Barcelona boasts a huge list of must-see places. Here’s a list of the most popular attractions in Barcelona to visit while you’re there.
The wonders of Gaudi’s architecture, extensive lengths of sunny beaches, an edgy nightlife and bar culture, street performances, food markets, and much more are among Barcelona’s most famous tourist attractions.
The Most Popular Attractions in Barcelona
There are just too many sights and activities in Barcelona to include in a single list. Regardless, here are the most popular attractions in Barcelona to take in the city’s edgy feel.
Antoni Gaudi’s modernista architecture may be found all across Barcelona. The majestic La Sagrada Familia church is without a doubt his most famous work. Gaudi began work on the church in 1882 and has yet to complete it. The most recent projections place it between 2026 and 2040 (the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death). The most stunning elements are the Nativity façade, which appears like candle wax spilled over soaring Gothic spires, and the crypt.
Park Güell is a fanciful area with colourful mosaic columns, a dragon’s stairway, the pillared Hypostyle Hall, and the world’s longest park seat, which rests on a sunny terrace overlooking the park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
La Pedrera (‘the stone quarry’) is the name given to Casa Milà. Its undulating grey stone facade resembles a lava cave rather than an apartment building. Palau Güell, Casa Batilló, Torre Bellesguard, Casa Vicens, and the crypt of the Church of Colnia Güell at Santa Coloma de Cervello are among the other Gaudi structures in Barcelona.
Hill of Montjuïc
Take a walk up the hill of Montjuc via the gardens; there’s a castle at the top, amazing views all around, and enough to see along the way. The 1929 International Exhibition was held at Montjuc, and the original Pavelló Miles van der Rohe design was created for it. Since then, the hill has served as a cultural and recreational hub for the city.
The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), which houses a collection spanning 1,000 years of Catalan art; CaixaForum, which exhibits international contemporary art in a former textile factory; and the Fundació Joan Miró, which houses more than 220 paintings, 180 sculptures, and other works by surrealist artist Joan Miró and his contemporaries.
If art isn’t your thing, check out the Olympic Rings stunning stadiums and structures, which were created for the 1992 Summer Olympics. There’s also the Castell de Montjuc military fortress, the Jard Botànic (botanical garden), an outdoor swimming pool, and the Sala Montjuc outdoor cinema festival, which takes place every summer.
Picasso was born in Barcelona and spent his early years there. Number 3 C/Mercè used to be his family’s address. His father was an instructor at the La Llotja Art School, where he studied art. Els Quarte Gats (‘the four cats’) was where Picasso liked to meet with other artists to dine, drink, and talk about art; it’s still open today.
The Musée Picasso is a record of Picasso’s early artistic life, from pre-adolescent portraiture to his Blue Period, Cubist works, and beyond, with over 4,251 pieces on permanent exhibition in five adjoining townhouses.
Jaime Sabartés, Picasso’s friend and secretary, founded the museum with his own collection of Picasso’s works. The 58 canvases of Velázquez’s famed Las Meninas on exhibit in the Great Hall are a highlight.
Between La Rambla and the Via Laietana, stroll along the cobblestone lanes of the old Gothic neighborhood (Barri Gtic). This is where the remnants of Barcelona’s Roman settlement and medieval buildings may be found in the heart of old Barcelona. The Museu d’Histria de Barcelona (Museum of the History of Barcelona, or MUHBA) is located on Plaça del Rei and offers tours of the city’s ancient Roman streets.
The bombing of Sant Felip Neri during the Spanish Civil War left scars on the church. The Catedral de Barcelona, with its flying buttresses and soaring steeples, is located in the heart of the Gothic area. Take a look inside to admire the magnificent domed ceilings.
The cloister of the cathedral is dedicated to St. Eulalia, Barcelona’s patron saint, and is where the cathedral’s resident white geese were originally housed to ward off invaders. While the neighborhood is historic, it is also lively, with a variety of pubs and eateries.
The Rambla is the choice on our list of the most popular attractions in Barcelona you can visit while you are in this place. The Rambla, which runs from the Plaça de Catalunya to the Columbus Monument at the port, is Barcelona’s most famous street. It is located between the Gothic quarter and the Raval neighborhood. The pedestrian boulevard runs along the middle, between two narrow traffic lanes and is bordered with trees.
Cafés, pubs, flower vendors, buskers, people selling souvenirs, living sculptures, and pavement artists abound — as well as the occasional pickpocket, so keep your valuables safe as you take in the sights. Although there are frequent people wandering around into the early hours of the morning, it still feels safe.