[Updated November 2019]
Outstanding architecture, world-renowned food and a culture as sunny as its landscapes, these are 17 of the top things to do in Barcelona!
Discover the city on foot, bike, segway, or bus
When going to Barcelona, the first thing to do is pack your most comfortable shoes – even better is to stay in flip flops if you can. Barcelona – also known as Barca – is one of those cities that is very enjoyable to be explored on foot.
You will never get bored or tired, because along the way you will see street performers, the beach, the old city, the city centre, Gaudi’s overwhelming art, eye-catching architecture, endless shopping streets, Tapas bars, and seafood restaurants.
Not only great for walking, there are other more adventurous things to do in Barcelona. More active travellers could go for biking or a segway tour. For those who want to take things slowly, enjoy a no-frills hop-on hop-off bus – tickets are sold onboard.
Walk La Rambla
La Rambla, or Las Ramblas as it is also known, is a long boulevard and well-known Barcelona city attraction.You will find quirky street performers and everything from souvenirs and food, to pets and museum tickets (usually sold at a more expensive price). You will also find museums, theatres and most of all, La Boqueria food market.
Start your walk from Placa Catalunya. This is also the best place to start your hop-on hop-off bus journey. The nearest bus station would be in front of El Corte Inglés Department Store, up to Mirador de Colom (also known as Christopher Colombus monument). If you continue straight, you will arrive at the old port area of Port Vell, where you could also have a nice walk and go to the Aquarium. You could also continue your walk until you reach La Barceloneta, perhaps only if you are ready to take a dip in the sea.
Take a dip in the Mediterranean
Though the water is quite cold, it’s still very refreshing and it’s one of Barcelona’s free things to do!. All you need is a towel, sun-cream and a good book or an iPod. Make sure to get some refreshments from the supermarket, ice cream from any of the nearby shops, or even better – some Spanish churros, one of the most delicious desserts of Spain.
Bonus Tip: The further you walk, the more you will find less crowded and less touristy beaches.
Attend a Flamenco Show
The Palau De La Música Catalana is beautiful from the inside out. Tickets are affordable, it all depends on the show that you are attending and the location of your seat. It is within walking distance from La Rambla too.
Bonus Tip: Get one of those tiny booklets that have information regarding Barca’s main attractions and ongoing events. Most of them grant discounts to the top Barcelona attractions and you will find them at Tourist Information Desks.
Savour authentic Catalan food at Plaça Reial
This square and central plaza lies next to La Rambla and it is a popular meeting point in summer, hosting a variety of events and music festivals, making it one of the best Barcelona tourist attractions. At the plaza, there are a number of restaurants and nightclubs too.
If you are eager to get a real taste of Catalunya, then you cannot miss eating at the very authentic and affordable Les Quinz Nits. Don’t get discouraged by the endless queues, they don’t usually stand for long. The food there is worth the hassle and is very reasonably priced.
The best place to enjoy Barcelona sightseeing is from high above the city, at 512 metres to be exact. The summit of the mountain is occupied by Sagrat Cor Church (Sacred Heart) with a replica of Christ the Redeemer from Rio de Janeiro, on top of it. The church is surrounded by one of the oldest ‘still functioning’ amusement parks in the world. This trip is truly one of the best places to visit in Barcelona, even if you are not planning to spend much time at the park!
La Sagrada Familia
The Sacred Family is Barca’s main landmark and an unfinished masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi’., It’s such a beautiful church, one that proves how impressive, colourful and different Modernista art is. Works at the Church are still in progress- if you want to skip long endless queues, be there early, or book your tickets online.
Make sure to buy a combo ticket that includes entry to the towers and elevator lift, for amazing views of the city and a closer view of the church. However if you are afraid of heights, do not go up the towers, because the hardest part is in fact is walking back down the stairs. They are narrow and spiralled.
Bonus Tip: There are several options available, but it is much cheaper to buy tickets online than at the ticket office.
