- Discover why Barcelona is one of the world’s most visited cities. Its cosmopolitan feel, its privileged location on the Mediterranean coast and its cultural attractions will make you want to come back again and again. If you want to discover a city that looks to the future, Barcelona awaits you.
- We recommend booking your accommodation on Booking.com, they just have the best deals. We have also created a dedicated Barcelona Deals page, listing the best hotel deals in one click.
- A great way to book activities is through Get Your Guide.
- If you are traveling as a family, we have created special pages for
- Enjoy this wonderful city by the Mediterranean!
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and the birthplace of major avant-garde movements of the 20th century and the epitome of the modernist city. Here you can see the foremost architectural treasures designed by Antoni Gaudí, like the Sagrada Familia and Güell Park. It also has Roman remains and medieval neighborhoods you can wander through and discover its history. There are few places in the world where you will find such a variety of cultural and leisure attractions. And if you are a nature lover, you will have plenty to choose from: lying on a secluded beach, climbing, skiing, discovering its natural reserves… You can also enjoy unique gastronomy experiences in restaurants, city markets and small wineries in the area. To treat your taste buds you can try dishes like escalivada (smoky grilled vegetables), calçotada (char-grilled onions) and homemade desserts like crema catalana (a type of crème brûlée), along with its famous cava sparkling wines. If your thing is shopping, Barcelona is the place for you. Leading exclusive stores, as well as more bohemian businesses and charming markets, await you. In short, this is a vibrant city that enjoys an exceptional climate all year round.
Discover Barcelona District by District
Explore Barcelona’s neighborhoods and discover a unique city. Soak up the culture in the Las Ramblas and Poblenou districts, travel back to the past in the Gothic Quarter, or visit Montjuïc Mountain to enjoy the best views.
In the center of Barcelona, this is one of the city’s most beautiful and lively neighborhoods. It is full of restaurants, terraces, and alternative shops. Its narrow streets and squares will carry you to Barcelona’s medieval past. In Plaça del Rei you can see part of the ancient Roman wall, Palau Reial Major and Barcelona City History Museum. Nearby, you will find Barcelona Cathedral and Santa María del Pino Basilica, both of which are Gothic-style constructions. On Thursdays, you can buy antiques and collector’s items at the Gothic Market, in the cathedral’s square. If you are looking for eye-catching alternative shops, Ciutat Vella, in the historic quarter, is the place for you.
Wander around El Born, a medieval neighborhood that today is full of fashion shops, bars, and entertainment venues. This old neighborhood of artisans has become one of the most up-to-date and lively areas in the city in recent years. It also boasts some of the most important buildings in Barcelona: from Santa María del Mar Basilica to the spectacular, modernist concert hall, Palau de la Música Catalana.
El Raval, formerly known as a red light district, is now a modern multicultural neighborhood full of trendy bars and venues. Its streets are full of markets, interior design and vintage clothing shops, art galleries… The Raval open-air market, held on weekends, offers innovative ideas from urban designers.
GRÀCIA DISTRICT AND L’EIXAMPLE
If you love shopping, you can visit the stores in the “Cuadrado de Oro” (the Golden Square) taking in the Passeig de Gràcia and Las Ramblas, two of the most famous streets in this neighborhood. The Gràcia neighborhood is packed with cozy bars and restaurants with a bohemian atmosphere, offering a great variety of food. It is home to an important Romani community from which the cheerful Catalan rumba style of music emerged. In Gràcia you will find Güell Park, a modernist masterpiece designed by the brilliant Gaudí, who also designed another of Gràcia’s architectural treasures, Casa Batlló. A must-see in this neighborhood is the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, a former hospital which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You will find the best views of the city from Montjuïc, a neighborhood located on a hill rising to 173 meters. From the magnificent Montjuïc Castle, you can enjoy a full panoramic view of Barcelona. Nearby is another place not to be missed: the Poble Espanyol Museum. This open-air museum will surprise you with its 117 full-scale buildings, forming a complete Spanish village. Your visit should include the Botanical Garden, which covers 14 hectares with more than 4000 species from all of the world’s Mediterranean climate regions.
