What To See in Barcelona?
No matter where you look in Barcelona, you’re bound to find something fascinating. From historic Catalan architecture to modern art, and from parks to markets, this beautiful city holds treasures for everyone. If you’re stuck trying to figure out what to see in Barcelona, this guide is for you.
The Art and History of Barcelona
When you talk about Barcelona today, you would be hard pressed to separate the city’s history from its art. The reason it’s impossible to separate them is because the art is a display of the past. And history is the voice of the art.
The most famous artist to hail from Barcelona was the architect Antoni Gaudi. His works are intricate, beautiful, and otherworldly. They tie Barcelona’s Muslim history with Catalonian Art Nouveaux.
Today, Barcelona and its surrounding areas boast no less than 9 World Heritage Sites as designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. These heritage sites are both historical and artistic.
Gaudi began the design and development for Parc Güell in 1900. Eusebi Güell envisioned a private park for wealthy families, similar to such parks in Great Britain. But as plans for the park evolved, it became a private garden used for public events.
The city of Barcelona purchased the park 1922 and opened it to the public four years later. The park boasts breathtaking views of Barcelona and beautiful Mediterranean gardens. While you’re in the park, be sure to visit The Gaudi House Museum. And you’ll have to see the mosaics to believe them.
Antoni Gaudi designed the sensational Palau Güell in the Art Nouveau style for which he’s famous. Gaudi’s imagination worked overtime to create intricate details and brilliant solutions to fit the unique needs of the Güell family.
Palau Guell offers you the sights of unusual architecture, wonderful bits of history, and incredible mosaics. You’ll always remember your trip to this amazing palace!
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without seeing the phenomenal Casa Milà. This one of a kind building is the pinnacle of Gaudi’s artwork. For a special treat, the “Awakening of La Pedrera” tour allows you to enter Casa Milà in the early morning to watch the natural elements of the building awaken in the rising sunlight.
If you want a unique tour but morning isn’t your thing, the night tour offers a visual show rich with lighting and projections set to a soundtrack. Discover how Gaudi’s nature appears to live and move differently in all the changing lights.
The colorful Casa Vicens was the first house built by Antoni Gaudi. Only recently restored and opened to the public, it is already gaining popularity among tourists.
The house’s architecture was influenced heavily by Middle Eastern culture, yet still retains the color and symbols for which Gaudi is known and loved.
As you go about deciding what to see in Barcelona, there’s one thing you won’t be able to help to see. The Sagrada Familia dominates the Barcelona skyline. The Sagrada Familia stands proudly as one of the iconic views in Barcelona. This enormous church stands over 45 stories tall and boasts numerous spires.
From a distance, the Sagrada Familia church appears to be a steep mountain. But when you’re right up on it, it’s an architectural feat that’s unbeatable. The intricate details seem impossible in scope.
No great architectural accomplishment is finished in a day, and Sagrada Familia is no different. Construction began in 1882 and is scheduled to end sometime around 2026.
The 080 Fashion Parade
If you think the only art found in Barcelona is architecture, you’re sadly mistaken! The 080 Fashion Parade is an ultra-hip five-day celebration of trends. The fashion parade gives Barcelona’s edgy creativity a chance to shine.
The 080 Fashion Parade is held twice a year in different locations throughout Barcelona. If you are near the city in January or July, don’t miss out on this unique event.
As you walk through the city, be sure take in the historical sights that peek proudly out from unexpected places.
What we know today as the city of Barcelona started in about 10 BC as a Roman colony. As you walk through the streets of Barcelona, if you look carefully you’ll notice hints of the city’s Roman past. Such hints present pictures of Roman times. At the corner of Carrer del Bisbe, you’ll see what’s left of an old Roman wall.
There are still many Roman artifacts and structures scattered around the city, especially around the Gothic Quarter.
The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Situated firmly in Montjuic Park, The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is brimming with activities. You can view the city of Barcelona from an ultra –high vantage point, play games, learn about art, research, or relax and enjoy the sights.
There are several fascinating collections to see, including a selection of Medieval and Gothic art, an impressive display of Roman artifacts from the city, Modern art, and photography. It will take a while to view everything inside the museum, so be sure you give yourself plenty of time.
Although Barcelona is a bustling city, you’ll find plenty of gardens to unwind in. There are an abundance of parks and gardens scattered throughout the city. These aren’t the
El Parc de MontJuïc
El Parc de MontJuïc, translating in English to MontJuic Park, sits on a 580-foot hill facing the sea. It’s a lush and beautiful park with numerous fountains, gardens, and waterfalls throughout its sprawling space. You can sit back and enjoy nature, get involved in a quick sport, or play games.
The city’s history is entangled tightly with the hill’s history, and the curiosity regarding the name is a testament to that history. MontJuïc could be translated as “Jewish mountain” in the Catalan language of medieval days. The presence of a Jewish cemetery seems to support that interpretation.
You have to see “Jewish Mountain” for yourself. It’s not just a small hillside garden by any means. It is home to two of the best museums in the city. While you’re at the top of the mountain, be sure to take in the sights of the town below.
If you like the idea of going where there’s no sign of humanity, you’ll love the virgin Mediterranean forest land of the Collserola range. The range is a protected wildlife area that’s host to a vast array of plants.
While the people love and use Collserola for its abundant gifts, they also respect it in a way that’s unusual for urban areas. The people educate one another about the importance of cherishing and maintaining the area. Even where Collserola range meets residential areas, it merges so gently that it’s as if the landscape changes entirely in only one footstep.
Parc del Laberint
If you’re in need of quiet refuge, the best place to be in Barcelona is the Parc del Laberint. This serene spot of heaven is the oldest garden in the city. The park is rarely crowded, so it’s the perfect place to go if you want to read or think in peace.
Torre Soberana is a 14th century country hours located inside the Parc del Laberint. Restored in the 1800s, it offers a charming view of ancient Barcelona history.
While you’re at the Parc del Laberint, take time to explore the maze and wander through the gardens. Don’t leave until you’ve seen the waterfall!
As you stroll through the streets of Barcelona, you will no doubt stumble across a market or two. There are several street markets from which to choose.
The best-known market is probably La Boqueria market right in the heart of the city. The colorful displays of produce will make your mouth water - even while the pungent smell of seafood tickles your nose.
You’ll find much more than just groceries at La Boqueria. There are fresh flowers, crafts, and fully prepared foods as well. With an impressive layout of market stands, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for a La Boqueria.
The Artisan Fair, as it’s translated in English is held on the first Friday of every month. It’s the place to be if you like hand-crafted products. High-quality goods from local artisans fly off the shelves at the Artisan Fair.
You may hear locals refer to Fira Artesana as the “honey market” because it’s famous for providing many homemade products created with honey. The Artisan Fair is also well known for hand-crafted cheeses.
You Pick What to See in Barcelona
As a city so full of opportunities, you’ll never have to look far to figure out what to see in Barcelona. If anything, you’ll have more things to discover than time will allow.
The city is full of historical sites and architectural victories. Art and culture abound, having been fertilized by some of the richest histories on the planet. You can explore beautiful gardens, discover hidden waterfalls, and wind your way out of charming country mazes – all without ever leaving the city.
Come here to see the sights, enjoy the culture, and learn the history.