Barcelona is a city that buzzes with energy. Why shouldn’t it? It’s home to beautiful beaches, exciting entertainment, stunning architecture and fresh bites.
You can spend days wandering around and you’ll likely stumble upon a remarkable sighting or experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
For those who like to have a heads up of what exactly to look out for on your journey, lest you miss out on the goods, here is a compilation of the best places to go and things to do while you visit this vibrant city.
1. Take a stroll in the (most incredible) Park (ever)
I love Park Guell so much I would probably marry it… or at least get married somewhere on the eclectic grounds, which are full of color, art, lush gardens and breathtaking views of the city.
Conceived by Eusebi Guell, Park Guell represents the wave of modernism in the early 1900s, when construction began.
Thriving architect Antoni Gaudi was tasked with bringing this movement further to life during his naturalist period, and composed quirky, exploratory work with iron and unique mosaics that are scattered among the trees.
Neighbored by bodegas, this is a great venue to snag some bread, meat, cheese and find a place to relax and admire the one-of-a-kind surroundings where man and nature can intertwine.More Info (click to show for all)
2. Watch your fingers at the Cactus Garden
With over 800 species of Cacti, the Jardins De Mossan Costa I LLobera is one of the lesser-known gardens in the city, making it the perfect place to escape the city rush.
Stroll to the southern side of Mount Montjuic to find the nearly hidden gem that boasts tropical, desert and sub desert plants.
Like many places in Barcelona, the backdrop to your viewing experience is none other than a view of the cityscape and the Mediterranean Sea.
Soak in the heat and serene landscape while you look upon the bizarre plant life that’s been perfectly curated for the terrain.More Info (click to show all)
3. Fill up on a budget
Among the many hot spots that live in the city of Barcelona, Blai Street, which is located in El Pablo-Sec, is the best place to indulge on a budget.
The busy street is littered with Pinchos, which are sliced baguettes topped with delicious bites, such as peppers stuffed with tuna, or goat cheese with honey.
Fill up a plate, collect the toothpicks that formerly held your mini-creations together, and hand them off to a Senora so she can total up your meal while you digest the good-bites and good-vibes.More Info (click to show all)
4. See the best view in the city
One of the many amazing benefits of a trip to Barcelona is how many places you get to look out over the city.
Tibidabo is not just one of those places, it’s THE place.
Tibidabo is the highest location in Barcelona, and its major attraction Talaia is the highest official viewpoint in the entire city at 550 meters above sea level.
That’s not the only attraction this panoramic area has to offer.
You can ride the colorful Ferris wheel named The Giradabo (did I mention it overlooks panoramic views of the city?)
Or, hop on an exact replica of the first airplane to fly from Barcelona to Madrid in 1927 and take a simulated flight- the first of its kind- you guessed it, overlooking panoramic views of the city!More Info (click to show all)
5. Take a day trip to “Saw Mountain”
Montserrat, which means “Saw Mountain,” was named for its quirky saw-like rock formations that line the mountain’s edge.
If you’re dying to check out the countryside (which, you should be) then it’s well worth the daytrip.
For some, it’s a religious pilgrimage to a beautiful Monastery, which is home to one of only a few black Madonna’s in all of Europe.
For others, it’s a chance to connect with nature, with the backdrop of the beautiful Spanish countryside.
Take short hikes around the mountain, or for more advanced hikers, head up to Sant Jeroni, the highest peak on the mountain.
The adventure starts in a scenic cable car ride that takes you up the mountain.
Then, you can opt to take another funicular up even higher.More Info (click to show all)
6. Immerse yourself in culture at the Ethnography Museum
What better place to take in a new culture than a museum dedicated to, well, culture.
Catalan tradition is represented through works of arts, activities and even simple objects.
It’s the emotions extracted from onlookers that make them not only observers, but participants; it’s those emotions that make the contents of the museum special… and those emotions that create relationships and essentially create culture.
How’s that for a half day in the city?More Info (click to show all)
7. A museum a day keeps the travel bug alive? Check out the Barcelona Museum Passport
If you plan to stay in Barcelona for a longer period rather than a short trip, definitely invest in the Barcelona Museum Passport.
This is your ticket to culture, history and entrance ticket savings at museums.