At the foot of Montjuïc you will find the Plaça d’Espanya, the confluence of some of Barcelona’s most vibrant streets, such as Parallel and Gran Vía. Close by is Joan Miró Park. There you can enjoy a relaxing stroll and take a look at the Woman and Bird Sculpture, which is one of the masterpieces of this surrealist genius. Barcelona has an abundance of galleries, many of which are in this area, taking in all styles: young innovators and established artists. You can also visit the National Art Museum of Catalonia, which has one of the world’s best collections of Romanesque art.
A must on a visit to Barcelona, Las Ramblas will surprise you. This is a street teeming with life and color, with a central pedestrian promenade where you can stroll amongst kiosks, flower stalls, and shops of all kinds. The walk of a little more than a kilometer along this street starts at Plaça de Catalunya, one of the main places to meet and shop in the city. Adorned with sculptures by major Catalan artists, this square is one of the essential places to visit in the city. On the road running alongside Las Ramblas stands the Gran Teatre del Liceu Theatre, one of the most important opera houses in the world, and La Boquería, Barcelona’s most famous and colorful market. At the end of the walk, next to the port, you will find the Columbus Monument, which offers a panoramic view of Barcelona from a height of 60 meters.
THE SAGRADA FAMILIA
Each year, millions of people from all over the world visit the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s main symbol. Around this building, the most important of those designed by Antoni Gaudí, you will find many restaurants and shops where you can buy some souvenirs. The rest of the neighborhood is made up of quiet residential streets that are not usually visited by tourists and which contrast with the hustle and bustle around the basilica. This is a perfect place to relax and take a break on your trip. You will not find many fashion boutiques, but you will find delicatessens and confectioner’s shops to delight you on your walk. You can visit its market and order some dishes in its tapas bars.
LES CORTS AND PEDRALBES
In this quiet, stylish and lively neighborhood, you will find FC Barcelona’s legendary stadium: the Camp Nou. There are guided tours taking in the museum, the trophy area, and the pitch. You will feel like a star when you go down the players’ tunnel and step onto the pitch. After, you can enjoy a drink while sitting on any of the terraces in the area’s squares, or wander through the stately gardens of the Palau Reial de Pedralbes Palace or Cervantes Park, which is filled with roses and which becomes a sensory spectacle for the eyes and nose in spring.
Barcelona has breathtaking cultural offerings. You will find all kinds of options at various prices to suit every budget.
Barcelona has many large and small museums for you to discover.
National Art Museum of Catalonia
Here you can see works by great artists such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Fortuny, Gaudí, Casas, Torres-García, Julio González, Picasso, and Dalí.
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)
At the MACBA you can discover the main movements of the second half of the 20th century and admire the works of contemporary artists, such as Antoni Tàpies, Paul Klee, Francesc Torres, and Zush.
Joan Miró Foundation
Come and see the most complete collection of Joan Miró’s work, with 11,000 pieces covering all facets of this surrealist artist.
In this museum, you can enjoy the most comprehensive collection of Pablo Picasso’s work and discover his close ties to Barcelona.
You will also find a highly varied range of museums such as the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia, the Maritime Museum and the History Museum.
Barcelona also offers interesting exhibitions, workshops, and activities in its cultural centers.
Casa Milà – ‘La Pedrera’
This curved, undulating building (a modernist gem designed by Antoni Gaudí), will take your breath away. The main floor houses a temporary exhibitions space.
Have fun in one of Spain’s most prestigious cultural centers. It offers a wide range of temporary exhibitions, conferences, and educational activities for the whole family.
