Barcelona

14 things you should not miss when visiting Barcelona

Barcelona is one of those cities that’s got it all: stunning architecture, some amazing beaches and, of course, plenty of delicious food. Oh yeah, we forgot about the weather, too! There’s something to delight everyone in Barcelona. Whatever your preferences are, let’s go over the 14 things you should not miss when visiting Barcelona.

1. Park Güell

Things you should not miss when visiting Barcelona: Park Güell

Let’s begin with a classic that can be found in anyone’s list: Park Güell. Most of you will no doubt have heard of this iconic park since it’s one of Barcelona’s main tourist attractions. It is an enormous, colourfully tiled park filled with gardens and unique architectural elements all over. The park was designed by famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. The name of Antoni Gaudí will pop up a LOT when you’re visiting, or even reading about, Barcelona. Be prepared! Park Güell was commissioned by entrepreneur Eusebi Güell, who had a great passion for Gaudí’s work. That’s where the name comes from.

Park Guëll is immense, we recommend that you set aside enough time, at least half a day! In addition, it is also recommended to order tickets in advance for an early time slot. This way you will have the best experience possible. Tickets can be booked on the official Park Güell website and cost € 10 per person for general admission (they don’t add a service fee during checkout). Don’t fall for other websites that claim they are “official”, because they either add a € 2 service fee per ticket, or the tickets will cost more than € 10 per person.

Our absolute favorite spot in the park was the big square above the colonnade. It is surrounded by a long remarkable serpentine bench, covered in colorful mosaics. The only drawback is that it is very crowded here, even when we visited in late April/early May. For us, the best way to discover Park Güell was to get lost and marvel at all the wonderful architecture. If you take it far enough of the beaten track, you’ll find yourself all alone without another person in sight!

2. La Sagrada Familia

Things you should not miss when visiting Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

Gaudí (who else?) is also the architect of many other famous works in Barcelona, including La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia is also known as the world’s largest unfinished church. It’s practically illegal to visit Barcelona and not admire La Sagrada Familia. It is one of the most wonderful and complex buildings we’ve ever seen. We did not visit the inside, as we were only in Barcelona for a few days and tickets are also quite expensive. The place is crowded at all times, so booking your tickets in advance is not even a recommendation, but a must!

If you’re looking for the perfect 1-day itinerary in Barcelona, check out this blog post from Plan For Me Dani.

3. Casa Batlló, Casa Mila, and Casa Vicens

Casa Battlo, Casa Mila and Casa Vicens

The Gaudí tour continues with two other Gaudí wonders, both located on Passeig de Gràcia in the city centre. Here you can find Casa Batlló and Casa Mila. Admire the brilliant colors, wavy architecture and impressive balconies. The first masterpiece of Gaudí was Casa Vicens, another building full of dazzling colors. It is situated in the neighbourhood of Gràcia. Casa Vicens is less popular than Casa Batlló and Casa Mila, but also worth a visit and less crowded!

4. La Rambla

Barcelona’s most famous street is definitely La Rambla. It starts at Plaça de Catalunya and ends all the way at the port and takes about 20 mins to walk from beginning to end. Here you’ll find (food-/drinks-/souvenir-)stands, restaurants and, of course, street performers. La Rambla is very lively, you don’t know where to look first and there’s always something going on!

In the middle of La Rambla you can find the entrance to Mercat de la Boqueira, a lovely food market. We hoped this would’ve been a “hidden gem”, but looking at the people that bring a visit to this place, we have to say it is a well known attraction. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth a visit! You can both buy and eat food here, it really is a must when strolling through La Rambla. During our short time in Barcelona, we managed to visit this amazing, lively market multiple times!

▶️ Read all about Mercat de la Boqueira.

