Barcelona is possibly one of the most iconic and colourful European cities to visit. From the stunning Gaudi Buildings to the yummy restaurants and tapas spots; there’s so many best things to see in Barcelona.
Now, if it’s your first time to visit Barcelona you’ll probably be in the midsts of a planning haze on all the things you need to see, do and eat whilst in the city.
In fact, I think my first visit was still a haze of rushing around, trying to see as much as humanly possible. Though, to be honest, isn’t always the best way to spend your trip! It can be totally stressful.
This is why I wanted to share a few of the best things to see in Barcelona that you can plan to see.
Take a look at the best things to see in Barcelona when you visit. Have the best trip!
1.) Eat Authentic Local food
I always say that one of the best ways to experience a city is through food, with Barcelona being no exception.
Best of all, Barcelona has a really cool project called the Food Lovers Company. Their aim is to introduce every visitor with a huge mix of authentic Spanish and Catalan foods from the region.
All their tours will have you gorging on full meals, rather than tasters whilst exploring the Old Town and the hideouts and alleyways that come with local knowledge.
More than anything, the crew really are passionate about food, so make sure to arrive on an empty tummy!
Just make sure you can pick some of my favourite dishes. I love the Pescado Frito (fresh, fried anchovies). Oh, and don’t forget to finish off your tour with a mouth-watering crema Catalana.
2.) Watch the sunset from Tibidabo
Tibidabo is a really fun place to explore in Barcelona!
Perched overlooking the city and the Mediterranean coast, it’s a historic funfair that’s filled with all sorts of retro rides. In fact, they’ve got everything from; Ferris wheels, carousels and even a roller coaster dating back to the last century.
Head up here around dusk and watch the sunset whilst taking a ride on the Ferris Wheel. I promise you, it’s one of the nicest ways to enjoy a sunset and one of the best things to see in Barcelona at dusk.
3.) Visit Sagrat Cor
Not too far from Tibidabo is the gorgeous church of Sagrat Cor, this neo-gothic Catholic Church is one of the most stunning mountaintop churches in the region.
Don’t forget to head inside and see the crypt and look out for the pretty stained-glass windows, too. It’s totally stunning.
4.) See Frank Gehry’s Fish Sculpture
Although not as well know as all the Gaudi architecture and pieces of art in the centre of the city, the fish sculpture by the marina is a 52-metre long artistic piece that was created by Frank Gehry.
Depending on the time of day you visit, the ‘fish’ actually changes depending on the sun and weather conditions.
It’s great to see when you’re down by the Marina and beach – something worth including on your trail away from the historic centre itself.
5.) Explore Sagrada Familia
You can’t take a visit to Barcelona without seeing a little of Gaudi’s impressive sites, can you!
Now, don’t be put off by thinking that it’s too popular or too busy, either. After all, if it’s your first time in the city and you’ve gotta see this stunning place.
It’s best to buy your tickets online before you arrive in Barcelona, that way you’ll limit your queue time significantly.
If you love Gaudi’s work, you’ll easily find this to be one of the best things to see in Barcelona. It’s a stunner.
6.) Find Montserrat Monastery and mountain
If you’re looking for a little break from the bustle of Barcelona, head about 45-minutes northwest of Barcelona to the Montserrat Monastery and mountain.
Once there, you’ll see some epic views all across the region and be able to explore so much more in and around the monastery area.
Make sure to head inside the Museum of Montserrat monastery, too. Inside, is a huge array of world-class paintings and art from the likes of Dali, Monet and Giordano.
It really is a special place.
7.) Enjoy a city festival
Okay, so Barcelona is well known for its festivals, celebrations and fun, especially in the summer months.
If you’re planning a visit, try and coincide it with one of the region’s events that take place every year. It’s an amazing time to visit the city; especially with all the food, celebrations and an incredible atmosphere.
Oh, and don’t forget to visit Mercado de La Boqueria if you want some food, too. It’s such a vibrant foodie spot in Barcelona.
8.) Castellers: See a human tower
Oh, I almost forgot, make sure to see if there’s a Castell being built (a human tower) that is derived from Catalonia.
Recognised by UNESCO as one of the world’s most iconic traditions, this unique creation takes place every year at La Merce Festival that’s a really cool thing to see.
Plan your trip around these dates and you’ll be in for a total treat. It really is one of the best things to see in Barcelona if you can time your trip just right.
9.) Find a great place to stay
One of the things I love most about Barcelona is the different types of places you can stay and experience. One of the coolest we’ve tried was staying in a historic mansion at El Palauet Living.
The whole experience was incredible, especially the ornate rooms and building – it almost felt as if we’d found a little slice of old Barcelona, right in the heart of the city.
We totally loved it and our stay really made our time exploring best things to see in Barcelona; especially as we were coming back to the room with sore feet. Ha!
10.) Enjoy Casa Batllo & Casa Milà
Yup, another of Gaudi’s incredible buildings, Casa Batllo is a stunning example of his work that morphs nature with urban living.
You will literally feel like you’ve dived into the imagination of Gaudi as soon as you set foot inside – the places are so iconic.
11.) Relax at Park Güell
If all the exploring has you hankering for a little relaxation – head over to Park Güell (another of Gaudi’s works), particularly in the morning when there are far fewer people around.
It might sound a little meh, but one of my favourite things to do here is just strolling around, find a quiet spot and just chill with some nibbles. It’s still one of my fondest memories of visiting the city.
12.) Discover the Gothic Quarter
The gothic quarter of Barcelona is a must-see on any first-time visit. Make sure to wander the cobbled and winding streets.
It really is one of the best things to see in Barcelona when you’re based in central Barcelona. In fact, it’s hard to miss.
Make sure to visit the Barcelona Cathedral, stroll down Bisbe Irurita Street and discover some of the many cafes and local shops. Don’t forget to look for the ‘Kiss of Freedom’ mosaic that’s in the area too.
If you’ve had enough of strolling the streets, head over to Barcelona’s beaches that are a stones throw from the Gothic Quarter by cab.