Thanks to its spellbinding ambiance, which perfectly combines a Mediterranean charm, world-class cultural attractions, a teeming nightlife, spectacular beaches, and trendy new hotspots popping up each year, Barcelona, Spain, is one of the most coveted cities in Europe.
Barcelona oozes a lively vibe that is simply hard to resist. In there, expect to spend days on end enjoying the local soulful cuisine while sipping on some cava, blissfully exploring the city’s diverse collection of neighborhoods, and marveling at the architectural gems designed by the one-and-only Antoni Gaudí.
Well, the city is all about that and more! The array of things to do in Barcelona is so strikingly copious, that it manages to spoil each and every type of traveler: families, backpackers, sports enthusiasts, history buffs, foodies, you name it!
This comprehensive guide is filled with top-notch travel tips that will help you plan your Barcelona adventure and make the most out of the city. Have a look below!
Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.
Barcelona Travel Guide: Useful Information
|Language||Spanish and Catalan|
|Country Code||+34 93|
|Voltage||230 volts AC|
|Charging Plug Types||Types C and F|
|Perfect For||Architecture enthusiasts, art-lovers, foodies, families, and backpackers|
|About Safety||Barcelona is a safe city. Just be careful with your belongings, as there are pickpockets looking for tourists that leave their bags unguarded.|
Best Time To Visit Barcelona, Spain
Thanks to its pleasant Mediterranean climate, Barcelona provides travelers with a one-of-a-kind experience at any time of year. Summer-chasers that are dreaming of indulging in the city’s beaches, and experiencing luminous weather with temperatures peaking at around 29°C should visit the city from June to August.
During the summer, Barcelona also hosts top-caliber festivals, like Primavera Sound and Sonar Festival, that keep tourists and locals on their toes.
Summer, though, is the high season in Barcelona, which means that rates are more expensive and the local attractions are more packed.
For scoring more travel deals and battling the crowds of tourists, the best time to visit Barcelona is the shoulder season: from March to April, and from late September to October.
10 Bucket-List Experiences In The City
Get Lost In Gothic Quarter
Whether you’re planning to spend one day or a week in Barcelona, meandering your way through Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), is an unparalleled way of getting a feel for the city.
Located in the city center, this neighborhood is steeped in history, as it encompasses the oldest parts of Barcelona. While getting lost in the narrow cobblestoned streets of the Gothic Quarter, you’ll stumble across fascinating remnants of ancient Roman buildings, medieval walls, and neo-Gothic constructions.
One of the most-visited attractions in Barri Gòtic is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, also known as the Barcelona Cathedral. Erected on the site of a Romanesque temple over 150 years, the cathedral is a real Catalan Gothic jewel adorned with two large bell towers, large windows, and a majestic organ decorated with grisailles by Pedro Pablo Serafín “the Greek”.
Walking tours are a great way of exploring this neighborhood like a true Barcelona local. The travel guides usually know the city better than anyone and since the tour will be conducted by a Barcelona resident, you’ll get all the insider information about Barri Gòtic.
Take A Gaudí Architectural Tour
Praised especially by architecture aficionados, Barcelona is a real treat for the eyes, and it is embellished by captivating buildings of a wide range of styles, from Catalan Gothic to Modernist.
But one of the most unique features of Barcelona is, unarguably, the bright constellation of buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí, one of the most influential architects of all time.
From Casa Batlló to La Pedrera, Gaudí’s voluptuous, colorful, picturesque masterpieces are capable of immediately transporting visitors to realms inhabited by fantastic creatures and organic shapes.
Embark On The Camp Nou Experience
Taking a guided tour of the Camp Nou stadium is a larger-than-life experience, whether you’re a Barça fan or not. Home of FC Barcelona, this mighty stadium has a capacity of 99,354, making it not only the largest stadium in Spain, but also in Europe.
During the guided Camp Nou tour, visitors will be granted access to every inch of the stadium, from the field to the player’s tunnel.
There’s also the opportunity of visiting the FC Barcelona Museum, which plays host to a precious collection of trophies, photos, and memorabilia related to the almost 120-year history of FC Barcelona.
Indulge In Plenty Of Tapas And Cava!
Loosen your belt, because you’re about to do some eating! Between one attraction and another, be sure to take some time to feast on Barcelona’s soulful dishes. The tapas culture is big in the city, as these bite-sized goodies are a veritable staple of Spanish cuisine.
