10 Most Important Places To Visit In Barcelona

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links through which you can buy things if you like. If you decide to make a purchase, I receive a small commission at zero extra cost to you. This helps me to keep this site running.

If I need to describe Barcelona in just one word, it will be FUN. This is the basic feeling that fills up your heart when you walk in the streets of this city. The people of Barcelona are hospitable and the streets invite you to explore them. Adding to that the landmarks and the places to visit in Barcelona, you can easily spend a week here and you won’t get bored. No doubt that Barcelona is one of the best places to visit in Spain.

Gaudi’s Architecture will make you smile and think, while Picasso’s art might confuse you. The nightlife of Barcelona is world-famous, just be ready to start late and return late. The local cuisine of tapas and paellas will amaze you, and with a glass of cava or sangria – this is what I call having a great time! Here are the best places to visit in Barcelona:

Visit La Rambla and La Boqueria Market

La Rambla is the most famous street in Barcelona, and thus the first destination I visited in the city. The street is about 0.75 miles (1.2 km) long, going from Port Vell and Christoper Columbus Colum to Placa de Catalunya. It is crossing the old city of Barcelona, which makes it close to many of the city’s sites and a great area for accommodation. While some might say it’s too touristic, La Rambla is fun to stroll on and absorb the Barcelona vibes. Restaurants, Cafes, Ice cream shops – make a stop and watch the locals and visitors passing by, or gaze at the human statues that are an integral part of the street’s view.

As you make your way up from the port towards Plaça Catalunya, on your left side is La Boqueria Market. This is a huge open market and one of the icons of the city. It dates back to the 13th century and is still in the same place today. With more than 300 food stands that sell meat, cheese, fruits, and veggies, it is the biggest food market in Europe. Enter under the iconic metal gate, and find your place for a cold smoothie or some tapas with a glass of cava. Pinotxo Bar, on the right side, as you enter, is my recommendation.

Tip: At the north end of La Rambla, at Placa de Catalunya, you can find El Corte Inglés. This is a huge department store with everything you might need from electricity adapters, through clothes, to food.

La Rambla, Barcelona - sights in barcelona, sights barcelona, barcelona sightseeing, places to visit in barcelona for free
La Rambla, Barcelona – one of the main attractions in Barcelona

Admire Gaudi’s work at Park Güell

One of Barcelona’s most famous architects is Antoni Gaudí. His work is part of the city’s urban views, and his life and death stories are part of the city’s history. His work is very unique and individualized and he is one of the pioneers of Catalan Modernism.

Park Guell, is a great place to look and feel Gaudi’s style and work and one of my favorite sites of Barcelona. The park was designed to be a part of a bigger neighborhood, but eventually, only two houses out of 60 were built. As it is located on Carmel Hill, the view of the city from here is amazing. This place is a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-visit when you are in Barcelona.

Tickets to the park need to be purchased in advance, and you can book through this link.

The main entrance to Park Guell - barcelona places to visit
Park Güell is one of the best places to visit in Barcelona and to see Gaudi’s work

Be Amazed at La Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Familia is Gaudi’s most famous work and another icon of Barcelona. The constructions started in 1882 and unbelievably they are yet to be done. It is now expected to be completed in 2026 – making it the world’s largest unfinished church.

La Sagrada Familia is very unique. From both the inside and the outside, it looks like no other church you have ever been to. I was astounded by both the shapes and small figures on the outside, and the strong white and bright colors of the inside. The weather wasn’t on my side when I visited, but when it is not windy, you can go up to the towers and get an amazing panoramic view of the city.

The entrance requires purchasing a ticket. You can buy on the spot, or book in advance an entrance with a guided tour.

La Sagrada Família - best of barcelona spots
La Sagrada Familia – best of Barcelona tourist attractions

Visit Basilica De Santa Maria Del Mar

This 14th-century church is a perfect example of the Catalan Gothic architecture style, and one of the most beautiful churches I have seen. Something about the high ceilings, the dramatic arches the huge sizes of it, made me fall in love with this place.

It is located in the El Born neighborhood in the gothic quarter, once a place for fishermen and dockworkers, that evolved to be a fun and vibrant neighborhood. The small medieval streets will lead you to the dramatic entrance of the church, but the inside is very spacious and impressive.

Tip: Spanish author Ildefonso Falcones wrote in 2006 his novel Cathedral of the sea. This book tells the story of Arnau Estanyol with a backdrop of the church’s constructions. It’s a great book, and I highly recommend reading it before your visit. it is available on Amazon through this link.

The Gothic church Santa Maria del Mar - historical place in barcelona, attractions barcelona
Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar

Explore Picasso Museum

Spread over 5 medieval palaces the Picasso Museum is one of the most impressive places to visit in Barcelona. Located in El Born Neighborhood, the museum holds the largest collection of Picasso. From paintings to ceramics, all the items are chronologically organized, and it allows you to see how Picasso’s unique footprint has developed over the years.

Get your Skip-the-line tickets here.

Inner courtyard of Picasso Museum - cultural sites in barcelona and one of barcelona must sees, attractions in barcelona
Inner courtyard of Picasso Museum

Visit Camp Nou

The Stadium of FC Barcelona is the biggest stadium in Europe and even though I am not a big fan I appreciated it and was excited to visit. The stadium was built in 1957 and since then it’s the home of the Barcelona Soccer Club. It has 100,000 seats and it covers a surface area of 590,000 sq ft. (55,000 sqm.). There’s a museum next to the stadium, showing the history of the team, the players, and the best of them all – Lionel Messi. If you are lucky, and there’s a game – come to watch it. The excitement and the passion of the crowd are contagious.

