Park Güell Is one of the top attractions of Barcelona

Top Attractions Of Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain’s culturally rich, vibrant capital, has so much to offer. It’s no wonder it’s a top travel destination. From the hidden alleys tucked in the Barrio Gòtico, to the Spanish specialties at La Boqueria market, beautiful architecture lining its grand old streets, fascinating architectural treasures of famous Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí, amazing art, tapas (yum!), trendy bars, lovely people, brilliant sunsets, and more, there are so many reasons to check Barcelona off your list over and over again. This post covers the top attractions of Barcelona.

Park Güell is one of the top attractions of Barcelona
Barcelona From Park Güell

Top Attractions of Barcelona

Walk La Rambla

Any trip to Barcelona needs to include a walk down its most iconic street, La Rambla, running from central Plaça de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus monument near the seafront. This broad tree-lined street is filled with street performers, cafes, and shops, dividing El Raval to the west and Barrio Gòtico to the east, where many of the top sites are located. Keep in mind, however, that although this is the heart of old Barcelona, it’s also touristy. This means it’s a bit pricier than other places.

An interesting fact about this street is that its name, Rambla, comes from the Arabic word ramla, which means sandy riverbed, as this thoroughfare was once a stream running from the Collserola mountains to the sea, just outside the city walls. As the city grew, the walls were torn down and the stream diverted, making way for this area to became a central part of life in Barcelona.

Visit La Boquería

This must-visit market situated in the El Raval side of La Rambla, is one of the top attractions in Barcelona. With over 200 stands ranging from fresh produce, cured meats, Spanish specialties, bars, eateries, and more, this is Barcelona’s oldest and most historic market, dating back to the Middles Ages.

It’s beginnings were as an open-air market when La Rambla was a stream outside the city walls, where stall owners did not have to pay taxes. Today, this vibrant covered market is one of the top markets in Spain.

Peruse Park Güell

This must-see whimsical park is another one of the top attractions in Barcelona. Designed by Antonio Gaudí, Spain’s most well-known architect and one of its most famous.

Wandering here is a bit of a playground for the mind, full of unexpected shapes and colors, along with beautiful views of the city and the Mediterranean.

Highlights includes a large mosaic-covered salamander or dragon, the main terrace, with its serpentine of mosaics, two fairytale-esque pavilions (one a shop), the unusual Hypostyle, with 86 columns, and the Austrian Gardens. There’s also a small museum, where Gaudí once lived.

Park Güell Pavilion
Park Güell Is one of the top attractions of Barcelona
View From Park Güell

Named after a wealthy entrepreneur, Eusebi Güell, who commissioned Gaudí to build a housing development here. Unfortunately for him, the project failed with this area becoming a Municipal Park in 1922.

How To Get To Park Güell: To see the many options to get here and the best entrance for each (there are 3), see Barcelona-tickets.com.

See Sagrada Família

One of Gaudí’s most famous projects is Sagrada Família, which is at the top of the list of Barcelona attractions. In fact, this unique church is the most visited monument in Barcelona!

“Catalan Modernism” in style, construction started in 1882 and still continues today, 140 years later (which is why photos always show it under construction).

Planned for completion in 2026, 100 years after Guadi’s death, the pandemic has wrecked havoc with this date, pushing it out further.

Sagrada Família is one of the top attractions of Barcelona
Sagrada Família

When visiting, take the time to explore the many exquisite, creative details of this church, both inside and out. It has three facades, the nativity facade, the passion facade, and the glory facade. There’s also a crypt, which is where Gaudi is buried (he died in 1926), and a museum.

The interior is also a must-see, with very organic, tree-like columns and unexpected details everywhere you look. Even the windows and doors are full of incredible detail. You can also climb the tower stairs of the Nativity Facade or the Passion Facade for an amazing view of the Basilica and of Barcelona. The tower is optional when you buy your ticket.

As this is the most visited monument here, make sure to buy your tickets in advance, here.

How To Get To Sagrada Família: Take the metro to the Sagrada Família Station. This magnificent monument is a short walk from there.

Cathedral of Barcelona

Also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, this Gothic Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona. It gets its name from the tragic story of Eulalia, a martyred 13 year old, who was brutally killed in 304 AD after refusing to make sacrifices to Roman gods.

13 geese are kept in a closed cloister here in her honor, as Eulalia was 13 when she was martyred.

How To Get To Barcelona Cathedral: This cathedral is located in Barrio Gòtico, off the east side of La Rambla. Liceu and Jaume I are the closest metro stops.

Barcelona Cathedral is one of the top attractions in Barcelona
Barcelona Cathedral

Casa Batlló

Another design project of Antonio Gaudí is Casa Batlló. Its local name is Casa dels ossos or “House of Bones”, for its skeletal properties.

With a colorful mosaic on its facade, its arched roof resembles that of a scaled dragon or dinosaur.

Once the private home of Josep Batlló and his family, it is now rented out for private events.

You can buy Casa Batllo tickets at the door, but it’s advised to buy them in advance.

How To Get To Casa Batlló: Located at 43 Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district, with the nearest metro and train station of the same name, Passeig de Gràcia.

Casa Batlló is one of the top attractions of Barcelona
Casa Batlló

La Pedrera, or Casa Milà

Casa Milà Is one of the top attractions of Barcelona
Casa Milà

Built as a private residence for Pere Milà and his wife Roser, Casa Milà is yet another of Antonio Gaudí‘s masterpieces.

