Barcelona is the Jewel in the crown of Spain as it brings together modern city life with a hint of tradition and a beautiful coastline. This city has been a top tourist destination for decades. It offers enchanting architecture, excellent dining, and a great atmosphere. It is the place that keeps on giving. From short city breaks to longer breaks that offer the beach, city living, and a cosmopolitan vibe. Let’s take a look into the best things to do in Barcelona.
No visit to Barcelona is complete without visiting the incomplete Sagrada Familia. Work is still taking place but in recent years it has gathered momentum. The Nativity Façade resembles molten wax. The Passion façade is rudely angled and unambiguous. The Sagrada Familia contains detail in abundance and it is extremely dramatic. The interior will blow you away with the forest pillars reaching into the roof.
Camp Nou Stadium
It does not matter if you are a football fan or not, this stadium is sensational. Erupting from the Terra Firma it does anything but blend in with the city. However, this is a stadium that is home to the biggest club in the world. In fact, this is the most visited attraction in Barcelona, so you simply have to visit. A tour will take you into the changing rooms and out onto the famous pitch. As the stands tower over you, you realise just how much of an accolade it is to represent this club.
Everyone has heard of Picasso but to see his masterpieces in the flesh is something else. This is a very popular museum and many visitors can be found here all year round. While there may be a wait to get inside, it is highly worth it. You will see the pre-Cubist works and many of his lesser-known works. This will include the amazing Las Meninas, which took inspiration from Velzquez’s painting that held the same name.
The Gothic Cathedral
The Gothic Cathedral looks like something that should be in some kind of animated cartoon. Instead, it sits proudly in the heart of the Barri Gotic. Once it was the site of the Roman temple when the city was known as Barcino. Here visitors can wander through the smaller chapels taking in all their glory. The carved choir will amaze and the views up on the roof will deliver stunning views of the city. It is one of the most remarkable Gothic cathedrals in Europe.
A Mesmerising View at Monument a Colom
This can only be compared to Nelsons Column and so, it is also mightily impressive. At the top is a statue of Christopher Columbus whom many believe was Catalan and not Italian. At the top, you will stand 200ft up but you will be able to take in the views of La Rambla.
Santa Maria del Mar
This 14th- century church should not be ignored or missed. From the outside it might leave you deflated but take a step inside – you will be amazed. Spectacular is almost not enough to describe this church. The single nave is sprawling with the high pillars that stretch into the vaulted roof. The rose window perched above the main entrance is certainly a welcoming site as you arrive. This was torched by anarchists in the 20th century but still stands strong. This is not a bells-and-whistles kind of church but it really is majestic in every way.
When it comes to outdoor attractions this is the place to be. Despite Barcelona being a city, this park will certainly contrast the design of the city. It was initially designed to be a housing estate but now it is anything but that. Following Antoni Gaudi and Eusebi Guell acquiring the area to create a model home, it soon became abandoned. As no investment came forward it fell into disrepair but it has since been through a transformation. This is now a stunning public park that has become available following it being donated to the council.
Tibidabo Amusement Park
There is always room for an amusement park where you release your inner child. This amusement park can be spotted from almost anywhere in Barcelona. It stands proudly alongside Tibidabo Mountain and Sagrat Cor Basilica. This amusement park has been open since 1905, making it the oldest one in Spain.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic
This is an attraction that you need to see for yourself. Its popularity will become quickly understood as soon as you arrive. It merges light, water and music to give a performance that will stay with you for a lifetime. The performances take place during the night but it is something that you should definitely fit into your schedule. You can watch the spectacle for free, or as part of a tour.
This is the modern art museum in Barcelona and one of the best in Europe. Designed by American architect Richard Meier and inaugurated in 1995, it is now highly regarded. Many of the most well-known artists have held exhibitions here. This proves just how important this museum is considered to be to the world of art.
La Rambla or Las Ramblas as it is known is the most famous street in Barcelona. It is adorned with shops, café’s restaurants, and beautiful buildings. You will stumble on street performers and acts – there is always something happening here. This vibrant street slices through a small section of Barcelona. You can wander along, take in the atmosphere and immerse yourself in the buzz of city life.
History and Culture of Barcelona
There is a belief that the Iberian Laietani tribe were the first to settle in the area. However, records show that life began in Barcelona with the Phoenicians and the Carthagenians. They named the area Barcino after one of the rulers known as Hamilcar Barca. In the first century B.C, the Romans claimed the area and to show just how proud they were, they named it Barcelona. This is where the history of Barcelona began and still, to this day, you can see the remains. The old ancient city wall, temple columns and stone corridors hidden underground can still be seen.
Events in Barcelona
When it comes to running, the Merce race is one of the most popular in the city of Barcelona. It ties itself in with the Merce celebrations but it is certainly considered an important race. Every year, around 15,000 runners take part. Positioning yourself anywhere around the 10km course will enable you to soak up the atmosphere. This charity event certainly raises the feel-good factor of Barcelona.
Festes de la Merce
One of the biggest festivals in Catalonia is the Festes de la Merce and it takes place in Barcelona. Traditionally, they take place to house the Virgin of Mercy or the Mare de Deu de Merce in Spanish. The day of la Merce always falls on the 24th of September, however, the festival date can change each year.
There is a huge number of activities that take place across the city. If you like to experience true culture then you can immerse yourself in this experience. Participate in activities and take part in many of the events that are created for all.
If cars are your thing, then the Automobile Barcelona is certainly worth a visit. It is the only event in Spain recognised by the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. This ensures that you will have access to vehicles from all of the top manufacturers. It takes place every two years but is certainly an event that has a real buzz about it.
If you like to experience music on your travels, Rockfest Barcelona is certainly worth a try. Held in July, you will see many of the biggest names in Rock appear on stage. If Ozzy Osbourn, KISS and Megadeth are your vibes then this is worth a visit.
The Formula 1 Grand Prix has always been a highly regarded event around the globe. The Spanish Grand Prix held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is no different to any other. The smell of petrol, the revving of engines and the buzz of the whole weekend is perfect for everyone. Tickets will have to be purchased in advance but it certainly will get your adrenaline racing.
Barcelona International Comedy Festival
Laughter is welcomed by everyone and that is certainly true at the Barcelona International Comedy Festival. Immerse yourself into the silliness and humour of this event. Some of the top comedians in the world will ply the trade on stage. You are guaranteed belly laughs and the best jokes around from well-travelled comedians and newcomers. The talent on show is pretty impressive and with so many venues available, it is not too difficult to get involved.
Hotels in Barcelona
Choose your ideal hotel or apartment in Barcelona. Select based upon your location, exclusivity or budget and start planning your perfect city break now.