First stop? The lip-smacking Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria), a busy — and tiny — cava bar where the Barri Gòtic meets the Barceloneta area. In there, expect to try some mouthwatering croquetas, a superb fuet (pork sausage), and plenty of cava.
Another great spot for indulging in some delectable tapas in Barcelona is the well-known El Xampanyet, which is inspired by the city’s typical old bars. Sparkling wine, cheese, tortilla de patatas, and jamón Iberico, are some of the delicacies you’ll try at this place.
Watch The Sunset At Bunkers del Carmel
Perched atop the Turó de la Rovira hill, the Bunkers del Carmel were built as a series of anti-aircraft fortifications during the Spanish Civil War. Thanks to its glorious location, the place rewards visitors with the most sweeping 360º views of Barcelona, and soon became the best place for watching the sunset in the city.
The best way of enjoying Bunkers del Carmel? By grabbing a bottle of wine, Spanish-style snacks (bread, fuet, and cheese), and climbing to the top of the hill to watch a stunning sunset while marveling at the sea, the Sagrada Familia, and Montjuïc Hill.
Marvel At The Fountain Show At Montjuïc Castle
Nestled at the bottom of the Montjuïc Mountain, in the Poble Sec area, the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona.
From Thursday to Saturday, the fountain hosts the famous Barcelona Magic Fountain show, which is a spectacular display of 3620 water jets, and 4760 lights choreographed to classical and contemporary music. A must-watch performance, especially for families with kids!
Have A Picnic At Parc de la Ciutadella
When the nice weather descends, head over to the lush Parc de la Ciutadella, which is a playground for locals and out-of-towners alike. Placed on the northeastern edge of Ciutat Vella, on the grounds where Barcelona’s fortress once stood, this idyllic 17-hectare park is dotted with verdant landscaped areas that are simply perfect for a picnic. Not by chance, it’s regarded as one of the top things to do in Barcelona with kids.
Inside the park, visitors will also come across major Barcelona attractions, including the Zoological Museum and MACBA: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona.
Watch A Concert At Palau de la Música Catalana
Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the sumptuously decorated Palau de la Música Catalana is the ultimate cultural bucket-list experience in Barcelona. First, because the concert hall designed by Lluís Domènech I Montaner is a true masterpiece of the Catalan Art Nouveau style.
Thanks to its marvelous stained-glass panes set, it’s the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light.
Aside from marveling at the intricately ornate details that make up the “Palau”, visitors can also watch a music concert in the venue, which hosts a varied lineup of performances, from symphonic and chamber music to jazz.
Go On A Day Trip To Montserrat
One of the best ways of enjoying a trip to Barcelona is by exploring the surrounding region. So, in case you have some spare time, be sure to visit the scenic Montserrat area, which is starred by the stunning Montserrat Mountain. Visitors can hop on the cable car to reach the mountain’s 4,055 feet high summit, which offers a birdseye view of Catalonia.
Another must-visit in the region is the Montserrat Monastery, which houses a precious statue of the Black Madonna, the patron saint of Catalonia.
Also, drop by the Montserrat Monastery Museum, home to works by geniuses like Dalí, El Greco, and Monet.
Take The Kids To The Tibidabo Amusement Park
In search of the ultimate family-friendly activity in Barcelona? Then plan a visit to the Tibidabo Amusement Park, the longest-running amusement park in the country and Europe’s third-oldest.
Gloriously placed in the Collserola Ridge, the park features a pulse-pounding rollercoaster that fastly swings visitors more than 500m above sea level. They also have a Sky Walk, where visitors can enjoy some of the most beautiful views of Barcelona.
Go Cava Tasting In The Alta Alella Winery
The genuine Barcelona experience is as much about amazing food as it is about drinking the amazing local wine. The Catalonia region, by the way, is famous for producing the Cava, a sparkling wine originally inspired by the wines of Champagne.
And while most of Spain’s cava is produced in the Penedès area of Catalonia, it’s still possible to visit some stellar cava wineries near Barcelona. The closest one is Alta Alella, which is located within the Serralada de Marina Natural Park.
At this family-run winery, visitors can walk through the vineyard and discover both the wine cellar and the aging area. The grande finale? A guided tasting of 4 wines and cavas. We guaranteed it will be money well spent!
