The 15 Best Things to Do in Barcelona (2024)

In Barcelona, a city full of cultural treasures, there is a wide range of attractions and experiences to enjoy. In addition to iconic sites such as Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces like the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Park Güell and La Pedrera being must-visit destinations, the city also offers hidden architectural gems waiting to be explored.

Barcelona’s Mediterranean climate invites relaxation on the city’s beaches, savoring delicious meals at local restaurants, and unwinding with a sundowner on hotel terraces. As night falls, the vibrant nightlife of the city, with its cocktail bars and nightclubs, ensures that the fun never stops.

Our travel guide shows the best things to do in Barcelona, from well-known sights to lesser-known hidden gems.

Join us on a journey to discover the essence of Barcelona, enjoy unique experiences and create lasting memories of this remarkable city. Let’s get started!

A young man smiling and making a selfie infront of the Sagrada Familia.

1. Masterpiece: La Sagrada Familia

Visiting Barcelona would be incomplete without experiencing the awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia, a masterpiece by the visionary Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. This iconic basilica isn’t just a symbol of Barcelona; it’s a symbol of architectural genius and artistic dedication.

Despite being an ongoing construction project, the Sagrada Familia draws in more than 3 million visitors annually, solidifying its status as one of the world’s most legendary and captivating buildings. This architectural wonder will leave you breathless, and here’s why you should make it a priority on your Barcelona itinerary.


The best time of day to visit the Sagrada familia is the In the late afternoon!

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the interplay of light and architecture that transforms this basilica into a transcendent work of art. In the late afternoon, something magical happens when the sun’s rays penetrate the west-facing stained glass windows and conjure up a fascinating play of colors in the interior. A moment of pure enchantment that will make your visit unforgettable.

Equally captivating is the light in the early morning, which bathes the blue-green windows of the Sagrada Familia in a soft glow.

Exterior facade of Casa Battló on a sunny day.

2. Casa Batlló: Gaudí's devotion to nature

Nestled on Passeig de Gracia next to Casa Milà, the enchanting Casa Batlló is not just an architectural masterpiece but a testament to Antoni Gaudí’s unparalleled creativity and devotion to nature. Casa Batlló is one of the top things to do in Barcelona. It stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a true gem that beckons visitors to immerse themselves in its captivating allure.

As you approach Casa Batlló, Gaudí’s passion for the natural world comes to life in every architectural and ornamental detail. The building’s façade, a harmonious blend of stone, glass, ceramics, and iron, takes on a mesmerizing dance of light and shadow when kissed by the sun. This dynamic interplay, brought to life by the “trencadís” technique directed by Gaudí himself, is nothing short of extraordinary.

3. Discover the Magic of Park Güell

Women standing in Park Guell Barcelona looking down to the ocean.

Park Güell is an exceptional creation by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí and one of the top things to do in Barcelona. This captivating attraction seamlessly blends nature-inspired and beautiful architecture, colorful mosaics, and a welcoming atmosphere, making it a must-visit.

Initially conceived as a luxury residential complex for Eusebi Güell, it evolved into a public park and now stands as an iconic symbol of Barcelona’s architectural heritage. Since 1984, it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, drawing millions of visitors yearly.

4. Explore the Architectural Marvel of Casa Milà in Barcelona

Prepare to embark on a captivating journey through the architectural wonder that is Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, in the heart of Barcelona. This iconic masterpiece, also designed by Antoni Gaudí, stands as a testament to his genius and creativity, offering an experience like no other. The building’s unique character and historical significance have earned it a well-deserved place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Casa Milà, built between 1906 and 1912 on famous Passeig de Gracia, represents Gaudí’s distinctive approach to modernist architecture, where nature, innovation, and art intertwine seamlessly. As you step into its enchanting world, you’ll be greeted by a unique blend of organic forms, undulating facades, and a rooftop adorned with surreal sculptures and chimneys that resemble surrealist warriors.

View of the fountains of Montjuic and the Museo Nacional de Arte de Barcelona.

5. Ascend to Montjuïc Castle: A Cable Car Journey with a View

When you visit Barcelona, you can take a special adventure by using the cable car (Teleférico) to the historic Montjuic Castle. The fortress was an important point of defense during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700’s. The ride not only gives you the opportunity to explore the history of the castle, but also offers fantastic panoramic views over the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

Montjuïc Castle itself is a building steeped in history, with origins dating back to the 17th century. It has witnessed centuries of events and changes, from military fortifications to its current role as a cultural and historical attraction.

The natural paradise with amazing views of Barcelona

The castle’s location on Montjuïc Hill also offers a unique vantage point for appreciating Barcelona’s beauty. Take your time to stroll through its botanical gardens and courtyards, each offering a different perspective of the city and its surroundings.

Tip: Incidentally, FC Barcelona are currently training at the Montjuic stadium because the Camp Nou is closed for renovation work. So with a bit of luck you can still snag an autograph from your favorite player. 

