26 Things to do in Barcelona Spain
Barcelona is a great city to add to your list if you are traveling through Europe. According to most reports, Barcelona is one of top most visited cities in Europe. Parts of the city are becoming increasingly touristy, but the city itself is still beautiful. Should you find yourself in the city, these recommendations will be a good start for you.
- Relax on the Beach (There are multiple: Barceloneta, Bogatell, Nova Icária, Mar Bella, among several others.) – Barcelona is known for its beaches. People flock to Barcelona during the summer months to bask in the sun and enjoy the warm weather that the Spanish coast offers. Although the beaches may be artificial, per se, they are still quite enjoyable. (Spain imported sand from Egypt to create beaches along Barcelona’s coastline.)
- Climb Mont Jüic – Mont Jüic is a glorified hill that overlooks Barcelona’s coastline. Mont Jüic was the site of the 1992 Summer Olympic games, but it is also home to a few historical sites as well as picturesque views of the city itself. There is an old castle fortress at the top, botanical gardens, an art museum and a bar. It is definitely worth spending a few hours exploring Jüic.
- Stroll through Gaudi Park (Park Guell) – Gaudi Park, commonly referred to as Park Guell, is a park with art works and buildings designed by Antonio Gaudi. The park has become quite touristy over the years, but it is still not a bad place to walk. There are several nice walking trails and a few museums to see within the park. I recommend checking it out.
- See the Gaudi Houses – Along with Park Guell are the Gaudi Houses. They are sporadically placed around the city, but are very distinctly Gaudi. Gaudi has a very unique way of designing buildings with peculiar shapes and colors. You will definitely see what I am talking about once you have seen a few of his designs.
- Walk down Plaça d’España – On your way up to Mont Jüic, I recommend walking around Plaça d’España. The walk is nice and there are a few really nice views. Check out the Magic Fountain also.
- See a game at Camp Nou –
If you happen to be in Barcelona during Futbol season, I recommend checking out a FC Barça game. If you aren’t you can still take a tour of the stadium and learn about the history of the club.
- Walk La Rambla – La Rambla is probably the most touristy street in Barcelona. For this reason, I do not recommend hanging out, eating, or even shopping on the street. However, that being said, La Rambla does have its perks. It is busy and full of people for those who like being around other people, and there is entertainment. (Beware of pickpockets!)
- Visit the Open Markets (There are a few: Sant Josep, and the Moroccan market, among others) – I am a sucker for open-markets. I love everything from their randomness to the overall vibrant energy that they produce. The screaming, bargaining, the hustle; there are always good vibes emanating from them. The Moroccan Market is located between the Encants and Clot Metro stops closer towards the giant round-tipped building that lights up in the night. It is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays for sure. Sant Josep is on La Rambla. There are others spread out around the city.
- Walk Barrio Gotico (Gothic District) – Barrio Gotica is an area of Barcelona that sits near the coastal area. The streets of Barrio Gotica are smaller and more ‘European’ than the other streets of Barcelona. Many of the buildings in the district boast Gothic era architecture, and most of the city’s historical relics are located in or around the district. They are many little alleyways and crevices to check out in the area. Spend some time looking around.
- Hike Tibidabo – Tibidabo is a mountain that overlooks Barcelona from the inland part of the city. If you have ever been to Barcelona, then Tibidabo is where that church sits way in the distance. Loosely translated from Latin, Tibidabo means “I will give it to you”, and it can be found in parts of the bible. Many people know that there is a funicular and roadway leading up to Tibidabo, but few backpacker’s know that there is a nice hiking trail leading up to the top. The trail is located near the funicular, just keep walking.
- Party in Porto Olympico – If you get to Barcelona and you are looking for a good time full of excitement, people, and the beach, then I recommend heading to Porto Olympico for a night. There are tons of discotecas in Porto Olympico that vary in price and style. Many are exclusive leaving huge lines and guest lists, but starting somewhat early should get you into a club. (Be sure to dress nicely.)