Barcelona is a gastronomic paradise, with food ranging from traditional to avant-garde. A feast of sensations awaits you. You can enjoy traditional Catalan cuisine, a clear example of the Mediterranean diet, in its classic restaurants and typical taverns. Wherever you go you will be offered the simple but delicious pa amb tomàquet, tomato rubbed on toasted bread, with salt and olive oil. If you are lucky enough to visit Barcelona when they are in season (from November to April), ask for calçots, which are grilled spring onions accompanied by Romesco sauce. They are rather messy so you should wear a bib to eat them. Wash it all down with good wine from Catalonia, or the region’s most famous drink: cava. And for dessert, the classic crema catalana (a type of crème brûlée).
In Barcelona, you will also find avant-garde cuisine. Some of the best chefs in Spain and the world are from here, like Ferran Adrià, Carme Ruscalleda, Ramón Freixa, and Joan Roca, many of them distinguished with Michelin stars. In the center of the city, you will find all kinds of places to eat international, creative or fusion cuisine. If you like delicatessens, you will love the city markets, many of which have now been converted into gourmet spaces. Mix with the local people, have a glass of cava with oysters and listen to live music in the most famous of these markets: La Boquería, on Las Ramblas. Another place with a feast for your senses is Santa Caterina Market, with its gourmet spots and spaces offering fusion cuisine. The Gràcia District has La Llibertat Market: enter a labyrinth of aromas in a modernist building.
Barcelona for Every Season
The mildness of the Mediterranean climate means any time is good to visit Barcelona, but each season offers you something unique. Take note:
When the warmth arrives, Barcelona offers all the festivities, leisure, and culture you can imagine, in addition to the beach. Enjoy a new experience every day. At the end of summer, at the biggest festivity in Barcelona, La Mercè, the city is full of parades, dances, fireworks and the best gastronomy in the region. You can see the popular correfocs, where people disguised as devils and imaginary beings dance amongst fireworks, and castells, human towers many levels high. If you like dancing, you will have a great time at the Barcelona Beach Festival. It has the best electronic music, with two stages facing the sea and two gigantic dance floors. Or enjoy something different: the Grec Festival, an international competition combining music, theatre, dance, and the circus.
The mild temperatures in autumn allow you to enjoy all kinds of options. If you are a fan of fantasy and horror films, you can enjoy the most anticipated new releases in this genre very near Barcelona at the Sitges International Film Festival. The best of autumn in Barcelona is to be found in the little pleasures. Small pleasures like panellets, typical sweets for All Saints’ Day on 1 November, made with almond dough and sugar and covered with nuts.
During the coldest months of the year, which are not that cold in Barcelona, you can go shopping, visit museums or enjoy a spa day. This is the season for calçots (grilled spring onions), so be sure to try this traditional Catalan dish. If your thing is active tourism, Barcelona’s surrounding areas offer many possibilities in this season. Ski at magnificent resorts like Port del Comte (in the Catalan Pre-Pyrenees Mountains), La Molina, in Girona, and Baqueira Beret, in the Arán Valley. Try ice diving: an experience combining altitude, ice, and diving, which you can try in places like Port Ainé, in Lleida. To merge with nature, put on some snowshoes and go on a guided tour in the Catalan Pyrenees: the views are spectacular.
On 23 April, the city celebrates the festivity of Sant Jordi, Catalonia’s patron saint’s day. In Catalonia, World Book Day is an especially literary and romantic festivity. On this day, it is traditional to buy a book or a rose as a gift. Spring is also a season of music festivals, such as Primavera Sound, with the best national and international groups, and Sónar, which combines music, creativity, and technology.
The warm Mediterranean awaits you. Lie on the beach, get active with water sports, enjoy the best local cuisine… or better still: do it all!
Barcelona has very central urban beaches where you can relax, enjoy great beach bars and take long strolls, with all the services of the city nearby. One of the most famous and popular is Barceloneta Beach, in Barcelona’s old fishing neighborhood, which is full of restaurants and bars with great food. Nearby you will find beaches like Sant Miquel and Sant Sebastià, both with sports clubs, and Somorrostro, a favorite amongst young people with volleyball nets and children’s play areas. If you are looking for something quieter and with a family atmosphere, the Olympic Port area gives you more options. There you have beaches like Bogatell, Mar Bella (with nudist area), Nova Mar Bella and Levante. You can also enjoy the sea in Barcelona in a different way at the Fórum swimming area: this is a saltwater pool in the open sea, without sand and with fewer people than the beaches, where you can swim surrounded by state-of-the-art facilities.
