18 Best things to do in Barcelona this year
There are so many amazing things to do in Barcelona for every budget and taste. From visiting the most popular attractions of the city, like La Sagrada Familia and the Gothic Quarter to trying local delicacies at the food markets, options are endless.
To discover them all, keep reading!
The best things to do in Barcelona in a nutshell
Discover the local culinary scene in La Boqueria Market, one of the biggest markets in Europe
Explore one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world by bike
Sagrada Familia the most popular building in the city and probably the best work of Antoni Gaudi
Full of cobblestone alleyways, gothic buildings, and stunning cathedrals, Girona oozes Medieval charm in abundance.
The best fun things to do in Barcelona
Flamenco is one of the most popular -if not the most popular- Spanish folklore dances! Utterly sentimental and passionate, flamenco originated in Andalusia and Murcia in the 19th century and quickly became popular throughout Spain. In Barcelona, you’ll find a wide variety of flamenco places, from little bars to big theatres. Whatever you choose, watch at least one flamenco show before leaving Barcelona – it’s one of the most authentic experiences to have in Spain!
We’ve said it before: Eating is one of the best ways to explore a new city! Barcelona couldn’t be an exception.
The best place to discover the local culinary scene is the La Boqueria Market, the best food market in Barcelona and one of the biggest ones in Europe. With more than 200 food stalls selling every delicacy you can imagine, from Spanish wines and juices to fish and sweets, La Boqueria Market is an absolute heaven for foodies. Make sure that you go hungry and ready to try everything -you’re going to leave with a full and happy stomach!
Tip: Try the colorful smoothies and the cold-press juices on the fruit stands.
If you’re a soccer lover, you’re bound to love touring Camp Nou. But even if you’re not a sports fan, visiting this historic stadium is a must! Home of the superstar “més que un club” (more than a club) FC Barcelona, Camp Nou is nothing less than iconic. With a volume of 55,000 square meters and a capacity of nearly 100,000 people, Camp Nou Stadium holds the title of the biggest stadium in the world. Watching a game from its bleachers is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! But, even if you don’t visit Camp Nou for a match, many tours will guide you through the stadium and offer you a behind-the-scenes experience.
The best things to do in Barcelona for free
When it comes to free things to do in Barcelona, this is a must! Constructed in 1929 for that year’s World Exhibition, the Magic Fountain sits in front of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (National Museum of Catalan Art) in Montjüic. Several times throughout the day, the Magic Fountain holds a stunning 20-minute show that combines music, light, and water, creating more than 7 billion (!) water-light combinations. The best (and most romantic) time of the day to watch the show is arguably at night, when the lighting is even more spectacular.
Fun fact: The background music of the fountain show covers a wide variety of music genres, from classical music to 80’s hits!
Casa Milà is one of the most iconic Gaudí buildings in Barcelona! Located on Passeig de Gràcia, this peculiar art-nouveau building stands out for its curvy shapes and carvings, both characteristics of Antoni Gaudí’s style. Although it was originally constructed to be a residence, Casa Milà now operates as a cultural center.
Also known as La Pedrera (The Quarry) due to its façade, which looks like a quarry, this building is a work of Gaudí’s modern phase and is considered one of the best modern buildings in Barcelona. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its cultural and historical value. Don’t leave the city without taking at least one photo (in front) of this masterpiece!
If you visit Barcelona in summer, going to the beach is one of the best free things to do! The most popular beach is La Barceloneta in the homonymous seaside district. This trendy beach boasts an idyllic setting with endless white sand and emerald waters. Easily accessible from the city center, Barceloneta is an ideal place to escape the heat on a hot summer day. This beach is organized and has countless amenities, like showers, water sports facilities, bars, and cafes, so it offers ideal conditions for a long day at the beach.
The best things to do in Barcelona with family and friends
Cycling is one of the best ways to explore the city of Barcelona and a great way to stay in shape no matter how much Spanish food you’re going to eat on your trip. One of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, Barcelona provides safe conditions for cyclists with several cycling facilities, like special bike-only lanes and public bikes. You can easily rent a bike at several bike-rental shops or use public bikes, which you can pick from several stations scattered throughout the city. However, it’s easy to get lost and miss some really cool places if you decide to go on a bike tour by yourself. So, we highly recommend that you book an organized cycling tour tailored to your needs, like a tapas & bike tour or a private tour.
This is one of the best things to do in Barcelona with kids! Tibidabo Amusement Park counts over 100 years of history -it is the oldest amusement park in Spain and one of the oldest ones in Europe. In the park, you’ll find more than 30 attractions, shows, and facilities. Some of the must-visit spots in the park are the Carrusel, the Diavolo, the Giradabo (Ferris wheel), the Pirata, and the Muntanya Russa roller coaster.
The best part? Tibidabo Amusement Park boasts a breathtaking location. Perched on the top of Tibidabo mountain, at 500 meters above sea level, Tibidabo Amusement Park offers a spectacular view of the city. Don’t miss the panoramic vistas from the top of the mountain!
The Barri Gòtic (or Gothic Quarter) in Barcelona breaths history and culture, quite literally! Located in the heart of the old city, the Gothic quarter boasts a beautiful mix of Medieval and Roman architecture with narrow alleyways, gothic buildings, archways, stone-made fountains, and picturesque squares, like Plaça de la Catedral and Plaça Sant Jaume. Some places you shouldn’t miss at the Gothic Quarter are the Barcelona Cathedral, Museu d’ Historia de la Ciutat, and the Jewish Quarter.
