30 Great Places to Visit in Barcelona – The Top Barcelona Attractions
Welcome to our guide on the best places to visit in Barcelona. This iconic Spanish city is a top European city break destination that can be visited all-year round. It offers endless historic attractions and sightseeing opportunities, but also a great food scene. It also has some of Spain’s best nightlife! Barcelona is a city that rises late and stays up late.
From its iconic football team to the beautiful beaches, life in the city is fast paced and any visit is a thrilling whirlwind from start to finish. To help you get started with your trip planning, we’ve assembled a list of the top 30 must-see attractions. You’ll need a full week to see them all, so choose wisely and note down the Barcelona attractions that stand out to you the most.
We’ve also included some helpful travel tips, accommodation recommendations and bonus day-trip ideas. Continue reading our guide for 30 great places to visit in Barcelona.
1. The Sagrada Familia
We’re starting off our list of the best places to visit in Barcelona with the city’s number one attraction. The Sagrada Familia is widely regarded as one of the world’s best man-made attractions and the most beautiful church on the planet. Construction started on the church in 1883 when architect Antonio Gaudi took the reins on the project. Being such a grand design, work is still being completed on the church to this day.
Sagrada Familia is beautiful to admire both inside and out. It boasts elaborate stone carvings, huge spires, and a design that’s unlike any other church you’ve seen before. Inside, the floors, ceilings and staircases are made from a soft white marble, featuring the same Gaudi design that intertwines natural form with modernism. The colours reflected from the stain glass windows set the scene for the most beautiful church interior you’ll ever witness.
Sagrada Familia is the number one attraction in Barcelona, and you must pre-book a time slot online to visit. If you only visit one place in the city, it must be the Sagrada Familia!
2. Mount Tibidabo
Made world-famous by ‘Joey’ from the TV series ‘Friends’, Mount Tibidabo is a mountain range that towers behind the city of Barcelona. It’s one of the best city viewpoints you’ll find and is high up enough to see all corners of Barcelona, from the neighbourhoods to the beaches. The best way to get to the top of Mount Tibidabo is by funicular. The journey is fast and scenic, taking you to the top in a matter of minutes.
At the top of Mount Tibidabo, you’ll find some excellent viewpoints. There’s also a small amusement park, food stalls and a fairy-tale-like white church called the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
3. The Gothic Quarter
One of our favourite places to visit in Barcelona is the old town centre, also known as the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic). This charming area is home to some of Barcelona’s oldest buildings, each with a medieval style. It has several Roman-era monuments and buildings, museums, and Middle Ages churches. One of the best things about the Gothic Quarter is simply wandering through its narrow, dimly lit streets. During the day they’re full of tourists on walking tours. On evenings, they’re dark, moody and full of hidden bars and restaurants.
We recommend spending a lot of time exploring the Gothic Quarter. It’s in the main tourist area and there’s a lot to see all in one place. MUHBA Temple d’August, Plaça de Sant Jaume and El Ponte de Bisbe are some of the must-sees.
4. Barcelona Cathedral
Located in the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona Cathedral is a beautiful Gothic-style cathedral that dominates the skyline of the old town. Only second to the Sagrada Familia for most impressive churches in the city, it’s a must see when wandering the streets of ‘Barri Gòtic’. Admire the church from the outside before paying the entry fee and talking an audio tour of the grand interior. The church opened in 1448 and has a rich history.
5. Ciutadella Park
Every major global city has a nice park to explore, and in Barcelona’s case, that’s Ciutadella Park. This neatly manicured park is a short walk from the old town tourist centre. It features a large man-made lake where you can hire a rowing boat, and several walking trails, gardens and relaxation areas. Life here is quiet, making it a nice place to visit on a sunny day. The rowing boat experience is something we highly recommend doing with your partner – it’s such a romantic setting!
Other things to see in Ciutadella Park include Barcelona Zoo, the Catalunya parliament building and the Monument of Sonia Rescalvo Zafra.
6. Arc de Triomf
Right next to Ciutadella Park, you’ll find Barcelona’s answer to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Arc de Triomf is a memorial arch that was built by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. It has bold terracotta colours, towering pillars and a tall archway that you can walk through. The Arc de Triomf area is a great place to hire a bike and explore. There are plenty of cycle paths near the park and a long promenade that leads to the monument.
7. El Born
El Born is one of Barcelona’s coolest neighbourhoods. It’s located right next to the historic Gothic Quarter that we mentioned above and has its own rich medieval history. The old buildings and narrow streets are reminiscent of the past, but these days, it’s a very fashionable place to stay or visit. The quaint streets of El Born are full of trendy restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. It’s a great place to visit on an evening for a night out, but can also be enjoyed by those that want a quiet drink and chat over some tapas.
