Barcelona is a sexy city rich in history, art and culture. It also has a fun side with beaches, shopping and amazing food and drink to enjoy. You will never want to sleep in this city because just as you think your exciting day spent exploring is winding down, the city is coming alive. Barcelona is always bustling but I found that it really came to life at night.
1. La Rambla
Both times that I visited Barcelona I made sure to stay near La Rambla because this is where all the action is happening. You really can’t beat the location- it is in the heart of the city, near the beach and close to the subway. La Rambla is a huge pedestrian street that is bustling with tourists, human statues, street performers and artists-it’s like the Vegas strip of Spain.
La Rambla is definitely a cool street to check out but like with all touristy things it does come with the crowds and the inflated prices. Don’t let this deter you for it has a fun atmosphere with lots to see with a lot happening off of the main street too.
2. La Boqueria Food Market
On La Rambla you will find one of Europe’s largest and most famous food markets. Walking through the market is an experience for your senses. There is so much delicious food filling every cranny of this place making it hard to decide what to eat. The food isn’t cheap here but neither is the quality.
Open: Monday – Saturday: 08:00 – 20:30
3. Magic Fountain
Once again, another thing in Barcelona that reminded me of Vegas-except that the magic fountain was built long before the Bellagio fountains in Vegas.The Magic Fountain is huge and displays a beautiful water acrobat show with music and lights. It is one of the top attractions in Barcelona and best of all- it is free!
To get here you can take the metro L1/L3 to Espanya station or the following local buses: 13, 23, 37, 150, D20, H12, H16.
Be aware that the show isn’t always going on so make sure to check the times here before you go.
4. Parc de la Ciutadella
I stumbled upon this park as I was going for a run one morning. I know- going for a run while on vacation may seem crazy but it allows you to explore more and run into awesome things like this! I also have a whole lot more tips to stay fit and healthy while traveling.
This park is perfect for running since it has running paths and is absolutely beautiful with the greenery. The park also has a charming pond but the most amazing thing in Parc de la Ciutadella is the stunning fountain that was designed by the one and only Gaudi.
5. Arc de Triomf
Just outside of Parc de la Ciutadella you will find this great arc and one of the city’s iconic landmarks. If you are in the area take the time to visit this famous arch since it doesn’t take up much of your time but is worth seeing.
6. Barceloneta Beach
This is the main beach in Barcelona and it gets very busy. However, there is something fun about this crowded Spanish beach. Guys are juggling soccer balls and throwing a frisbee while girls sunbathe topless. As packed at this beach is everyone minds their own business and has a good time. It’s not the nicest water for swimming but probably they most interesting beach for people watching.
There are also many beachside bars but compared to the rest of Barcelona the prices are through the roof. Instead. If you are on a budget, bring your own snacks and drinks.
To get here I always walked from La Ramblas but you can also take the yellow metro line (line 4) and get off at the Barceloneta stop.
7. Gaudi, Gaudi Gaudi!
Oh my gosh- where do I even start. I came to Barcelona without much knowledge of Gaudi and left with a deep love and appreciation of his work. This city will truly make you fall in love with his works of genius, art and magic.
Without Gaudi Barcelona wouldn’t be what it is today so I created a separate list just of must see Gaudi Sights. Seriously- make sure you check this list out or your trip to Barcelona just won’t be the same.
8. Three Crosses Hill
From Gaudi park there are paths that wind up to the top of the hill to three crosses. If you hike up here in the day you will probably hate your life as you get drenched in more and more sweat with every step.
However, if you visit Gaudi Park in the late afternoon and make your way up the hill as the sun sets then you will be rewarded with the most beautiful view. Another bonus is that there probably won’t be anyone else around.
9. Barri de Gracia
Barcelona is a city where the tourist attractions are actually amazing and not overrated. That being said- it is still always nice to wander off of the beaten path and get to a city’s routes. This is the neighbourhood below Gaudi Park and I recommend it because it offers a more authentic look into the city.
This area is packed with restaurants and is where I had the best Sangria of my life! I wish I could remember the name of the bar but we just happened to stumble upon it on our adventures.
10. Join a Walking Tour
My first day in Barcelona I was all alone and didn’t have a clue where to go or what to see so I joined a free walking tour. Even though the tour is free it would be extremely rude not to give a tip at the end. I highly recommend taking a walking tour for the following reasons;
Barcelona is very confusing and easy to get lost
You will actually learn about what it is that you are looking at
You will see more in less time
You will see things and learn about things that you wouldn’t on your own
You will meet new people
Honestly, I can’t give you a detailed description of everything that I saw and learned on the tour since it was a few years ago. However, I can tell you that to this day I still remember the friends that I made. After the tour we all went for Sangria and then hit the beach and I still keep in touch with the people that I met using facebook.
This website provides information about a few different free tours as well as a variety of paid ones.
11. Santa Maria del Mar church
I happened to walk past this church on Christmas day. I was on my way to my friends when I saw a bunch of people coming out of the church. Even though I was in a rush, I couldn’t help but stop and go inside. Boy am I glad that I did. The church doesn’t look like much from the outside but once you step inside- it is majestic.
This church offers guided tours for 8 Euros where they give you an in depth look into the history and architecture as well as take you up to the roof for a view of the city.
12. Barcelona Cathedral
This cathedral is located in the Gothic Quarter and unlike Santa Maria del Mar church I find that this church is not only beautiful on the inside but also on the outside. Entry is free before 12:30p.m. and free after 5:30 p.m- otherwise it is by donation. There is also an option to visit the roof of the cathedral, for this option you have to pay around 3 Euros.
13. Passeig de Gràcia
I love this street. If you run out of things to do- which is extremely unlikely in Barcelona- just head here and you will find lots. This street has some of the best shopping in Barcelona as well as some of it’s most famous architecture.
Of course it wouldn’t be Spain if I didn’t mention the food. Passeig de Gracia also has a variety of amazing restaurants. I could go into detail with all of the things that there are to see and do here- or you could just check it out for yourself.