Six Ideas for Family Fun
Traveling with children? Barcelona and its surrounding areas offer you many possibilities for the family. Here are a few options:
PORT AVENTURA WORLD
Check out our article on Ferrari Land.
TIBIDABO AMUSEMENT PARK
Jump on the Giradabo, a 20 meter wide Ferris wheel, and enjoy one of the best views of Barcelona from this famous park in an exceptional natural setting: Tibidabo Mountain. This is just one of the many attractions and shows in the park, which includes some real gems from its history of over a hundred years, such as the Tibidabo Aeroplane and the Robot Museum.
Stroll amongst sharks and discover the sea fauna of the Mediterranean in one of the largest aquariums in Europe. Your ticket also gives you admission to the permanent exhibitions, Planeta Aqua, and Explora, where kids can discover the marine world using their senses.
Gorillas, reptiles, dolphins… At Barcelona Zoo, with around 4,000 animals and a wide range of services, you can have a great day out with your family.
A perfect way to bring children closer to music. One of the most fun spaces is the interactive room, where kids are free to play the instruments and create their own music.
LAS GOLONDRINAS BOAT TOURS
To get to know Barcelona in a different way, from the sea, take a trip on a Golondrina boat. Tour the port in a traditional boat or go a little further and see the coastline from a modern catamaran.
Check out our post on Best Family Activities in Barcelona.
The Hidden City
Barcelona is a vibrant city full of treasures and secrets. Quaint parks, museums, and wonderful viewpoints. If you have time to see more, we recommend these places:
PARKS AND GARDENS
Wander around the city’s parks and gardens and enjoy their magic. Enjoy a boat ride on the pond and see the great ornamental water cascade in Ciutadella Park. Lose yourself in the Laberint d’Horta maze garden, the oldest park in the city. If you reach the center of the maze you will see the statue of Eros. Camouflaged on Montjüic Hill is Joan Maragall Gardens, one of the prettiest gardens in Barcelona. If you want to take a close look at Mediterranean flora, Barcelona Botanical Gardens has examples of almost every Mediterranean plant species as well as activities for children.
Strange, fun and marvelous. Here are Barcelona’s ‘other’ museums. Do you like history? Discover the treasures of Tutankhamun in the Egyptian Museum or travel back in time to 19th century Barcelona at the Born CCM (Centre for Culture and Memory). If you fancy something sweet, try the Chocolate Museum. There, besides eating your ticket (which is made of chocolate!), you can discover the history of this delicacy and stroll amongst sweet sculptures. Have fun like a child at the CosmoCaixa Barcelona Science Museum, with its interactive spaces.
Fashion lovers should not miss the Textile and Clothing Museum: its collection includes dresses, jewelry, and accessories, some of them over 1,500 years old.
If you like to wander and explore in a city and its streets, Barcelona offers you some real treasures. Start on Calle Paradís, in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, which preserves the most important vestiges of the ancient Roman city of Barcino: four columns from the Roman Temple of Augustus. Also from this period are the Roman Baths of Sant Boi, one of the most complete and best preserved in Catalonia. Other buildings revealing Barcelona’s history include San Felipe Neri Church. When visiting, notice its baroque façade: you can see remnants of shrapnel from the bombing that took place during the Spanish Civil War. Another of the city’s secrets is the Parthenon Masriera, a peculiar neoclassical temple in the city center. Your next stop has maintained all the charm of a fishing neighborhood: Plaça Prim, in the Poblenou district, is one of the few places in Barcelona where you can still see the typical low houses of fishermen.
