10 Things to see in BarcelonaWhat to see in Barcelona: our tips to visit the main places of interest of the city, Antoni Gaudi's masterpieces and much more
Barcelona is beyond doubt one of the most beautiful and in great demand European cities. Art, sea and fine cuisine are only some of the ingredients that make the city so special.
It's no coincidence that every year millions of tourists choose it as a holiday destination.
In addition, getting to Barcelona from the Port of Civitavecchia is really easy: in fact, Barcelona is conected every day with Grimaldi Lines ferries, with which you can embark your motorbike or your car and visit Spain on the road.
That's a really interesting alternative to visit the city and surroundings in complete freedom!
But what to see in Barcelona? Which are the main places of interest to visit? Here is our top 10 of the most classic and also alternative itineraries for a trip looking for thrills!
1. SAGRADA FAMILIA
Symbol of the city and absolute masterpiece of Antoni Gaudí, the Sagrada Familia is beyond doubt the most visited attraction of Barcelona. The construction of the building commenced in 1882 and it is still under construction. Construction completion is estimated around 2026, when the current 8 towers will become 18, 12 of which dedicated to the apostles, 4 to the evangelists, one to Holy Mary and one to Christ.
The Sagrada Familia is an absolutely magic place! A continuous surprise at every corner, from the splendid facade, rich in particulars, where among coloured lights and original shapes you will be overwhelmed by a mystic beauty. A must-see!
TIP: book your ticket online to skip the endless tourist queue. Admission fee: €14.00.
2. PARK GÜELL
Another extraordinary masterpiece by brilliant architect Antoni Gaudí is certainly the fantastic Park Güell.
Commisioned by Eusebi Güell in the early 20th century, the park was originally thought as a big garden-city north to Barcelona and it was officially opened to public in 1926, after Gaudí's death.
Enclosed within the 17 hectares of the park are different monuments and attractions, like the famous muticoloured mosaic salamander at the entrance, the Greek Theater with the colourful serpentine bench covered with trecandís, the Hypostile Room also known as Room of the 100 columns, the Casa del Guarda (the porter's residence), today site to to the Barcelona History Museum and the so-called The Laundry Room Portico.
Outside the monumental precinct you can go up to the Turó de Tres Creus (Three Crosses Hill), the highest part of the park to enjoy nice views over the whole city, visit the Gaudí House Museum or the Virolai panoramic viewpoint.
TIP: the park is located to the north of Barcelona and to get there you have to face a steep hill. We recommend to take bus 116 that will take you straight to the entrance. Admission fee: €8.00.
3. CASA BATTLÓ
Casa Batlló is located in the center of Barcelona, a stone's thrown away from the closest metro station. Its colourful façade was decorated by Gaudí with the technique of trecandís, using broken glass and ceramic tiles. This amazing building tells and contains the most visionary ideas of the bright architect.
With its hidden symbols, curved and undulating lines, archs, colours and references to nature, Casa Batllò is a continuous emotion, a real must-see not to be missed. The admission ticket is €21.50 (incuding audioguide), but it's worth the money. The crowning moment of Gaudí's creativity and fantasy are reached with the colourful and fairy-tale ceiling. Fun and wonder are guaranteed for your children!
TIP: visit it during the day at a time when the sun lights the facade and the ceiling, in order to not miss the magic of the plays of light created by the mosaics and coloured panes.
4. CASA MILÀ (LA PEDRERA)
Casa Milà, aka la Pedrera, is located in number 92 of the famous Passeig de Gràcia, not far away from Casa Batlló and it can be easily reached on foot from Plaça Catalunya. The house, built by Antoni Gaudì between 1905 and 1912, commissioned by important businessman Pere Milà i Camps, is among the symbolic buildings of Barcelona.
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this fascining building with characteristic undulating forms will catch you at first sight! The admission ticket (€ 20.50) includes an audioguide to discover the history of the house and the life in early 20th-century Barcelona.
The visit itinerary is organised in four parts: starting from an exhibition room, used for temporary exhibitions, through the rooms of the Milà familiy and the Gaudí Space, a museum about the brilliant architect. The visit concludes at the spectacular rooftop, a fairy-tale place surmounted by chimneys that remind of Medieval guarriors and ventilation ducts with bizzarre organic forms. From here, a beautiful panoramic view of the city can be enjoyed.
