Barcelona, Spain’s second city, but first in my heart. This coastal wonderland has amazing food, a diverse population, and a relaxed atmosphere. I spent two months in Barcelona last spring/summer and got to see Barcelona from another perspective. From rooftop bars to iconic landmarks, this is all the best things to do in Barcelona.
This list is divided into different neighborhoods throughout Barcelona.
The Gothic Quarter is the center of Barcelona and where the famous La Rambla street is located. This is a big tourist hub and therefore a prime spot for pickpockets. But not to fret, keep your valuables close to you while walking these busy streets, avoid distractions, and you should see no problem. There’s plenty to do and see so here are some of the best things to do in the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona.
Hotel Colón Rooftop
La Boqueria Mercat
Els 4 Gats
This is a bit of a tourist trap and definitely not for everyone but nonetheless a fun spot for anything with an open mind and sense of humor.
Eixample is the Catalan word for ‘expansion’ and was once another small suburb town. The city expanded over time and the neighborhood is now full of amazing shopping streets, restaurants, and some of Antoni Guadí’s most famous masterpieces.
Once of Guadí’s most famous buildings, Casa Batlló welcomes guests year around. The average visit is about an hour. To avoid large crowds come early or an hour before close. Tickets can be purchased online.
Entrance 22€ (save 3€ when you book online)
Passeig de Gràcia
This street is famous for its shops and restaurants. From Adidas to Zara and everything in between, get your shop on at Passeig de Gràcia.
Sant Antoni is a small neighborhood that is part of the Eixample District (have I confused you yet?). It’s the area around the Sant Antoni metro and boarders Poblesec, El Raval, and the neighborhood of Eixample (not to be confused with the district, and if you’re confused, that’s okay!). It’s small but has it’s own marketplace, the main street that hosts festivals and there are some amazing restaurants.
The Mercat de Sant Antoni is the neighborhood’s marketplace for produce, meats, and more. There are also ready to eat food stalls. And if you don’t find everything you need inside there’s a Lidl supermarket on the basement level.
Sésamo is an amazing vegetarian/vegan restaurant. They have a multi-course special that is delicious, at a great price, and includes wine!
Open every Sunday 8:30 am – 2:30 pm, this market is open to book lovers near and far. Score yourself used books at killer prices.
El Raval is an interesting neighborhood, to say the least. This is where I lived during my 2-month stay in Barcelona and I got to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. It can be known as an unsafe area. Nothing bad had ever happened to me but I’ve seen some stuff. Nonetheless, I had some amazing times there. It’s a multicultural city with a large population of immigrants from around the world. It also quite artsy as it’s home to MACBA (the modern art museum) and numerous galleries.
Palau Güell is the former home of the Güell i López family and one of the first important Antoni Gaudí received in his early career. The multilevel home is stunning and full of beautiful details. The rooftop is a picture-perfect spot with amazing views of the city. Palau Güell hosts a free day each month, find out about all the free entrance days in Barcelona here.
MACBA is Barcelona’s contemporary art museum and a popular spot for skateboarders. Go to the museum, hang out, and watch people skating while having some tapas at one of the cafes.
The CCCB is a cultural center that focuses on the challenges of contemporary society through different mediums. The CCCB also hosts film screenings, music events, and more.
Biblioteca de Catalunya
The Biblioteca de Catalunya is one of my favorite gems in El Raval. The library is a fun place to visit for all the bookworms. Then cheap out to the courtyard to hang out and get some fresh air. After, eat at El Jardí, an outdoor cafe that serves up amazing dishes.
As mentioned above, El Jardi’s outdoor space at the Biblioteca de Catalunya is quaint, romantic, and delicious. Come for dinner, drinks, or tapas.
Rambla del Raval
La Rambla de Raval is the neighborhood’s “main street.” It’s made up of lots of bars and restaurants and also home to the giant cat (El Gat de Botero).
Bars on Carrer de Joaquín Costa
Carrer de Joaquín Costa is full of lively bars, restaurants, local shops, and more! The nights bring in a crowd and the bars are usually packed. I recommend checking out 33/45 and Bar Manchester.
Pati Manning Bar
Pati Manning is a cultural center located next door to CCCB. Their bar which is more like a cafe is a great place to grab some coffee. Admire their tiled walls as you sit out in the charming courtyard.
360º at Hotel Barceló Raval
360º is a rooftop bar at the Hotel Barceló Raval with a (you guessed it) 360º view of Barcelona. Come enjoy the views of the beautiful city while sipping on your favorite cocktail. Check out my other blog post for more Barcelona rooftop bars.
Poble Sec is one of Barcelona’s oldest neighborhoods dating back to Roman times. It’s located between Montjüic, the port, and Sant Antoni. It is a residential area however despite not being in the heart of the city center is still quite lively!
Jam Circus is a cultural association that promotes the arts. Come in to check out unique entertainment including cool musical performances and more.