Look over Barcelona from its viewpoints for an unforgettable experience. Enjoy nature, the quiet, silence… and its sunsets. You will feel like you are in a postcard. If you want to see a unique sunset, try the Turó de la Rovira Viewpoint, in the Carmel neighborhood. From there you get a 360-degree panoramic view of the city. This space, which was recently refurbished, preserves the remains of an anti-aircraft battery from the Civil War. Montjuïc Hill has several very beautiful viewpoints that you can reach by cable car. Alcalde Viewpoint opens like a balcony over the city and its port. Take a walk through its gardens and relax by the pond, which has a waterfall. Have a glass of wine while enjoying the views from the terraces near the Jardines de Miramar Viewpoint. Or head for the lesser-known Migdia Viewpoint, and enjoy fantastic views of the city while breathing in the aroma of the lush pine trees surrounding it.
Enjoy Barcelona’s Nightlife
Barcelona is a city that never sleeps. Enjoy a drink with views of the Mediterranean in Port Vell, with its spacious terraces and bars just a few steps from the sea. Try the Gothic Quarter, with its streets full of designer restaurants, cocktail lounges, and traditional bars. It also has the city’s best-known jazz venues and classic indie music haunts. Or have a night out in the Gràcia neighborhood, full of multicultural bars and a bohemian feel. The left side of the Eixample neighborhood is where most of the LGBTI+ spots are concentrated. When it’s time to eat, you’ll also find Barcelona to be very cosmopolitan. The city’s offer of restaurants is immense. Try the local specialties or surprise your palate with flavors from other continents.
Tours and Walks in the City
Roman Barcelona, medieval Barcelona, Gaudí’s Barcelona… Which interests you most? Try getting to know the city in depth with one of the themed tours we recommend.
Travel back in time to the ancient Roman city of ‘Barcino’, visiting places like the city’s wall, entrance gate, and defensive towers. In Plaça de la Vila de Madrid you can see 70 tombs of the ancient necropolis and, located inside a small medieval courtyard on the street Carrer Paradís, you will find the four stunning columns of Augustus Temple.
Stroll by the remains of medieval Barcelona, spread all over the Ciutat Vella neighborhood. One of the most interesting places is Plaça del Rei Square, where you can see Palau de Lloctinent Palace and the imposing Palau Reial Major Palace. While there, you could visit the churches in the area. The most notable ones are the Gothic Santa Maria del Pi Basilica, Santa Maria del Mar Basilica, and the Romanesque Sant Pere de les Puelles Monastery.
You will find the biggest concentrations of modernist buildings in the city in the Eixample and Gràcia neighborhoods. On this tour you can admire buildings with impressive facades like Casa Terrades, known as Casa de Les Punxes (House of Pointed Peaks) because of its pointed towers, and the so-called ‘Apple of Discord‘ (a play on words: the Spanish, word for ‘apple’ also means ‘city block’), recalling disputes amongst the three architects who designed the Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller and Casa Lleó Morera buildings.
Antoni Gaudí is synonymous with Barcelona. On this tour, you will get to know his most representative works, like the Sagrada Familia: a universal symbol of the city. The most eye-catching feature of this basilica is its pointed towers. You can climb to the top of some of them to see Barcelona from high up. In the center of the Eixample district, on the Passeig de Gracia thoroughfare, you will be surprised by Casa Milà, also known as ‘la Pedrera’, a building in which everything undulates, and Casa Batlló, with its very original, colorful façade. A stroll around Güell Park will let you understand the interplay between nature and architecture in Gaudí’s work.
Joan Miró, born in Barcelona, left the city a great legacy. On Las Ramblas you will walk on the Pla de l’Os, a mosaic by this surrealist artist inaugurated in 1976. At the Miró Foundation, you can discover all his works and how they developed.
Barcelona is key to understand Picasso’s life. You can see a significant part of his work here at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, ranging from a collection from his youth to paintings from his blue period and the famous ‘Las Meninas’ series, plus a valuable collection of his ceramics.
What Can You Visit Near Barcelona
If you have enough time and you have already got a taste of the best of Barcelona, it’s time to get to know other destinations near the city.
