Millions upon millions of tourists visit Barcelona every year, making it one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. Why, then, does that make it so well-liked? In fact, it provides practically everything a traveler might want. The place is rich in history and culture and has all the makings of a dream vacation spot: convenient transportation, pleasant temperatures, beautiful beaches and surrounding mountains, lively nightlife, and delicious regional food.
In addition to being a cultural hub, it is a fantastic place to go sightseeing because of all the famous landmarks you can find there. Barcelona is a city with many options, suitable for families, couples, and solo travelers alike.
Top 17 attractions in Barcelona, Spain
Here are the top Barcelona attractions that visitors can’t miss if they come to the Catalan capital:
- Basílica de la Sagrada Família
- Parc Guell
- La Rambla
- Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter)
- Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music)
- La Pedrera-Casa Milà
- Casa Batlló
- Museu Picasso de Barcelona
- Camp Nou
- Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
- La Barceloneta
- La Boqueria Market
- Fundació Joan Miró
- Monastery of Pedralbes
- Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Cathedral of Barcelona)
- Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
- Poble Espanyol
Basílica de la Sagrada Família
Over 2.8 million tourists visit La Sagrada Familia every year, making it one of Barcelona’s top attractions. The massive and ornate basilica was created by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. As of today, 138 years after construction began, architects are still hard at work. Estimates place the structure’s end date at some point in the next 30 years. It’s worth noting that, as Gaudi envisioned, this stunning basilica has been built entirely via charity donations.
There are elements of Art Nouveau, Gothic, and Catalan Modernism, among others, in the design of La Sagrada Familia. Gaudi’s initial concept for the temple had space for 13,00 worshippers. Averse to straight lines, he took inspiration from the summits of Montserrat Mountain, located just outside Barcelona, and gave his towers the same irregular contours.
This structure is a must-study for every architectural enthusiast. In the drawings, there are a total of 18 spires, which stand for the 18 disciples of Jesus Christ: the Master, His Mother, the Four Evangelists, and the Four Angels. Some of these towers are currently under construction, while others are accessible to the general public.
Also, the plan asks for the structure to have three different outside walls. There is the east-facing Nativity Facade, the west-facing Passion Facade, and the south-facing Glory Façade. In 1930, construction on the Nativity Facade ended. They haven’t finished building the Passion Façade or the Glory Façade yet.
Gaudi anticipated that his masterwork would not be finished in his lifetime, and he designed it accordingly. In this way, he hoped that each succeeding generation might focus on a certain component of its construction. The last touches are being made on this stunning church, and once they are, Gaudi’s dream will become a reality.
- Address: C/ de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain.
- Timings: every day from 9 am to 6 pm.
This has to be one of Antoni Gaudi’s most renowned masterpieces, and it’s surely one of the most iconic structures and top attractions in Barcelona with La Casa Batlló and La Pedrera. Gaudi was responsible for much of the planning and landscape design for what was supposed to be a residential property development in the region.
Two homes were constructed on the lot before it was sold to the city of Barcelona and transformed into a park. The architect’s other works, including the iconic Salamander sculpture, may also be found there. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, with breathtaking views over the city.
- Address: 08024 Barcelona, Spain.
- Timings: every day from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm.
La Rambla, a broad, tree-shaded avenue that splits the Old Town in two, is where the majority of Barcelona’s social activity takes place. Start in Plaça de Catalunya, where the stunning Romanesque Convent of Santa Anna from the 12th century sits, then walk all the way down to the harbor, and you’ll be on La Rambla.
The wide walkways on this street attract a lot of people since it is home to some of the city’s best stores, restaurants, and outdoor cafes.
Throughout the day, the Mercat de la Boqueria is bustling, with locals conducting their regular shopping. Evening paseos (strolls) on La Rambla are popular activities, with groups of friends and families out to enjoy the warm weather and festive atmosphere. Improvised street acts such as music or mime may be presented to passers-by on various days.
Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter)
You can’t possibly talk about Barcelona’s top attractions and not mention its Gothic Quarter. The Gothic Quarter has served as the city’s religious and cultural epicenter for over a thousand years. Ancient Roman ruins may still be seen here; however, most of the historical sites in this area date back to the Middle Ages.
Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia, the Gothic Quarter’s highlight, was mostly constructed during the 13th and 15th centuries. There is a maze of little streets and alleys radiating out from the church.
