What to see in Spain
Tourist attractions Barcelona
Barcelona might not be the capital of Spain, but it’s one of the country’s most popular travel destinations. A vibrant metropolis in the northeastern region of Catalonia, Barcelona has a distinct culture, an artistic atmosphere and plenty of sights! A coastal city, with kilometres of sandy beaches, a trip to Barcelona is sure to delight you with its spectacular nightlife, wow-factor architecture and laid-back vibe. Around every corner, you’ll encounter the creative heart in this youthful city, where modern art museums rub shoulders with centuries-old city walls.
At the heart of Barcelona is La Rambla, a kilometre long street that stretches from Plaza Catalunya to Port Vell. From here, the rest of the city stretches out in an organised grid system, making navigating the city a breeze. Each neighbourhood in Barcelona has a distinct vibe. Head to Gracia for bohemian cafes and artisan shops, enjoy the upmarket feel of Eixample or the old-world charms of Barceloneta, an old fishing village behind the beachfront.
Barcelona’s history stretches back to Roman times, but it’s best known for its modernista architecture and the works of Antoni Gaudi, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. From soaring surrealist cathedrals to abstract houses and decorative gardens, the cityscape is sure to surprise you if you travel to Barcelona. Furthermore, medieval streets and churches, ultra-modern skyscrapers and minimalist buildings can also be found in this eclectic city. The most modern parts of the city are a result of the 1999 Summer Olympics, which were held in the city and propelled it into worldwide fame.
If you visit Barcelona you’ll find it a delightful city to explore. The city is set across a grid system and Barcelona’s metro is large and efficient, whisking you throughout the city and connecting all the major landmarks. City breaks to Barcelona are particularly popular. A dynamic city where you can see some of the world’s most iconic architecture, experience Catalan culture and then kick back on the beach, a trip to Barcelona is always a good idea!
Things to see in Barcelona
There is such a wide range of things to see in Barcelona, it’s no wonder it’s one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. Of all the stand out sights, Gaudi’s otherwordly architecture is amongst the best things to see in Barcelona. From the soaring spires of La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, where Gaudi himself is buried, to the colourful mosaics of Park Guell, Gaudi’s masterpieces are the symbols of Barcelona. Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, both located on the major avenue Passeig de Gracia, are two further Gaudi works to captivate your imagination if you travel to Barcelona.
At the opposite end of the city from Park Guell is Montjuic, a flat hilltop offering sweeping views across the city. Here you’ll find many of Barcelona’s treasures, from the impressive Palau Nacional, home to the National Art Gallery of Catalonia and the amazing Magic Fountain, which wows visitors with a light and sound extravaganza every evening in the summer. Montjuic Hill also encompasses the Olympic complex, the Palau Sant Jordi Stadium, a Botanical Garden and a public swimming pool overlooking an unforgettable panorama of Barcelona. Furthermore, the historic Montjuic Fortress, dating back to the 17th-century, is located at the peak of the hill.
In contrast to the glamorous sights of Montjuic, to experience the artistic heart of Barcelona, be sure to visit the neighbourhood of El Raval, on the southern side of La Rambla Street. Here you’ll find plentiful street art and the famous MACBA modern art gallery, known both for its impressive art collection and for the skateboarding community that practice in the square outside the gallery. El Raval also boasts a wide range of trendy and unique restaurants, showcasing the diversity of the city and countless boutique shops and artisan workshops. It is also the heart of Barcelona’s nightlife.
If you travel to Barcelona in the search for the most atmospheric plaza to enjoy a sundown drink, head to the famous Placa Reial, at the heart of the Barri Gothic neighbourhood. With its Gaudi-designed lamposts, palm trees and pretty fountain, Placa Reial is one of the most popular places to visit in Barcelona. Lying just off of La Rambla, the square is home to countless restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Here you can sit on a cafe terrace, people watch and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Barcelona whilst watching the numerous street performers or musicians. A must-visit highlight if you choose a vacation to Barcelona.
Craving green space during your trip to Barcelona? Then it’s time to discover the vast Parc de la Cuitadella, a stone’s throw away from the impressive Arc de Triomphe monument. A green oasis in the heart of the city, on a Sunday afternoon the locals flock to this park to unwind in the sunshine, play music or practice sports. The park is decorated with an array of interesting sculptures, but the highlight is the wonderful ‘Cascada’ waterfall, one of the earliest works of Antoni Gaudi. Within the park, you’ll also find Barcelona Zoo, the Catalan Parliament and the Castle of the Three Dragon, home to a zoological museum.
Finally, if you’re a foodie, one of the best things to do in Barcelona is to visit La Boqueria Market, one of the most famous food markets on earth! Situated in the Old Town, just off of La Rambla, this large public market showcases the diversity of Catalan and Spanish cuisine with its array of fresh produce. First mentioned way back in the 13th-century, La Boqueria has long been at the heart of Barcelona and its rainbow-coloured displays of fruit and vegetables make it a dream destination for photographers. Loved by locals and tourists alike, visiting La Boqueria is a highlight of any Barcelona tour.