Barcelonais a city located in the northeast of Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. This city of FC Barcelona and Gaudí is the second city of Spain. In terms of tourism by the Dutch, it is the largest city trip destination. Due to the rise of low-cost airlines at the end of the last century, flight tickets to Barcelona suddenly became very affordable, which has been a major boost for tourism to Barcelona. In the summer months, many tourists traditionally come to Barcelona from nearby seaside resorts to shop, enjoy the Spanish cuisine and see the many sights of the city. You can also enjoy beach life in Barcelona itself.
According to Cellphoneexplorer, Barcelona has almost everything you are looking for in a city trip destination: charm, atmosphere, beautiful spot, beautiful squares, cool museums and unique sights that make it worthwhile to fly to Barcelona especially for it. Add to that the fact that you can eat delicious food, shop for days on end and that Barcelona is an affordable city with a wonderful climate. Then it is almost a matter of course that millions of tourists come here every year.
Top 10 sights of Barcelona
#1. Sagrada Familia
Whichever website or travel guide you read, they all agree that the Sagrada Familiashould be high on your list of things to do in Barcelona. The full name of this imposing church is ‘Basílica y Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Família’. From 1882 to the present day, this church is being built. The official delivery is expected to take place in 2026. The design is by Antoni Gaudí. A name that you often notice in Barcelona. The Sagrada Família is a ‘reconciliation church’ and may only be built through donations. That probably explains why construction is taking so long. The church has since become a tourist attraction. The inside is just as impressive as the outside. Antoni Gaudí is also buried here in the crypt of Sagrada Família.
At Sagrada Familiathere are often queues that are more than a hundred meters long. These are the people who have not bought a ticket in advance via the internet where you can enter directly within a certain time slot. Via Ticketbar, an official partner of Sagrada Familia, you can buy ‘skip the line’ tickets with which you can enter directly. For a small additional fee you can also participate in a one and a half hour guided tour of Sagrada Familia. These tours are only held in small groups, giving you the feeling that you are traveling with a private guide. Keep in mind that you sometimes have to book at least a few days in advance to be sure of your spot.
#2. Sights of Antoni Gaudi
The originally Spanish architect Antoni Gaudíhas designed at least 1900 striking buildings and other objects. Most of them are in Barcelona, where he studied and lived from the age of seventeen and where he also died in 1926. This happened after he was hit by a tram. Antoni Gaudí was particularly notable for his idiosyncrasy, which was often reflected in his works later on. His most famous work in Barcelona is Sagrada Família. Here he is also buried in the crypt. More of his architectural delights and artistic objects can be admired in the Parc Güell urban park. A Gaudí museum is located there in his former home. The city of Barcelona still has a lot of legacy from this great master.
No one should leave Barcelona without Casa Milà to have seen. This special piece of architecture by Gaudí is one of the absolute highlights of Barcelona. Casa Milà is a building of apartments located on Carrer d’Olot street, close to Parc Güell. Like so many works by Gaudí, this is another special piece. Although the building is on a corner, you experience the corner side as one whole. Inside the building you will find frescoes, reliefs and two courtyards in style. The undulating movements on the outside in the facade are also reflected in Gaudí’s benches in the Parc Güell. The roof has even been given a name: ‘Jardin de los Gauerreros’, which means ‘garden of the warriors’. Due to a conflict with his client, Gaudí never completely finished the building.
Parc Güell is a special city park in Barcelona. Parc Guellis located in the Gràcia district. This green heart of the city has an enormous amount of trees, avenues and squares. Gaudí has ensured that his art has transformed the park into a place worth seeing in Barcelona. A giant snake meanders through the park and offers a seat spread across the park. This park was created by Antoni Gaudí on behalf of Eusebi Güell. Initially, there was little interest from the inhabitants. In this park you will find, among other things, the Gaudí museum, a porter’s lodge, a porter’s house, a large staircase with a mythological dragon and a very large balcony from where you have a great view over the city.
Please note: nowadays you have to pay an entrance fee for the most beautiful part of Park Güell. If you do not do this, you cannot enter immediately, but you must buy tickets on site for the next time slot. In most cases, that is hours later. You always buy your ticket for a specific time slot. So be on time!
#3. Historical centre
The old center of Barcelona is a neighborhood that you should not miss during your visit to Barcelona. The historic heart of the city is known under the names Barri Gotic (literally translation: ‘gothic quarter’) and Ciutat Vella(meaning ‘old quarter’). The historic center is a beautiful collection of cozy narrow streets that are interspersed with various squares. A reasonable part of the streets is used as a shopping street. Barri Gotic is seen as an excellent place for shopping in Barcelona because of the many shops. The nice thing about shopping in the old center is that you will still find plenty of small shops and boutiques here that have their own identity.
There are several fascinating sights within the historic center. Barcelona Cathedral is the most famous building within the Barri Gotic. Another church often visited by tourists is the Baroque-style Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Merced. The Plaça Reial is a place within the old heart of Barcelona that you should definitely visit. This rectangular and car-free square is a wonderful oasis within the fairly busy city. The square features palm trees, a fountain and unique lampposts designed by Gaudi. The various terraces of the restaurants located on Plaça Reial ensure that you can enjoy a snack and a drink in a great setting.
