo canyon and the Guadalevín River. After admiring your surroundings from the Puente Nuevo, visit the Plaza de Toros de Ronda, the historic old town and the Baños Árabes, well-preserved 13th- and 14th-century Arab baths.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Spain’s third-largest city stands out for offering a little taste of both the old and the new. You'll get to experience classic architecture at the Gothic-style Valencia Cathedral and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, as well as modern sites like the City of Arts and Sciences and the Valencia Institute of Modern Art. After you've gotten your fill of city life, take a detour to breathe in some fresh air at the Albufera Natural Park or unwind at nearby beaches. What's more, with plenty of free attractions to choose from, Valencia is one of Europe's most affordable travel destinations . 

top tourist places in barcelona spain

If you live to party, Ibiza is a great place to dust off your dancing shoes. This Spanish island is known worldwide for its nightlife scene, so much so that people often say you must visit during the peak summer months. However, one look at Ibiza's natural offerings and you'll understand how this island stands on its own outside of its party-hardy reputation. Beaches here are so clear that you can see your feet touch the sand as they enter the ocean. Plus, the historical charm found in Dalt Vila, Ibiza's old town, will certainly stop you in your tracks.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

This cluster of Spanish islands located off the northwestern coast of Africa is one of Spain's premier beach destinations. In addition to picturesque shorelines, the Canary Islands are also teeming with outdoor attractions that will make any adventurer swoon, including four national parks. In between hiking and relaxing on the beach, take some time to stroll the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, located on the largest of the Canary Islands, or Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the archipelago's most populated city, to get a taste of local life.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Situated in southwestern Spain, Cádiz is one of the country's most underrated travel destinations. As one of the oldest inhabited cities in Europe, travelers can expect a bevy of historic attractions, from the Torre Tavira watchtower to the grandiose Cádiz Cathedral. Plus, there are several beautiful outdoor spaces to explore, including Genovés Park and the laid-back beaches of La Victoria and La Caleta. When you want to wind down, Plaza de España and Plaza de San Juan de Dios are excellent places to people-watch.

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Costa del Sol

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19 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Spain

Written by Michael Law , Lana Law , and Lisa Alexander Updated Aug 31, 2023

Spain is a dream destination for travelers. The grandeur of a caliph's palace, the sun-drenched days spent on Mediterranean beaches, and the stamp of a flamenco dancer's heels. You can find the soul of Spain in tourist experiences like these, which represent the country's rich history, fascinating culture, and enchanting natural beauty.

Plaza de Espana, Merida

From the bustling street life of La Rambla in Barcelona and Plaza Mayor in Madrid to the forest of columns and Moorish arches disappearing into the silent expanse of Cordoba's Great Mosque, Spain exudes a vibrant energy and a captivating blend of past and present. And if you get off the main tourist routes and venture into less tourist-oriented towns, you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

Plan your sightseeing and find interesting things to do with our list of the top attractions in Spain.

1. The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada

2. barcelona's sagrada familia and gaudí sites, 3. the great mosque of córdoba (la mezquita), 4. seville cathedral and alcázar, 5. the prado and paseo del artes, madrid, 6. san lorenzo de el escorial, 7. guggenheim museum, bilbao, 8. santiago de compostela cathedral, 9. plaza mayor, madrid, 10. plaza de españa and parque de maría luisa, seville, 11. ciudad de las artes y las ciencias, valencia, 12. beaches of gran canaria, 13. la rambla, barcelona, 14. the costa del sol, 15. el teide, tenerife, 16. toledo's old city, 17. the white towns of andalucía.

The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada

No matter how much you have read or how many pictures you have seen of Granada's Alhambra palaces, this Moorish pleasure palace will still take your breath away. The Nasrid dynasty's royal palace is the artistic highlight of Spain's Islamic period, when Al-Andalus - as they called Andalucía - represented the epitome of culture and civilization in medieval Europe.

The Alhambra complex includes several buildings, towers, walls, gardens, and a mosque, but it's the indescribably intricate stone carvings, the delicate filigrees, the magnificent tile-lined ceilings, the graceful arches, and serene courtyards of the Nasrid palace that will haunt your dreams.

Generalife Gardens

That said, the adjoining palace built for the Emperor Charles V, even in its unfinished state is the finest example of High Renaissance architecture in Spain. And Generalife's terraced gardens offer a peaceful respite from the grandeur, and splendid views back at the rest of the Alhambra.

Author's Note: The Alhambra is large, requires a great deal of walking, and takes time to see. Don't plan on a quick visit. Be sure to book tickets well in advance. This is Spain's most visited tourist attraction and tickets sell out weeks in advance during busy times.

The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada

Travelers should set aside at least a half day to visit the Alhambra palaces and several days to explore the tourist attractions of Granada . Besides the Alhambra, other highlights of Granada include the UNESCO-listed Albaicín , the medieval Moorish quarter; the 16th-century Capilla Real de Granada (Royal Chapel); and the Sacromonte quarter, where flamenco performances take place in gypsy caves.

Basílica de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona

Antoni Gaudí took the architectural style known as Art Nouveau a step further, even, some have argued, into absurdity. The fanciful and outrageous buildings he created in Barcelona have become landmarks, the most emblematic tourist attractions of this Catalan city.

Foremost is the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, officially the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or the Holy Family Church of the Atonement. One of Europe's most unconventional churches, it is also unfinished, so as you look down from its tower, you can see the work in progress below.

You may search in vain for absolute straight lines in Gaudí's Casa Milà , his last and most famous secular work; it resembles a piece of sculpture more than a functional building. Be sure to ascend to its roof – the chimneys are said to have inspired the image of Darth Vader from Star Wars .

Mask-shaped balcony at Casa Batllo

The fantastic Casa Batlló, an iconic Gaudí building with mask-shaped balconies and an undulating façade, presents Magic Nights outdoor concerts on the building's rooftop terrace.

Parc Güell overlooks the city from a hillside, the views and gardens framed by fantastical creatures – salamanders, fish, an octopus – and designs in bright ceramic-chard mosaics. A fanciful towered house near the entrance is largely covered with colorful ceramic pieces.

Gaudí's monuments appeal even to children and to adults who don't care a thing about architecture, for one simple reason: they are just plain fun to look at.

Columns in La Mezquita

Once the principal mosque of western Islam and still known as La Mezquita, Córdoba's Great Mosque is one of the largest in the world and the finest achievement of Moorish architecture in Spain.

In spite of later alterations that carved out its center to build a Catholic cathedral at its heart, the Great Mosque ranks with the Alhambra in Granada as one of the two most splendid examples of Islamic art and architecture in western Europe.

La Mezquita, courtyard

Building materials from Roman and Visigothic buildings were used in the construction, which began in 785, and by 1000, it had grown to its present dimensions, its prayer hall with no fewer than nineteen aisles. No matter where you stand or in which direction you look, its rows of columns and rounded Moorish arches line up in symmetrical patterns.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba (La Mezquita)

La Mezquita is found in the city center, close to many major attractions in Cordoba . Stroll down to the Puente Romano (Roman Bridge) and the Puerta del Puente , or find a place to eat along the riverfront.

Some of the other highlights include the flower-bedecked patios in the Judería (old Jewish quarter) near the Great Mosque; the Palacio de Viana , a 15th-century aristocratic palace; and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos , the former Caliphal Palace that Catholic king Fernando III took over in the 13th century. Narrow, winding streets; small squares; and low whitewashed houses fill the Judería, lending a Moorish atmosphere inherited from its past.

Seville Cathedral at night

You can't miss the Seville Cathedral. This enormous structure is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and dominates the city center.

The Catedral de Sevilla , the La Giralda tower, and the Alcázar combine to form a UNESCO World Heritage Site . These three exceptional historic landmarks are the top tourist attractions of Seville .

While you can appreciate the cathedral from the outside, you need to step inside and walk beside the massive columns to really get a sense of the size. The Cathedral of Seville has more interior space than St. Peter's in Rome. The 37-meter main altar consists of carved statues completely covered in gold. The monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus is held aloft by a quartet of larger-than-life figures.