Barcelona’s popularity as a premier travel destination often results in long lines at the museums and cultural attractions.
With the Barcelona Museum Passport, enjoy the museums without the long lines.
The pass includes entry tickets to six of Barcelona’s most popular museums and is valid for twelve months once redeemed.
This pass includes entry to temporary and permanent exhibitions.
Barcelona’s cultural heritage is ripe with famous art and fascinating history.
Regardless of your interests and desires on your trip, there is a museum suiting all travelers.More Info (click to show all)
8. Keep cool in cool Swimming Pools
For those visiting during peak season do as the locals do and cool off with a nice dip in the pool.
The options are nearly unlimited, ranging from luxury to lax.
The CEM Parc De La Ciutadella has a relaxing atmosphere, and a great place to pack your own picnic so you don’t have to worry about dipping out early for a bite.
For the sportier crowd, or for those who want the vibe of the beach without the sand of the beach, then head to Club Natacio Atletic Barceloneta, a lap pool with the sea glimmering just across the way.
For those who prefer being pampered, call ahead to reserve a swim time at Hotel Rey Fairmont Juan Carlos I, and indulge yourself by dining on the terrace.
If you’re down to venture in order to reach your liquid destination, head to Parc De La Creueta del Coll, for a natural looking pool surrounded by lawns, scenic landscapes, and a sculpture by Eduardo Chillada.More Info (click to show all)
9. Explore the stunning architecture of Sagrada Familia
Admittedly, I’m not one for visiting the major attractions, but thank goodnessI didn’t let the crowds of tourists prevent me from visiting this iconic basilica.
If you have an expensive camera, bring it, because your smart phone will not even scratch the surface of doing the Sagrada Familia justice.
The rainbow hues of stained glass melt your heart as the sun shines through the vast, intricate structure, which was handed off to and masterminded by Gaudi, who was buried in the crypt in 1926.
The UNESCO world heritage site is still under construction, only a quarter of it was completed before Gaudi’s death.
Gaudi dedicated the last years of his life to this church, and it definitely feels like the climax of his artistic life.More Info (click to show all)
10. Take a day trip to a beach town
If you want to get a taste of a quaint, seaside town then hop on the train and head to Sitges for the day.
The town is dotted with flowers and painted with different shades of blue, the Mediterranean settled behind winding, tiny roads cobblestone streets, making it perfectly picturesque.
It’s full of clothing shops, gelaterias, restaurants and, what many frequent it for, gay bars. The beaches are small, but much less populated than the beaches in the city, so you can engage in your favorite activities in a quieter atmosphere.More Info (click to show all)
11. Drink in the views on a Rooftop Bar
When I dream about Barcelona, I dream about sipping drinks on a rooftop overlooking other rooftops and, of course, a drinking in the view of the Mediterranean.
My dream became a reality when I visited these incredible rooftop bars.
El Palace Hotel is cozy, charming, and most importantly, welcoming to those who want to enjoy their rooftop with a cup of tea during cooler months, or a splendid cocktail in the heat of the season.
Its comfy lounge chairs are perfect for sitting back and enjoying the sunset behind the buildings.
Skybar is equally as inviting, but a little buzzier of a scene.
My favorite part of this patio, which overlooks the Mediterranean is the infinity pool that looks like it’s hanging off the edge of the building.
It’s quite a mind-boggling image when birds perch on the edge to rest and take a drink.
Happy hour is among the happiest of hours that I’ve experienced in the entire city.More Info (click to show all)
12. Eaaatt Churros and Chocolate, any way you like it
One quintessential must-do in Barcelona is treating yourself to a churro with a cup of chocolate on the side.
You can’t really go wrong with churros and chocolate in Barcelona, but they do come in all different shapes and sizes, so it pays to do a little bit of research before taking the plunge and plunging your churro.
Or, if you’re like me, you can sample a new variety of churros and chocolate every day!
I’ve had churros topped with chocolate from a food stand outside the Sagrada Familia, and I’ve had a churro stuffed with chocolate on the go in the Gothic district.
My favorite, however, is a churro with a full coffee cup of melted chocolate with whipped cream on the side at Granja La Pallaresa.
