Things to do in Barcelona

Things to do in  Barcelona

In Gaudí we trust

One of Spain’s most cosmopolitan cities, Barcelona attracts travelers with its whimsical architecture, Mediterranean beaches, and round-the-clock dining and drinking scene. Follow former resident Antoni Gaudí’s artistic genius around the city, from Parc Güell to Casa Battló to his crown jewel: the still-unfinished Sagrada Familia. Get acquainted with local cuisine at La Boqueria Market, then eat your way through the bars and restaurants of neighborhoods such as the Gothic Quarter and Gràcia. Catch a football match at Camp Nou to see how FC Barcelona is revered at a nearly religious level. And if you have any energy left, party ‘til the sun comes up at a multistory club.

Top 15 attractions in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Antoni Gaudi’s magnum opus, is undoubtedly the most iconic structure in Barcelona (and the most popular, with nearly 3 million visitors per year). Construction has been ongoing for more than 135 years, and the surreal structure, with its rainbow-hued stained glass windows, is slated for completion in 2026. Even in its unfinished state, it remains an absolute must-see for every visitor to the Catalan capital.More

Park Güell

Antoni Gaudí spent 15 years designing and building the whimsical fountains, mosaic benches, pedestrian walkways, and gingerbread house-like buildings within Park Güell, one of the seven Works of Antoni Gaudí locations that together make up a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along with the Sagrada Familia, the hilltop public park sits at the top of Barcelona’s must-see list, and for good reason. The art nouveau wonderland adorns many a postcard of the city.More

Casa Batlló

One of Barcelona’s most fanciful buildings, the elaborate Casa Batlló was built by celebrated Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and is nicknamed the “House of Bones” for its contorted window frames and skeletal pillars. Casa Batlló’s interior is equally mind-boggling, featuring rippled walls, exquisite tile work, and sculpted fireplaces.More

Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic)

Barcelona's Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) dates back to the Middle Ages, and the neighborhood’s age is evident in its narrow winding roads, shaded plazas, and beautiful architecture (including three major cathedrals). Passersby find gems tucked away in the nooks and crannies—think trendy restaurants, chic bars, and boutique shops. The area's proximity to the La Rambla pedestrian mall also contributes to its popularity among the young, nightlife-loving crowd.More

Milà House (Casa Milà)

One of Antoni Gaudí’s most intriguing creations, the spectacular Casa Milà—also known as La Pedrera (The Quarry) because of its wave-like stone exterior—caused some controversy among critics when it was first unveiled back in 1910. Today, however, it's considered a masterpiece of Catalan Modernisme, with gaggles of visitors coming to see its surreal sculptural roof terrace, the re-created early 20th-century interiors, and the attic-level Espai Gaudí exhibit, which is devoted to the great Catalan architect’s work.More

Passeig de Gracia

Passeig de Gràcia is one of the most beautiful—and expensive—avenues that runs through the center of Barcelona. The thoroughfare links the Placa Catalunya in the Eixample district to the eponymous Gracia neighborhood, and is home to a number of fantastic modernista and art nouveau buildings, including some stunners by Antoni Gaudí.More

Port Olímpic

Flanked by the Torre Mapfre and Hotel Arts skyscrapers, the Port Olímpic was built as part of the area’s redevelopment in preparation for the 1992 Olympics. With its proximity to the beach and its iconic public art (including Frank Gehry’s Peix), it has become one of the most popular leisure areas in the city and a busy marina.More

Las Ramblas

Barcelona's most famous street, Las Ramblas runs from the Columbus Monument in Port Vell to Plaça de Catalunya. To walk its tree-shaded pedestrian expanse is to be inundated with sensation: souvenir hawkers selling beach blankets and trinkets, street performers posing for selfies with tourists, florists displaying their arrangements, restaurants serving tapas and paella at alfresco tables, and artists painting caricatures for passersby. It's a microcosm of Barcelona, and it's almost always busy, day or night.More

Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de Barcelona)

Standing tall over a medieval square in the center of the Gothic Quarter, the Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de Barcelona) is the seat of the Archbishop of Spain and a major landmark of the city. The cathedral is known for its 14th-century cloister full of palm trees and a Gothic portico where 13 geese wander.More

Montserrat Mountain

Located about 30 miles (50 km) northwest of Barcelona is Montserrat Mountain, the 'Serrated Mountain.' This unique rock formation, sawed and sculpted by thousands of years of wind and rain, is most famously home to a Benedictine monastery, an important Catholic pilgrimage spot thanks to its 12th-century wooden statue of La Moreneta (The Black Madonna), Catalonia's patron saint. Aside from its religious and cultural importance, the mountain also boasts unbeatable views from its peaks.More

Catalunya Square (Plaça de Catalunya)

Old and new Barcelona meet in Catalunya Square (Plaça de Catalunya), the famous plaza in the heart of the city. Two massive avenues, La Rambla and Passeig de Gracia, converge here too, as do many walking tours and other groups. The square is located near some of Barcelona’s top attractions and is filled with cafés, bars, and restaurants.More

Ciutadella Park (Parc de la Ciutadella)

Barcelona’s oldest and most popular park, Ciutadella Park (Parc de la Ciutadella), is a picturesque expanse of greenery with several attractions. Its landmark Arc de Triomf, designed by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, serves as the monumental gateway to the northern entrance of the park, which is also home to a boating lake, the Barcelona Zoo, Catalan Parliament, two museums, and a much-celebrated series of sculptures.More

