13 Barcelona Adventures You Need To Do

La Sagrada Família

things to do in barcelona la sagrada familia
One of famous architect Antoni Gaudi’s designs is La Sagrada Família.  This Barcelona building is both a famous work of art and a place of worship.

Construction of La Sagrada Família begin in 1882 and more than a century later, it still hasn’t been completed.  In fact, as of today, only 70% of the construction has been completed.

In 1926, Gaudi passed away with only 15-25% of the design completed.  The crypt, the apse walls, the portal, and one tower were all completed while he was alive.  Since that time, several architects have attempted to build on his design but it has faced many setbacks including vandalism and fire.

Currently plans have been made to finish La Sagrada Família but no without its fair share of controversy.  There is plenty of controversy surrounding new building measures as many people feel that some of the construction materials being used today would have never been used by Gaudi himself and therefore do not pay tribute to his legacy.

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Park Güell

things to do in barcelona park guell
Another attraction with Antoni Gaudi’s fingerprints on it is the Park Güell just north of Gracia in Barcelona.

This UNESCO supported park owes much of it’s beauty to the helping hand of Gaudi, who was hired by Count Eusebi Güell to create a miniature city for the wealthy on beautifully landscaped grounds.

For the project, Gaudi built over 3 km of roads, walkways, and steps, a plaza, and two gatehouses, but before he could finish any further, the project was abandoned with the land being bought by the city in 1922 who then turned the land into a public park.

Today the park sees over 4 million visitors each year who come to see some of Gaudi’s most historic and famous pieces of work.  If Park Güell is on your list, make sure you book ahead as the number of visitors to the park is limited each day.

Casa Milà

things to do in barcelona casa mila
Casa Milà, more commonly known as La Pedrera, is an extremely unique building in Barcelona that once again owes it’s legacy to Antoni Gaudi.

Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the building was constructed between 1906 and 1912 and was the last fully completed building by Gaudi before he put all of his efforts into the La Sagrada Familia.

The building was originally occupied by the Mila family who lived on the main floor and rented out the rest as apartments. Today Casa Milà is most well known for it’s unique shape and architectural design.

Like all other Gaudi attractions, the Casa Mila gets busy very quickly, so tours are always best booked beforehand.

Casa Batlló

things to do in barcelona casa batllo
If you were thinking that this sounds like another one of Gaudi’s works, you would be absolutely right!  The influence of Gaudi is extremely prevalent in Barcelona, and Casa Batlló is one of his most renowned pieces.

Among locals, Casa Batlló is referred to as the House of Bones because of its exterior.  The balconies look like skulls that are being held up by bones which are, in fact, the supporting pillars.

While the skull and bone design is probably the most prominent of the building, you can also see from the colors and designs used that Gaudi was also directly influenced by marine life.  When put altogether, staring at the building is like looking straight into someone’s dream.

Today the building stands as a museum and is open to anyone who would like to take a self guided tour.

Las Ramblas

things to do in barcelona las ramblas
Also referred to as La Rambla, Las Ramblas is one of the most famous streets in Barcelona and is one of the most populated and visited areas in the entire city.

Considered to be a pedestrian friendly thoroughfare, Las Ramblas runs for approximately 1.3km and is always packed with locals, tourists, and street artists alike.

As you wander through you will find both sides of the street lined with a variety of terraces and restaurants though you’ll probably want to check the prices before you actually sit down to dine.

Las Ramblas is busy day and night and truly is a street that never sleeps.  During the day you’ll find a variety of souvenir stands, alfresco cafes, and street performances and at night you’ll find a variety of bars and clubs in the area surrounding Las Ramblas.

La Boqueria

things to do in barcelona la boqueria
While strolling through Las Ramblas, you may also want to take some time to stop at one of Europe’s largest and most famous food markets – La Boqueria.

Officially known as Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, this market actually dates way back to the 1200’s when locals would sell meats by the gate of the city.  Since then the market has obvious gone through quite a few different phases, as well as quite a few different names.

It was officially opened as La Boqueria in 1840 and today the market is a favorite spot for locals and tourists to indulge their senses with some of the freshest seafoods, meats, vegetables, spices, and nuts in all of Barcelona.

Catedral de Barcelona

things to do in barcelona catedral de barcelona
Sometimes referred to as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, the Catedral de Barcelona is most famously known for it’s beautiful 15th Century Gothic Catalan Architectural style.

The main facade of the cathedral is what sets is apart from many of the other cathedrals in Barcelona.  Decorated with brilliant stone intricacies and gargoyles that are representative of European Gothic designs, the Catedral de Barcelona is one of Barcelona’s central places of worship.