Eat tapas & drink Spanish orxata
When in Spain you can’t help but eat tapas before every meal, or while snacking along the way. So what are tapas? They are basically snacks or appetizers made up of small portions of typical Spanish cuisines Simply looking at a tapas display will be tempting enough to make you feel hungry.
How about orxata? Brave to try something new, even though you don’t know exactly what it’s made of? It’s sweet, served cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon and without any alcohol involved. One of the best things to do in Barcelona is to sample the local food and drink.
Munch the freshest seafood & paella near La Barcelonata
With seafood served in its freshest state, you will taste just how fresh it is on your very first bite. Your best deal is getting a platter for two, with a seafood paella on the side – you have to try the paella made with vermicelli noodles, the variety is amazing and portions are usually very generous.
Pick one of the restaurants lying near to La Barcelonata, serving premium quality at much more affordable prices than the ones at Port Vell. Above all, it’s less touristy but still top of the Barcelona tourist attractions!
The more you see Gaudi’s art, the more you will feel how unique and authentic it is. This is your chance to take a walk amid nature and get lost in the architectural labyrinth at Carmel Hill. Be sure to pay a visit to the museum and try to be there as early as possible, as it’s one of the most well-known, fun activities to do in Barcelona and usually overcrowded as a result.
Savour churros with hot chocolate sauce
Churros are a Spanish signature dessert – the Spanish version of Bala7 El-Sham but without honey, or sharbat and traditionally made with sugar sprinkled on top. Churros are served with hot chocolate sauce to dip in, but some prefer to eat them just with sprinkled sugar and cinnamon.
Take a tour at Camp Nou stadium
Even if you are not the craziest football fan, can you imagine touring the great Camp Nou – home stadium of FC Barcelona? Getting to take a photo with one of the trophies? Seeing FC Barcelona’s first football jersey? Seeing the players’ changing rooms? Learning all about this legendary club in the most entertaining way? Even better would be to attend a game. An unmissable thing to do in Barcelona for football fans!
Visit La Boqueria
Even if you don’t arrive hungry, I bet you won’t leave without munching your way through this large public market – mmm, let me guess – will it be fruit salad or ice cream made on sticks out of freshly squeezed fruits?
Don’t get tempted too quickly, as one thing I have learned from street markets is that the most expensive booths are usually those facing the gates and as you go further in prices usually drop. La Boqueria is located close by to La Ramblas Liceu station and the Liceu Opera.
Walk the Passeig de Gracia
It’s such a pleasant walk, especially at night when it’s less crowded and the street lights are reflecting the beautiful architecture. If you just want to wander and marvel at the impressive architecture, this is certainly the place to be.
You will find Casa Batllo (also built by Gaudi) along the way, if you haven’t already had enough of Gaudi’s art. You could visit it during the day and if you care for shopping, this avenue is your best deal.
Shop at Las Arenas
What’s special about Barca is how everything sold is in the most vivid colours! One of the best places to visit in Barcelona for shopping has to be Las Arenas de Barcelona shopping complex, or any of the endless shopping streets in the city. For late night and weekend shopping head directly to Magnum Plaza at Port Vell.
Bonus Tip: Use our guide to the best shopping cities in Europe, including Barcelona!
El Barri Gòtic
The Gothic Quarter is the centre of the old city of Barcelona, and your chance to see another architectural and artistic style, different from Gaudi’s. Make sure to hang around the Santa Maria Del Mar Basilica, as in this area you will find street performers and sometimes both tourists and locals dancing.
Will you go for Primavera, Sonar, Fiesta de La Merce, Festival Internacional de Jazz, or Barcelona’s Summer Festival? Or maybe you prefer some clubbing in the heart of the city? Explore the alternative things to do in Barcelona on a night out. Barca’s nightlife promises you a great experience!
So tell us, have you ever been to Barca? In your opinion, what are the greatest things to do in Barcelona? And if you haven’t, are you looking forward to visiting? Let us know in the comments below!
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