Spain is overflowing with rousing cities, but the list of things to do in Barcelona is longer than almost anywhere else in the country. The eclectic range of activities makes it effortless to stay entertained while you’re visiting Barcelona.
Barcelona offers historical architecture, renowned museums, and even natural wonders surrounding the city. That’s why it’s indisputably considered one of the best places to visit in Spain. Plus, the seaside city is home to some of the best places to dine, drink, and party on the entire planet. So, you’re never far from a life-changing meal or evening.
Table of Contents
- 27 Best Things to Do in Barcelona
- La Sagrada Familia
- Park Güell
- Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
- Plaça de Catalunya
- Casa Batlló
- FC Barcelona Museum
- La Rambla
- La Pedrera-Casa Milà
- Picasso Museum
- Barcelona Cathedral
- Ciutadella Park
- Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)
- Mercado de La Boqueria
- Telefèric de Montjuïc
- Barcelona City Tour Hop on Hop off Bus
- Encants Market
- MUHBA Turo de la Rovira
- Palau de la Musica Catalana
- La Barceloneta Beach
- Parc del Laberint d’Horta
- L’Aquarium Barcelona
- Tablao Flamenco Cordobes Barcelona
- Rambla del Poblenou
- Abbey of Montserrat
- Take a Bike Ride Around Barcelona
- FAQs About Things to do in Barcelona
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27 Best Things to Do in Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia
Visit the most popular tourist attraction in Spain with over 3 million visitors annually.
If there is one attraction that’s a must-see in Barcelona, despite its overwhelming popularity, it’s La Sagrada Família. The famous unfinished church was designed by Antoni Gaudí, and has been under construction since 1882 (supposedly it will be finished later this decade).
Walk around the facade to see it from different angles, then head inside to see the stained glass windows. The windows throw rainbow patterns around the entire structure during the day. You’ll see lots of people strategically getting a photograph bathed in the rainbow lights. Your best chance of getting your own photo by yourself is showing up bright and early when the first attraction opens.
For the best experience, pre-book a skip the line guided tour, otherwise be sure to reserve your tickets in advance or be prepared to wait in line.
👉 Pro Tip: Want the epic views of the photo above? Book a room at the Sercotel Hotel Rosellon, the only hotel with direct terrace views of Sagrada Familia and an excellent choice for where to stay in Barcelona. Just be aware the popular hotel does book up fast!
Spend hours strolling this UNESCO-ranked park filled with unusual and colorful artistic monuments.
You’ll come to discover that some of the coolest things to see around Barcelona were crafted by Antoni Gaudi. The architectural master himself. The Monumental Zone of Park Güell is another one of those masterpieces.
This park gives you the opportunity to walk through a myriad of Gaudi’s colorful, modern-feeling buildings in an open-air setting. It’s a favorite location for snapping selfies or aesthetic photos among the structures with Barcelona in the background.
If you’re visiting Europe on a budget, you can check out everything in Park Güell completely for free except the Monumental Zone. However, entrance to the Monumental Area is still very affordable if you just have to see it.
Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
Experience one of the most exquisite examples of Gothic architecture at this massive church in La Ribera.
There won’t be a short supply of mind-blowing buildings in Barcelona and many of them are churches. Like the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar.
Located in the Gothic Quarter, this medieval 14th-century castle is the last one left that was made in the pure Catalan Gothic style. There’s nothing quite as haunting and beautiful as knowing you’re seeing the only surviving piece from a particular style.
When you visit, make sure you get a good glimpse at the distinctive rose window, one of the most treasured features of the church.
Plaça de Catalunya
Begin your Barcelona trip at this plaza that’s the ideal starting point to get to many of Barcelona’s top attractions and restaurants.
If you’re someone who’s never stepped foot in Barcelona before, Plaça de Catalunya is the perfect place to start. Located in the city center of Barcelona, this plaza is often referred to as the heart of the metropolis for its advantageous location. The plaza itself is filled with cute little cafes to grab some caffeine, street performers, and clothing stores around. There are also statues to see like the Columbus Monument.
The thing that’s so great about Plaça de Catalunya is that it’s right near so many of Barcelona’s top attractions. Making it the ideal place to begin a long day of exploring beautiful Barcelona.
The popular shopping streets of La Rambla and Passeig de Gràcia are right next to them. The Cathedral of Barcelona and La Boqueria Market is only a few blocks away. Plus, there’s public transportation all around, so you can always get to your next activity.
👉 Need a Hotel? Check out my guide to the where to stay in Barcelona.
Explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site crafted by Gaudi known for its highly inventive design that looks futuristic even though it was built over 100 years ago.
You might be getting sick of hearing about all these Gaudi buildings, but trust me, you’ll never grow tired of seeing them. Casa Batlló in particular is a creatively-constructed showpiece. It’s even earned the coveted title of being considered a UNESCO site. The closer you get, the more crazy little details you’ll find.
While you can visit this attraction during the day, it truly comes alive once the sun goes down. During these Magic Night events in the summer, there are musical performances and immersive light shows. It’s the closest thing to being transported to another dimension that you can get!
FC Barcelona Museum
Dive into the history and artifacts of Spain’s favorite sport at Camp Nou, one of the city’s top stadiums.
If you’re a football fan (or a soccer fan for all my Americans), you have to check out the FC Museum when you’re in the area. The museum is even located in the Camp Nou stadium where the current FC Barcelona team plays.
The sport and club are a key part of Barcelona’s history. It’s kind of like walking around an art museum that’s located in the artist’s studio. There are former uniforms, trophies, and just about every type of football memorabilia you can imagine. You can even get the chance to walk around the vast field where so many historic games were played.
Walk this famous street that spans nearly a mile of Barcelona with lots of shopping, food, and several monuments.
When you get tired of visiting historical sites or architectural works, it’s time to go to Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is a well-known, vibrant street that runs right through the city center. It’s the ideal place to spend some time when you just want to walk around embracing the local vibe in Barcelona. Along this one boulevard, there are places to see live music, flower shops, and one of Spain’s most famous markets.
La Pedrera-Casa Milà
Enjoy concerts in the summer and light shows in the evening on the epic rooftop of this unique building designed by Gaudi.
Okay, I promise! Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, is the last piece of work by Gaudi that you have to visit in Barcelona. Each one is different, so you’ll get something new here even though it might feel like it’s getting redundant.
The best time to experience the building is during the summer when there are light shows on the gorgeous rooftop. The show plays against the interesting design of the building. Creating something most people have never experienced before. There are also jazz concerts at Casa Milà in the evening, which is just the best way to kick off a night in Barcelona.
Peruse the temporary exhibits and classic masterpieces by one of the most famous artists in history.
You’re probably pretty familiar with the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. But, have you had the opportunity to see over 4,000 pieces of his legendary work? I didn’t think so! That’s why you should definitely make some time for the Picasso Museum when you’re in Barcelona.
The Picasso Museum is located in Barcelona’s astonishing Gothic Quarter. It is one of the top art museums in Spain and, indeed, the entire world. To really get a feel for all the greatness that lives within this museum’s walls, you’ll want to join a tour.
Luckily, there are practically endless guided or self-guided tours of this particular attraction. Such as this Picasso Walking Tour with Skip the Line Ticket.
Head over to the Gothic Quarter to experience one of the most important and impressive religious establishments in the city.
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (933)-151-554 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 12:45 pm, 1 pm to 5:30 pm, 5:45 to 7:30 daily, 8 am – 12:45 pm, 1 pm to 5:00 pm, 5:15 to 8:00 Saturdays, 8 am – 1:45 pm, 2 pm to 5:00 pm, 5:15 to 8:00 | Entrance: $9.49, adults, Free under 12
Technically, the name of this magnificent church is The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. However, it’s such an iconic piece in the city that it’s more commonly called Barcelona Cathedral.
After strolling around the first floor, you can take an elevator up to the roof of the cathedral to get a sweeping view of the city.
Locals and tourists alike enjoy lounging in this ornate late 19-century park, featuring boats, a zoo, miles of trails, and inspiring sculptures.
Ciutadella Park is a massive park situated right in the heart of Barcelona, nestled between Barceloneta beach, the Gothic Quarter, and Dreta de L’Eixample. Built in the late 1800s, Parc de la Ciutadella is home to numerous government buildings and ornate sculptures.
On weekends, the park comes alive with locals relaxing for picnics, taking long strolls or bike rides, or renting boats to paddle the park’s lake. There is also a zoo which, until 2003, was home to the famous albino gorilla Snowflake.
Visiting Ciutadella Park is definitely one of the best free things to do in Barcelona!
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)
Get familiar with the regional artwork from the past 1,000 years at a beloved palace and museum.
There are a lot of famous artists and creators who were from the Catalonia region. You can get a glimpse of their skill at Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, also known as MNAC. It’s located in a very majestic-looking palace surrounded by gardens.
The museum has an insanely large collection of Catalan art with over 1,000 pieces in total.