Seville Cathedral and Alcazar

A masterpiece of Almohad architecture, La Giralda began life as a minaret and is all that's left of the city's Great Mosque, destroyed to build the cathedral.

The Alcázar opposite the cathedral was begun by the Moors in 712 and redesigned after the Christian Reconquest by Pedro I in ornate Mudéjar style (blending Gothic and Muslim architectural elements). The rooms and salons are breathtaking, with fanciful embellishments such as intricate tiled walls and patterned ceilings.

The Alcazar, Seville

Shaded by fragrant orange and lemon trees, the dreamy Alcázar gardens were pictured in the Game of Thrones series. Fans of this show may recognize the fountains from the Kingdom of Dorne's Water Gardens.

Bordering the Alcázar on the east is the Barrio de Santa Cruz , the former Judería (Jewish quarter), a neighborhood of whitewashed homes, iron balconies, and flower-filled courtyards.

The Prado, Madrid

One of the top tourist attractions in Madrid , the Prado alone ranks with the world's top art museums for the riches of its collections. But add the Reina Sofía National Art Museum , the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, and the CaixaForum , all along Madrid's mile-long, tree-shaded boulevard, and you have what may be the world's highest concentration of priceless art treasures. It's no wonder this is known as El Paseo del Arte, Boulevard of the Arts.

The Prado has the world's largest collection of Spanish art, an impressive continuum from 12th-century medieval works through the avant-garde movement of the early 20th century, and is especially noted for its works from Spain's golden age by El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya.

The Prado and Paseo del Artes, Madrid

But its riches are not all Spanish; other highlights are the medieval murals and retablos, paintings by Flemish and Dutch artists (be sure to see the fantasy world of Hieronymus Bosch and works by Rubens and Brueghel), and Italian art (Botticelli, Raphael, Correggio, Titian, and Tintoretto).

Highlights of the Museo Reina Sofía's impressive 20,000-piece collection are Picasso's Guernica and works by Miró, Dalí, Dubuffet, Braque, Serra, Calder, and Magritte.

San Lorenzo de El Escorial

San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometers northwest of Madrid, was the summer home of Spain's kings, and in 1563, work was begun here on a huge complex, which would include a monastery, church, royal palace, mausoleum, library, and museum, all conceived as a monument to Philip II and his reign.

The result is a staggering collection of attractions, built around 16 courtyards, its rooms and structures connected by 16 kilometers of corridors. At its core is the church, the highlight of which is Herrera's 30-meter-high retablo, made of jasper and red marble and approached by a flight of 17 steps.

Along with the vaulted and frescoed ceilings by Tibaldi in the rooms off the lower cloister, highlights of the monastery are the Panteón de los Reyes (the Baroque burial vault of the Spanish kings) and the library , a grand room also adorned with Tibaldi frescoes .

In the palace, be sure to see the Bourbon Suite, where the state apartments of Charles IV are decorated with rare furnishings and 338 tapestries. Beyond are the art-filled private apartments of Philip II. The Picture Gallery below has a large collection of fine paintings, including works by Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Velázquez, and El Greco.

Official site:

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

You really have to see this building to believe it - no photograph has ever done justice to this symphony of shapes, so alive that they seem ready to take wing. American architect Frank Gehry used blocks of limestone and undulating sheets of titanium to turn the notion of modern architecture on its ear.

So thoroughly did he succeed that two new terms were born from it: "The Bilbao Effect" - the ability of a city to turn its fortunes around by constructing a single world-class building - and "architourism," a whole segment of the travel industry revolving around landmarks of contemporary architecture.

Inside the 24,000-square-meter galleries of the museum are temporary exhibitions and rotating displays of its own collections of modern art. Highlights include works by Anselm Kiefer, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol.

Besides the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao has other interesting cultural attractions : the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao (Museum of Fine Arts), the Casco Viejo (Old Town), and the gourmet dining scene. Bilbao is renowned for its Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurants, including Nerua in the Guggenheim Museum; Ola Martín Berasategui, which serves contemporary Spanish cuisine based on fresh market ingredients; and Atelier Etxanobe, which offers creative haute cuisine.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

The magnificent cathedral of Santiago (St. James) in Santiago de Compostela was built to house and honor the relics of the saint, and it has been the ultimate destination of pilgrims since the Middle Ages. (Today, the historic town of Santiago de Compostela still draws modern-day pilgrims and also is a top travel destination in the Galicia region of Northern Spain ).

One of the outstanding monuments of Early Romanesque architecture, the cathedral was built between 1060 and 1211, and despite the Baroque transformation of the exterior in the 16th to 18th centuries, the interior is still in the purest Early Romanesque style.

You'll see both of these periods at play as you enter the west front, through one of Spain's most impressive church facades. Step inside to face the Pórtico de la Gloria , part of the old west front now concealed by the 18th-century facade. This triple doorway is one of the largest and most magnificent collections of Romanesque sculpture in the world.

The focal point of the interior is the elaborately decorated Capilla Mayor , built over the Apostle's tomb. In the center of the high altar of jasper, alabaster, and silver is a 13th-century wooden figure of the Apostle, richly adorned in precious metals and gems.

On either side, narrow staircases lead up behind the figure so that pilgrims can kiss the Apostle's cloak - culminating their pilgrimage. In a crypt under the altar, the Apostle's remains are in a silver casket.

Plaza Mayor during the day, Madrid

The throbbing heartbeat of Spain's vibrant capital city, Plaza Mayor has played an important part in Madrid's everyday life since the 16th century, when Philip II entrusted the task of designing it to his favorite architect Juan de Herrera, builder of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Today one of the top cultural attractions of Madrid, the Plaza Mayor has for centuries served as the stage for ceremonial events – the proclamation of a new king, the canonization of saints, the burning of heretics – and public entertainment such as chivalric tournaments and bullfights.

Plaza Mayor, Madrid

The cafés spilling out onto the plaza's pedestrian-only stone pavement, and the restaurants shaded under its arcades are Madrid's living room, popular meeting places for Madrileños and tourists alike.

As the center of Madrid's social life, the area around the Plaza Mayor is one of the best places to stay in Madrid.

Plaza de Espana in Seville

Built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 to celebrate the various regions of Spain, the Plaza de España is an impressive semi-circular pavilion surrounded by colonnades. Beautiful panels of colorful decorative tiles representing each of Spain's provinces are set overlooking the long pool, which is crossed by bridges. It's a popular place to visit for a stroll or to row a rental boat around the pool and under the bridges.

The Plaza de España is the focal point of the vast Parque de María Luisa, a half mile of gardens, lawns, and shaded walks stretching alongside the river opposite central Seville. You can rent a pedal car or ride though in a horse-drawn carriage. Busy any day, on Sundays the park overflows with families.

The best way to see the giant trees, flower beds, pools, gazebos, and the man-made rock mountain with a waterfall is to stroll through the park, following the side paths into hedge-surrounded gardens. At the far end of the park, you'll find a small but rich archeology museum with Visigoth jeweled crosses and ancient gold work.

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia

When Valencia diverted the course of the river that had repeatedly flooded the city, it was left with a broad, flat riverbed spanned by bridges. It was upon this clean palette that the brilliant Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava created a breathtaking ensemble of structures that have become a magnet for aficionados of contemporary architecture.

Not only the buildings, but the museums, arts venues, and aquarium (by Félix Candela and the only building not designed by Calatrava) form a series of tourist attractions in Valencia that rank among Spain's most popular.

Europe's largest oceanographic aquarium, L'Oceanogràfic, was built in the shape of a water lily with buildings dedicated to different aquatic environments from the tropics to the poles.

Playa del Veril on Gran Canaria

The largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is best known for the golden-sand beaches that line most of its southern coast. Playa de Las Canteras is in the capital city of Las Palmas, popular with families for its calm waters, protected by a natural breakwater of volcanic rock.

