Barcelona offers a such a wealth of activities to visitors, it can be a challenge to organize your trip. In this post we’ve compiled the cream of what the city has to offer – covering the best cultural, recreational and gastronomic attractions.
1. Park Güell
Originally intended as a housing development project for the elite of Barcelona, Park Güell instead became a much loved public park. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Park Güell now stands among the top tourist attractions in the city, receiving millions of visitors yearly.
2. The Beaches of Barceloneta
Barceloneta’s Sant Sebastià beach sits beside the W Hotel Barcelona, designed by architect Ricardo Bofill. The beaches of Barceloneta are easily reached from the city center, a short walk from the nearest metro station of Barceloneta (L4).
3. Casa Milà
Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (the quarry) was designed by Antoni Gaudí and built from 1906–1912. The building was commissioned by the industrialist Pere Milà and his wife Roser Segimon.
4. Hospital Sant Pau
The Hospital Sant Pau is one of Europe’s foremost art-nouveau sites. Modernist architect Domènech i Montaner designed the building. The hospital took 30 years to build, from 1901 to 1930. It has undergone extensive renovation, due for completion in 2017. Hospital Sant Pau is located in the Eixample neighborhood, a short walk from La Sagrada Familia.
Tibidabo is a mountain of 512 metres, the tallest in the Collserola range that overlooks the city of Barcelona. Sagrat Cor church and Tibidabo amusement park are perched on the top. For over a century Tibidabo has been a classic day out for the people of Barcelona.
6. Parc de la Ciutadella
The 70 acre park was created in the mid-19th century and includes the city zoo, the Parliament of Catalonia, a small lake, museums and an ornate fountain designed by Josep Fontserè.
7. Palau de la Musica
The Palau de la Música Catalana was designed in the Catalan Modernist style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
8. La Sagrada Familia
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is an unfinished Roman Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudí. Construction of Sagrada Família commenced in 1882 and its expected completion date is 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.
9. Camp Nou
Camp Nou has been the home of FC Barcelona since its completion in 1957. It is the largest stadium in Spain by seating capacity, with the ability to hold 99,354 spectators.
10. La Boqueria Market
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria is a world famous market, located just of La Rambla in Barcelona’s Raval neighborhood.
11. Montjuïc Castle
Montjuïc Castle is an old military fortress that traces its history back to 1640, situated at the top of Montjuïc hill.
12. Fundació Joan Miró
The Fundació Joan Miró is a museum of modern art honoring the Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist Joan Miró. The museum is situated on Montjuïc.
13. Santa Maria Del Mar
Santa Maria del Mar is a church in the El Born neighborhood of Barcelona. It was built in only 55 years, between 1329 and 1383 at the height of Catalonia’s maritime and mercantile power. The historic church features three naves of the same height, with very tall columns set 13 metres apart, a distance unsurpassed by any other existing medieval building.
14. Tickets Bar
Albert and Ferran Adrià began working with tapas in 1991 in elBulli, the legendary Michelin 3-star restaurant near the town of Roses, Catalonia. Tickets Bar opened in 2011, the same year as the closure of elBulli.
15. Barcelona Zoo
Situated in the Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona Zoo dates back almost 125 years.
16. Picasso Museum
The Museu Picasso holds an extensive collection of his early work, including The First Communion (1896), and Science and Charity (1897). With over 3,500 works it is the largest collection of Picasso’s art. The museum occupies five medieval palaces on Carrer Montcada in the El Born neighborhood.
17. Torre Bellesguard
Torre Bellesguard, still privately owned and lived in, sits in the exclusive Sarrià-Sant Gervasi neighborhood, perched in the upper reaches of the city. The name Bellesguard, meaning ‘beautiful view’ in Catalan, is said to have come directly from King Martin I of Aragón more than 600 years ago.
18. Parc del Laberint d’Horta
The Parc del Laberint d’Horta (Labyrinth Park of Horta) is the oldest park in Barcelona. Located on the former estate of the Desvalls family, it dates back to 1791 when marquis Joan Antoni Desvalls i d’Ardena collabated with Italian architect Domenico Bagutti to create the neoclassical garden.