Mercado de La Boqueria
Purchase anything from fresh fish and olives to wine and pastries at the oldest food markets in Barcelona.
I’m a huge fan of wandering around a local market when you’re exploring a new city. Barcelona’s Mercado de La Boqueria is a gem — arguably the single best market in Spain. Running along La Rambla, La Boqueria is actually the oldest food market in Barcelona.
If you’re cooking any meal while you’re in Barcelona, you can easily find everything you need here. Alternatively, there are tons of prepared snacks on the go to grab in the middle of a day out on the town.
Telefèric de Montjuïc
Reach Montjuïc Castle at the top of the hill in the most efficient way and see some of the most expansive views of the city along the way.
This attraction in Barcelona is kind of like a two-for-one. It’s convenient transportation up the mountain. But it’s also like an exciting little ride in itself with some of the clearest visibility of the entire city. It’s an especially fun way for kids to experience Barcelona.
Barcelona City Tour Hop on Hop off Bus
See the sights of Barcelona from the comfort of an open top bus. Get on and off the route as you please.
Does the thought of navigating Barcelona’s public transport system seem too stressful to you? Or perhaps you want to save on taxi fares?
The Barcelona City Tour is a hop-on hop-off bus tour that takes you through all the main attractions in Barcelona. You book either a 24 hour or 48 hour ticket and, as the name suggests, you can hop on and off at stops along the way.
If you only have a few days in Barcelona, this is a great way to take in many of the best things to see in a short period of time. The tour also comes with an optional catamaran upgrade, which is another cool activity in Barcelona.
Find second-hand treasures, vintage items, and antiques for a bargain price at this bustling and historic flea market.
If you want to bring home some souvenirs to remember your trip, but you’re traveling on a budget, you might find a one-of-a-kind treasure at Encants Market.
This flea market has a variety of items from furniture to trinkets. Even if you don’t buy a thing, it’s super entertaining to see all the stuff that’s available at this second-hand wonderland.
MUHBA Turo de la Rovira
Take in panoramic views over Barcelona that reach all the way to the sea from these former bunkers that were used during the Spanish civil war.
When I first climbed my way up to this attraction, I thought to myself, “Oh my god, I have to move to Barcelona!”. Seriously, Turo de la Rovira took me from liking the city to completely falling in love with Barcelona.
Right before sunset, crowds of people gather around these former bunkers at the top of the mountain to relax, have a drink, and watch the day come to a close. If you’re traveling alone, this is one of the hidden gem places to make friends. It’s a magical moment that’s an impeccable way to kick off a night out.
Palau de la Musica Catalana
Catch a show at this intricately-designed concert hall known for being one of the most beautiful music venues in the world.
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (932) 957-200 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 3:30 pm daily | Entrance: $16.90, adults | 👉 Browse Palau de la Musica Catalana Tours on Viator
I’ve been to some astonishing music venues in my life, but Palau de la Musica Catalana takes it to a whole different level.
While there are interesting shows here all the time, it’s best known for the design of the venue itself. It’s almost difficult to watch performers when they’re doing their thing in such an awe-inspiring setting.
La Barceloneta Beach
Eat seafood, get drinks, or simply lay out in the sun at this golden, sandy beach that runs along the edge of the city.
One of the coolest things about Barcelona is that it’s a world-class city that also happens to be right on the coast. Yes, that means beaches.
There are a couple of nearby beaches to choose from, but my favorite is La Barceloneta Beach. It’s a clean, sandy beach that’s great for swimming or lounging. Plus, there are tons of restaurants and bars within walking distance.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Wander the labyrinth of paths at this prim and proper lush green garden that is the oldest one in the city.
If you’re on the hunt for an easygoing outdoor activity that won’t be overwhelmed with crowds, stop by Parc del Laberint d’Horta.
This manicured city park features one of the city’s oldest gardens and a winding cypress tree maze that you can walk through. The park evokes an element of royalness and it almost feels like you’re stepping through a queen’s grounds.
Walk through this aquarium’s transparent tunnel that allows visitors to walk through tanks with fish, sharks, and morays.
If you’re traveling to Barcelona with children, you won’t want to miss this next activity – L’Aquarium Barcelona. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of aquariums. However, this one is a little different from your average aquarium.
It’s the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world and it has one really special feature. A lengthy tunnel that goes right through the tanks of sharks, rays, and all types of fish. That’s what I call a core memory.
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes Barcelona
Watch a traditional flamenco show at one of the most well-known theaters for performing the dance in the entire world.
One of the most fun ways to get to know Spanish culture is by attending a Flamenco performance.
