Spain’s “second city” of Barcelona easily rates as one of the best cities to visit in Europe – it’s got historical sights, fantastic culture, delicious food, and you can even spend the day at the beach – what a great combination. If you’re planning your trip then check this list of ten things to do in Barcelona for some useful tips.
Let’s travel first with our stomachs: Barcelona’s enormous outdoor markets, , are a great place for either an aimless wander or a shopping trip for any kind of fresh food you can imagine. It’s open every day except Sunday, and starts up around eight in the morning, closing at 8.30pm. It’s easy to find as it there is an entrance on La Rambla, the central pedestrian walk of Barcelona.
La Boqueria by munksynz
It seems that here at Europe a la Carte we all like to travel with our stomachs, because no less than three of us have remarked on La Boqueria in the past. Karen shopped for seafood before cooking up some paella, Lindsay recommends grabbing a freshly-squeezed juice and I was naughty enough to bypass the fruit and vegetable stands for the confectionery!
La Sagrada Familia
Stomachs full, let’s look at what is probably Barcelona’s most recognisable building: the still unfinished Sagrada Familia. This incredible church was designed by Anton Gaudi and has been under construction since 1882. Being incomplete hasn’t stopped it becoming a tourist attraction (they’ll work around you) and it is not due to be finished for another fifteen years or so. Its eclectic design makes for great photos.
La Sagrada Familia by bortescristian
Speaking of Gaudi, Park Guell is another Gaudi-designed tourist attraction in Barcelona. You can walk around the park for free and for a fee you can go inside the “La Torre Rosa”, Gaudi’s house. Park Guell is easily one of the most unusual parks you’ll ever take a stroll in.
Park Guell in the evening by papalars
The central pedestrian street of Barcelona, simply taking a walk down here is entertainment in itself. Depending upon the time of day, La Rambla may be fully of buskers, stands and markets, or simply many tourists! It’s a great place to orient yourself to the feeling of Barcelona.
La Rambla by tinou bou
This stadium is home to the very popular football club FC Barcelona so sports fans will love a visit here – there are various tours to take and some behind-the-scenes spots to see. You can also try to get tickets to a home game, which is sometimes not so difficult as the stadium is so large.
Camp Nou by findfado
Barceloneta and Sant Sebastia
On a warm day, head to either Barceloneta or Sant Sebastia beach to cool down. In fact there is almost three miles of beach running along Barcelona’s coastline so you should be able to find a beach that suits you.
Barceloneta sunset by Oh-Barcelona
For art lovers, the Musee Picasso is a must see. An extensive collection of Picasso’s work is housed here, much of it donated by Picasso himself, and in particular includes much from his blue period.
I’m no afficianado but when I visited Musee Picasso I certainly found it an inspiring way to spend an afternoon.
Picasso Museum by pixonomy
City History Museum of Barcelona
Not everything interesting in Barcelona is above ground: the City History Museum includes the Romain remains, particularly under the Place Del Rei, and you can walk through them and imagine how life was as far back as 10 B.C. I wrote up a post on the City History Museum as I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there – it’s a great place to escape if the heat starts to get to you.
City History Museum from EALC
Get “on top” of Barcelona on the Montjuic hill and not only will you get captivating views, you will also find quite a list of tourist attractions to explore, including the Olympic stadium (you’ll recognise it if you were a fan of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992), the National Art Museum of Catalonia and the funicula and gondola ride right to the top of the hill.
View to the National Art Museum by laura padgett
Jeremy has a detailed description of Montjuic if you need more information.
Architecture buffs will love exploring Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. Check Karen’s post listing the highlights of the Gothic Quarter for tips on where to go.
Placa Real by rbrands
Further Barcelona Tips
If you can time your visit to catch a festival, take a look at Karen’s post on Five Barcelona fiestas. Check out Diana Perez’s guest post on Getting off the beaten track in Barcelona for some lesser-known attractions. It’s possible to find cheap hotels Barcelona if you book in advance and are flexible on exact location.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Guides to More Spanish Cities
We’ve Europe city guides to the following cities in Spain on Europe a la Carte.