Fruits and smoothies in the Boqueria Market in Barcelona.

6. Discover the Vibrant Heart of Barcelona: Las Ramblas and La Boqueria Market

Your Barcelona itinerary must include the iconic Las Ramblas street and the lively La Boqueria market. These two attractions are a must for anyone who wants to truly savor Barcelona’s cultural and culinary delights.

Las Ramblas, a tree-lined pedestrian promenade that stretches for 1.2 kilometers from Plaça de Catalunya to the sea, is the city’s most famous street. It’s a place where the energy of Barcelona comes alive, and every step reveals a new facet of the city’s unique character.

One of the highlights along Las Ramblas is the world-famous La Boqueria Market. This foodie heaven is a sensory delight, where the colors, aromas, and flavors of Spain converge in a tantalizing display of fresh produce, seafood, cured meats, cheeses, and local specialties.

Beyond the market, Las Ramblas leads you to a variety of cultural gems, including the grand Liceu Opera House, the Barcelona Cathedral and the vibrant Plaça Reial, both of which add to the charm of this historic avenue.

7. Eat Tapas… and Discover How to Craft Them Yourself!

Barcelona beckons you to embark on a gastronomic adventure like no other: the art of tapas. Get ready to indulge your taste buds and discover the variety of Spanish flavors that make Barcelona’s tapas an unmissable experience.

Tapas, these delicious dishes prepared in small bites with Mediterranean ingredients and bold flavors, are an essential part of Spain’s culinary heritage. In Barcelona, you will find a vibrant tapas scene that reflects the city’s vibrant culture and creativity.

Tip: Old town tour with tapas and drinks

When you embark on your tapas journey, you can expect a variety of mouth-watering delicacies. From patatas bravas, crispy potato wedges in spicy tomato sauce, to succulent grilled prawns with garlic and olive oil, every bite is a revelation of flavor and texture. Don’t forget to try the classics such as Jamón Ibérico, chorizo and Manchego cheese – the epitome of Spanish indulgence.

But your adventure doesn’t stop at tasting, it also offers you the unique opportunity to learn how to prepare these culinary treasures yourself. There are a number of cooking classes where you can take on the role of a Spanish chef and learn the art of tapas preparation. There is hardly a better souvenir to take home 🙂

Arc de Triumf in barcelona from a bird's eye view

8. Explore Central Barcelona: A Guided Journey Through El Born and Picasso Museum

Discover the alternative and hip district of El Born, home to the famous Picasso Museum Barcelona.

El Born is home to some of the city’s most famous cultural gems. Explore the Palau de la Musica Catalana, a modernist masterpiece known for its elaborate architecture and lively performances. See the Santa Maria del Mar, a Gothic basilica that has been a symbol of Barcelona’s maritime heritage for centuries. Also visit the famous Arc de Triomf monument, which served as the main entrance to the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition and leads to the Parc de la Ciutadella. And don’t forget to visit the numerous art museums in the area, each of which offers a unique perspective on the city’s artistic heritage.

9. Get lost in the Gothic Quarter

Inner courtyard with lots of green plants and a passageway with three round arches.

When you step into the labyrinthine streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, you’ll find yourself transported to a world where history, culture, and charm converge. This enchanting district, known as the Barri Gòtic, invites you to immerse yourself in its timeless beauty: from Roman ruins to the remains of the Spanish Civil War and medieval wonders.

Begin your journey at the heart of the Gothic Quarter with a visit to the stunning Catedral de Barcelona. Climb to the rooftop for panoramic views of the city centre.

As you explore the winding alleys and hidden squares of the Gothic Quarter, you will automatically come to Plaça Sant Jaume, one of Barcelona’s main squares with a rich history and stumble upon hidden gems, from quaint artisan shops to cozy cafes tucked away in centuries-old buildings.

Cultural Attractions of the Gothic Quarter


BAR CELTA PULPERIA: Carrer de la Princesa, 50, Ciutat Vella

Don’t miss the chance to experience the vibrant cultural scene of the Gothic Quarter. The Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona’s renowned opera house, stands as a testament to the city’s appreciation for the arts.

Throughout your wanderings, indulge in the culinary delights that the Gothic Quarter has to offer. From traditional tapas bars to modern eateries, this district boasts a wide range of dining options. Savor authentic Catalan cuisine, sip on local wines, and embrace the flavors of Spain.

10. Experience The Legendary Nightlife

Barcelona’s nightlife is legendary and has something for every taste. Barcelona’s after-hours scene is famous, and it beckons you to immerse yourself in its electrifying energy and unforgettable moments.

Start your evening adventure in the heart of the city center (Plaça de Catalunya), where the nightlife truly comes alive. Begin with a visit to El Raval, a dynamic neighborhood known for its eclectic mix of cultures and artistic spirit. Here, you’ll find an array of bars, clubs, and live music venues that cater to all tastes.

