Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and one of the most visited cities in Europe, is a charming blend of passionate Catalan culture, Gaudi architecture and sun-soaked beaches. We love exploring Barcelona and as the flight takes just over two hours from the UK, it is the perfect destination for a long weekend away. But with so much city to see, where should you start? Here are our top 5 things to do in Barcelona.
TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA
1. HAVE LUNCH IN MERCATOR DE LA BOQUERIA
Nestled in to the heart of Las Ramblas is La Boqueria a large food market dating back to 1217. Today it is one of the city’s best known tourist attractions with market traders selling fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood as well as small bars serving tapas. This is one of the busiest attractions in Barcelona, particularly around midday. Our top tip is to get there a little later in the afternoon so you can enjoy all the wonderful produce with a little more space. Make sure you are hungry!
Las Ramblas, 91
2. VISIT LA SAGRADA FAMILIA
As soon as you arrive in Barcelona, you are surrounded by Gaudi. Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish architect who lived and worked in Barcelona from 1875 to 1926. His work still inspires much of Barcelona and tourists flock to see examples of his architecture at Park Guell, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila. However, the real gem in the crown is the yet unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. Work first started on La Sagrada Familia in 1882. The continued construction of its twisted spires and supremely detailed stonework are a tribute to Gaudi’s original stunning designs. A trip to this beautiful church is well worth the admission fee and is my first choice for a Gaudi related visit in Barcelona. I would recommend visiting on one of Barcelona’s many sunny days and soaking in the beautiful vibrant colours that pour in through the stained glass windows.
Tickets start at €17 for a basic ticket which you can purchase in advance on their website.
Carrier de Mallorca, 401 sagradafamilia.org
3. TAKE THE CABLE CAR TO CASTELL DE MONTJUIC
If you are after stunning views of Barcelona then you have so many options. Honourable mentions go to the view at the top of Park Guell and the seafront cable car but for me the best view is from the cable car to Castell de Montjuic. To get there take the funicular railway from Paral-lel to Parc de Montjuic and then change on to the cable car. During the short ride you will be treated to spectacular views over Barcelona and the Mediterranean. Well worth the €12.70 return fare! At the top soak in the views and the beautiful 17th century castle before returning down on the cable car as part of your return ticket.
Av. Miramar, 30 telefericdemontjuic.cat
4. TAKE IN A MATCH AT CAMP NOU
If you have not heard of FC Barcelona, you will have definitely heard about them before the end of your visit. FC Barcelona are one of the most famous football teams in the world and have in their ranks arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi. Camp Nou is the home of FC Barcelona and the spiritual home of many of the city’s residents. Every other week, almost 100,000 people come to the famous stadium to watch their heroes. Many tourists (including us!) go on the Camp Nou tour which while excellent can be crowded and feel a little bit like a tourist trap. To experience Camp Nou at its finest, get tickets to a game. We were lucky enough to go to a Champions League quarter-final and it was a truly unforgettable experience.
Prices for tickets to a game vary but entry to the stadium tour starts from €26.
C. D’Aristides Maillol, 12 fcbarcelona.com
5. EXPLORE THE GOTHIC QUARTER
The gothic quarter of Barcelona stretches from Placa de Catalunya all the way down to the seafront. Whenever you’re in Barcelona take some time to explore the area’s narrow streets, duck into a cafe for some churros and explore the scores of beautiful churches that are tucked away in the small stone squares of this part of the city. We would also recommend a quick visit to Barcelona Cathedral. It is free to enter before 12.30pm most days. The baroque architecture is astonishing and you should look out for the 13 geese that reside in the cloisters at the back of the church. These are said to represent the age of Saint Eulalia, the patron saint of Barcelona, when she died.
Have you been to Barcelona? What were your favourite things to see and do? Let us know in the comments below.