Barcelona is Spain’s most visited metropolis, and it isn’t exhausting to see why – the historic capital of Catalonia is full of galleries, museums, sights and thriving eating places.
Set between the mountains and sea, the metropolis is widely known for its distinctive structure, well-known artists and concrete seashores. Plan your actions with this information to the best things to do in Barcelona.
1. Go to the Sagrada Família
Virtually each metropolis has at the very least one landmark that you just can’t miss, and the Sagrada Família is Barcelona’s. Antoni Gaudí’s magnificent masterpiece has been below development for greater than 130 years, and it’s nonetheless not completed.
Removed from a development web site, nevertheless, the church options two grand facades studded with intricate stone carvings, towers that gleam with gem-like tiles and an inside full of tree-like columns hovering up towards the cover ceiling. Development work paused throughout the pandemic, however has resumed and the constructing is predicted to be accomplished in time for the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s demise in 2026.
Planning tip: The Sagrada Família is one of the hottest vacationer sights in Spain, and it might get very busy. To keep away from the crowds, go to early in the morning (it opens at 9am) on a weekday.
2. See extra of Gaudí’s designs
The Sagrada Família could also be the most well-known of Gaudí’s buildings, however all his great whimsical designs are value visiting. Probably the most well-known are Casa Batlló, with its iridescent dragon-like scales and cranium and bone-like balconies, and La Pedrera, with its undulating stone facade and fanciful chimneys. Some of his lesser-known however equally lovely buildings embrace Casa Vicens, the first home he ever designed; Palau Güell, which he designed for his patron Eusebi Güell; and the Torre Bellesguard.
3. Wander the Gothic Quarter
Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) is the oldest and most atmospheric half of the metropolis. Characterised by small alleyways, hidden plazas and historic buildings, it lies to the east of La Rambla, the well-known pedestrian avenue that runs by the heart of the previous city.
The neighborhood is scattered with century-old retailers, small bars and cafes. Some highlights of the Gothic Quarter embrace the putting Plaça Reial, fringed by cafes and palm timber; Plaça Sant Jaume, residence to the grand Palau de la Generalitat; and the spectacular La Catedral.
Planning tip: Many components of the Gothic Quarter are recognized for late-night bars and golf equipment which might be nonetheless going properly into the morning. Excellent if you need to dance till daybreak, however not the best neighborhood to keep in in case you’re touring with younger children or those that respect an early evening.
4. Discover Barcelona’s meals markets
La Boqueria is perhaps the most well-known of Barcelona’s meals markets, however every neighborhood has its personal, and there are a number of wonderful ones to select from. La Boqueria is the oldest and one of the most atmospheric, however in current years, extra stalls have given over to things equivalent to tropical fruit shakes and novelty sweet quite than conventional produce.
For a extra genuine vibe, go to the trendy Mercat de Santa Caterina with its multicolored wavy roof or the grand Mercat de Sant Antoni with 250 stalls.
5. Take in the solar at Barcelona’s metropolis seashores
No matter time of yr you go to Barcelona, the seashores gained’t disappoint. Even in winter, it may be sunny sufficient to sit outdoors and revel in a meal at one of the seaside eating places, whereas summer time provides every thing from sunbathing and swimming to water sports activities.
The town boasts a 5km (3-mile) stretch of shoreline, residence to 9 completely different seashores. There’s Sant Sebastià with its vary of upscale eating places, Somorrostro lined with hip nightclubs and Nova Icaria with a watersports heart and seaside volleyball.
6. Enterprise up Montjuïc
Montjuïc is the inexperienced hill to the south of the metropolis, residence to the Olympic Park, in addition to quite a few museums and gardens. Rising from Plaza d’Espanya, you will first see the grand units of stairs and fountains cascading down from the magnificent palace housing the Museu Nacional d’Artwork de Catalunya. Behind that’s the large Olympic stadium and the relaxation of the Olympic Park.
Planning tip: The Museu Nacional d’Artwork de Catalunya has a terrace that provides spectacular views of the metropolis and is a well-liked spot to watch the sundown. The open-air bar means you may get pleasure from just a few drinks whereas taking in the view.
7. Snack on some tapas
When starvation pangs arrive in the afternoon or early night, take benefit of the pre-dinner tapa. This implies heading to the native favourite for a chunk of anchovies, sausage, squid, wild mushrooms, roasted peppers or dozens of different tempting morsels. Wine, cava and beer all make positive accompaniments.
Planning tip: Many tapas spots are full of life stand-around-the-bar affairs. When it is time for a change of surroundings, barcelonins make their manner to dinner or simply head to one other tapas bar and skip the sit-down formality altogether.