The Gothic Quarter is not only a go-to for sightseeing but also for nightlife. The best place for a night out in the Gothic Quarter is Plaça Reial, a lively square with several bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
The best places for sightseeing in Barcelona (Top attractions and monuments)
No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to La Sagrada Familia! The most popular building in the city and probably the best work of Antoni Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia (The Church of the Sacred Family) is a total must-see. The Catalan Art Nouveau artist dedicated 44 years of his life (from 1882-1926) to the construction of this Gothic masterpiece. This innovative basilica boasts an impressive exterior and interior with divinely elaborate details, as Gaudi used a mix of architectural styles to create it.
Since La Sagrada Familia is the most popular attraction in Barcelona, it is almost always overcrowded. We highly recommend pre-booking a ticket or an organized tour to avoid the hassle!
No matter if you are an art enthusiast or not, a visit to the Picasso Museum is one of the best things to do in Barcelona. Housed in 5 (!) Medieval palaces in El Born, Picasso Museum (Museo Picasso) holds an extensive permanent collection with more than 4,000 works of the famous 20th-century Spanish artist. At the museum, Picasso’s works are presented based on the timeline of his life and career, giving a deeper understanding of Picasso’s mentality and relationship with Barcelona.
You’ll have seen it on postcards long before you go, but the real thing will blow your mind! Another epic creation of Antoni Gaudí, Park Guell is a quirky colorful park that spreads on a 42 acres area next to Sierra de Collserola. This park is the ultimate architectural heaven, as there are benches and sculptures covered with colorful little pieces of tiles and buildings that boast Gaudí’s signature style.
The most popular spot of the park is the Plaça de la Natura (Nature Square), a spectacular viewpoint, from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Other places to visit in the park are the Austria Gardens, the Hypostyle Room, and the Dragon Stairway.
Also known as Casa Dels Ossos (the house of bones), Casa Batlló is arguably one of the most Instagrammable spots in Barcelona! Created by (who else?) Antoni Gaudí, this UNESCO World Heritage Sites-listed building has the signature style of the Catalan architect. It is covered with tiny colorful tiles, stained-glass windows, and skull-shaped balconies, representing the back of an enormous dragon. The architectural details of Casa Batlló are something else!
As for the interior of Casa Batlló , it is just as impressive as its exterior, with elaborate doors, glass skylights, and chandeliers that create a dreamy (and utterly photogenic) setting.
The best day trips from Barcelona
Montserrat is a towering mountain just an hour away from Barcelona in Spain. The main reason why this mountain is famous -besides the apparent natural beauty- is the Benedictine monk retreat built on it. Many people visit Montserrat mountain for the 9th-century monastery, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat, an amazing Black Madonna statue.
However, there are many other things to do at Montserrat besides religious pilgrimage. Some of the best places to visit at Monserrat are the Montserrat Natural Park, the Montserrat Art Museum, and the peak of the mountain (using the Aeri de Montserrat, Montserrat’s cable car).
Girona is a beautiful town located in northern Catalonia in Spain. Thanks to its proximity to Barcelona, Girona is an ideal destination for quick getaways and day trips!
Girona has a nostalgic atmosphere -wandering through its streets, you’ll feel transported to another era. Full of cobblestone alleyways, gothic buildings, and stunning cathedrals, this city oozes Medieval charm in abundance. Some places you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Girona are the Jewish Quarter, Girona Cathedral, and the Eiffel bridge.
Fun fact: Girona was a filming location for season 6 of the Game of Thrones series.
Costa Brava is a seaside city located right on the borders between Spain and France. It stands out for its photogenic setting, which is characterized by emerald waters, rocky coves, picturesque villages, and postcard-perfect bays. No wonder it is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Spain!
Sitting just 60 km away from Barcelona, Costa Brava is an ideal destination for day trips. Since the area is quite big, an organized day trip is the best way to discover all the gems of Costa Brava, like Tossa de Mar village, Cap De Creus, Lloret de Mar, and Empordà.
The best places to eat & drink in Barcelona
One of the best restaurants in the world, Tickets is the place to go for authentic Spanish tapas with a gourmet twist! With a great emphasis on seasonality, the chef of Tickets takes the tried-and-tested local tapas to another, haute cuisine level. Expect a mix of Spanish and international through original dishes, like oysters with tomato sauce and sweet cherry, sea urchin with yuzu and smoked butter, pike fish caviar with smoked cream, octopus with kimchi, and potato souffle with marinated beef. Yum!
Info: Avinguda del Paral·lel, 164 – 08015 Barcelona Tel: (+34) 932924252
Ideal Cocktail Bar is one of the classiest bars in the city! Located in Eixample, this old-school cocktail bar boasts a polished wooden interior and loyal clientele. As for the menu, it includes all the classics, from dry-martinis and cosmopolitans to high-quality whiskeys and cava.
This cozy little bar is one of the most authentic places in town for quality cocktails. No wonder it’s a locals’ favorite, too!
Info: Carrer d’Aribau, 89, 08036 Barcelona, Spain Tel: (+34) 934 53 10 28
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Barcelona is such a fascinating place to be. From luscious food and a charming culture to stunning architecture and fun activities, Barcelona ticks all the boxes!
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