The 50 Best Things to Do in Barcelona
Ah, Barcelona. The capital of Catalonia is home to millions of people spread out over its vast neighborhoods. Barcelona is often known for its nightlife and beach scene, but the destination also welcomes less intoxicated travelers looking for art, culture and, most importantly, food. Here are 50 of the best things to do when visiting Barcelona, whether it’s for the first time or the 15th.
1. Start your trip with a walk down Las Ramblas, a broad main street that runs from Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vell. There’s lots to do, see—and eat.
2. If you’re feeling flush, book your stay at the W Barcelona, located right on the water and boasting a seriously photogenic infinity pool.
3. Less flush? Casa Gracia, a poshtel with shared and private rooms, is a good bet—and a great way to meet fellow travelers.
4. Once you’re settled, stroll through Park Güell, a famous public project created by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
5. For a further Gaudí fix, visit the Sagrada Familia, a still-unfinished basilica that welcomes visitors daily. (Psst, try to make reservations ahead of time to make sure you get to tour the whole thing.)
6. Bonus Gaudí: Casa Batlló, a contorted, artistic house that’s covered in shards of stained glass.
7. Prepare your Instagram for a series of stories of the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, which displays choreographed shows of light and movement in the evenings.
8. Uncover a hidden gem at the Labyrinth Park of Horta, which has an actual hedge maze in its historic, lush gardens. It’s one of the city’s oldest gardens and also one of its most beautiful.
9. For a view, ascend to the peak of Tibidabo, where visitors can find a lively amusement park. Take the funicular to the top if you’re too lazy to actually climb.
10. In 1929 for the World’s Fair, Barcelona erected Poble Espanyol, an open-air architectural museum that showcases a Spanish village. It’s a great way to better understand the crafts and culture of the country.
11. Brave the crowds at the La Boqueria, the city’s most famous food market. You can wander the stalls or attempt to follow the map available online.
12. Continue your market tour at Palo Alto Market, a hip weekend market with food trucks and design vendors.
13. Onward to Mercat de Santa Caterina, a covered food market that dates back to 1845 and is known for its amazing produce.
14. If you start to lag, indulge in xuixo, croissant-like sugary pastries filled with cream that are legitimately delicious. They can be found all over the city, but Bar Pinotxo in La Boqueria Market has notoriously good ones.
15. Museu de la Xocolata translates to Museum of Chocolate, which should immediately get your mouth watering. Buy tickets online ahead of your visit or book into a chocolate making workshop to craft your own delicious creations.
16. An even more unusual experience can be found at the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, an institution dedicated to cannabis culture that’s interesting even if you don’t partake in the occasional joint.
17. Learn more about Picasso at the Picasso Museum, home to over 4,000 works of art created by the Spanish painter.
18. The Fundació Joan Miró honors the work and contemporary art of Joan Miró with a permanent collection as well as touring exhibits. Take some time to explore the adjacent Parc de Montjuïc after your visit.
19. Nearby, Montjuïc Castle offers a chance to see a military fortress that dates back to the 17th century. Go for the history, but stay for the views.
20. Montjuïc is also the location of the National Museum of Catalan Art, which features tons of great exhibitions that rotate throughout the year.
21. Scout out the street art at the Bostik Murals, located on the exterior of a cool an urban art museum called Nau Bostik.
22. For modern art, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) is worth exploring for an afternoon. The museum has rotating exhibitions as well as a permanent collection. Score free admission on Saturday afternoons.
23. Fans of Salvador Dalí should consider a day trip to Figueres, the artist’s hometown that now hosts the Dalí Museum Figueres. It’s a short trek up the coast, but worth it to see some of Dalí’s important works.
24. Take in a classical music concert at the iconic Palau de la Música Catalana (or just visit during the day to see the striking modern architecture).
25. Soccer (or football) is seriously important in Barcelona. Get in with the cheering crowds at Camp Nou, Europe’s largest stadium where the FC Barcelona team plays.