The largest beach, and the liveliest, is the Playa del Inglés at Maspalomas, which abounds with cafés, restaurants, shops, play parks, and other amusements. At one end is one of the archipelago's natural wonders, a vast protected area of gigantic sand dunes. These reach as high as 12 meters and are constantly shifting as they are shaped by the wind and the sea. To complete the desert illusion, you can ride through this desolate and other-worldly landscape on a camel.

Amadores Beach on Gran Canaria

The water is relatively warm on this coast, and so clear that it's popular with divers. There's an underwater park at Arinaga and diving schools at Playa del Inglés and several other places along the coast. Or you can see the fish and other sea life from a cruise on a glass-bottomed boat. The south coast is also popular for windsurfing and sailing.

Read More: Top Things to Do on Gran Canaria

La Rambla, Barcelona

Strolling along La Rambla on a summer evening, you might think that every single one of Barcelona's inhabitants was there with you. It's definitely the place to be after work on a summer evening or on a weekend. This tree-lined boulevard cuts a green line - not a very straight one - through the city center, stretching northwest from the Columbus Memorial near the port.

The section to the Plaça de Catalunya is lined with plane trees, its wide pedestrian zone flanked by a narrow road on each side. Along with its flower and bird markets, La Rambla has a number of book and newspaper stands, as well as restaurants and cafés with open-air tables. Pavement artists, street musicians, living statues, and impromptu performers all add to its lively atmosphere.

One of the highlights of La Rambla is the Mercat de la Boqueria (91 Rambla), a traditional covered marketplace that sells fresh produce, meat, fish, bread, cheese, and other specialty foods. Locals come here to shop for ingredients to prepare home-cooked meals. Tourists will appreciate the chance to sample regional delicacies served at the market's tapas bars.

Playa Nagueles on the Costa del Sol

Long a destination for sun-starved northern Europeans, the Costa del Sol is a seemingly unending stretch of beaches and cities along Spain's southwestern Mediterranean coastline. The summer weather here is exceptional, with long, hot days, and steamy fun-filled nights.

Must-see cities along this stretch include the glitzy and glamourous Marbella with its famous harbor chock full of luxury yachts, and Malaga , with its restored downtown and the stunning Alcazaba perched on the hilltop. If you prefer something a bit smaller, check out the small-town charms of Neerja.

Fun cities aside, it's the beaches that are the major draw here. The soft, golden sand lapped by azure waters makes it almost impossible not to go swimming. In fact, the Costa del Sol is home to many of Spain's best beaches , each with their own special vibe.

Distant view to El Teide, Tenerife

One of the highlights of the Canary Islands, Tenerife has many attractions . But El Teide is what makes the island truly special.

The highest peak in Spain, this ancient - but still simmering - volcano is also one of Europe's top natural wonders. The Pico del Teide and the Caldera de las Cañadas, a gigantic volcanic crater, together form the Parque Nacional del Teide , at the center of the island of Tenerife. In listing the park in 2007, UNESCO cited its natural beauty and "its importance in providing evidence of the geological processes that underpin the evolution of oceanic islands."

El Teide, Tenerife

You can explore El Teide in several ways. You can drive or hike across the inside of the caldera - the crater floor - 12 miles in diameter and a barren moonscape of colored rock formations that's like driving into the center of the earth. You can climb El Teide's cone, but an easier way to get close to the top is by an eight-minute cable car ride . On a clear day, views cover the entire archipelago and can extend to North Africa - the nearest land mass to the Canary Islands.

Read More: Best Beaches on Tenerife

A street scene in Toledo

Toledo is a fantastic city to wander around and get lost in its narrow streets. The layout of the town, with its irregular pattern of streets and numerous blind alleys, reflects its Moorish past, and the architecture of the Christian period is represented by the numerous churches, convents, and hospices. This makes the Casco Histórico (Old Town) a kind of open-air museum, illustrating the history of Spain, and it has been listed by UNESCO as part of mankind's cultural heritage.

Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture mingle and blend into a city that El Greco captured in one of his most famous paintings. High on a granite hill and surrounded on three sides by the deep gorge of the Tagus River, the medieval city of Toledo presents a stunning profile; approaching it from below is an unforgettable sight.

Toledo's Old City

With its richly decorated interior, the splendid Gothic Catedral de Toledo is one of Toledo's top tourist attractions , and the two synagogues in the atmospheric old Judería (Jewish quarter) are ornate in the Moorish style. While in the Judería, be sure to see the church of Santo Tomé for its El Greco masterpiece.

You can easily visit Toledo as a day trip from Madrid (just an hour away by train), but it's also a nice place to spend a night, so you can linger later into the day and soak up the atmosphere in the evening.

Arcos de la Frontera

Poised like dabs of white frosting atop the steep crags of southern Andalucía, the White Towns (Pueblos Blancos) are not just beautiful, they speak of this region's long and fascinating history. West of Gibraltar, mountains rise straight from the sea, and among them hide these hilltop whitewashed towns.

Most spectacular is Arcos de la Frontera , whose plaza beside the Gothic church ends vertiginously in a 137-meter cliff, affording views across a valley of olive, orange, and almond orchards. Its maze of winding cobbled streets lead past cafes and craft shops selling ceramics and pottery to a Moorish castle.

Setenil de las Bodegas, Andalucía

A total of 19 of these villages of small white houses are in the area around the Grazalema Nature Reserve. Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra are two others worth seeing. A good base in the region is Jerez de la Frontera , home of flamenco and Andalucian thoroughbreds. Watch these horses' precision ballet at the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art, and for authentic flamenco, visit Centro Cultural Flamenco .

One of the most photographed towns is Setenil de las Bodegas , where many of the buildings are built into or beneath the rock walls.

  • Read More: Top Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) of Andalusia

Cala d'Hort beach in Ibiza

Ibiza is well known the world over as a place to come to have a good time in the sun. Blessed with exceptional beaches and lively towns, the island has been attracting a youthful set for decades. During the day Ibiza's beaches are packed with people enjoying the sun and surf, and at night certain areas are entertainment hotspots where DJs spin the latest tunes.

However, what many people don't know is that Ibiza is also a great place to soak up some history. Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets into the UNESCO-listed old quarter of Dalt Vila where you'll find a surprising number of well-preserved Gothic Catalan buildings. Up above it all is the fortress, offering stunning views.

If you up for a bit of adventure away from the crowds, head to the tranquil coves of Portinatx. Lay your towel out on the soft sand and enjoy the peace and quiet.

The New Bridge in Ronda

The ancient city of Ronda is one of the highlights of a visit to Spain's Andalucia region. Perched impossibly on a rocky outcrop complete with a historical bridge and well-preserved old town, this city just begs to be photographed.

Ronda is exceptionally easy to walk around, many of the major sights are a short stroll from one another including the Puente Nuevo bridge over the 100-meter-deep Tajo de Ronda gorge, the Plazas de Toros bullring, and La Cuidad, the old Moorish town center.

Spend a day wandering the sights and then settling into a prime patio seat on the Plaza del Socorro. Fans of Ernst Hemingway may recognize certain areas from his book For Whom the Bell Tolls.

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Must-visit: The six best places to enjoy Barcelona’s skyline – including views of Mallorca

top tourist places in barcelona spain

WITH more than 12 million visitors last year, Barcelona’s tourism industry is going from strength to strength.

While attractions such as Sagrada Familia and La Rambla remain at the heart of any tourist itinerary, visitors should also take the opportunity to visit some of Barcelona’s best viewpoints.

Here are six locations that provide stunning views of the Catalan capital’s skyline – with some added bonuses, too.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: ‘I saw first hand how wonderfully Catalunya celebrates St George’s Day… I wish England would take a page out of their book!’

top tourist places in barcelona spain

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed by Barcelona’s master architect Antoni Gaudi, who also built the iconic Sagrada Familia.

Located on the city’s northern tip, this private park offers visitors a range of attractions, including beautiful nature, thriving biodiversity and fascinatingly unique structures including the Three Viaducts, the Three Crosses, Tiled Mosaics, the Porter’s Lodge and a long, winding bench that envelops the park’s main square.

