Barcelona is a Pandora’s Box for all kinds of travelers. There are amazing museums and Gaudi’s architecture for art lovers, scrumptious Catalan cuisine for gourmands, gorgeous Mediterranean landscapes for peacemakers, Camp Nou for Sports fans, and a whole stock of free things for budget travelers and backpackers.
So for my visit to the city, I started on with my Internet surfing to write down what all needs to be seen. An trust me, there a lot! Although, I am a strong believer of living like a local in any place I travel. But that demands a fairly long vacation; not everyone’s cup of tea. So for the tight scheduled tourists, it becomes necessary to at least check out all the main touristy spots.
For that, I decided to list out these top Barcelona attractions first, and then head on to other things to do in Barcelona. But before that, I’d like to mention a few cheat sheets that can help you know Barcelona in advance. So here goes!
Euro currency works here. So it’s better to get it instead of dollars.
The weather’s torrid from May through October. June to September, there’s good sunshine. Even in winter time, don’t expect a snowfall. The weather’s pleasant, with min. temperature dodging around 5-6 degrees Celsius.
Spanish obviously is spoken far and wide here. But another equally popular lingo is Catalan. So if you know a few Catalan words, you’re lucky!
Barcelona’s Points of Interest
Barcelona is a very rich city, whether you talk about money, culture, landscapes or activities. So it’s nearly impossible to get bored here. Let’s take a look at the most widely visited places here.
Check out the legendary Picasso Museum in the Born Area
The world-famous painter from Malaga, spent a major portion of his life, here, in Barcelona with his family. This Museum is situated in the Born area of Barcelona.
Although Picasso’s most famous works aren’t exhibited here, but the place holds all his paintings from the early days, when he was struggling as a painter. There are early sketches which showcase his growth as an artist.
The grandeur of the unfinished La Sagrada Familia church will leave you awe-struck
This fantastic Sagrada Familia Church, designed by Spain’s second most eminent artist (after Pablo Picasso) Antoni Gaudi, is the most visited attraction of Barcelona. The place is famous for its long queues. So better book your advance tickets online. If booked in advance, you’d need half an hour to see the exterior of this church, and about an hour and a half to check it out from the inside.
The church’s unfinished as it is privately funded. So you actually help them fund the further construction by purchasing the entry tickets.
Gawk at the magnificence of the Magic Fountain
The Font Magica Fountain is something you’d have never seen before; absolutely incomparable. This incredible show of water, lights and music is free to visit. But sometimes, entry to the Fountain area may be banned due to exhibitions.
The Fountain is open all the year round, with a few restrictions considering the weather.
A visit to the Montjuic Hill and Poble Espanyol Spanish Village is a must-see
This hilltop has many popular attractions including a Fort called the Montjuic Hill which has a history to share. This castle worked as a guard for Barcelona and saved it from many attacks. Its hilltop perch helps you get some truly panoramic vistas of the city.
Then there is a Spanish village called Poble Espanyol which was built for Barcelona World Fair and Universal Exposition in 1929. This village displayed Spain’s varied architectural styles. It now houses many cafes and restros, open air night clubs and some amazing Handicarft shops.
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Stroll down through the heartbeat of Barcelona- The Las Ramblas Street
You may not find any breathtaking sight here, or any spectacular scenic beauty. This street is essentially famous for it represents the true spirit of Barcelona. It’s unarguably the street that never sleeps.
You’ll finds artists and performers all along. Many Tapas bars flank the street, so enjoy a coffee in the daytime. At night, there are many options to party here. Although be watchful of pickpockets and other panhandlers.
Check out the Modernist Buildings by Antoni Gaudi
One of the many world-famous architectural works in Barcelona is the cluster of modernist buildings. Three of them are in one city block named Illa de la Discordia, located on the street Passeig de Gracia. These are Casa Amatller by Josep Puig I Cadaflach, CasaBatllo by Gaudi and CadaLleoMorera.
Then there is CasaPedrera by Gaudi, located further up this street. And near Las Ramblas street is Palau Guell by Gaudi.
You can’t miss out the Camp Nou stadium if you are a true Football Fan
If you plan a vacation around any scheduled Football game, there’s nothing like attend a game amidst the roar and energy! But if not, visit the Stadium and Museum inside. It is home to the Barcelona Football team.
There is Europe largest Nike Store inside.
Visit the Gothic Quarters of Barcelona’s Medieval town
Wander the streets of this medieval and know their history. This area grew around the oldest part of Barcelona, the Roman town of Barcino. Many spectacular churches, museum, galleries and markets are stationed here.
This area is sprinkled with shops, ranging from the local handicraft to contemporary stores like Mango. Street performers strew the alley, providing some nice background scores while you enjoy a snack with some Spanish beverage.
Try and uphill stroll to the Park Guell
Spend a few hours at the most bizarre Gaudi-designed landscape. This green space features a plethora of things to see like the mosaic collages and the mushroom-shaped chimneys. There are whimsically designed walking trails, which depict Gaudi’s love for Catalan art and culture. Entry is free!