We recommend visiting El Born both during the day and on an evening for completely different experiences. It’s one of the best places to eat or drink and has some less touristic restaurants compared to the Gothic Quarter.
8. Barceloneta Beach
One thing we absolutely love about Barcelona is the fact it has a huge beach right alongside the city. Not many cities on earth have a beach like Barcelona’s! Barceloneta Beach and the nearby beaches are the relaxation place of choice for locals in the warmer months. They’re also hotspots for tourists that want a break from the sightseeing. Featuring white sands and plenty of facilities, bars and restaurants, Barceloneta is a great place to spend an afternoon.
Even if you don’t want to relax on the beach or go for a swim, you can go for a walk along the long promenade to Port Olimpic, Barcelona’s premier yacht marina. The entire Barceloneta area is always buzzing, no matter the time of day you visit.
9. Port Vell
Port Vell is one of the best places to visit in Barcelona to enjoy a drink or meal with a view. Being a key Mediterranean port, the city always has hundreds of boats and yachts docked up in its main marina, including luxury yachts of the rich and famous. Port Vell is where you can soak in the sea-breeze and feel like you’re not in a city, but in a nice seaside resort in the south of Spain.
We recommend going for a long walk around Port Vell at sunset. You can enjoy a drink in a harbourside bar or browse the shops at Maremagnum Shopping Mall. It’s one of the better shopping destinations in the city. Barcelona Aquarium is also located here, which is a great attraction for families.
10. Montjuic cable car and park
We’ve mentioned one area where you can get some amazing views, Mount Tibidabo. Montjuic is another great place to visit in Barcelona to capture panoramic views of the city. To get to Montjuic, you’ll need to take a funicular transport from the city centre, up the hill to the base of the mountain. You can then proceed to walk up through the hillside park until you reach a castle.
Alternatively, take a scenic cable car ride up the mountainside for spectacular views of the city and shoreline. This was one of our favourite activities in Barcelona and we highly recommend paying the small cable car fee rather than walking. In Montjuic Park itself, you’ll find a number of walking trails, viewpoints and relaxation areas. There’s also a Botanical Garden.
11. Montjuic Castle
At the top of the Montjuic hill ascent, you’ll find an old defence fortress known as Montjuic Castle. Built in 1640 during the Reapers’ War, the castle sits at 173 metres above sea level. You can admire the exterior of the fort as you walk along to the hilltop viewpoints. Alternatively, cross the castle entrance bridge, pay the small fee and explore the inside. The well-preserved fortress grounds have several watchtowers, rooms and parade grounds to explore. You can also walk along the fortified walls for some beautiful views of Barcelona.
12. Montjuic Magic Fountain
Montjuic Magic Fountain is a Barcelona attraction that has captivated tourists and locals since 1929. Featuring a series of moving water streams, coloured lights, music and colours, the fountain comes alive on an evening. Water seemingly does acrobatics to the sound of the music! Montjuic Magic Fountain is a fun attraction to see before you head out to dinner, but please check opening hours before arrival. It temporarily closes throughout the year.
13. The National Art Museum of Catalunya
We were mesmerized when we first saw the National Art Museum of Catalunya. It’s without a doubt one of the most stunning buildings in Barcelona! The 19th-century building houses a series of 11th to 20th-century Catalan art, including an impressive Romanesque collection. If you like art galleries, you can’t miss this place off your list! Even if you don’t want to peer inside the museum, we recommend stopping by to see the building’s grand exterior whilst in the Montjuic area.
14. Placa d’Espanya
Another place worth visiting in the Montjuic area is Placa d’Espanya. This iconic city square is a short walk from The National Art Museum of Catalunya and is just as magnificent. The plaza has a series of historic buildings, including a long-standing bull fighting area, marble pillars and two 47m tall Venetian Towers. There’s also a roundabout that houses a fountain monument at its centre.
15. Poble Sec Neighborhood
Poble Sec is an up-and-coming Barcelona neighbourhood that’s quickly becoming one of the trendiest areas of the city. Day or night, it’s one of the best places to visit in Barcelona to experience authentic, affordable tapas in a small corner bar. There are some excellent restaurant options, whatever your taste. It also has a lively nightlife scene for evenings out into the later hours. We recommend visiting Poble Sec for lunch after exploring Montjuic. The funicular from Montjuic takes you right into the heart of Poble Sec neighbourhood.
