17 can't-miss issues to do in Barcelona

Barcelona is certainly one of Europe’s hottest cities, and with good motive. The historic capital of Catalonia is filled with galleries, museums, points of interest and locations to eat.

Set between the mountains and sea, Barcelona is a buzzing and vibrant metropolis, celebrated for its distinctive structure, well-known artists and concrete seashores. Listed below are one of the best issues to do in Barcelona in your go to.

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Uncover La Sagrada Família, 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 beneath building for greater than 130 years, and it’s nonetheless not completed.

Removed from a building website, nevertheless, the church options two grand facades studded with intricate stone carvings, towers that gleam with gem-like tiles and an inside stuffed with tree-like columns hovering up towards the cover ceiling. Earlier than the pandemic pressured a pause, the constructing was anticipated to be accomplished in time for the a centesimal anniversary of Gaudí’s demise in 2026, however that date has now been pushed again, although building has resumed. 

2. See extra of Gaudí’s designs

The Sagrada Família will be the most well-known of Gaudí’s buildings, however all of his fantastic whimsical designs are price a go to. 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 façade and fanciful chimneys. A few of his lesser-known however equally lovely buildings embody Casa Vicens, the primary home he ever designed; Palau Güell, which he designed for his patron Eusebi Güell; and the Torre Bellesguard.

Discover the streets of Barcelona’s atmospheric Gothic Quarter © David Soanes Pictures / Getty Pictures

3. Wander the Gothic Quarter

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is the oldest and most atmospheric a part of town. Characterised by small alleyways, hidden plazas and historic buildings, it lies to the east of La Rambla, the well-known pedestrian road that runs by the middle of the outdated city.

The neighborhood is scattered with century-old retailers, small bars and cafes. Some highlights of the Gothic Quarter embody the placing Plaça Reial, fringed by cafes and palm timber; Plaça Sant Jaume, residence to the grand Palau de la Generalitat; and the spectacular Cathedral.

4. Discover Barcelona’s meals markets

La Boqueria could be essentially the most well-known of Barcelona’s meals markets, however every neighborhood has its personal, so there are a number of glorious ones to select from. La Boqueria is the oldest and one of the atmospheric, however in recent times, extra stalls have given over to issues comparable 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 multi-colored wavy roof, or the grand Mercat de Sant Antoni, which reopened in 2018 after 9 years of renovations.

The coastline of Barcelona beach with a large hotel in the background
Barcelona has loads of seashores to discover © Siqui Sanchez / Getty Pictures

5. Take in the solar at Barcelona’s metropolis seashores

No matter time of 12 months you go to Barcelona, the seashores received’t disappoint. Even in winter, it may be sunny sufficient to take a seat outdoors and revel in a meal at one of many seaside eating places, whereas summer season affords all the things 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 middle and seaside volleyball.

6. Enterprise up Montjuïc

Montjuïc is the inexperienced hill to the south of town, residence to the Olympic Park, in addition to quite a few museums and gardens. Rising from Plaza d’Espanya, you may 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 big Olympic stadium and the remainder of the Olympic Park. 

A counter full of people eating tapas at Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona
Snack on plate after plate of tapas in Barcelona’s Mercat de la Boqueria © Jon Hicks / Getty Pictures

7. Snack on some tapas

When starvation pangs arrive within the afternoon or early night, make the most of the pre-dinner tapa. This implies heading to the native favourite for a chew of anchovies, sausage, squid, wild mushrooms, roasted peppers or dozens of different tempting morsels. Wine, cava and beer all make fantastic 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 technique to dinner or simply head to a different tapas bar and skip the sit-down formality altogether.

8. Find out about an icon on the Museu Picasso

Picasso lived in Barcelona between the ages of 15 and 23, and parts of town undoubtedly influenced his items, from the colourful however merely painted frescoes hanging within 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 attraction, as do the buzzy history-rich surrounding streets of El Born.

