Easily the most popular city break destination in Spain.
Barcelona is one of Europe’s top destinations. How many other places can you see incredible cultural sights, world-class museums, dine in Michelin starred restaurants and spend a day at the beach in one trip?
In this list, we’ll look at 10 of the best bucket list destinations in Barcelona. Some of them you may have heard of. Others might be new to you. What’s for sure is that all of these destinations are essential on an adventurers’ Barcelona itinerary!
First of all is Barcelona’s most iconic tourist destination. Despite being unfinished, the Sagrada Familia attracts crowds of people to see the unique interior of Gaudi’s ultimate masterpiece. This unusual basilica has been worked on for more than 140 years and you could spend the whole day picking details out of its exquisite facades. Moreover, if you want to go inside you’ll have to get here early, as queues can be quite long.
Mercado de la Boqueria
When it comes to adventurous travellers, you don’t want to stick to what you know when it comes to food. And one of the best places to treat your taste buds is the Mercado de la Boqueria. Enjoy traditional Spanish treats like croquetas, jamon serrano, and gambas pil pil. The market is just off Las Ramblas and best visited in the morning or early afternoon.
You don’t have to be into football to be awestruck by the spectacular atmosphere if this enormous stadium. If you can, come for a nighttime game in the Champions League when the whole stadium will be rocking. If you are a big footy fan, bear in mind that you only have a few years left to see Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest footballer in the world, playing in the flesh at the Camp Nou…
There’s so much you can do in Montjuic. Starting by Placa Espanya, this hill rises up between the city and Barcelona’s commercial port. As a matter of fact, it was built for the 1919 international exhibition and those interested in culture will be delighted. The first spot should be MNAC – the imposing building is the Catalan National art museum and has important works dating back 800 years. The panoramas from up here are pretty spectacular too! After that, you can come to Montjuic at night on weekends for the magic fountain exhibition, where you’ll be wowed by a light and music show.
Bunkers de Carmel
If you want the best view of the city, come up to the ‘bunkers’. While they’re not the easiest to get to, they’re well worth the effort. The best time to come is at sunset when lots of locals and tourists alike are here. In addition, there’s music, beers, and a great atmosphere which will make your trip up here all the more memorable.
Barcelona arguably has the best city beaches in the world. Not only can you sunbathe and swim, but you can also surf and SUP too! Walk along the beachfront from Barceloneta to Diagonal Mar on the promenade to see how the city changes. For those who want to give surfing or SUPing a go, check out Gili Sports for a range of inflatable stand up paddle boards which are easy to transport.
Barcelona has quite a few city parks, but none are revered in the same way that Park Guell is. The modernist masterpiece is the work of the city’s most famous son, Antoni Gaudi, and the views over the city from here are absolutely spectacular. While you can explore most of the park for free, you’ll have to pay if you want to enter the Monumental Zone. It’s where you’ll get the best views and see the famous dragon statue.
If the views from Park Guell aren’t enough for you, then head up to Tibidabo. It’s your easiest chance to get out into the mountains surrounding Barcelona, and a way to escape the city’s hustle and bustle. If you really want to push yourself, you can hike up. However, there’s a funicular if you don’t want to arrive looking like a sweaty mess. The amusement park up here is pretty cool, while you can also sample wine and olive oil up here too.
Missed off a lot of Barcelona itineraries, the Umbracle is part of Park Ciutadella where you can escape the fast pace of Barcelona without leaving the city. Also, the building is a modernist building that wasn’t designed by Gaudi – this one was Fontsere and Amargos at the end of the 19th century. It’s made of 5 arches which create a kind of greenhouse effect, meaning that there are plants from around the world growing here. A lovely place for a leisurely stroll.
It may seem a little macabre, but visiting a cemetery is a unique and fascinating way to get to know a city. And it’s the perfect way to see Barcelona by night. Poblenou is one of the largest cemeteries in Barcelona and it’s full of incredible artistic flourishes. Night time tours of the cemetery are available in October.
Final Thoughts on the best places to visit in Barcelona
Now that you’ve seen 10 amazing places to visit in Barcelona, you’ll want to book your trip. If you want to see all of the places on this list and more, check out Free Walking Tours Barcelona. They have a range of tours suited to different styles and budgets, as well as some opportunities to indulge in Spanish culture.
Written by Neil Kleise