The chocolate is so smooth, you get jealous of the churro when you dip it in, and have no other choice but to ditch the churro and slurp the chocolate up with your spoon.More Info (click to show all)
13. Wander Montjuic
Montjuic is a hill in the center of the city that is home to many things, including museums, theaters, and gardens mentioned in this article.
There are so many activities to take part in on the hill, however, that it deserves its own category 100 times over.
Whether you’re up for a hike in nature, or a ride on the cable car, or maybe a sunset picnic overlooking the port, Monjuic has you covered.
Check out the cemetery, or stroll through botanical gardens, wander through a giant castle or gawk at the Greek Theater.
Don’t feel like planning your every move?
Start at the bottom and just see what you stumble upon as you go up, up, up!More Info (click to show all)
14. Taste all of the Sangria
Sangria is a festive drink with a base of wine and chopped fruit that originated in Spain.
There are many different ways to create the delicious Sangria, by utilizing other spirits, sodas, and flavors.
It’s no question that the birthplace of the drink does it best, and the varying ways that Sangria can be prepared makes it the perfect drink to taste again and again.
The fruit forward and boozy beverage can be enjoyed on a rooftop bar, or during tapas on a patio.
You can curl up with it on a rainy day, or sip it while you enjoy a concert or show.
Some of the best Sangria in the city can be found at Frank’s, a waterfront hotel, or Los Caracoles, which keeps it traditional.
In case you want to do all of your tasting in one day, head over to Cachitos Rambla, where they offer over 55 different types of Sangria to satisfy any palette.More Info (click to show all)
15. Take a Siesta
Sometimes it can be difficult to follow the traditions of a foreign culture, but after a morning of adventuring and lengthy lunch of delicious eats, you’ll have little trouble wandering back to your room and slipping into a blissful siesta.
The chaos of the city calms, businesses close their doors, and the city seems to rest as they prepare for the evening to come, and you should, too. So sit back, relax, and… Zzzzzzzz.More Info (click to show all)
16. See a traditional, passionate performance
Flamenco might be native to southern Spain, but if Barcelona is the closest you’re going to get, don’t worry because you will not be disappointed with the top notch performances it offers.
Flamenco is a passionate style of song and dance that’s traditional in Andalusia.
Taking a night to see a performance will transport you to the nearby region where it was born, and stun you with the fierce dedication that the artists exhibit in their performances.
Barcelona has a plethora of theaters, some of them boasting award-winning dancers and singers.
Get swept up in the passion and feel the rhythm of the dance in your heart when you soak in a performance.More Info (click to show all)
17. Party all night
When you make your way through this magical city during the day, you’ll pick up on a subtle but certain energy… an energy that comes to life from dusk until dawn.
In Barcelona, the nighttime is absolutely the right time… to go out and dance the night away. With clubs ranging from electronica to jazz, hip hop to soul, you can find whatever type of music makes you want to shake your rump.
Check out Jamboree, which swiftly transitions from incredible jazz concerts to the best hip-hop and R&B DJ’s around.
If you’re more into fist pumping while admiring a stunning light show, look no further than Sala Apolo, a thriving club with the best electronica DJs around.
The possibilities are endless. The city comes alive at night and so should you.More Info (click to show all)
18. Feel the breeze on a “naturist” beach
Tired of spending endless hours shopping for (eeeek!!!) your summer swimsuit? Great!
Why don’t you just ditch the swimsuit all together and head to Mar Bella beach, where the natives let it all hang out.
The thought of going nude, or even topless, might seem like an intense undertaking, but the casual and respectful nature that folks exhibit in the “No shoes, no shirt, no clothes at all? No problem!” beach zone makes it quite a comfortable experience.
WARNING: Once you figure out how good it feels to relax in your birthday suit, you’re never going to want to deal with the hassle of bathing suits again.More Info (click to show all)
19. Taste all the tapas (and paella)
There are many theories as to how tapas (small bites that typically accompany alcoholic beverages) came about.
My favorite is that King Alfonso the 10th ordered a decree that food was to be served with beverages to prevent peasants from getting sloppy and causing havoc when they had to choose to spend their money on food or wine, and, of course, chose wine.
All hail King Alfonso, because the tradition of the tapas lives on and they are delicious!
Like flamenco, tapas are more traditional in southern Spain, many restaurants providing complimentary nibbles per every beverage you order.
