With remarkable architecture at every turn and some of the world’s best food and drink on every block, it’s no wonder that Barcelona is one of Spain’s most popular destinations.
Arrive hungry, get your 'gram ready, you're about to tick off some serious sight-seeing! Here’s everything you need to do while you’re in the vibrant city of Barcelona.
#1 Roll Out Of La Boqueria
La Boqueria (Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, to be exact) is a huge public market located on Barcelona’s busiest street, La Rambla. As one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions, it's always bustling with tourists and locals alike, all on the hunt for the freshest produce, tastiest treats and delicious snacks. But this isn’t any ordinary market, times any expectation you had by ten and get ready for a full sensory experience complete with vibrant colours, smells and sounds. If you don’t have time to get around to the whole market (yes, it’s that big) make sure to stop by the rainbow coloured lolly stalls and snag some delicious meats and cheese to snack on later in the afternoon with a glass of vino.
#2 Stare In Awe At Sagrada Familia
There are a lot of sites to see in Spain, but perhaps the grandest of them all is the jaw-dropping, Sagrada Familia. Although still unfinished, the Roman Catholic church remains an unforgettable experience for anyone who walks through it, with Antoni Gaudi’s architectural work a sight to be revered with. Get ready to have a sore neck from looking up down and all around at geometric details, stain glass windows, impressive archways and mesmerising ceilings. To see it best, make sure to book a tour and take your time making your way through the 170 metre tall church.
#3 Indulge In Barcelona’s Finest Tapas And Sangria
When it comes to food, there’s no one that does tapas quite like the Spaniards. You can find it on almost every street and corner, but it pays to know where to find the best. Cal Pep is often referred to as the top tapas in Barcelona, with the long lines out the door an indication of the kind of deliciousness you can expect. Located next to Las Ramblas, Bar Lobo is another must-visit, boasting mouth-watering morsels along with a gorgeous outdoor terrace, perfect for a sunny day. Or, if you’re wandering around La Boqueria, make sure to pop into El Quim De Boqueria for a taste of Barelona’s finest in an unreal atmosphere.
#4 Catch A Flamenco Show
If you’re after an authentic Barcelonian experience, make sure to get along to a traditional flamenco performance for all of the Spanish feels. Despite being located on Las Ramblas, Tablao Flamenco Cordobes, has an amazingly authentic vibe with a cave-like hall for dancers and musicians to perform without microphones and equipment (very authentic). For a more refined experience, get along to Palacio del Flamenco, set amidst an elegant 1920s theatre complete with dining settings so you can enjoy a typical Spanish meal and free-flowing sangria while you watch the show.
#5 Galavant Around Park Güell
Another one of Gaudi’s must-visit landmarks is the stunning, Park Güell. Located on Carmel Hill, the public park is riddled with architectural treasures, stunning views and an abundance of gardens and greenery to frolic in. Stretching over 17 hectares, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for The Serpentine Bench, the mosaic salamander (AKA ‘El Drac’), Austria Gardens, Gaudi House Museum (former home of Gaudi himself), the Hypostyle Room and the Laundry Room. There are often musicians and dancers performing in the park, so if you find yourself exhausted from the sight-seeing, make sure to take a load off and absorb all of the Gaudi beauty with a side of acoustic.
#6 Discover Hidden Treats Along Las Ramblas
Located smack bang in the city centre, Las Ramblas is a tree-lined pedestrian street that stretches for 1.2 kilometres. Aside from La Boqueria, there are plenty of authentic, hidden gems to discover along this iconic street. Cheese lovers need to make a beeline for Formtageria La Seu, an entire shop dedicated to artisan cheeses from every corner of Spain, with a cosy room out the back for wine and cheese tastings. If you’re still on the hunt for more vino, stop in at La Vinateria del Call, a stunning, quaint wine bar that boasts over 160 wines and a delectable share menu. If you’re on the hunt for a great breakfast, pencil in a visit to Milk for a good feed and exceptional cocktails, if you’re that way inclined. And if you’ve still got time, make sure to book a table at the flamboyant, Instagram-worthy Ocaña—a cafe, restaurant and cocktail bar all rolled into one with live entertainment, so it’s a guaranteed good time.
#7 Venture Down To Barceloneta Beach
Located only a few hundred metres from the city centre, a trip to Barcelona isn’t complete without a trip to Barceloneta Beach. It’s remarkable location means it can become quite crowded during the summer months, but whether you’re there to swim or not, there’s plenty to see and do after a quick dip in the Mediterranean. If you’re feeling peckish after a swim, head to the laid-back and impossibly delicious Agua, with beautiful sea views and mouth-watering Mediterranean dishes. If you’re still hungry, pay a visit to Salamanca, famous for their flavoursome paellas and fresh dishes using ingredients and livestock from their very own farm. Showing off with a huge outdoor terrace and ocean views, it’ll be hard to resist ordering a cocktail or two.
#8 Experience A Taste Of Barcelonian Nightlife
You might not have guessed it, but Barcelona boasts an electric nightlife, bursting with bars, nightclubs and superclubs that house the country's (and the world’s) best DJ 's. If you’re looking for an experience that can only be described as insane, head directly to Razzmatazz. Rated as one of the best nightclubs in the world, Razzmatazz combines five venues in one, all showcasing different styles of music from old school pop to house, electronica, techno and even dubstep. Having welcomed the likes of Calvin Harris, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex and Kanye West, this place means business. To catch all the big names in EDM, head to the beach and make your way to Opium. A little more refined than the likes of Razzmatazz, this place upholds a strict dress code is decked out in satin couches, glass tables and boujee decor. This place goes off in summer and it’s easy to see why, having welcomed the likes of David Guetta, Tiesto, Avicii and Armin van Buuren all through their doors and onto their decks.
#9 Get Lost In Museums
No matter how much you may consider yourself a lover of the arts, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get around to all of Barcelona’s museums (hint: there’s over 55). Covering a range of subjects including art, history, architecture, science, sports, war and maritime, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Our top picks? The iconic Picasso Museum is unmissable for its display of impressive works, but most notably for its special setting. Spread over five palaces with high ceilings, drip chandeliers and lavish rooms, it’s no wonder this is at the top of our list. For a more modern approach to art, don’t miss Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Brace yourself for out-of-the-box multimedia exhibitions from the likes Bjork and Stanley Kubrick and if you’re visiting in summer, make sure to check out the courtyard which comes alive with an open-air cinema and music concerts.
Hungry for more Spanish wanderlust? Make sure to check out these gorgeous towns when you’ve finished exploring Barcelona.
Image Credit: Enrico Perini, Palacio del Flamenco Barcelona, Daniel Corneschi, Alfons Taekema, Lucrezia Carnelos, Sylvain Sonnet, Antoine Julien