Tip: If you are looking for another activity in the area, you can go to the FB Barcelona Ice Skating rink. I visited on a hot day, and it was a fantastic way to cool down.

Camp Nou - FC Barcelona stadium - things to do barcelona, crazy things to do in barcelona, what to see barcelona
Camp Nou – FC Barcelona stadium – one of the best places to visit Barcelona

Climb on Montjuic

Montjuic is a green and attractive hill, overlooking the entire city of Barcelona. On one side the buildings and streets of the city, and on the other the Mediterranean sea – this is one of the best sights of Barcelona. The name montjuïc means the mountain of the Jews as it was the Jewish neighborhood in Medieval times.

Thanks to its strategic location and landscape, a castle was built on the east side of the mountain to protect the harbor beneath it. From the castle, you get to see a beautiful 360 degrees view of Barcelona. The Port and Harbor area is on the east side; The city center is to the north; Tibidabo is on the west, and Barcelona’s airport is on the south side.

Some of the interesting sites on Montjuic are the Botanic gardens, the huge Olympic stadium, and The National Museum of Catalan Art – MNAC. The latter is a beautiful palace that holds a mix of old and modern art, including works of Picasso, Dali, and others.

Tip: The climb up to the castle might be exhausting and the cable car is not just a better option, but also one of the most fun in Barcelona attractions. The view during the ride is gorgeous so don’t forget your camera.

The National Museum of Catalan Art, on Montjuic - places to visit at barcelona, things do barcelona, tourist attractions barcelona spain, museu nacional
The National Museum of Catalan Art – MNAC, on Montjuic, is one of the best tourist attractions in Barcelona

Feel the magic of the Magic Fountain

Located at the foot of Montjuic, between MNAC and Placa d’Espanya, the Magic Fountain show is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Barcelona. People come here to watch the spectacular performance of water, lights, and music, which I think is one of the best. Using more than 3000 water jets, the fountain does its magic on weekend evenings. The exact times change with the season, so you can check here before your travel.

Tip: It’s best to combine a visit to the fountain with a visit to MNAC. As soon as you finish exploring the museum, catch your seat with a good view on the stairs outside, and wait for the show to start.

The Magic Fountain of Monjuic - sights to see in barcelona, things do in barcelona, spain bacelona, música catalana
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic

Chill out at Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella was built in the mid-19th century and for decades it was the only green park in the city. Its royalty was kept until these days, and it’s a great place for a relaxing break from the hectic city. The park is located on the north side of the old city, about 15-20 minutes’ walk from La Rambla. The park covers 18 hectares with a beautiful fountain, a lake with rowing boats, the parliament of Catalunya, the city zoo, and more. Don’t miss the giant mammoth – the best spot for photos!

Tip: Get some groceries at La Boqueria market and go to Parc de la Ciutadella for a brunch picnic – one of the unique things to do in Barcelona.

The fountain of Parc de la Ciutadella  -things to do barcelona, barcelona things to do, tourist in barcelona
The fountain of Parc de la Ciutadella

Explore Mount Tibidabo

The amusement park of Tibidabo opened in 1901, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the world and one of the most famous landmarks in Spain. It is located at the top of Tibidabo mountain, overlooking the city. Some of the rides give a higher view – not just fun but also breathtaking.

If the amusement park is not your type of fun, Mount Tibidabo offers other attractions. Nature lovers will enjoy the Collserola Natural Park where you can get a panoramic view of the city from the Collserola Tower – the tallest building in Barcelona. Another interesting site here is the neo-gothic Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – another famous landmark of Spain.

The Tibidabo amusement overlooking Barcelona - places to see in barcelona, sightseeing in barcelona, barcelona what to visit
The Tibidabo amusement overlooking Barcelona

General Tips

Barcelona is considered very safe for tourists, but tourist areas still suffer from pickpocketing. Keep your eyes open, especially in La Rambla, around Sagrada Familia, and when watching street shows.

On Passeig de Gràcia you can find two more masterpiece works of Gaudi. In number 43 you will see Casa Batlló, and Casa Milà is in number 92. It’s really hard to miss them when you walk down this street.

For an alternative shopping experience, go to Mercat dels Encants. It is one of the oldest flea markets in Europe with over 300 vendors.

If you want to take a one-day trip outside of the city, go to Montserrat. On the top of this mountain, there’s a Benedictine monastery that began construction in the 16th century. The way to get there is by train from Plaça d’Espanya, about a 1-hour ride.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist that was born and raised in Barcelona. His books take place in Barcelona and they let the reader experience the city from a historical but fictive point of view. I read his two bestsellers The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game and recommend both.

Final Thoughts

Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in Europe. There are so many places to visit in Barcelona and the sightseeing is unique, as it combines medieval old style with a more recent, yet still special architecture. The culinary scene of tapas is amazing and it inspires many chefs and restaurants. I recommend planning at least a week for seeing all the city has to offer, to take it easy and enjoy.

***

Want to find a cheap flight to Barcelona? Check out Kayak
Looking for hotels in Barcelona? Check out Hotels.com
Searching for activities in Barcelona? Check out Get your Guide

If you want to get updates about new posts from The Top Ten Traveler, subscribe to my newsletter below, and also get the ultimate packing list for free.

Join our mailing list and get The Top Ten Traveler’s Ultimate Packing List FOR FREE!

* indicates required

If you like this post, don’t forget to Pin it

From our sponsors

you might also like

things do madrid things to do
10 Best Things To Do In Madrid – Spain’s Capital
Top 10 sites in Buenos Aires
10 Best things to do in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tagged ,