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28 Best Things To Do In Barcelona

From art museums to parks, neighborhoods to day trips. 

The capital of the region of Catalunya, Barcelona is truly a first-rate European city that rivals even Madrid, the capital of Spain. Excellent city planning has given way to a series of grand avenues, parks and plazas. While Barcelona has all the makings of a great city in its own right, it’s the infamous laid-back lifestyle that helps you truly savor it all. Marvel at the Sagrada Familia, explore Park Güell and trek up MontJuic—but be sure to leave time for a leisurely lunch in between complete with the requisite glass of fruity sangria. 

With so much to do, see, and eat, it's hard to know how best to plan out your itinerary for optimal sightseeing—whether it's your first time visiting or your fifth. This list of the best things to do in Barcelona is a great place to start. 

But remember—no list of things to do can compare to a custom-built itinerary from Journy. Leave it to the experts to build a daily travel plan from scratch just for you—complete not only with activities, but also restaurants, cafés, bars, transportation, and accommodation.

1Visit Barcelona's Most Famous Landmark, La Sagrada Familia

Address

Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
La Sagrada Familia is one of Barcelona's most iconic sights. The construction of the church commenced in 1882 and nearly came to a halt in 1926 with the death of Gaudi, when less than a quarter of the project was complete. Construction resumed in the 1950s, and only passed the midpoint of completion in 2010. The anticipated year of completion is 2026, 100 years after Gaudi's passing. It's a little bit of a trek to visit, but definitely worth it.

2Explore Gaudí's Wonderland, Park Güell 

Address

Carrer d'Olot, s/n, 08024 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Park Guell remains a relic of Barcelona's love affair with Gaudi. The entire park is filled with sculptures, mosaic work and carefully curated plant life, designed by Gaudi himself. While it was originally built as a "gated community," Park Guell opened to the public just seven years after is completion for the second World Fair in 1929 and has remained accessible to all ever since. 

In an afternoon strolling around Parc Güell, you will see everything from bright and happy tile work (amazing for photo taking), to dramatic scenes that look straight out of the Stone Age. No matter where you look, Gaudi's careful curation—combined with Barcelona's beautiful greenery—makes Parc Güell a feast for the eyes.

Also, while most of the park is free access, we recommend checking out the Monumental Zone, which only allows 400 visitors per time slot. You can buy tickets for that at the link below.
Sounds like something you’d like to experience? Trust the experts at Journy to build an itinerary from scratch just for you with all the must-see sights and hidden gems.

3Wander Through The El Born Neighborhood

Address

El Born, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona's El Born has it all: storied streets and cultural monuments, trendy boutiques and buzzing cocktail bars. Bound by the Gothic Quarter on one side and Citutadella Park on the other, it's a lively area that attracts international visitors and locals alike with its artistic atmosphere. 

In addition to myriad restaurants, bars, and shops, highlights here include the Picasso Museum, Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, and the Born Cultural Center. 

4Visit The Picasso Museum

Address

Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Unlike the Picasso museum in Paris, the Picasso Museum Barcelona focuses on this Spanish artist’s earlier work, displaying his evolution as an artist throughout the years with over 4,000 pieces—representing the most extensive and complete permanent collection of his works in the world (including the renowned Las Meninas series). Quick and easy to walk through, this museum is a must-visit for any art fan. 

Tickets are reasonably priced, but buy in advance to avoid waiting in line when you arrive.

5Visit Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

Address

Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Built between 1329 and 1383, the Santa Maria del Mar is an enduring example of Catalan Gothic architecture. While a 1428 earthquake and 11-day fire during the 1936 Spanish Civil War destroyed some of the church's decorative elements, the imposing structure has largely remained unchanged through the centuries. It's been a landmark in the trendy El Born neighborhood since. 

Note that the inside of the church is closed from 1:00PM-5:00PM in the afternoons.

6Grab a Bite at Mercado de Santa Caterina

Address

Av. de Francesc Cambó, 16, 08003 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
The Mercado de Santa Caterina is perfect for those who've been there, done that with the wonderful Boqueria. This is Barcelona's newest, smaller, more intimate market, and under its colorfully tiled roof are stalls and eateries frequented by Barcelona's locals. It's best visited in the morning when its bustling — before 1PM — or in the afternoon for a quieter experience. 

7Admire Gaudi's Architecture (& Go Shopping) Along Passeig de Gràcia

Address

Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Passeig de Gracia is Barcelona’s most popular shopping mile, packed with international chains and brands from around the world. Since it's also lined with amazing modernist buildings like the Hotel Majestic and the Casa Amatller, it's a fantastic area for shopaholics and architecture fans alike.

8Visit Zara's Flagship Store

Address

Passeig de Gràcia, 16, 08008 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
While Zara now has stores all over the world, few are as large and have as vast a selection as the flagship store on the famed Passeig de Gracia. 

With prices in foreign markets having gone up significantly in recent years, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the prices in Zara's home country of Spain. Spanning three spacious floors, Zara on Passeig de Gracia is a must stop for fans of the contemporary fashion brand. 

