The Best Sights and Attractions to See in Barcelona
Planning for an upcoming trip to Barcelona, but got limited time to see the sights? In that case, you’re gonna need to know about the city’s absolute must-dos. You could spend weeks in the Catalonian capital and still not have ticked everything off the list. So if you have just a few days to explore, use this as a guide to the city’s most incredible sights and attractions that you can use to fill up your itinerary, and that you simply cannot miss on a trip to Barcelona.
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You'd be crazy to go to one of Europe’s sunniest seaside cities without a trip to the beach, especially when it won’t cost you anything. Soak up some rays at Barceloneta beach, with sand sculptors, street entertainers and amazing, fresh seafood just a few minutes walk from the away. However if you’d rather not bask in the sunshine amongst crowds of people, head up to Nova Icaria beach. It’s only a 10 minute walk from Ciutadella Park but this one is definitely a little more peaceful.
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La Boqueria Market
No food lover should miss out on the bustling La Boqueria Market. You can find the market in the centre of town off the famous Ramblas in the Raval neighbourhood. La Boqueria is always busy, especially in the summer months. But it still retains its title as Barcelona’s best market - and the produce is amazing. The local Michelin star restaurants buy their fresh fish, local meat, herbs, spices and vegetables early in the morning, but you can swing by a little bit later and check out the most delicious Spanish and Catalan food.
Head down for lunch or an early dinner and try some of the restaurants here - oysters and cava are a favourite, or enjoy piles of tapas at the famous Bar Pinotxo, Bar Boqueria or El Quim de la Boqueria foody bars. The market is closed on Mondays.
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One of our favourite sights in Barcelona, Gaudi Park is the result of the iconic work by famous Spanish architects Antoni Gaudi and Eusebi Güell. This public park is home to colourful parklands, gardens and incredible architectural elements. It was officially opened in 1924 and received UNESCO World Heritage site status in 1984. With fanatical and trippy aspects, this park is like nothing else in Barcelona. A stroll through this mountainous garden will give you some of the best views of the city and let you explore some truly rare artistic gems. Some areas are free to access but we recommend buying a ticket to get the full Park Guell experience.
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La Sagrada Familia
Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia has rightly received masterpiece status, a UNESCO World Heritage site and impeccably designed, it is as stunning outside as it is in. Combining Spanish late Gothic and Catalan Noucentisme styles, Gaudí spent his last years working on the Roman Catholic church. Its intricate facades, astounding stained glass windows and unique design cement Sagrada Familia as a work of art that must be seen when in Barcelona. It’s free to admire it from the outside, and to go inside it costs €22 for an audio guided tour.
Fun fact: Did you know it’s one of the longest on-going construction project in history - and it’s still not complete? Once it is, it will have taken longer to build than the Egyptian pyramids. It’s expected to be completed between 2026–2028.
Barcelona’s picturesque Ciutadella Park is definitely worth paying a visit to after a hectic day of touring the sights. A truly beautiful park to enjoy an ice cream or a sunbathe. The zoo and the Catalan Parliament within the park will cost to get in, however you can laze around the park grounds for free all day. You could even rent a little rowing boat and catch some rays on the famous lake.
Prepare to be bowled over by awesome Barca views from the top of Turó de la Rovira where the Carmel Bunkers were left from the Spanish Civil War. Although the bunkers are informative and original, the free panoramic views and stunning evening sunset really steal the show. Buy a bottle of wine and some yummy snacks from a supermarket and enjoy views unlike any other in Barcelona.
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La Rambla is one of the most buzzing boulevards of the city. The place is alive with activity pretty much 24/7, so a night out at the bars here is always a good choice. Incredible street performers can be found around La Rambla in the day time to keep you entertained, as well as countless souvenir and jewellery stands. Be cautious around here as pickpockets tend to base themselves around here so keep your things safe.
A lot of tourists think it’s just one stretch but La Rambla actually consists of 5 different avenues including Canaletes, Estudis, Sant Josep, Caputxins and Santa Monica, and lastly La Boqueria (the food market we’ve already talked about).
Better known as La Pedrera, Casa Milà is a modernist building designed by Antoni Gaudi; it’s in our opinion one of the best examples of Gaudi’s architecture in the city. This UNESCO World Heritage site is well worth the visit and you can go inside to discover the history and hidden secrets of the building; this includes the attic Gaudi designed, a recreated Gaudi inspired apartment to show how a rich family in Barcelona lived in the 20th century, as well as beautiful courtyards. There is a remarkable roof terrace at the top with beautiful stairwells that take you up there. To get a real feel for Gaudi’s work, don’t miss Casa Milà.
Montjuïc is a huge hill that overlooks Barcelona harbour. To get there, we recommend taking the spectacular cable car which takes you straight to Montjuïc castle, while you stand over some of the most incredible views of the city. From the castle, the views are just as amazing - walk around the outside for 360 degree, panoramic photos that’ll make your jaw drop! Entrance to the castle is free every sunday after 3pm, and on the entire day on every first sunday of the month. Don’t expect to get here for a sunset however, as it closes up at 6pm daily.
Camp Nou Stadium Tour
Camp Nou is one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona. Locals adore Barcelona FC and the team has one of the most devoted fan bases in the world. Any football fan should make time for the Camp Nou Experience, perhaps the most cutting edge stadium tour in the world because it has its own museum, one of the best sports museums to grace the planet. On this tour, you’ll get to see the pitch, the changing rooms, the tunnel, commentary boxes and of course, the museum. Here you’ll get to come up close and personal with the trophies won throughout the club’s history, see the section entirely dedicated to Messi, learn about the female Barcelona FC team and even get interactive with touch screens.
Get lost in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, as the labyrinth-like winding streets will lead you to some of the most picturesque sites in the city. The medieval architecture dates all the way back to the Roman era and, if you look closely, you can see the remnants of this time embedded in its walls. The mix of modern and medieval buildings mean you will find plenty of shops, bars and restaurants in and around the Gothic Quarter for a pick-me-up coffee or bite to eat. This is also where you’ll find the stunning Barcelona Cathedral.
The acclaimed Picasso Museum is often at the top of art lovers must-see list. Reflecting the artist's time in Barcelona, it is a record of his formative years. Opened in 1963 with the help of his friend and personal secretary, Jaume Sabartés, the museum originally had a limited exhibition from Sabartés personal collection. Decades later the permanent collect has nearly 3,800 pieces and is spread across five adjoining spaces. By no means an overview of Picasso’s work, instead the museum extensively explores his studies at art school. Starting here, the work moves into his blue period and then jumps into paintings from the mature Cubist era and ends with a fantastic collection of linocuts, engravings and a collection of ceramics. For Picasso fans, this is the perfect place to lose an afternoon. If you’re aged between 18 - 25 you can get in for €7.
Literal house goals. Another Gaudi masterpiece is Casa Batlló one of his most independent creations. Incredibly eye catching and colourful on the outside, go inside the house to see how the Batlló family once lived. Mosaics and ceramics, all designed by Gaudi can be found inside. This is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Barcelona and architectural dream come true.
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Article by Darcy King and Shereen Sagoo