One of the city’s best-kept secrets is the vibrant world of Catalan music. Be sure to explore the local music scene as you venture through El Raval. Whether it’s the soulful sounds of flamenco, the rhythmic beats of rumba, or the contemporary twists of Catalan pop, there’s always a live performance waiting to captivate your senses.

As the night unfolds, make your way to the iconic La Rambla, where the party continues well into the early hours. This bustling promenade is home to some of Barcelona’s most famous nightclubs. Dance the night away to the latest hits or lose yourself in the rhythms of Latin and electronic beats – La Rambla has it all.

11. Explore Football History: Visit the FC Barcelona Museum

A visit to the FC Barcelona Museum is an absolute must when in the city. This iconic museum is a shrine to football, offering a captivating journey through the history and triumphs of one of the world’s most celebrated football clubs.

As you step inside the museum, you’ll be greeted by a treasure trove of memorabilia, trophies, and artifacts that showcase the rich heritage of the Football Club Barcelona. From historic jerseys worn by legendary players to the Ballon d’Or awards and trophies that bear witness to the club’s success, every corner of the museum exudes the spirit of football greatness.

Two cocktail glasses filled with a red drink with the sunset on a beach in the background.

12. Sip in Style: Enjoy Exquisite Cocktails at an Incredible Barcelona Bar

When the sun sets over the vibrant city of Barcelona, it’s time to indulge in a different kind of artistry – the craft of cocktails. Barcelona boasts a thriving cocktail culture, and there’s no better way to experience it than by visiting one of the city’s incredible cocktail bars.

Start your cocktail adventure at one of the stylish bars in the Eixample district. Here, you’ll find mixologists who take their craft to new heights, experimenting with flavors and ingredients to create cocktails that are as visually stunning as they are delicious.


PARADISO: Carrer de Rera Palau, 4, Ciutat Vella, 08003 Barcelona

13. Discover Montserrat's Majesty: Day Trip to a Sacred Mountain

Montserrat Mountain with the monasterio on a sunny day.

For those looking for an awe-inspiring experience in Catalonia, a guided day trip to Montserrat is the perfect journey. This sacred mountain, with its rugged beauty and deep spirituality, invites travelers to explore its wonders and history.

A highlight of the tour is a visit to the Monastery of Montserrat, where you can admire the stunning architecture and immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere. Inside the monastery you will find the revered Black Madonna, a statue of the Virgin Mary that is of great importance to pilgrims and visitors alike.

As you explore Montserrat, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view from the top of the mountain. From this vantage point, you can admire the vastness of Catalonia with its valleys, vineyards and distant horizons.

A black and white art painting by Banksy with a girl holding a red balloon.

14. For Art Lovers: Explore the Museums of Barcelona

Catalan Modernism, an architectural and artistic movement that blossomed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is one of Barcelona’s defining features. For those eager to delve deeper into Catalan art, the National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC) is hidden gem of local creativity. Housed in the Palau Nacional, a stunning palace atop Montjuïc Hill, the museum boasts an extensive collection of Catalan artwork, spanning from the Romanesque period to the 20th century.

Barcelona’s vibrant art scene isn’t confined to traditional museums alone. The Moco Museum, a modern and immersive space, offers a dynamic blend of contemporary art and interactive exhibitions. In the Moco Museum, for example, you will find exhibitions by Andy Warhol and David LaChapelle, whose contemporary artworks are extremely realistic and almost always controversial, and an insight into the world of the renowned British street artist Banksy, who has gained worldwide attention for his provocative and socially critical art.

A woman hiking on a path next to the sea.

15. Beyond Barcelona: Discover the Wonders of Costa Brava

While Barcelona’s charm is undeniable, those seeking to venture beyond the bustling cityscape will find an enchanting world waiting to be explored in Costa Brava. Located just a short drive from Barcelona, this coastal region offers a natural beauty with captivating mix of golden sandy beaches, hidden coves, and rugged cliffs overlooking the crystal-clear Mediterranean waters.

Nature enthusiasts will relish in the abundance of outdoor adventures that Costa Brava has to offer. Hike along the picturesque Camí de Ronda coastal path, which winds its way through breathtaking scenery and offers panoramic views of the coastline. Alternatively, explore the serene Cap de Creus Natural Park, a haven for birdwatchers and hikers alike.

How to save money when visiting the top things to do in Barcelona

You think your budget can’t afford to visit the top 15 things in Barcelona? You’re mistaken. With the Barcelona City Pass, you get an all-inclusive ticket for all the city’s top attractions, the best museums, and a variety of guided tours. You can book the pass for 1 to 7 days and decide flexibly when you want to visit which attractions. You pay only once and then enjoy free and priority admission. It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore Barcelona comprehensively without losing sight of your budget. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your suitcase and off to Barcelona!

Learn more about the Barcelona City Pass.

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