Highlights of BarcelonaSpain
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital and Spain’s second most populous city. Rich in history, culture and best known for its art and architecture, there is plenty to see and do in this Mediterranean seaside town. It’s a city that shines all year round and with average temperatures ranging in the mid-thirties throughout the summer time, it’s a popular beach side escape for many tourists.
With so much to see and do in Barcelona it’s a tad overwhelming, so I have just chosen to focus on the main attractions that I believe are a MUST see whilst spending time in this vibrant Spanish city. Now it may sound naff and super touristy, but I am a HUGE fan of the old Hop-On & Hop-Off buses that most main cities run and Barcelona is no exception. If it’s your first time in town, it’s really a great way to get your bearings and with Barcelona being the big city that it is, the so called “touristy” bus is a great way to get you from point A to point B and let’s be honest, the free Wifi onboard is a real treat!
Barcelona’s most famous street and popular with tourists and locals alike. This tree-lined pedestrian mall stretches for 1.2 kilometres connecting Plaça de Catalunya with Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Market stores are situated either side of this broad pedestrian only boulevard and a stroll along here is pure sensory overload, with souvenir hawkers, buskers, pavement artists, mimes and living statues all part of the ever-changing street scene.
Hot Tip – be careful of pickpockets in this area. This is a very busy thoroughfare and this particular area is known to have a high rate of pick-pockets and bag thefts – so hold those bags close and just be mindful of your belongings.
Port Vell is a waterfront harbour in Barcelona and can be found at the end of Las Ramblas and Columbus Circle. From here, the wooden walkway, known as the Rambla de Mar, leads to the retail and leisure complex Maremagnum. A bright and vibrant part of town where you can get your shop on, relax with a meal by the sea or admire the views up the Mediterranean coastline.
Montjuic Castle, or Castell de Montjuïc as the locals call it, sits atop the hill from which it gets its name. The castle is an old military fortress, with roots dating back from 1640 and offers some incredible 360 degree views over the city. There are quite a few ways to get up to the castle but my chosen mode of transport was via cable car. The ride takes you directly to the castle with some amazing photogenic views of Barcelona. Another option is taking the regular bus #150 which also stops at the castle.
Price: adult/child €5/3 – free on Sundays after 3pm
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
Barcelona’s biggest ornamental fountain, which was built in 1929 for the International Exhibition, offers a spectacular display of music, water acrobatics and lights and over 50 vibrant colours. Located at the head of Avinguda Maria Cristina in the Montjuïc neighborhood, the Montjuïc Magic Fountain has become one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions and a real highlight. Not only is it a feast for your sight, it’s also FREE so it’s unmissable in my eyes! Check out the show times below so you don’t miss out.
February 24th to March 31st and November 1st to January 6th: Friday and Saturday, from 7pm to 8.30pm.
April 1st May 28th and September 1st to October 31st: Friday and Saturday, from 9pm to 10.30pm.
June 1st to August 31st: Thursday to Sunday, from 9.30pm to 11pm.
Home of FC Barcelona and one of Europe’s largest football stadiums. If you are a football fan then this is a must stop! The stadium is an incredible structure and you can even book yourself on a stadium tour or just visit the FC Barcelona Store to pick up some merchandise.
The Gothic Quarter is one of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona. Located in the heart of the old city, this neighborhood features a fusion of buildings dating from Roman times to the 20th century. You will be spoilt for choice of restaurants and bars, especially around Plaça Reial which is always full day and night. The night-life in the Gothic Quarter is lively to say the least and you will always find somewhere to have a drink or a dance.
Sagrada Familia Basilica
This is probably one of the most famous sights to be seen in Barcelona. Still under construction after 130 years (YIKES!) this medieval cathedral is just awe inspiring. Unfinished as it may be, it still attracts around 2.8 million visitors a year and is the most visited monument in Spain. Guesses on when construction might be complete range from the 2020s to the 2040s – even then, by the time it’s complete, restoration on the original build will need to begin. Hot Tip – get there early if you wish to admire the cathedral from inside as the line to get inside can be a long wait!
Price: adult/concession/under 11yr €15/13/free
Hours: 9am-8pm Apr-Sep, to 6pm Oct-Mar
Designed by Gaudi himself and declared a Heritage Site by UNESCO, Park Guell contains amazing stone structures, stunning tiling and fascinating buildings. It was a highlight for me on my most recent trip to Barcelona and a place I can definitely see myself returning to. Being a fan of all things bright, I was certainly in my element at this particular place. Hot Tip – pre-book your tickets online here. I didn’t forward plan and the day I visited, the earliest I could get into the park was a 3 hour wait. Not ideal but I can honestly say it’s worth any amount of waiting time!
Price: adult/child €8/6
Hours: 8am-9.30pm May-Aug, to 8pm Sep-Apr
The most interesting block of flats you may ever witness. With a wavy stone facade and sculptures on the roof, designed by Antoni Gaudi and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, you won’t want to miss checking this place out which is located on Passeig de Gracia.
Another Gaudi masterpiece, this site was built in the architect’s signature style where fluid lines and organic forms replace straight lines and right angles. Also located on Passeig de Gracia, this street is well worth a walk down and I believe it’s Barcelona’s most elegant and architecturally interesting avenue.
Plaça de Catalunya
A lively square in the heart of the Bari Gòtic area of the city. The large, open square is lined with seating and the ornamental gardens contain beautiful statues with wonderful water features. Plaça de Catalunya also hosts a large range of shopping centers and department stores and is one of the city’s busiest areas.
This hill is Barcelona’s highest point, and you can see the whole city from here. There is also an impressive church, called the Sagrat Cor (Sacred Heart), a planetarium and the oldest amusement park in Spain which is complete with original rides.
With an abundance of things to see and do, including tons that aren’t even listed above, this won’t be our last Barcelona post as we have so much more to share! But until then, we hope you got something out of the above and if there is anything you can add, pop a comment below as we would love to hear your thoughts!