Barcelona’s sights and attractions are more eclectic and varied than almost any other city in Europe, and definitely in Spain. Here you have unique architecture, famous parks, quaint museums and more to keep you occupied.
Many of the city’s most famous attractions are accountable to one Antoni Gaudi. While not born in the Catalonian city, no other man is so famously regarded to this city as he is. And as you begin to tick off the main attractions such as La Sagrada da Familia and Casa Battlo, you soon realise he’s responsible for many of them.
But away from the works of Gaudi, there is still lots to see. While Parc Guell is another of Gaudi’s, it is one of Europe’s most famous parks. And Barcelona enjoys a waterside setting, so you’ll have to pencil in a visit to Maremagnum too.
And of course you have the neighbourhoods and streets. Las Ramblas is a feast for the senses, and just off it are Eixample and the Barri Gotic, two other famous areas and attractions in their own right.
C/de Mallorca 401, Barcelona, Spain
Gaudí’s incomplete masterpiece is one of the more idiosyncratic creations of Spain. If you have time to see only one Catalonian landmark make it this one. Begun in 1882 and still incomplete at Gaudí’s death in 1926, this incredible church--the Church of the Holy Family--is a bizarre wonder. The languid, amorphous structure embodies the essence of Gaudí’s style, which some have described as art nouveau run rampant. As this building is incomplete, it makes it one of the most visited building sites in the world!
Open October-March 9am to 6pm, April-September 9am to 8pm, 25 and 26 December and 1 to 6 January 9am-2pm; admission €12
Plaça de Neptú, Parc de Montjuïc, Barcelona, Spain
Born in 1893, Joan Miró went on to become one of Spain’s greatest painters, known for his abstract forms and brilliant colors. Some 10,000 works by this Catalonian surrealist, including paintings, graphics, and sculptures, have been collected here. The foundation building has been greatly expanded in recent years, following the design of Catalonian
architect Josep Lluís Sert, a close personal friend of Miró. An exhibition in a modern wing charts (in a variety of media) Mirós complete artistic evolution from his first drawings at the age of 8 to his last works. Temporary exhibitions on contemporary art are also frequently shown.
c. Montcada 15-19., Barcelona, Spain
Two old palaces on a medieval street have been converted into museums housing works by Pablo Picasso, who donated some 2,500 of his paintings, engravings, and drawings to the museum in 1970.
Picasso was particularly fond of Barcelona, the city where he spent much of his formative youth. In fact, some of the paintings were done when Picasso was only 9. One portrait, dating from 1896, depicts his stern aunt, Tía Pepa. Another, completed when Picasso was 16, depicts Science and Charity (his father was the model for the doctor). Many of the works, especially the early paintings, show the artists debt to van Gogh, El Greco, and Rembrandt. Las Meninas (1957) is said to "impersonate" the work of Velázquez. From Picasso’s blue period, the La Vie drawings are perhaps his most interesting. His notebooks contain many sketches of Barcelona scenes.
Montjuïc, Barcelona, Spain
In this re-created Spanish village, built for the 1929 Worlds Fair, various regional architectural styles, from the Levante to Galicia, are reproduced. In all, 115 life-size reproductions of buildings and monuments are on display, ranging from the 10th through the 20th century. At the entranceway, for example, stands a facsimile of the gateway to the walled city of Ávila. The center of the village has an outdoor café where you can sit and have drinks. Numerous shops sell crafts and souvenir items from all the provinces, and in some of them you can see artists at work, printing fabric and blowing glass. Ever since the 1992 Olympics the village has offered 14 restaurants of varying styles, one disco, and eight musical bars. In addition, visitors can see an audiovisual presentation about Barcelona and Catalonia in general.
Av. Arístides Maillol, Barcelona, Spain
Home to Barça, one of the world's most famous football clubs, Camp Nou (or the Nou Camp as it is more widely known) is one of the world's most amazing football stadiums. Whether you visit it for a game, or just to visit the museum, no visit to Barcelona is complete without going to it.
Monday to Saturday, (from 6th April to 4th October) from 10:00 to 20:00 - Camp Nou Tour until one hour before the Museum closes. The rest of the year the Museum opening hours are from 10:00 to 18:30. Sundays and public holidays, from 10:00 to 14:30 - Camp Nou Tour until one hour before the Museum closes.
, Barcelona, Spain
The Parc Güell was begun by Gaudí as a real-estate venture for a friend, the wealthy, well-known Catalonian industrialist Count Eusebi Güell. Unfortunately it was never completed. Only two houses were constructed, but it makes for an interesting excursion nonetheless. The city took over the property in 1926 and turned it into a public park.
Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona, Spain
Both these buildings, two of Barcelona's and Gaudi's best known, are within 5 minutes walking distance of each other. The former was described as "a house of sea forms, representing waves on a stormy day" by Dali. The latter is where you will find the most photographed chimney tops in the world.
Open from 9am-8pm (Pedrera from 10am); admission €10.
, Barcelona, Spain
Tibidabo Mountain, offers the finest panoramic view of Barcelona. A funicular takes you up 1,600 feet to the top. The ideal time to visit this summit (the culmination of the Sierra de Collcerola) north of the port is at sunset, when the city lights are on. An amusement park, with Ferris wheels swinging over Barcelona, has been opened here. There is also a church, called Temple del Sagrat Cor (Sacred Heart), in this carnival-like setting, plus restaurants and mountaintop hotels.
Montjuïc, Barcelona, Spain
Located in the south of the city, the mountain park of Montjuïc (Montjuch in Spanish) has splashing fountains, gardens, outdoor restaurants, and museums, making for quite an outing. The re-created Spanish village, the Poble Espanyol, and the Joan Miró Foundation are also in the park. There are many walks and vantage points for viewing the Barcelona skyline.The park was the site of several events during the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Avinguda Wellington, s/n ., Barcelona, Spain
Parc de la Ciutadella gets its name, Park of the Citadel, because it is the site of a former fortress that defended the city. After Philip V won the War of the Spanish Succession (Barcelona was on the losing side), he got his revenge. He ordered that the "traitorous" residential suburb be leveled. In its place rose a citadel. In the mid-19th century it too was leveled, though some of the architectural evidence of that past remains in a governor’s palace and an arsenal. Today most of the park is filled with lakes, gardens, and promenades, but it includes a zoo and the Museu d’Art Modern. Gaudí is said to have contributed to the monumental "great fountain" in the park when he was a student.
lying near Plaça de Espanya, Barcelona, Spain
Parc de Joan Miró is dedicated to one of the most famous artists of Catalonia and occupies an entire city block. One of the most recently opened parks is now one of its most popular. It is often called Parc de l’Escorxador (slaughterhouse), a reference to what the park used to be. Its main features are an esplanade and a pond from which a sculpture by Miró, ‘Woman and Bird’, rises up. Palm, pine, and eucalyptus trees, as well as playgrounds and pergolas, complete the park.