The Top 10 Attractions In Barcelona
Parc Güell is, unarguably, one of the most picturesque — and fascinating —sites in Barcelona. This colorful, and picture-perfect park is regarded as one of the greatest works of Gaudí, and, not by chance, it was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Surrounded by a dense forest on top of Carmell Hill, the park flaunts sinuous shapes and architectonic details that evoke the shapes of nature. Several elements of the estate are decorated with multi-colored ceramic pieces, which provides Parc Güell with a remarkable and eye-popping aesthetic.
One of the best ways of taking advantage of Barcelona’s consistently luminous climate is by idly wandering around Las Ramblas. Also known as La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous thoroughfare stretches for almost one mile linking the Plaça de Catalunya with Port Vell.
This alluring tree-lined boulevard is dotted with souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes, and it’s located close to some major Barcelona attractions, including the Mercado de la Boqueria, which is a real heaven for foodies.
So, when the weather is nice and sunny, take some time to walk along this iconic street at your own pace, and take in the irresistible Barcelona vibe.
Museu Picasso de Barcelona
Culture buffs will never get bored in Barcelona. In case you’re in need of some extra dose of inspiration, visit the renowned Picasso Museum, which is home to over 4,000 works by the Spanish painter.
Set within five Catalan Gothic-style palaces, the museum features one of the world’s largest collections of artworks by Picasso, including major paintings of his early years as an artist.
La Sagrada Familia
It’s a known fact that Barcelona is awash with wonderful museums and spectacular landmark sites. But nothing really compares to the magnificence of La Sagrada Família, a monumental church that is heralded as a veritable Modernista masterpiece.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005 thanks to its historic and cultural significance, the basilica artfully embellished Barcelona’s skyline thanks to its 18 monumental spires.
Tip: when visiting the church, opt for an audio guide tour. This the best way of exploring the monument’s stunning exterior walls, which are decorated with intricate carvings, and its whimsical colorful interiors that evoke a forest. Everything about this place is absolutely magical.
The Joan Miró Foundation is another must-visit place for the culture lovers that visit Barcelona. Praised as one of the best art museums in the city, the foundation was created by Miró himself to house works of his own private collection.
The museum is set within an impressive modernist building design by Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert, and it houses some of Miró’s most famous works like “Morning Star” and “Woman and birds at sunrise”.
While exploring Barcelona’s precious architectural gems, don’t pass up the chance to visit Casa Battlò. Located on the leafy Passeig de Gràcia — one of the city’s main avenues —, the house will certainly pop in front of your eyes with its colorful glass windows, sinuous shapes, and a picturesque roof that resembles the scales of an aquatic creature.
Originally built in 1877, the house was later redesigned by Gaud, who is said to have been inspired by the marine world and the Mediterranean sea.
The castle resents an iconic narration of the rich history of Barcelona. Dating back from 1640, this perfectly preserved fort is perched on top of a hill and has witnessed some major moments in Spain’s history, including the Siege of Barcelona, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Spanish Civil War. After exploring the castle, don’t forget to enjoy the 360º views of Barcelona.
La Barceloneta Beach
Whether you’re visiting Barcelona during the summer or spring, Barceloneta Beach is a must-visit tourist attraction in the city. Place within a walking distance from sites such as La Rambla, the Gothic Quarter, and Park Ciutadella, the beach is a prime spot for sunbathing, swimming, playing sports, or simply for an idle walk by the sea!
Around the beach, you’ll find a myriad of delectable restaurants that are perfect for seafood galore. A must-try? Can Solé, which serves one of the best paellas and fideuás in the city!
Barcelona is also a paradise for active and outdoorsy adventures. Travelers who are eager to get their hearts racing will have a great time while hiking Mount Tibidabo, which sits on the hills of the Collserola National Park. The hike takes around 1 hour, and at the end, you’ll be gifted with a jaw-dropping view of Barcelona, and the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
The last private residence designed by Gaudí, Casa Milà is often referred to as the architect’s most iconic work of civic architecture. Its façade, dotted with 32 balconies, is made of three types of stone limestone from the Garraf, stone from Vilafranca del Penedès, and limestone from Ulldecona.
In the interiors, visitors can marvel at stunning tapestries by symbolist painter Aleix Clapés, and alluring ceilings decorated with inscriptions and even poems.
Here are some curated readings for you: