Barcelona is a beautiful Spanish city overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Here you can see colorful Catalan Art Nouveau architectural styles in the many buildings designed by the legendary Antoni Gaudí, as well as pristine beaches and trendy modern neighborhoods.
You can easily spend hours relaxing at the city's many cafés, museums, beaches, and parks. If you need retail therapy, you can shop until you drop at the major fashion retail hubs housed in iconic buildings like Paseo de Gracia or Avinguda Diagonal.
The Basilica of Santa Maria de Mar, also known as the Cathedral of La Ribera, is a Gothic-style church dating back to the 1300s. The cathedral, which took 55 years to complete, consists of three naves underpinned by tall columns.
The basilica features beautiful stained glass windows, including the great rose window and the window of Ascension. Santa Maria Del Mar was designed by Berenguer de Montagut as a place of worship for the shipwrights and merchants of Gothic Barcelona.
You can still see the private tombs of Barcelona's medieval guilds on the floor, and if you go to the rooftops, you can see the Catalan capital in all its glory, including the medieval urban layout of the city center.
No visit to Barcelona is complete without seeing the city's trendiest neighborhood. The Gothic Quarter is home to the Cathedral of Barcelona, the Picasso Museum, and many narrow streets and plazas. Here you will find some of the best boutiques and restaurants, art galleries, and museums dedicated to the culture and history of the city.
In the center, you can find the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, with its lake and statues. On the north side, you can see the famous Castell dels Tres Dragons or Castle of the Three Dragons, where the Zoological Museum is housed. Next to the museum, you'll find the park's winter garden, the Hivernacle.
There's a nice café here, and in summer, the pavilion hosts popular jazz concerts. You'll also find the Geological Museum and the Umbracle here. The Umbracle is a large wood-brick construction that houses an impressive collection of tropical plants.
Make sure to head to the Picasso Museum after your walk in the park. As one of the most popular museums in the city, the museum houses more than 4000 works of art by Pablo Picasso, including works from his Blue and Rose periods. There is a large library where you can see books and documents on the artist as well.
You should also take some time out to visit the Barcelona Cathedral or Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. The cathedral has a mix of architectural styles, including Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic, as well as beautiful stone carvings and sculptures.
The beaches of Barcelona, Spain, are legendary and one of the many free things to do during your visit. La Barceloneta Beach is one of the most popular. It stretches for about 1.5km and is lined with restaurants and bars.
You can swim, sunbathe and play beach volleyball to your heart's content. Some of the best seafood restaurants in the city can be found right next to the beach, so be sure to enjoy some fresh fish and paella while you are there. The promenade is perfect for a stroll and offers great views over the city.
One of the most popular things to do in Barcelona is to visit the FC Barcelona Museum or Camp Nou Experience. Dedicated to the history of FC Barcelona, the famous football club, the museum features trophies, photographs, and memorabilia from the club's history.
You can also tour the stadium, including the players' tunnel, dressing rooms, and press rooms. An interactive footfall experience lets you test your skills virtually against top players. It's an essential experience for football fans visiting Barcelona.
The Plaça de Catalunya is a large square in the city center, located between Ciutat Vella, the old town, and the 19th-century Eixample district. The square is the home of several important banks and department stores and a major transportation hub for buses and the metro. You can see several beautiful buildings, including the Palau de la Generalitat and the Catalonian government building.
In the Sant Pere neighborhood, near Plaça de la Mercè, you can see the Palau de la Musica. It's one of the most important examples of Catalan modernism, a variant of Art Nouveau.
It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The interior is beautifully decorated with mosaics, ceramics, and stained glass. If you are lucky, you can attend a performance by the Orfeó Català, a choir that has performed in the hall since 1908.
One of the most interesting and unique things to do in Barcelona is to tour the many buildings and marvels designed by the city's most celebrated architect, Antoni Gaudi.
Gaudi built the famous La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell in the Gracia neighborhood, and Casa Vicens. Gaudi was also responsible for two colorful residential buildings, Casa Milà and Casa Batlló.
When you have some free time, you definitely want to walk down Barcelona's most famous street. La Rambla connects Plaça de Catalunya with the Columbus monument at the port. Here you'll find the Liceu Opera House and the fabulous Boqueria market, where you can enjoy a veritable food tour of the city.
You can also see the Miró Museum and the superb La Rambla dels Caputxins, a bustling local market where you can buy everything from clothes to food and flowers.
While you are there, enjoy a meal prepared by a professional chef at one of the amazing restaurants in Plaça Reial or grab some street food before visiting the many trendy shops and boutiques in the area. It's great for people-watching and exploring at your own pace, although you can book a guided tour online if you'd like to know more about the buildings and attractions.
La Rambla is also the perfect place to find street performers, painters, living statues, and everything in between.
The Font Màgica Montjuïc was built in 1929. In the evenings, you can watch the "magic fountain" come to life with music, water acrobatics, and light. More than 2.5 million people visit the fountain every year - and it's completely free!
You'll find the Magic Fountain at the head of the Avinguda Maria Cristina, below the Palau Nacional, near the Plaça d'Espanya and Poble Espanyol de Barcelona.
With so many things to do in Barcelona, it's hard to pick just one. From art museums to parks, independent shops to large department stores, architectural marvels, and historic churches, there's something for everyone in this Catalan gem.
You might also be interested in these attractions in Barcelona: