“Allow me to state here how much I love Barcelona, an admirable city, a city full of life, intense, a port open to the past and future.” – Le Corbusier This is how Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier felt about Barcelona in the early 1900s, and those who have been to the city are sure to agree still today. The vibrant Spanish city has something for everyone. Who could be unhappy in such a colorful, whimsical place? If your next Eurotrip includes a stop in Barcelona, you may feel overwhelmed when you start planning your itinerary. There is a ton to do and see – from beaches to nightclubs, to museums and soccer games. Surely, you’ve heard of the famous street, La Rambla, and its palm trees, artists, and street performers (not to mention tourists). But what else should you be sure to hit? Visit these must-see attractions in Barcelona before heading home!
Don’t Miss Out: Must-See Attractions in Barcelona
Art and architecture are part of what makes Barcelona such a vibrant and worldly city. Catalan artist Antoni Gaudí is a legend in the architecture world, and his works are must-see attractions in Barcelona. This isn’t hard to do, since there are so many of them in and around the city.
If you feel like you’ve seen every church, cathedral, and basilica Europe has to offer, and are thinking that this one will be more of the same, think again. The Sagrada Familiar basilica is one of a kind. This ornate – and unfinished – Gaudí masterpiece is truly incredible, especially as you stand by its side and look up at its towering spires. Construction on the massive structure began in 1882, and, at the time of the architect’s death, was not even a fourth of the way finished.
Barcelona’s most renowned green space feels like a sophisticated yet whimsical adult playground. Gaudí’s signature architecture and mosaics draw the eye from wonder to wonder. Spend a half day in the park if you can, and soak up the peacefulness that the park was originally commissioned to provide.
Gaudí, Gaudí, and more Gaudí… if you don’t like it, plan a trip elsewhere! (Just kidding, there’s plenty of other art to discover in Barcelona. The Museu Picasso, which houses one of the biggest collections of works by the Spanish Cubist, and the Fundació Joan Miró get very honorable mentions on this list.) People sometimes describe this modernist apartment/museum, remodeled in 1904, as “hallucinatory,” “dreamlike,” and simply, “a masterpiece.”
Besides being an art and architecture lover’s dream city, Barcelona has tons of other culture to offer. A “must-see attractions in Barcelona” (or anywhere, really) list wouldn’t be complete without some food! Think: tapas, wine, seafood, and more! These attractions just as delicious as they are visually stunning.
CNN gave this beautiful covered market the title of world’s best fresh food market in 2013 and 2017, but it has been around for centuries. It began as a pig market in the 13th century, but its present-day roots date back to the early 1800s. A quick search will turn up countless blogs about the best places and dishes to try inside the market.
Your trip to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without a meal at the city’s oldest restaurant. Dating all the way back to 1786, this family business can be found in the Gothic Quarter. Enjoy traditional Spanish and Catalan comfort food, and of course great wine and sangria. Fun fact: “culleretes” means “spoons” – check out the story behind this name on their website!
You’ll find this delicious Spanish rice and seafood dish on every corner in Barcelona. But don’t settle for the first place you find. Take the time to seek out the places that locals get their paella. Use the MosaLingua Learn Spanish app or our handy travel phrasebook to help you learn how to ask a Barcelonan about their favorite spot. This website has two interesting tips for finding quality paella and some suggested restaurants to get you started.
Believe it or not, Barcelona has a lot more to offer besides art and food. The city has made strong efforts to preserve and highlight its culture, and as a result, receives over 33 million visitors annually. (Recently, it even began taking measures to cut back tourism because of the unfortunate negative effects it can have on the city.) Here are some other can’t-miss places and events in the City of Counts.
Home to one of Europe’s most adored soccer teams, FC Barcelona, or Barca, this stadium is one of the must-see attractions in Barcelona for sports lovers. The biggest in Europe by capacity, Camp Nou (which means “new field” in the Catalan language) holds just under 100,000 spectators. Catch a game and cheer on Messi and his teammates, or take a tour of the stadium and museum.
La Mercè Festival
This Catalan tradition dates back to 1871, to celebrate Our Lady of Mercy. Today, more then 2 million people participate in festivities, held in late September. This is an amazing week to be in Barcelona, because you’ll be able to participate in over 600 planned cultural activities. One of the more unique traditions associated with the festival are the castells, human towers erected all over the city. Check out some of these incredible displays here!
Don’t even think about leaving Barcelona if you haven’t yet wandered the small pedestrian streets of the city’s Gothic Quater. Barri Gotic, part of the old city, exudes charm and mystery. Picasso lived and worked in this part of town for nearly a decade. While there, admire the intricate La Seu Cathedral, or hit some shops. Find a free walking tour to get an informative and dynamic visit of the area.
As you plan your trip, check out more of what Barcelona has to offer. Did we leave off your favorite Barcelona attraction? Tell us about it in the comments section!
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