Top things to do in Barcelona: 15 beautiful sights to see [+ map]
With its spectacular sights, the Spanish metropolis of Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities in Europe. The capital of Catalonia (and the second largest city in Spain after Madrid) attracts millions of visitors every year.
The Mediterranean metropolis is known for its architecture, cultural offerings, sandy beaches, mild climate, and proximity to the Pyrenees. The city center is especially worthwhile for a weekend trip. However, you should plan at least four days to experience all the highlights of the city.
In this article we show you the most beautiful sights to see and must-dos in Barcelona.
Hi! We are Biggi & Flo
We are two adventurous travelers who are drawn to faraway places. On our travel blog, written with a lot of heart and soul, you will find exciting tips and reports on the topics of travel, outdoor and photography.Advertising notice: All links marked with * are affiliate links. If you order something through this link, we receive a small commission - nothing changes in the price.
The top 10 sights in Barcelona at a glance
We tell you the top attractions, the most popular neighborhoods, the most beautiful beaches, the coolest places to chill but also really good restaurants and beautiful hotels in Barcelona.
You want to know what to do in Barcelona? Then come with us to one of the most exciting cities in Europe. For now, here are our top 10 sights in Barcelona at a glance.
- La Sagrada Familia
- Park Güell
- Arc de Triomf and Parc de la Ciutadella
- Casa Batlló
- Tibidabo Park
- La Rambla and Mercat de la Boqueria
- Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
- Gothic Quarter and El Born district
- La Barceloneta and Port Vell
- Camp Nou soccer stadium
Tip: To discover Barcelona and its many sights at a reasonable price, we recommend the Go City Pass Barcelona (order here*).
Map: All sights in Barcelona
In our interactive map, you can find all sights in Barcelona at a glance. Have fun discovering the most beautiful places to go in the metropolis.
Watch the video: Our top attractions in Barcelona
Have fun with our video about the most popular attractions and most beautiful places to see in Barcelona.
1. La Sagrada Familia – the top sightseeing attraction
The Roman Catholic basilica La Sagrada Familia is an absolute must for every visitor to Barcelona and is one of the top activities in Barcelona.
The 172-meter-high basilica towers over the metropolis like a patron saint. When you stand in front of the church for the first time, you won’t be able to stop marveling. It’s definitely one of the places you have to see in Barcelona.
By the way, the building regulations in Barcelona state that no building can be higher than the Sagrada Familia.
Don’t be surprised about construction cranes and construction workers though. Designed by Antoni Gaudí in the style of Modernism, the building and landmark of the city is still in the process of manufacture. Construction began as early as 1882 – in 2026, on the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death (not “Gaudi,” by the way), the building is scheduled to be completed.
A visit to the interior of La Sagrada Familia is also worthwhile. For this, however, you should definitely get tickets in advance via the Internet. The normal entrance fee is 26 euros. If you want a guided tour, you pay 30 euros. The ticket with fast entry costs just under 32 euros. Unfortunately, the towers can be visited again since april 2022.
Also, be aware that tickets are timed and will expire if you’re not on time. It’s good if you get there ten minutes before.
Hotel tip: One of the best hotels in town is the Radisson Blu 1882 (check prices here*), very close to La Sagrada Familia. You’ll have a great view of the imposing sight from the cozy rooftop terrace.
2. Park Güell – Experience Gaudí at first hand
Park Güell is one of the most famous things to do in Barcelona. It was created by Antoni Gaudí between 1900 and 1914 and is an oasis in the city that invites you to stroll and enjoy. For us, Park Güell is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Barcelona.
Park Güell was originally planned to be much larger and was never completed due to financial constraints. The area houses only three houses instead of the more than 60 villas that were planned. The residence of the industrialist family Güell, Gaudí’s residence, and another house.
But already these three houses, which Gaudí planned harmoniously into nature, make a visit to Park Güell unforgettable. When the weather is nice, a huge sun terrace invites you to relax. Like the houses, the seating areas are artfully decorated with mosaics.
If you want to experience the Güell complex, you should get tickets early. This is especially true during the high season. But the fact is: this is a sight you should definitely visit in Barcelona.
