10 things to do in Barcelona 

Barcelona like many European cities is a vibrant and energetic city which you can either take at a fast pace or slower. I of course chose the latter as the last 5 weeks have been rather hectic and I needed a reprieve. Which I am glad to say Barcelona definitely gave in plentiful tides  and much more. During the summer I had a lovely guest post by Sally, 5 things to see in Barcelona. Obviously she knew I had the city on my bucketlist and she shared her tips which helped shape my itinerary.

Normally when I travel, I create at least five items that are popular tourist attractions and the rest I fumble along. I like to leave at least one day or afternoon just for wandering around, exploring the new place. For Barcelona I needed it to be slow, nothing rushed and no tight timelines. It was all about enjoying the city and living like a local for a few days. Here are the 10 things to do in Barcelona should you ever get the chance

10 things to do in Barcelona – Top Five

The following attractions are ones I highly recommend for everyone to visit if you’re ever in Barcelona. I will try to include some tips I learned whilst I was in Barcelona and hopefully will be helpful to you.

10 Things to do in Barcelona

{ONE} Sagrada Familia

One of the most unfinished works of Gaudi, a Catalan architect who died in a tram accident. The church was consecrated as a Basilica by the Pope in 2010 and was declared UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona with a target completion date of 2026.

Tip – Book your tickets a day or two before to tour the church. I choose the Sagrada and audio, this allowed me the first floor and underground area.

Even in its current state the Sagrada Familia pulls in millions of visitors every year and I was one of them. When a friend encouraged me to book a tour, I was reluctant to be honest. I am used to appreciating the architecture of a building from the outside but you need to enter. To say I was blown away by this unfinished Roman Catholic church would be an understatement of the year.

{TWO} Park Güell

A garden city project that was transformed into an urban park constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. This is one of Gaudi’s work which is intimately linked to his life as an architect and lived in one of the houses. Gaudí took inspiration from nature as it is tailored to the natural environment in form and shape. The garden park was declared a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in 1984 15 years after it was declared a national monument.

Tip – The Park has limited availability in terms of numbers of people who can enter it at any given time. Book tickets well in advance or go early to change chance to get tickets. There is a free part where you can explore Gaudí Museum and the rest of the Park. 

10 things to do in Barcelona

{THREE} Hospital de la Santa Creu

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, this is one of the most wonderful and unsuspecting places in the city. I was ready to over the site because I was rearing from seeing the Sagrada Familia but I am glad I didn’t. The restorative work on Sant Paul Art Nouveau was done by LLuis Domenech i Montaner, a contemporary of Gaudí. I can not recommend it much, the site has so much to be beheld.

Related: Ten things to tick off the Barcelona 

10 things to do in Barcelona

{FOUR} Glòries Torre Agbar

A building of ever-changing colours and HQ for Barcelona water company is the third tallest in the city. Designed by a French architect Jean Nouvel took inspiration from the towers of the Sagrada Familia and water. The Glòries shopping center is one of the largest in the city covering three large buildings that house multiple shops and restaurants.

{FIVE} Barcelona Cathedral

I was fortunate to be staying in the old town making it easy to walk across to the Gòtic Cathedral also known as Barcelona Cathedral. Surrounding the church in the old were old museums including the history museum of Barcelona and Gaudí exhibition Center. It was so surreal, I saw the Cathedral at night, early morning and the afternoon and it was still filled with tourists.

10 things to do in Barcelona – Gothic District

10 things to do in Barcelona 

{SIX} The Old Town

What I love about European cities is that each one seems to have an Old Town which always holds so much history. The apartment I stayed in was in the centre of the old town, a couple of yards from Picasso Museum and a few minutes walk of the Arc de Triomf.

{SEVEN} La Barceloneta

Known for its sandy beaches and restaurants, the area is triangular in shape and bordered by the Mediterranean sea. The neighborhood has undergone much development over the years but it is still a fisherman’s town. My favourite part apart from the various beaches was Port Veil and Casa de la Barceloneta {museum}. Connecting Barcelonata to the Olympic port is the paseo maritimo a long sea front promenade. If you’re looking for the best seafood including shellfish and paella then this is the place for you.

Tip: Purchase the city sightseeing hop on hop off ticket to visit many beaches across the coastline 


{EIGHT} Arc de Triomf

A Spanish triumphal arch built in 1888 as an entrance to the Universal Exhibition site. I did not get the change to explore the area during the day but saw it at night and it was gorgeous.

{NINE} Explore Plaça Catalunya

City centre of Catolonia but also a place where the old city and meets the new city, Eixample. Plaça Catalunya is where the most emblematic streets of Barcelona starts, La Rambla. The La Rambla promenade descends all the way into the sea along it are some amazing live mime sculptures.

10 things to do in Barcelona

{TEN} Barcelona coastline

At the end of summer I shared my desire to one day visit Costa Dorada and visiting Barcelona afforded me that chance. With the weather in Barcelona in the 20s for the entire duration of my visit and I managed to soak in some sun. It was a nice change from the usual British weather I encounter daily and definitely gave me my dose of vitamin D.

Useful information 

  • Travel from airport to city, take the A1/A2 bus €5.60 for a single and €10.50 for a return. The return ticket is valid for up to 2 weeks.
  • Be careful of pickpockets at all local transport systems especially the metro
  • Join the free walking tour, meeting points in the old town
  • Take a hop on hop off bus to explore more of the city
  • Book major attractions in advance at least a day or more and arrive on time especially for the Sagrada Familia

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  • Lindy Hamilton

    Wow – Barcelona looks like such a beautiful place to visit. This post has made me want to add it to my bucketlist.

  • Ickle Pickle

    I would so love to visit Barcelona – it is on my travel bucket list. Kaz x

  • Zena’s Suitcase

    I have visited Barcelona but really feel that I’ve just passed through. I would love to spend some more time there. My biggest regret is not going inside the SAGRADA FAMILIA

  • Barcelona is so high up my to visit list than I am yearning to go, some great picks of places x

  • jennifuchs

    I visited Barcelona once, a couple of year ago. Park Guell was my favourite.

  • francesca

    Wow the first church that is still not completed how fascinating!! I’d love to see it!! I also love the sound of the old gothic cathedral what a beautiful place!!

  • I visited Barcelona many years ago. I would love to visit the amazing city again. This time, with the kids.

  • David @ Thinking Thrifty

    One of my favourite places in the whole world. Barcelona is an incredible city!

  • kerry norris

    I’ve not been to Barcelona since i was a little girl. It looks lovely x

  • I’ve never been to Barcelona, but is looks beautiful! Your photos are lovely!

  • Battlemum

    These are all great tips. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Barcelona but I really want to now!

  • Claire Lee

    Wow! I would love to visit Barcelona someday. Great photos, love exploring new destinations!

  • Kara

    It has been 13 years since i last visited SAGRADA FAMILIA so would love to see what they have finished. Love Parc Guell too

  • Melanie Edjourian

    Barcelona is on my wishlist that’s for sure. There are so many great places to visit, I never thought to go visit the beach too. I have heard that you need to be careful of pickpockets.

  • Talya Stone

    Barcelona has to be one of my favourite places in Europe to visit for all of the above reasons it is just so awesome on every level!

  • Ami Rose

    Wow what a list. I’ve always wanted to visit Barcelona. I’m hoping I make it there in the near future. You’ve made it sound wonderful.

    Ami xxx

  • Faye Thomas

    Love Barcelona we visited some 10 years ago and they were working on the Sagrada Familia then. Would love to see it complete so looks like a trip after 2026 is on the cards. Thanks for sharing such a detailed plan of the must see’s.

  • I love Barcelona! I haven’t been there for ages though, would love to head back to the city x

  • Newcastle Family Life

    I have never been to Barcelona before, it looks like a great place to visit. I am sure this will be si helpful to those planning a visit x

  • Beautiful! Definitely somewhere I would love to go 🙂

  • Kira

    So beautiful! I have always said I wanted to go to Barcelona for my honeymoon – better hurry up and get married ! 🙂

  • Laura Dove

    Ahh I am so jealous, I would love to visit Barcelona, it looks amazing!

  • Clairejustineo

    It looks beautiful here. I would love to visit 🙂

  • Wandermust Family

    You can’t go to barcelona without visiting the sagrada familia. This is a great list esp for first time visitors

  • I looooved Barcelona! We did a lot of wandering in the Gothic Quarter, and the Sagrada Familia is so epic!

  • Beach Hut Cook

    I’ve recently visited Barcelona and these tips are great. They really capture the city. Such a friendly city.

  • I would love to visit this city, the post just convinces me of this even more. The Sagrada Familia is stunning, imagine how utterly amazing it would be if it was finished!

  • Barcelona looks beautiful. I never knew it had so much to offer in terms of site seeing and cuture. Would love to visit one day