A trip to Barcelona is always spectacular. The Catalonian capital offers an enormous amount of things to do, and you will almost never run out of great attractions in Barcelona.
In this article, we are describing the 10 main sights and attractions in detail. Then you get a full summary of how to enjoy Barcelona, with some recommendations on hidden gems to discover. And ultimately, you can copy our checklist with 101 things to do and see in Barcelona – that way, you certainly won’t lack options when looking for activities in Barcelona!
Best sights in Barcelona
There are many great sights and attractions in Barcelona, so it’s difficult to just select a few. However, we are describing our 10 favorite attractions below. You’ll get details on what to notice in particular, where to find the specific attraction, and if it’s possible to book a tour or skip lines by booking in advance.
Hopefully, the descriptions below will serve as inspiration. There’s a chance you already know some of them, and if so, you can also scroll further down into the article. In the bottom, we are sharing a list of over 100 things to do in Barcelona if you have a lot of time on your hands, and if you wish to see more than just the main attractions.
But for travelers visiting Barcelona for the first time, it is obviously best to start with the basics. And you will find descriptions of all the most important attractions right now:
La Sagrada Família
La Sagrada Familia’s is often considered to be the ultimate attraction in Barcelona. The reason is simple – it is the masterpiece of the famous architect, Antoni Gaudí. While the church is still not finished, it is already a great place to see. It is expected that La Sagrada Familia’s is completely done by 2026, so we can all look forward to that. But simply the story of it, and the sheer majestic view is definitely enough to get impressed.
You can book your ticket online in advance. That way, you don’t have to do it upon arrival – a great way to avoid crowded lines. Also, you can book a full guided tour, something that is also highly recommended. You will see all the most important parts of the church and get the full story behind it – and a lot of stories surrounding the man behind the great work, Gaudí!
Speaking about Gaudí, you should also visit Park Güell. It’s a park with gardens, houses, sculptures and terrases. The park has become somewhat of a symbol of Barcelona. It’s also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The park was built between 1900 and 1914. Since then, it has been a cultural highlight – not only in Barcelona, not in all of Spain.
Count Eusebi Güell, the owner of the park, gave Antoni Gaudí completely free hands with the design. Gaudí could use his full creativity and did not have any limitations set. The only wish was to have a green and exclusive property complex in this part of Barcelona. Among the most famous sculptures are the fountain with the snake, the fountain with the dragon, the stairs, the entrance pavillon, the bird nests and the nametags of the park.
You can visit parts of the Güell Park for free. But to see all of it, you need to buy a ticket. It costs 10 euros. It’s also possible to get a guided tour. The park is open all year around.
La Rambla is another famous place in Barcelona that you should absolutely visit. It’s a pedestrian street spanning over a kilometer – 1,200 meters to be more specific. This street is popular among tourists, as it has that stunning, typical Barcelona look. La Rambla is almost in the middle of the city, so it’s easy to get there.
The main thing to do in La Rambla is shopping. You will find several stores, big as well as small. Some of them are exclusive, high-end stores while others are simply souvenir shops. La Rambla also offers several nice cafés if you wish to relax a bit.
Should you get tired of the shopping, or are you simply not in the mood to spend money, then stay on La Rambla anyway: You can enjoy the performances or all the street artists and musicians. You can also walk into some of the minor streets along the way. They have more unusual shops and restaurants, so if you’re the type that loves surprises and hidden secrets, then definitely stay a couple of hours and explore all the side streets.
Barcelona’s most famous market, La Boqueria, is a must-visit attraction too!
It’s probably something Spanish, but every city has at least one great market. This is the one in Barcelona. With a beautiful exterior, La Boqueria is very appealing in itself, but add to the fact that you can go inside and buy great foods is a huge plus.
If you’re already walking La Rambla, it’s easy to find the market, as the market is located on the famous street. That also makes it one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona. And it’s a thing that everybody visiting the city should see.
Historically, the market has existed at least since 1217, although not in the same building. It used to be a place where people would buy and sell meat. It had no official status initially, but after the local authorities decided to make the building right at La Rambla, it grew to be the most important market of the city.
Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona
Catedral de Barcelona
Barcelona’s Gothic cathedral is another highlight in the city. While the city is full of modernist art, it’s also nice to see something that’s a bit older.
Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia is the official name of it. But a lot of people simply call it Catedral de Barcelona. It was built between the 13th and 15th centuries, and it was mostly finished in 1450. It looks like a larger version of a typical Catalan church, but with several unique trademarks. Among others: Notice the gargoyles on the roof, portraying house animals and mythical creatures. They certainly didn’t lack inspiration when designing the cathedral!
Most of the cathedral is free to visit during most hours if your reason is to sit inside and pray. If you wish to see the roof, the choir, or special parts of the church, and if you wish to take photos (in other words – if your reason for visiting is tourist-related) you have to pay 7 euros to get in. We believe it’s worth it, since the cathedral is one of the best things to see in Barcelona. You can book your ticket online.
Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona
Plaça de Catalunya
Plaça de Catalunya is the most central square in Barcelona. It’s quite large, and it works as a connection point between some of the most important streets in the city, such as La Rambla, Passeig de Gràcia, Ronda de Sant Pere and Carrer de Pelai.
The whole area covers around 50,000 square meters and it is famous for its fountains and statues. That makes Plaça de Catalunya into one of the best Barcelona tourist attractions.
Obviously, it is completely free to walk by and see it. Most likely it will happen automatically if you’re going sightseeing or shopping, but we do recommend you to pay attention to the square. It’s a great place with lots of history – it’s where the new and the old parts of Barcelona meet. You can simply consider it the absolute centre of the city.
And here we have it – the central Barcelona beach that we see so often in photos and in videos. It’s a gorgeous beach, and it’s so close to the city centre that you’ll always be able to go. The yellow metro line stops in Barceloneta, so that makes it easy. However, be aware that there are many pickpockets, especially at the metro entrance. Take care of your stuff and don’t let anyone get to your pockets.
The beach is very sandy, and it can be quite crowded at times – especially during the summer. But if you have the patience for it, a day in the beach is certainly nice. If you’re not into suntanning, swimming or other typical beach activities, simply go for a walk along the coast. A great experience and you can do it all year around – even in the winter.
Along the boardwalk, there are many great restaurants, bars and clubs. So aside from going to the beach, you have many things to do. In fact, La Barceloneta is not just the name of the beach, but of the whole neighborhood. If you have time for it, visit Casa de la Barceloneta, a local museum that is very interesting as well.
However, if you’re just coming for a beach experience, there are also other beaches near Barcelona that are equally (if not more) impressive, so you can visit those too. You’ll have to get out of the central part of Barcelona, but for one day, that is still recommended. Sitges is a very popular, or El Garraf that is near Sitges. Takes a little over a half hour to get to these places. Consider Caldes d’Estrac in the north, too.
It’s hard not to mention Camp Nou when we are talking about attractions in Barcelona. Because it is certainly an important one – the home stadium of FC Barcelona, one of the most popular and successful football clubs in the world.
Camp Nou has enough space to accommodate almost 100,000 spectators. That makes it one of the largest sports stadiums in the entire world. On some Sundays, usually every second week, you can watch Barcelona’s football team play. With stars such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique. Also – in the past, the stadium hosted other great players such as Ronaldinho, Johan Cruyff and Michael Laudrup. Just imagine all the great performances people have seen here!
You should know that the stadium is usually fully booked several weeks in advance when Barcelona plays. But if you arrange things early, it is possible to get a ticket to a match. Otherwise, catch a concert – Camp Nou is also a famous musical venue where stars such as Michael Jackson, U2 and Bruce Springsteen have performed, and where other great talents often appear.
If there’s not a match or a concert going, you can still book a guided tour. We recommend that too. You can do it online in advance (this is the best option), or do it in person when you arrive.
Address: C. d’Arístides Maillol, 12, 08028 Barcelona
There are several Picasso Museums in Spain. Maybe you heard about the one in Málaga, or the one in A Coruña. But there’s also one in Barcelona, and it is arguably the best art museum in the city. The Picasso Museum in Barcelona contains over 4,200 pieces of Picasso’s own works.
Pablo Picasso was primarily known as a painter and as the creator of cubism. Along with his paintings, he did many smaller drawings, but almost equally impressive. He was also artistic in other ways – as a sculptor, as a ceramic artist and as a printmaker. This museum shows a bit of everything, and if you’re going, you should expect to set a few hours aside for it.
Address: Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona (open between 9 am and 10.30 pm, but with shorter opening hours on Mondays)
The Aquarium of Barcelona is located right by the coast. To be more specific, you’ll find it in Port Vell, one of the harbors. The aquarium is open all year around, so it’s always an attraction in Barcelona that you can visit. And we definitely consider it to be among the best!