26. A beach day in Barcelona is a must. Head to La Barceloneta, an action-packed stretch of sand filled with locals and tourists alike.
27. Dream of getting naked on the sand? Mar Bella Beach welcomes those who prefer to sunbathe in the buff—or in clothes—your choice.
28. Adventurous travelers can rent Jet Skis at one of the many rental spots along the shore. Look for one like Jet Scoot that provides all the gear and doesn’t require a special license.
29. Or, take a load off and relax at one of the many beachside bars. The Coconut Club is beloved by tourists and locals alike.
30. At the end of May, music fans flock to Barcelona for Primavera Sound, an international music festival with an always-impressive lineup. Buy tickets (and reserve hotels) early to get in on the fun.
31. Sónar is another popular music festival, taking place annually in July, and it’s a solid bet for fans of electronic and hip-hop (or just for anyone who likes dancing).
32. Street festivals are another fun celebration in Barcelona. La Festa Major de Gracia is one of the grandest, spanning a week in August over a public holiday.
33. Spain is all about the siesta. Take a pause in the afternoon to rest, regroup or even take a quick nap. You won’t miss much since most of the city shuts down during siesta.
34. When you’re ready to go again and need a pick-me-up, grab a coffee at Nømad Coffee, which serves some of the city’s best brews.
35. Food is a seriously big deal in Spain, so expect to eat a lot in Barcelona, especially at tapas bars in the evenings. Bar del Pla is a local favorite. Go late, like the locals, and eat until you can’t eat anymore.
36. Pintxos, tiny bar snacks, are sort of like tapas, but hail from the Basque region. Order them up at Maitea Taberna, which serves both hot and cold pintxos as you sip wine or beer.
37. Your fun dining splurge comes in the form of Tickets, a glitzy eatery from chef Albert Adrià. Booking opens two months in advance, so be ready to snag some seats way before you travel.
38. Be sure to taste test some of the specialty dishes from Spain, including mojama, cured tuna that is often called the “ham of the sea.” You’ll find it in the markets, but also on the menus of many tapas spots.
39. Paella is another classic Spanish dish, which you’ll eat at Restaurante Martínez, which boasts a scenic view of the sea as you dine (there’s a reason they advertise themselves as having the “best views of Barcelona”).
40. Need an afternoon snack to tide you over until dinner? Pop by Churrería J. Argilés, a popular food truck right by the Marina metro stop that serves up churros with chocolate dipping sauce. They’re known as the best in town, so don’t miss it.
41. Cocktail lovers will find plenty to imbibe in Barcelona, especially at the historic Boadas Cocteleria, which serves up exceptional versions of the classics.
42. Next head to Two Schmucks. Don’t let the name fool you; this spot is for a more contemporary cocktail.
43. James Bond fans should grab a stool at Solange Cocktails and Luxury Spirits, a classy bar with high-end service. It’s named for a Bond girl, not the beloved sister of Beyoncé, but you can pretend.
44. If wine is more your speed, settle in for a glass of natural vino at Can Cisa.
45. Beer is best at Ølgod, a craft beer bar with artisan brews and beer cocktails (as well as snacks).
46. Learn more about Spanish wine making at Masia Can Calopa, a working winery and vineyard located within the Barcelona city limits.
47. Nightlife in Barcelona is like a professional sport in itself, so visitors should partake in at least one late night out on the town. There is a huge variety of clubs, but try the popular City Hall to start.
48. Once you’ve thoroughly explored Barcelona, hop a train to Sitges, a beach resort town about 45 minutes away. There’s a scenic old town and numerous beaches, as well as LGBTQI-friendly bar options.
49. Another great day trip is Girona, an ideal visit for Game of Thrones fans. It’s been used as a filming location on the HBO series and it’s super easy to get to by train from Barcelona.
50. Toast to an amazing trip at La Vermutería del Tano, a classic Barcelona vermouth (and tapas) bar.