9Explore Gaudi's Last Works: Casa Milà & La Pedrera

Address

Provença, 261-265, 08008 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Casa Milà — also known as La Pedrera — was Antoni Gaudi's last civil work. Built as the private residence for Pere Milà and his wife Roser Segimon (who were inspired by Casa Batlla down the street), the building actually attracted ridicule when it was first constructed in the early 1900s. Now, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and icon of the Modernista movement; the roof in particular is a must see.


10Visit Gaudí's Underwater-Themed Casa Batlló

Address

Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Casa Batllo is perhaps the most interesting and exciting of Gaudi's masterpieces. The building was was originally built in 1877, but it wasn't until 1906 that Gaudi stepped in to renovate the structure as the private residence for aristocrat Josep Batllo. Since then, its been used as a home, office, and event space for various owners, only opening to visits from the general public in 2002.   If you're interested in interiors, this is a must visit.

The audio guide is included and actually worth listening to, and comes with a virtual reality display so you can see the house come to life.

11Explore El Raval

Address

El Raval, Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Of Barcelona's neighborhoods, El Raval is one of the more contentious. Where some see colorful street art and a vibrant bar scene, others streets that are simply seedy and dirty. The reality falls somewhere in the middle — while El Raval is recovering from a rough-and-tumble reputation, it's also one of the city's most multicultural districts, with exceptional dining and nightlife and notable cultural institutions. This is also where you'll find La Boqueria, a huge public market. For savvy travelers, El Raval is well worth a visit. 

12Visit Palau Güell

Address

Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5, 08001 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
The Palau Güell, located on the Ramblas, was once home to a very wealthy family who commissioned Gaudi to design this residence. Completed in 1890, the building was the residence of Gaudi's patron, Count Güell. 

Gaudi created this beautiful small palace as a metaphor - like Count Güell, who had  a poor start in life, the building starts with an austere basement and ground floor, rising up to to a magnificent roof with 20 sculptural chimneys. 

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, this Gaudi work reopened to the public in 2011 after a seven-year renovation.

13Visit Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

Address

Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167, 08025 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista is Catalan modernism at its best. Once a hospital, today it's home to a number of global institutions. For the 15 Euro entrance fee, visitors can take in the building's rich history, the beautiful colors and details, and the quaint gardens. The outside gives little indication to the splendor and magnitude of the building's interior, so be sure to make time to explore the interiors.

Renovation was only recently completed, making this a fabulous oasis still relatively under-the-radar of tourists. 

14Stroll Along Las Ramblas

Address

La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain
Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona's most famous streets — or more accurately, series of linked blocks. Running from Placa de Catalunya all the way to the harbor, it divides the Gothic Quarter from El Raval. A walk along this 1.2-kilometer stretch passes exceptional architecture and countless shops, restaurants, and cafes. It also passes La Boqueria, Palau Guell, and Placa Reial. 

15Explore Mercado de La Boqueria

Address

La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Upon entering La Boqueria, visitors are greeting with an explosion of vibrant color — fresh fruit is piled high, red chiles hang from the stalls, and bins are lined up with gummy candies and nuts. This public market — Barcelona's largest — is a wonderland of delicacies from Catalonia and around the world.

El Bulli chef Ferran Adria himself said, “La Boqueria is a gastronomic temple, a place that congregates all the phases in the food chain, from the producers, harvesters, butchers and fishmongers who provide the food, to the individual and professional clients who wander through this magnificent, characteristic maze.” 

16Explore The Gothic Quarter

Address

Gothic Quarter, Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Take a stroll through the charming Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, or Barri Gòtic, with its narrow medieval streets filled with trendy bars, clubs, and Catalan restaurants. Take in the incredible architecture, trend-setting boutiques, and mouth-watering tapas bars that give the neighborhood its unique charm. The Museu d'Història de Barcelona shows remains of the Roman city and the Plaça del Pi hosts a weekend art market.

If you want a guided walking tour, they are available for as little as $18 and are a fantastic way to absorb the area’s history.

17See The Cathedral of Barcelona

Address

Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
While it may not be Barcelona's most well-known cathedral (that honor goes to La Sagrada Familia), this Gothic masterpiece is still well worth a visit. While churches existed on these grounds hundreds of years prior, the construction of the cathedral as it currently stands took place between the 13th and 15th centuries, with the most recent renovation happening in 1913. 

Also worthwhile are the cloisters, which enclose the Well of the Geese, to the right of the nave. Entrance to the main areas and the cloister is free on weekdays between 8AM and 12:45PM and between 5:45PM-7:30PM. Otherwise, a donation of 7 Euro is suggested and provides access to the Cathedral floor and cloister, the roof, and choir.

18Catch Some Sun With Locals At Ciutadella Park

Address

Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Parc de la Ciutadella is no ordinary park. Originally the site of a military citadel that was destroyed in 1869, the space was then adapted to meet the needs of Barcelona's bid for the 1888 World Fair. Relics of the exhibition can still be seen today from buildings such as the Castell dels Tres Dragons, which occupies the original restaurant designed for the exhibition by Domènech i Montaner, the waterfall and lake, designed by Fontseré, and the beautiful plant house, the Umbracle, and glass house, the Hivernacle.