Hotel tip: Near Park Güell is the Bestprice Gracia Hotel (check prices here*). This simple hotel is suitable for anyone looking for modern yet affordable accommodation in Barcelona.
If you are a fan of Gaudí, then you should definitely visit Casa Batlló. It is the most beautiful Gaudí house on Passeig de Gràcia. The last building that the famous architect built is Casa Milà. After that he devoted his time to the construction of the Sagrada Família. You can find the residential building in the Eixample district.
3. From the Arc de Triomf to the Parc de la Ciutadella
Third, on our list of the most amazing things to do in Barcelona is the Parc de la Ciutadella. If you’re traveling by metro in Barcelona, get off at the Arc de Triomf, built in 1888, and stroll along a wide promenade to the “Park of the Citadel” – one of the largest parks in Barcelona and a popular sightseeing destination.
A particularly impressive must-see is the “Font de la Cascada” fountain. You can also rent rowboats on the large lake in the middle of the complex. The Barcelona Zoo is also located on the same grounds. The numerous possibilities make the park also a nice place for children.
⭐ Travel guide for your Barcelona vacation
We can highly recommend the following travel guides for your Barcelona trip. This one is perfect in travel-size: Rick Steves Pocket Barcelona (get it here*). If you like to take a look into this guide, just go for it: Fodor’s Barcelona: with highlights of Catalonia (get it here*).
4. Casa Batlló
Antoni Gaudí was not only responsible for La Sagrada Familia or Park Güell. One of the most famous Gaudí sights is the Casa Batlló at Passeig de Gràcia 43 in the Eixample district.
The residential and commercial building attracts around one million visitors every year. This makes the Casa Batlló one of the most important attractions of the beautiful city on the Mediterranean.
Even from the outside, the building is a feast for the eyes. The Casa Batlló can even be partially visited. For example, the foyer, the Beletage, the staircase, the attic, the roof, and the backyard are open to visitors.
5. Tibidabo Park – the best view of Barcelona
What else can you do in the metropolis? Now it gets sporty! We will take you to a world of activities that will interest especially young people in Barcelona.
But also, nature and hiking lovers will enjoy it here. You don’t have to go to the Pyrenees, 120 kilometers away, to take off your hiking boots. The city is located in a natural basin by the sea and the surrounding mountains are ideal for short hiking tours.
Among the best things to see in Barcelona is the hike to Tibidao Park. The rugged hiking trail leads through dense greenery – again and again, you get great views of Barcelona and the all-dominating La Sagrada Familia.
Once on Tibidao, the highest mountain in the Collserola range, you’ll continue up a bit further. A visit to the church Templo del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus is definitely worth it. We recommend you to use the elevator to get to the top of the mountain.
From the top, Tibidabo is at your feet – and so is the Parque de Atracccions amusement park, a fun thing to do! With a good view, you can see as far as Montserrat. Also omnipresent is the 268-meter-high television tower, built for the 1992 Olympic Games.
If you don’t feel like hiking, you can take a car or bus to the top of Tibidabo. An alternative is a funicular that goes up Tibidabo. For us, this view offers the most spectacular view of the city. Especially at sunset, there is a lot going on here.
Wondering which is the most beautiful place in Barcelona? For us, this view is definitely in the top 3 most beautiful places in Barcelona.
Entrance fee: the ride with the Funicular del Tibidabo (cable car) costs 4,00 Euro when buying the ticket to the amusement park and the pure ride costs 7,50 Euro
From March to December, the cable car runs daily. In January there are no rides. In February, the cable car runs only on weekends.
6. La Rambla and Mercat de la Boqueria
One of the coolest things to do in Barcelona is definitely the market. In the market hall Mercat de la Boqueria locals merge with tourists. There is probably no other place in Barcelona where a sight is so closely linked to the everyday life of the locals. So if you want to know where you have to go in Barcelona at all costs, it’s the market.
In the market hall, vendors offer fresh fish, meat, bread, fruit, sweets, spices, and many other goods. You won’t find fresher food anywhere else in Barcelona. Enjoy your vacation and allow yourself something tasty.
The entrance to the market is directly on La Rambla or Les Rambles. The almost 1.3-kilometer-long promenade connects the Plaça de Catalunya with the port. This is where life pulsates.
