Barcelona is one of those cities that I’ve visited on several occasions and love it just as much every time. For me, it has everything you want in a city break; great buildings and architecture, culture, all the shops, lively taps bars and amazing food!
I’ve visited Barcelona a couple of times on a day trip (which certainly isn't long enough!), but I've also had two long weekends here - once for a romantic break with my husband (at the time finance) and then again for my hen do. Each trip was full of quite different experiences!
Whatever the purpose of your trip to Barcelona, I’ve pulled together my recommendations for things to do whilst visiting and there’s bound to be something for everyone in here.
There's many squares surrounded by impressive buildings where you can sit and watch the world go by...
Awe at the Sagrada Familia
The Iconic monument of Barcelona, and Antonia Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia is one of the city’s most popular attractions. It is expected that the cathedral will be finished by the year 2026, by which time, it will have been under construction for a mammoth 144 years! If you want to take a tour inside the cathedral, purchase your tickets in advance.
The Sagrada Familia
Visit Casa Mila (La Pedrera)
La Pedrera was Gaudi’s last civic architectural project and is perhaps the most fascinating. The building showcases his unique imagination and here you can discover his whole body of work. The self-guided tour will take around 2 hours, including the spectacular roof terrace of undulating wave-like paths. I’ve visited this building twice and loved it both times.
The impressive roof of La Pedrera
Take a wander around Parc Guell
Commissioned by Eusebi Güell and designed by Antoni Gaudi, Parc Guell is one of the largest green spaces in Barcelona. The park is full of beautiful buildings, and unique tile and stone structures. To get to the park, it is best to take public transport. If you get the metro, it is a steep 20 minute walk from the station to the park entrance, so if mobility is an issue, take a taxi or bus directly to the entrance. This is a nice spot to take a stroll with your other half and get great views over the city.
Views from Parc Guell over Barcelona
Stroll down Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is perhaps the main landmark associated with Barcelona. The pedestrian boulevard runs through the centre of the city and houses dozens of shops, restaurants and boutiques. The prices here are much higher than elsewhere and it can be a hot spot for pick-pocketers, so just be vigilant whilst you’re soaking up the atmosphere. Just off Las Ramblas is the Mercat de la Boqueria - a popular farmers market selling fresh produce and also some local specialities.
Hit the shops around Placa de Catalunya
This central square, sat at the top end of Las Ramblas, is a great meeting point and is surrounded by shops, so if you’re wanting a bit of retail therapy, this is the area to head for with well known high street brands.
Place de Catalunya is a great meeting spot
Take a tour at Camp Nou (Home to Barcelona FC)
No prizes for guessing who I visited here with(!) I’m not really a football fan, but my husband, Lee definitely is so we couldn't visit Barcelona without taking a trip to Camp Nou. We hopped on the metro and paid for a self guided tour around the grounds and museum. If you like football, apparently this was a good place to visit, but I can't tell you much more than that! Haha
Someone was happy to be visiting Camp Nou!
Take a segway tour
This was an activity that I was surprised with on my hen do - it’s not something I would have normally done, but I absolutely LOVED it! It was so much fun and I would really recommend it. After getting to grips with the segway in a small square, we headed off towards the shore line and made our way along the beach and port area. The guide was so much fun and it was a great way to see this part of the city.
Girls on (segway) tour!
Eat all the Tapas
If you want a less touristy experience, head to one of the many local tapas bars. I loved sitting at the bars, chatting to the barmen, sipping red wine and working my way through the tapas menu. When I visited Barcelona with my husband, we stayed at the Renaissance Barcelona hotel, between Place de Catalunya and Casa Mila, so in the evenings, instead of heading towards the busier and pricier areas around Place de Catalunya and Las Ramblas, we head in the opposite direction, further away from the shore, and found small, local and more traditional tapas bars. They were so much more welcoming and friendly (and much cheaper!)
There's so many tapas and wine bars to choose from!
Get lost in the Gothic Quarter
The area around the Catedral de Barcelona is full of Gothic buildings and narrow alleys housing souvenir shops, ice cream stalls and bars. Head to Placa de Sant Jaume where there’s often local events and sit at one of the surrounding restaurants. In the evening, this is the perfect place to pick up an ice cream or a waffle and wander around!
Catedral de Barcelona still impressive in the rain
Soak up the sun at the beach
The main beach in Barcelona is Platja de la Barceloneta - this is a busy beach, with lots of activity in the form of bikes, scooters, roller blades and, of course, segways! There are so many restaurants and bars along this beach, which is the perfect place to sip a sangria in the afternoon sun.
Further along, past the Port Olimpic marina, is Platja de Bogatell and Platja de la Nova Mar Bella which are slightly less crowded, but still expect to be surrounded - these are city beaches after all.
Enjoying a sangria looking out onto the beach
All links on this website are my own recommendations or sites I found useful when planning and are not affiliated. I do not receive any commission from including these links within this blog.