The hilly geography of the park, and its position in the suburbs, provides stunning views of the city heading out to the Mediterranean sea.

The park is popular, so intrigued visitors should make sure to book tickets in advance which normally cost around €10.

top tourist places in barcelona spain

At 512 metres (1,680 ft.) elevation, Tibidabo is the tallest hill in the Serra de Collserola, the mountain range that surrounds the Barcelona metropolitan area.

At its summit lies the beautiful Sagrat Cor church which looks over the city.

Accessible by road or via the Tibidabo Funicular, the first transport system of its kind in Spain, the hilltop is also home to Tibidabo Amusement Park.

Lurking over the city, Tibidabo provides unparalleled views over Spain’s second largest city, with an added bonus.

Thanks to its elevation, lucky travellers may be able to spot the Mallorcan coastline hovering on the horizon on a clear day, especially at sunrise.

The Palau Nacional, Montjuic

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Situated on Montjuic hill just south of Plaza Espanya, the Palau Nacional is a vast, imposing Renaissance-style building that was built for the 1929 International Exposicion. 

Inside, the palace is home to the National Art Gallery of Catalunya, but it is outside, with remarkable views perfect for sunset, where the building really shines.

Just beyond the Palau Nacional lies the Olympic Stadium, used for events in 1992 and re-purposed recently as a temporary home for FC Barcelona whilst the Camp Nou is renovated, the Palau Sant Jordi, a popular music arena, Montjuic Castle which provides views over Barcelona port, and Sants, a pool converted into a bar which was the location of a recent Dua Lipa music video.

Barcelo Raval 360 Terrace Bar

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Barcelona’s rooftops are home to an array of fantastic bars, but this one may just be the best.

Located in the seedy, bohemian neighbourhood of El Raval, this hotel rooftop terrace is open to all, free-of-charge and comes with a fantastic 360-degree view overlooking the heart of Barcelona.

The rooftop terrace also includes a bar so you can have a tipple or two whilst savouring the brilliant views in the sunshine.

The Carmel Bunkers

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Located at the top of Turo de la Rovira in the Carmel neighbourhood at a height of 262 metres, the Bunkers were installed as anti-aircraft warfare during the height of the Spanish Civil War with the intention of protecting Barcelona from fascist aerial bombardment. 

Previously home to an illegal shanty town, the Bunkers have been transformed, with locals and tourists alike regularly coming to the area thanks to its prime position for sunset.

However, the place’s growing popularity has forced the local council to introduce restrictions on when visitors can visit.

Boat trip off Barcelona coast

top tourist places in barcelona spain

Barceloneta and Olympic port are home to hundreds of boats, large and small, which are available to hire for trips out to sea.

Accompanied by a private sailor, the reasonably-priced jaunts allow you to head out into the crystal-clear waters for a swim in the Med, or, depending on your preference, a sip of locally-sourced Cava whilst appreciating the sunset over the city.

Most boat trips move up and down the coast, allowing for fantastic views of Barcelona’s famous coastline, the old town including the Gothic Quarter, and larger buildings further afield which loom above the thousands of building-tops. 

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Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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Best Places to Visit in Europe | Money

If you’re overwhelmed while planning for a European vacation, you’re not alone. There are so many popular destinations worth visiting that it can be difficult to pare down a list to chose from. How do you sort out which cities are too expensive, too crowded, or have the type of attractions you’re looking for?

Read on for an in-depth look at five European cities you might want to include in your travel itinerar y and check out our quick travel guide to help you plan the perfect European vacation.

Our Top Picks for Best Places to Visit in Europe

  • Dublin, Ireland – Best tourist attractions
  • Barcelona, Spain – Best theme parks
  • Gdansk, Poland – Best historical destination
  • Prague, Czech Republic – Best architecture
  • Chania, Greece – Best beaches

Best Places to Visit in Europe Reviews

Best tourist attractions in europe: dublin, ireland.

  • Free parks and hiking areas
  • Accessible from other Western European destinations
  • Inclement weather during off-season

Why we chose it : Dublin, Ireland is full of entertaining tourist attractions including castles, museums, free parks, historical sites and plenty of nightlife.

Dublin offers attractions to visitors of all stripes. Its well-maintained historical sites dating back to medieval times attract history buffs; its nightlife, whiskey and plentiful pubs make it a reveler’s delight, while its free parks and natural scenery make it an agreeable place for the whole family.

A few of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions are:

  • Trinity College Dublin : One of the oldest universities in Europe, with beautiful stone architecture and classical buildings. Several guided tours are available for a fee.
  • National Botanic Gardens : World-renowned botanical gardens in the heart of Dublin. Entrance is free.
  • Temple Bar : A popular nightlife district, centered around the famous Temple Bar Pub.
  • Dublin Castle : A medieval castle that currently serves as a government complex. Tour costs vary by season.
  • Phoenix Park : One of the largest enclosed public parks in Europe, free to visit.

On top of the attractions within Dublin’s city limits, you can also visit the castles, national parks, charming towns and beaches dotted throughout Ireland by renting a car or taking public transportation. Another advantage is that the city is highly accessible from other destinations — you’ll find affordable flights to Dublin from most major European cities.

Dublin can get crowded during the summer months and around the winter holidays. Prices for museums and tours also tend to increase during those months, so you’ll save money by traveling to Dublin in the off-season. Unfortunately, those winter months are when the weather can get unpleasant, blustery and rainy.

Despite the rain and cold, Dublin is an entertaining and accessible city to add to your itinerary as you explore Europe.

Best Theme Parks in Europe: Barcelona, Spain

  • Sunny weather
  • Good public transportation system
  • Pricier than other destinations

Why we chose it : Barcelona has multiple amusement parks including the famous Tibidabo Amusement Park, one of the oldest theme parks in the world.

Barcelona, Spain is a bustling cultural center in Europe with plenty of attractions, including ancient architecture and world-class food. But the city’s whimsical side is also displayed in its variety of theme parks, water parks and rides.

Tibidabo Amusement Park is the oldest amusement park in Spain (and one of the oldest in the world). It’s situated on Tibidabo — the tallest hill in the area — with views of the surrounding city and ocean below. While there, you can ride the Ferris wheel and roller coaster or enjoy seasonal entertainment around Halloween and Christmas. Tickets cost €35 with the train ride up Tibidabo or €14 separately.

PortAventura Park, located about an hour outside of Barcelona, is another popular amusement park with rides, shows, restaurants and bars. It offers three hotel complexes, with one located inside the park — a fun option if you’re traveling with kids. Ticket costs vary by season but you can save money by buying them online before your trip.

Aside from theme parks, you’ll also find plenty of public parks, green spaces and sunny beaches in Barcelona. You should also be aware that, as part of the autonomous community of Catalunya, Barcelona stands out from the rest of Spain — residents speak Catalan as well as Spanish, the cuisine is unique to the region and prices are higher than in other smaller Spanish cities.

Best Historical Place in Europe: Gdansk, Poland

  • Affordable destination
  • Lively street markets
  • Relatively cold, even in the summer

Why we chose it : In Gdansk, you can visit historical sites relevant to maritime history, World War II, the Solidarity movement and even medieval times.

Gdansk, Poland is a port city and historical merchant town on the northern coast of Poland. Although much of the city was destroyed during the Second World War, it has been rebuilt to match its original charm. The city’s Old Town maintains its Renaissance-style architecture, colorful buildings and street markets.

Along with Old Town, you can also visit Gdank’s many museums to learn about local history, including:

  • Museum of the Second World War : Here, you’ll learn about the events of World War II from the perspective of Polish citizens.
  • Museum of Gdansk : A Gothic/Renaissance-style building with modern and local art.
  • Museum of Amber : Learn about the amber trade and its role in making Gdansk a thriving merchant town.
  • Europejskie Centrum Solidarności : Roughly translated as the “European Center of Solidarity”, the museum is devoted to the history of Solidarity movement during Soviet rule in Poland.

