The vibrant city of Barcelona is packed with things to do, delicious food to eat and stunning art and architecture to experience. We loved wandering the Barcelona streets, sampling its top sights and embracing the lively energy of the city before taking some amazing day trips to its surrounding monasteries and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here is our complete list of all the best things to do in Barcelona, including where to stay, what to eat and all the best sights.
The Best Things to do in Barcelona
The Catalan capital of Barcelona is unlike any other Spanish city. With a diverse range of things to see and do, and lots of unique tapas to eat, we hope you have at much fun exploring Barcelona as we did!
1 | Park Guell
Park Guell is one of the most stunning parks on the planet and is just one of the many gifts left by Gaudi to the city of Barcelona. A labour of love for Gaudi, the colourful mosaics of Park Guell are a feast for the eyes and the views of Barcelona are an added bonus.
We spent hours wandering around the vibrant park and loved every second! There are lots of spectacular Gaudi buildings in Barcelona that are all worth visiting.
Park Guell Tickets
Park Guell is one of the most popular things to do in Barcelona and there is always a lot of demand for tickets. We recommend purchasing your tickets in advance and for early on the day you plan to visit. The park can get very busy with visitors by late morning each day and the park is much more enjoyable with less people! – check prices now
Book your Park Guell tickets now
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the most popular cities in Europe, so hotels are always in high demand. To get the best price and location we recommend booking well in advance. We recommend staying close to the city centre which will allow easy access to the city in the early morning and late evening for photography. The hotels we recommend in Barcelona are:
Hotel Brummel: A 15 min walk from Las Ramblas, this beautiful boutique hotel is a perfect base for exploring the city. The Hotel Brummel features an outdoor pool – check latest prices now!
Marriott Cotton House: This is where we usually stay when visiting Barcelona this stunning luxury boutique hotel has large, airy rooms, a beautiful terrace for breakfast and stunning views across Barcelona (including views of La Sagrada Familia) from the rooftop pool. Our hotel of choice for a weekend in Barcelona! – check latest prices now!
H10 Casa Mimosa: located next to Gaudi’s Casa Mila, Casa Mimosa is one of the highest rated hotels in Barcelona. It has 3 beautiful outdoor pools and a stunning rooftop bar with views across the city – check latest prices now!
2 | Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia is symbolic of both Gaudi and Barcelona and stands as his most elaborate and extravagant work in the city. One of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks, the spires of the cathedral dominate the skyline and his work on the exterior invokes furious debate: some consider the building gaudy and over the top while, to others, the intricate detail is a masterpiece.
Gaudi started construction of the Sagrada Familia in 1882 and was his life’s work until his sudden death in 1926. Work continued on his masterpiece through the years and is predicted to be complete by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
Sagrada Familia Tickets
You must purchase tickets to enter the Sagrada Familia in advance of your visit and we recommend buying the priority entrance tickets, with access to Tower. These tickets give you fast entry into the cathedral and access to the tower. The tower has some of the best views in Barcelona. These tickets are great as they are also cancellable up to 24 hours before your visit, giving you flexibility should your travel plans change – check prices now!
3 | Get your Food fix at Santa Caterina Market
Pay a visit to Barcelona’s Santa Caterina market to rub shoulders with the locals and sample some delicious food. We grabbed some freshly cooked tapas at the lively onsite restaurant, Cuines Santa Caterina, which serves up delicious Catalan favourites all day.
4 | Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo is like a scene from a Doctor Seuss book: the funky themed rooms, bright colours and dramatic curving architecture make Casa Batllo a truly unique building. The colours are fantastic and Gaudi’s vision for the building is brought to life via a very clever Virtual Reality app which guides visitors through the house.
Casa Batllo Tickets
It’s worth booking your tickets to Casa Batllo before you visit as it will save a lot of time queuing at the entrance. We recommend buying the premium access tickets that include access to the Batllo’s Gold room – check prices now!
Book your Casa Batllo tickets now
5 | Wander along La Rambla
Street artists, locals and tourists embrace this lively area of Barcelona and La Rambla is packed with energy and people. The pedestrian tree lined street never sleeps and is a great place to explore for a few hours to work up an appetite for some tapas!
Things to do in Barcelona tip: We loved strolling along La Rambla, however be aware that the area is very active with scams and pickpockets. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and mind your belongings.
