Last update: October, 2019.

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10 places to visit in Barcelona

Tourist Itinerary in Barcelona: where to go and what to see in 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.

A view of Barcelona from the Park Guell, Spain

“When you sleep outdoors you always wake up at dawn, and no bars in Barcelona open before nine”, wrote George Orwell. Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Proud, explosive, narcissist, it makes you fall in love at first sight: all this is Barcelona.

Nightlife is concentrated in a few districts, especially in the Gothic Quarter. You can find historical monuments here at every step, because Barcelona is a city of art. There are many things to see and do in Barcelona. Even if you arrive here tired from the daily routine, when it is time to depart you will leave the city charged with energy, strength and in a good mood. The effect of Barcelona will always remain in your heart! Here are the 10 most interesting places not to be missed.

At the bottom of the page you will find the map of the city.

Looking for accommodation in Barcelona? Use the convenient search system of booking.com. To save money, compare the prices of more than 50 sites on hotelscombined.com: you will find the lowest price for the room you select.

La Rambla in Barcelona

1

La Rambla in Barcelona is a long pedestrian street which starts from the Catalunya Square and arrives at the statue of Columbus, which stands just a few meters from the sea. The street actually consists of five distinct avenues that merge harmoniously into one another. It is 1.2 km / 0.75 miles long.

La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain
La Rambla in Barcelona

Whether it’s night or day, you will find a variety of people here: strolling tourists and Barcelona residents, street artists looking for inspiration and thieves in search of potential victims. You can start the walk along La Rambla from the sea, passing by the monument to Columbus, 60 meters / 200 ft. high, or from Catalunya Square.

Whichever direction you choose, do not forget to stop at the Canaletes Fountain, symbol of the city and one of the most visited monuments. The local inhabitants often meet here, and it was these people who spread the rumors that if you drink the water from the fountain it will ensure that you will soon return to Barcelona. Don’t miss a stroll along the famous part of the Rambla, called Rambla di Sant Josep: you can get drunk on the beauty and perfume of the flowers you will find here. This area is also called the Kingdom of florists in Barcelona. The viceroy’s Palace, built in 1775 on the orders of the Viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat, can also be found here.

The Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, better known as the Sagrada Familia

2

Tourists in Barcelona should not miss a visit to the Sagrada Familia. This church was built with private funds starting in 1882. It is indeed a great work of marketing that has been going on for decades.

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

The Church is the most extraordinary work in the whole world because of the very long time it has taken to build it. It doesn’t matter that it is an unfinished work, it is simply surprising that it exists.

The facades tell the story of Jesus, from his birth to his death. Inside there is a tribute to Jerusalem and the image of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, at the end of his earthly sufferings and at the beginning of a new life in Paradise. The Sagrada Familia is a famous Christian symbol that depicts many biblical stories.

How much does it cost? The cost depends on the date and time of the visit; the ticket must be purchased online.

Gaudí’s architecture in Barcelona

3

There are people who go to Barcelona just to admire the work of the architect Gaudi, disseminated throughout the city. His buildings are famous worldwide for the particular style expressed in a fantastic and bizarre form.

Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain
Park Guell in Barcelona

When walking out in Barcelona you will see the famous houses (La Pedrera, Casa Batlló) and the Gaudi gardens, which are, in part, oneiric architecture on the border between dream and reality. A large part of the architect’s work is located in Güell Park, also built by Antonio Gaudí between 1900 and 1914.

Gaudi’s most famous work remains, however, the Sagrada Familia. The architect dedicated himself body and soul to this project until his sudden death: Antonio Gaudí died under the wheels of a tram as he walked through the city on his way to the Church.

How much does it cost? Tickets must be purchased online; they show the date and time of entry.

The Gothic Quarter, also known as Barri Gotic in Barcelona

4

The best antique shops and bookstores, bars and restaurants are located in the Barri Gotic. The local inhabitants of this district have always been at the center of Barcelona life. The spires of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Sant'Eulalia, dedicated to one of the patrons of the city, towers over this neighborhood.

The Royal Plaza in Barcelona, Spain
The Royal Plaza in Barcelona

There is no recommended route to follow for a visit to Barri Gotic: all you have to do is take a stroll through the streets of the neighborhood. Do not forget to visit the Plaça Reial, a place to meet other travelers and visit the restaurants and bars. Another famous attraction of the Gothic Quarter is the Picasso Museum, where you can admire the works of the famous artist. Strolling through the neighborhood you will also come across banners with insults in Catalan. Don’t be surprised! This is how the local inhabitants express their wish to no longer see drunken tourists and musicians in their neighborhood.

At any time of the day or night you can go to the bohemian café Els Quatre Gats, which opened in 1897. Intellectuals and the best artists and composers from all over the world gather here. The first two of Picasso’s personal exhibitions were held here. The restaurant is known for its wide choice of Spanish and Catalan dishes. While dining here, you will find yourself immersed in the history of art.

The Boqueria Market in Barcelona

5

Full of life and colors like the market in Naples, as orderly as a Swiss market, with a wide choice of products as if it were a shopping center, the Boqueria Market is the largest market in Barcelona and the whole of Spain. It is located at number 91 of La Rambla. In this large iron building there are kiosks with products of all kinds: vegetables, fish, sweets, meat, all run by women in traditional costumes.

