10 sights you can’t leave Barcelona without seeing
Barcelona’s rich diversity in architecture, art, gastronomy, sports, leisure, beaches and nightlife has contributed to making it such a popular destination in these last years. Read on to see which sights in the city are our favourites.
For those who prefer to wander off the beaten path and stay away from the major crowds, you can check out this blog post about alternative sights to see. And if you’ve fallen in love with Barcelona and feel that you need to scour every nook and cranny, check out our Spanish classes in the heart of the city to learn Spanish and stay a while.
La Rambla and Plaça Reial
This tree-lined avenue has to be on of the most famous sights in Barcelona. Connecting Plaça Catalunya all the way to the port, you can take a wander down here towards Plaça Reial which is a beautiful palm-adorned square with cafés and restaurants. The fountain of the Three Graces lies in the centre and was designed by – you guessed it – Gaudí. One of our favourite places in the square is Ocaña, a perfect setting to relax and enjoy a café con leche (latte) or caña (small beer) while people-watching.
An old fishing neighbourhood, Barceloneta is one of those places that has kept its old-school charm. Take a walk through the streets and you’ll notice many local bars and some of the best seafood restaurants. Once you get to the beach, you’ll notice tourists and locals alike enjoying the beach and boardwalk, taking in the Barcelona sunshine.
Passeig de Gràcia
A walk along this grand shopping street is comparable with the Champs-Élysées in that it has all kinds of shops from boutiques and brand names to big designer labels. What sets it apart, however, is its modernist architecture. The streets surrounding Passeig de Gràcia are known as the Quadrat d’Or (Golden Square) with many avant-garde buildings constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these buildings were designed or inspired by the famous Antoni Gaudí. The most well-known and worth seeing are the Casa Batlló and La Pedrera.
Montjuïc and Plaça d’Espanya
Atop the hill of Montjuïc, you’ll find much to do. If you pass through the two towers of Plaça d’Espanya, you can walk up the stairs towards the Palau Nacional which is home to the MNAC museum (Catalan National Museum of Art). You can also enjoy the gardens and fortifications surrounding the grounds. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, you can see the Magic Fountain show that plays with colours and music to deliver an unforgettable multiscensory experience.
The Gothic Quarter has one of the oldest histories in Barcelona. Before being known as Barcelona, it was called Barcino by the Romans. Although most of the buildings are relatively new, construction of the Cathedral of Barcelona began in the 13th century and if you manage to find your way through the narrow streets, you’ll find a sight even older – the Temple of Augustus, built in the first century BC!
In the hills behind Barcelona stands a hill with a small amusement park and the Sagrat Cor (Sacred Heart) church. Be sure to visit Tibidabo for a jaw-dropping view of the city.
Parc de la Ciutadella and Arc de Triomf
The Arc de Triomf was built for the World Fair in 1888. If you pass underneath and along the promenade, you’ll arrive at the Park de la Ciutadella which stands on the grounds of an old citadel. In one of the few vast green spaces in Barcelona stands a gorgeous fountain with golden chariots atop it.
Built from 1900-1914, Park Güell was designed by architect Antoni Gaudí and was commissioned to be a housing development. The park is now a UNESCO Heritage Site and is one of the most fascinating sights to visit in Barcelona. Gaudí gave this park his distinct touch by working with natural shapes to create grottoes, halls, twisted staircases and benches throughout.
You may have noticed architect Antoni Gaudí mentioned many times throughout all of these famous sights in Barcelona. The Sagrada Família is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Intricate details adorn the outside while brightly coloured stained-glass windows allow other-worldly light to enter the interior. The Basilica The construction began in 1882 and is anticipated to be completed by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.
Whether you’re a football fan or not, you can’t deny the home stadium of Barça has a certain magic to it. With a capacity to hold 99,354 people, it’s the largest stadium in Europe and definitely a sight to see in Barcelona. Even better if you can experience a match.