Going on a short trip or vacation is very exciting. So many things go through your mind, such as what to pack, what to bring, where to stay, how to get there, etc. Frequently you even forget to think about what you are going to do when you visit a certain place. Thus, we want to recommend you a short guide featuring best things to do in Barcelona that will help you experience the local tradition and have fun along the way.
Learn about Gaudí
One of the first things you will learn about Barcelona, regardless if you explore the city online while you prepare for the trip, or you start strolling around the city once you get there, is Antoni Gaudí. Antoni Gaudí, an architect from Barcelona, has left priceless masterpieces to the city, built in his recognizable style and designed with a unique vision that make him one of the most important architects in the world. Therefore, Barcelona is the place where you can enjoy amazing and unique architectural works which are well preserved national treasure. The most famous building designed by Gaudí is certainly the Sagrada Família, an impressive church, still under construction. Other Gaudí’s works include Park Güell, an amazing park combining natural elements with ornamental design, and La Pedrera, a one of a kind building with wavy front wall, as well as Palau Güell, Casa Batlló and Casa Vicens.
These are all the places you must see in Barcelona. As you open your map of the city, make sure to mark these locations in order not to visit them as you go walking around and exploring the city.
Explore the city on foot
The second thing you should do in Barcelona is exploring the city on foot. There are many ways to explore the city, and using public transport to get from one location to another is a great way to do so, but walking around the city provides unforgettable experience. Even though the city is big, it is still possible to discover the city on foot. Walking along the streets of the central area, you will get to the nearby plazas, which are traditionally places that have great importance in historic sense, and they are also the locations of major events in the city. Try visiting the Plaça de Catalunya and the Plaça d'Espanya, as perhaps two major squares in Barcelona, due to the importance and the size each of them takes in the city. Still, Barcelona has so many other smaller squares, which are usually pedestrian areas with lots of cafes and shops, such as the Plaça de El Sortidor, the Plaça de la Concordia, and the Plaça de la Virreina.
Book a tour of the city
If organizing your own exploration of the city is too big of a challenge for you, you can always book a tour of the city, and have an experience guide take you around the city and show you the most important places that tourists love to see. A major benefit of booking a tour is the fact that there are so many diverse tours of the city, which offer so many interesting programs and different ways to experience the city. For example, if you do not enjoy walking as much, you can always book a bus or a bike tour. In fact, using some sort of transportation is certainly quicker way to see more places. Additionally, different theme inspired tours are also available, such as Gothic tour, wine tour, night tour, etc.
Go to the beach
While the city offers so many interesting attractions and places to see, it would be such a shame to leave the city without visiting the beach, which is why we include this into the list of best things to do in Barcelona. Barcelona’s coast extends for almost 5 kilometers, with nice sandy beach allowing the coast. Regardless of the time of the year you visit the city, it is always great idea to go to the beach, even only to sit and enjoy fresh air.
Climb Montjuïc Mountain
A walk up the Montjuïc Mountain, a hill overlooking the harbor and the coast, is a perfect way to enjoy the nature, while still being in the center of the city and exploring the remnants of Spanish history along the mountain. Some of the most important places to visit on the mountain are Fundació Joan Miró, a modern art museum, the botanical garden, Ethnology museum and Archaeology museum, etc.
Ride over the city
Some say there is no better way to explore the city than to enjoy an exciting ride over the city. The Funicular de Montjuïc is a funicular railway, with gondola lift that goes up to mountain from Port Vell. The ride takes you 76 meters up in the air with travel lasting 2 minutes. Even though the ride takes only 2 minutes, the lift goes slowly, allowing you to take breathtaking photographs of the city as you go above it.
Walk along la Rambla Street
The most famous street in Barcelona is certainly la Rambla Street, a wide pedestrian area, located in the hearth of the city. It starts from the Plaça de Catalunya and it goes down to the port. Along the street, you will see a lot of charming buildings with nicely decorated terraces with colorful flowers. The street is very busy, with lots of street vendors and performers along the street, that create an entertaining atmosphere for visitors of all ages. Having in mind the prominence of this street, there are cafes and small shops along the street as well. Even if you prefer other ways to explore the city, such as a tour bus, you will really enjoy walking along la Rambla Street which is why this is one of the things you must to when visiting Barcelona.