Ticket costs to Gdansk’s museums vary by season but are generally less than $10 per person. Poland is one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe and has its own currency — you’ll pay less for attractions, food and lodging in Gdansk than in bigger cities like London, Berlin or Barcelona. However, that means you’ll have to exchange currency when you get there.

The weather also rarely gets warm, with average highs of only 63 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. You also might encounter a language barrier in Gdansk as English isn’t as prevalent as in other major cities.

Best Architecture in Europe: Prague, Czech Republic

  • Renowned Christmas markets
  • Historical old town
  • Cold and dark in the winter months

Why we chose it : Prague, Czech Republic is one of the few major Central European cities to make it through the 20th century with their historic architecture mostly intact, including its stunning Gothic and Romanesque buildings.

If you’re a fan of Gothic architecture, you’ll love walking the streets of Prague. The city’s Old Town is well-preserved from medieval times, with cobbled streets, winding alleyways and tall spires. Prague has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, so you can quickly get around the city without a rental car or taxi.

Some of Prague’s most notable architectural sites include:

  • Charles Bridge : A medieval stone bridge spanning the Vltava River flanked by religious statues.
  • Old Town Hall : Prague’s ancient city center with one of the oldest astronomical clocks in the world.
  • Church of Our Lady Before Týn : An 11th-century Gothic-style church, open to public visitors.
  • Schwarzenberg Palace : A Renaissance-era palace and current museum with Czech Baroque paintings.

There is no charge to walk around some of Prague’s most famous historical sites and take in the architecture, but you can pay for a guided walking tour to learn more about the history behind each building.

As beautiful as it is, Prague is also a very old city — you can see the impact of decades of pollution on the buildings, and the ancient, narrow alleyways can collect some litter. Prague can also be very cold in the winter months, making walking around and viewing the architecture less enjoyable.

Prague is more affordable than some Western European cities, so it’s a good destination if you want to visit Europe on a budget, even during the pricier summer months.

Best Beach in Europe: Chania, Greece

  • Off the beaten path (compared to other destinations in Greece)
  • Sunny weather even in the off-season
  • Small streets can get crowded

Why we chose it : If you want to visit Greece’s crystal clear beaches without the crowds and high costs of other beach resort towns, try Chania, a harbor city on the island of Crete that offers beach weather even in late fall.

Chania, Greece — the second-largest city on the island of Crete — offers warm, sunny climate and hidden bays, making it a great destination if you’re looking for the best beaches in Europe. Unlike Mykonos and other popular Greek beach communities, Chania is off the beaten path for most tourists. Pleasant weather extends until late November, so you can beat the crowds and still enjoy plenty of warmth and sunshine.

While Chania itself is a port town with cobbled streets and wooden docks, there are plenty of sandy beaches within a short drive or boat ride from the city. The most popular beaches include:

  • Elafonisi Beach : A white-sand islet, easiest to reach by boat.
  • Balos Beach : A secluded beach accessible by road or boat.
  • Falassarna Beach : A family-friendly resort area with a long, sandy beach surrounded by olive groves.

Chania offers affordable accommodations, diverse food options — including Jewish, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines — and fresh seafood. There is some nightlife, but the town is quieter than other destinations in Greece. You should also be aware that Chania doesn’t have the whitewashed, domed buildings or high cliffs other Greek towns are known for.

Other Places to Visit in Europe We Considered

Utrecht, netherlands.

  • Less crowded alternative to Amsterdam
  • Close to the Amsterdam airport
  • Can be expensive

Utrecht, Netherlands has the cafés and canals of Amsterdam, minus the crowds and higher prices. It’s a quick train ride from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and can be a stop on your Netherlands trip or a destination of its own. Although it isn’t quite as pricey as Amsterdam, the cost of food and lodging in Utrecht is still relatively high compared to other European cities.

Lisbon, Portugal

  • Colorful architecture
  • Great food options
  • Crowded year-round

Lisbon, Portugal is one of Western Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. It is generally considered to have a laid-back vibe with charming cobbled streets, colorful buildings and spectacular coastal views. However, because it’s so popular, this city is crowded with tourists year-round.

Reykjavik, Iceland

  • Abundance of natural wonders
  • Vibrant nightlife
  • Far from the rest of Europe

Reykjavik, Iceland is home to natural wonders like waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes and even the Aurora Borealis. This is a great destination for nature-lovers but, if you’re planning on visiting multiple European cities on your trip, it might be challenging to work Iceland into your itinerary due to its distance from other European countries. Reykjavik might be best for a single-destination trip.

Places to Visit in Europe Guide

If you’re looking for the best international places to travel , you’ll find no shortage of bucket list destinations in Europe. Although it’s difficult to definitively rank the best cities to visit in Europe — or even the best countries to visit in Europe — we’ve compiled this quick European travel guide to help you plan your trip. Remember that the ideal destinations will depend on your priorities and when you’re traveling.

The basics of Europe

Before you start comparing the best airlines or best hotels for your trip, you’ll want to establish your priorities. It’s impossible to see every tourist destination in one trip but focusing on what you want to do and what your ultimate goals are for your trip.

Here are some things to consider to help you decide which European destination works best for your trip.

Europe has distinct regions based on culture, geography and language. The main generalized geographical areas of Europe are:

  • Western Europe – This is where you’ll find some of the most popular European destinations including France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. These countries are often expensive to visit and can get cold in winter, but they also contain several global cities and important historical sites.
  • Southern Europe – Spain, Italy and Portugal are all Southern European countries with typically sunny climates, Mediterranean cuisine and historic architecture.
  • Central Europe – When visiting Germany, Poland or the Czech Republic you’ll find colder climates, as well as cultural and historic attractions.
  • Eastern Europe – Estonia, Georgia and Croatia are examples of Eastern European destinations you might not have considered traveling to but that offer unique cultural experiences at an affordable cost.

Depending on the time of year you’re traveling, weather can make or break your trip. Western and Central European countries experience dark, freezing winters, making sightseeing challenging.

Despite being a relatively small geographical area, Europe contains hundreds of diverse cultures. You should expect different cultural norms regarding dining, public transportation and conversations everywhere you go. As a traveler, it’s always important to understand and respect the culture of the country you’re visiting.

Best time to visit Europe

Here are a few examples of seasons when you can make the most of your European vacation.

The best time to enjoy the weather in Europe

Weather in Europe varies drastically depending on the region you’re visiting. If you want the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean, you’ll enjoy the best weather between early spring and summer while late summer and fall bring higher temperatures and humidity.

The best time to backpack in Europe

If you plan to backpack and camp in Europe, you’ll want to travel in early or late summer. Pay attention to the rainy seasons! The United Kingdom, for example, is rainiest in spring.

The best time to cruise in Europe

Flying between European countries is fast and generally affordable, especially if you take advantage of some of the best airline rewards programs . But if you’re not in a hurry, a cruise can be a pleasant way to get to your next destination and do some sightseeing along the way.

Some of the best river cruises in Europe can take you through France, Italy or into Central Europe, with the best weather occurring during spring and summer. On the other hand, you might find discounted tickets for a cruise during colder seasons. If you don’t mind a little inclement weather, a cruise in the off-season can be an excellent way to save.

The best time to ski in Europe

For ski resorts, you’ll want to travel during winter or spring. Remember that mid-winter in Northern Europe means short days and long nights — you’ll enjoy more daylight if you travel in late winter or spring, toward the end of the ski season.

Best ways to travel Europe

One of the main differences between Europe and the U.S. is accessible public transportation in and between major cities. Train travel, boats and buses make it easy to get around without renting a car.

Budget airlines can be a good option if you’re visiting multiple countries. You might also get a good deal with the best airline credit cards .

Travel Europe by train

Train travel in Europe can be slow and luxurious or fast and efficient. For example, the Paris to Barcelona train is a direct route that takes less than a day and costs around €30. Many train routes in Europe are very scenic — plus, it’s a more environmentally friendly form of travel than airplanes.

