Planning a trip to Barcelona and want to know the best things to do in this amazing city? Look no further, as I will provide you with some useful travel tips to help you make the most of your trip!

Barcelona is a vibrant city located on the Mediterranean coast in northern Spain. It is the second-largest city in the country and the capital of the Catalonia region. Catalonia has its language, cultural heritage, and history, and some Catalonians may take offense if referred to as Spanish people. Without getting into political discussions, it’s safe to say that Barcelona’s endless cultural offerings, intriguing architecture, and world-renowned dining scene will enchant anyone visiting the city. Whether you are on a short trip or a week-long vacation, here are the top 15 ultimate things to do in Barcelona:

Admire La Sagrada Familia

Visiting Barcelona without experiencing the beauty of La Sagrada Familia is like having a delicious meal and leaving it untouched! Designed by the renowned architect Antonio Gaudi, this iconic building is a masterpiece that combines religious themes with nature. Despite still being under construction, it is a unique basilica that cannot be found anywhere else.

The interior is a mesmerizing display of vibrant colors and intricate details that play with the light. From the complex figures on the facade to the abundance of colors and symbolism within the church, La Sagrada Familia is a testament to Gaudi’s visionary genius. Don’t miss the chance to explore the crypt and Gaudi museum in the basement!

As one of the most popular landmarks in Barcelona, you can expect long queues at any time. Make sure to book your ticket in advance and take the audio guide to fully understand the symbolism of the place.

Visit Casa Milla and Casa Batllo

If you’re in the vicinity of La Sagrada Familia, you have to check out Casa Batllo, another stunning piece of Gaudi’s imagination. You’ll be blown away by the complete lack of straight lines and the abundance of blue and colors that give off a sea-world vibe. My advice? Try to book the early tour to avoid the crowds and make the most out of your experience. And if you’re not an expert on architecture, don’t worry! Just rent an audio guide to get the full background and significance of the Gaudi artwork.

Casa Mila (La Pedrera) is a walking distance from the Casa Batillo. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, it’s a part of the UNESCO World Heritage list and a must-see place in Barcelona. The most interesting part of the building is the rooftop with a panoramic view of the city. It is richly decorated with chimneys and unusual sculptures that all have symbolic meaning.

Make a stroll down Las Ramblas

Barcelona’s Las Ramblas is a vibrant street that connects Plaza Catalunya in the city center with the beachline. As the largest pedestrian zone, it’s a delightful place filled with street performers, vendors, restaurants, and small shops. Take a stroll and soak up the street ambiance with your family. You’ll encounter ancient buildings, churches, theaters, and museums along the way. If you love shopping, you’re in luck! There are plenty of high-end shops and well-known chain stores flanking the central walkway. The walk is relatively easy on a level surface, but you’ll also need to be aware of the pickpocketers!

Enjoy delicacies at La Boqueria

If you love trying out different food when traveling, then indulging at La Boqueria is a must-have thing to do in Barcelona! Located in Las Ramblas, this large market offers a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat products, and cheeses. It was built in the thirteenth century and has become a popular meeting place for tourists looking for a unique culinary experience. There are plenty of food stalls offering tapas, empanadas, pastries, freshly squeezed juices, and other delicious treats. Although it can be a bit pricey, browsing through the market or enjoying a beer and freshly shucked oysters can be a truly fun experience!

See Park Güell

Park Güell is another of Gaudi’s amazing masterpieces, commissioned by a super-wealthy family. Even though it was planned as a district for riches, it’s now one of the most popular attractions in the city and an amazing example of Catalan modernism. The park is full of funky, colorful mosaics, and unique architecture with some of the breathtaking views of the city.

You’ll find two areas in the park: the first has all the important monuments and features, including Gaudi Haus and the popular turquoise-blue terrace. The second area is a winding path that leads to hidden corners and stunning flora, including the iconic lizard statue at the entrance, and the view of two small buildings from the top terrace. Both areas are super popular with tourists, so if you want to get some great photos, try to get there early to beat the crowds.

Enjoy the sun at La Barceloneta beach

One of the many amazing things about Barcelona is the abundance of stunning beaches, and the most famous one of all is La Barceloneta. Here, you can spend your time under the shade of towering palm trees, whether you prefer to relax on a sunbed or get active with some sports. And if you’re feeling peckish, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants, lively pubs, and fun nightclubs to choose from.

Like any good tourist beach, you’ll find lots of friendly vendors selling delicious food, refreshing drinks, and other beach essentials. Here you will find the famous W Hotel built in the form of a sailing boat. As someone who lives for the beaches, La Barceloneta was my favorite place in the city!

Explore different neighborhoods in Barcelona

Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella district is a fascinating area that comprises four significant neighborhoods with a rich history spanning over 2,000 years.

Among neighborhoods, the Vila de Gracia, known as Gràcia, is a popular spot for tourists and locals. It is a walking discovery with narrow streets, unique squares, and restaurants, perfect for anyone exploring the city’s culinary scene. Whether you’re seeking a lively night out or a relaxed day of sightseeing, Vila de Gracia has got you covered!

Wander through the Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is the city’s oldest district and one of my favorite areas. Narrow, cobblestone streets, medieval churches, cathedrals, charming courtyards, and cute shops – perfect for getting lost! Everywhere you turn, you’ll find bakeries, cafes, and tapas bars to indulge in.