Historically referred to as La Pedrera, which means ”stone quarry”, for its organic undulating exterior, the name stuck. There is not a straight line in sight.

In addition to its unusual design, the house has a natural ventilation system, which includes whimsical chimneys on its rooftop terrace, known as the “Garden of Warriors”, making air conditioning unnecessary.

Awarded this project after his success with Casa Batlló, this was Guadi’s last project before focusing on Sagrada Família.

Also a popular stop, buy your tickets in advance.

How To Get To Casa Milà : Located at 92 Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district, with the nearest metro and train station of the same name, Passeig de Gràcia.

Barrio Gòtico

Barrio Gòtico Is one of the top attractions of Barcelona
Gothic Bridge at Carrer del Bisbe

Barrio Gòtico, to the east of La Rambla, full of winding, narrow cobblestoned streets with medieval buildings turned into trendy restaurants, tapas bars, and Catalan restaurants, is another of the top attractions of Barcelona.

This is where Barcelona started, as the Roman town of Barcino, which once fit entirely within Barrio Gòtico. In fact, as you wander, you can even see the old Roman walls that remain part of the city today.

This is where you’ll find the Cathedral of Barcelona, the Gothic bridge on Carrer del Bisbe, the Museu d’Historia de la Ciutat (MUHBA), Placa Reial, or Royal Square, with its nightclubs and bars, and more. There’s so much to take in here, it’s an ideal place for a walking tour.

Barceloneta

This area, historically a fishing district, is known for its seafood restaurants and nightclubs along the boardwalk. It’s one of the liveliest places in Barcelona, day and night in the summer. Believe it or not, this is an artificial beach, which didn’t exist until the late 1990’s.

With 4 beaches here, Barceloneta, Sant Sebastià, Sant Miquel, and Somorrostro, there’s plenty of surf and sand to relax and enjoy. Plus, at Sant Sebastià you can take a cable car to an observation platform on Montjuïc hill for stunning views of the city. Where else can you experience the beach and a mountain in the same day?

How to Get To Barceloneta Beach: Take the metro to the Barceloneta stop. You can also walk from the end of La Rambla, about a 20-minute walk.

Top Museums In Barcelona

There is so much creativity to admire in Barcelona, there are over 55 museums! These, however, are its star attractions.

The Picasso Museum

Picasso

The Picasso Museum is the most visited museum in Barcelona, with over 4,000 of his works. Although born in Malaga, Spain, he lived in Barcelona for a while.

I found this museum very interesting as it showcases artwork throughout his life, rather than just the more famous artwork at the end of his career. It also includes rarely seen art from his early teens, when he was already a talented artist, but before he developed his iconic style.

How To Get To The Picasso Museum: Located in the El Born area of Old Town, the closest metro stop is Jaume I. Buy Picasso Museum tickets in advance to be sure to get in.

Museu d’Història de Barcelona

The Museum of the History of Barcelona, or MUHBA, tells the story of Barcelona from Roman times to today. You can also take the elevator down to the basement to see ruins from the ancient Roman settlement of Barcino, founded in the 1st century.

How To Get To Museu d’Història de Barcelona: This museum is located on Plaça del Rei. The closest metro stop is Jaume I. It’s close to the Cathedral of Barcelona and the Picasso Museum.

Museu National d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

Located in the former Palau Nacional of Montjuïc, the MNAC is the national museum of Catalan visual art. With its spectacular views of the city, it’s also a great place to watch the sunset from the rooftop.

How To Get To Museu National d’Art de Catalunya: Located on the hill of Montjuïc, take the metro to the Paral·lel Station, then catch the funicular to the park on the hill. The Joan Miró Foundation is also on the hill, about a short walk away.

Joan Miró Foundation

Miró himself relinquished the majority of his works to this foundation. It houses the largest collection of Joan Miró‘s works, one of the most important surrealist painters of his generation. The rooftop of the building contains colorful sculptures by Miro, and offers beautiful views of Barcelona.

How To Get To The Joan Miró Foundation: Also located on Montjuïc hill, take the metro to the Paral·lel Station, then catch the funicular which takes you to the park on the hill.

Teatre-Museu Dalí

Technically this museum is an hour and 30 minutes north of Barcelona, in Figueres, where Dalí used to live, but it’s well worth the trip if you love his work.

How To Get To Teatre-Museu Dalí: The easiest way to get here from Barcelona is to take a tour. To visit on your own, take the bus from Barcelona-Sants to Figueres-Vilafant. From there, take a taxi, or walk about 15-minutes.

El Born Archeological Site

Officially Ciutat del Born, this is not noted as one of the top attractions in Barcelona, but I stumbled upon it on my visit and thought it was really interesting, so I’m adding to the list!

During renovations near the El Born market, 18th century ruins were discovered. It’s fascinating to walk the old streets and see what’s been found here.

For protection, the El Born Culture and Memory Center (CCM) was created here.

El Born

Want More Of Spain?

To learn more about Spain, read about one of my favorite islands here, idyllic Ibiza, off Spain’s east coast. Although it’s known as a party island, you don’t have to be a partier to enjoy its natural beauty. I visited early in the spring, when it was still a bit quiet, and was amazing by the various sites around the island.

If you’ve enjoyed this overview of the top attractions in Barcelona, please leave a comment below.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

2 Comments

  • Jan svendsen

    Enjoyed an arm-chair catch up of your journal on this lazy Sunday. What a wonderful diary you are creating to remember many details of your incredible trip.

    • Julie

      Hi Jan, glad you are enjoying it….hope all is well. Julie

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