There is a mock indoor marketplace (SalaHipostila) designed by Josep Maria Jujol. There is a Gaudi House Museum inside, showcasing his artworks. Entry to this includes a small amount.
Get some tan at the La Barceloneta and Port Olimpic
Soak up in the Mediterranean waters while you need a break from Gaudi and all others. PasseigMaritime, a seaside promenade, is perfect for a romantic stroll and a glass of Sangria.
At the southern end of Passeig Maritime is Port Olimpic, which houses the Casino of Barcelona. The Olympic has some really good Tapas bars and restaurants, offering slightly expensive meals, but with the sea and sun at your feet.
Visit Barcelona’s finest Catalan Gothic Church, Santa Maria Del Mar
This magnificent Catalan Gothic Church stand at one end of Passeig Del Born, which has the Born Market on the other apse. The church shares a special place in history, as it took 54 years to build it in the 14th century!
This church is situated in a rather suffocated setup, with narrow claustrophobic streets around. But once you enter it, a sigh of relief in inevitable to see the light and spacious interiors.
The Lesser Known Barcelona Attractions
You wouldn’t wanna miss Girona if you are a Game of Thrones Fan
There are many Bus and Train options to take you to the epic jewel, located north of Barcelona. It’s panoramic views came in limelight after the new episodes of Game of Thrones were shot here. The city circumscribes River Onyar with its many colorful and vibrant houses.
The history of this old town dates back to Roman times. The town offers amazing options for connoiseurs, thanks to the abundant seafood variety.
The magnanimous Montserrat Mountains and Monastery are just a 1-hour drive from Barcelona
This pilgrimage is a one hour ride from Barcelona. It is open all year round and free to visit. This place is typically renowned for the 12th century Black Virgin of Montserrat. Other than that, the bizarre rock formations here are no less fascinating.
Take a Hop-on-Hop-off Bus tour of the city
Barcelona is a huge city. There are Mediterranean waters at one end ant Parl Guell at the other. There is an Olympic Village to the left and a Spanish Village to the right. In such a state, Barcelon Bus Tours are a perfect way to explore the city while saving time. A prior booking online may save you some bucks!
Do take your kids to the Tibidabo Hill
This hill is a wonderland for the kids. The view of the city from here is spectacular. There is a small vintage Amusement Park built right on top of it which opens in summers only (March through September). Do check its schedule before planning a visit.
There is a Blue Tram to take you to the top, or you can even take a bus from Plaza Catalunya directly to Tibidabo. Besides the Amusement Park, there is a church that’s free to visit, and a Skywalk where you can enjoy vistas of the entire city free of cost.
If Barceloneta is too crowded, head on to Platja de la Mar Bella
Mar Bella Beach is a less crowded beach, which makes it all the more beautiful. Golden sands and clear blue waters; this place is perfect for a sunbathe.
It is more popular among youngsters for its Beach Sports and Sailing options. Have a drink at one of the many Chiringuitos (Beach Bars).
The city has a perfect weather for Outdoor Film Screenings
Watching outdoor movies is a popular trend here. There is Cinema Lliure offering free movie-watching at the Sant Sebastia Beach every Thursday and Sunday evening. A Film Festival by the name Gandules showcases short films and documentaries in its courtyard.
Where to Munch in Barcelona
I’ve mentioned Tapas many a times in my blog. Well, here’s what they are.
Tapas is the general term used for small plated of food that are served to be shared. So that involves minimal etiquettes and max eating with your fingers. They can be widely varied, ranging from a dish full of olives or almonds, to one filled with fried prawns. They are a popular culinary trend in Barcelona.
Pinxtos are a type of Tapas, in which bite-sized goodies are served atop slices of bread.
Besides these, there’s lot else in Barcelona. Seafood here is delicious! There is a flamboyant Galician restro Rias de Galicia for its fantastic assortment of seafood. Not to mention the epic Cachitos for its Tapas menu. Among other famous fresh seafood servers are La Mar Salada and Can Sole.
Cal Pep, stationed in the Born area of Barcelona, is famous for its fried squid rings and shrimps.
And to get a local taste of the city, head on to La Boqueria, Europe’s biggest Food market stationed in the center of Las Ramblas. The place is undoubtedly crowded for its scrumptious food stalls and awesome architecture. Try coming here in the morning. There’s another one called Santa Caterina, famous for its line of restaurants.
Barcelona is an absolutely walkable city. It’s huge, no doubt. But it’s nice to get a break from the buses and metros once in a while. Try striking competitive hotel deals via Booking.com. You can even rent a car to be at ease while traveling locally, from Rentalcars.com.
Be careful while on your vacation to Barcelona. The city is infamous for snatchers and cutpurses. Other than that, it’s a vibrant and full-of-life sort of a place.