The area is also home to many landmarks such as the Barcelona Cathedral, City Town Hall, and Kings Square. The gothic and neogothic architecture gives the area a Harry Potter-esque feel. I highly recommend booking a free walking tour to get a closer look at this charming area and have a more immersive experience.

Go to see Park de La Ciutadella and Arco de Triunfo

Located just 10 minutes away from the Gothic Quarter, Park de La Ciutadella is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Opened in the mid-19th century, it remained the only green area in the city for many decades.

You can enjoy the nicely arranged pathways, palm trees, gardens, and fountains while strolling. Local people use the green space for various activities, such as playing guitars and saxophones, practicing tightrope walking, and singing. You can even rent a boat and enjoy a relaxing ride.

The park also features the iconic Arc of Triumph, which is a true testament to the city’s rich historical and artistic heritage. Designed by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, this impressive red brick arch with Spanish emblems is a must-see. It leads onto a square with a nice walking area, and at the end of the square, another park awaits.

Visit Barcelona Cathedral

Visiting the Cathedral is one more mandatory thing to do in Barcelona. Situated in the Gothic Quarter, it has some great features that are worth seeing, such as the cloisters adorned with orange and medlar trees, palm trees, a mossy green fountain, and thirteen geese, which are kept as part of the cathedral’s tradition to honor St. Eulalia’s life.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also buy a ticket to access the roof section. From there you will get a pretty decent 360-degree view of Barcelona. While you’re there, make sure to check out the stunning white geese swimming in a small pond in the cathedral’s cloister area. There’s also a gift shop and a museum next to the pond, so don’t forget to stop by!

Experience the concept of “tapas”

If you’re a food lover, Barcelona is the perfect destination for you! Spain is renowned for its unique “tapas” concept. Trying out these small portions of food is a must-do when visiting Barcelona. You can find tapas bars all over the city where you can eat “on the go”.

Tapas are small food portions, typically served with drinks, and can be simple or intricate. The food in tapas bars is meant for sharing. This not only gives everyone a greater selection of food, but it’s also a great way to socialize. Many tapas dishes are already prepared, so you could end up with 5-6 dishes arriving at once. The barman will usually run a tab for you, which you pay after you finish eating. There are many tapas dishes available, such as tapas bravas, croquettes with cheese, and garlic shrimp.

Try the local cuisine

Barcelona has an amazing culinary scene that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds! The local dishes are just as diverse and captivating as the stunning sights that the Catalan capital has to offer. Catalonia is a region of natural beauty and abundance, which means the food is fresh, nutritious, and full of flavor.

If you’re a seafood lover, you’re in for a treat! The sun-soaked coastal city offers an array of seafood specialties that are sure to leave you wanting more. The cuisine in Catalonia is seasonal, which means you can savor hearty winter warmers and light, refreshing bites in the summer months.

Some of the dishes that are always worth recommending are “paella”, “escalivada” (a vegetable salad with a smoked flavor), “aros negre” (seafood and rice colored with black squid ink), “la bomba” (breaded potato balls filled with meat), and so many others!

Go shopping in Pasieg de Gracia

Passeig de Gracia is one of the city’s most popular avenues, boasting an eclectic mix of shopping and business areas, as well as some of the most breathtaking architecture you’ll ever see. Located in the Eixample neighborhood, Passeig de Gracia connects Plaza Catalunya and the Gracia neighborhood. This makes it a convenient spot to explore the city and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Looking for some budget-friendly shopping options? If so and if you’re a fan of thrifting, don’t miss Els Encants, a vibrant flea market with. With its unique atmosphere and blend of old and new, Barcelona is a city that will leave you inspired, and Passeig de Gracia and Els Encants are just two of the many reasons why.

Climb the Tibidado Hill

You cannot miss climbing Tibidado hill when you’re in Barcelona! The view of the city and the Mediterranean Sea from up there is breathtaking! You can also head to an amusement park that has been around for over 100 years now! The rides there are a ton of fun, especially the funicular ride.

The park has several levels, connected by lifts, so you don’t have to worry about climbing up and down. But, what makes this place truly special are the incredible views you get from every ride in the park! You can also visit the Roman Catholic Church and climb up to the top of its tower for just 5 euros! Trust me, it’s worth it, as you get to enjoy a stunning 360-degree view of the city!

Do a day trip from Barcelona

Barcelona is a great starting point for day trips to explore Catalonia and beyond! You can take a day trip from Barcelona to visit the famous Montserrat monastery or tour the Dali Theatre Museum in Figueres. Enjoy sightseeing in Sitges during the day and partying at night. Explore the filming locations of the popular TV series, “Game of Thrones,” in Girona. Drive along the scenic Costa Brava.

A visit to Montserrat, one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona, is a must-do. While Montserrat is a top choice for hikers and nature lovers, it’s also ideal for those who appreciate history, and architecture. Or just want a beautiful place to relax. This natural park in northern Spain boasts one of the best mountain ranges in the country, and it’s home to an old Catholic monastery from the 11th century that you can still explore today.

Planning a trip to Florence? Make sure to check out my article on some of the best things to do in Florence!

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