Travel Europe by ferry

Ferries are an affordable option if you’re traveling around the Mediterranean or Baltic seas. You can find overnight ferries (for example, Helsinki to Stockholm) or quick trips, such as between Greek islands. If you plan on taking an overnight or multi-day ferry, book your ticket in advance and use the best travel credit cards to save money.

Travel Europe in group tours

All-inclusive European vacations can make it easier to plan your trip. Instead of booking multiple trips separately, you can book a group tour to see multiple countries with an organized schedule. Travel packages to Europe might be a little more expensive than an unstructured trip, but they remove the stress of planning and can be a comfortable option for an inexperienced traveler.

Things to consider when you travel to Europe

Here are a few more things to remember as you plan your European vacation.

Currency exchange

Many European countries use the euro, but not all of them do. Be sure to research the local currency in each destination country and be prepared to exchange cash. Remember that exchange rates are generally highest at airports and busy tourist areas.

Power adapters

Most of Europe uses a Type C outlet, and the United Kingdom uses Type G. A universal power adapter is a necessary purchase before any international trip.

Busy seasons

Most European destinations are busiest in summer when the weather is warm and kids are off from school. Travel during the busy season is fine, but you should know that attractions will be more crowded and potentially more expensive. If you can travel in the off-season, you might find better deals.

Conservation efforts

When traveling to a country known for its national parks, like Iceland, you’ll want to pay attention to local conservation efforts. National parks are periodically closed to protect sensitive wildlife.

This doesn’t just apply to natural scenery — museums and historical sites can also be closed for maintenance from time to time. Big Ben in London, for example, was closed to visitors between 2017 and 2023 to prevent it from wearing down.

Places to Visit in Europe FAQs

How do i plan a trip to europe, how much does a trip to europe cost, how many countries are in europe, how do i travel to europe on a budget, is it safe to travel to europe now, how we chose the best places to visit in europe.

To chose the European destinations covered in this article, we compared locations based on a few important factors, including:

  • Safety : All destinations in this review have low crime rates and are safe to travel to.
  • Reputation : We looked into the reputation of each of these cities based on reviews (and the author’s personal experience).
  • Accessibility : You can reach these cities directly from the U.S. or major European cities.
  • Things to do : We looked for cities that offer a wide variety of things to do, whether you’re traveling solo, as a group or with family.

Summary of Money’s Best Places to Visit in Europe

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This article originally appeared on and may contain affiliate links for which Money receives compensation. Opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone, not those of a third-party entity, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed. Offers may be subject to change without notice. For more information, read Money’s full disclaimer .


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June 2024 Travel Guide: Unmissable Destinations Worldwide

In the Northern Hemisphere, June is the start of summer. Early June is still the shoulder season in many parts of the world, and the best travel destinations in June will typically be cheaper – but not for long!

In this article, we’ll help you decide where to travel in June in America, Asia, and even Africa. However, you’ll also learn about where to travel in Europe in June to expand your potential vacation destinations. Each mini-review will discuss the reasons why each spot is such a great choice, including beautiful weather and many fun activities and events in the area.

Before packing your suitcase and bringing along your favorite accessories (like voltage adaptors), make sure that you reserve a parking spot with The Parking Spot at your local airport.. This choice can streamline your parking experience and minimize potential dangers, such as theft. Keeping your peace of mind in this way is well worth the investment.

The Best 6 Travel Destinations in June

When preparing for your June vacation, you probably won’t need to pack for cold weather – most of these spots will have pretty warm, even summery, temperatures. Furthermore, the best times to fly to each of these areas may vary, with some working best in early June – before prices go up – while others may provide better deals later in the month.

1. Barcelona, Spain – Primavera Sound

By late May and early June, Barcelona’s temperatures are hitting the 70-degree range, making it one of the best places to travel in June. But what makes this a common option for people deciding where to travel in Europe in June is Primavera Sound. Starting in late May and stretching into early June, this yearly festival is one of the biggest in all of Europe.

This popular event includes concerts, art displays, amazing talks, international films, dance celebrations, beach visits, and even delicious foods. It’s truly one of the most exciting events in Europe! While it occurs during the late days of Europe’s shoulder season, it brings in a lot of tourists and should make your June holiday a more exciting and unforgettable experience.

Travel Tips for Barcelona

Barcelona has an excellent public transportation system, meaning it should be fairly easy for you to get around the city. Note that it includes buses, metro trains, and taxis – download a map and consider buying a week pass to streamline your traveling. Doing so not only makes your experience more enjoyable but cuts back on expenses – not bad, not bad!

2. Zambia – South Luangwa National Park

Zambia might not be on your list of “must-see places, but maybe it should be in June! It’s one of the best travel destinations in June because its weather is mild (usually in the 60s and 70s) and dry. Though Zambia does get hit heavily by monsoons later in the year, it’s still dry in June, which makes visits to South Luangwa National Park an absolute treat to book!

During June, the park is in its last month before the busy season starts – and with mild temperatures, it’s a perfect time to visit! If you’ve always wanted to see elephants, giraffes, leopards, and other African animals in the wild, here’s your best chance. It’s a very interesting experience that should entertain you and your kids alike – animal lovers should try it out!


Photo credit: Lauren Rocklin

Travel Tips for Zambia

English is the official language of Zambia, so you shouldn’t have a hard time talking with the residents. They likely have a pretty thick African accent but are usually quite friendly and welcoming. Note that public transportation is limited here, so you should rent a car if you plan on visiting. Furthermore, pack a nice spring jacket – evenings and mornings get rather cool.

3. Pantanal, Brazil – Jaguar Spotting

Brazil is one of the best places to travel in June if you’re trying to discover where to travel in June this year. The weather is very comfortable and the wet season hasn’t come yet, so you shouldn’t be too uncomfortable. The most popular reason people come to this region is to see jaguars , which are common throughout the area and, if not tame, used to seeing humans.

Typically, you’ll see jaguars hanging around the town’s outskirts, as they may snag food and hunt small, local animals here. It’s best to keep your distance and stay in a vehicle when you spot one – though they’re not afraid of humans, they’re also not afraid to attack if you get too close. They’re still wild animals, so see if you can find a trusted guide to help you out here.

Travel Tips for Pantanal

Pantanal is a popular destination for jaguar spotters in June, so book ahead to make sure you find a great destination. There’s actually an amazing on-water hotel destination that includes a traveling boat that can take you up and down the Amazon to spot jaguars. Be ready to spend good money and book well in advance to get a spot on this popular and unique boat.

4. Herne Hill, England – Mighty Hoopla Festival

Now, England in June is a surprisingly nice place to visit – yes, it’ll be rainy , but temperatures should be getting closer to the 70s by the early part of the month. Avoiding rain in England is simply not an option most of the time. If you’re trying to figure out where to travel in Europe in June, try this London suburb on the first two days of June to enjoy the Mighty Hoopla Festival.

The Mighty Hoopla is a big festival that includes many types of music, particularly pop and indie rock. If you’re into those kinds of music, you’ll likely enjoy the event. The rough part about this festival is that it typically sells out so quickly, but there are still plenty of fun things to do in London. Even better, Herne Hill has reasonable accommodations most of the year.

Travel Tips for Herne Hill

There should be little to no language barrier beyond some pretty heavy accents when you visit Herne Hill. Note that this suburb is densely populated, like most of London, so you’ll likely be spending some time in tight quarters with other travelers. If you don’t mind the hostel life, visiting Herne Hill should be tolerable. Public transportation here is superlative!

5. Rome, Nemi – Strawberry Festival

There aren’t many bad times to visit Rome, but what makes it one of the best travel destinations in June are the comfortable temperatures (pushing the 80s) and the Strawberry Festival. Whether you’re traveling with your family or solo , this fantastic festival will immerse you in Rome’s unique cultural history and provide a fun experience for all involved!

At the Strawberry Festival , you’ll enjoy eating delicious locally grown strawberries, including many pies, drinks, and even meals using this popular fruit. You’ll also experience concerts, fun competitions, and much more. It’s a unique time that shows how you see a side of Rome people rarely see, one that breaks apart from the lengthy lectures on Ancient Roman politics.