CITIES AND PLACES OF INTEREST
Discover the surroundings of Barcelona. A few kilometers away you can visit interesting places, such as Girona. Medieval towns, great places for diving, fishing villages and 200 kilometers of beaches and coves await you in this province in Catalonia. In Figueres (Province of Girona) you will find the surrealist Salvador Dalí Theatre-Museum and the biggest 18th-century fortress in Europe: Sant Ferran Castle. Also not to be missed are the waterfalls at the source of the Llobregat River, in the town of Castellar de n’Hug. It is delightful to see the water gushing to form beautiful waterfalls. Montserrat is Catalonia’s most emblematic mountain and the site of what is also its most symbolic monastery. The basilica, which is visited by more than two million people a year, houses ‘la Moreneta’, a figure of the dark-skinned virgin that is the patron saint of Catalonia. Just over 20 minutes from Barcelona you will find Sitges, a stunningly beautiful town and an LGBTI+ paradise. Stroll along its beaches and streets, which inspired a generation of Catalan artists from the late 19th century.
Sea and mountain. Nature in all its variety awaits you in Barcelona. The city and its surroundings offer countless places to enjoy the outdoors and disconnect from the stress of everyday life. Glide down high mountain ski slopes while enjoying the Mediterranean climate: sun, mild temperatures, exceptional light… The nearby ski resorts of the High Pyrenees Nature Reserve, in Lleida, make it easy for you. If you like hiking, this is the place for you: put on your mountain boots and get ready to visit dreamy spots on the El Quinto Lago route. Also try, if you dare, activities like rafting on the Noguera Pallaresa River and canyoning down the Barranco del Infierno in Boumort National Game Reserve or get a mountain bike and head for the Pallars Sobirà region, where you can enjoy all sorts of water and mountain adventure sports. Another more relaxed option is to go up Núria Valley, in Girona, riding its fabulous cogwheel train, and enjoy the snow and incredible views at 2,000 meters above sea level. A few kilometers from the city of Barcelona you will also find protected areas to be enjoyed all year round. One of the most famous of these is Aiguastortas y Lago de San Mauricio National Park, in Lleida. There you will find lakes, rushing streams, waterfalls, rugged peaks, and lush forests. This national park, together with Marismas del Ampurdán Nature Reserve (Province of Girona) and Delta del Ebro Nature Reserve (Province of Tarragona), are fantastic places for birdwatching. Cadí-Moixeró Nature Reserve, straddling the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, and Lleida, is an ideal place to visit on foot, horseback or bicycle. Another great beauty spot is the La Garrotxa Volcanic Area Nature Reserve (Province of Girona): visit it and marvel at one of the best examples of a volcanic landscape in Spain.
How to Get There
Barcelona has modern air, land and sea infrastructure. Here are all the options available to you, so you can decide which means of transport is best for you.
The high-speed train, the AVE, is a fast and convenient option. It has national and international routes. There are various passes and discount cards available, such as the Renfe Spain Pass, for up to 10 journeys, valid on all AVE high-speed trains. There are also other long- and medium-distance trains to cities not covered by the AVE service.
Barcelona–El Prat Airport is only 16 kilometers away from the city, and it offers train links to Sants Station, which run every 30 minutes, and the Aerobús to Plaça de Catalunya every 15 minutes. Metro line 9 also connects to the airport.
There are several car hire agencies you can use if you wish to travel to Barcelona. You can book online and a car will be waiting for you at your destination. Plan a route to suit you.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN BARCELONA
Barcelona has a great public transport service. To make things easier for you, the main tourist spots are very well connected. The metro connects the most popular tourist areas and central areas of Barcelona. There is also an extensive city bus network and, for your nights out, there is the Night Bus (Nitbus). The ideal way to get to towns near Barcelona is on the Cercanías (suburban) or FGC local railway network. Trams run in the metropolitan area. Barcelona is perfect for cycling. All over the city, you will be able to find establishments to rent bicycles at very affordable prices. Another convenient option is to take a taxi, which in Barcelona are yellow and black, or see Barcelona from the Tourist Bus. To get around as you please you can hire an electric car or motorbike.