St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral (Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar)

St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral (Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar) stands at the end of Passeig del Born as one of Barcelona’s most magnificent Catalan Gothic churches. Built in the 14th century, the cathedral is characterized by its architectural elegance and harmony. A highlight is the 15th-century stained-glass rose window.More

Arc de Triomf

With its signature red-and-white neo-Mudéjar brickwork, the Arc de Triomf of Barcelona stands tall in the center of the wide Passeig de Lluís Companys. Designed by Catalan architect Josep Vilaseca, it originally served as the entrance to the 1888 Universal Exposition, which took place at the nearby Parc de la Ciutadella.More

Placa del Rei

The heart of Barcelona’s Old Town, Plaça del Rei is the city’s best preserved medieval square. The 14th-century Palau Reial Major (Royal Mayor Palace), which dominates the square was home to the counts of Barcelona and the Kings of Aragon. The Plaça is now an unofficial open-air museum of fine gothic architecture.More

Trip ideas

A 360˚ Virtual Tour of Barcelona's Casa Batlló

A 360˚ Virtual Tour of Barcelona's Casa Batlló

Top activities in Barcelona

Skip the Line: Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia Guided Tour
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Skip the Line: Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia Guided Tour

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Barcelona in One Day: Sagrada Familia, Park Guell & Old Town with Hotel Pick-up
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Barcelona Tapas and Wine Experience Small-Group Walking Tour
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Barcelona Tapas and Wine Experience Small-Group Walking Tour

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Sagrada Familia: Fast Track Guided Tour with optional Tower
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Sagrada Familia Skip-The-Line Guided Tour
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Montserrat Half Day Experience from Barcelona
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Complete Gaudí Tour: Casa Batlló, Park Guell & Sagrada Família
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All about Barcelona

When to visit

Summer is fiesta time in Barcelona, when the city hosts some of Europe’s biggest music festivals, including Sonar and Primavera Sound. While soaring temperatures send summer visitors to the beach, the cooler months of fall are ideal for exploring Barcelona’s colorful neighborhoods. In November, the scent of roasting chestnuts fills the air during the Catalan festival of La Castanyada.


A local’s pocket guide to Barcelona

Monica Nunez

Monica is a Viator account manager based in Barcelona, where you’ll find her walking around the Montjuic hill, shopping in Paseo de Gracia, or discovering new restaurants.

The first thing you should do in Barcelona is...

get lost in the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter and the El Born neighborhood.

A perfect Saturday in Barcelona...

starts with drinks at Salts in Montjuic, followed by a stop at the beach, a seafood lunch in La Barceloneta, and a cocktail at a chiringuito (beach bar). Finish your day with dinner in El Born.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

La Sagrada Familia. It’s a very popular attraction, but you won't regret stopping by. And don’t forget to go inside to discover the magical colorful interior.

To discover the "real" Barcelona...

have vermouth and tapas on a terrace in the Gracia neighborhood. There’s always a great atmosphere.

For the best view of the city...

Bunkers del Carmel viewpoint offers a 360-degree view of the entire city and the sea. It’s normally busy and it’s quite far away from the center, but the amazing view is worth it.

One thing people get wrong...

eating in La Rambla. It’s usually overpriced and not great quality.


People Also Ask

Is Barcelona in Spain or Catalonia?

Barcelona is located in the region of Catalonia, which is in northeastern Spain. Catalonia is an autonomous community within the Kingdom of Spain, which means that it has its own set of devolved powers. Catalonia has its own languages and traditions and is the center of Catalan nationalism, which calls for independence from Spain.

How many days do you need for Barcelona?

Barcelona is famously laid back so to really get a feel for the city, you should take it easy, too. Plan to spend at least three days in Barcelona. That will give you enough time to see the highlights, including the Sagrada Famillia and Montserrat, as well as the opportunity to soak up the beach, dining, and nightlife scenes.

What are some of the popular ways to see the Barcelona city?

For first-time visitors, taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to see Barcelona. It lets you get your bearings and decide where you want to spend your time. Taking a wallking tour is a must-do in neighborhoods such as the Gothic Quarter: your guide will fill you in on thousands of years of history.

What is Barcelona famous for?

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is best known for its tasty tapas, world-beating soccer team, and collection of works by Antoni Gaudí, the Catalan architect of the Sagrada Família and Park Güell. Visitors are also drawn to Barceloneta beach, Montserrat mountain and monastery, and the tree-lined pedestrian street called La Rambla.

What should I not miss in Barcelona?

Barcelona is filled with world-famous attractions. You shouldn’t miss the works of Gaudí, including the Sagrada Familia (take a guided tour for the best experience) and Park Güell. Take a stroll around the Gothic Quarter and go up Montserrat Mountain. Beach lovers should head for La Barceloneta, while foodies shouldn’t skip the Boqueria market.

What is the most visited place in Barcelona?

With almost 5 million visitors per year, the Sagrada Familia is Barcelona's most visited tourist attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece, the basilica's construction has been ongoing for more than 135 years and is still unfinished. Park Güell and the FC Barcelona Museum and Camp Nou are the next most visited attractions.

What are the do's and don'ts in Barcelona?

To experience the real Barcelona, eat late but don’t eat at the tourist traps on La Rambla—in fact, don’t spend much time on La Rambla at all. Learn at least a few words of Spanish or (even better) Catalan but don’t broadcast your views on Catalan independence. Take your time and don’t try to cram too much into one day.

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