Travel Tips for Rome

When in Rome, you have to try a true Italian cappuccino – but not in the afternoon! Residents might balk at this order or even refuse because it’s considered a heavy drink that should only be drunk in the morning. If you’re lucky enough to be there on the first Sunday of the month, all state-owned museums are free – which is fantastic in a city as rich in history as Rome.

6. San Juan Islands, Washington – Beautiful Whale Spotting

The San Juan Islands in Washington are among the best places to travel in June due to great weather (around the 70s most of the season ) and their natural beauty. Put simply, the San Juan Islands provide a unique and gorgeous range of sights, particularly the whale spotting tours. These will provide you and your family with a unique chance to see some beautiful animals.

There are many companies that provide these tours. You can even stand on the shore and try to spot whales, which is a very rewarding experience if you’re lucky enough to see one. That said, most whale tours provide amenities such as food, drinks, and other sightseeing experiences that can provide a fun and engaging experience that should make your vacation enjoyable.

Travel Tips for the San Juan Islands

You’ll need to book a boat trip to the San Juan Islands to get there – some even include ferries that can bring your vehicle to cut down on your travel needs. The island is big enough to support vehicles, but you do have to book ahead to ensure you get vehicle reservations. Thankfully, there are also passenger ferries, taxis, bikes, and even scooters available on the island.

Travel Tips and Preparations From The Parking Spot

If you plan on traveling and staying active on your trip , it’s important to keep a few travel tips in mind. The Parking Spot has discovered several unique preparation tips that can help you save money and avoid common booking issues. These include the following simple suggestions:

  • Pack for Diverse Weather:  Now, June is a pretty warm month, but you may still see some surprisingly chill weather. As a result, you should bring long pants, sweatshirts, and even jackets along with your T-shirts, shorts, and swimming suits.
  • Download Ridesharing Apps:  Though the major cities mentioned on this list often have great public transportation options, that’s not a guarantee. As a result, you should research popular ridesharing apps at your destination and download them to travel more easily.
  • Pay Attention to Travel Coupons:  Travel websites are full of great download codes and coupons you can use to save money on your travels. Pay attention to these deals and snatch them up when you can – June deals often focus on out-of-the-way areas, so be prepared.
  • Download Train Schedules:  Many nations and continents around the world – particularly Europe – rely heavily on train travel. Download train schedules and purchase ticket packages that let you travel wherever you want for a surprisingly affordable rate.
  • Use Your Travel Points: Do you use a travel website when booking your trips? Use those points to save money on otherwise pricey destinations. Most sites like Expedia have international booking options, which can make your travel much easier.
  • Prepare for Security Checkpoints: When traveling overseas, you must know the differences between global entry and TSA Precheck , as well as plan around various security checkpoints. If you’re worried about language barriers, bring along a translation guide to stay safe.
  • Plan Your Stops in Depth:  Sit down before you travel and know exactly where you want to go while you’re on vacation. Plan daily stops, including your transportation and the routes you’ll take, to make sure that you get where you want to go more effectively.

Following these simple suggestions will make your visit better and avoid common mistakes. You deserve a fantastic vacation, and paying attention to your accommodations and transportation needs will avoid common complications and ultimately save you time and money.

Book Your Trip to the Best Places to Travel in June

Now that you know where to travel in June, booking the best travel destinations in June shouldn’t be too hard. Whether you want to know where to travel in Europe in June or plan on staying closer to home, June’s beautiful weather and amazing festivals will make your experience more enjoyable.

Don’t forget to start your trip right by booking with The Parking Spot, wherever available, to keep your vehicle safe and secured. Knowing that your car is protected in a well-guarded facility can give you the peace of mind you need to truly enjoy your trip without worrying about coming back to anything other than your vehicle the way you left it!

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The Economic Times

These popular destinations are fed up of tourists, and are taking steps to keep them in check

How many is too many?

How many is too many?

In recent years, over-tourism has become a growing concern for many popular travel destinations worldwide. Cities and regions traditionally known for attracting millions of visitors each year are now taking proactive measures to curb the negative impacts of overwhelming tourism. Here's a look at some destinations that are fed up with excessive tourists and the steps they are taking to manage the influx.

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Visitors to Venice must pay an admission charge ranging from €3 to €10 in order to enter the city and its islands. This has enhanced the standard of living for residents while lowering the number of tourists. Venice has also outlawed the entry of big cruise ships into its famed lagoon. A number of Italy's well-known tourist destinations now charge admission in other towns. Also See| Travelling to Europe? How to get 5 year Multiple-Entry Schengen Visa

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Greece has announced that the Acropolis, its most popular tourist destination, will soon have a time slot system in place. Furthermore, there will only be 20,000 visitors every day to the Acropolis, and each visitor will be given a designated hourly slot throughout the monument's twelve-hour daily hours of operation. Greece has also chosen to impose admission fees at certain of its tourist destinations. Also See | Every country you can visit on a Schengen visa & what not to miss ​

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Among the most famous Greek islands is Santorini. The island welcomes about two million visitors annually, and in 2019 steps were taken to prevent overtourism. One approach was to cap the number of cruise visitors to the island at 8,000 per day.Perhaps the most peculiar of all was the prohibition against overweight tourists (those weighing more than 100 kg or 220 lbs) from riding donkeys. Also See | Travelling to Europe? How to get 5 year Multiple-Entry Schengen Visa

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Peru's main draw is the Inca fortress from the fifth century. Tourists are only allowed in during one of two timeslots every day to prevent crowding. Furthermore, each tour guide is only permitted to accompany ten guests at a time. There is a daily limit on the quantity of visitors. The cap will be 4,500 individuals per day as of 2024. Up to 5,600 visitors a day may be permitted on certain exceptional days, though.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Probably the most popular coastal area in Italy is the Amalfi Coast. Authorities implemented a different licence plate system in an effort to reduce mass tourism. This implies that rental automobiles with odd-numbered licence plates can pass through it in a single day, but even-numbered licence plates can only be driven through the next day. Also See| Travelling to Europe? How to get 5 year Multiple-Entry Schengen Visa

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam has made the decision to prohibit cruise ships from calling at its primary ports. They took this action because cruise ships have the capacity to draw huge crowds of people to a limited location, placing a burden on the local resources and infrastructure. Additionally, Amsterdam plans to raise the city's tourist accommodation tax by one percentage point. Also See| Every country you can visit on a Schengen visa & what not to miss ​

Paris, France

Paris, France

The Paris Louvre has restricted daily admission to 30,000 guests as of 2022. A €1 million campaign was started by the French government in 2024 to encourage travelers, both foreign and local, "to adapt their destination choices and schedules." Promoting "year-round" and "off-the-beaten-track" travel is the goal. Also See| Travelling to Europe? How to get 5 year Multiple-Entry Schengen Visa

​Balearic Islands, Spain​

​Balearic Islands, Spain​

The local council, in an effort to address issues related to tourism, has decided to outright prohibit the sale of alcohol between 9.30 p.m. and 8 a.m. This ban, which goes into effect right away, aims to lessen the negative effects of overtourism by focusing on places like Llucmajor, Palma, Calvia (Magalluf), and Sant Antoni in Ibiza. Party boats are not allowed to operate within one nautical mile of certain places or pick up passengers from them in addition to the prohibition on alcohol. Also See| How much foreign currency can you carry abroad? A country-wise break up

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela intends to impose a tourist fee in order to combat overtourism and assist fund local government. Also See| Every country you can visit on a Schengen visa & what not to miss ​

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

The city imposed a "city surcharge," which went up to €3.25 (US$3.48) in 2024, and closed its northern port terminal to cruise ships. The Catalan capital imposed noise limits and tour group size limitations in 2022. Short-term room rentals and new hotel construction have both been prohibited in the city core. The bus route for number 116 was taken out of map applications more recently. Many tourists took the bus route to see Barcelona's top attraction, Park Güell. Residents clearly felt this had an effect on their lives, and they applauded the action. Also See| 9 countries that offer digital nomad visas to Indians, and how much they cost ​


