Barcelona in a nutshell. 10 things you can’t miss if you travel to Barcelona
Thinking about going to Barcelona and don’t know where to start? Barcelona is a magical place, rich in history and architecture. Bathed by the Mediterranean sea, with great weather almost all year around, and always vibrant and eclectic. Barcelona is a place to celebrate life and most definitely enjoy it. Although I could write a full book about the amazing things you can visit or do in Barcelona, this time I will concentrate on the basics. These are the top ten spots you can’t miss when you visit Barcelona:
Did you know that La Sagrada Familia is one the world's largest unfinished churches? Yes, you heard right even though it's one of the most popular spots to visit in Barcelona, it's unfinished. Designed by famous architect Antoni Gaudi over 140 years ago, it is still under construction to this day. Gaudi was famous for keeping all of his designs in his head, so his death did not make things easy for this beautiful piece of architecture. Gaudi’s masterpiece was inspired by nature. If you go inside you can see the interior pillars have images of tortoises and turtles to represent water and earth.
The church is 170 meters in height, but don't worry about the stairs, they have elevators so visitors can get to see the highest part of the structure. Those are some views! With such a historic presence and a touch of natural elements, it doesn’t matter if it is finished or not, this is a must-see for any visitors coming to Barcelona.
Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm
Adult price starts at 26€
You can get more information here:
Buy tickets Basílica de la Sagrada Familia | Clorian
Prices include an audioguide app.
Gaudi not only did (some of) the Sagrada Familia, but he was a prominent architect of his time that produced incredible masterpieces. One of those is the Park Guell. It is an enormous garden that transports you to Gaudi’s realm of imagination with colorful shape elements and a mix of different styles. The most known piece of this garden is the salamander also known as “The Dragon” which lives on the stairs of the park and it's a must-picture spot.
Of course, a park wouldn't be a park without some nature and you will see a wide selection of beautiful Mediterranean trees to blend with the nature of the area. It is also kid-friendly. Children will enjoy walking through the park and discovering the different vibrant designs
Open from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm
Adult tickets start at €10
La Rambla is in the heart of Barcelona and has a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment. La Rambla has a selection of different exciting activities happening like street performers, artists, and vendors lining up in the street adding a lively energy.
It's a perfect spot for foodies wanting to get their grub on offering delicious Spanish dishes like paella, tapas, and Catalonian specialties. Most places have daily menus which are fairly priced and great quality food.
It's a great place to meet people if you stay long enough somebody might come up and start a conversation so don't be startled by it, it is quite typical for Spanish locals to talk to tourists so you might end up getting some good recommendations.
For all you nature lovers, La Rambla is home to some very rare collections of gems like the Capsicum also known as the Red Pepper which is an heirloom pepper with an unusual shape and on the very spicy side: Another rare gem is the Clitoria flower with its beautiful shape and fluorescent colors.
This is the oldest part of Barcelona and is full of narrow streets, beautiful architecture, and historical landmarks.
Walking down the streets of this spot will definitely give you some medieval vibes. With some of the best restaurants, you will also find shops hidden behind every small door or dead end so be on the lookout.
At night this place gets lively with many dive bars, dance clubs, and cocktail lounges so if you're looking to enjoy a true Spanish night out then you have found just the spot.
Casa Batllo is also referred to as “ The House of the Dragon” and it was also designed by Gaudi. It has such an aquatic landscape flowing with the colorful coating of ceramic glaze and pieces of broken glass resembling a dragon's back.
The inside of the house is just spectacular as the exterior with a mix of curved lines and shapes creating a relaxed sense of movement and flow. The walls are embellished with vibrant colors and patterns, and the ceilings are made of very detailed plaster that reminds you of sea waves.
First entry: 9:00. last: 19:15
Adult with audioguide: start a €29 plus €4 if you buy at the door
They have numerous discounts that you can check here:
Online tickets | Casa Batlló, Official website (casabatllo.es)
Football fans or not, all visitors should visit Camp Nou which is the home of FC Barcelona, one of the most famous football clubs in the world. This stadium offers a lot of insight and history about the club. It has a seating of 99,000 making it the largest stadium in Spain and Europe.
The stadium also has a museum which gives an enchanting experience for visitors to learn about the club's history and the team's achievements throughout the years. Visitors can also take a tour of the stadium and even go on the pitch making you feel like a football player.
It is also advised for you to check beforehand if there is a football match, which can be a unique experience to watch, or if you’re not a football fan, check for concerts and other events for music lovers.
From 9:00 am to 6:30 pm
Adult ticket starts at €28
They also have discounts you can check here:
If you’re looking for a nice hike with scenic spots, Montserrat is the place to go. It has breathtaking views of the countryside and its landscapes.
Besides the natural beauty, it also offers the famous boy's choir “La Escolania”. They have been singing for over 800 years at the monastery and they are worth checking out. They sing daily at the basilica. If that's not enough to make this a good visit, they also have some magnificent art from known artists like Picasso, El Greco, and Caravaggio.
Montserrat is a bit out of the city although it is easily accessible. You can get there in about an hour by car and about two by train. The trains in that area are quite comfortable and have air conditioning allowing you to see a lot more of the rich Barcelona countryside.
Barceloneta Beach is the place you go to on a sunny day. You can take a nice swim or just get a cold drink and enjoy the views of the Mediterranean Sea.
If you want to learn a new water sport like windsurfing or even kiteboarding you can rent equipment and even take lessons from local instructors at this spot. La Barceloneta is known for its lively atmosphere, where you can enjoy fresh seafood or have a drink at a beach bar on a warm day. Barceloneta is not that far from the city it's within walking distance and easily accessible for tourists and locals who want to get away from the heat.
Casa Mila also known as La Pedrera. This is another famous building designed by Antoni Gaudi. It was built in the 20th century and represents an important part of the history and culture of Barcelona.
Visitors come to appreciate Casa Mila’s architecture and design with curvy iron balconies to the swaying stone walls. Another thing that makes this spot so unique is the rooftop with a scenic view of the city. Don’t forget to take photos of the ventilation towers and iconic chimneys which have many times been portrayed in the Barcelona postcards.
Opening hours and tickets:
Open from 9 am to 10 pm
Adult with audioguide starts at €25
They have lots of different tickets to enjoy this experience that you can find here:
Casa Milà Tickets | Gaudí’s building in Barcelona (lapedrera.com)
Picasso Museum is filled with a collection of art from one of the most well-known Spanish artists: Pablo Picasso. Dive into this spot to appreciate art and get to know more about the life and career of Picasso.
There are guide services if you want to learn and gain knowledge on Picasso and his art. This destination is located in the heart of the city so there are no excuses to miss this experience.
Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm
It's free on Thursday afternoons from 4 pm to 7 pm and the First Sunday of each month
Adult: €12 - 13
18-25, students with ID, and 65+: €7.50.
Under 18: free.
Audio guide in English: €5.00.
So there you have it, all the basics in one place. Barcelona has so much more to offer, but if you just check those places out, you will go home feeling completely satisfied with your first immersion into a city that smells of creativity, imagination, and passion. Somehow we know that it will not be the last time you stop by.