Visitors may explore the neighborhood’s charming shops and eateries as they stroll the neighborhood’s limited pedestrian pathways. Being lost here will allow tourists to fully experience the enchanted atmosphere of a medieval realm untouched by modern transportation.
Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music)
In the Palau de la Musica Catalana, people come not just to hear performances but also to look at the venue’s extravagant decor. The glass dome of the main music hall makes the building’s facade pale in comparison.
The Palau de la Musica Catalana, which opened in the early 1900s and featured stained glass windows and towering chandeliers, is a popular tourist attraction in Barcelona. Others have said that the interior of the ancient hall looks like the decoration of a Faberge egg. A smaller, more contemporary, and understatedly lavish hall.
- Address: C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
La Pedrera-Casa Milà
Casa Milà, located in the Eixample neighborhood just off the chic Passeig de Gràcia promenade, is Antoni Gaud’s most well-known secular architecture and is recognized worldwide as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. La Pedrera, or “The Stone Quarry,” is another name for Casa Milà because of its resemblance to a quarry.
This extravagantly avant-garde home, constructed between 1906 and 1912, is less a home and more a work of art. Each and every one of the windows and balcony railings is rounded off and the natural stone exterior is completely smooth and undulating. The roof itself features undulating lines, and the chimneys provide a decorative touch.
A beautiful wrought-iron gate welcomes visitors to the building from the Carrer de Provença and opens onto a cobblestone courtyard. The building’s structural integrity is attested to by the ribbed arches Gaud specifically created to sustain weight.
- Address: Pg. de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona, Spain.
- Timings: every day from 9 am to 10 pm.
It is hard to describe Casa Batllo in words, as it feels like it just came out of a cartoon! Casa Batllo, a landmark structure by Antoni Gaudi, is a kaleidoscope of styles, materials, and hues, and it sure is one of the best attractions in Barcelona.
There is a big dome shaped like an onion, like those seen atop mosques, as well as a colorful, undulating tile roof and several sculptures. Gaudi transformed a 19th-century structure into Casa Batllo, sometimes known as the “home of bones” due to the several jaws shown on a single sculpture. It was a house like no other, yet most people probably wouldn’t want to live there.
- Address: Pg. de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain.
- Monday to Friday from 9 am to 8:30 pm.
- Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 10 pm.
Museu Picasso de Barcelona
The Museu Picasso has about 4,000 pieces by the Spanish modernist painter, making it one of the world’s largest collections of Picasso’s work. This museum is one of the top attractions to visit in Barcelona.
The bond that Picasso had with the city of Barcelona, one that began when he was a young man and remained until his death, is one that is revealed in the exhibits at the Museu Picasso. Five medieval mansions in Barcelona’s La Ribera neighborhood serve as the museum’s home.
- Address: C/. de Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
- Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.
- Closed on Mondays.
Camp Nou is a must-visit for football (soccer) fans, much as the Catalan Modernism structures are for architectural enthusiasts, and it is also one of Barcelona’s top attractions. Camp Nou, the current home of FC Barcelona, was a site for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. It has 99,354 seats and is the second-biggest stadium in the world.
Bilingual Official FC Barcelona Guides lead visitors around Camp Nou. The tours are available in English and Spanish and focus on key areas of the stadium, such as the playing field, the team’s changing room, the players’ tunnel, and the commentators’ boxes.
Barça Museum visits are also a part of the guided trips. Among the many displays in the Barça Museum are films of FC Barcelona’s game-winning goals, as well as trophies, pictures, and other content.
- Address: C. d’Arístides Maillol, 12, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The Font Màgica is a magical fountain in Barcelona’s Plaça d’Espanya and Poble Espanyol neighborhood, just below the Palau Nacional on Montjuc Hill. Built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition, the fountain is typical of the architectural style of the time.
Hundreds of people gather to enjoy the fountain’s stunning light, water, and music show in the evenings when it gets activated, as it is one of Barcelona’s top attractions. Simultaneously, the Palau National is lit up, making for a stunning backdrop.
- Address: Pl. de Carles Buïgas, 1, 08038 Barcelona, Spain.
- Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm.
- Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm.
- Closed on Mondays.
The old fishing village of La Barceloneta, which is now a seaside neighborhood of Barcelona, is right next to the cruise port. It is right next to the long and wide Sant Sebastià Beach, where local residents go to enjoy the beach, surf, and meet up with friends at the many seafood restaurants and tapas bars that look out over the water.
At Sant Sebastià Beach, you’ll find everything from lifeguards to public bathrooms to showers to sports facilities to booths selling ice cream and snacks. At the Sant Sebastià Beach neighborhood, you’ll find a lengthy promenade lined with palm trees that leads to yacht-filled marinas.
Moreover, La Barceloneta is home to the world-famous Barceloneta Beach. There are lifeguards, public bathrooms, changing rooms, baths, lounge chair and sun umbrella rentals, food and beverages, ice cream stalls, places for recreational activities (such as beach volleyball and ping pong), and eateries at this beach. This fascinating neighborhood is, without a doubt, one of Barcelona’s top attractions.
La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria Market, a vibrant market and popular tourist attraction in Barcelona, is a veritable paradise for foodies. The market’s origins can be traced all the way back to 1297, when it began as a meat market outside the city walls, not far from today’s bustling La Rambla. The store now offers a wider variety of products than only meat.
Almost two hundred vendors provide an assortment of goods, including fresh fruit, seafood, spices, and sweets. Stop for lunch at one of the numerous eateries or stock up on supplies for a picnic.
- Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain.
- Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 8:30 pm.
- Closed on Sundays.
Fundació Joan Miró
One of the most renowned artists in Barcelona, Joan Miro, was a true master whose works were recognized all over the globe. In contrast to the norm, in which a foundation is established in a person’s name after they pass away, Miro established the Fundacio Joan Miro during his lifetime.
Using Miro’s own works as a jumping-off point encouraged younger artists to investigate the state of modern art. In 1975, the foundation opened in a brand-new structure, and it now houses an impressive assortment of Miro’s works. Make sure you visit this amazing place as it is one of Barcelona’s best attractions.
- Address: Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain.
- Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
- Closed on Mondays.
Monastery of Pedralbes
For anyone looking to escape from the bustle of Barcelona, the tranquil beauty of the Monastery of Pedralbes is an ideal haven. Queen Elsenda, seeking forgiveness for her misdeeds, commissioned the construction of this gothic abbey in 129y. It is a great sample of Catalan Gothic design.
The exterior corridors, which are arched, look out over a palm tree grove. The first inhabitants of the city were the Poor Clares, a group of noble-born nuns tasked with guarding the settlement. The monastery is now a local museum, although it is still home to a small community of nuns.
- Address: Baixada del Monestir, 9, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.
- Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 1:30 pm.
- Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4:30 pm.
- Closed on Mondays.
Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Cathedral of Barcelona)
Among the many stunning Gothic structures in Barcelona is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. Being the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, it goes by both names.
St. Eulalia is the co-patron saint of Barcelona, and this cathedral was built in her honor in the 14th century. The Romans executed Saint. Eulalia by placing her in a barrel full of knives and rolling her down the street. It’s a beautiful church all the way through, with turrets and spires that reach for the clouds. It’s become such a popular tourist attraction in Barcelona that a gift shop has opened specifically for tourists.
- Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain.
- Monday to Friday from 8 am to 7:30 pm.
- Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm.
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, perched high on a hill, seems more like a gigantic fortress than an art museum! Nonetheless, from the 10th to the 20th centuries, this is where the best Catalan art has been kept for the public to enjoy and nowadays is one of the best attractions in Barcelona.
Magnificent Romanesque murals that formerly adorned church apses and Gothic works from the time of Catalonia’s Mediterranean expansion may be found here. El Greco and Velazquez, two of the most famous Spanish painters, also have works on display at this museum.
- Address: Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain.
- Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.
- Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm.
- Closed on Mondays.
Poble Espanyol, opened in 1929, is an enormous open-air museum that is four times the size of FC Barcelona’s football pitch. The complex is divided up into many areas, each of which is themed after a different province in Spain. This mind-blowing museum is one of the city’s must-visits as it is one of Barcelona’s top attractions.
In addition, there is a thriving handcraft market where you may find unique gifts or souvenirs. In only a few hours, you may go from Andalusia to the Balearic Islands, all while admiring remarkably accurate replicas of Spain’s iconic buildings. The Foundation Fran Daurel is located in the village, and it has a fascinating collection of works by painters, including Picasso and Miró.
- Address: Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 13, 08038 Barcelona, Spain.
- Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 12 am.
- Mondays from 10 am to 8 pm.