The history of the Cathedral dates back to the 13th century when King Jaume II chose to construct a temple over the remains of what was once the Romanesque church.  Funded mostly by fraternities and guilds, the project took over 150 years to complete, but today stands as some of the best Gothic architecture in Barcelona.
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Parc de la Ciutadella

things to do in barcelona parc de la ciutadella
Located in the heart of the city, Parc de la Ciutadella is a greenery oasis in the middle of Barcelona.  The park covers over 74 acres of land lined with gorgeous promenades, colorful flowerbeds, outstanding statues, and palm trees.  Along with all the beautiful green open space you’ll also find a lake, a beautiful fountain, several museums, and even a zoo.

Originally built in the 1700s as a fortress for King Phillips, Parc de la Ciutadella was eventually transformed into a prison for political prisoners.  In 1998 it was transformed yet again for the World Exhibition and, today, relics from that exhibition like the Castell dels Tres Dragons and the Umbracle can still be seen throughout the park.

Museu Picasso

things to do in barcelona museu picasso
For anyone who has ever loved Picasso, or art in itself for that matter, no visit to Barcelona would be complete without a stop at the Museu Picasso.

Opened in 1963, the museum describes itself as, “a key reference for understanding the formative years of Pablo Picasso”.  As you walk through the different pieces of art within the museum you will quickly start to see the deep relationship that Picasso had with Barcelona throughout his childhood, into his adult years, and even up until his death.

While it has not been verified, it is alleged that it was Picasso himself who originally proposed the creation of the museum.  The very first collection held by Museu Picasso was the Sabartes Collection, but the museum has obviously expanded immensely since then, and now holds over 3500 pieces of artwork, with the main focus on his early years as an artist.

Barrio Gotico

things to do in barcelona barrio gotico
One of the oldest and most beautiful districts in all of Barcelona, Barrio Gotico is the Gothic Quarter stretching from Rambla to Via Laietana.

This popular tourist destination is a labyrinth of small streets featuring restaurants, shops, and bars.  Highlights within Barrio Gotico include the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, the Plaza del Rey, the Plaza Real, and the Jewish Quarter.

Unfortunately, much of the original architecture within Barrio Gotico is no longer present today.  While there are still a few original Gothic pieces, most of the Gothic architecture within the neighborhood only dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries when many of the buildings were transformed to increase tourism and welcome the 1929 International Exhibition.


things to do in barcelona montjuic
Located directly next to the sea, Montjuïc Mountain stands at a height of over 173 meters tall. The scenic hilltop draws in many visitors who come to enjoy the beautiful gardens, the museums, and the spectacular views of Barcelona.

Of course Montjuïc hasn’t always been such a popular visiting destination as during times of war, Monjuic Castle, which stood at the summit of the mountain, was attacked several times.  Shortly thereafter the mountain was completely abandoned by the people of the area who often associated it with nervousness and fear.

Thankfully, the nerves have worn down and we’re now able to enjoy this beautiful lookout opportunity.  Today you can take a cable car up the summit or enjoy some of the many attractions surrounding the mountain like the Castell de Montjuïc and the Magic Fountain.

Magic Fountain Show

things to do in barcelona magic fountain show
Speaking of the Magic Fountain, if there’s one thing that you can’t miss on your visit to Barcleona, it’s the Magic Fountain show.  Standing as the largest ornamental fountain in all of Barcelona, the Magic Fountain was built by over 3000 workers for the 1929 International Exhibition.

Today the fountain is home to one of the most spectacular light shows in all of Spain, and features a spectacular display of water acrobatics and music.  On days when the fountain is in operation, there a several different shows offered, each with their own unique choreographies and each year the fountain is also home of a massive firework display known as the Piromusical.

Camp Nou Stadium

things to do in barcelona camp nou stadium
Marked as the third largest football stadium in the world, Camp Nou Stadium can hold a capacity of over 110,000 guests.  The stadium is regularly filled to capacity as the love of football by the Catalan people is paramount in Barcelona.

If you really want to get up close and personal with Camp Nou Stadium, it is open every day for public tours where you’ll have the opportunity to visit the FC Barcelona changing room, walk along the pitch, sit in the press room, and even engage in a Barca Virtual Reality experience.

Day trips from Barcelona

amazing day trips from barcelona
Don't forget to save some time to explore outside of Barcelona.  There's several day trip adventures waiting for you outside the big city.

Among those adventures are exploring the Gothic architecture of Girona, learning about Salvador Dali and marvel at the beauty of Monserrat.

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Free walking tours

Barcelona, along with almost every major city in the world, has companies that offer free walking tours.  These tours are usually run by young students who are passionate about telling the story of their city and country.

The tours are probably the best way to explore and learn about the city as the guides will take you to unique places in the city while telling you all sorts of interesting stories.

As a note, while these are "free" walking tours, tips are encouraged at the end of the tour and a €5 tip is the standard.
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