Portugal has planned to charge for playing loud music at popular beaches in an effort to curb noise pollution. The penalties will be between €200 to €36,000 in total. Also See| 9 countries that offer digital nomad visas to Indians, and how much they cost ​

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The well-known Croatian city of Dubrovnik has started the "Respect the City" campaign to combat excessive tourism. To maintain the city's distinct charm and legacy, the plan includes limits on certain behaviors as well as a system for dropping off bags. This was carried out in response to complaints from locals in Dubrovnik about noise pollution caused by visitors dragging their bags along the cobblestone streets of the city, which they said kept people awake at night. Also See| Every country you can visit on a Schengen visa & what not to miss ​

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia

In 2024, the government imposed a tourist fee in an effort to reduce excessive travel. All visitors to the island will now need to pay IDR 150,000, or around $10. Bali also intends to outlaw motorcycle rentals for visitors. ​ Also See| 9 countries that offer digital nomad visas to Indians, and how much they cost

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Among the most traveled nations in Europe is Italy. As such, major cities, including Rome, the capital, have implemented steps to restrict crowds. For example, visitors to the Pantheon now have to pay a €5 (US$5.36) admission price as of 2023. Also See| Travelling to Europe? How to get 5 year Multiple-Entry Schengen Visa


In an effort to reduce mass tourism, the Kingdom of Bhutan implemented a Sustainable Development Fee. A US$100 daily tourist visa is required to enter this stunning Himalayan nation.

Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

In an effort to curtail activities after midnight, Milan has suggested new laws. In addition to enforcing closing times for outdoor areas of restaurants and bars, the city is considering prohibiting the sale of pizza and ice cream after 12:30 am on weekdays and 1:30 am on weekends. Also See| Travelling to Europe? How to get 5 year Multiple-Entry Schengen Visa

Fujikawaguchiko, Japan

Fujikawaguchiko, Japan

The village in Japan has begun erecting a wall to obstruct the view of Mount Fuji, the most famous landmark in the nation, after receiving complaints about unruly visitors. Fujikawaguchiko is installing mesh netting panels at a well-liked location where visitors congregate to take pictures of the gorgeous mountain behind a Lawson convenience store. Also See| ​Have a Japan visa? Here are six other countries you can visit visa-free

The Economic Times

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This foodie paradise has been crowned Spain’s best coastal spot

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San Sebastian and Santa Clara Island at sunset

Nestled in the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain ’s mountainous Basque country, San Sebastián is known for its gorgeous sandy beaches, world-famous restaurants and historic old town – much like Barcelona .

And if you’re looking for a cultural experience similar to Barcelona, but without the crowds, the Basque town of Donostia/San Sebastián is a sure-fire way to have a super foodie holiday for slightly less.

Consumer champion Which? invited travellers to rate their experiences of Spanish seaside towns, based on factors like food and drink, accommodation, value for money, safety, the quality of the beach and seafront and value for money. 

An overall score was calculated based on general satisfaction and likeliness to recommend from from more than 1,200 travellers, .

San Sebastián ranks as Spain’s best seaside town, with visitors obsessing over the Pintxos (small portions of food served with cocktails) and its top-tier restaurants.

Ondarreta beach in San Sebastian

The annual average price of a three or four star hotel is £155, while respondents rated it highly for its beach and seafront, attractiveness, safety and friendliness.

Termed ‘gorgeous’ by adorning visitors in one Reddit thread , San Sebastián has earned its stripes, but it’s often overshadowed by the likes of Spanish tourism giants Madrid, Valenica and Seville.

But in 2023 alone, more than 12 million people holidayed in the Catalan capital of Barcelona – and the Sagrada Familia is now one of the most visited tourist attractions in  Spain .

WIN VIP tickets to Pub In The Park worth £110 each!

Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park returns to Chiswick, Reigate and St Albans for 2024 – and we’ve got five pairs of VIP tickets to give away, worth up to £110 each. 

Win tickets to summer's ultimate foodie festival (Picture: Pub In The Park)

The much-loved food and music festival celebrates everything there is to love about the glorious British pub: delicious food, award-winning chefs , epic live music, delicious drinks but above all else, a fantastic time with friends and family. Van Morrison, Busted, McFly, Paloma Faith, Sam Ryder, Gabrielle and Olly Murs have all been confirmed to play across the four weekends, with even more acts still to be announced!

To find out more and for your chance to win the ultimate summer day out, click here . You have until  midnight 15 May  to enter, so sign up soon! Full T&Cs apply, see here .

San Sebastián is also just over an hour away from the larger, more industrial port city of Bilbao, famous for the curvy Guggenheim Museum and looming hills.

Things to do in San Sebastián

If you’re in search of a foodie long weekend away, then San Sebastián has everything you could ask for. The most popular dishes here are comprised of fish, including baked spider crab, hake cheeks in green sauce, and hake koxkera.

The local pintxos (not dissimilar to tapas, but often spiked with a tooth pick) are also popular, with dishes including stuffed peppers, tortilla de patatas, and croquettes.

If you’d like to experience the best local places, you can even book yourself onto a Pintxos Tour in the Old Town – available through the likes of TripAdvisor.

High Angle View Of San Sebastian (Donostia) City During Sunset. Spain.

For San Sebastián’s answer to Barcelona’s (undoubtedly more crowded) sandy beaches, there’s the likes of La Concha Beach, Ondarreta Beach, and Zurriola Beach, all featuring stunning blue waters.

Meanwhile, Monte Urgill overlooks the ocean, and reaches an impressive 123 metres at its peak. Converted into a military fortress in the 12 th century, its walls were attacked throughout the years – including by France, the UK and Portugal.

Peine del Viento is a classic snapshot of San Sebastián, a modern iron sculpture designed by Eduardo Chillida and embedded into the rocks by the sea shore.

And, to learn more about Basque history, visit the San Telmo Museoa, a converted monastery that now operates as a museum, presenting items from various periods in Basque history.

How to get to San Sebastián

While there isn’t a direct flight from London to San Sebastián, the closest airport is Bilbao.

Flights from London Gatwick Airport to the Basque city take two hours, and are available via Vueling for as little as £45 return.

Typical Pintxos (Tapas) of San Sebastian, Basque country, Spain

From there, San Sebastián is just over one hour by car, or one hour and 11 minutes on the train.

From Manchester, you can take a flight to Barcelona El-Prat Airport, which takes two hours and 25 minutes, and transfer for a flight to San Sebastián Airport. This is slightly more costly though, coming in around the £120 mark for a return journey.

Places to eat in San Sebastián

If you’re heading to San Sebastián, chances are you want to feast on pintxo. Many establishments can be found in the Old Town.

Ganbara is highly rated on Tripadvisor for its food and service. Solo traveller, mrstraveller1, gushed about the food in their review, writing: ‘This was on the list of top pintxo bars suggested by my hotel and it was an excellent choice. 

@allisonmac19 The best 2 euros I’ve ever spent #travel #backpacking #spain #sansebastian ♬ original sound – Sez

They added: ‘All the dishes sampled were delicious, most particularly Ganbara’s speciality, the spider crab tartlet. Wines by the glass were also gorgeous, and so reasonably priced.’ La Cepa also has an impressive 4.5 rating on Tripadvisor, as is La Cuchara de San Telmo .

More restaurants in San Sebastián

  • Casa Vegara
  • Borda Berri

When to visit San Sebastián

If you’re in search of sunshine, then the summer is undoubtedly the optimum time of year to visit San Sebastián.

In June, temperatures can reach 21C, whilst in July and August the mercury can swoop up to 23C and 24C respectively.

If you want to avoid the crowds though, there’s always the possibility of some winter sun.

Your Daily Horoscope

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Daily horoscope today: May 13, 2024 astrological predictions for your star sign

In February and March, temperatures flit between a respectable 13C and 14C (arguably warmer than the UK that time of year, when London averages between (9C and 12C).

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Get in touch by emailing [email protected] .

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