Thousands of visitors stroll along Les Rambles, where countless cafes invite you to relax. As everywhere in Barcelona, you have to be extremely vigilant here – pickpockets have their hands full. But don’t let our warning spoil your mood. Because La Rambla is one of the best places to go in Barcelona.
7. Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau – our secret tip
Located in the middle of the city center, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau is almost an insider tip and secret place for your Barcelona trip. Unlike many sights in Barcelona, things are really peaceful here.
That may be because the hospital, built between 1902 and 1911 by Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, has no connection to Gaudí. Fans of Catalan Art Nouveau (Modernisme) can enjoy the excellently restored facility; after all, various sculptures on the facade and in the interior were designed by the sculptor Pablo Gargallo.
Outside as well as inside there is a lot to discover. If you are still in doubt about whether a visit is worthwhile: the building complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. This is our absolute travel tip for you.
8. Gothic Quarter and El Born district
What else is in Barcelona to do? Explore the city center on foot. Whether by day or by night, the Gothic Quarter – the Barri Gòtic – with the Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia (La Seu) and the El Born district are must-sees. For us, El Born is the most beautiful district in Barcelona with numerous beautiful sights.
With its gothic flair, the area invites you to take a unique walk where there is a lot to discover.
You’ll encounter winding alleys, historic buildings, small boutiques, stores, confectioneries, musicians, bars, and pubs. Just flow with thousands of other people through the city center and enjoy life. Especially young people are out and about here in the evenings.
Our tip, not only for young people: take a whole evening to explore the neighborhood and just let yourself drift.
One of the highlights is the La Seu Cathedral, which was built on the foundations of a basilica destroyed by the Moors. The church is already very old. The foundation stone was laid as early as 1298. Incidentally, 13 white geese are kept on the grounds. They used to serve as a shield from thieves because they made a lot of noise.
You should not miss the Museu d’Història de la Cuitat (website). It is one of the most beautiful museums in Barcelona. The museum tells the more than 2000 years old history of Barcelona.
In addition, there are the largest Roman excavations outside Rome to marvel at. However, you should not choose a Monday for your visit – the museum is closed here. Plaça de Sant Jaume, the historical and political center of the city, should also be on your list of highlights.
The medieval district of El Born, meanwhile, is the neighborhood of the creative. The alleys are so narrow that no ray of sunlight makes it to the ground. If you want to shop, come to Born. Some of the hottest fashion stores are now located here. Night owls, meanwhile, move from one bar to the next in the evening. As you can see, this district is extremely attractive.
Hotel tip: One of the top addresses for the upscale is the Grand Hotel Central (check price here*) in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral.
9. La Barceloneta and Port Vell
Anyone visiting the popular La Barceloneta district with its long sandy beaches is almost bound to pass the Port Vell harbor. Here are huge super yachts at anchor that will leave you speechless
During our stay, the highlights were the 87-meter ACE and the 99-meter Madame Gu. Both yachts of superlatives and owned by rich Russians. If you feel like vacationing on the ship, you can rent these luxury boats. However, at 250,000 euros per week, this will probably remain a dream for most people.
Relaxing on the beach in the center of the metropolis
As you continue to stroll from Port Vell toward Platja de la Barceloneta beach, you’ll always have the luxury W Barcelona hotel (check prices here*) in your field of vision. This striking building is impossible to miss. From the upper floors of the W Hotel, you have a great view over the beach. However, this is reserved for hotel guests.
Of course, you’ll pass numerous restaurants on your way to the beach. As always, the rule here is: Tour stores are often just out to make a quick buck. Apps like Tripadvisor or Google Maps help separate the wheat from the chaff.
Finally, on the eternally long, super-beautiful beach of La Barceloneta, it’s time to relax and enjoy the sea. Recovering with your feet in the sand from the numerous activities in the beautiful metropolis. Isn’t it awesome that the beach is right in the middle of the city?
The only drawback: if you’re bothered by the sometimes very pushy street vendors, you won’t be happy here, unfortunately. Nevertheless, the beach is one of the most popular sights in Barcelona.
