Things to do in Barcelona
From historic neighbourhoods to 24/7 party culture, there’s heaps to see and do in Barcelona. This vibrant city is jam-packed with atmospheric barrios to explore, Modernista architecture to admire, cult high-street chain stores to ransack, cultural sites to stimulate your mind and outdoor spaces to get your body moving as well as festivals seemingly every week of the year.
Strike out on foot and wander around the local neighbourhoods – each with its own distinct flavour. Barri Gòtic is where you’ll find the medieval alleys of the Old City, while the Barceloneta and the Ports area is home to great seafood and beachside nightlife. Head to the Born and Sant Pere district for picturesque streets or the gentrified Raval for Gaudi masterpieces and modern art sites. Eixample (a.k.a. ‘Gaixample’) is the city’s LGBT heart and the home of more Gaudi showstoppers, and Montjuïc and Poble-sec offer respite from the heat amid cultural and natural sights. Gràcia is a popular and buzzy barrio, while upscale Sarrià boasts the city’s posh homes, boutiques and dining hotspots.
Aside from Gaudi, don’t miss Modernista marvels in Eixample like Casa Amatller by Puig i Caldafach, a ceramic-covered, Dutch-style house, or Casa Lleó Morera – an ornate building by Lluís Domènech i Montaner plus his Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau of mixed architectural influences and 20 garden pavilions.
If you worship at the high temple of retail, max out your plastic at some of Spain’s most well-known chain stores like Mango and Zara, as well as stocking up on young Barcelona designers at niche boutiques such as OnLand, Zazo&Brull, The Box and Syngman Cucala. Finish your spree with an imaginative and carefully crafted sweet treat at a patisserie, bakery or artisan chocolate shop – you’ve earned it! For our fave things to see and do in Barcelona, read on.
Embracing the fantastical and the fairytale, Antoni Gaudí’s examples of Catalan Modernism architecture are public works of art. Take a stroll to explore the facades and interiors of his world-famous structures like La Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, Parc Güell and La Casa Batlló.
A must-see for any football fanatic, Camp Nou is the hallowed ground of one of the best premier soccer teams in the world – FC Barcelona. The Camp Nou experience allows fans behind the scenes and into the players’ tunnel, visitor’s change rooms and a pitch-side look at the playing field.
This Barcelona hill offers great views of the urban city and the delta plus cultural centres, botanical gardens and Olympic venues to explore. With historic buildings from the 18th century and contemporary sporting centres and modern art, there’s heaps to see at Montjuïc.
Dedicated to Barcelona’s favourite adopted son, Museu Picasso is an impressive collection of Pablo Picasso’s earlier works from his apprenticeship in the city. One of the artistic geniuses of the 20th century, the journey from Picasso’s childhood talent to Cubist masterpieces is absorbing.
For the beating heart of Barcelona, head to the famous tree-lined boulevard of La Rambla where Catalan locals and visitors come to shop, eat, gossip and generally soak up the atmosphere. Don’t miss La Boqueria for a mind-boggling array of comestibles and the accompanying street theatre.