Barcelona, the Catalan capital, could easily be an ideal place to live: colorful neighborhoods, iconic architecture, long sandy beaches, great weather and delicious food. The city is special for that vivid, creative and festive atmosphere; Barcelona is a very lively place both during the day and night.
Do you need anything else to convince you to pay a visit to this wonderful city? Make sure to check our list of top 10 things to do when in Barcelona.
Pay a visit to La Rambla
Some people call it La Rambla while others call it Las Ramblas because it is actually a few streets linked together.
La Rambla stands for the epicenter of Barcelona, it is the central promenade where something is always happening in the street. The promenade connecting Catalonia Square with the Columbus Monument is packed with terraces and restaurants, flower stands and various art shows. Typical Barcelona charm can be found in every corner of it, especially in La Boqueria, the most iconic street market in Barcelona. It is the right place to try street food or have a glass of wine. Human statues on the street do an amazing job so don’t be surprised if you walk past one while thinking it is a real statue. Toss a few coins into their boxes to give some credits to their work.
Enter Sagrada Familia
There are many breathtaking sites in Barcelona but this one towers over the rest, literally. Sagrada Familia is the basilica that defines the city’s skyline while it is still under construction and it’s been that way for over a century. The building project started in 1882 by an architect Antoni Gaudi; it is definitely his most celebrated work. This masterpiece was inspired by nature, swirling curves over straight lines and angles. It combines several architectural styles, including Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism and Spanish Late-Gothic.
Basilica receives around 4.5 million visitors each year and tickets have fixed entry time, purchase them online in order to avoid long lines. Free entry is possible if you visit the cathedral during mass, every Sunday at 9 a.m. there is a public mass conducted in several languages. Bear in mind that there is a dress code that should be respected.
Do Gaudi Tour
Gaudi spent most of his life in Barcelona and his unique style and influence can be noted all over the city, there is zero chance you could ever miss one of his buildings.
Casa Mila, a World Heritage Site, is one of the most famous modernist buildings looking like more of a sculpture than a house. It was Gaudi’s last private residential design and one of the most creative houses in history; every element of the house, from the basement to the terrace, is a work of art.
Casa Batllo is also Gaudi’s work famous for dazzling attention to details. The facade of the house is decorated with a colorful mosaic made of broken tiles. The local name for the building is House of Bones due to skeletal design; there are bone-like columns on the facade. The roof of the house is arched looking like the back of the dragon.
In Park Guell you can enjoy both nature and Gaudi’s work, it is the place where Gaudi brought to perfection his personal style. Don’t miss out on his iconic dragon and the view from the terrace, it could be the most amazing view in the city
Barcelona was home to one more world-famous artist, Pablo Picasso, the man responsible for the birth of the Cubism movement. The city had a profound effect on the artist; years spent in Barcelona were his period of growth. In that time he created numerous sketches and paintings with Barcelona as his muse. The Picasso Museum was set up during his lifetime and the majority of arts were donated to the museum by Picasso himself. Today, the Museum counts more than 4,000 artworks from 1917 and the series Las Meninas from 1957. It often hosts special exhibitions presenting Picasso paintings and organizes events for bringing art closer to families and kids.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic show, one of the greatest performances in Barcelona, is a special mix of water, lights and music. The light show of fountains consists of over 7 billion light and water combination changing during the night. Music selection is very wide, from cartoon soundtracks to Spanish traditional music or current hits. The show lasts for approximately 20 minutes and it is completely free of charge. Check the usual display times for choreographies. It is recommended to arrive early in order to get a good spot and usually, earlier showtimes are less crowded.
It is time to relax and soak up the sun. Barcelona has a number of beaches, from white sand beaches to those filled with extreme water sports.
Barceloneta beach is the most bustling and probably the most crowded in Barcelona since is located next door to the city center. The beach is fully equipped with showers and dressing rooms, all adapted for the disabled.
Next beach you could pay a visit to is Nova Icaria beach, one of the most peaceful in Barcelona. It is quiet but still offers a great range of bars and restaurants so it is perfect for holidaymakers, families with children and for anyone seeking some peace.
Ocata beach is situated half an hour train ride from the city and it is really a tranquil paradise covered in golden white sand. It attracts fewer tourists so it offers a bit more privacy.
Enjoy outdoors at Parc de la Ciutadella
Parc de la Ciutadella offers a touch of green in this bustling city. It is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a long walk or to have a picnic. The Park hosts several attractions: the Zoo, the Catalan Parliament and a few museums. Gaudi left his mark also in this Park designing beautiful waterfall cascade.
Try some local food
Spain is definitely a dream destination for all food lovers and there are several dishes you simply must try!
Paella is rice and seafood dish served for family occasions and different celebrations.
Tapas may seem a bit unoriginal but it is something you must eat while in Barcelona. They come in all forms and sizes but the most popular are those with tomatoes, also patates braves or potatoes with spicy sauce or xipirons: fried squids. La Bomba is one of the most iconic tapas and it stands for a tennis ball-sized potato croquette served with sauce.
Crema Catalana is the classic Catalan dessert very similar to creme brûlée, but the cream is a bit smoother.
Have a night out
Start the night with late dinner as local people do and around midnight head to a bar, socialize with friendly locals and get ready to party.
After 1 a.m. it is time to hit the dance floor. For old-school music and rock and punk bands head to Manchester Bar in Gothic Quarter. Nearby there is Polaroid Bar that plays 80’ musical gems.
If you are into techno music, The Moog is the first place that introduced techno to Barcelona, it is open every day of the week and located just off La Rambla. The clubbing mecca Razzmatazz also has several rooms where you can enjoy the beat but it is open only on the weekends.
For a bit more glamorous party scene, find Pacha, Barcelona’s own branch of the iconic Ibiza club. Opium is also a good choice to have some fun, it is a waterfront club that is a restaurant during the day.
Pay a visit to Camp Nou
A visit to Camp Nou, Europe’s largest stadium and home to FC Barcelona is inevitable to all football fans out there. The stadium that was opened in 1957 and later extended in 1982 hosted huge events such as UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich, music performances by U2 or Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul II mass for over 120,000 people.
FC Barcelona is a world-wide symbol for European football with the pick of world-best players such as Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi. Camp Nou offers stadium tours almost every day. You get the chance to sit in the first team dugout and see the changing rooms, the press room and commentary boxes. There is a museum with the trophy room, one area dedicated to Leo Messi and a huge fan shop.