There is a total of 450 species, and over 11,000 animals in total. The whole facility has 35 different aquariums where the species are split into categories. One of the main sights is the large ocean tank made for sharks and larger fish. Here you will almost certainly notice the famous underwater tunnel, where you can see sharks swim around you as you walk through!
For adults, it costs 21 euros to get in. For children it gets a little cheaper, ranking from 8 to 16 euros depending on the age. You can book your ticket online, but in that case, remember to print it out before going. However, the price will be the same if you buy your ticket at the entrance upon arrival. So you can choose to buy it the way you find most convenient.
Address: Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, s/n, 08039 Barcelona
The question is ultimately – how much time do you need in Barcelona to experience it all? Well, it really depends on how much you wish to see, and whether you want to do exhaustive sightseeing or whether you’re just going there to relax and mix the cultural part with the entertaining part.
Usually, we recommend visitors to stay one week (seven days) at first. It gives a nice impression of the city and it is certainly enough to visit all of the 10 main attractions in Barcelona. If you’re still left with things to do, you can always go and relax by the beach, or check some of the more alternative sights in Barcelona. For example, check out the list below where you get over 100 different suggestions on things to do – a great idea for the travelers that wish to go a little bit more in-depth with discovering the city.
In any case, we simply advice you to take as much time in the city as you please. And of course, don’t let it be all about the attractions alone. Go to the beach if the weather is good. Go for a drink in the evening. Socialize a bit with other travelers, and perhaps also with the locals if you’re good at Catalan or Spanish! Grab a bite to eat every day, because Barcelona has many great restaurants. Do the trip in your own speed and be sure to enjoy it all the way. You can always come back again, but there’s still no doubt that a trip to Barcelona is special. It’s an experience that should be treasured and appreciated – because discovering Barcelona and all its secrets is unlike any other experience in the whole world!
101 things to do: Full checklist
Below you will find our checklist with 101 different attractions in Barcelona. We have separated everything into categories, so you can get an easy overview and select the sites that you have a personal interest in. For example, if you love sports, then we have a category just for that, and if you love to see churches, we have that category too. Basically, check the list below, and get some specific inspiration on what to see in Barcelona!
- La Rambla
- Catedral de Barcelona
- Placa de Catalunya
- Quadrat d’Or
- Roman city walls
- Roman aqueduct
- Temple of Augustus
- Montjüic Castle
- Turó de la Rovira
- Catalan Parliament
- Arc de Triomf
Sights of Gaudí:
- La Sagrada Família
- Park Güell
- Casa Milà
- Casa Batlló
- Gaudí Exhibition Centre
- Fanals (at Plaça Reial & Pla de Palau)
- Ciutadella Park Fountain
- Nau Gaudí
- Hercules Fountain
- Miralles Estate
- Casa Vicens
- Palau Güell
- Torre Bellesguard
- Casa Calvet
- La Barceloneta
- El Garraf
- Caldes d’Estrac
Sant Pol de Mar
- Camp Nou
- Camp Nou Museum/Camp Nou Experience
- The Olympic Ring on Montjuïc
- The Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium
- Palau Sant Jordi
- Velòdrom d’Horta
- Port Olímpic
- Picasso Museum
- MNCA – Catalonia National Art Museum
- El Born Cultural Centre
- City History Museum
- Maritime Museum
- Frederic Marés Museum
- National History Museum
- Barcelona Design Museum
- Museum of Modernism in Barcelona
Basilicas and churches:
- Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar
- Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón del Jesús
- Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi
- Basilica del Sant Just i Pastor
- Sant Pau del Camp
- Real Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes
- Parròquia de la Concepció
- Sant Pacià
- Parc de la Ciutadella
- Barcelona Zoo
- Parc del Labering d’Horta
- Laribal Gardens
- Ferran Soldevila (university park)
- Gardens of Mossén Cinto Verdaguer
- La Boqueria
- Mercat de Santa Caterina
- Mercat de la Llibertat
- Can Vallès
- Caelis Romain Fornell
- Can Pineda
- Con Gràcia
- Dry Martini & Speakeasy
- Casa Almirall
- Palau Dalmeses Flamengo
- Mercat Princesa Bar
Nearby cities and day trips:
- Montserrat Mountains
- Tossa de Mar
- Vilanova i la Geltrú
- Penedes – the wine region
Download a PDF document with a checklist of all these sights and attractions in Barcelona – click here!