TIP: book your ticket online to skip the long queue.
5. PALAU DE LA MÚSICA CATALANA
The Palau de la Música Catalana is a splendid concert venue, example of Catalan Art Noveau. Built at the beginning of the century by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the building is located in the neighborhood Sant Pere close to Via Laietana.
Designed as an open space to live fully, it counts with stained glass panes among the materials used for its construction. The Palau de la Música Catalana is pure fascination and elegance! Once inside, you will feel like you are living in a fairy tale, thanks to its stained glass panes, its sculptures and the light filtering in through the most unexpected corners.
Taste a coffee in the adjacent cafeteria and imagine how well-dressed ladies and gentlemen arrive on board a carriage: you will feel like you are travelling in time, back to the Belle Epoque.
TIP: going to a play or a classical music concert in this building will be a lasting memory you will keep from your visit to Barcelona. This is the only way you will fully appreciate the extraordinary acoustics of this place.
6. LA RAMBLA
La Rambla is no doubt the most popular street in Barcelona, it stretches for 2 km connecting Plaça Catalunya with the big Cristopher Colombus Monument, a stone's thrown away from the sea. It is always heaving with tourists from morning to night, this pedestrian way is the real hub for the movida catalana.
Here you can find everything: restaurants, souvenir shops, flower shops, ice-cream shops, street artists and the famous "human statues" who, in return for a tip, will let you take pictures with them.
TIP: while you walk along la Rambla, stop to visit the Boqueria Market, the most famous and biggest local markets in Catalonia, and the Liceu Theater, the oldest and most prestigious opera-theater in Barcelona.
7. GOTHIC QUARTER AND THE CATHEDRAL
Getting lost in the gothic quarter of Barcelona among laberynthine narrow streets, small shops and many night bars is the best way to discover the most authentic part of the city.
At every corner of this neighbourhood you will find something interesting, and you will surely notice the imposing Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Santa Eulalia, outstanding example of Gothic Art. Visit it in the morning, when admission is also free and you will be taken aback. But how not to mention also Plaça Reial, Plaça Sant Felip Neri, the Church of Santa Maria del Pi and the wonderful Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar.
TIP: what about renting a bike to take a short tour around the neighbourhood? An entertaining and original way to visit the many monuments scattered all over the Gothic Quarter.
With 173 meters of height, a breath-taking panorama and splendid botanical gardens, the Montjuïc Mountain is among the most beautiful places of Barcelona. To discover only a small part of the attractions that this hill has to offer, we recommend to spend there at least a whole day.
The cultural offer of Montjuïc is, in fact, as good as the one of Ciutat Vella thanks to the presence of important museums and monuments like the MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia), the Fundació Joan Miró, the Magic Fountain and obviously the Castle of Montjuïc.
TIP: The most pleasant way to get to the Castle is through the cable car Aeri del Port that will take you directly to the top of the hill.
La Barceloneta is a modern neighborhood which faces out onto the sea. While during the day it offers beaches of fine golden sand, at night it becomes the ideal meeting point for young people, because of all its pubs, bars and open-air clubs, where from cocktail to cocktail you can go on all night until dawn.
After a long day visiting the city, there's nothing better than resting up taking a nice walk along this splendid promenade by the sea, admiring the beautiful panorama, the sunset with huge yachts moored next to the port.
TIP: stop at one of the many fish restaurants scattered along the coastline, among the best restaurants of the city.
To round off your trip perfectly and to make your kids happy we recommend a visit to Tibidabo, a mountain at 500 meters of height, which can be reached with cable car or by bus, the Tibibus.
From up here, not only will you enjoy amazing views over the whole city, but you will also be able to spend a journey having fun thanks to the 25 attractions of the Tibidabo Amusement Park, suitable for both adults and children.
TIP: after having fun at the amusement park, go up to the highest point of mount Tibidabo where you will find the Sagrat Cor Church, a splendid Neo-Gothic church, surmounted by the great bronze sculpture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, symbolically embracing the city from atop the hill.