Soccer fans watch a game between Futbol Club Barcelona and Manchester City at Camp Nou in Barcelona
Camp Nou is a must-see stadium for sports activities followers © Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

9. Catch a sport at Camp Nou

FC Barcelona performs a distinguished position within the metropolis’s creativeness. Heading to a soccer match at Camp Nou from September to Might is one of the simplest ways to catch a little bit of Barcelona fever, however watching it on display at a tavern may be simply as a lot enjoyable, relying on the gang. 

Planning tip: Even if you cannot make it to a sport, the interactive Barça Stadium Tour and Museum expertise takes you thru the locker rooms and onto the sector, hallowed floor for a lot of Catalans.

10. Expertise Barcelona’s well-known nightlife

The Barcelona night time holds limitless prospects. Begin with sundown drinks on a rooftop terrace or sink your heels into the sand at a rustic-chic beachside xiringuito. As darkness falls, town transforms with buzzing squares and stay 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 the event you’re nonetheless standing at 3am, hit the golf equipment for Barcelona’s unabashed wild facet.

Hundreds of people walk along La Rambla, the famous pedestrian street in Barcelona
La Rambla is certainly one of Barcelona’s most visited spots © Veniamin Kraskov / Shutterstock

11. Spend an early morning on La Rambla

Positive, the leafy 1.2km (0.75-mile) pedestrian boulevard of La Rambla that stretches towards the ocean is essentially the most touristed spot on the town – at instances you’ll be able to barely push by the crowds. However come very first thing within the morning and you will 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 road, together with the elegant Gran Teatre del Liceu, the sprawling Mercat de la Boqueria and quite a few galleries. A number of different barris, comparable to El Poblenou, have their very own enticing rambles, too.

Dish of escalivada, made of grilled eggplant, red pepper and onion, on a rustic wooden table next to a cruet with olive oil
Savor Catalan dishes like escalivada, made with grilled and peeled eggplant, crimson pepper and onion © nito / Shutterstock

12. Take pleasure in Catalan delicacies

Barcelona is a superb foodie metropolis, identified all through the world for its revolutionary cooks and inventive delicacies. Whilst you’ll discover tapas bars all over the place, be sure you pattern some native Catalan dishes, too.

Earlier than you dine, take part 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. Observe it up with conventional Catalan dishes, comparable to butifarra amb mongetes (sausage with white beans), suquet de peix (fish stew), escalivada (roasted crimson peppers, onions and eggplant) and crema catalana (just like crème brûlée). Pattern the delicacies at Casa Delfín.

13. Have a good time throughout pageant time

As a result of Barcelona has a pageant virtually each different month, it received’t be exhausting to make your journey to town 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 folks give one another presents of books and roses to have a good time St George) and the hearth pageant of St Joan in mid-June. A few of the primary options of Catalan festivals embody the castellers (human towers), big 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, town’s best-known Twentieth-century native son, bequeathed this artwork basis to his residence city in 1971. The sunshine-filled buildings are full of seminal works, from Miró’s timid early sketches to work from his final years.

A balcony of the Palau de la Música Catalana decorated with many multi-colored mosaics on the bannisters and columns
Palau de la Música Catalana is an excellent instance of Modernista structure © Emreturanphoto / Getty Pictures

15. Scope out examples of Modernista structure

One of many issues that makes Barcelona so charming is its Modernista structure. An inventive motion that affected all the things from literature to artwork to structure, the Modernisme period lasted from the late nineteenth to the early Twentieth centuries.

You’ll be able to establish these buildings by their shiny colours, floral or botanical motifs, patterned tiles and curvy strains. A few of the greatest examples may be seen across the Eixample space, however you may as well discover them dotted everywhere in the metropolis. Moreover Gaudí’s Modernista works, a number of the greatest examples within 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 middle. Vacant warehouses are being reimagined as inventive tech and design hubs, cafes, boutiques, bars and extra.

17. Sip a drink at certainly one of Eixample’s rooftop bars

Admire Modernista marvels over a cocktail or vermouth. Eixample’s elegant streets conceal an array of hidden-away, view-laden open-air bars and cafes beloved by barcelonins, lots of them inside swish inns however open to all.