The list of things to do in Barcelona can seem endless. And if your itinerary has to be short, you probably are wondering what the best things to do and see in the city are.
We understand your trouble, and we are going to help you out with that.
Down below is our complete list of the 20 best things to do in Barcelona in 2017.
So, let’s get you ready for a trip full of entertainment and excitement.
1 - Take a walk around the city.
Let’s get this one out of the way. The best thing you could do in Barcelona is taking in the beauty of this city on foot. The Catalonian city is full of narrow streets that are only accessible when you are walking around. Sometimes, a bike may be of help, but you have to know to handle it in rough turns.
You won’t get much of Barcelona in a taxi, or bus, or metro, or whatever it is you are transporting yourself around in. Only on foot is when you discover that there are a lot of amazing buildings, small architectural wonders and hidden gems in the city.
So, before starting cross things off your list, get your walking shoes on, and get lost in the streets of Barcelona for at least half a day. It is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.
2 - The Magic Fountain
One of Barcelona’s oldest attraction spots is the Magic Fountain that held its first performance in 1929. Carles Buigas, the designer, had very big ambitions as he only submitted his design a year before the first performance. People considered that it was not even possible to build in time, let along be as magical as he made it sound. They were DEAD wrong.
The fountain now sees around 2.5 million visitors annually. Divide that by the number of days it is open, you got yourself a big crowd of both locals and tourists that enjoy the show. Every year, the Piromusical is held on Montjuïc Magic Fountain. (Piromusical is an amazing display of music and light.)
The fountain has a great accuracy in making the water follow the rhythm of the music, and even dance to it. The light effects, music, and waterworks are all synchronized to a fault, which makes us, the watchers, open our mouths in awe.
To get to the Magic Fountain, you can use the metro, bus, or simply ask a taxi to take you there. For the metro users, you should stop at Plaça Espanya using Green Line, L3; or Red Line L1. For Bus users, you should stop at Plaça Espanya if you are on the 23, 37, H12, or H16. The show is for free, so you will be able to enjoy all of it.
The fountain is NOT open every day the whole year. So here’s a rundown of the 2017 schedule for you:
19th February to 31st March : Fridays and Saturdays, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm
April 1st to May 31st: Fridays and Saturdays, from 9 pm to 10:30 pm
June 1st to September 30th: Thursdays Through Sundays, from 9:30 pm to 11 pm
October 1st to October 31st: Fridays and Saturdays, from 9 pm to 10:30 pm
November 1st - to January 5th: Friday and Saturday, 7 pm to 8:30 pm - except for December 30th
3 - FC Barcelona Museum and Camp Nou Stadium
This is probably the 4th time I am suggesting to our readers to attend a soccer game, especially between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid FC. That is not for no reason: El CLASICO GAME IS WORLD CLASS SHOW. Add to that the beauty of the Camp Nou stadium and the passion FC Barcelona fans have for their team; just the pre-game show is a work of art.
However, if you are not able to attend a game during your visit, there is an FC Barcelona museum there for you. (But if you are a sports fan, even a little bit, you HAVE to attend at least that game. Here are the game schedules. Alright. Last time I’m suggesting. So, please do.)
The museum first opened in 1984 and was reopened in 2010 with much more technology than the first time. Now, the museum is divided into three separate galleries.
The first section includes all the history of FC Barcelona, from papers and documents to old pictures to the newest trophies. All of which is available with one touch on a glass wall.
The second section is a private art collection on display. It includes many of the works of local artists, such as Dali Miro and Tapies. The art collection is on permanent display there.
The third section, probably FC Barcelona fans favorite, is where Futbolart Collection displays, among other things, all the trophies the club has won. Some of the trophies there are replicas, even though you probably wouldn’t notice.
But that’s not all. If you purchase a Camp Nou Stadium tour, the museum tour is included.
What else is included, you ask?
A Tour of the whole stadium’s ins and outs.
You will visit the changing rooms, the benches, as well as the tunnel that players come out from. You can visit the press rooms and boxes. You have a look inside the VIP sections.
All in all, you get to be EVERYONE in a soccer game: a coach, a player, a fan, a super-rich fan, and a journalist. That is why FC Barcelona fans, both local and tourists, are always booking their stadium tour.
Do not bother to wait in line to get your ticket; it may take a few hours, if not days, to get your turn. Instead, book your ticket online and save yourself the trouble of waiting.
You can get there to the stadium via Metro Line 3 ( stop at Palau Reial or Les Corts), or Line 5 ( stop at Collblanc or Badal).
One more thing: Get your ticket to an FC Barcelona Game here. (Now, this is the last time.)
4 - Picasso Museum
Picasso was born in Malaga, and his family moved to Barcelona between 1895 and 1904. Although Picasso Museums in Malaga and Paris have a lot more to offer about Picasso, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona is just as much inspiring.
The museum is set in five contiguous medieval mansions in the Gothic part of Barcelona’s Old City. That setting in itself is a work of art worth admiring, even before getting inside to discover the works of Picasso.
If you are visiting Museu Picasso because you heard he is the number one artist in the world and you want to know why, you won’t find your answer. Instead, the museum includes around 4000 works of Picasso that show how he was at his very beginnings and how grew to become The BEST.
The collection of works in Barcelona’s museum dedicated to Picasso has his early sketches, where his learning can still be noticed. The 4000 pieces were, probably all, created in the span of time he spent in Barcelona with his family.
It is believed that the museum was a suggestion by Picasso himself. However, it was named after him until much later. The Museu Picasso, as we know it today, opened in 1983. It had only a handful of Sabartés’ personnel Picasso collection. Later, after many donations from Salvador Dali, Sebastia Junyer Vidal, and others, the museum expanded to cover the huge collection it has today.
Admission to the Museu Picasso is free every first Sunday of every month and every Sunday after 3 pm. A huge tip is to purchase a tour ticket that includes a skip-the-line admission fee and a tour around all rooms of the museum. You can book such a tour here.
As for how to get there, taking a metro is the best option. You stop at Jaume I Station and go on a 10-minute walk to the museum. (Remember? Walking around is the best thing to do in Barcelona)
5 - Santa Maria Del Mar Church
One of the most important religious buildings in Barcelona, Santa Maria Del Mar is a church that was built in 1383. It had taken 53 years to be built.
Why did it take that long?
Each boulder and stone had been carried from mountainsides and shorelines by ordinary civilians. Just as those who first built it, all visitors to the church can only be marveled at the incredible creation.
The exterior of the church does not appeal that much to the visitor as it not fully seen from the outside. The narrow streets of the Ribera make it hard to have a great first impression. However, do not let that discourage you from entering an architectural miracle of a holy place.
The interior design of Santa Maria Del Maria is what actually makes the church an amazing must-see landmark of Barcelona. Any architectural geek can identify the 14th century Catalan Gothic architectural design of the church. It is the believed to have the clearest basilica building throughout Barcelona.
You can get to Santa Maria del Mar via Metro by using L4 and stopping at Jame I or Barceloneta. You can also get on the public bus (45, 51, 120, H14, V15, V17). The church is open every day: Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 8 pm; Sundays and holidays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and from 4:30 pm to 8 pm.
You can book a tour, which includes an English audio tour guide and easy access to the church. Note you may be asked to wear appropriate clothing for the church.
6 - El Palau de la Musica Catalana
Another landmark that is a must-see spot in Barcelona is El Palau de La Musica Catalana. (Translation: Palace of Catalan Music.) Is it an exaggeration? The answer is a definite NO.
Lluis Domenech i Montaner has built an amazing architectural house of music that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The concert hall is built in an ingenious way that performances during daylight never need any more artificial lighting. The interior design has so much color, pattern, and texture that mix all together with additional sunlight to create the perfect lighting.
The auditorium seats around 2,200 people in the only naturally illuminated during daylight concert hall in the whole of Europe. Many chorals, orchestras, and classical performances are held regularly at El Palau de La Musica Catalana. Performers from all over the world, as well as classical music lovers, come to spend few hours of their day in the palace.
You can access the building on your own, but many areas are only accessible if you are part of a guided tour. English tours are hourly most of the day, last for about 55 minutes, and your turn may never come. Therefore, booking online is always recommended, unless you want to take your chance waiting in line.
Getting to El Palau de la Musica Catalana is fairly easy thanks to the metro system in Barcelona. You can stop at Urquinaona when using either Red Line, L1 or Yellow Line, L4. If you want to use a public bus, you should stop at Via Laietana or Comtal when riding in 45, V15, or V17. You can also stop at Plaça Urquinaona when your bus is 39, 42, 55, or H16.
The building is one of the many representations of the Catalonian Modernist architectural style made famous by Antoni Gaudi. It is set in a corner street between Carrer Palau de la Musica and Carrer De Sant Pere Mes Alt, in Casc Antic section of Barcelona.
7 - Las Ramblas Boulevard
Going back to what I said before, walking around Barcelona is by far the best thing to do. Where to walk? Las Ramblas Boulevard is definitely worth checking out.
It is a 1-kilometer long street that begins at Plaza Catalunya and ends (I wish it never did) at the Monument of Columbus at Port Vell Harbour of Barcelona. It is highly touristic, although you will find many locals wandering around and enjoying their city.
Las Ramblas is hyper-active, so there is not a lot of spectacular things to see. However, strolling down that one street gives you a better feeling of the Catalonian city, probably, more than anything else. Here, as you take each step, it is the human experience that counts the most.
No one dares to say they have been to Barcelona without having spent an early morning walking down Las Ramblas. You should consider wearing your walking shoes for an early evening or morning trip along the street, and maybe even enjoy buying some souvenirs from the gift shops.
At the end of the street, there is Monument of Columbus. Up there, in a high position in the sky, you can have a bird’s eye view of Barcelona city. I recommend taking in a deep breath before looking at the amazing landscape.
One of the important things to keep in mind is that Las Ramblas is pick-pocket capital. Therefore, keep your wallet next to your heart. Never flash your cash around, “they” pay very good attention to people.
8 - La Boqueria
As you walk two-thirds of Las Ramblas, you will find one of Europe’s largest and famous food markets. La Boqueria attracts 45.000 visitors daily, making it, probably Europe’s most visited market.
Beware of the slippery floors just as much as the loud stall holders. However, this only makes the experience more lively. It would not be a popular market among both tourists and locals if it were not for the ‘madness’ (exaggeration?) that goes inside. All types of food, from all sides of the globes, is available under that same roof.
La Boqueria is also very recommended for travelers who wish to have a fresh lunch. The restaurants, which serve both food and drinks, can be found at the entrance as well as the back. The quality is roughly the same, and the price likewise. A seafood plate may cost €18. However, when you consider that is purely fresh food, the price does not matter that much anymore.
Fruit stalls also sell fresh juice. You can safely assume that everything served in the market is fresh, no exceptions. However, that also means that the price is a bit higher than usual. But as your doctor may tell you, fresh food is always better.
A traveler’s tip would be to visit Marcet de La Boqueria in the morning and before 2 pm. This allows you to walk around the whole market with a considerably less traffic (remember 45.000 people per day).
You can get to the market using the Metro Green Line, L3; in which case you should stop at Liceu Station. Or you can choose to ride the public bus; in which case you should hop on line 41, 59 and 91.
9 - Park Guell by Antoni Gaudi
Another UNESCO world Heritage Site, Park Guell is probably Antoni Gaudi’s most notable piece of art. Although it was not intended to be for public use, Park Guell sees thousands of visitors, and it would’ve been more if it weren’t for the hill it lives on.
Eusebi Guell had assigned Antoni to design the park as he was the best in Catalan Modernism architecture. The building started in 1900 and was finished in 1914. It only opened to the public in 1926 after Guell’s family donated it to Barcelona’s city.
It is believed that Antoni Gaudi put all his genius into architectural design into the park. Every piece has been inspired by organic shapes that could be seen as an extension of nature. For instances, the columns are much like trees and cave openings can be seen in the arches. The whole design is simply marvelous and near perfection.
