You may be in Barcelona to see the sights, to watch the football, or on business. You may be there for a conference, a trade show or something else entirely. Your reason for visiting and time in the city will dictate how much time you have available for sightseeing. The most common tourist sights in Barcelona are indicated on the map above. It can be used when you’re in Barcelona to find what is closest to you, wherever you are.
Some of the most popular sights include:
The square at the top of the Ramblas. Plaça Catalunya isn’t so interesting from an architectural point of view, as it is largely blighted by El Corte Ingles depertment store along one side and El Triangle shopping centre opposite. However, it is centrally located and convenient from that point of view.
Often known as “la Rambla”, this famous street stretches down from Plaça Catalunya to the port stretch and in fact consists of five separate ramblas each with its own identity. Although largely taken over by tourists, no visit to Barcelona is really complete without a stroll down the Ramblas.
While walking down the Ramblas you may wish to stop off in Plaça Reial for a drink. At night time it is full of bars, although they tend to cater for tourists rather than locals.
The Port area
The port was refurbished for the 1992 Olympics and it is easy to spend half an hour walking around looking at he boats and the sea.
In the gothic quarter or barri gòtic you’ll find narrow streets, the old city walls and tiny squares with bars. Get lost in the winding streets and stumble upon a restaurant you can call your own.
Bacelona’s gothic cathedral was constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries, although the façade was added in the late 19th century. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Eulalia, one of Barcelona’s patron saints. 13 geese are kept at the cathedral, marking the age at which Eulalia was supposedly martyred by the Romans.
While sometimes referred to as a cathedral, Gaudí’s unfinished Sagrada Familia is a church in his organic style of modernisme, the Catalan version of Art Nouveau.
The “manzana de discordia”
Sticking with Gaudí, walk up Passeig de Gràcia from Plaça Catalunya and you’ll pass a block which has buildings by Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch next to each other.
Continue walking up Passeig de Gràcia towards Avinguda Diagonal and you’ll find Casa Mila, often known as “La Pedrera”.
For more Gaudí goodness head for Parc Güell. There is a small Gaudí museum in a house inspired by the gingerbread house in Hansel and Grettel, but you can easily spend an hour or more walking in the park and the sometimes surprising designs.
Camp Nou stadium/museum
FC Barcelona’s world famous stadium is open to the public during the day. You can visit the museum and, when not being prepared for a match, take the stadium tour. Best of all is watching the club play. You can buy tickets for FC Barcelona from Simply Barcelona Tickets.
Like any big city, Barcelona has its fair share of museums. Here you’ll find the Picaso Museum, the Nacional Museum of Catalan Art, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, the Maritime Museum, Barcelona History Museum and the Joan Miró Foundation among others.
If you’re time is limited a surprisingly good option is the tour bus. You get a good overview of what the city is about and you don’t even need to get off. However, you can get off at any sights you want to explore along the way and hop back on the next tour bus once you’re done. It’s reasonably cheap too.