Culturally & historically diverse, Barcelona has the charm that attracts visitors from various continents. Whether you want to explore the architecture, history, or culture, Barcelona’s museums, cathedrals, and castles are always welcoming, and if you wish to ride along the city streets, indulge in delicious delicacies, and enjoy the bustling nightlife, Barcelona’s markets, live shows, and beaches offer the best experience. In this blog, we’ve covered the 13 best things to do in Barcelona, showcasing the must-see attractions, hidden gems, and local favourites that will make your trip exceptional. Read till the end to get the best of Barcelona.
- 1. Arc De Triomf – Iconic Landmark
- 2. Sun Bath At The Beaches
- 3. Explore Casa Amatller
- 4. Learn About Casa Batllo
- 5. Experience Architecture At Casa Mila (La Pedrera)
- 6. Stroll Through The Streets Of Gothic Quarter
- 7. Chill At Las Rambla
- 8. Admire The Architecture Of Park Guell
- 9. Visit The Beautiful Palau Guell
- 10. Shop At The Famous Shopping Streets
- 11. View Barcelona From Mount Tibidabo
- 12. Relax At Parc del Labrint d’Horta
- 13. Indulge in Delicious Spanish Street Food
- Final Thoughts
1. Arc De Triomf – Iconic Landmark
Arc de Triomf is a magnificent monument in Barcelona. Built as the main entrance to the 1888 Barcelona World Fair, this iconic landmark stands tall and proud, showcasing the city’s architectural grandeur and historical significance. The monument is characterised by its majestic red brick structure, embellished with decorative arches, columns, and reliefs that depict symbolic scenes from Catalonia’s history.
As you approach the Arc de Triomf, you’ll be greeted by a wide promenade lined with palm trees, creating a picturesque and inviting atmosphere. Experiencing this historical marvel indeed falls in the category of the best things to do in Barcelona. It serves as a symbol of triumph, welcoming travellers and celebrating Barcelona’s cultural heritage.
Nearby Attractions of Arc De Triomf
- Ciutadella Park: Walk to the Ciutadella Park, 400 metres from Arc De Triomf. As you enter Ciutadella Park, you’ll be greeted by a serene and peaceful atmosphere. Lush green lawns, vibrant flower beds, and towering palm trees create a refreshing and enchanting ambience. This park is a must-visit in your Barcelona travel guide.
- Barcelona Zoo: The Zoo is situated inside Ciutadella Park. It is home to a diverse range of animal species worldwide, providing an opportunity to observe and learn about wildlife conservation. Do visit this zoo to get a glimpse of wildlife & nature.
2. Sun Bath At The Beaches
Barcelona is renowned for its beautiful beaches lining the Mediterranean coastline. It offers locals and visitors a fantastic opportunity to relax, sunbathe, and enjoy the vibrant coastal atmosphere. Here are the main beaches you must visit in Barcelona:
Located closest to the city centre, Barceloneta Beach is one of the most famous and popular beaches in Barcelona. Its golden sandy shore stretches around 1.1 kilometres and has numerous beach bars, restaurants, and promenades. With its lively atmosphere, tourists and locals are favourite spots to soak up in the sun, play beach volleyball, indulge in water sports, or enjoy a refreshing sea dip.
Nova Icaria Beach
Situated next to the Olympic Port, Nova Icaria Beach offers a tranquil and family-friendly atmosphere. It boasts a vast stretch of fine golden sand, clean waters, and well-maintained facilities. With a range of amenities, including beachfront bars, restaurants, showers, and sports facilities, visiting Nova Icaria Beach is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.
Mar Bella Beach
Situated further to the northeast, Mar Bella Beach is known for its lively and vibrant atmosphere. This beach has a more alternative and trendy vibe, attracting a diverse crowd, including locals, young people, and the LGBTQ+ community. Mar Bella Beach is known for its nudist area and offers a range of amenities, including beach bars, water sports facilities, and a designated area for beach volleyball.
Located towards the northeastern part of Barcelona. Bogatell is more spacious and less crowded than its neighbouring beaches. It features a long stretch of soft sand and offers a more serene and laid-back environment. The beach is well-equipped with amenities, including showers, sports areas, and beach volleyball nets. If you love peace & serenity, visiting this beach will be among the best things to do in Barcelona.
3. Explore Casa Amatller
If you love learning and exploring modern architecture, this place is a must-visit. Built between 1898 and 1900, Casa Amatller stands tall on Passeig de Gracia, one of Barcelona’s most prestigious boulevards. The building showcases a unique blend of Gothic and Art Nouveau elements. It’s design draws inspiration from the Dutch architectural style, particularly the stepped gables that adorn its rooftop.