I’d recommend catching a traditional show at one of the best theaters in the city, Tablao Flamenco Cordobes Barcelona. They always provide an entertaining evening complete with sangria and a buffet.
Rambla del Poblenou
Stroll a relaxed neighborhood, stopping for tapas or drinks at one of the many establishments lining this wide pedestrian pathway.
El Poblenou is a less touristy neighborhood of Barcelona located in the east of the city, that was previously its own separate town but is now a part of Barcelona.
Rambla del Poblenou is a long bike and pedestrian pathway that stretches from Avenida Diagonal down to the beach. Along the pathway, you’ll find over a hundred shops, restaurants, and cafes. It’s the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon of people watching and soak in Barcelona.
Check out Xorús for Spanish cuisine, L’Autentic for Lebanese fare, or Vrutal for a hamburger.
Taste experimental delicacies that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before at the 3rd best restaurant in the world.
The food in Barcelona is so good that it might even change the way you look at food altogether. If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to Barcelona eats, you’ll want to make a reservation at Disfrutar.
This legendary experimental seafood restaurant is ranked as the 3rd best restaurant in the entire world. Due to this surging popularity, you may need to get a reservation to Disfrutar way in advance. Maybe even before you get on the plane.
Abbey of Montserrat
Make your way to the top of this gigantic mountain to find a monastery and a museum with artwork from Dali and Monet.
For one last final gorgeous view over the city of Barcelona, I’m going to take you all the way up to the Abbey of Montserrat.
This is a huge monastery that lives on the top of the Montserrat mountain range. You literally have to drive through the clouds to reach it. The monastery and art museum up there are very fascinating, plus you can’t get any higher so the views are pretty fantastic, too.
👉 Pro Tip: It’s fairly difficult to get up Montserrat by yourself, even if you have a car. That’s why I’d recommend joining a tour for this activity. This Montserrat Half-Day Tour is a great choice. It takes you all the way up the mountain and even comes with tapas and wine.
Take a Bike Ride Around Barcelona
With lengthy dedicated bike lanes and a unique city layout, Barcelona is perfect for exploring on a bicycle.
Barcelona is perfect for exploring by bike. The city was built in a unique grid scheme, which means that there are long stretches of uninterrupted pathways, many of which have dedicated bike lanes.
If you live in Barcelona, you can take advantage of the city’s public bicycle scheme, known as Bicing Barcelona. Unfortunately, Bicing is not available to tourists as the registration process takes two weeks.
Party until the sun comes up and soak up Barcelona’s legendary nightlife at the #1 ranked best bar in the world.
Barcelona is known around the country and planet for its wild nightlife scene.
For people who plan on taking advantage of this fact, you want to go to the absolute finest bar in the city – Paradiso. Not only is it the best bar in Barcelona, but it was also ranked as the #1 best bar in the world in 2022. Who doesn’t want the right to say they’ve been to the world’s best bar?
👉 Read Next: How to Find the Best Travel Insurance for Spain
FAQs About Things to do in Barcelona
What are the do’s and don’ts in Barcelona?
When you’re visiting Barcelona, there are so many Do’s that visitors should honor like learning basic Spanish phrases, taking free walking tours, eating tapas, and buying tickets to attractions in advance. The don’t of Barcelona include don’t wear flip-flops except at the beach, don’t eat dinner before 8 pm, and don’t speak loudly in the streets at night.
Can you visit Barcelona in 2 days?
It’s possible to visit Barcelona in two days and still see many of the city’s top attractions. But, accomplishing this task will require attentive planning and time management. For visitors who want to explore at their own pace, it’s better to allot 3 to 4 days in Barcelona.
What is the best month to visit Barcelona, Spain?
The best month to visit Barcelona, Spain is May. During this month, the weather is prime for beach days and there are tons of events happening all the time. But the summer rush of tourists hasn’t made their appearance quite yet.
However, the best time to visit Spain or Barcelona depends on your preferences. In the summer, the weather is nice, but it’s very busy. In the winter, it gets rainy, but you have the city all to yourself.
How many days do you need in Barcelona?
You need around five days in Barcelona to fully experience the city. Within five days, you’ll easily be able to visit any attraction you want, walk around the beautiful streets, and try plenty of delicious Spanish food.
👉 Read Next: Best Day Trips from Barcelona
You’re officially in the loop of all the best things to do in Barcelona. Which activity or attraction are you most looking forward to visiting? Before you set off on your grand adventure to Barcelona, read our Spain packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything important. Have fun exploring Barcelona!
Nate Hake contributed to this blog post.
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