Boqueria Market in Barcelona, Spain
Boqueria Market in Barcelona

If you are accustomed to Italian markets, you will be amazed at the beauty of the kiosks and the excellent layout of the produce. But do not lower your guard: there are pickpockets everywhere. If you are staying in an apartment and want to cook something, but you don’t know where to go shopping, hurry to the Boqueria in the morning and watch the Barcelona residents who know where and what to buy. If you are looking for a snack, stop by the dried fruit or fresh fruit cocktails section.

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Santa Eulalia

6

The cathedral is dedicated to the Holy Cross and Santa Eulalia and this says a lot. Firstly, the presence of the crypt dedicated to the patron saint with her remains and the sarcophagus which confirms the legend that narrates how Barcelona was founded by the mythological hero Hercules.

Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, Spain
Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia

There is also a cloister here with the Fountain of Eden, considered to be “protected” by thirteen white geese. People like to know what their role is, and the legend says that they represent the 13 years of Eulalia, the girl martyr who sacrificed herself at the spot where the Cathedral now stands. Another relic of the Church is the image of the crucified Christ on the XV century altar. In 1571 this crucifix was raised as a symbol on John of Austria’s ship during the battle of Lepanto against the Turks. It is believed that during the battle the Christ moved to avoid a cannon shot. This would explain the unusual shape of the Cathedral.

Barceloneta and Port Vell

7

After the Olympics of 1992, one of the most interesting parts of Barcelona was completely destroyed and lost forever. There were old piers and port warehouses everywhere, and the population was known for its illegal trade and prostitution. This was the coast of Port Vell.

Barceloneta Beach, Spain
Barceloneta Beach

Port Vell borders with the end of the pedestrian street La Rambla and the area of the Old Port. These days you will find a modern shopping mall here, technological attractions, a multiplex cinema and a large marine aquarium consisting of 22 pools that host about 8000 fish and 11 sharks.

Barceloneta was and is still today home to fishermen and sailors. It is a place where you can always enjoy fish and seafood, bread and tomato (Pa amb tomàquet) and typical dishes such as croquettes stuffed with meat and served with spicy sauce.

El Raval in Barcelona

8

El Raval is one of the most interesting and contradictory districts of the city. This area was once called Barrio Chino, because at the beginning of 1900 it was a ghetto where the Chinese lived. It’s the district where women of little virtue lived. The locals came here in search of physical pleasure at little cost. It is also the district of former thieves: until just a few years ago it was impossible to go into Raval if you were not properly equipped against criminals.

Modern Art Museum in Barcelona, Spain
Modern Art Museum in Barcelona

Moreover, Barrio Chino is where ex-toreadors went to to spend the night before each bullfight as a good omen. Today Raval is a modern district with many fashionable cafes, ethnic restaurants and foreign shops. The labyrinth of countless tiny streets in the Raval district is a real treasure for artists coming to seek inspiration here.

10-places.com recommends a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every day. It was here, in fact, that the rebirth of the city began. But it’s impossible to forget the old Barrio Chino: there are still some streets which should be avoided. Crime is very widespread here, it is full of thieves ready to deprive you of your wallet the moment you are distracted.

What to eat in Barcelona?

9

If you try the tourist menus of national dishes (especially in the district of La Rambla) you will understand why Barcelona cuisine is one of the most famous in the world. There is the aroma of food on the streets from 11 am.

Local food: paella in Barcelona, Spain
Local food: paella in Barcelona

Among the many renowned dishes of Barcelona, the best-known are:

  • Paella, the most famous dish based on rice
  • Tapas, a selection of different appetizers
  • Crema Catalana: the best local sweet

They are the main dishes of the local cuisine, but the inhabitants of Barcelona can prepare a real culinary feast. The modern restaurants receive fresh fish every day and all dishes are made with fresh ingredients. The meat comes from farms nearby.

Nor can the national alcoholic beverages be overlooked. In Barcelona there is a wide choice of wines, among which there are three main denominations:

  • Priorat
  • Penedès
  • Alella

And don’t forget the sparkling wine known as “cava”. Foreigners often call it champagne, but the French, on hearing this name, may be offended because it is not a proper comparison in the least.

We recommend the traditional Catalan cream and ricotta cheese with honey (dairy products) as a dessert.

Where to sleep in Barcelona?

10

Barcelona is a tourist destination all year round. There are many hotels, which can accommodate an endless stream of tourists from all over the world.

The hotels are scattered equally across the city. The cost of accommodation depends on the location and the services offered. In the districts of La Rambla, the Gothic Quarter and Barceloneta you can find hotels, rooms and apartments at affordable prices. If you want to save on accommodation, look in the less famous and outlying neighborhood such as l’Eixample or the Avinguda, easily reachable by Metro.

Looking for accommodation in Barcelona? Use the convenient search system of booking.com. To save money, compare the prices of more than 50 sites on hotelscombined.com: you will find the lowest price for the room you select.

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