In Barcelona, the small bites typically come at the small cost, but are 100% worth it.
When thinking about tapas in Barcelona, one must remember two words: Patatas Bravas.
Whether it’s Quimet Quimet, where they have tapas and pinchos on their menu, typically priced under $5 per plate, or Segons Mercat, which was featured in a Michelin guide, there’s no shortage of amazing meals and deals when it comes to eating tapas.
Also, have paella. Paella, paella, paella. That is all.More Info (click to show all)
20. Explore Gaudi Houses
Barcelona is a vibrant city. One of the reasons it coins that term is because of the unique modernist architects that created structures throughout the city, and one name stands out among the rest: Antoni Gaudi.
Gaudi was a visionary artist who borrowed from nature to construct beautiful houses that are unlike anything you’ve seen before.
There are three houses; Casa Milà, Casa Batllo, and Casa Vicens, and whether you see one or see them all, Gaudi’s refreshing take on how to build will have you questioning why all architecture can’t be this extraordinary.
When visiting, make sure you look up, look down, and look all around because even the smallest details are well thought out and should not go unnoticed.More Info (click to show all)
21. Frothy craft beer and tapas pairings? Yes, please!!
In the same way wines can be paired with tapas, the same goes for beer.
The Tapas and Beer experience will leave your taste buds happy and your stomach satisfied.
Observe how beer is brewed as you learn about the process in creating craft beer.
Taste 9 different beers as you learn about where the flavors come from.
Regardless of how versed you are in beer tasting, you will still gain insight and experience new flavors in this tour.
In addition to sipping lovely beers, you will be tasting 12 different traditional and modern tapas.
Learn how to pair the flavors in the tapas with frothy beer.
The craft beer scene is relatively new in Barcelona, however it is thriving and rapidly growing.
Discover the new and the old in this exciting workshop.
Taste the new flavors of the Catalan craft beer scene while eating traditional and timeless tapas.More Info (click to show all)
22. Brush strokes and wine sipping: the perfect event to relax and unwind!
This may seem like an unusual pairing, but we assure you it is both interactive and delicious!
Why not get out of your comfort zone and try something new?
In this workshop, you will release your inner Dalí and create your own painting.
Create a perfect souvenir to bring home.
This step-by-step painting class allows you to channel your creativity regardless of your experience level.
Artists will guide you through the featured painting of the night as you enjoy delicious wine.
This experience can be booked for a private party, a corporate team-building event or in the form of classes.
Perhaps this activity is something you never even considered.
Discover why painting and wine tasting are a perfect pairing! Maybe you have an untapped gift for painting; you won’t know unless you give it a try.
Regardless of how your painting unfolds, this class is sure to bring a smile to your face!More Info (click to show all)
23. Indulgence for your eyes and your taste buds: Dinner with the Stars
The Solar System above is a magical place filled with wonder.
Mother nature is the center of this wonderful evening.
Dinner with the Stars is a once in a lifetime opportunity that combines the breathtaking views of the stars and constellations and a world-class six-course dinner.
You will dine at the star observatory.
While tasting delectable courses, feel in awe of the sprawling night sky.
Later in the evening, you have the unique chance to enter the observatory’s dome.
Take magnificent photos from this vantage point, as you watch the city peacefully unwind.
The food will delight your taste buds as the night sky fills your senses with wonder.More Info (click to show all)
24. Escape to paradise: Romantic Getaway Package at Hotel W
Barcelona is a wonderful destination for romance and love.
The culture, the beauty and the lovely surroundings paint the perfect canvas for enjoying this city with your loved one.
If you gazed out your window upon landing in Barcelona, you likely saw the chic W Hotel nestled right on the Mediterranean Sea.
This lavish hot spot is a premier hotel for a romantic weekend.
As you relax in your stunning room, unwind with the sea view right outside your window.
Included in this unforgettable weekend is a buffet breakfast, spa access, infinity pool overlooking the beach and one dinner in the Michelin Star restaurant Barra del W.
Feel like royalty as you drape yourself in luxury during this incredible weekend of romance.
Between the food, the spa, the pool and your view, you will not want to check out of this fantastic hotel!More Info (click to show all)
25. Float away as you’re mesmerized by nature: Hot Air Balloon Pyrenees Experience
What could be more romantic than drifting in the sky on a hot air balloon with your loved one?
The tranquility up in the sky is a romantic escape from all the noise.
Drift away as you overlook one of Europe’s treasures: the Cerdanya Valley.
Dramatic scenery and splendid natural beauty will give you chills as you feel like a cloud in the sky.
Cozy up with your partner as you delve into your hot air balloon adventure.
Culminate your flight with a cava champagne toast.
The time in the air is around an hour and fifteen minutes.
This wonderful activity is available year round, therefore it doesn’t matter when you plan to be in Barcelona; you can enjoy it any time!More Info (click to show all)
26. Grab a bottle of cava, cuddle up and observe the sunset from above: Sunset at Carmel Bunkers.
Once referenced as an exclusive destination for the best sunset viewing, the Carmel Bunkers offers spectacular views of Barcelona.
Although it is not quite a secret anymore, it is the best place to see the city.
Perched on top of the El Turo De La Rovira, what was once used to defend the city against air strikes during a brutal civil war is now simply known as The Bunkers.
The 360-degree views that the hill provides made it the perfect place to store anti-aircraft weaponry, and today, makes it the perfect place to ogle the unadulterated views of the city.
Although the big guns are gone, what remains of The Bunkers are the crumbling concrete defenses and a museum that points to the significant history of, not just the bunkers, but also the crucial landmarks surrounding the bunkers, from the perfect vantage point.
It’s low-key vibe is perfect for soaking in the historical city in a unique and less populated atmosphere.
Cozying up next to your love and watching one of mother natures’ splendid shows is a timeless classic.
It is simple, free and without additional frills, but that is what makes gazing at the sunset so special. You just have to show up, sit back and enjoy.
You do have to climb up to this viewing spot.
Make sure to wear comfortable footwear; we promise, the climb is worth the reward that is waiting for you!More Info (click to show all)
27. Feel the vibe of Barcelona through the local markets: Market Tour
This experience is not necessarily a planned tour. You can also do it on your own, if you prefer.
In that case you won’t be meeting anyone at a specific time or paying a specific price.
Like many cities around the world, Barcelona has a spectacular market culture.
I was coming home from a nice walk and stumbled upon a hipsters market, which was filled with old school, vintage gems.
I walked away with a really lovely Pink Floyd album cover picture on a wooden block that I hung in my apartment.
One Sunday a month there is a 1€ market that is fantastic.
I scored a lovely spring jacket, a soft wool sweater and a plush scarf. Each item only cost 1€!
Aside from the food markets you read about, there are many fresh markets around the city happening all the time.
For this personal tour, do some research and find a market that suits your individual style.
I also recommend foregoing all research and just exploring the city to see what markets you stumble upon!
If you aren’t sure where to start, check out the food market in Barceloneta.
Get yourself some tasty treats and head over to the beach for some lovely food with the sea as your company.More Info (click to show all)
28. Traveling with your family? No problem! Kids Day in Barcelona
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Although this day plan we have crafted for you is suitable for children, we didn’t say it wasn’t also a perfect day for adults! The first stop is a visit to the Barcelona chocolate museum.
While visiting the museum on its own is certainly a fabulous excursion, I also encourage you to check out the activities geared towards children. For example, the Chocolate Artist activity includes an overview of the cocoa tree, an explanation of what is actually in chocolate as well as the manufacturing process.
Your kids will learn how to handle chocolate via learned techniques, giving them a memorable hands-on experience. This is just one example; there are many set activities as well as activities matching the season.
Next up is Park Cuitadella. This is a gorgeous park in Barcelona that is perfect for a relaxing stroll and leads you and your family straight to Parc Zoologic. This fantastic zoo is home for many endangered species as well as animals your kids may recognize.
After the zoo, head over to Barceloneta, which is an old fishing neighborhood next to the beach. Have a nice relaxing lunch with the sea breeze in your face. If it is nice out and your kids are still energized, walk along the beach and collect shells or just chill out in the sand.More Info (click to show all)
29. Festes Major – every neighborhood has its own party
Festes Major literally translates to “big party.” If you are in Barcelona during one of the infamous Festes Major’s, it will become clear that they know how to throw a big party!
These parties take place throughout the year.
Each neighborhood has its own party, boasting music, markets, and the ultimate street party experience.
They are completely free to attend; it is a lovely glimpse into the long celebrated traditions and historical Catalan events that shape the culture of Barcelona.
Although many of these neighborhood parties take place in the warmer months, the San Antoni neighborhood has one in January and cities just outside of Barcelona have parties throughout the year.
While you may not catch the biggest street parties during your visit, you can surely find one happening somewhere in the area.
These wonderful celebrations bring neighbors together, serve up tasty Catalan treats and are completely unique to this part of Spain.
All you have to do is show up! Enjoy the atmosphere, soak up the culture and create lasting memories!More Info (click to show all)
30. Get off the beaten track on the Steel Donkey Bike Tour
Having participated in this tour firsthand, I can’t recommend it enough.
The beauty of this tour is the passion from the guides and the ever-changing tour itself.
The guides change this tour up regularly and they pour out knowledge, facts and a love for the city.
No two tours are the exact same, which keeps each Steel Donkey Bike Tour fresh and exciting.
I had the pleasure of seeing neighborhoods for the first time, despite living in Barcelona.
I saw museums I hadn’t yet heard of, pockets of town that weren’t touristy and felt dazzled by the tour guide’s expertise and depth of knowledge.
Anyone can participate in this tour, as it is a small group and the cycling isn’t overly intense.
There are lots of breaks, a stop for a lovely lunch and time for pictures.
Although you will see a handful of the more popular attractions, this tour isn’t about the most frequented landmarks and museums in Barcelona.
This is an off the beaten track tour that shouldn’t be missed.
Relish in the eclectic sections of town while your guide imparts his/her wisdom on you.More Info (click to show all)
31. Horseback Riding and Lunch at Farmhouse
This exciting day is so much more than horseback riding.
You will have the opportunity to care for the horse, prepare the horse before you ride and clean and feed it afterwards.
As you enjoy horseback riding, stunning Mediterranean forests and natural beauty will surround you.
Depending on the season, you have the opportunity to pick vegetables or berries from the organic farm; these succulent treats will be added to a salad for your enjoyment.
After a wonderful day of riding in serene nature and caring for your horse, you will delight in a traditional Catalan cuisine in a 15th century farm house.
Horseback riding is a truly magnificent experience on its own, but set within the backdrop of the Mediterranean forests and countryside, creates an even more magical day.
The lovely lunch is the cherry on top of a perfect day.More Info (click to show all)
32. Enjoy nature at Natural Park
Traveling isn’t always about checking off sites on your to-do list.
Rather, it is about experiencing the feeling of visiting a place different from where you reside.
Simplicity in travelling to a new city leaves time and space for spontaneity and surprises.
Barcelona offers lovely parks and beaches for you to take it down a notch, unwind and enjoy the simple life.
Go to a local market and get some nibbles as well as something to drink and head over to one of the beautiful natural areas of the city for a relaxing day.
Park de Montjuic, Parc Guell and Parc de la Ciutadella are some of the more popular parks found in Barcelona.
Weather depending, I would also make a picnic on one of the beaches. Barceloneta, Bogatell beach and Nova Mar Bella Beach are all great options.
Relax and enjoy yourself and see where the day takes you!More Info (click to show all)
33. Explore Heures Palace Gardens
This experience offers the opportunity to relax and go hiking.
Whether you are up for hiking or just in the mood for relaxation, the Heures Palace Gardens is a great option.
Located just outside of Barcelona, these 19th century gardens are close to the mountains and the national park.
The Italian and French Reaissance-style gardens are stunning; marvel in their loveliness and feel the tranquility.
Nestled among the tall palm trees, magnolias, cedars, orange trees and acacias is the elegant palace.
Tourists do not frequent this beautiful property, thus it is a wonderful destination for peace, quiet and natural beauty.More Info (click to show all)
What are your thoughts about traveling to Barcelona? Do you have any questions or anything cool still to add on? We love to discuss travel so go ahead and fire away, there are no wrong comments!
Also, please let us know how your trip went and what was the most exciting part about it.
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Shira Weitz is an adventure seeker who loves writing, wine, and watching sunsets. She enjoys weaving together personal experiences with thoughtful information to create compelling stories about the places she’s been. She can’t stop, won’t stop grabbing life by the… horns, because carpe diem, after all.