Carrer Blai is a street famously known for its tapas bars. It can be a bit touristy but not overcrowded. Bars and restaurants serve up tapas starting at 1€.
Parc de les Xemeneies
Come to Parc de les Xemeneies if you’re a fan of cool street art. It’s probably the best place to see street art that’s still walking distance from the city center. It’s also a skate park so come for the skateboarding or to check out the skaters at play.
Montjüic is a residential neighborhood set on the foothills. It’s home to some of Barcelona’s best attraction and its elevation makes for amazing views. The lush area is full of public gardens, museums, a castle, and more.
The Fundació Joan Miró is an art museum featuring some of Miró’s works also with contemporary art pieces. It was created by Miró himself and designed by architect, Josep Lluís Sert.
Restaurant La Font del Gat
La Font del Gat is a restaurant a stone throw away from Fundació Joan Miró. It has a lovely terrace that is surrounded by the Jardins de Laribal.
Jardins de Joan Maragall is one of the lovely gardens of Montjüic. Entrance is free but do check the timetables as it is only open on the weekends and holidays.
If you’re a succulent lover head to Jardins de Mossen! The garden is Europe’s largest specializing in cacti and succulents. Come for the biodiversity and the views.
For the ones who like things that are slightly creepy head to Montjüic cemetery. This cemetery is historic and full of amazing headstones, statues, mausoleums and more.
Did you there’s an Olympic Stadium in Barcelona? Construction for the stadium began back in 1927 in preparation for the 1929 International Expo. Then it was renovated in 1989 for the 1992 Summer Olympics. It’s open for tours and there are special events such as concerts held here as well.
Once you’re at the top of Montjüic you can take the cable car for even more incredible views of the city. The Cable car has a midway stop at the Mirador station where you can get and visit the Mirador de l’Alcald.
The Magic Fountain of Montjüic is a water, light and music show at the famous Montjüic Fountain. Shows take place on certain nights of the week depending on the season so it’s important to check the website to check showtimes.
Montjüic Castle (Castell de Montjüic)
At the top of Montjüic hill and just above the cable car entrance, lies Montjüic Castle. From up here, you can get a 360º view of the city. The castle has a long history dating back to the 1600s.
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is the national art museum and probably the grandest museum in the entire city. At the footsteps of the museum, you’ll find the Magic Fountain of Montjüic. The museum is open every Tuesday – Sunday.
Gràcia is one of the more local neighborhoods in Barcelona that is still close to the city center. It’s home to Park Güell, one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona. It used to be a completely separate city but as Barcelona grew it became a part of it. The neighborhood is full of life and culture. A visit to Gràcia is a must when coming to Barcelona.
Casa Vicens is Gaudí’s first masterpiece and still a slightly underrated attraction. The home was built for the Vicens family and is now open to the public. This home is an architectural marvel with so many intricate details.
TIP: regular admission is 16€ but on Mondays, it’s reduced to 10€ and there’s a free day on May 22, Santa Rita Day
Carrer Gran de Gàrcia
If you’re getting off the metro more than likely you’ll walk onto Gran de Gràcia. This busy street is full of shops and is one of the main streets in the Gràcia neighborhood.
Plaça Del Diamant
Plaça Del Diamant is a local hot spot so if you want to hang with the locals, this is where to do it. This plaza is full of life, restaurants, terraces, and more! Gràcia has a long history and you can see a piece of it by visiting the former Spanish Civil War underground bomb shelters. You’ll have to reserve in advance.
Park Güell is one of the most iconic attractions of Barcelona. This park is set at the top of a hill in the Gràcia neighborhood and offers amazing views. The park itself is free but the “regulated zone” is by ticket only during opening hours.
TIP: enter the “regulated zone” for free before the opening hours or after it closes.
Gràcia Latina is a cozy bar that hosts amazing musical events including salsa, bachata, flamenco, and more!
Casa Gràcia is an upscale hostel that hosts amazing events. Come for spoken word, comedy shows, and musical events in their downstairs “vault-style” bar and in other spaces in the facility.
Poblenou is an up and coming neighborhood that is still quite industrial. It’s a lot quieter than other neighborhoods but has so much to offer. From the beach to the art, to the co-working spaces, Poblenou is the perfect place to work and play!
This is the second cemetery on the list and I’m sure that might sound creepy to some but I promise you it’s mainly because of the history and architecture. This Neoclassical and Neo-Gothic cemetery has amazing things to see such as the “Petó de la mort” (Kiss of Death) statue.
A visit to Poblenou isn’t complete without a street art tour. With abandoned spaces and redevelopment Poblenou has been a street artists’ canvas. Take a self-tour around Parc del Centre del Poblenou
Want to head to a nearby beach in Barcelona but want to get away from the street vendors and huge crowds? Head to Bogatell Beach!
The Palo Alto Market is an outdoor cultural market that happened each first weekend of the month. Come for the food and drinks, and stay for the shopping and musical events.