Hotel tip: In addition to the W Barcelona (check prices here*), the Sofitel Barcelona Skipper (check prices here*) is almost directly on the water. The luxurious 5-star hotel near the Olympic harbor impresses with a great view and first-class service.
10. Camp Nou – the soccer stadium of FC Barcelona
What to see in Camp Nou? With 99,354 seats, Europe’s largest soccer stadium leaves even non-football fans speechless. Before heading to Camp Nou, the tour takes you through the FC Barcelona museum. Hundreds of trophies can be admired here. The museum alone is a sight to behold.
The cabins and commentators’ boxes are also not left out of the tour. But the most exciting part is surely the moment when you walk through the players’ tunnel onto the pitch. Now time seems to stand still. Then you’re standing right on the edge of the pitch and you’re just speechless. Famous players like Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, and Gavi are regularly on the pitch here. Wow.
After the superlative attractions already presented here, we take you to the huge FC Barcelona fan store. Maybe one or the other will spontaneously become a fan of the multiple Champions League winner. It’s an incredible sightseeing experience – even for non-football fans.
11. Casa Milà
Of course, the Casa Milà – another Gaudí highlight in Barcelona – should not be missing from our list of the most important sights.
Where to visit it? The Casa Milà is located in Passeig de Gràcia No. 92 and was the first building of the 20th century to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984. Of course, the Casa Milà can’t be missed on any trip to Barcelona, can it?
On the sixth floor, you can see an apartment in the style of the 1920s. There is also a Gaudí exhibition on the top floor.
The most famous Gaudí buildings in Barcelona
In addition to the Gaudí highlights already mentioned here, there are numerous other buildings and structures in and around Barcelona for which the famous architect is responsible and which are absolutely worth seeing for fans.
- La Sagrada Familia
- Park Güell
- Casa Batlló
- Casa Milà
- Palau Güell
- Casa Vicens
- The church of Colònia Güell
- Casa Calvet
- Portal Miralles
12. Parc de Montjuïc
The Parc de Montjuïc is best known for the Font Màgica fountain, which is open to the public free of charge, with its colorfully illuminated water features accompanied by music. The magical fountain was built on the occasion of the 1929 World’s Fair. The fountain is spectacular only during the seasons (as of March 2022). Then it becomes a real attraction and a stunning thing to do in Barcelona.
- Spring: April 1 to May 31: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, show times: 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
- Summer: June 1 to September 30: Wednesday to Sunday, show times: 21:30 and 22:00
- Autumn: October 1 to October 31: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, times of the show: 20:00 and 20:30 hrs.
- Winter: November 1 to January 6: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, show times: 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
- 7 January to 28 February: closed
Towering far above the fountain is the imposing Palau National (MNAC), home of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. On display here are Romanesque frescoes, Catalan panel paintings, and sculptures, as well as evidence of Italian and French Baroque paintings.
You can also enjoy a fantastic view of Barcelona from up here. Barcelona from above looks great. On Barcelona’s local mountain Montjuïc, the Castell, a 17th-century fortress, is also waiting to be explored.
The “Cementiri de Montjuïc” cemetery is also worth a detour. If you don’t want to walk, take the Telefèric de Montjuïc cable car (website)to the top. It is an attraction in itself.
13. Estadi Olímpic
The Olympic site, called Estadi Olimpic, is just a stone’s throw from the Palau National. The Olympic Stadium was also built for the 1929 World’s Fair (Exposició Internacional de Barcelona).
The stadium was originally intended to host the 1936 Summer Olympics. However, at that time the Olympics were awarded to Berlin after a runoff. The building complex with its park is still a beautiful attraction today, however, and invites visitors to stroll and explore.
14. Parc del Guinardó – insider tip
The Parc del Guinardó is a real insider’s tip in Barcelona and rightly belongs on our list of the top things to do in Barcelona. Away from the tourist crowds, the site offers a fantastic view of Barcelona.
This landmark is in close proximity to Park Güell and the Hospital de Sant Pau. Several hiking trails lead to the summit.
Tip: You can also cover a large part of the distance by elevator. This attraction is definitely worth a visit.
