There are countless things to see and do in Barcelona. This city along Spain’s Mediterranean coast will always hold a special place in my heart. I called home for the better part of two years and fell head-over-heels in love with it. It connects me to many of the things I love the most: history, culture, gastronomy, and family. Barcelona airport transfers are an relatively cheap and an excellent way of getting to your hotel if you don’t intend to drive.
This cosmopolitan city offers something for everyone, whether you’re a history buff, a fashionista, or a sports lover. The allure of the city is a tantalizing and beautiful mix of culture, class, elegance, and history. These are the top 10 things to see and do in Barcelona, Spain.
La Sagrada Família
No trip to Barcelona is complete without a stop at Basílica I Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. The cathedral’s polarizing twist on Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture makes it one of the top things to see and do in Barcelona.
Designed by famed Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, construction on La Sagrada Família began in 1886 and has yet to be completed. Upon the completion of its spires, the basilica will be the tallest church in the world!
Barcelona City History Museum
History lovers should not miss the opportunity to explore the city’s past in the Barcelona City History Museum. Among its treasures are the 2,000-year-old ruins of the Temple of Augustus, the best-preserved Roman site in the city.
Photo courtesy of ctj71081
One of the best things to see and do in Barcelona is visit the 4,000-square-meter remnants of ancient Barcino. There, visitors can view the ruins of ancient wineries, garum factories, baths, and more!
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Once a hotspot for locals, the mile-long pedestrian street known as La Ramblas is now more of a tourist attraction. It’s actually made up of five short streets laid end-to-end. Along them are street performers, art vendors, florists, marketplaces, and even an opera house.
Inside this architectural marvel are numerous gold furnishings, 140 statues of saints, and more. Its undeniable beauty makes it one of the top things to see and do in Barcelona!
Dine at Ajoblanco
Dining at Ajoblanco, one of Barcelona’s trendiest eateries, is the perfect thing to see and do in Barcelona after a day of sightseeing. This restaurant serves delicious Catalan dishes with a delicious twist!
Reservations are required, so set them in advance. I suggest Ajoblanco’s succulent garlic prawns, the ox tartar, and the flavorful sausage broiled in cava. Watching the cooks prep your meal is enough to make your mouth water!
Works of Antoni Gaudi
Barcelona is world-famous for its buildings designed by Spanish artist, sculptor, and architect Antoni Gaudi. His influential designs can be seen at a number of sites known collectively as the Works of Antoni Gaudi.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the vibrant and modernist Casa Batlló and the gardens and mosaic work of the Park Güell. Don’t miss the dragon-inspired Casa Milà! Spending a day marveling at Gaudi’s work is among the best things to do in Barcelona and is a popular reason to visit the city!
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Nowhere in Barcelona can its Spanish charm be felt more than the oldest area of the city, Barri Gòtic. It is known for its blending of narrow lanes, Roman- and Medieval-era architecture, 13th-century churches like Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, and modern conveniences like cell phone towers and supermarkets.
The Temple of Augustus is among the hidden gems here, while the popular Plaça de Reial is usually still hopping well past midnight. The old-world charm will leave you wanting to explore for hours!
Another of the can’t-miss things to see and do in Barcelona is visit La Boquería, the city’s famous farmer’s market. Initially set up in the 13th century, this market is the perfect place to shop, people watch, and soak in the local flavor.
Browse the restaurants and stalls for some fantastic treats like, salted cod, manchego cheese, and jamón ibérico. I used to go there all the time to get fresh fruit juice and toasted caramelized almonds!
Atop Montjuïc Hill is another of Barcelona’s historically significant sites, Montjuïc Castle. What started as a single watchtower manned by a sailor in the 11th century grew into a fortress-like structure in the 1600s and a military prison in the early 1800s.
Today, Montjuïc Castle contains a military museum and can be reached via the Telefèric de Montjuïc cable car. With such an instrumental role in the city’s history, it’s no wonder it’s one of the top things to see and do in Barcelona!
Take a Day Trip to Tarragona
While in Barcelona, you’d be remiss if you didn’t take the 60-mile trip to Tarragona along the Golden Coast. This day trip is easily one of the top things to see and do in Barcelona. The city is home to the oldest Roman ruins on the Iberian peninsula, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tarraco.
Tarraco is an ancient Roman town where coins were minted during the Roman era. Check out its partially intact amphitheater, the Aqüeducte de les Ferreres, Tower of the Scipios, the Arch of Sura, and more. Sightsee along Rambla Nova before grabbing a delicious lunch at Palau Del Baró. I recommend the Fideua de Mariscos. It’s to die for!
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Between its awe-inspiring architecture, phenomenal Mediterranean cuisine, jaw-dropping history, top-notch universities, buzzing nightlife, and distinct cultural flair, Barcelona is incomparable. It’s a cultural melting pot that is uniquely itself: modern, ancient, and full of charm. But don’t just take my word for it. Book a trip to Barcelona today to see for yourself!
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