10 must do things in Barcelona
1. La Sagrada Famillia
If there is one thing you do on this list during your visit to Barcelona it must be a visit to Antoni
Gaudi’s most famous work the La Sagrada Famillia, it is without a doubt the cities crowning jewel.
Due to be completed in 2026 to mark the centenary of Gaudi’s death, the cathedral is still surrounded
by a busy building site but this does not stop you being completely awestruck by this truly one of a
kind buildings. Taking my first steps inside the cathedral is one of my top travelling experiences.
Make sure you book to take the elevator up the towers as this gives you impressive views over the
city, be warned though the steep and narrow spiral staircase coming down is not for the faint hearted!
Also don’t miss out on the exhibition below the cathedral as this goes into more depth how the
cathedral is constructed and is often missed out as it is not included on the main audio tour.
2. Park Güell
Park Güell is another example of Gaudi’s work which is set in the Carmel Hills overlooking
Barcelona’s skyline in the Gracia district. The park attained UNESCO status in 1984 and is
something that should be near the top of any first time visitors’ to do list. Make sure you pre book
your tickets online to avoid queuing for hours in the heat as this will take you time and money. As
with all of the major attractions make sure you pick either the earliest or latest time slots to visit to
avoid the crowds.
3. Parc de la Ciutadella
If you’re after a more relaxed afternoon then head over to the Parc de la Ciutadella, where you can
hire out paddle boats on the lake, wander around the impressive Cascada Monumental fountains or
just sit in the sun enjoying an ice cream. The park is surrounded by the Barcelona zoo which is a
great place to let the younger members of the family burn off some energy.
4. Gothic Quarter
This old Roman village has long been absorbed by the rapid development of the city but it is still easy
to spot the ancient buildings scattered between the modern shop fronts giving you a glimpse into its
past. The old street network still remains which creates a labyrinth of busy streets crammed with
tourist which means having a map is highly recommended.
5. Mercado de La Boqueria
If street food is your thing then you’ll be in heaven when you enter the Mercado de La Boqueria
square which has everything from simple snacks and fruit juices through to first class seafood bars,
the Quiosc Mordern is highly recommended. If you’re staying in a self catering apartment the market
has an impressive selection of stalls providing a wide selection of fresh local produce for you to
sample. The market is open from 8:00am to 20:30pm Monday to Saturday.
6. Font Màgica de Montjuïc
Barcelona’s biggest fountain is set in the shadow of the National Art Museum of Catalonia which is
impressive enough during the day but really comes alive at night. The impressive display stretches
from the steps up the Museum down to the Plaza de Espana fountain. The display combines moving
water jets, illuminations and music to give a magical dance of colour and light. The timing of the
display changes depending on the time of year so it is advisable to check here to see when you can
see them during your stay.
7. Montjuïc Castle
This historic castle dates back to the Reapers’ War in 1640, since then it has been a military fortress,
prison and now a museum owned by the citizens of Barcelona. Taking the cable car up from Miramar
Avenue to the castle will give you an impressive view over Barcelona and its harbour but at 12EUR
return it is a little expensive which is not included in the 5EUR entrance fee to the castle, or a cheaper
option is to catch bus line 150 which ends at the castle entrance.
8. Arenas de Barcelona
This old bull fighting arena has been converted into a modern shopping mall and cinema complex
which can offer some great retail therapy. There are also a range of hidden restaurants on the top
floor which offer a great view over the Font Màgica de Montjuïc. Don’t pay to take the lift up to the top
viewing gallery on the outside of the building as it is accessible by escalator inside the main building.
9. Museu Nacional Art de Catalunya
If a little more culture is your thing then head over to the National Art Museum of Catalonia where
you’ll find some fine examples of anything from renaissance through to modern art. The typical
entrance fee is 12EUR but there is free entry after 3pm on Saturdays and the first Sunday of every
month. Make sure you head up to the roof terrace to sample some local Cava and take in an
impressive view over the fountains and the slopes of Mount Tibidabo.
10. Catedral de Barcelona
In the centre of the Gothic Quarter is the impressive Cathedral of Barcelona which offers some
welcome peace and quiet from the bustling street outside. The entrance fee of 7EUR will give you full
access to the main cathedral, the museum and the roof.