Eusebi Guell had wanted the park to be a private village on top of the hill. Therefore, Gaudi had to work keeping in mind that there could be around 60 houses to be built. However, Guell’s project failed, and Gaudi and his family moved in one of the two only houses that were built. He lived there between 1906 and 1926; many of his original works can still be found at that house.
Reaching Park Guell is one of the countless reasons why walking remains the best way to discover Barcelona. Although public buses and the metro line can get you close to the hill, you are still expected to walk some distance uphill. Therefore, either you take on the challenge, which means viewing more of the city in a wonderful view as you climb. Or you can take a taxi to get there easily.
Park Guell is free for visitors. However, the access to the Monument Zone, where the park is, cost a few euros. You can either wait in line or purchase yours online. Either way, you are going to have as much fun as possible, and maybe decide to become an architect afterward.
Check out this video about a day in Barcelona during the summer. Tell me it doesn't look like fun!
10 - Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
One of the world’s most exhaustive Romanesque art collection is in National Art Museum. It also chronicles the pre-Gothic beginnings era of religious arts in Catalonia. This, and much more, makes it one of the top things to do in the Barcelona.
The museum is part of the National Palau of Montjuïc, also known as Palau Nacional, which is as old as 1929. It housed the museum starting from 1934. However, after many different openings, MNAC was officially inaugurated in December 2004. Thus it became one of Spain’s largest museums.
Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya is most famous for the Romanesque collection of visual artworks. There are rooms of the artistic era, chronologically ordered so that visitors have a better feeling of the development of the Romanesque Art, mainly from the 11th to the 13th century.
In a move to preserve the cultural heritage of Catalonia, the museum started to welcome many Gothic artworks. This led to a great art collection that is set in rooms following a chronological order from the 13 to the 15th century. As you take in the beauty of the artistic works, it is noticeable that French Gothic art is more dominant than Italian and even Catalonian artworks.
There are other collections that are worth mentioning, such as Modern Art Collection, Renaissance and Baroque Art Collections. All of these, and some more, prove the great dedication to art shown by the museum.
Should you decide to visit MNAC as part of your Barcelona itinerary, the metro L1 and L3 ( Plaça Espanya) can help you get there easily. You can also use the bus lines; number 55, 150, 13, and 37.
11- Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
This one is for fast car lovers of the world especially, but all adventure and speed fans will definitely enjoy a day at this attraction spot. Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is the home of the Formula 1 Race, and who has never considered being inside of those stupidly fast cars?
The Formula 1 Event is held this year on May 2017. The practice run will be on May 12th, where racers will have to try out the curves and angles of the circuit. On May 13th, the qualifications will be held, and the main event will take place on May 14th. Therefore, you can save up a weekend and buy a 3-day pass ticket.
However, if your trip to Barcelona is not in May, you will be glad to know that the circuit is open all year round for visitors to come and check it out. You can purchase a Guided tour ticket to be allowed on the inside. You will be part of a 10-12 person group on a tour that lasts around one hour.
Getting to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya may be the hardest one on our list. You will need to catch a train, which will take you to Montmelo station. From there, you either have to walk for around 45 minutes or hop on the shuttle bus service between Montmelo and the Circuit. However, if you happen to visit on the event weekend, there is a bus service from Barcelona Center directly to the Circuit. Learn details about the circuit, ticket price, and more here.
12 - Port Olimpic Barcelona
You can easily deduce from its name that Port Olimpic Barcelona was built in celebration of the 1992 Olympic Games, which were held, [drum roll] in Barcelona. The building project is now one of the most attractive pieces of real estate in the landscape. Many travelers to the city take the time to visit the Port.
Alongside with the beach, where you can relax during the day, there are many restaurants and clubs. Actually, you can spend some time reading at the beach in the morning, and enjoy a wild night out as part of Barcelona’s Nightlife.
The most iconic buildings in the port are definitely the two skyscrapers that were part of the village hosting the athletes in 1992. Today, one is an office building, the other is a 5-star luxury hotel. Below the two towers, there are other spots worth your time, such as the Parc del Port Olimpic, the Gran Casino, and the neck-turning sculpture named “El Peix d’Or”.
