My Top 10 Things to do and see in Barcelona, Spain!

Las Ramblas, Barcelona.

Las Ramblas, Barcelona.

I was in Europe for more than 2 weeks in (August 2013) with my family and we managed to get most of the trip for Free with Points and Miles from Credit Cards Sign-up Bonuses. Throughout this trip we visited 6 cities such as Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Madrid, And Barcelona. I will be to Posting my top things to do in each city based on my Experience. Today I am writing about one of the best cities in all of Europe, Barcelona. Here is a list of my favorite things to do in Barcelona, Spain.

1. Güell Park (Parc Güell) free

Güell Park (Parc Güell)Begin your Barcelona trip with a whimsical afternoon at Antoni Gaudí’s famous Parc Güell. According to experts, this is one of the world’s most impressive (and abnormal) man-made landscapes and the perfect place to add a bit of pizzazz to your vacation photo album. Covering several acres of green space in northwestern Barcelona, this area features everything from mosaic collages to mushroom-shaped chimneys. Gaudí’s artistic style and love of Catalan culture is evident through the park’s numerous walking trails.While you’re here, don’t miss the chance to explore the Sala Hipóstila, a mock indoor marketplace constructed and decorated by Josep Marià Jujol. Greet the tiled lizards on your way up the stairs to this pagan-style building, complete with beautiful symbols representing the four seasons. It’s here that you’ll find the mosaic snake-like bench, said to be the longest in the world. Other popular attractions here are the Closed Chapel (which marks the highest point in the park), and the Casa Museu Gaudí (Gaudí House Museum), which showcases much of this beloved artist’s sketches and sculptures.Parc Güell is open every day, but hours vary depending on the season. While the park itself is free, the Casa Museu Gaudí does charge a small entrance fee.

2. Las Ramblas free

Las RamblasThis busy neighborhood in central Barcelona is one of the city’s major tourist hubs. It seems as though the cobblestoned La Rambla (the street for which the area is named) is busy at all hours, day or night. On a leisurely stroll down Las Ramblas you’re bound to run into street performers, artists, even hooligans. During the day, you can peruse locally made crafts, have your portrait done by a cartoonist, or enjoy a light snack at one of the many tapas bars that flank the street. When the sun sets, you should come here for the party. Don’t let your guard down: the always crowded Las Ramblas has earned a bit of a seedy reputation, and there are sometimes panhandlers.While you’re exploring Las Ramblas, make sure to stop by the Monument a Colom, a 200-foot high column with Christopher Columbus at the top looking down on the city.

3. La Sagrada Família (Church of the Sacred Family)

La Sagrada Família (Church of the Sacred Family)From 1882 up until his death in 1926, Art Nouveau master Antoni Gaudí devoted himself to the construction of La Sagrada Família (Church of the Sacred Family), a towering Gothic-style-with-a-twist church in Eixample. And even then, he was unable to finish; Gaudí was known for saying “My client (God) is in no hurry.” The church, which is funded entirely from public donations, is still under construction today.”An overwhelming experience that will be difficult to match,” wrote one TripAdvisor user. “The ongoing building work does not take away (from) the amazing architecture. This is Barcelona at its best.”Even if you’re not all that interested in architecture, you’re sure to find this church — like Gaudí’s other work — a feast for the eyes. Easily recognized by its tree-like buttresses and detailed façades, this monstrous church is full of symbolism. While you’re here, be sure to check out the Nativity Façade, but give your eyes a moment to take in all the detail, from the obvious portrayal of the Holy Family to the intricate carvings of numerous religious images. La Sagrada Família’s interior is just as beautiful, from the smooth stone columns to the intricate stained-glass windows.La Sagrada Família — which sits north of central Barcelona — is not hard to spot thanks to its spires, which stand an extravagant 558 feet high. You can take a quick peek for free, but you’ll have to pay admission (about €13.50 EUR, or about $18 USD) to go in and explore. Consider purchasing a combination ticket that allows entry to both La Sagrada Família and the Gaudí House Museum (located several blocks northwest near Parc Güell) for the equivalent of $22 USD. You are allowed to attend services, but you will have to pay a bit extra. The church opens its doors at 9 a.m., but closing times depend on the season. Hours also vary depending on service times.

4. Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso)

Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso)When your eyes and mind hit Gaudí-overload, head to the Barrio Chino’s Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso) for a change of pace. While most people know Pablo Picasso for his distorted portraits, this museum displays his work on a timeline of sorts, allowing you to follow his progression from the more controlled works of his early years to the more whimsical paintings and sculptures from the end of his career. Make sure you dedicate plenty of time to Picasso: the museum itself holds more than several thousand pieces by him and artists like El Greco and Rembrandt from whom he drew inspiration.Once you’ve toured, take some time to peruse Nou de Les Ramblas, where many of the galleries and shops are devoted to Picasso and his style of artwork.For €11 EUR (or approximately $15 USD) you can visit the Picasso Museum Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guided tours are available.

5. Barri Gòtic

Barri Gòtic The Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, is one of the oldest parts of the city. Here, travelers can explore the intricate architecture and quaint nostalgia of medieval-era Barcelona. The quarter contains many of Barcelona’s most prized architectural landmarks, including La Seu Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, and the Plaça Sant Jaume, the neighborhood’s central plaza. Located near the city center, Barri Gòtic is also filled with small cafés, perfect for people watching; bars, ideal for sampling Spanish beverages; and alleys, sprinkled with shops ranging from espadrille makers to contemporary stores like Mango. You’ll also find several street performers strewn throughout the quarter’s alleys and squares, which provide an excellent soundtrack to a morning or evening stroll through the neighborhood.

6. Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló
The details highlighted in Casa Batlló show Antoni Gaudí at his best. Of all the Gaudí apartments, this is probably the most recognized. Sitting down the street from Casa Milà, Casa Batlló is known for its skeletal windows and terraces. The oddly shaped façade is thought to depict the legend of St. George slaying the dragon — the roof in particular depicts the dragon’s scaly back. After you’ve taken the time to absorb the monstrous amount of detail used on the outside of the building, stop inside to tour the Noble Floor — once home to the Batlló family — before you head to the roof to check out Gaudí’s spiny chimneys.While admission to the Casa Batlló is slightly more expensive than at other Gaudí sites like the Casa Milà, recent visitors agree that it’s worth it. As one traveler told TripAdvisor, “This house designed by Gaudi is a must-see in Barcelona. Take the free audio guide, it will give you much more information about what to look for in the house. I was amazed at all the fine details. If you like art and architecture be sure to visit.” You can visit Casa Batlló every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., admission costs €20.35 EUR (or about $27 USD) and an audio guide is included.

7. Camp Nou Stadium

Camp Nou StadiumEven if you’re not a fútbol (soccer) fan, Camp Nou is worth a visit to experience the pride Catalans have for the FC Barcelona team. Able to hold nearly 100,000 screaming fans, which can be quite intimidating for visiting teams, Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe. The on-site museum showcases trophies and awards the team has garnered through the years. Interesting and interactive displays invite visitors to learn a little more about the fútbol culture and its impact on the city.  For example, Catalans rallied behind the motto “més que un club” (more than a club) during the oppressive Francisco Franco regime, from 1939 until the ruler’s death in 1975, and it became a symbol of striving for independence. The slogan is even spelled out in giant gold letters among the royal and ruby stadium seats.Tickets to a game can be expensive, but to see the fans and players in action is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “It’s great to see and feel the atmosphere. The sound of 100,000 people cheering when FC B(arcelona) scores a goal is magical. I will never forget that sound ever again,” said one TripAdvisor user.Tickets for the “Camp Nou Experience,” which includes a visit to the stadium and entry to the museum and multimedia center, cost €23 EUR or about $30 USD. However, there are ticket discounts for kids, senior citizens, students and groups. Visiting hours vary depending on the team’s game schedule, so check the website before scheduling a trip. Getting to the stadium is easy: The two closest Metro stops are Palau Reial, on the green line, and Collblanc, on the blue line. Both are within a short walking distance to the stadium.