19Relax and People Watch at the Arc de Triomf

Address

08010 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona's Arc de Triomf was built in 1888 as a gateway to the World Fair. Unlike similar monuments around the world, this Arc de Triomf is designed in the Mudejar architectural style and constructed with bright red brick. It stands at the top of the Passeig Lluis Companys, which has a busy pedestrian thoroughfare down the middle leading to the massive arch. 

20See a Sports Game / Experience Tour at Camp Nou

Address

C. Aristides Maillol, 12, 08028 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Home to FC Barcelona, Camp Nou is the second biggest football stadium in the world after the Maracana in Brazil. The venue can hold nearly 100,000 spectators — but even then tickets against teams like Real Madrid are hard to come by. In addition to tours of the premises, travelers can visit the FC Barcelona Museum.

21Walk Along Port Vell 

Address

Port Vell, Spain
Where the broad thoroughfare of Las Ramblas ends, Port Vell begins. The harbor front here has a wide boardwalk perfect for taking in the sea air. In this area, you'll also find the city's Maritime Museum, the Columbus Statue, and Maremagnum, a huge shopping and dining complex. 

22Hang Out In La Barceloneta

Address

La Barceloneta, Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
La Barceloneta is a compact neighborhood along the seaside. As such, the beach is one of its most popular attractions. Given its out of the way location, this was long designated a nude beach. The construction of the W Hotel changed that, to much dismay, though you'll still find defiant locals strutting their stuff in protest. Amazingly, this beach can often be fairly quiet, which belies it's very central location. Go hang out for a few hours, before finding a nice place to lunch in the 'Neta proper.

23Visit Montjuïc Castle

Address

Ctra. de Montjuïc, 66, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Built on top of Montjuic Hill, Montjuic Castle is an old military fortress from 1640. While there's not much to see inside the castle, the view of the city is fantastic. The walk down passes sights like the Juan Miro Parc and the Museum of Contemporary Art, making it well worth the trip. 

24Visit Joan Miró Foundation

Address

Calle, S/N
Miró himself set up the foundation to house his work and act as a center for contemporary art research. Today, it is home to a vibrant and ever-changing array of contemporary exhibits. 

Fun fact: Chef Grant Achatz was so moved by Miró's works that he created a dessert inspired by a Miró's painting at his 3-star Michelin restaurant, Alinea, in Chicago. (Which, it seems to us, makes Joan Miró Foundation the perfect place to stroll around and work up an appetite). 

25Visit The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Address

Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
The National Museum of Catalan Art features unique Medieval murals, modernism interiors, and as the name suggests, a grand collection of Catalonian art. Set on the hilltop overlooking the city, grounds and roof in particular have panoramic views of the city. 

26Take a Day Trip to Tibidabo

Address

Tibidabo, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Tibidabo is a mountain on the outskirts of Barcelona. In addition to spectacular views, the peak has a telecommunications tower, church, and perhaps most famously, an amusement park featured in the movie "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." 

For the best views, be sure to make your way to the very top of the church — even when you think you're at the top, keep looking for ways to go up even higher for the best views possible. 


27Take a Day Trip to Sitges

Address

Sitges, Barcelona, Spain
Sitges is a former fishing village turned resort town along the coast just 30 minutes from Barcelona. In July and August, the nightlife rivals Ibiza's — a pro and a con depending on the atmosphere you're after. Regardless, there are a number of fantastic museums and plenty of tapas and wine bars along the beach to satisfy travelers of various demographics. 

28Take a Day Trip to Montserrat

Address

Montserrat, 08691, Barcelona, Spain
It’s hard to speak of churches atop mountains without mentioning Montserrat, a range that rivals the Pyrenees Mountains. It’s located about an hour outside of town and features the highest point in all of Catalonia, Saint Jeroni (nearly a mile above sea level). It’s common for Catalan children to journey to Montserrat in order to take an overnight hike up to Saint Jeroni and witness the sunset. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see all of Catalonia (save Barcelona, ironically), the Mediterranean fading to the horizon, and the nearby island of Mallorca.

Just 1,000 feet below this summit is the Benedictine Abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat. The abbey features between 70 and 80 monks, and celebrated its 1000th anniversary all the way back in 1880. To call the abbey picturesque is an understatement. This well-kept relic is situated pristinely on the mountainside, flanked by the captivating, pink conglomerate rock faces of the mountain.

The Abbey features some particularly impressive draws beyond the scenery. It holds a statue of one of Spain’s few Black Madonnas (a piece said to hold healing powers), the Abbey’s Escalonia choir is one of Europe’s longest-standing boys’ choirs, and the attached Montserrat Monastery Museum holds works by greats such as Salvador Dali, El Greco, and Monet.

Should you choose to make your way up to Saint Jeroni or one of the park’s other peaks (and you very much should), it is recommended you wear proper hiking attire, though the paths are quite well-formed. Because the area is well-maintained and aims to leave the surroundings largely untouched, it is also asked that hikers stick to the marked paths in order to not disturb the vegetation and wildlife.

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