Top Things To Do in Barcelona

Barcelona is a magical city curled around the Mediterranean under 
a fairytale skyline of soaring spires and Modernista mansions.

At its heart is the crooked, shadowy Barrio Gotic (Gothic Quarter), encircled by the elegant grid of L’Eixample, and in sharp contrast is the vibrant street Las Ramblas. Gaudi's creamy, organic architecture creations reach far and wide, floating on the skyline, such as the Sagrada Familia and undulating roof of Casa Mila.

Forget sangría and bullfighting—this is Catalunya, a part of Spain with its own language, customs and long, long history. Outside the Catedral you'll see traditional dancing every Sunday.

Most of all, Barcelona is one of Europe’s most stylish cities and is right at the vanguard of 
cutting-edge design. Bold, brash and bent on a good time, it has a spectacular array of restaurants: from the finest haute cuisine to humble seaside taverns and dining at stalls in La Boqueriea market. There's excellent shopping, and a vibrant nightlife that buzzes right through until dawn.

It's not only about the urban attractions. Enjoy the vibrant, sandy coastline, including Port Olympic, which really does put the icing on the cake. There are also easy excursions from Barcelona including to Sitges. 

Basilica de la Sagrada Família

The craggy Nativity Façade, completed shortly before Gaudí’s death in 1926, is a magical introduction to this masterpiece.
 Its soaring bulbous spires are seen from all over the city.

Las Ramblas

Barcelona’s most famous promenade stretches for almost a mile towards the sea. Lined with kiosks selling newspapers, the prettiest part, around the Rambla de Sant Josep, overflows with flower stalls. Endless entertainment is available here, from Russian dancers to Chinese acrobats, as well as ‘human statues’.

Camp Nou

On match days you’ll hear 'Visca el Barça!' (Up with Barça!) ringing out through the city’s streets. Tickets to the matches are difficult to get hold of – after all this is one of the world’s best clubs and with a huge following. Learn more about FC Barça at the popular Camp Nou Experience Tour and Museum.

Casa Milà (La Pedrera)

Gaudí’s huge, curved apartment building was dubbed 
La Pedrera (The Stone Quarry) by locals when it was completed in 1912. There isn’t a straight line anywhere, including inside the apartments, of which one is open to visitors. All the Modernista furniture and fittings were created by the finest craftsmen of the era.

Catedral de Barcelona (La Seu)

At the huge Gothic cathedral, built between 1298 and 1450,
 a lift transports you up to experience the dizzying views among the gargoyles. Highlights include the carved choir stalls of the Knights of the Golden Fleece, the sculpted organ loft and tomb of Santa Eulalia in the crypt. Open daily 8am-7.30pm; donation requested.

Font Màgica de Montjuic

This huge ornamental fountain, comprising a kitsch aquatic ballet of colorfully lit water leaping in time to music, was built in 1929 for the International Exhibition. Moving water jets, musical pieces from Abba to Tchaikovsky and shifting shades of light in syncopation have made it a hugely popular nightly event.

Mercat de la Boqueria (Boqueria Market)

There are about 40 daily produce markets in Barcelona, but this is the best known, with hundreds of stalls under one pretty, Modernista roof. Stalls at the front have inflated 
prices for tourists – head to the 
back for cheaper goods. Unusual local cheeses and hams, vegetables and fruit. 

Barri Gòtic

This Gothic Quarter is one of the best-preserved medieval neighborhoods in Europe. This was the original heart of Barcelona and now beautifully preserved—it's compact, and best explored on foot. Look out for its medieval alleyways, the 13th-century cathedral and tucked-away bars.   

Museu Picasso (Picasso Museum)

Located on the smart Carrer Montcada, the museum occupies five restored town houses. Inside are more than 4,000 works in its permanent collection, including many of Picasso's important early works. These show his close relationship to Barcelona and how he wished to leave a firm imprint on the city.

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Barcelona's much-loved opera house, Gran Teatre del Liceu, founded in 1847, is extremely popular so book tickets as early as possible. It hosts regular well-known opera, dance, recitals and concerts in its main auditorium. The small stage in the basement holds performances for children. 

Port Olímpic

Barcelona’s beaches and seafront were given a multimillion dollar facelift for the 1992 Olympics. The glistening Port Olímpic is packed with bars, restaurants and shops, all overlooked by swish new urban developments and Frank Gehry’s shimmering copper fish.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

This monolithic palace on Montjuïc contains Catalan art from the last millennium. Don’t miss the Romanesque frescoes gathered from remote churches in the Catalan Pyrenees, plus the new floor devoted to modern art. There are regular temporary exhibitions. Open 10am-8pm Tue-Sat, Sun and hols 10am-3pm.