16. L’Eixample neighbourhood
L’Eixample is one of Barcelona’s trendy and upmarket neighbourhoods. Located right next to the main shopping areas and exclusive fashion boutiques of the city, it’s a great place to base yourself during your visit. It’s also a great place to explore! Visit L’Eixample during the day to shop, dine and enjoy a drink in a café. On an evening, there’s a great selection of tapas restaurants and bars to check out.
17. Plaça de Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia
Plaça de Catalunya is one of Barcelona’s main squares. It sits at the very top of the main tourist street, Las Ramblas, and connects to a series of excellent attractions, shops and restaurants. Locals use it as a gathering point and it’s a great place to start your sightseeing adventure. Take time to explore the shops, cafes and square itself. If you’d like to do a spot of shopping, the large high street stores and department stores at Plaça de Catalunya are the best in the city.
Alongside Plaça de Catalunya, you’ll find the high-end shopping street known as Passeig de Gràcia. This long street has an impressive line-up of buildings, including two of Gaudi’s premier pieces of work. It’s a bustling place to visit and there’s always something going on. As well as designer fashion stores and jewellery shops, you’ll find high streets stores such as Nike and Mango.
18. Barcelona Camp Nou Stadium
One of Barcelona’s biggest exports is football! Barcelona FC is known worldwide, and they’ve long been one of the top club teams challenging in the Champions League. Whether you’re a football fan or not, a tour of Barcelona’s home stadium Camp Nou is something we highly recommend. The stadium has a lot of history and there’s a lot to see.
Stop by for a guided tour of Camp Nou and an insight into the football club. You’ll get a tour of the changing rooms, trophy room, substitute and manager area, amongst others. You’ll also get to view a completely empty stadium, which is very cool to see.
Some of Barcelona’s best attractions are all buildings designed by architect Antonio Gaudi. His works of art are scattered throughout the city, each instantly recognisable for his trademark style, but all having a different concept. Gaudi’s work is known for having an ‘organic’ look to it. There are seven main works of art by Gaudi in Barcelona, and many of them are must-see Barcelona attractions. We recommend checking out the following:
19. Parc Guell
Parc Guell is one of Gaudi’s largest projects. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage designated park that’s comprised of several buildings, monuments, sculptures and walking paths. Stepping into this unique park is like entering a completely different world. We thoroughly enjoyed walking around seeing the buildings, walking paths and viewpoints. Be sure to book tickets online before arriving and allocate a good couple of hours to see Parc Guell. It’s one of Gaudi’s most diverse works of art.
20. Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is a Gaudi-designed building on Barcelona’s main designer shopping street, Passeig de Gracia. The building instantly stands out with its modernist, organic design, which is much like Gaudi’s other projects. As one of the top-rated Gaudi attractions, Casa Batlló is one of the best places to visit in Barcelona to see a Gaudi-designed interior. Much of the building is open to explore, with its grand hallways, quirky rooms and magnificent ceiling designs on show. In addition to the Gaudi artwork, the museum hosts interactive exhibits throughout the year.
21. Casa Vicens
Case Vicens is a Gaudi-designed building with a very different design to the others we’ve listed. Modernist in design, but with a series of colourful shapes and chequered squares, it has an almost fairy-tale like appearance. Casa Vicens is famous for being the first project that Antonio Gaudi was commissioned to work on. It paved the way for his many other projects and displays the early era of his design work. You can visit Casa Vicens for a small entrance fee.
22. Casa Mila
Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, was Gaudi’s last commissioned architectural project. It shows the full extent of Gaudi’s imaginative design-style and is truly a masterpiece to explore. The building spans 5 floors, all of which you can walk around at your leisure. There’s also a rooftop terrace with unique turrets and nice views of the city centre. Casa Mila is well worth visiting if you have time. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Museum has lots of interactive exhibits and is a chance to see Gaudi’s last piece of civic design work.
23. Palau Guell
The last Antonio Gaudi-designed budling on our list of Barcelona attractions is right in the heart of the city’s tourist area, just off Las Ramblas street. It’s a mansion that was built to house the elaborate parties of high society guests and it features a very different style to some of Gaudi’s other works of art. The exterior of the building is small and somewhat hidden, blending in with other buildings on the street. However, look closely and you’ll notice Gaudi’s organic design style. Inside, there are several rooms and grand hallways to explore.
24. Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Parc del Laberint d’Horta is a hidden gem of a Barcelona attraction. It’s slightly off the tourist trail on the edge of the city centre and is well worth visiting on a sunny day. Easily reached by Metro, Parc del Laberint d’Horta is a historic garden on the grounds of an estate. It has existed as a royal garden since the late 1700’s and has been transformed many times since.
