The ten best things to do in Barcelona
If you are looking for a great place for a city break or a longer stay to soak up some Catalan sun, then Barcelona is the place for you.
Barcelona can get crowded, especially in the high season and at New Year and there are great rail and air links to get here.
Barcelona has some of the most unique and amazing architecture in the world and there are some great parks to just chill out in, but you must try some of the local sites and scenes.
There are many buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi, which are unique, to say the least, there is the Casa Batiló, the Parc Güel, le palais San Jordi, La Sagrada Familia (which always appeaers to be undergoing renovation).
The world-famous Boqueria market for Tapas at Chez Quim, just of Las Ramblas, the port, the beach at Barcolenta if you just want to have a meal and enjoy the sun and sea.
just watch out for pickpockets and thieves here, as there a loads of them and never leave any valuables, such as money, purses, wallets, telephones or cameras on the tables in an outside bar as thieves swoop unbelievably quickly and run off with valuables.
At night, the Gothic Quarter comes alive with some great restaurants and Tapas bars, and if you are a footbal fan, there is FC BArcelona, where you can catch a top-flight match at the Camp Nou Stadium – that’s if you can get a ticket.
Here are a list of 15 things to do and see in this beautiful city:
1. Barcelona Cathedral
In the Barri Gòtic, the gothic quarter, Barcelona cathedral, built between the 13th and 15th century, it is a beautiful cathedral in a pretty cool place, although there are a mix of tacky souvenir shops outside, intermingled with some nice craft shops. In the cloisters, there is a nice tropical garden. You can walk up to the roof to get a great view over the city, but if you go to the hotel opposite, they have a rooftop bar with a great view of the city and the cathedral and you can enjoy it over a cool drink. The hotel also has a lift to take you to the top too.
2. Parc Güel
Just a short distance outside the city is the pretty freaky Parc Güel – easy to get by bus or taxi. Built on a hil overlooking the city, with the crazy architecture of Antoni Gaudi, modelled on English gardens that made an impression on Gaudi – incidentally Güel means ‘English’ in Catalan and Gaudy in English means over-fancy – go figure. The parc was originally meant to be a rich-person’s housing project, but it was abandoned and Gaudi filled it with his creations. The parc is big, around 17 hectares and is up and down, so get your walking shoes on!
3. Las Ramblas
The main street running from Place de Catalunya down to the port, which is a lively area, especially after a win by FC Barcelona. There are a lot of tourist restaurants along here, which appear to be gradually taken over by Bangladeshis. If you are looking for something good to eat, leave the Ramblas and head off into one of the myriad side alleys and you will surely find some great little restaurants. Just next to teh University is a small café/bar that serves some great tapas, always fresh and very cheap.
4. Mercat de Sant Josep de La Boqueria (La Boqueria)
Probably one of the best and most atmospheric markets we have ever been to, dating back to the 19th century, this place has stood the test of time. The produce here is just out of this world, from fruit & veg, juices, hams, cheese, fish & seafood,Salt cod (bacalao). The market is open from 8am to 8:30 pm from Monday to Saturday and is one of the best places to get some Spanish specialities and for a fantastic tapas lunch,go to Chez Quim in the market, but be prepared to wait for a seat as it is very popular, justly. Try some of their seafood with garlic mayonnaise, padron (fried reen peppers), tortilla, croquetas, patatas bravas, jambon Iberica or Pata Negra hams, washed down with a nice Spanish wine. The seating is informal, around the kiosk, looking directly into the place where the food is freshly cooked.
5. La Sagrada Familia
designed and built in the typical style that he has become famous for, Antoni Gaudi worked on this building from the 1880s up to his death in 1926, but it wasn’t finished when he died and it still seems to be that way. The area is flooded with tourist busses and is often closed, but just a look around is almost enough, it is very impressive building which remains emblematic of both Gaudi’s style of architecture and the city of Barcelona.
6. La Casa Mila
Situated on the intersection of Caro d’Arago and the Passeig de Gracia, Casa Mila was designed by Antoni Gaudí, and is considered one of his masterpieces. A remodel of a previously built house, it was redesigned in by Gaudi and is a fascinating example of his work, especially at night when it is lit up – it is a desinated UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are some really nice bars and restaurants in the vicinity, as well as some of the chic shops of Barcelona.
7. Barceloneta Beach
A great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, although don’t expect a deserted beach. There are some really good restaurants and bars near here, the tourist ones are nearest the beach, but just walk a little away from the beach and there are some really good, traditional Spanish restauurants – just look for those that are full of Spanish people to get a measure of what is available.
8. The Church of Santa Anna (Esglesia de Santa Anna)
You will not be bothered by tourists here, even though this ancient church is just a couple of minutes walk from Las Ramblas, tucked away in a small plaza, Plaza Ramon Amadeu. The church dates back to a monastery that was here in the 12th century, this can be seen from inside (entrance fee €2) where cloisters and the Chapter house are still intact. Well wroth a visit though.
9. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Even the walk up to the national museum of Catalan visual art is majestic, with wide stairways and fountains, on Montjuïc hill at the end of Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, near Pl Espanya. The museum, one of the largest museums in Spain, houses an outstanding collection of romanesque church paintings, and for Catalan art and design from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including modernisme and noucentisme. The museum is in the Palau Nacional, a huge, Italian-style building built 1929.
10. Place de Catalunya
The Plaça de Catalunya is a large square in central Barcelona that is generally considered to be both its city centre and the place where the old city, Barri Gòtic and Raval, in Ciutat Vella and the 19th century-built Eixample meet. Some of the city’s most important streets and avenues meet at Plaça Catalunya: Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya, La Rambla, and Portal de l’Àngel, Ronda de Sant Pere, Carrer de Vergara, and Carrer de Pelai. The plaza occupies an area of about 50,000 square metres. It is especially known for its fountains and statues, its proximity to some of Barcelona’s most popular attractions, but it is also a nice place to have a coffee or a cool drink and watch the world go by before starting out to one of the many attractions nearby.