Exploring this marvellous architecture & its surroundings stands among the best things to do in Barcelona for architecture enthusiasts and locals alike. Visiting Casa Amatller provides an enticing insight into Barcelona’s architectural and cultural heritage. It allows visitors to appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and artistic vision that defined the Modernisme movement, leaving them with a deeper appreciation for the city’s rich architectural legacy.
Timings: Every day from 10 am to 8 pm
Nearby Attractions of Casa Amatller
- Placa Catalunya: Located nearby, Placa Catalunya is a bustling square that serves as the city’s central hub. Shops, cafes, and landmarks surround it making it a buzzing centre in Barcelona.
- Palau de la Música Catalana: Visiting Palau de la Música Catalana is among the best things to do in Barcelona as this concert hall showcases its stunning Art Nouveau design. It hosts a variety of musical performances and guided tours that display its exquisite stained glass windows and intricate architectural details.
4. Learn About Casa Batllo
Casa Batlló is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in the heart of Barcelona. The building’s façade is a dazzling display of vibrant colors, organic shapes, and intricate details. It is covered in a mosaic of colourful ceramic tiles and broken glass, forming a mosaic-like pattern that shimmers in the sunlight. The undulating lines and curves of the façade resemble a mythical dragon, with the balconies resembling the animal’s bony jaws.
The interior has curving walls, fluid spaces, and abundant natural light. The ceilings are adorned with intricately designed skylights that filter sunlight into various hues, creating a magical atmosphere. Visiting this art piece is among the exciting things to do in Barcelona, as it displays architecture in an elegant and artistic style.
Timings: Every Day from 9 am to 8 pm.
Nearby Attractions of Casa Batllo
- Passeig de Gracia: The boulevard where Casa Batlló is situated, Passeig de Gracia, is known for its upscale shops, designer boutiques, and remarkable architecture. It’s a great place to take a stroll and admire the grandeur of Modernism buildings.
5. Experience Architecture At Casa Mila (La Pedrera)
Exploring this state-of-the-art architecture is another enticing things to do in Barcelona for architectural enthusiasts. Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, is a famous architecture in Barcelona. It showcases Gaudí’s visionary approach to design. Its undulating stone façade, reminiscent of a wave, stands out amidst the surrounding buildings. The rooftop, with its chimney sculptures and colourful mosaic tiles, offers panoramic views of Barcelona.
The building houses a museum that provides insight into Gaudí’s life and work, allowing visitors to delve into the architect’s creative process. Located on the top floor of Casa Milà, the Espai Gaudí is a space dedicated to the architect’s life and achievements. A visit to this iconic landmark is a journey into the creative genius of Antoni Gaudí and an unforgettable highlight of your Barcelona itinerary.
Timings: Every day from 9 am to 11 pm
Nearby Attractions of Casa Mila
- Gracia Neighbourhood: A short distance from Casa Milà, the Gracia neighbourhood offers a more local and bohemian atmosphere. Explore its charming streets, discover quaint squares, and enjoy the laid-back ambience.
- Eixample Neighbourhood: Casa Milà is located in the Eixample district, known for its grid-like layout and beautiful architecture. Strolling through its wide avenues, discovering hidden gems, and admiring the modernist buildings that make this neighbourhood unique surely feel among the most-thrilling things to do in Barcelona.
6. Stroll Through The Streets Of Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic is an enticing neighbourhood in the heart of Barcelona. Its narrow, winding streets are lined with centuries-old buildings, picturesque squares, and hidden courtyards. This historic district is steeped in history and showcases Barcelona’s medieval past.
The Picasso Museum is a treasure trove of the legendary artist’s early works in the Gothic Quarter. Housed in a series of medieval palaces, the museum showcases Picasso’s formative years and offers a unique perspective on his artistic evolution. Additionally, the Gothic Quarter is home to many boutique shops, art galleries, and charming cafes and restaurants. Strolling around the shops and cafes after viewing the marvellous architecture is a must-do thing in Barcelona.
Nearby Attractions of Gothic Quarter
- Barcelona Cathedral: Located right in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, the Barcelona Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is a stunning Gothic masterpiece. Admire its intricate façade, towering spires, and beautiful interior.
- Plaça Sant Jaume: This bustling square serves as the political center of Barcelona. It features two impressive buildings: the City Hall (Casa de la Ciutat) and the Palau de la Generalitat, which is the seat of the Catalan government. Take a moment to appreciate the architectural grandeur and soak in the historical significance of this square.