Today, it’s a neatly manicured series of walking trails, sculptures and scenic relaxation areas. There’s also the main attraction; a large hedge maze. It’s a great place to get lost or enjoy a picnic on a hot day. It’s also one of the best places to visit in Barcelona for couples. The setting is beautifully romantic!
25. Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is the main tourist hub of the city. It’s a long street that leads from the seafront, all the way to Place Catalunya, the main shopping hub. No matter what time of the year you visit, the street is full of crowds of tourists. Gift stalls, shops, cafes, dessert parlours and live street performers make this one of the busiest areas in Barcelona.
There’s no doubt that Las Ramblas is extremely touristic. The restaurants here are all way overpriced and we don’t recommend any of them. However, the vibrant atmosphere and unique architecture on the street make it a must see at least once during your stay. Grab a fruit shake from the market, check out the live performers and soak in the atmosphere.
26. Boqueria Market
Located on Las Ramblas, you’ll find the iconic Boqueria Market. This famous food market started in the 1200’s and has grown to become a major tourist attraction. It’s one of the best places to visit in Barcelona to soak in the lively atmosphere whilst sampling a variety of foods. Market vendors sell fresh produce to the locals, but you’ll also find interesting snacks, drinks and souvenirs to buy. A common activity is to order a fresh fruit shake and drink it as you walk around.
Another top thing to do in Boqueria Market is to grab a stool at one of the tapas bars inside the market. It’s an authentic way to experience Spanish Tapas for the first time and the prices aren’t too bad. We recommend eating at El Quim (view on Google Maps).
27. Santa Caterina Market
Another market to check out is Santa Caterina Market. Whilst Boqueria Market now caters mainly to tourists, Santa Caterina provides an authentic experience of a local Barcelona Market. Locals shop here for their fresh meat, vegetables and bakery supplies. It’s a smaller, less crowded market that’s worth a quick visit whilst exploring the El Born area of town. It’s a good place to buy cured meats, and you can also sample some tapas.
28. Palace of Catalan Music
The Palace of Catalan Music is a modernist Catalan concert hall that opened in the early 1900’s. Like many of the old Catalonian buildings in the city, the interior of the concert hall is really something special. Floral and organic style is apparent throughout the main hall, with a dazzling ceiling of tiles and glass. The acoustics in the concert hall are also really special.
You don’t have to see a show to experience the beauty of Palace of Catalan Music. Simply book a tour. Tours run throughout the day, giving you a guided experience of everything the concert hall has to offer.
29. Bogatell Beach
We’ve already listed Barceloneta Beach, the city’s most popular beach. However, it’s not the only beach in the area. If you want a quieter relaxation experience with less crowds and people selling you things, check out Bogatell Beach. Botagell is just along the coastline from Barceloneta Beach. It has soft white sand, it’s very clean and is a great place to swim. Go for a long walk or cycle ride on its promenade or lay down your towel and bathe under the hot Spanish sun.
30. Visit one of Barcelona’s many museums
If you like exploring museums on a city break, you’re in for a treat. Barcelona is full of amazing museums, galleries and exhibits, each offering something unique. We recommend checking out the following:
Picasso Museum – A small museum dedicated to the art of Pablo Picasso. It contains more than 4000 works of art from all periods of the artist’s life.
History Museum of Barcelona – Located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, the History Museum of Barcelona is a place where you can learn about the city’s rich history. It features stories, exhibits and artefacts from Barcelona’s early Roman beginnings, up to the modern day.
Banksy Museum – A small, quirky museum that’s dedicated to the elusive British artist, Banksy. It’s always hosting new exhibits and events.
CosmoCaixa – The ultimate science museum! Excellent for families and those than want an interactive learning experience, Cosmo Caixa is well worth visiting if you want an alternative to sightseeing.
Where to stay in Barcelona
Looking for a great place to stay in Barcelona during your visit? Read our safe areas to stay in Barcelona guide for area and hotel recommendations.
Frequently asked questions
Thanks for reading our guide on the best places to visit in Barcelona. No matter the time of the year you visit, there’s always something going on in the city and there are endless options for things to do. Whether you’re on a fleeting visit or are spending a full 2-weeks here, there’s plenty to keep you entertained morning and evening. Do you have any questions about our guide? Maybe you have your own Barcelona attraction suggestion? Be sure to post a comment below.
Check out our other Barcelona travel guides:
BY RICKYAuthor bio:
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.