Europe

What to See and Do in Barcelona

Introduction

Are you planning a trip to Barcelona, Spain or stopping there on your way to Greece, Paris, or some other European destination? Either way, you are going to love it! Barcelona is home to some of the best food and architecture in the world, but don’t take our word for it.

Barcelona Suggested Itinerary:

Day 1

  • Start at Plaça de Catalunya or the beginning of La Rambla
  • Casa Batlló
  • La Pedrera
  • Sagrada Família
  • Park Güell
  • Take the Tramvia Blau to Tibidabo
  • Head back to hotel to freshen up
  • Dinner at Vinitus

Day 2

  • Start at Plaça de Catalunya or the beginning of La Rambla
  • Plaça d’Espanya
  • Poble Espanyol
  • Take the cable car, or Telefèric de Montjuïc, to Castell de Montjuïc
  • Miramar-Jardins Costa i Llobera (depending on the season)
  • Walk around Port Vell
  • Take La Rambla up toward Plaça de Catalunya
  • Stop at Mercato de la Boqueria
  • Walk around the gothic quarter
  • Dinner at Somorrostro

Day 3

  • Take a day trip to Montserrat
  • Walk to the Cross of San Miguel
  • Take the trolly car to Santa Cova
  • Visit the monastery
  • Visit the Montserrat Museum
  • Stop by the vendor booths for some delicious local treats
  • Cava tour option: Visit the Codorníu winery to try the region’s version of champagne, or cava.
  • Dinner at Casa Lolea

Barcelona Tips:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. Even if you are catching a ride, you will end up doing a lot of walking.
  • Where you stay makes a huge difference in the time it will take you to see the major sites. We recommend staying near La Rambla for this itinerary.
  • Purchase the Hop On Hop Off tour to help save money from expensive car rides, and allow you to see everything.
  • You need to purchase audio guides ahead of time for La Sagrada Família.
  • At the time of this post, Mytaxi was the major car service available for transportation. You may want to download the app ahead of time since you have to input payment information. That way you’re ready to go when its time to call a car!
  • You can save a couple bucks by purchasing tickets for Casa Batlló online.

Top Activities in Barcelona

La Rambla

Famous rode that starts at Plaça de Catalunya and slopes down to the sea port. You’ll find tons of shops and the Boqueria Market which is mentioned above.

Casa Batlló & La Pedrera

Casa Batlló is one of Gaudi’s masterpieces and a must-see in Barcelona. The home is not only functional, but one of the coolest homes you’ll ever see.

La Pedrera is a short walk from Casa Batlló and also one of Gaudi’s works. We only took pictures of the building from the outside, but you can also tour the inside if interested.


Sagrada Família

 

Known as Gaudi’s dream. This church has yet to be finished, even though it was started in the late 19th century. The inside is complete as far as we know and not to be missed. In fact, if you see anything in Barcelona, it should be this. We have seen a lot of churches, especially traveling around Europe, but this church is so different from any of the churches we’ve ever seen. It is grand, colorful, modern, creative, and more but we won’t spoil it for you. Just don’t miss it!

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Park Güell

Guadi loved integrating nature into his work, and this park is no exception. You’ll see familiar elements of Gaudi’s style throughout the park. There is also a beautiful view of the city from the top.

We also saw some incredible flamenco dancers performing in the park while we were there. We’re not sure how often they perform here, but we recommend stopping to watch the show if you happen to see them performing.

Tibidabo

Take the trolly up to Tibidabo for a panoramic view of the city. If you time it right, you can even watch the sun set over the city.

Gothic Quarter

Barcelona’s ancient Roman influence is evident in this area of the city. Make sure to check out the cathedral, otherwise known as Plaça de Sant Juame.

Plaça d’Espanya

A beautiful plaza that is worth stopping to explore and take pictures. If you have time, there are fountains, gardens, and museums you may want to check out as well.

Poble Espanyol

A Spanish village that features over 40 craft workshops. There is also a sculpture garden that leads to panoramic views of the city.