6 | Casa Mila
Another Gaudi! Known as the stone quarry due to its resemblance to the facade of an open quarry, Casa Mila was the last work designed by Gaudi before he committed himself to the Sagrada Familia. The building is a fairytale of shapes and colours and the chimneys are as quirky as they are beautiful.
Casa Mila Tickets
Similar to the other Gaudi sights in Barcelona we recommend purchasing your tickets for Casa Mila before you visit. You can buy skip-the-line tickets which will save you time when you arrive. Casa Mila hosts a light show in the evening (La Pedrera) with music and dancing lights bringing the building to life. You can secure these tickets also in advance – check prices now!
7 | Hospital de Sant Pau
A former hospital complex, Hospital de Sant Pau is an architectural masterpiece and, together with the Palau de la Musica Catalana, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Barcelona.
The complex comprises 27 art nouveau buildings and is a stunning collection of architecture – check prices now
8 | Santa Maria del Mar Church
The Church of Santa Maria del Mar is an imposing medieval church dedicated to people who work at sea. The church is tucked into the narrow streets of the Ribera district and its location belies its dramatic and colourful interior.
9 | Palace of Catalan Music
The Palace of Catalan Music is an ornate music hall in Barcelona’s Ribera district. The intricate design is a masterpiece of architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner and was built in the early 20th century.
10 | Take in the sights of the Gothic Quarter
The cobbled streets of the Gothic Quarter sit at the centre of the old city of Barcelona and are home to some iconic historical moments: the Columbus monument was constructed in honour of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas, the area where Picasso lived and worked and an old Hemingway drinking haunt.
11 | Tapas
All the sightseeing and walking left us eager for some good food and tapas top the menu in Barcelona. We sampled a lot of tapas during our visit and fell in love with the equally delicious patatas bravas and Spanish broken egg dishes!
12 | Picasso Museum
With over 4,000 Picasso works the Picasso museum in Barcelona houses one of the most extensive collections of his paintings.
Science and Charity and The Mad are our two personal favourites from this must-visit museum – check prices now!
13 | Church of Colònia Güell (Gaudi’s Crypt)
Situated on the outskirts of Barcelona Gaudi’s crypt was one of the highlights of our Gaudi adventures. The unfinished church is the culmination of all Gaudi’s signature styles crammed into one building. During most of our visit we were the only people there and it was such a treat: it’s not every day we have a Gaudi work all to ourselves!
Things to do in Barcelona tip: Although Gaudi’s crypt is located on the outskirts of Barcelona we highly recommend visiting. It was one of our favourite Gaudi sights.
14 | Mount Tibidabo
For the best view of Barcelona make you’re way to the top of Mount Tibidabo, a mountain overlooking Barcelona. The Cathedral dominates the Barcelona skyline and its exterior is even more magnificent up close. Standing atop Tibidabo was one of our favourite views of Barcelona!
15 | Barcelona Cathedral: Cathedral de Saint Eulalia
The long queues reflect the beauty of the Gothic Barcelona Cathedral. The Cathedral is aptly situated in Barcelona’s Gothic quarter and is dedicated to Santa Eulalia martyr, the patron saint of Barcelona who is buried under the altar in the cathedral.
Things to do in Barcelona tip: The cathedral is a place of worship so it’s appropriate to cover up when visiting.
16 | Catch some rays at the beach
Fancy feeling some sand between your toes in Barcelona? The coastline stretches for 4.5km and is home to some excellent beaches.
17 | Wine and people watching
Two of our favourite Barcelona activities: indulging in some people watching while drinking some delicious Spanish wine!
Day Trips from Barcelona
If you venture outside the city these are some of our favourite day trips from Barcelona!
18 | Montserrat
Less than an hour northwest of the city, the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat is one of Barcelona’s most popular day trips. The monastery is situated on a rocky mountainside and the views of Montserrat are equally as compelling as the views from the famous site.
Things to do in Barcelona tip: Montserrat is home to the statue of the Black Madonna, the patron saint of Catalonia. Leave plenty of time to visit the statue which sits above the high altar in the basilica as queues snake around the building.
19 | Poblet Monestary (UNESCO)
Poblet Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the region. The Cistercian Abbey was established in the 12th Century and the monastery is home to magnificent cloisters, royal tombs and a church. .
20 | Tarragona
The port city of Tarragona hosts a feast of ancient Roman ruins: an amphitheatre, temples and the traces of a Roman forum are still visible today. Its seaside location is idyllic.