7 Best Things to Do in Barcelona
Barcelona is an extraordinary city that looks like it belongs in fairy tales. Magnificent works by Antoni Gaudí, breathtaking views from the city hills, delicious snacks and refreshing sangria… It would be a crime to leave without seeing and trying it all!
Check out our list of things to do in Barcelona and don’t miss anything from it!
Credit: Moyan Brenn
Fall in love with majestic Sagrada Familia
The legacy left by Antoni Gaudí, an incomparably talented Catalan architect, has become the international symbol of Barcelona (and Spain too!). You can read or hear about his works a million times, but nothing compares with what you see with your own eyes!
Sagrada Familia is one Gaudí’s most famous works. It is the architect’s masterpiece, which he devoted most of his life to. The building indeed is impressive from both inside and out. Everything about it – the sculptures decorating the facades, the giant columns resembling trees, the way the light is refracted through the windows – is unique and purely beautiful!
The Basilica definitely tops the list of the must-visit Barcelona attractions! Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance or get ready for a huge line at the entrance. Our strong recommendation is to take an audio guide or a guided tour, as the building is not only beautiful but also has a history and purpose every visitor should know about!
Visit Casa Mila and Casa Batllo
Go on with your ‘Gaudí tour’ around the city and visit two of the most famous houses he designed – Casa Mila (also known as La Pedrera) and Casa Batllo. Located not far from each other, these ‘irrational’ buildings stand out from the rest and capture attention immediately.
Casa Mila is an apartment building, which was the last civil work for the architect. In addition to its beautiful exterior and interior, it provides a detailed overview of Gaudí’s style, methods and sources of inspiration. And don’t forget about the roof – only the roof alone is a good enough reason for a visit!
Casa Batllo is a residence building that is much more colorful compared to La Pedrera. It is noticeably smaller, though, and doesn’t give that much information about the architect. However, the building is considered to be a culmination of Gaudí’s ideas on exterior and interior design.
Credit: Ed Menendez
We’d recommend to visit both houses and buy tickets online as it’ll save you a lot of time at the entrance!
Take a long walk in Park Guell
Another great thing to do in Barcelona is visiting Park Guell, which is yet another handiwork of Antoni Gaudí. Park Guell is a green oasis in the middle of the city that might be just a perfect getaway from Barcelona’s bustle and hustle.
The central part of the park (Monumental Zone) is pretty busy and costs 7 euros to visit, but the rest of Guell is much more peaceful and also free! Take a long walk in beautiful gardens, go under leaning columns, stop for a moment and listen to beautiful music played by street musicians. Our recommendation is to visit early in the morning as it’s less crowded then. Also, you might want to buy tickets online as it saves you a little bit time and a couple of euros!
Credit: Hoi Kyung Jung
Visited all of the above? Don’t stop there if you want the whole ‘Gaudí package’! Even though the sights mentioned above are probably the most famous, the rich legacy that the architect left goes way beyond that!
Check out Casa Vicens, Casa Calvet, Palau Güell, Cascada Fountain at Parc de la Ciutadella… And pay attention to small things as Antoni Gaudí didn’t only work on massive structures! As a proof of that, there is a street lamp in Plaza Reial that is also created by Gaudí. By the way, that lamp is the one and only thing the architect has ever designed for the City Council. After the work was done, Gaudí received only half of the money agreed, which is why he promised himself to never work with the public sector again.
Barcelona from above
Among other things to do in Barcelona, you should take some time to see the city from a height. There are a couple of places allowing to do that. Montjuic goes first on the list. Apart from panoramic views from the top, this prominent hill offers a couple of beautiful gardens to walk in, as well as an old military fortress to visit.
Another view spot in the city is Tibidabo with the church that sits atop the hill and a popular amusement park.
A little bit less popular but just as worth a visit is the Bunkers del Carmel viewpoint. Lies off the beaten track but is easily accessible by public transport. This is a place where you can stand on the very edge and take a picture with Barcelona at your feet!
Finally, Casa Mila and the towers of Sagrada Familia provide pretty good views too!
Enjoy the Old Town
The Old Town is the soul of the city. Take a walk through the narrow winding streets, catch a glimpse of Barcelona’s oldest buildings and listen to the stories the city has to tell…
Rather than doing it on your own, join one of the free walking tours – those are perfect for getting bearings! Ask your guide everything you want to know about Barcelona and reward them with a good tip when the tour is over!
Try local food!
Spanish cuisine is one of the tastiest in the world, which means there are lots of tempting foods to try during your visit! Don’t miss classic seafood paella, spicy chorizo, traditional tapas or tiny snacks called pinchos. And have a glass of refreshing sangria, of course!
Note that most of the restaurants have a break in the afternoon and some even have two during the day. So, you might want to check the working hours before your visit! Better safe than sorry, right?
If you’re heading for Barcelona, the only thing that remains for us to wish you is a wonderful trip! If you’re not… Well, you should be!
The best of luck!