It is pretty easy to get the Port Olimpic Barcelona via metro. All you have to do is use the Yellow Line, L4. You should stop at Ciutadella Villa Olimpica, and walk around 10 minutes to reach your destination.
13 - Carretera de les Aigües
Contrary to popular belief, Park Guell does NOT have the best jaw-dropping views of the Barcelona’s skyline. The ancient road of Carretera de les Aigües does have those. It is not very famous among tourists for unknown reasons, but it is definitely a must-visit spot of Barcelona.
Very popular among locals, this street is stretched along 10 kilometers. Its fans prefer to come here to bike or just to have a walk while enjoying one of the best views of Barcelona. The dirt road is also used by runners who are trying to avoid asphalt for as long as possible.
Carretera de les Aigües takes its name from the water pipes that ran along its track once before. Now, the road still has its horizontal layout, which at its highest point is 450 meters above sea level.
The dirt road is also a not so bad place for a family picnic. It is a nice hideaway from the city, as it is around 8 kilometers away from the city center. There is a long tree line, which can be used as a shelter from the sun, as well as a good spot to take nice pictures from atop the city.
The easiest way to reach Carretera de les Aigües is by driving there or at least being driven there. This means a taxi or a car rental is recommended.
14 - La Sagrada Familia
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and they are many in Barcelona, by the way, is La Sagrada Familia Church. It is a Roman Catholic church designed by none other than, you guessed it, Antoni Gaudi. The architect died before the completion of the church, which has led to many debates on whether the designs are Gaudi inspired or away from that.
Only a quarter was constructed when Gaudi died in 1926. Today, the church remains under construction. In 2026, it is believed to be tallest religious building in the whole Europe. However, many visitors still come to pay their respect in the unfinished church.
La Sagrada Familia attracts about 3 million visitors a year. Divide that by 365 days, and you have a one-hour long waiting line every day, all day. Although glancing at it exterior design is for free, an inside look requires you to buy a ticket. It is always recommended to buy a skip-the-line ticket online, rather than be tired of waiting outside. It will not take you more than 15 minutes to have a walk around outside the church. However, to truly grasp everything inside the church, you will need at least one hour and a half.
You can easily get to La Sagrada Familia by metro. Both L2 and L5 will take you there. You have to stop at Sagrada Familia Station. The church is open all year round, except for special religious event.
15 - Mercat De Santa Caterina
Maybe a little better than La Boqueria, Mercat de Santa Caterina is another destination for a fresh food experience. It receives way fewer visitors, making it very much less crowded than La Boqueria, allowing tourists a much more fun experience.
Mercat de Santa Caterina was Barcelona’s first ever food market in the 19th century. In 2005, it had completed an amazing refurbishment job, which included the building on the breathtaking rooftop. Thanks to its design and colorfulness, the market is on the city experts’ top attractions list.
The market also has many restaurants attached to it and inside it. Although they may not accept reservations, if you come early, you will find enough seats and tables for the whole family. The market is popular just among locals, while tourists may not even know it exists.
Santa Caterina market is open all week, but except Thursdays and Fridays, it closes pretty early in the afternoon. Usually, it opens every day at 7:30am and closes at 2pm on Mondays; 3:30pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sunday; and 8:30pm on Thursdays and Fridays.
The Market is easily accessible via metro L4, station Jaume I.
16 - Tibidabo Hill
Certainly one of the most important attractions in Barcelona is the Tibidabo Hill. How would it not be? There is an amusement park at the hill where you can find the highest point in the whole of Barcelona. Also, there are many fun things to do that everyone is going to enjoy.
Tibidabo Hill has always been famous, but its popularity has increased since its appearance in the film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. It also features a huge church that can be seen from anywhere in the city at night thanks to its lights. Therefore, almost every tourist in Barcelona ends up at some point visiting the hill.
Parc d'Atraccions Tibidabo, or Tibidabo Amusement Park, has been there since 1901. Being a century old, the park still has original operating rides. There are all kinds of vintage and modern rides and fun games to entertain everybody. It is one of the many reasons the Tibidabo Hill is worldwide famous.