15. Torre Glòries
In addition to the many historical sights that Gaudí left behind for the Mediterranean metropolis, there is also a modern highlight in the form of the Torre Glòries (formerly Torre Agbar) that you definitely can’t miss.
Despite its shape, which is reminiscent of a phallus, the 142-meter-high skyscraper is considered a modern landmark of the city.
At night, the tower shines in different colors. For photographers, the Torre Glòries is an absolute must-see in the evening hours.
Unfortunately, the office building (there is also no viewing platform or restaurant) is not accessible to visitors. The view of La Sagrada Familia is certainly breathtaking from up there – but remains reserved for employees.
Hotel tip: From the rooftop pool of the 4-star hotel SB Glow (check prices here*) you have a spectacular view of the Torre Glòries.
Excursion tip Montserrat Monastery
If you have a little more time than just two or three days on your trip, it’s worth taking a side trip to Montserrat Mountain, located about 50 kilometers northwest of Barcelona. The famous Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat is a popular destination.
From downtown Barcelona, it takes about an hour by car to get to the monastery. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour from Barcelona*.
The monastery of Montserrat impresses with its unique location. The imposing complex is built high into the mighty rocks.
If the Montserrat Monastery inspires you, you should perhaps travel to Greece next time. Near the town of Kalambaka are the Metéora monasteries – one of the most impressive temple complexes in the world (here you can find the most beautiful sights in Greece).
The most beautiful museums in Barcelona
If you are a culture fan, we have still summarized the best museums as highlights.
- The Museo Picasso, the Picasso Museum, shows the youthful works of the artist. Although the most famous works are in New York and Madrid, you can admire his work Las Meninas in Barca. Located in the La Ribera neighborhood, the museum includes five Gothic townhouses. They date from the 13th to 15th centuries. Address: Carrer Montcada (Google Maps), admission: 14 euros.
- Fundació Joan Miró, the Miró Museum, features paintings, sculptures, and drawings by Mirò. Address: Parc de Montjuïc (Google Maps), admission: 13 euros.
- At the Museu del Modernisme Català, Modernism Museum, you’ll learn all about Catalan modernism, furniture, paintings, sculptures, and stained glass. Address: Carrer de Balmes, 48 (Google Maps), admission: 10 euros.
Where to stay in Barcelona – our hotel tips
The classy Radisson Blu 1882 (check price here*) is located near La Sagrada Familia and thrills with a beautiful rooftop terrace with a terrific view.
One of the most popular hotels in Barcelona is the luxury W Barcelona (check prices here*) right on the beach. The view will blow you away.
The Sofitel Barcelona Skipper (check rates here*) is also close to the beach. No wish comes up short at this 5-star hotel.
One of the best upscale hotels is the Grand Hotel Central (check prices here*) near La Seu Cathedral.
The 4-star Hotel SB Glow (check prices here*) enchants with a rooftop pool and a breathtaking view of the Torre Glòries.
Hotel tip for the small budget: The Bestprice Gracia hotel (check prices here*) near Park Güell convinces with modern facilities and a top price-performance ratio.
Three great restaurants in Barcelona
Working your way through the sights in Barcelona makes you hungry. We have an idea for that, too. We’ll show you really good restaurants that aren’t tourist traps. Here you get excellent food at fair prices. Yes, you can also eat out cheaply in Barcelona.
- By chance, we became aware of Sensi Tapas. We were there early and were lucky to get a seat without a reservation. If you want to eat at Sensi Tapas, you should make a reservation. The young owners serve you the most delicious tapas in all variations. Be sure to try the sangria – it’s really delicious. Address: Carrer Ample 26 (Google Maps) but there are other branches.
- Our tip for vegans: the Veggie Garden. The menu has an Indian influence and the food is super fresh. Address: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 602 (Google Maps).
- If you want to snack your way through a bit, we recommend La Tasqueta de Blai. Here the pinchos, which are small snacks on toothpicks, cost 1 euro a piece. Address: Carrer de Blai 17 (Google Maps).
We hope you enjoyed our summary of Barcelona. We have shown you the main attractions and highlights of the city. Now it’s up to you to explore them. Have fun in Spain and enjoy the great flair of the beautiful city of Barcelona