12 things to do in Barcelona to fully enjoy this amazing city
Picasso, Gaudí, Miró, Tàpies, Barcelona has been home to many great artists that have cemented the artistic importance of this city. Breathtaking architecture, high spirited people, exquisite food, Barcelona is the crown jewel of Spain. Its location, right on the Mediterranean Sea, makes it a paradisiac place for anyone who sets foot. Even if there have been some serious conflicts between Catalans and the rest of Spain, the city of Barcelona has an indisputable sense of fun and excitement that makes people fall in love with the European city. If you’re visiting this city soon, make sure you read below to know about 12 incredible things to do in Barcelona. Once you’re there, it sure is hard to leave.
The first stone was laid in 1882… it has now been more than 130 years since the start of the construction of the Sagrada Familia. This immense neo-gothic temple has fascinated the world twice over. Antoni Gaudí has designed an incredibly harmonious, luminous and detailed temple that everyone must see at least once in their life. This place is the top tourist attraction in Barcelona so make sure you buy your tickets in advance.
Why Bogatell Beach and not Barceloneta Beach? Although Bogatell, located near the Poblenou neighbourhood, is a bit further than Barceloneta, this is where the locals like to hang out (i.e. far from tourists). Lay down your towel on the soft sand and admire the gorgeous Mediterranean water or enjoy food at the nearby restaurants and bars. You’ll feel a thousand miles away from the city without the long travel.
Built between 1905 and 1908, the Palau de la Música Catalana is a cultural landmark and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1997. Located in the Sant Pere district, it is worth going just for the breathtaking architecture. A Catalan Art Nouveau building, inside you will find various sculptures, mosaics, stained glass and ironwork. You can take an hour guided tour of the place for 20€ or a self-guided tour for 15€.
Less than a 15-minute walk from the Palau de la Música Catalana, the Ciutadella Park used to be the only large green space in the whole city. You can stroll around and admire the greenery, rent rowboats and lazily row around the lake, count as many of the sculptures as you can, pass in front of the famous Cascada, have a picnic in the lush grass, etc. If you want a break from the busy city, fill your lungs with fresh air in this beautiful park.
No, this is not a movie theatre but a restaurant! Albert Adrià, one of Barcelona’s most famous chefs, has created a whimsical and fun atmosphere at his tapas restaurant located in the Sant Antoni neighbourhood. Known for his incredibly inventive and eccentric menu (think deconstructed typical tapas), Adrià will transport you to the most fun (and tastiest) carnival you’ll ever been to.
To get to one of the best and biggest food markets in the entire world, you’ll walk on La Rambla, the city’s most famous street and after that, you’ll probably never see the light of day since you’ll be completely transfixed with the number of fresh produce and products this place offers. We’re kidding about never coming back but enjoy the colours, smells and tastes you’ll experience here.
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Although he was not born in Barcelona, Barcelona is lucky to have an extensive collection of Pablo Picasso’s work. With more than 4,000 works of art, the museum’s permanent collection is a sight to see. Admire Man in a Beret (1895), The Wait (1901), The Pigeons (1957) for example, or many of the works of his Las Meninas series. The artwork is not the only wonderful thing about this museum, the five palaces that hold the museum date back to the 13th-15th century.
Fan of soccer, or should we say football? Cheer on FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium, which has a seating capacity of almost 100 000 people. Barcelonians are die-hard fans of football and it is worth going to a game just to experience that. If you’re unlucky and Barça isn’t playing while you’re visiting the city, you can take a stadium tour, visit the museum and shop till you drop at the stadium store. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Barcelona if you’re a football fan.
If there’s one thing to do in Barcelona it has to be to go out for a drink in a bar or in a nightclub. Barcelonians are party people and it’s nearly impossible not to have a fun time with them when drinking is involved. Milano Cocktail Bar, a piano bar where you can find delicious cocktails and a live band for a romantic night on the town.
Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, with its narrow medieval streets, bars and restaurants, museums, and famous Catedral de Barcelona, is one of the major highlights of this city. You can easily get to this neighbourhood by La Rambla and spend the afternoon wandering in and out of shops and admiring the gorgeous architecture.
Another Gaudí marvel, Park Güell is a public park that was first designed as an estate for well-off families. It is now a place to admire Gaudí’s architectural work, from the Dragon Stairway, the Hypostyle Room, the Greek Theatre, the Laundry Room Portico, etc. The view of the city from the mosaic-filled Greek Theatre is extremely impressive as well as the houses.
Spain is one of the biggest wine producers in the world. Monvínic is the place to find an incredible and large selection of Spanish wines. If you love and know wine or, on the contrary, you want to learn more about it, the sommeliers at Monvínic will explain to you exactly what you are drinking, which is no small feat considering they have around 3 000 bottles in their cellar.
A half hour walk or metro ride from La Rambla, the Fundació Joan Miró is an art lover’s dream. With more than 200 paintings, 180 sculptures, and approximately 800 drawings, this space is dedicated to the Catalan artist. The buildings are full of light and the museum is considered to be one of the most outstanding museum buildings in the world. Spend an afternoon absorbing this 21st-century genius’ creativity.
Solo travellers, families and young adults will all fall in love with this European city. Of course, there are more things to do in Barcelona but these 12 essential activities are impossible to miss. The food and wine are a foodies’ dream, the architecture is breathtaking, the people are extremely fun and friendly, in short, Barcelona should be on everyone’s bucket list.
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