- See the Arc de triomf – You might think that I made a typing error here, and meant to post this in a Rome or Paris post, but there is actually an arc in Barcelona as well. It is quite large. In fact, it is larger than several of the ones in Rome, and I think that it probably rivals the one in Paris. It is distinctly placed at the end of Passeig de Sant Joan near the parc de la Ciutadella.
- Take a tour of the Monumental Arena – Monumental is actually a stop on the purple metro line; however, when you get out you will notice an old arena on the side of the street. This arena was where they used to have bull fights before they were banned in Catalunya. You can take a self-guided tour for just a few Euros at the gate.
- Check out La Sagrada Familia – La Sagrada Familia is likely the most famous landmark in Barcelona. This is possibly due to its bizarre and spectacular stature and outlandish design, or perhaps it is Antonio Gaudi’s lasting legacy and vision that keep people in awe. The Basilica is unmistakably Gaudi, and it has been under construction since Gaudi was first assigned to it in 1883.
- Chill in Parc de la Ciutadella – Parc de la Ciutadella is a great park located just outside of the Barceloneta neighborhood near Estació de França train station. The Zoo of Barcelona is also connected to the park. Therefore, if you wish you can make a day out of it. The park is great for afternoon relaxations or picnics. There are many grassy areas with which you can use to entertain a group of friends. Sunday’s and holidays are particularly busy days.
- Walk through Barcelona’s Red Light District – Barcelona has a red light district? Well, not exactly, but just west of La Rambla is the area it would be if it had one. I once was walking through the streets and found it by accident. I quickly made the connection due to the mysterious ladies lining the streets.
- See the Roman legacy in Parc del Clot – Park del Clot is on the opposite side of the city to where all the touristy areas are located. Not too many people visit it, and truthfully there are not too many things to do in the park. That being said, history buffs will enjoy the lasting Roman aqueducts that still stand tall in the park.
- People watch in Plaça d’Catalunya (Plaza de Cataluña) – Plaça d’Catalunya, or Plaza Catalunya is located at the top of La Rambla, the heart of the Barcelona tourism industry. For this reason, there are tons of people to watch, especially during high-season. You can also find many shopping centers in or around the Plaza.
- Get lost in a Barcelona neighborhood – One of the greatest things about Barcelona is that there are so many neighborhoods that few people know about. They are some really nice and homely neighborhoods in the eastern and central part of the city.
- Take a stroll around the maremagnum – Maremagnum is another hotspot near La Rambla where people can go to shop. Maremagnum is the largest shopping mall that Barcelona has to offer. People who enjoy aquariums can visit the Barcelona’s very own while doing some shopping. They share the same building.
- Visit the ‘New’ area of Barcelona– The far eastern part of the city is the new and developed area of Barcelona. It offers a stark contrast to the other sites of the city.
- Drink and eat at la champagnería – La Champagnería is an interesting little bar-restaurant tucked away in Barceloneta. Few foreigners would happen upon the place if they were not specifically looking for it, as there is not much to the place. It is a small dive-bar style business that serves food sandwiches and Cava, like you wouldn’t believe. Be sure to arrive early and get at least one place at the bar.
- People watch and have a beer in Plaça Reial – Those looking to do some more watching can relax for dinner and a drink in Plaça Reial, which is just off of La Rambla. It gets really busy in the nighttime hours as people hit the streets for a night on the town.
- Walk around Sant Pau – Sant Pau is a religious micro-town in Barcelona’s east central area. It is north of Passeig de Dos de Maig and Passeig de Cartagena. There are several churches and mission-style buildings. It may be something for you if you are in to churches, but there is nothing much more there.
- Climb Barcelona’s other hills – When you get to a high point in Barcelona, you realize how many hills there are in the city. Most of them are interesting hikes that won’t take you too long to do. They have a few unique neighborhoods connected to them as well. Just look for a hill and start walking.
- Tour an Art Museum– There are multiple art museums in Barcelona. They are really nice to visit and have some really nice artworks from famous artists such as Pablo Picasso. Museums include MACBA (Contemporary Arts), Palau Nacional, and the Pablo Picasso museum, among others.
Tell me what you think!
Have you been to Barcelona before? If so, what were your favorites? If not, what would you like to see?
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