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Things to do in Barcelona: from beaches to landmarks

Without a doubt, Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities anywhere in Spain. And, for that matter, anywhere in Europe! It offers everything from sunny beaches to exciting art and cultural exhibits. So, whether you’re visiting for just a weekend, or maybe even longer, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Barcelona. To narrow it down, here are the 12 best sights to see.

1 – Stroll down La Rambla

Perhaps the most famous Barcelona tourist attraction is La Rambla (shown in the image above). It is a long strip in the heart of the city that runs for more than a kilometre. Along the way, you will discover boutique eateries, human statues, artists and souvenir stores. Best of all, it’s lined with palm trees, offering the chance for a wonderful, shaded walk through this spectacular part of the city.

2 – Marvel at the unfinished Sagrada Familia

After 140 years of planning and construction, the Sagrada Familia still isn’t complete. But nonetheless, it has to be one of the most famous Barcelona landmarks. Upon eventual completion, it will be the tallest church anywhere in the world, and its incredible Gothic design makes it utterly unique. It is the work of late Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi.

3 – Ascend the Montjuic mountain

From ground level, Barcelona is impressive. But why not get more of an aerial view? Montjuic mountain offers spectacular views across Barcelona. What’s also great is it never tends to be too busy and you also get to see the buildings from the 1992 Olympic Games. It is possible to walk, but just be prepared for a journey of at least an hour from La Rambla.

Tapas in Barcelona
Forget choosing one dish – order tapas in Barcelona and have a bit of everything!

4 – Fill up on tapas

Spain, in general, is famous for its tapas. Which is where you sit down in a restaurant or cafe and order a whole selection of smaller plates of food. In Barcelona, they are famous for their seafood dishes. So, you have the chance to sample a whole array of tasty local cuisines in one of Europe’s most lively and exciting cities.

5 – Hit the beach

If you’re wondering what to do in Barcelona after some busy days of sightseeing, nothing is more relaxing than some time spent on a Barcelona beach. And with more than 4 km of beaches to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice. You can chill out with a cocktail and stare endlessly at the warm blue seas of the Mediterranean. And enjoy food from any one of the restaurants dotted all along the front.

6 – Watch a concert at the Palau de la Musica Orfeo Catalana

Watching a concert at the Palau de la Musica Orfeo Catalana has to be one of the most underrated, top things to do in Barcelona. The building itself is a spectacle to marvel at, and it was built in 1908 by one of Gaudi’s contemporaries, Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It holds a number of performances all year round, and you can discover more here.

7 – Experience the nightlife

By night, Barcelona really comes to life. There is an incredible party atmosphere, especially amongst the LGBTQ community. Top clubs include Metro and Arena and you can find plenty of bars to visit, open all the way through till the early hours of the morning. Or to make things easier, consider joining a bar crawl where guides will take you to all of the best bars and clubs in town.

8 – Lose yourself in the local markets

Ever since medieval times, there has been a Boqueria market situated in Barcelona. It is housed under a rather distinctive glass and iron roof, with an endless array of sellers and buyers all haggling underneath. Though you may wish to pick up some local Spanish food delicacies for yourself, you can take just as much enjoyment from witnessing the atmosphere at the market.

9 – Take a tour of Camp Nou

If you’re a football fan, then visiting Camp Nou is a must. It’s certainly one of the most fun things to do in Barcelona, offering you the chance to either take a tour around the ground, or even watch a match! The stadium holds up to 99,000 spectators, making it one of Europe’s most grandiose home grounds. It also hosts an astounding array of trophies and other memorabilia for you to gaze longingly at.

Gaudi - Barcelona
The architecture in Barcelona is bold and bright

10 – Discover more from Gaudi

As well as the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi is responsible for a number of other iconic buildings dotted around Barcelona. Such as the Park Guell, Casa Batllo, Casa Vicens and La Pedrera. It’s fair to say Gaudi left an incredible mark on the architectural revolution in Barcelona, and any good bus or walking tour will take you past a number of his most famous buildings.

11 – Discover the local Roman history

The History Museum in Barcelona is a wonderful place to visit, as it plays host to a number of Roman sites all preserved within the Gothic Quarter. You’ll need to go down a lift and walk across elevated walkways to discover 4,000 square metres of Roman ruins. Including such buildings as the temple of Augustus and ancient Barcino walls.

12 – Let a Barcelona sightseeing bus do all the work for you!

With so many places to visit in Barcelona, it can all seem a little overwhelming. And tiring! So why not hop on a sightseeing tour and let them do all the hard work for you? There are a few tour companies offering routes across Barcelona and further afield. Simply jump on, get your camera out and enjoy the ride!

As you can see, Barcelona really is an incredible city, and there is so much to see and do there! Just be sure to plan carefully so you know you can fit it all in. And when you’re preparing, be sure to sort out travel insurance as well. Our Travel Insurance pages give information on cover for everyone, specialising in cover for those aged over 50 or with a pre-existing medical condition. To discover more, check out what’s on offer here.

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