Barcelona is one of those cities that routinely pops up on lists of the best places in the world to visit. And that’s for good reason; this city on the Mediterranean has a little bit of everything, from stunning architecture to beautiful scenery to a slew of cultural offerings both modern and historical. On top of that, it has a strong tradition of wonderful food.
So, are you tempted to pop over to the Catalan capital yet? Whether you need a bit more convincing or already have your tickets at the ready, here are ten of the very best things to do in Barcelona.
Some things to do in Barcelona
Enjoy being on the shores of the Mediterranean
Whether you’re a beach bunny or not, there’s something refreshing about being able to access the seafront from the city center. A stroll by the beach is the perfect finishing touch to a meal or after a long day of sightseeing. You can also spend a lazy day relaxing on the sand and occasionally dipping into the Med to refresh yourself. Ahh!
If you love the beach, try Patricia’s Catalan menu served atop a boat in Barcelona’s Olympic port. You’ll get to enjoy all sorts of local specialties and some fantastic views at the same time.
If you’re a lover of the arts, then Barcelona offers enough museums to keep you more than busy for a few days. Try the world-famous Picasso museum, the quirky Fundació Miró or the contemporary MACBA and CCCB. Whatever your preferred art style is, Barcelona has a museum for you!
Are you an artsy type? Illustrator and street artist Elisa hosts a brunch full of art in her home and workshop.
Explore La Boqueria market
A must-see for anybody with even a remote interest in food, La Boqueria is a massive market that provides a feast for all of your senses. There are seemingly endless stalls overflowing with the freshest and best products that the area has to offer. Linger a little longer and enjoy a few tapas at the famous El Quim de la Boqueria.
If you’d love to cook with some of La Boqueria’s tastiest ingredients yourself, take Ravi’s Boqueria Market tour followed up with a cooking class where you’ll learn how to make a 3-course Mediterranean feast.
Soak in the sun at the Ciutadella Park
This gorgeous green expanse lies just next to the trendy Born district, though the very best way to access it is by strolling through the grand Arc de Triomf, lined with intricate lampposts and skinny palm trees. There always seems to be something going on here, whether it’s a festival or celebration or just a bunch of friends hanging out and playing music.
After an afternoon in the sun, see what locals live like in the area. Ana hosts a Catalan menu in her pretty patio filled with flowers just a stone’s throw away from the park.
Gaudí, Gaudí, Gaudí
Yes, Mr. Gaudí (or, should we say, Señor Gaudí) appears on just about every list of what you have to do in Barcelona. But that’s because his architecture truly is like nothing else you’ve seen. Stop by the Sagrada Família and Parc Güell, or take a stroll on the elegant Passeig de Gràcia to see Casa Battle and La Pedrera.
Can’t get enough Gaudí? Manuel’s Dreams of Gaudí menu is the experience for you! The menu changes every week, and it’s always creative and delicious.
Drink up, Barcelona style
Your food is only half the story when it comes to eating here. You’ll also want a glass of something special to accompany your meal. Whet your appetite before you sit down to eat with a glass of vermouth, or order a bottle of wine from the nearby Penedés region. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, bubbly cava is a must!
Barcelona-born Eva and Olga will teach you everything you need to know about enjoying vermouth, wine, and cava with their market fresh meal of Catalan cuisine.
Ramble on Las Ramblas
Arguably the most famous street in all of Spain, there is always something going on on Las Ramblas. This long tree-lined avenue stretches from Plaça Catalunya down to the harbor, and along the way you’ll find vendors selling all sorts of wares, street performers, artists hard at work, and occasionally a market or two. Stop off halfway down in Plaça Real for a scenic break.
In the area? Sample a tasting menu cooked by professional chef Carlos just a quick walk away from the Ramblas and enjoy being surprised in great company with The Wonderful Illusions Night experience.
Experience Olympic history at Montjuïc
The 1992 Olympics literally transformed the landscape of Barcelona, and you can still visit many of the installations created for the Games at Montjuïc, the highlight of which is the swimming pool that overlooks the cityscape. Even if you’re not fascinated by sports, Montjuïc is also stuffed with parks, gardens, and museums, and is where you’ll find some fabulous views of the city below.
Bonus: For extra sporty fans, consider a visit to Barcelona’s temple of football, Camp Nou, as well.
Enjoy views of Montjuïc from a local’s home with chef Manuel’s organic vegan dinner, which he can tailor to your needs.
Sample Catalan culture – and flavors
Many locals will tell you that Barcelona and its home region of Catalonia isn’t really Spain. There are plenty of traditions here that you’ll only find in Catalonia, such as the thrilling correfocs (fire runs) and the romantic Diada de Sant Jordi, dedicated to books and love.
Get a taste for Catalan food yourself with Ascanio’s rooftop fusion tapas dinner, which mixes traditional Catalan flavors with other dishes from around the Mediterranean. Her pan amb tomaquet, a Catalan specialty, gets rave reviews!
Get lost in the old city center
Walking really is the best way to discover Barcelona’s old city center. It’s often also the only way, as there’s not enough space for cars to wind their way through the labyrinthine old streets. This means it’s the perfect place to feel like you’ve stepped back in time, a feeling enhanced by the wonderful surprises around every corner.
Rico & Irene serve a gourmet meal consisting of five elegant tapas in the old city center. He’s a chef who’s worked in multiple Michelin star restaurants, so you know you’re in good hands here!
And those are our recommendations of things to do in Barcelona. Have you been here already? Tell us about your foodie experiences!