Barcelona’s history, culture and traditions make it a fascinating destination for travelers to Spain.
It’s long and rich history has been influenced by the inhabitation of Carthaginians, Visigoths, Muslims and Catalans. Barcelona is today a modern city, but has managed to maintain its heritage and Gothic center, almost entirely intact.
Below you will find a simple list of what we suggest ever first timer to Barcelona should do & see. If you don’t manage to accomplish it all in your first visit, you can always come back again.
1. The Gothic Quarter
A stroll through the “Barri Gòtic” area of Barcelona is the best possible introduction to this city. Through fascination medieval alleyways and around secluded squares you find numerous medieval buildings, all hinting to its long & interesting history. Most buildings here typically date to the 14th and 15th centuries. You can also find the Cathedral Barcelona’s, see preserved part of the fortress wall that surrounded and protected Barcelona, the neo-classical façade of the Ajuntament and the Renaissance Palace of the Generalitat. Picasso lived and worked in Barri Gòtic from 1895 to 1904 and Joan Miró was born and lived here during his youth. The Barri Gòtic is situated on the right hand side of the La Rambla towards Plaça de Catalunya. La Rambla is the famous 1.2km pedestrianized walkway that is consider the center of Barcelona.
2. The Sagrada Familia
A Giant Basilica designed by master architect Antonio Gaudí. Under construction since 1882 with another 30 to 80 years (depending on funding and resources) to go before it will be finished. Imagine the dedication, devotion and commitment involved in creating a building for that length of time.
3. Eat fresh seafood & tapas
In Barcelona food is taken very seriously. Here eating comes first, and once you’ve had a taste you will understand why. Catalan cuisine is an ancient Mediterranean style of cooking, characterized by the aromas of the herbs that can be found on the mountains, the animals that are bred locally and the seafood harvested from the Mediterranean. If you have time, visit one of the local food markets, such as La Boqueria. No one should leave Barcelona without sampling fresh seafood & tapas. Sample the catch of the day or fried whitebait, squid rings and shrimp, little tallarines (wedge clams). Tapas represents the Spanish way of life perfectly; exciting, lively, creative, always surprising and never boring.
4. Montjuic & its Magic Fountain
The Montjuïc is a hill located near the center of Barcelona. It features a large number of attractions including the Spanish Village, the MNAC (one of the city’s most important museums) and the “Magic Fountain (a light, music and water extravaganza).
5. Picasso Museum
Here you can find Picasso’s paintings, arranged in chronological order from his early days to his final works, giving you a fascinating insight into the development of Picasso thinking over time and how he developed the distinctive designs for which he is famous. The most popular art gallery in Barcelona.
6. Park Güell
Park Güell is a wonderful, large park designed by Antoni Gaudí. Here you can see amazing stone structures, colorful ceramic tiles and the house where Gaudí lived. Easily spend half a day here.
7. La Pedrera – Casa Mila
This building used to be called Casa Mila but nowadays it’s more commonly known as La Pedrera. Gaudí was instrumental in completing this building and his characteristic wavy brick work and colourful tiles are evident on this masterpiece.
8. Barcelona FC Museum
If you are a football fan then this museum is a must. It has wall to wall trophies, pictures and statues of the greats.
9. Placa Reial
Plaça Reial is a picturesque square situated just off La Rambla. The square offers you a relaxing spot to have a coffee or a bite to eat and just take in the atmosphere. The square has a beautiful fountain in the center, some fine restaurants and bars, as well as two large, distinctive lampposts which were designed by Gaudí.
10. Discover the sights on a bicycle
A different way to discover the city, Barcelona has fully integrated cycle lanes and you can cycle through the city’s open spaces and parks. Various options & alternatives are available, from Tapas bike tours to cycling in & around architectural highlights.