Barcelona Things to Do
A cosmopolitan center of Catalan culture, Barcelona delights with its year-round fair weather and Mediterranean location. If you have only a limited time to explore one of Spain’s great cities, focus your attention on the best Barcelona things to do.
La Sagrada Familia
What is undoubtedly Antoni Gaudi’s greatest creation, the La Sagrada Familia cathedral still remains unfinished. Started in 1882, the church combines Spanish Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism, and Art Nouveau designs. The tallest of the what will be 18 spires represents Christ, followed by the four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary, and the 12 Apostles. Unless you like waiting in long lines, buy your tickets online to enter the fantastic interior where organic columns grow like trees and beautiful bright stained glass windows shine in the sun.
One of the world’s great shopping streets is a tree-lined mall that starts at the Plaça de Catalunya and ends in the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell, about 1.3 kilometers away. An easy stroll at this heavily touristed attraction rewards you with al fresco dining areas, souvenir shops, retail boutiques, newspaper stands, street entertainers, and sex workers. Keep a tight grip on your wallet or purse because pickpockets and con artists abound.
This park was originally conceived as part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site by Count Eusebi Güell, after whom it was named. Gaudi turned it into a playground of sinuous shapes, colorful mosaics, and the iconic wavy benches that form the upper terrace of the Sala Hipostila. Among the creative shapes, tourists play and hawkers sell jewelry, key rings, and various souvenirs.
The Gothic Quarter represents the earliest Roman Settlement in Barcelona and is a maze of Medieval, Gothic, and Neo Gothic architecture that hems in narrow little back streets. Bring a map because it’s easy to get disoriented here. Look for the Bridge of Sighs, which copies the one in Venice; the three heads at the Fivaller Fountain at the Square of Saint Justus; and the Monument of Five Heroes that commemorate martyrs executed for fighting French troops during the occupation of the city in 1808.
Mercat de San Josep
Located just off Las Ramblas, this bustling and colorful market sells a wide range of products, including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, and chocolates. Though some say they’ve been selling here since medieval times, the current market was built in 1840 with several additions until 1914. If you’re not up to assembling a quick meal out of the range of produce, you can dine at the several cafes and restaurants around the edges.
Parc De Ciutadella
When you need to rest after a heavy day of touring, head for the Parc De Ciutadella. Helmed by the Catalan Parliament building, this green space includes the Barcelona Zoo, a beautiful lake with turtles and fishes, and a monumental fountain.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Barcelona Travel Guide
- Tips on Barcelona Warnings or Dangers – Stay Safe!
- Barcelona Shopping – Shops, Stores, Best Buys & Inside Tips
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Barcelona things to do.
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