Montjuïc Cable Car

We hate to admit it, but we are both terrified of heights! However, we wouldn’t dare miss an opportunity, so we took the cable car up to the castle and we’re so glad we did. Thankfully, the cable car isn’t too steep or long, so you can enjoy incredible views of the city without completely having a panic attack.

Castell de Montjuïc

Accessible by the cable car, this castle sits on top of a hill overlooking the city and harbour. This is another must-see!

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Miramar-Jardins Costa i Llobera

We visited Barcelona in the winter so we didn’t bother seeing this knowing that most of the garden wasn’t in bloom. However, we heard it’s really spectacular and nice walk along the hillside facing the sea.

Port Vell

Home to a myriad of shops, restaurants, and an aquarium. We really enjoyed walking along the port and taking in the fresh salty air.

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Day Trip to Montserrat & Cava Tour

We highly recommend this day trip if you have the time. There are so many things to do and see at Montserrat from the monastery and museum to hiking to various sights on the mountain. These are light hikes, more like walks, but they are refreshing and worth it once you reach the sites.

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The first “hike” we did was to the cross of San Miguel. It took us about 20 minutes to walk each way. Then, we took a trolly car to Santa Cova. Unfortunately, we did not have time to make it the the grotto and back as it takes about 40 minutes to walk each way. You also have to factor in waiting for the trolly car, which leaves every 20 minutes starting on the hour. We would recommend picking between the museum and seeing the grotto. We absolutely loved the museum and seeing famous works by Picasso, Monet, Dalí and more.

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You must visit the monastery, after all, that’s the whole reason to visit Montserrat. We recommend watching the boy’s choir sing at 2 pm if you are there on a weekday. We asked our tour guide about the boys choir and apparently it is like a boarding school where the children stay at the monastery all week and attend school, and then go home on the weekends to their family. Anyway, they are world-renown and their voices are incredible.

Top Restaurants in Barcelona

Vinitus

This restaurant was recommended by our hotel concierge who claims he eats here often. When we got there, we felt he made an honest recommendation, because the menus were only in Espanyol and the waitresses barely spoke English. But don’t let that deter you! We saw some tourists from Asia who just pointed at pictures to make their orders.

Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations, but you can enjoy a drink while you wait. We only waited 20 minutes on a Friday night which seems reasonable. This restaurant is delicious and well worth the wait and language barrier!

We actually just told the waitress to give us what she recommends, and we loved everything she brought. We had the octopus, patatas bravas, and spicy prawns. Our favorite dish was the patatas bravas, which are like diced french fries with an aoli on top. Although these, in particular, seemed to be boiled instead, which made them extra soft and delicious.

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No matter what you order, we’re sure everything is great. They do have tapas lining the bar that you can check out and point to if you don’t know what to order.

Somorrostro

This restaurant was so romantic and quaint. They only have a few tables, but we were seated right away. We ordered the paella (when in Barcelona), patatas bravas (again), and the yellowtail appetizer. Our favorite was the yellowtail, hands down! We seriously could have eaten 5 orders of these, because it was so mouthwatering and delicious.

Casa Lolea

One of our all-time favorite restaurants! We were actually very excited to try this restaurant because we were familiar with their sangria, which is sold in the United States. Little did we know how great their food would be as well. Of course we ordered the patatas bravas, like we did at every restaurant in Barcelona. We also ordered the risotto, salmon appetizer, and octopus. Our favorites were the risotto and salmon.

Mercato de la Boqueria

The perfect place to grab a meat and/or cheese cone. You may want to try iberico, Spain’s specialty ham. There are also a ton of other food stands that carry fresh fruit, seafood, and more. It’s a foodie’s paradise and the colors and fruit displays are not to be missed!

Where We Stayed in Barcelona

We stayed at the H10 Cubik Hotel in the center of the city. It was less than 5 minutes walking distance from La Rambla, and had a nice rooftop overlooking the city. We loved our stay there and highly recommend it to anyone!

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On our next trip to Barcelona and Spain we want to venture out to the islands and explore the coastline. If you have any tips, let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

If you liked this post, make sure to check out some of our other Europe posts below:

How to Cruise Around Greece in a Week

The Perfect 3-Day Guide to Istanbul

How to Spend Three Days in Paris

How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip to the English Countryside

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