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The 12 best things to see in Barcelona, a sunny and vibrant Spanish city.
Barcelona is one of the most popular cities to visit in Spain.
Ever since the Cheetah Girls sang and danced through the streets of Barcelona in 2006, this Spanish city has jumped to the top of many people’s bucket lists. Or maybe that’s just me.
But Barcelona is such a famous city for good reasons. It’s a truly beautiful place.
The weather is near-perfect, the language is romantic, the people are friendly, the nightlife is crazy, and the food is delicious.
There are so many reasons to visit Barcelona, though I think the landmarks and sights around the city stand out the most.
Barcelona is a city for sightseeing.
From the architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudí, to the magnificent public squares, to the humble alleyways and markets, there are so many beautiful things to see in Barcelona.
So for any future travelers to the capital of Catalonia, here are my top recommendations for what to see in Barcelona.
12 Best Things To See in Barcelona
1. La Sagrada Familia
This may be the most popular thing to see in Barcelona, but it is well worth the hype.
This gigantic Roman Catholic basilica is one of the weirdest and most eccentric buildings in Spain, or maybe even the world.
Designed by the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, the building is infused with mind-boggling detail.
He began building the basilica in 1882, and it is still unfinished today.
Even though it’s unfinished, it’s definitely one of the best things to see in Barcelona.
It costs 20 Euros to enter La Sagrada Familia.
(I think it’s worth booking a skip-the-line ticket in advance, otherwise you’ll be waiting for hours).
2. Park Güell
Many of the best things to see in Barcelona are the works of Antoni Gaudí.
The guy was a genius and he left behind a large collection of amazing landmarks all over Barcelona.
Park Güell is another one of his masterpieces.
Up on Carmel Hill on the outskirts of the city is Park Güell, a spacious collection of gardens, walking trails, viewpoints, and unique buildings and benches sporting Gaudí’s colorful designs.
It costs 2.50 Euros to enter Park Güell.
3. Parc del Laberint d’Horta
This luscious public park is not only full of good picnic spots, it is also full of history.
It is the oldest park in Barcelona, which becomes evident in all the old mythological statues of the area.
The park is most well known for its Labyrinth of hedges that create a maze reminiscent of something from Greek mythology.
It’s a magical and mysterious place to visit.
4. Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is just a big house on a street, but it’s one of the best things to see in Barcelona.
Designed by, you guessed it, Antoni Gaudí, the house looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, with its multicolored patterns, weird shapes and shimmering roof.
The inside of Casa Batlló is just as awe-inspiring.
Gaudí went crazy decorating and designing the inside with unique uses of stone, wood, tiles, ceramics, stained glass, and other materials.
It costs 25 Euros to enter Casa Batlló.
For a couple Euros extra you can book a ticket with a guide so you can learn everything about the house.
5. Parc de la Ciutadella
Another one of the best things to see in Barcelona is Parc de la Ciutadella.
This beautifully landscaped garden is a huge green space perfect for picnics and sunbathing.
It has some wonderful pieces of architecture like the man-made waterfall, Cascada Monumental, and the majestic archway, Arc de Triomf.
There are fountains, flowers, statues, walkways, and more. It’s also free!
6. Casa Milà
Alright, this is the last building by Gaudí on this list.
Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, is another one of the best things to see in Barcelona.
Built in the early 1900s, this is one of Gaudí’s last designs in the city.
It is known for its wavy textured walls built from stone, and most of the elements of this house are inspired by nature.
It costs 22 Euros to enter Casa Milà, if you book online in advance. If you book tickets at the door it costs a few Euros more.
For 25 Euros you can book a skip-the-line ticket with an audio guide. I think this is worth it since it’s only a couple Euros more than a normal ticket anyway.
7. Barceloneta Beach
One of the reasons why Barcelona is so loved is for its beach.
It’s not every day you get to explore a busy, world-famous city and then swim in the ocean after.
Barceloneta Beach is the most accessible and enjoyable beach in the city.
It is walking distance from the city center, and it’s 4.5 km long so there is plenty of space to lie out in the sun.
Have a nice, sunny beach day or head down here in the evening for a gorgeous sunset.
8. Plaça de Catalunya
Some consider this public square to be the heart of Barcelona, and the place where the rustic old city meets the new modern city.
Plaça de Catalunya is full of magnificent buildings, a landscaped garden, fountains, and plenty of picnic benches for people-watching and resting your feet during a big day of sightseeing.
This is a popular place among local street musicians as well, so hang around for an impromptu concert.
9. La Rambla
La Rambla is the main pedestrian walking street in Barcelona.
It stretches from Plaça de Catalunya all the way down to the seaside, and it is lined with lots of tourist shops, cafes, and restaurants.
I’ve heard that lots of pickpockets work their magic around here since it gets pretty crowded and there are lots of naive tourists wandering around.
I didn’t have any problems here, but I also visited during the winter so the crowds weren’t as thick.
To be safe, only bring as much money as you’ll need for the day, don’t wear lots of expensive or flashy jewelry and accessories, and keep your bag locked tight and close by.
10. Mercat de la Boqueria
This is definitely one of the best things to see in Barcelona.
Located on La Rambla, this central market is pretty touristy.
Lots of the food displays are obviously done up for tourists, but it’s still very cool to see.
Walk through the market hall and admire all the delicious looking treats, and maybe grab a snack for some fuel.
11. Brunch and Cake
I’m throwing you for a loop here. Brunch and Cake is not a landmark, park, or monument, it’s a cafe.
I’m adding this to the list of best things to see in Barcelona mainly because this cafe has some of the most photogenic meals I’ve ever had.
They serve mainly healthy breakfast and lunch dishes, and the food is always so beautiful as well as delicious.
Picture piles of french toast with ricotta and berries, sprinkled with edible flowers. Or a huge sandwich on a baguette with a syringe full of guacamole.
If you want to get a cool food photo for your Instagram, this is the place to go!
12. Catedral De Barcelona
This Gothic church located near the southern end of La Rambla is an incredible sight to see in Barcelona.
The beautiful building dates back to the 14th century, and it is still in great shape.
It is free to enter the cathedral during worship hours, which are weekdays from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and 5:45 pm to 7:30 pm.
Outside those times, it costs 7 Euros to enter.
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In my opinion, those are the 12 best things to see in Barcelona.
There are many more great attractions in the city, but these are the landmarks that stood out the most to me during my visit.
Before traveling to Spain:
☼ Check iVisa.com to see visa requirements. Most tourists don’t need a visa for visiting Spain, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
If you want to check out some of my other travel articles about Spain, here are some of the best ones!