The El Clot neighborhood is small in size but is home to the largest flea market. It’s part of the Sant Martí district and close by the famous Sagrada Familia. It’s a great spot for shopping since it’s where the Centro Comercial Glories, big shopping mall is located.
Mercat Els Encants
Mercat Els Encants is Barcelona’s largest flea market and known worldwide. It’s open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 9 am – 8 pm and there’s a public antique auction every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 am – 9:30 am.
El Born is a trendy neighborhood with a booming nightlife. However, it’s not just an evening scene because there’s plenty to do and see. From leisurely walks in the park to have a tapas crawl, there’s something for everyone in El Born.
Museu Picasso is a museum dedicated to Picasso himself. Born in Málaga, Spain but a resident of Barcelona for some time, Picasso’s art lives on. Many of the paintings were made here in Barcelona where you can see them on display.
Parc de la Ciutadella
Parc de la Ciutadella is one of my favorite parks. It’s absolutely a lovely place for a picnic. You can easily spend the day walking around or sunbathing.
There’s no shortage of bars in El Born. With a vibrant nightlife, El Born is a great place to hang out and drink with friends. Walk down the Passeig del Born day or night for fun bars, food, and more.
The Palau de la Música Catalana is a stunning building. I recommend taking their guided tour and seeing the inside. Or you can also watch a performance there.
Mosquito Tapas is a cozy restaurant that serves up Asian tapas. They are defiantly one of my favorite non-Spanish tapas restaurants in Barcelona.
Arc de Triomf
There’s an Arc de Triomf in Barcelona? Yes, this landmark originally served as the gateway forth 1888 Universal Exhibition. Today it still stands tall in front of the Parc de la Ciutadella, ready for all the selfie-loving tourists 🙂
Sagrada Familia is a small neighborhood that welcomes millions of visitors each year to one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks.
Sagrada Familia is stunning, the view from the park (plaza de Gaudí) across the way gives you a better view. The inside is beautiful but do book ahead of time so you don’t have to wait in any lines.
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista was once a hospital and now a museum open to the public. It’s a bit under the radar since it isn’t so close to the city center. Visit this Modernisme wonder anytime or during one of their FREE entrance days.
Self-guided visit: 15 €
Guided visit: 20 €
Barceloneta is the beloved beach neighborhood of Barcelona. It’s home to Barcelona Beach and Platja de Sant Sebastià, the W Hotel, the port, and so much more! Rain or shine, you’ll always find people flocking to Barceloneta (but even more so on the sunny days for obvious reasons). Come for the tan lines and stay for a mojito on the beach.
Barceloneta Beach and Platja de Sant Sebastià
Barceloneta Beach and Platja de Sant Sebastià are the two closest beaches to the city center so they do get rather packed on sunny weather days. This busy beach gets very busy so plan accordingly!
Hotel Arts Rooftop bar
If you’re a fan of rooftop bars then Hotel Arts is not to be missed. With an infinity pool overlooking the beach, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset while drinking a glass of cava.
Outside the city center
There’s so much to do outside the city center that you can still get to in less than an hour metro ride or bus ride. If you have more than a couple of days in Barcelona definitely visit at least one of the amazing places, beat the crowds of the city and enjoy!
The Les Corts neighborhood is where soccer dreams are made. If you’re a soccer fan then a visit here to Camp Nou is a must!
Camp Nou is home to FC Barcelona, the world famous soccer club of Barcelona. Get a stadium tour at the Camp Nou Experience or come see Messi in action at a game.
Bunkers del Carmel
Want a picture-perfect panoramic view of Barcelona? Head to Bunkers del Carmel! The once Spanish Civil War bunkers are now a place to see the city, watch the sunset, and sip wine with friends while doing it.
“Years ago I was backpacking across western Europe….” If you’re a Friends fan then you totally caught the reference. Tibidabo is a wealthy neighborhood in Barcelona and more famously where Tibidabo Mountain is located. There’s a theme park, a mountain for hiking and biking, and wonderful views.
Mount Tibidabo isn’t a strenuous hike by any means but there are tons of trails that will take you around and up top to the mountain. It’s a great place to get away from the busy city and be with nature.
Parc D’Atraccions Tibidabo
Parc D’Atraccions Tibidabo is an amusement park at the top of Mount Tibidabo. You can enter the panoramic portion of the park for free or if you’d like to stay in the get on the rides there are tickets for that as well.
Mirablau is a restaurant with a panorama view. You can sit inside near the windows or on the terrace.
Horta is another neighborhood that is away from the crowds. It is still well connected to the city center by metro so the commute isn’t very long.
Want to get lost? The Laberint d’Horta is a beautiful garden with a maze. You can walk around the gardens then head to the labyrinth to get a little lost. It’s also fun to people watch from the top of the stairs.
Free entrance on Wednesdays and Sundays
Regular admission 2.23€
I hope you enjoyed this “things to do in Barcelona” guide. If you want to save this list with over 60 things to do in Barcelona for later, please Pin it!