What are the best things to do in Barcelona? From endless beaches to the charming Gothic Quarter, and designer shopping to art galleries, Barcelona is a city that has it all. Whether you’re heading to Barcelona for a short weekend break or a long summer holiday, you’ll want to get the most out of your time there, so it pays to plan ahead.
Places to go
Barcelona may be a big city, but it’s compact enough to get around on foot. So why not steer clear of the metro and tourist bus and take things at a slower pace? In fact, whiling away the day in the cobbled streets is one of the best things to do in Barcelona if you want to find your bearings and get to know the city in a more intimate and personal way. Plus, you’ll find plenty of pit-stops serving up delicious fare and tipples along the way (how about some pintxos and Sangria to keep you going?).
Barcelona is brimming with impressive buildings, like the dramatic Barcelona Cathedral and the old military fortress Montjuïc Castle. There are also lots of pretty parks to discover, such as the Parc de la Ciutadella and Parc de Joan Miró. If you want to explore a little-known area of the city, it’s worth seeking out the Eixample on the edge of the old city to enjoy spectacular panoramic views.
For some visitors to Barcelona, admiring the magnificent modernista architecture and the works of Antoni Gaudí (a famous Catalan modernist, born in 1852) will be at the top of the list of things to do in Barcelona. As you make your way through the city, you’ll discover dozens of examples of Gaudí distinctive work. Some of the most famous include the Sagrada Família, an unfinished Roman Catholic church, Park Güell, which is an enchanting and fantastical outdoor park and garden, and La Pedrera (which translates at ‘the stone quarry), the last private residence designed by Gaudí, completed in 1912.
Places to visit
If the beach is what you came for, then you’ll want to make a beeline for this beautiful Barcelona attraction. Take your pick from the likes of Sant Sebastià, Barcelonet, Nova Icària and Mar Bella. It’s time to grab your towel, put your umbrella in the sand, and you’ll be ready to soak up the sunshine. They all have their own chiringuitos where you can get a bite to eat and drink. What’s more, within a short drive of Barcelona there are lots of smaller coastal towns to explore. It’s the ideal way to escape the crowds for a while.
To give you some guidance, we’ve included our top picks of things to do on your trip to this vibrant, cultural city right here on this page. And if you don’t have time to make it to all of them during your stay, well, you’ll just have to come back again. And again, and again, and again…