7. Chill At Las Rambla
Las Ramblas is a famous boulevard in the heart of Barcelona. It stretches about 1.2 kilometers, connecting the Plaça de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. The boulevard is renowned for its lively atmosphere, bustling street life, and a wide variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, and street performers.
It is also home to several notable landmarks and attractions. These include the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona’s renowned opera house, the iconic mosaic artwork of Joan Miró known as the Miró Mural, and the Plaça Reial, a beautiful square with palm trees, fountains, and lively terraces. La Boqueria is among the must-visit places in Las Ramblas as it is a vibrant food market where you can find fresh produce, seafood, meats, spices, and an array of local delicacies. Indulging in the local treats while wandering around the beautiful attractions of Las Ramblas is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.
Nearby Attractions of Las Ramblas
- Picasso Museum: Located in the El Born neighbourhood near Las Ramblas, the Picasso Museum houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the renowned Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Admire the paintings & art created by the great artist here.
- Montjuïc: A hill located southwest of Las Ramblas, Montjuïc offers various attractions, including the Montjuïc Castle, Magic Fountain (Font Màgica), Olympic Stadium, and numerous gardens. You can reach Montjuïc by cable car or bus.
8. Admire The Architecture Of Park Guell
A scenic park and architect Antoni Gaudí’s one of the most iconic works is Park Guell, located on Caramel hill. It is a must-visit attraction in Barcelona as the park is beautifully made and offers scenic attractions to visitors. One of the highlights of Park Güell is the large terrace known as the “Hypostyle Room,” which is supported by a series of 86 Doric columns. This space offers panoramic city views and is adorned with colourful ceramic tiles.
The park features Gaudí’s distinctive architectural style, characterised by organic shapes, vibrant colours, and the integration of natural elements. As you explore the park, you’ll find beautiful mosaic-tiled buildings, whimsical sculptures, and unique structures that blend seamlessly with the surrounding nature. This park offers various architectural styles and open spaces where children can play & enjoy which positions it among the best things to do in Barcelona with kids.
Keep in mind that access to some areas of Park Güell is restricted and requires a ticket. To manage the flow of visitors, the park has a timed entry system, and it’s advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
Timings: Everyday from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm with playground open for 24 hours.
Nearby Attractions Of Park Guell
- Casa Vicens: Situated in the Gràcia neighbourhood, Casa Vicens is another remarkable Gaudí masterpiece. It was one of his earliest works and showcased his unique architectural style. Visit this piece of art after Park Guell to admire the beautiful architecture of Barcelona.
- Park del Guinardó: Located northeast of Park Güell, Park del Guinardó is a large park that offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It features beautiful gardens, walking paths, and scenic viewpoints.
9. Visit The Beautiful Palau Guell
Palau Güell, also known as the Güell Palace, is another architectural masterpiece designed by Antoni Gaudí. One of the remarkable features of Palau Güell is its facade, which combines various materials, including stone, ironwork, and colourful ceramics. The ironwork on the front is particularly noteworthy, with its unique shapes and patterns.
You’ll find stunning spaces inside the palace, like the grand entrance hall, the noble floor with luxurious rooms and furnishings, and the rooftop terrace. The rooftop terrace offers panoramic views of Barcelona and is adorned with colourful chimneys, which have become one of Gaudí’s iconic signatures. Visiting Palau Güell provides a fascinating glimpse into Gaudí’s early works and innovative architectural approach. It is among the fascinating things to do in Barcelona for those who want to learn more about Gaudi’s architecture.
Timings: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am to 8 pm, closed on Mondays.
Nearby Attractions Of Palau Guell
- El Raval Neighbourhood: El Raval offers a multicultural atmosphere with a mix of trendy bars, cafes, art galleries, and a vibrant nightlife scene. Indulge in the neighbourhood’s delicious food, cultural activities, and shopping.
- Plaça Reial: Situated just a short distance from Palau Güell, Plaça Reial is a beautiful square with palm trees, ornate lampposts, and lively terraces. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
10. Shop At The Famous Shopping Streets
Visiting a new destination & not shopping the local goodies? That’d be odd, wouldn’t it? Barcelona is full of famous & vibrant shopping streets & centres where you can find many local & international goodies to take home as souvenirs. Here are some famous shopping streets you can’t miss:
Portal de l’Àngel
It is a bustling pedestrian street in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, offering a mix of mainstream fashion brands, including Zara, H&M, and Mango, as well as Spanish and international shoe stores and accessory shops. This street is lined with cafes and is perfect for leisurely shopping.