19. Casa Les Punxes
The Casa de les Punxes or Casa Terradas is a building situated in the Eixample neighborhood, designed by the modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
20. Casa Lleó i Morera
Casa Lleó i Morera, by architect Lluís Domènech I Montaner, is located on Passeig de Gràcia 35, in the Eixample district of Barcelona. It is one of the three important buildings of Barcelona’s Illa de la Discòrdia (Block of Discord), next to Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí and Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
21. Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is an iconic modernist building designed by Antoni Gaudí, situated on Passeig de Gràcia. A remodel of a previously built house, it was redesigned in 1904 by Gaudí for textile industrialist Josep Batlló. The exterior and rooftop is famous for its dragon motif, drawing from the legend of Sant Jordi.
22. Bunkers del Carmel
Bunkers del Carmel are a remnant of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Here you can see the anti-aircraft batteries that were built in 1937-1938 after a severe wave of fascist bombings in 1937. The unobstructed 360 degree panoramic views of the city have made the spot a popular place to watch the sunset and hang out with friends.
23. Mirador de Colom
The viewing gallery at the top of the Columbus Monument offers 360 degree views of Barcelona, from a height of 60 meters above the ground. The monument was constructed for the 1888 Exposición Universal de Barcelona in honor of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas.
24. Gran Teatre del Liceu
Barcelona’s opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, was founded in 1847 and is situated on La Rambla. When it opened the Liceu was the largest opera house in Europe with 3,500 seats. The first complete opera performed at the theatre was Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.
25. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)
The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) resides in the Palau Nacional of Montjuïc, built for the International Exposition of 1929. Situated on Montjuïc at the end of Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, the museum overlooks the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, the twin Venetian Towers and Plaça d’Espanya. When it opened in 1934 as the Museu d’Art de Catalunya it featured the medieval collection. In 1995 the new rooms of Romanesque art were introduced and in 2004 modern art was added to the museum.
26. Church of Sants Just i Pastor
The 360 degree panorama from the tower of the Church of Sants Just i Pastor is truly spectacular. Pictured above is the view over the Gothic Quarter and Barcelona Cathedral.
27. Street Art
Discover Barcelona’s vibrant street art scene. Pictured above is a work by surreal artist Miss Van in the El Guinardó neighborhood.
28. Las Golondrinas
View the city from the water with an original cruise in Port Vell, situated at the end of La Rambla, by the Columbus monument. You can either take a 40 minute cruise around Barcelona’s port or a one and a half hour trip through the port and along the beaches of Barcelona.
29. Teatre Grec
Teatre Grec is a theatre made in the style of ancient Greece and set on Montjuïc, surrounded by parks and gardens. It was built out of a disused quarry for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition by the Catalan architect Ramon Reventós i Ferrerons.
30. Jardí Botànic de Barcelona
Established in 1999, the Botanical garden of Barcelona is located at the top of Montjuïc, near the stadiums used in the 1992 Summer Olympics. The garden features plants and trees from places with Mediterranean climates including Australia, Chile, California, South Africa, the Canary Islands, and the western and eastern Mediterranean.
31. Barcelona Aquarium
Barcelona Aquarium is situated in Port Vell and is home to 11,000 marine animals from 450 species.
32. MEAM: European Museum of Modern Art
MEAM is housed in the Gomis Palace, in the heart of El Born neighborhood and exhibits figurative painting and sculpture of the 20th and 21st centuries.
33. The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is Barcelona’s largest ornamental fountain. Designed by the engineer Carles Buiga and built in 1929 for the International Exhibition, it was later restored for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. The fountain’s famous show combines music and jets of water illuminated in changing colors.
34. Montjuïc Cemetery
Several artistic and design movements are reflected in the monuments of Montjuïc Cemetery, including Gothic, Art-Nouveau and Modernisme. Notable figures at rest there include the pianist and composer Isaac Albéniz (1860 – 1909), painter and sculptor Joan Miró (1893 – 1983) and Lluís Companys (1882 – 1940), President of Catalonia, from 1934 and during the Spanish Civil War.
35. Museu Marítim de Barcelona
The Drassanes, or Royal Dockyards of Barcelona have a history of over 700 years. Construction began at the end of the 13th century when Pere II ordered the creation of the site to build a fleet to serve Catalan-Aragonese interests in the Mediterranean. In 1568 the Galera Reial (Royal Galley) was built at the site and a replica (pictured above) remains in the Main Slipway.
36. Palau Güell
Palau Güell is a mansion designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell and built between 1886 and 1888. The Art Nouveau inspired palace was the home of the Güell i López family until they moved to Park Güell.
37. Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. The plaça is named after an Italian Jesuit preacher who was made a saint. The façade of the church is heavily pockmarked as a result of a bombing raid that took place during the Spanish Civil War on the 30th of January 1938.