You can get to the amusement park and Tibidabo Hill by bus, train, and metro. You can take the T2 Tibibus that is available every day the amusement park is open. You can also Ferrocarrils train line L7 from Plaza Catalunya, Provenza or Gracia to the station Av Tibidabo.You can take the vintage tram Tramvia Blau up to the Tibidabo funicular train. You should be able to get a refund from the park if you purchase a ticket to get there.
17 - Barri Gotic
The mecca of all Gothic architecture in the world is Barri Gotic quarter in Barcelona. It is the oldest part of the city. Its streets, a labyrinth of their own, empty into the medieval plazas. There are many historical monuments and buildings, and sometimes even remains, of the Roman period in the Gothic quarter.
This part of the city, apart from being ages old, is full of souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, and other attraction spots. In fact, it is the destination if you are looking to buy Barcelona souvenirs. And if that’s the case, a tip would be to wake up early on a Sunday to visit Mercat Gotic and hunt for antique stuff for the cheapest of prices.
Barcelona Barri Gotic is also a great destination to take photos. The narrow streets, the old houses, the art left there, are all great backgrounds for pictures. However, these streets are known to be pickpocket-friendly. Therefore, keep your eyes on your belongings at all times.
To get to Barri Gotic, all you have to do is get on the Metro Green Line, L3 and stop at Liceu; or Yellow Line, L1 and stop at Jaume I.
18 - Manzana de la Discòrdia
Barcelona has its fair share of modernist architecture spread across the city. However, there is one full city block in which you can find buildings by all top four modernist architects of the era. “The Discord”, as its name suggests, was an architectural battleground for Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and Enric Sagnier.
The city block has many modernist buildings, all inspire creativity and capture its visitors’ attention. However, no matter how the modernistas were, Antoni Gaudi was ahead of all of them. This clearly shows in his building “Casa Batllo”.
Still, a visit to the battleground leaves a great impression as it is obvious how hard each architect has tried to leave a mark in the history and culture of Barcelona. Thus, the best way to enjoy the buildings is to walk around them and check them all one by one.
Block of Discord Barcelona is accessible by all means of transportation as it is in the heart of the city. Metro line L2, L3, and L4, all can take you there if you stop at Passeig de Garcia. You can also hop on the tourist bus, or bus lines number H10, V15, 7, 22 and 24. You can buy an English speaking tour ticket here.
19 - Plaça de Catalunya
This square is full of life, and it is one of the reasons I insist on walking as the best thing to do in Barcelona. It is on a geographical point that separates the districts of both Ciutat Vella and the Exiemple. Plaça de Catalunya is the center of everything that screams Catalan.
The plaza is known among tourists and locals as a meeting place. No one can miss the square, but many can get lost among the crowds of visitors. Also, thanks to many shops that are around, the plaza is almost never empty.
Plaça de Catalunya has many coffee shops for tourists to rest before heading on to their next destination. The Palace of Music and many other attractions are nearby, making the plaza the perfect spot for a coffee stop.
There are many metro line and bus lines that stop at Plaça de Catalunya since it is the core of Barcelona.
Bus Lines that Stop at Plaçade Catalunya : 14, 24, 41, 42, 55, 58, 59, 67, 68, 91, H16, V15
Metro Lines that Stop at Plaça de Catalunya : L1/L3-Catalunya
20 - Playa Barcelona
You were probably wondering when I was going to mention this one. Among the most popular things to do in Barcelona, much like any coastal city in the world, is to spend a day or more at the beach. However, at Barcelona, you do not only get to swim, but there is a lot more than just that.
There are many opportunities for visitors to enjoy most of the water activities in Barcelona. You can flyboard, surfboard, kitesurf, and much more. There is a water sport or activity for everyone.
Around some beaches, there are many tennis tables already set, children playgrounds, restaurants, bars, and much more. You can learn about each beach and what it offers here. And you can also book your water activity here beforehand.
That was Our List
These were our pick for top 20 things to do in Barcelona. I hope you found something you liked and added it to your itinerary, such as Camp Nou (wink wink).
If you want to visit Barcelona and have no idea where to start, here is our complete travel guide to help you out.
If you happen to have any more suggestions, comment them down below.
Have a great holiday.