8. Find out about an icon at the Museu Picasso
Picasso lived in Barcelona between the ages of 15 and 23, and parts of the metropolis undoubtedly influenced his items, from the colourful however merely painted frescoes hanging in the Museu Nacional d’Artwork de Catalunya to the imaginative trencadís-style mosaics (pre-Cubist some say) of Gaudí. The Museu Picasso’s setting provides to the enchantment, as do the buzzy, history-rich surrounding streets of El Born.
9. Catch a recreation at Camp Nou
FC Barcelona performs a outstanding function in the metropolis’s creativeness. Heading to a soccer match at Camp Nou between September and Might is the best manner to catch a bit of Barcelona fever, however watching it on display in a bar might be simply as a lot enjoyable, relying on the crowd.
Planning tip: Even if you cannot make it to a recreation, the interactive Barça Stadium Tour and Museum expertise takes you thru the locker rooms and onto the subject, hallowed floor for a lot of Catalans.
10. Expertise Barcelona’s well-known nightlife
The Barcelona evening holds limitless potentialities. Begin with sundown drinks on a rooftop terrace or sink your heels into the sand at a rustic-chic beachside xiringuito. As darkness falls, the metropolis transforms with buzzing squares and reside music, and round midnight, the bars fill.
Choose from old-school taverns, plush lounges in lamp-lit medieval chambers, modern cocktail dens, boisterous cava bars, basements churning out brassy jazz and extra. In case you’re nonetheless standing at 3am, hit the golf equipment and hold going till daybreak.
11. Spend an early morning on La Rambla
Certain, the leafy 1.2km (0.75-mile) pedestrian boulevard of La Rambla that stretches towards the sea is the most touristed spot in city – at occasions, you may barely push by the crowds. However come very first thing in the morning, and you may see that, past the memento retailers and craft sellers, it is pure sensory overload.
Open-air cafes, aromatic flower stands and a much-overlooked mosaic by Miró dot the pavement, whereas key venues line each side of the avenue, together with the elegant Gran Teatre del Liceu, the sprawling Mercat de la Boqueria and quite a few galleries. A number of different barris, equivalent to El Poblenou, have their very own enticing rambles, too.
12. Get pleasure from Catalan delicacies
Barcelona is a good foodie metropolis, recognized all through the world for its revolutionary cooks and inventive delicacies. Whilst you’ll discover tapas bars in all places, make sure to pattern some native Catalan dishes, too.
Earlier than you dine, be a part of in l’hora del vermut at a typical vermouth bar, which pairs the fortified wine with bites of pickled anchovies and olives to whet the urge for food. Comply with it up with conventional Catalan dishes, equivalent to butifarra amb mongetes (sausage with white beans), suquet de peix (fish stew), escalivada (roasted purple peppers, onions and eggplant) and crema catalana (related to crème brûlée). Pattern the delicacies at Casa Delfín.
13. Have fun throughout pageant time
As a result of Barcelona has a pageant virtually each different month, it gained’t be exhausting to make your journey to the metropolis coincide with one. There are the patron-saint festivals of Santa Eulalia and La Mercé in February and September, respectively, La Diada de Sant Jordi (when individuals give one another items of books and roses to have fun St George) and the fireplace pageant of St Joan in mid-June.
Some of the foremost options of Catalan festivals embrace the castellers (human towers), large parading giants and correfocs, the place firework-wielding devils dance by the streets.
14. See a spread of works at Fundació Joan Miró
Joan Miró, the metropolis’s best-known 20th-century native son, bequeathed this artwork basis to his hometown in 1971. The sunshine-filled buildings are full of seminal works, from Miró’s timid early sketches to work from his final years.
15. Scope out examples of Modernista structure
One of the things that makes Barcelona so charming is its Modernista structure. A creative motion that affected every thing from literature to artwork to structure, the Modernisme period lasted from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries.
You possibly can establish these buildings by their vibrant colours, floral or botanical motifs, patterned tiles and curvy strains. Some of the best examples might be seen round the L’Eixample space, however you too can discover them dotted throughout the metropolis. Moreover Gaudí’s Modernista works, some of the best examples in the metropolis are the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, each designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
16. Discover up-and-coming El Poblenou
On the up is the previously industrial neighborhood of El Poblenou, northeast of the heart. Vacant warehouses are being reimagined as inventive tech and design hubs, cafes, boutiques, bars and extra.
17. Sip a drink at one of L’Eixample’s rooftop bars
Admire Modernista marvels over a cocktail or vermouth. L’Eixample’s elegant streets conceal an array of hidden-away, view-laden open-air bars and cafes beloved by barcelonins, many of them inside swish inns however open to all.