This list of the best places to visit in Barcelona will help you organize your visit to this cosmopolitan city full of charming corners.Other Neighborhoods
After its transformation and opening to the Mediterranean Sea in the 1992 Olympic Games, what is known as Ciudad Condal has become one of the most visited cities in Europe and the world, where one of its main attractions, in addition to its extensive offer in cultural activities and leisure, are the impressive architectural jewels of modernism such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera and Park Güell, built by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí.
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In addition to visiting all these buildings, it is also worth getting lost in its most emblematic neighborhoods such as the Gothic, Born, Barceloneta or Gracia and finishing the itineraries in one of its spectacular viewpoints.
Another of its great claims is its excellent tapas cuisine and traditional Catalan dishes, which will delight any good palate.
The Holy Family
Entering the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia, the unfinished masterpiece of the great architect Gaudí, is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.
Gaudí, the greatest exponent of Catalan modernism, took charge of the construction of this church in 1883, of which the first stone had been laid a year earlier, leaving all the plans on his death in 1926 so that future architects could finish the construction site.
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The interior and exterior of La Sagrada Familia are a marvel, nothing comparable to other churches in the world, Gaudí using all his experience and new techniques in it, creating a naturalistic style, where all its elements flow in complete harmony. On the outside, the 3 facades dedicated to the Birth, Passion and Glory of Jesus and the towers that will reach up to 172 meters when the monument is finished stand out.
This is expected to happen in the year 2026, the one that has been set as a deadline, and once finished it will become the tallest Christian church in the world, so as you can imagine, we are already impatient to see it in its maximum splendor.
To enter the Sagrada Familia, you have to keep in mind that it is one of the most visited monuments in Europe, there are long queues in addition to having a limited number of daily tickets, which sell out quite quickly.
To get to this essential place to visit in Barcelona, located far from the center, you can take lines 2 and 5 that stop at Sagrada Familia or the urban bus.
Visiting hours: every day from April to September from 9am to 8pm, March and October closes at 7pm and the other months at 6pm.
The Gothic Quarter, located in the heart of the city, is the oldest and most beautiful neighborhood to see in Barcelona.
Its origin dates back to Roman times, from which some remains of the ancient city of Barcino can still be seen, although its maximum splendor was achieved during the Medieval Age with the construction of churches and Gothic palaces.
One of its most famous churches is the Cathedral of Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia, a 14th-century Gothic marvel that stands out for its façade and interior with a beautiful cloister and a choir carved in wood, which will leave you speechless.
After visiting this church, we recommend you get lost in its narrow streets, starting with Carrer del Bisbe and finding magical places to visit in Barcelona such as Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, Palau del Bisbe, the Temple of Augustus, Plaza del Rey, the Plaza Sant Jaume, the church of Santa Ana and the magnificent Plaza Real.
This neighborhood, next to El Born, has some of the best local shops and taverns for tapas. A good way to find the best ones is to follow this list of restaurants where you can eat very well in Barcelona.
Our favorite building to visit in Barcelona is Casa Batlló , a World Heritage Site and one of Gaudí’s best works in Barcelona.
This jewel of Catalan modernism, located on the elegant Paseo de Gracia, impresses you at first sight with its spectacular façade inspired by the organic forms of nature.
In addition to marveling at its exterior, we advise you to enjoy an interior full of magic and fantasy thanks to its undulating shapes, the courtyard of lights and the roof terrace full of amazing chimneys.
It is interesting to take the virtual reality audio-guide (smartguides) that will take you back in time, when the architect, commissioned by the rich businessman Josep Batlló, began with the remodeling of this old house until it became a landmark of world architecture..
To access there are three types of tickets, although only with the Gold you will skip the long queues that form at the entrance. You can book your ticket in advance here.
Visiting hours: every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (last access at 8 p.m.).
One of the most popular things to do in Barcelona is to take a leisurely walk along Las Ramblas or La Rambla.
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This one-and-a-half-kilometer avenue that runs from Plaza Catalunya to the Columbus Monument is a hive of tourists and activity at any time of the day where, in addition to seeing street artists at the end of the route, there are several highlights that deserve a time like the La Boquería market, which has numerous stalls selling quality products and restaurants for tapas.
Nor can you forget to see the Miró mosaic and drink at the Canaletas fountain, famous for being the place where the Barcelona Football Club fans celebrate their titles. In addition, they say that whoever drinks its water, returns to Barcelona. You want to check it out, right?
What we do not recommend about La Rambla is to sit on one of its terraces to eat or have a drink, since the quality/price ratio is quite lousy.
In one of the streets adjacent to this street is the Palau Güell, another of Gaudí’s wonderful modernist works to visit in Barcelona. The journey through its interior to the terrace full of colored chimneys is simply magical.
Palau Güell visiting hours: Tuesday to Sunday from April to October from 10am to 8pm; the rest of the months from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Hospital of Santa Creu i Sant Pau
The Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, built between 1902 and 1930 by the modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner and his son, is another of the buildings to see in Barcelona declared a World Heritage Site.
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Located a few meters from the Sagrada Familia, this old hospital was surprising for a set of red brick modernist buildings and a large central square, which helped in its time, with a calm and beautiful atmosphere, to cure patients. In 2009, the hospital and medical team were moved to a new facility located at the north end of the complex.
To get to this hospital you can take metro line 5 and get off at Sant Pau or line 4 which leaves you at Guinardó.
A good way to get around Barcelona and save money is to buy the Hola BCN Card! for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days, which allows you unlimited access to public transport in Barcelona.
The first Sunday of every month has free entry, making it one of the best free things in Barcelona.
Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from November to March from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; from April to October from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. On Sundays it closes two hours earlier.
El Born, one of the places to visit in Barcelona
Located right next to the Gothic Quarter, between Vía Laietana and La Barceloneta, is one of the most fashionable neighborhoods to visit in Barcelona, El Born. Its narrow cobbled streets are filled with tapas restaurants, charming cafes, boutiques, shops and places to have the first drink of the night.
Another of the best things to do in Barcelona and in this neighborhood is to enter the impressive Palau de la Música Catalana, a modernist building, built between 1905 and 1908 by the modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which has the only concert hall declared a World Heritage Site. To enter the Palau de la Música you have to book a guided tour or buy a ticket to attend one of its music concerts and thus also enjoy its excellent acoustics.
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Another of the outstanding places in the neighborhood is the Picasso Museum, with the most important collection made by the great painter during his youth. In addition to the places mentioned, before leaving the neighbourhood, you cannot miss visiting the old Mercado del Born, walking along Passeig de Born and Carrer Montcada, seeing the Marcus Chapel and the Church of Sant Pere de les Puelles, eating at the Santa Catarina Market, to finish at the beautiful Francia Station.
Santa María del Mar visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Visiting hours of the Palau de la Música: every day from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (July and August until 6 p.m.).
Visiting hours of the Picasso Museum: Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Thursday until 9:30 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Park Güell, declared a World Heritage Site, is one of the most beautiful parks in the world and another essential place to see in Barcelona.
This huge fairy tale park created by Antonio Gaudí surprises all visitors with its sculptures, fountains and buildings inspired by the undulating forms of nature. One of our favorite spots is the Plaza de la Naturaleza, which has an undulating bench on one side full of beautiful mosaics and incredible views of the entire city.
The most famous image of the park and one of the typical souvenirs of Barcelona is found in the Escalinata del Dragón, a large staircase with a fountain and the famous dragon sculpture.
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Other interesting corners of the park are the Sala Hipóstila, the Casa del Guarda, the Pórtico de la Lavandera and the Jardines de Austria, although the best thing is to wander aimlessly and let yourself be surprised.
A few years ago, access to the park was restricted and it was no longer free. In addition, entry is only allowed every half hour to a quota of 400 people, so long queues form, especially in high season and on weekends. we recommend you book this ticket in advance.
Visiting hours: every day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Viewpoints of Barcelona
Another of the best things to do in Barcelona is to go up to one of its natural viewpoints or those located in buildings to watch the sunset over the city or simply enjoy the views.
In addition to Park Güell, these are our favorite viewpoints in Barcelona :
- Montjuic : This iconic mountain located 175 meters high offers views of the entire city from various points such as: Montjuic Castle, the National Art Museum of Catalonia, the Mirador del Alcalde Gardens and the cable car.
- Basilica Santa Maria del Pi : This church offers the best panoramic views of the old town from its huge bell tower over 50 meters high.
- Bunkers del Carmel : located in the upper area of Turó de la Rovira, 250 meters high, this viewpoint is perfect for a picnic at sunset next to the remains of anti-aircraft bunkers and incredible views of the city.
- Tibidabo : located in the Sierra de Collserola, at more than 500 meters high, it is an excellent viewpoint as well as having a fun amusement park to visit in Barcelona.
Going up Paseo de Gràcia from the emblematic Plaza de Cataluña you will arrive at Casa Milà, another of Gaudí’s most famous works to visit in Barcelona.
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This modernist building built between 1906 and 1912 was popularly called La Pedrera for its sober stone façade forming undulating arches. During this stage, Gaudí was in one of his most creative moments, providing new architectural solutions that would take him to the pinnacle of architecture with his naturalistic style, which is reflected in this building.
In addition to its façade, it is worth taking a tour of its interior, passing through the old apartment of the Milá family located on the first floor and going up until you reach the roof terrace, which amazes with its large ventilation towers and chimneys transformed into works of art.
As in all the works carried out by this architect, there are endless queues at the entrance, so it is advisable to book this ticket in advance.
In addition, an original way to visit La Pedrera is to book this night visit that includes an audiovisual show on the roof.
Visiting hours: every day from November to February from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the rest of the months from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
In addition to the Gothic Quarter and El Born, there are other neighborhoods to see in Barcelona that are worth knowing.
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One of our favorites is the Gracia neighborhood, which looks like a town within the big city and has managed to maintain its authenticity by staying away from the big chain stores and restaurants.
In its narrow streets and squares full of atmosphere, you will find traditional bars and shops mixed with others of more modern design. Some of its most famous corners are the Plaza de la Virreina, del Sol, de la Revolución or Plaza del Diamante, which together with Calle Verdi, are meeting points for locals and tourists.
Another of our favorite and most fashionable neighborhoods to visit in Barcelona is the old industrial neighborhood of Poblenou. In this neighborhood that opened up to the sea with the celebration of the Olympic Games, you can enjoy good beaches such as Bogatell, Nova Icària and Mar Bella, in addition to strolling along the Rambla del Poblenou, which also has a good offer of restoration and art galleries.
Another of the best things to do in Barcelona is to eat fresh fish and seafood in one of the taverns in La Barceloneta, another of the city’s mythical neighborhoods. It is also a good place to play sports along its promenade with its open-air gyms and to relax on the beach with views of the spectacular W Barcelona hotel.
And if you want something special, nothing better than reserving a private sailing trip with Barcelona Sailboats , with whom you can enjoy a unique moment getting to know the coast of Barcelona, participate in sailing if you feel like it, or just relax sunbathing and swimming before live an unforgettable sunset.