Spain’s second city Barcelona is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, not only boasting stunning artwork and architecture but a thriving and diverse culture.
With its own unique identity, Barcelona is home to some truly unforgettable buildings and structures that are unlike anything else in the world, whilst its food is something else to tick off of your bucket list – indeed, the region has 20 Michelin stars and counting, with high-end dining establishments serving up truly scrumptious food, and off-the-beaten-track cafes offering an authentic, homey alternative for those looking for a quick bite to eat.
The truth is that Barcelona offers an inexhaustible list of activities, sights, and experiences for tourists of all ages and interests, and it can be overwhelming to plan an itinerary.
The chances are that you won’t manage to see everything on your travels, but there are some must-dos when visiting Barcelona for the first time. Below, we’ve rounded up five of them…
See the Sagrada Familia
Attracting more than five million visitors a year, the Sagrada Familia is one of the most breathtaking buildings in the world – and the clear landmark of Barcelona. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London has Big Ben, and Barcelona has the Sagrada Familia. Just three-quarters complete, despite Antoni Gaudí first beginning the project more than 140 years ago, the site brings together a range of architectural styles such as Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism, and Spanish Late-Gothic – look up to the ceiling once you’re inside and your jaw will likely drop. It is advisable to book your visit in advance, as the Sagrada Familia can be incredibly busy – if you’re impatient and don’t want to spend all day in a line, buy a fast-track admission ticket.
Go on a Guided Tour
Guided tours in Barcelona offer you the chance to see the city in a whole new light, allowing you to go off the beaten track and see things other tourists wouldn’t.
From its quiet and authentic squares and plazas to charming streets, delicious cuisine, medieval areas, artisan workshops, tasting sessions and so much more, the truth is that there is so much to see in Barcelona, and going with a tour guide helps you discover a different side to the city.
There is a wide range of tours to consider, like exploring the city on bike, perusing the food stalls or even spending an afternoon in a traditional Barcelona winery. Your choices are endless!
Try Traditional Cuisine
It would be wrong to travel to Barcelona and not sample some of the city’s fine cuisine.
With so many restaurants for all occasions and budgets, you’d be hard pressed to find a city with more choice when it comes to dining, so spend an afternoon strolling through the streets to find a restaurant to suit your tastes.
From Escudella d’Olla, a hearty Catalan stew, through to Esqueixada, the Catalan ceviche, and the Suquet de Peix, a potato-based seafood stew, the chances are that you won’t be able to sample everything Barcelona has to offer in a single sitting, but you can certainly give it a go, and work off the calories on an evening city jog!
No trip to a new city would be complete without bringing a souvenir or two home from your travels, and the good news is that Barcelona’s streets are jam-packed with stores selling gifts and trinkets.
Casa Batlló, for example, is one of the city’s most eye-catching buildings and was actually designed by Gaudí, who was tasked with giving the boring building a new look, adding a seaside-inspired front to the block. Inside, you’ll find audioguides, stunning architecture and interior design, and of course a gift shop to rival all gift shops.
If that’s a bit long-winded for you, then stop by the famous La Boquería market, where you’ll find food, and Las Ramblas, a pedestrian boulevard with stalls, palm readers, and caricature painters.
Spend Time in Roman Barcelona
Before Barcelona was even a thing, a small Roman town called Barcino stood in the same spot, dating back to 600 AD.
Whilst little remains, you can spend an afternoon exploring the ruins of the village in the Barcelona History Museum (Museu d’Història de Barcelona), and after a brief introduction on the history of the city, you’ll find delicate reconstructions of the city and tonnes of temporary exhibitions and events, so check out the calendar to see what is going to be happening when you’re there.
Museum admission costs 18.00€ per adult, but it gets very busy so you should book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Whether you’re headed to Barcelona for a couple of nights or a whole week, you’ll never be bored with so many things to do.
Start with the recommendations in this article, and let us know how you get on via social media, using @Fuzzable. Have the best time!