#4. FC Barcelona stadium
Barcelona and the football club of the same name are inextricably linked. It is not for nothing that a visit to the Camp Nou football templehigh on the wish list of football fans. The most fantastic matches are played in the stadium of FC Barcelona. Especially the derbies against Real Madrid are legendary. When there is no football, you can visit Camp Nou. You get a tour of the stadium and you can also take a look at the catacombs. See with your own eyes the players’ tunnel that Johan Cruijff, Frank de Boer and Ronald Koeman once walked through. At the end of the tour you can visit the FC Barcelona Museum and of course the shop. Those who are smart and do not want to stand in a queue can reserve their tickets online in advance.
#5. Mercat de la Boqueria
Mercat de la Boqueria means something like ‘market where goat meat is sold’. This market is the largest and most beautiful fresh market in Spain, where not only goat meat is sold for a long time. This paradise for those who love good food really stimulates all the senses. All kinds of delicacies pass by: fruit, meat, fish, vegetables, cheese, olives, herbs, grains and many more goodies that literally make your mouth water. Mercat de la Boqueria is a place where you can get to know the culinary side in a casual atmosphere. Those who wish can participate in one of the cooking workshops where renowned chefs will teach you the intricacies of Catalan cuisine.
#6. La Rambla
Water used to be drained to the sea via the Rambla, which came from the mountains. Now this is a very pleasant boulevard where there is always something to do. La Ramblaruns from Plaça Catalunya to Port Vell harbour. La Rambla officially consists of five sections: Rambla Canaletes with the fountain of Font les Canaletes. Rambla Estudis, named after a 16th century academic institution and home to attractions such as Palau Comillas and Reial Adademia de Ciences i Arts. Rambla St. Josep with its many cozy flower stalls is named after the monastery that used to be here. The red light district ‘Barri Xines’ also starts in this section. The places of interest here are Placa Reial, Palau Güell, Gran Teatre del Liceu. Rambla Santa Mònica is also named after a convent which is now called Center d’Art Santa Monica. In this section you will find the Museo de Cera. This is a wax museum that takes you back to history. You can walk straight to the harbor via this most southern part of the Rambla.
#7. Plaza Catalunya
Plaça Catalunya is seen as the heart of Barcelona. There is always a lot of visitors on this large square in Barcelona. Partly because the metro, bus, taxis and many pedestrians converge here. It is therefore the most central point of the city. It is fairly green and therefore attracts enough pigeons. You will also find beautiful fountains, sculptures and often there are musical festivities. Plaça Catalunya is definitely worth a visit in the evening. The square is then very attractively lit.
The great thing about Barcelona is that it is located on the beach. This allows you to combine beach and city in one holiday. The Barceloneta district is the most popular beach destination in Barcelona. This is not only due to the favorable location. Sure, it’s great that you can walk to Barceloneta beach in ten minutes from the center. The main reason for Barceloneta’s popularity is its long and wide sandy beach, where locals and tourists come to sunbathe, swim and stroll. The car-free pedestrian boulevard is a popular meeting place and offers you a great view over the beach.
In Barceloneta you can enjoy atmospheric terraces, beautiful architecture and a wonderful atmosphere. You hardly have the feeling of being in a big city here, except for the hustle and bustle. Places of interest within Barceloneta are the Estacion de Francia, the Historical Museum of Catalonia and Port Olimpic. This brand new marina was built for the Olympic cities of Barcelona in 1992.
The most striking building of Barceloneta is Hotel W Barcelona, which can be called an iconic building with its sail shape. A stay at the luxurious W Barcelona means a great night’s sleep in great rooms, treatment like a VIP and perhaps the best view from the pool in all of Barcelona. That alone would be a reason to stay at the W Barcelona Hotel.
#9. Palau de la Musica Catalana
Palau de la Música is a beautiful concert hall from 1908 with a special dome consisting of a lot of glass. The main hall has room for approximately 2073 seats and is decorated with statues of the famous composer Richard Wagner. The inside radiates with its splendor all wealth. The exterior is not inferior with its beautiful pillars and lots of mosaic. On top of the building are the statues of Bach, Beethoven and Palestrina.
#10. Port Vell
The Port of Barcelona is as old and important as the city itself. Many goods are transported to and from this Spanish region via this port. It is also an important and frequently used mooring place for cruise boats. At the beginning of the Ramblas is the old “pleasure” harbor ‘Port Vell’. You will find various excursions and good restaurants, bars and terraces here. There is also a large shopping center ‘Maremàgnum’ and Europe’s largest aquarium filled with six million liters of sea water. On the south side of the harbor there is more industrial area.
The most beautiful way to view Port Vell is from the air. This is possible thanks to the cable car that runs from Port Vell to the city. Reservations are recommended for this affordable and unique experience.