Visit the Port Vell
As your walk from the Plaça de Catalunya along la Rambla Street, you get to the Port Vell, an impressive harbor, which offers so many different activities for you. Firstly, you will enjoy the view of the coast, and you can take great pictures for your holiday photo album. You will see the Columbus Monument in the center, which was built in honor of Columbus first voyage to the America and it honors the importance of Columbus’s voyage. You can also take the lift from the Port Vell in a funicular railway, which takes you up the Montjuïc Mountain. From the Port Vell you can visit the nearby beaches as well. Since the Port Vell has been renovated and built during the modernization of the city during the 1990s, it also has the Maremàgnum, one of the important attractions in the harbor. The Maremàgnum consists of a shopping mall and cinema, with cafes and restaurants, which is ideal for spending time inside a large modern complex that overlooks the sea.
If shopping is your favorite pastime, you will love Barcelona. With thousands of small shops, several large shopping malls and many shopping streets in the central area of the city, you will love exploring the shopping areas and browsing through the items of past and new collections, of both Spanish and international brands. La Rambla Street and the Old Town of Barcelona are filled with small shops, mostly with trendy boutiques, and with a few of those traditional shops where you can find homemade items and charming souvenirs. Additionally, the largest department store, El Corte Inglés, is also located in the La Rambla Street, and this is the place where you can find literary everything you could ever need. Passeig de Gracia is also shopping area, with more high-end shops and luxurious items. If you are more interested in international brands, your shopping spree should start at the Avinguda Diagonal, as you will find lots of these shops along this avenue. At the end of the Avinguda Diagonal you will find the Diagonal Mar the newest commercial center in Barcelona with several floors filled with shops, cinemas, game areas, cafes and restaurants. L’illa Diagonal is another shopping mall that can be found in the Avinguda Diagonal. Although it is much smaller than the Diagonal Mar, it is one of the first shopping malls to be introduced back in the 1990s, which is why it is still favorite place for shopping among many locals.
Go to a museum
Barcelona has several museum that are definitely worth visiting, among which we recommend Museu Picasso, featuring one of the most extensive collection of Picasso’s artworks, Museu d'Història de Barcelona, with amazing collections that take you back in time, and Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, with Romanesque art collection being the highlight of what museum has to offer. You should have in mind that all the museum run by the city itself offer free entrance on Sundays, between 3 pm and 8 pm. Other museums also usually have at least one day a month to offer free entrance. This could be a great opportunity to enjoy the artworks and famous art collections, even if you are traveling on a low budget.
Attend a festival
For all of those party lovers and interested in culture and art, Barcelona provides so many opportunities to have great time. There are numerous concerts organized during the entire year, especially during the summer, as this is the peak seasons, when the city is full of tourists. Some of the festivals that might be interesting to attend include Sónar, a music festival of advanced music and multimedia art, organized in June, Sala Montjuïc outdoor film festival, hosted by local cinemas during July and August, Barcelona Harley Days, the biggest celebration of Harley-Davidsons and bikers in Europe, which takes place in July, etc.
Try local cuisine
Spanish cuisine is well known internationally, but it is a whole new experience trying Spanish meals in Spain, where traditional recipes and locally produced ingredients are used to create some of the most delicious meal you will ever try. The meals are usually served with appetizers and wine, which is drunk traditionally in Spain during meals. If you prefer enjoying wine, without the need to eat too much, you can always stop by tapas, where small appetizers are served with wine. Tapas offer a wide selection of appetizers, which are very popular and internationally famous characteristic of Spanish cuisine. When it comes to eating in Barcelona, you have to have in mind that some restaurant may be closed at some point during the day, as they only open during the lunch or dinner hours. Also, have in mind that dinner is not served before eight in most restaurants, as people in Spain are accustomed to eating a bit late.
Stay in an apartment
This kind of accommodation is being more and more trendy among modern travelers as it offers much more flexible solution than staying in hotels or hostels. Finding an apartment to stay in Barcelona will not be difficult, as the city has well developed infrastructure to support thousands of travelers visiting the city each month. All you need to do is find an apartment you like and book it for the period you plan to go to Barcelona. This type of accommodation is particularly recommended for families or for people traveling in a small group.
Have a great time
The activities we recommend here are simply there to guide you through some of the most important activities you could do in Barcelona, but since you are on holiday, having a great time is the only thing that really matters. Choose the activities you want and organize your trip according to your own needs and desires. Choose the activities that suit you best, visit the places you find most fascinating and do not forget that having a great time is what counts, as traveling is an opportunity to make memories, to experience new places and meet different cultures, to learn about diversity, and to enjoy life.