It is one of Barcelona’s main thoroughfares, stretching across the city from the Gràcia neighbourhood to the waterfront. Shop from designer boutiques, department stores, and shopping centres such as L’Illa Diagonal and El Corte Inglés. The street houses a range of specialty stores, including home decor, electronics, and sportswear. With this range of stores and designs, shopping through the Avinguda Diagonal is one of the exciting things to do in Barcelona.
Carrer de Pelai
It is a captivating shopping street connecting Plaça de Catalunya to Plaça Universitat. It offers various stores, from popular fashion chains to local boutiques. You’ll find a mix of clothing, accessories, shoes, and cosmetic shops. The street is well-known for its affordable prices and is a favourite among fashion-savvy locals. Shop all you want at a low price at Carrer de Pelai.
11. View Barcelona From Mount Tibidabo
Tibidabo, located in the Collserola Natural Park, offers scenic views of Barcelona. You just have to hike a little to reach the top to get the panoramic views of the city. Additionally, you’ll find the Tibidabo Amusement Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in Spain, on the top. The park has a charming vintage feel and features a variety of rides and attractions for all ages, including classic roller coasters, carousels, a Ferris wheel, and more. Riding on the Ferris wheel while viewing the whole city is indeed among the enticing things to do in Barcelona.
Tibidabo also offers hiking trails and picnic areas, providing opportunities to explore the natural surroundings and enjoy the fresh air. The Collserola Natural Park has diverse flora and fauna, making it a great escape from the bustling city below. Visit the mountain to experience a different face of Barcelona.
Nearby Attractions of Mount Tibidabo
- CosmoCaixa: Located at the foot of Mount Tibidabo, CosmoCaixa is a science museum that offers interactive exhibits and educational displays on topics such as astronomy, physics, biology, and more. It’s a great place for science enthusiasts & families to learn more about science.
- Tibidabo Skywalk: It is a suspended walkway with thrilling views over Barcelona. Walk along the transparent pathway and feel like you are floating in the air while enjoying breathtaking panoramic views.
12. Relax At Parc del Labrint d’Horta
Also known as Labyrinth Park of Horta, is a beautiful historic garden in the Horta-Guinardó district. It is the oldest park in the city and offers a serene and enchanting atmosphere to explore. Sit and relax in the garden and absorb the charming beauty of Barcelona.
There are beautiful gardens having lush vegetation, vibrant flowers, and tranquil ponds. Strolling & relaxing in the majestic parks & sceneries are some of the most peaceful things to do in Barcelona. The park also offers scenic viewpoints that provide panoramic vistas of Barcelona and the surrounding area. It is a perfect place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle and immerse oneself in nature’s tranquillity.
Nearby Attractions Of Parc del Labrint d’Horta
- Park de la Creueta del Coll: Situated in the Gràcia district, this park offers a large lake where visitors can swim, paddle boat, or relax on the surrounding grassy areas. It also features a sculpture by Eduardo Chillida and a children’s playground, making it a great outdoor recreation and relaxation spot.
- Hospital de Sant Pau: You’ll reach the Hospital de Sant Pau just a short distance from Parc del Laberint d’Horta. This modernist complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and showcases the work of architect Lluís Domènech I Montaner. It features beautiful architecture, intricate details, and tranquil gardens.
13. Indulge in Delicious Spanish Street Food
A trip to any international destination is incomplete without its street food. Trying Spain’s various local delicacies, flavours, and dishes is one of the must-do things to do in Barcelona. Here are some excellent street food markets which you must visit in Barcelona to dive into some mouth-watering street food.
Carrer de Blai
Located in the Poble-sec neighbourhood, Carrer de Blai is a famous street for pintxos and small bites served on a skewer. Many bars and eateries line this street, offering a wide selection of pintxos with different toppings, flavours, and ingredients. It’s an excellent spot for an affordable and flavourful street food experience.
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria
It’s one of Barcelona’s most famous food markets, offering a vast array of fresh produce, seafood, meats, and prepared foods. You can find stalls selling traditional Catalan dishes, tapas, empanadas, fresh juices, and much more.
Carrer dels Petons
Located in the Gràcia neighbourhood, Carrer dels Petons is a narrow street that comes alive during the evening with food trucks and outdoor seating. You can find various international street food options, including gourmet burgers, tacos, kebabs, and vegetarian and vegan options. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
Barcelona offers many exciting activities and attractions that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or someone seeking outdoor adventures, Barcelona has something to offer. From the architectural wonders of Sagrada Família and Park Güell to the vibrant atmosphere of Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter, the city is a treasure trove of cultural and historical gems. We’ve listed some of the best things to do in Barcelona in this blog, follow the list not to miss any top locations or activities in Barcelona, and stay tuned for more exciting blogs on travel.