8. La Barceloneta and Port Olímpic free

La Barceloneta and Port OlímpicIt’s hard to resist the call of the brilliantly blue Mediterranean Sea; take some time to soak up the sun along the Barceloneta district’s Passeig Marítime, a seaside promenade that trails just northeast of the Old City. For awhile, the city’s waterfront was run-down and forgotten, but today, activity thrives here: both the beach and the boardwalk are great for casual walks or enjoying a refreshing glass of sangria. However, if you’re looking to sprawl out in your swimsuit, you should be aware that many recent travelers criticize Barcelona’s waterfront for its lack of cleanliness.At the southern end of the Passeig Marítime is Port Olímpic, which is easily recognized by the two seafront skyscrapers, one of which houses the Casino Barcelona, and the giant copper goldfish sculpture. There is also a marina here with plenty of restaurants and bars.

9. Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria

Mercat de Sant Josep de la BoqueriaIf you love food (and who doesn’t?), a trip to the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (Saint Joseph of Boqueria Market, or simply the Boqueria) is a must. Since the 17th century, this bustling plaza has attracted local butchers, bakers and farmers alike looking to sell their products to the hungry people of Barcelona. Today that tradition lives on, and the covered marketplace treats visitors to the vibrant colors and enticing aromas of everything from fruit juices and wines to fresh fish, meats and produce. Plus, numerous bars and restaurants can be found around the market, so food options abound.

Many travelers say the attraction offers affordable eats, and perusing the dozens of vendors is just as fun. One TripAdvisor reviewer called the Boqueria “Aladdin’s cave of the highest quality produce of every type and variety.”

“Outstanding quality in terms of food and experience,” the reviewer added. “Foodie heaven.”

The Boqueria sits just off of Las Ramblas and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Browsing is free, but carry a few extra euros with you just in case something catches your eye or makes your mouth water.

10.La Seu (Cathedral of Santa Eulalia) free

La Seu (Cathedral of Santa Eulalia)Towering above the center of the Barri Gòtic district is Barcelona’s principal cathedral, La Seu. Considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in all of Spain, the cathedral’s construction began in the late 13th century, though it wasn’t completed until the mid-15th century. Its ornate exterior depicts the lives of saints; intricate lace-like carvings flank the entrances. Inside La Seu, the main attraction is its 14th-century cloister overlooking a verdant tropical garden. While you’re here, make sure to dedicate plenty of time to the numerous examples of artisanship that went into completing this cathedral, from the sprawling nave to the whimsical cloister.According to recent travelers, December is one of the best times to visit La Seu, as the courtyard comes to life with local craftsmen selling homemade Christmas decorations. However, the pedestrian square in front of the cathedral — Plaça de la Seu — is always lively.La Seu is open to visitors daily and entry to the cathedral is free, but you will have to shell out a few euros if you wish to explore places like the roof or the crypt. Visitors are also welcome to view the Sunday noon performance of the sardana, a Catalonian folk dance.In Conclusion:Barcelona has some of the most unique and inspiring architecture in the world, so a tour of the city’s parks, museums and churches is a must. You won’t want to miss out on seeing Gaudí’s Casa Batllo, La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. Later, relax on the waterfront with a cool cerveza (beer) or glass of cava, accompanied by some tapas, all the while enjoying a picturesque view of the Mediterranean. After a brief siesta, we suggest you hit the nightlife in Las Ramblas.For any questions regarding Barcelona or how to get there for Free please contact me or leave me any comments and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

3 thoughts on “My Top 10 Things to do and see in Barcelona, Spain!

    • Awesome Lesley, you will love Spain. Lots to do and lots to explore.
      4 days in Madrid and 4 days in Barcelona was honestly not enough to explore everything Spain has to offer but its a good start.
      By the way we are big fans of your Blog. Please contact me at awardtravelpoints@gmail.com when you’re available.
      I would be interested in working together.
      Thanks, Guillermo

  1. Pingback: 36 Hours in Barcelona

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