Barcelona is a city that I absolutely adore. The architecture is some of my favourite in the world, the food is to die for and I love the constant buzz and excitement of the city. It offers the glorious mix of having a beautiful beach where you can relax with the sand between your toes and the sun on your skin and it also offers all of the things you’d expect from a cosmopolitan major city.
I’ve been to Barcelona probably around ten different times so I like to think I know the city pretty well (although I am by no means an expert) so here’s some of my favourite top things to do in Barcelona…
Admire the architecture
Each time I visit Barcelona I can’t help but fall in love with the architecture all over again. There is so much more to the city than simply the works of Antoni Gaudí, although his work and influence can be seen throughout the city.
My favourite buildings in Barcelona are the modernisme style ones. These include everything from apartment buildings with gorgeous facades to amazing colourful buildings such as Casa Batlló and the iconic Sagrada Famillia. There’s so much wonderful architecture to admire and I could happily wander the streets for hours just marvelling over the incredible buildings all around the city.
Barcelona has some amazing tapas bars and if you’re visiting the city you absolutely must be ready to try lots and lots of different dishes. We tried out Cuitat Comtal on Rambla de Catalunya, which was super busy with local business people on their lunch break and we also stumbled upon or check out Segons Mercat on Gran Via, near to where we were staying. They specialise in fresh fish and tapas and it was utterly delicious and reasonably priced.
Another great place to find tasty treats in Barcelona is at one of the markets such as La Boqueria which is rumoured to be one of the best markets in all of Europe. It has fresh local ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and everything else you could ever need to whip up a great meal in the city.
Live like a local
I’ve visited Barcelona probably around 10 times and every time I’ve stayed in different hotels dotted all over the city, except on my latest visit. This time I booked an apartment through GowithOh, an apartment rental company that I’ve previously used in both Paris and Berlin.
The apartment I chose was in the Eixample neighbourhood of the city, a district that I loved exploring, and had the most ridiculously amazing private roof terrace overlooking the city. I loved relaxing on the balcony over a lazy breakfast or with a glass of wine in the evenings. Perfect!
Relax in The Placa Reial
The Plaça Reial is one of my absolute favourite spots in Barcelona and lies in the Barri Gòtic, or gothic area of the city, one of the best parts of Barcelona to get lost in the little streets. This gorgeous open square sits just off the hustle and bustle of La Ramblas and is the perfect place to sit for lunch or with a drink and do some people watching.
Enjoy the views
Barcelona is a gorgeously picturesque city and there’s plenty of great places that you can go to enjoy the views.
Park Güell is a large park which has some of the best views over the city as well as intricate mosaic covered houses with spindly roofs that are so typical of Gaudí. The park is free to visit however, if you wish to enter the monumental zone, the most interesting and detailed part of the park, there is a fee. The queues for this can be incredibly long and in summer the waiting time can be around 2 or 3 hours! I recommend buying your tickets in advance to avoid waiting and wasting precious time in the city.
You can also admire views over the city and the port from the Montjuïc cable car (Telefèric de Montjuïc) which climbs over 80 metres on a 750 metre run. On a clear day the views cannot be beaten.
Explore the different neighbourhoods
Barcelona is filled with different neighbourhoods and each of them has their own atmosphere and feel. The Gràcia neighborhood is becoming more and more popular and is full of pretty squares and open-air terraces overflowing with people. It is relaxed, laid-back and there are beautiful buildings, great bars and excellent restaurants.
The Eixample area of the city is another one of my favourites. I like that it feels less touristy and more local in this area and
Check out Barceloneta
Barceoneta is an area of the city that was entirely refurbished for the Olympic Games which the city hosted in 1992. It is home to Barcelona’s best beach and is the perfect spot to go for a long walk or hire a city bike and whizz along the beach-front. There’s also some pretty great seafood restaurants here. Don’t forget to try some paella!
Visit the Camp Nou
Barcelona is home to one of the largest and most impressive football stadiums in the world, Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona. The stadium holds almost one hundred thousand people and the Camp Nou Experience takes you through the clubs interesting history and allows you access to the dressing rooms, stand and pitch. A must for any football fan.
I’ve visited the Camp Nou four times on different visits to the city but haven’t yet been lucky enough to be in the city on a match day. Going to a Barcelona home game at Camp Nou is pretty high on my list of things to do!
Admire the magic fountains
I checked out the magic fountains of Barcelona on my latest visit to the city and was so glad I did. On certain days as it gets dark the giant fountain lights up in different colours and ‘dances’ along to music. The fountains are in a gorgeous location sitting before the stunning Palau Nacional building.
The show is absolutely free and usually begins just as it is starting to get dark. During our visit there it was super busy when the show first started and got quieter as time went on and it got darker. The fountains actually looked better the darker the sky got so I’d recommend waiting a little while and heading over a bit later when it’s darker and a lot quieter.
So that’s my pick of things to do in Barcelona, do you have anything to add to the list? Have you done any of these things?