Feeling like spending the time of your life in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities? From amazing monuments and a rich history to lively nightlife, Barcelona has it all.
The capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, Barcelona is one of the largest cities on the northeastern coast of Spain, and the second-most populous metropolis in the country. A bustling city, it is recognized worldwide as a major cultural and financial center and has extensive transport connections with the rest of Europe by sea, air, or land.
Founded in Roman times, Barcelona is a city with a long and rich history that manifests in its many fascinating buildings and monuments that are scattered all over the city. It homes a number of UNESCO-recognized monuments and it has two of the most prestigious universities in Spain. Barcelona also hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics and still is a world-class spot for international events and sports tournaments.
This amazing city is one of the top tourist destinations in all of Europe, and with good reason: it offers fascinating activities and prime spots that will please everyone, from art and history lovers to gastronomy or sports enthusiasts. And if its beautiful Mediterranean beaches aren’t enough to close the deal, it has a vibrant nightlife with teeming bars, late-night beach parties, and music festivals all year round.
So, while you are packing your bags, check out this list of places that you absolutely cannot miss in Barcelona.
La Sagrada Familia
An intricate and mesmerizingly complex work in progress that began construction in the year 1882, the basilica of La Sagrada Familia is one of those spots that you just can’t miss if you happen to find yourself in Barcelona. History and art lovers in particular will be delighted to know that this architectural masterpiece is the work of the famous Catalan architect Gaudí.
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also one of the most visited monuments in the city, so be prepared for extremely long lines if you are going during the high season - try buying your tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait as much!
The city of Barcelona hosts the most important Picasso museum in the world, housing more than 4,000 of the revered artist’s earliest works (comprising sculptures, paintings, and engravings). The city was chosen by Pablo Picasso himself to host this museum, as Barcelona was where he commenced his career as a young artist.
Mercado de La Boqueria
One of the most famed food markets in the world, The Mercado de la Boqueria is the main attraction on La Rambla, a pedestrian promenade that extends from the port of the city to the main square, Plaza de Catalunya.
We highly encourage any visitors to take time to explore this colorful walk, as it is full of lively shops and sights, while the market itself can be a one-time opportunity to try first-hand many of the local delicacies, like Iberian ham, turron, or tapas. Do not visit with a full stomach or you’ll regret missing out on the exquisite Catalan cuisine.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta
A public park built like a labyrinth, this 18th-century garden is the oldest park in Barcelona, and it mixes neoclassical and romantic styles in different areas. The hedge maze will for sure be a challenge, but you probably won’t mind being lost inside it, since its enchanting and mysterious atmosphere will transport you to a magical world.
Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Sagrat Cor)
This peaceful temple is located at the highest point of the city at 532 meters above sea level, guaranteeing amazing panoramic views of the surrounding city and the Mediterranean Sea. This Roman-style church was built in the 19th century by another great Catalan architect, Enric Sagnier.
Since it is more isolated and harder to access than the rest of the points in this list, way fewer tourists crowd this spot, making it a prime location for a bit of peace and quiet contemplation after a long morning of sightseeing. If you are not much into walking all the way up, there is, fortunately, a funicular that will carry you to the entrance.
Not a big fan of art and historical monuments? Not a problem, remember that this lively and modern city is also home to the world-famous soccer team FC Barcelona. If you are into soccer or sports in general, you can book a visit to their state-of-the-art stadium, Camp Nou.
This gigantic building can host as many as 100,000 spectators and is the largest stadium in all of Europe. If you are a real fan you can attend a soccer game during your visit, but if you aren’t up for that there are always guided tours where you can get to know the backstage of the stadium and even see its most important trophies, like Messi’s Golden Ball and the Champions League trophies.
Make the most of it
If you are planning a long trip to the old continent, Barcelona can easily be your gateway to the rest of Europe. Enjoy the comfort of its beautiful Mediterranean beaches, its amazing food, or even get to make friends thanks to its warm culture and vibrant nightlife.
And, as always, remember to plan in advance! Book your tours and accommodations ahead of time so you can just relax and fully immerse yourself in the rich experience Barcelona has to offer.