5. Plaça Reial

Placa Reial

Although there are lots of restaurants on La Rambla, we chose to have a drink at Plaça Reial. This cute square is less than a 5 minutes walk from La Mercat de la Boqueira and an only 2 minutes detour from La Rambla. We fell in love with the atmosphere and architecture here. The terraces of the restaurants all face the center of the place. The palm trees and buildings were beautiful to look at with a sangria in our hands! A less known, but definitely interesting place you have to visit!

6. Port Vell

Port Vell

At the end of La Rambla you’ll find the beautiful port of Barcelona. It is really nice to walk around here, you find beautiful buildings and big palm trees everywhere, and even some amazing art can be admired! El Cap de Barcelona is located here, right at the end of the port. It is a sculpture made by the legendary Lichtenstein for the ’92 Olympics in Barcelona. If you want to enjoy some stunning views over the city you can use the cable car that connects the port with the Montjuïc Hill.

7. MOCO Museum

Things you should not miss when visiting Barcelona: Moco Museum

If you’re into modern and contemporary art, make sure to visit the MOCO Museum! There are two floors full of inspiring modern, contemporary, and street art from some great names like Banksy, Haring, Warhol, Dalí and many more. Tickets are € 14,50 (or € 9,50 if you’re a student) and can be bought on the official website. Once again, no need to go through third parties, as they will add some commission.

Banksy

Haring, Warhol and Dalí only had one work on display, which was quite a bummer since these were the names we came for. However, if you do appreciate Banksy’s art, The MOCO Museum is definitely worth a visit but don’t expect to wander around for hours and hours. There were two rooms full of artwork, including Banksy’s iconic work ‘Girl with Balloon’, which will keep you occupied for a little over 2 hours if you visit as “casuals” like we did.

We paid € 29 for the two of us, which is on the expensive side according to us. Fortunately seeing a lot of original Banksy has made up for that a lot, so all in all we can speak of an enjoyable experience so that’s why we included it in this list!

8. Barri Gòtic

Barri Gòtic (also known as the Gothic Quarter), was one of our favorite neighborhoods in the whole city. This bustling neighborhood is full of charm and history, with also its fair share of beautiful architecture. When strolling around, you will always stumble upon yet another enchanting square or amazing restaurant. 

Things you should not miss when visiting Barcelona: Barri Gotic

The streets of the Gothic Quarter are full of secrets and surprises. Make sure to look up to discover one of the most photographed sights in this quarter! Located on Carrer del Bisbe, you can find El Pont del Bisbe, a lovely Gothic-style bridge. If you’re not quite sure if you’re there, just look around and if you see people taking pictures with their phones pointed to the sky, you have made it to the bridge!

In the heart of the Gothic Quarter you can also find the Barcelona Cathedral. It is one of the most beautiful Gothic-style buildings in the city and definitely a must-visit when you’re in Barcelona. If you need to take a small break, there is a pretty big square located in front of it where you can enjoy a lovely sangria and do some people-watching at the same time!

If you’re looking for the perfect photo spot, make sure to stroll through Carrer del Doctor Joaquim Pou. Here you can take some great pictures with the Barcelona Cathedral in the background. In our opinion, it is one of the most amazing Instagrammable locations in Barcelona that almost no-one knows of!

Kiss of Freedom mural

Near the Barcelona Cathedral you can find a truly hidden gem: the Kiss of Freedom mural. It is a mosaic made up of thousands photographs, created by Joan Fontcuberta. The work is titled “The World Begins With Every Kiss”, since the overall image is two pairs of lips kissing. It is really impressive to see how several thousands of individual photos become a whole. When we say this is a hidden gem, we really mean it. When we visited (and took several pictures in front of it) only 2 people made a stop here as well.

9. Parc de la Ciutadella

Things you should not miss when visiting Barcelona: Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella is an idyllic park where you can relax and walk around. The park really has a lot to offer, it even has a zoo inside of it! You can also enjoy a picnic here or use a rowing boat on the lake. We really wanted to do this, but unfortunately there was already a big line waiting and we didn’t want to wait more than an hour in the glaring sun. You can rent a boat for € 6 for 30 minutes, which really seems like a great deal and so much fun! We’ll definitely do this on our next trip to Barcelona. 

You really should stroll around the park because you can find dozens of hidden sculptures and statues scattered all over the place! The most eye-catching momument is the Cascada Momumental, a beautiful fountain designed by José Fontseré, with the help of Gaudí. It is the most picturesque spot of the park, and also our personal favorite!

10. Arc de Triomf

Arc de Triomf

The Arc de Triomf of Barcelona is located near Parc de la Ciutadella, at Passeig de Lluís Companys, so you can really combine the two when you are in the neighborhood. It is an impressive triumphal arch made of red bricks that you can spot from a mile away. To get there you have to walk down a long avenue full of palm trees that’s full of entertainment. People are blowing bubbles, street performers are dancing and there are musicians singing everywhere, really fun!

11. Teatre Grec

Teatre Grec

Teatre Grec is a hidden gem in the heart of Parc de Montjuïc. This open-air stage is a symbol of Barcelona’s cultural scene. It was built in 1929 and is now the main site of the Grec Festival. When we visited, we compared it to a (very, very small) Colosseum. Teatre Grec is surrounded by gardens, even without the performances it is definitely worth a visit if you’re into ancient architecture. We think it’s one of the best-kept secrets of Barcelona!

12. La Barceloneta

After a long day of sightseeing you can relax at La Barceloneta. It is famous for its sandy beaches and vibrant boardwalk. We absolutely loved strolling along the boardwalk and enjoying the palmtrees, sea and atmosphere. There is so much to see here, you can find street vendors, entertainers, surfers, skaters, people playing beach volley and so much more. Drink a sangria on one of the terraces and feast your eyes! Of course, you can also bring a swimsuit and a towel and spend the whole day sunbathing. 😉

13. Palau de la Música Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana

One of our favorite buildings in Barcelona is without doubt Palau de la Música Catalana. It is a concert venue where you can enjoy incredible musical performances. Palau de la Música Catalana truly is an architectural jewel that we accidentally stumbled upon on our way to Carrer del Doctor Joaquim Pou to take some instagrammable pictures. Both its exterior and interior are stunning, we really are a big fan of Catalan Modernism. It is definitely worth a detour to admire its beauty! You can even book tickets and get the whole tour if that’s your thing.

14. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

What surprised us the most when visiting Barcelona, was the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista. This former hospital is really impressive, with some exceptional architecture all over the site. It is another amazing example of Catalan modernism that we really wanted to include in this list. We only admired it from the outside, but definitely plan to return to Barcelona to admire it from the inside as well!

How to get around in Barcelona

If you’re looking for cheap transportation, we recommend downloading the Cabify app. We didn’t want to be dependent on public transport and also had some rain during our city trip, Cabify was our lifesaver. The principle of the app is exactly the same as, let’s say, Uber, but Cabify really goes above and beyond what most ridesharing apps offer.

For example, Cabify drivers (who work independently) need to pass a rigorous selection and filtration process (all drivers must pass psychometric tests, tests for alcohol and drugs, and a city orientation test). No matter which route your drivers chooses, the app automatically calculates the shortest distance (they are partnered with Waze to do so), so you’ll always pay the lowest fee possible! It seems like we’re writing an advertisement for this app, but we really couldn’t praise Cabify enough. It should also come as no surprise that most rides cost us less than € 7 (even when we drove all the way from Park Guell to Plaça de Catalunya!). A must have when visiting Barcelona!

Where to stay in Barcelona

Looking for more Barcelona recommendations?

Our favorite places to eat in Barcelona
The best brunch hotspots in Barcelona
The coolest bars in Barcelona you can’t miss
5 days in Barcelona: Budget Breakdown

We may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through our links at no extra cost to you. This helps us maintain our site and create more useful content for you. We appreciate your support! ❤️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also like