18 of the Best Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain

18 of the Best Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain

It’s no wonder why our beautiful city is on every international traveler’s bucket list. There are so many things to do in Barcelona! Its numerous historic attractions, beautiful parks, and bustling city shops create the perfect atmosphere for an exciting vacation.  To ensure that you get the most out of your vacation in Barcelona, we at bizFlats have compiled a list of the most fantastic activities and fun things to do in Barcelona, Spain!

The Top 10 Things to Do in Barcelona

1.Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Barcelona’s  Magic Fountain of Montjuïc has earned its name after a century of virtually uninterrupted, crowd-pleasing performances in the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The fountain’s waters are known to jump and dance in a rainbow of colors and to a diversity of melodies and pictures. The performances have earned a genre all their own and are now called water acrobatics, and considered one of the best things to do in Barcelona in June.

  1. La Sagrada Familia Basilica

Located in the heart of Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia Basilica is a monument to Catalan culture dating back to 1882. Embracing the city and nation’s deep roots in Catholicism and talent in both design and architecture, this World Heritage Site is a beautiful and breathtaking symbol of both national and local identity. Although it is not finished, the ongoing project surrounding the Basilica’s creation is part of its intrigue and beauty. Wondering, why was La Sagrada Familia built, or when will La Sagrada Familia be finished? Read on to learn more!

  1. Palace of Catalan Music

In the heart of downtown Barcelona you’ll find the Palace of Catalan Music, which is just as much an historical institution as it is a center for the arts. Featuring world-renown art in both performance arts and in fine arts, this is certainly a stop worth making on your trip to Barcelona. Whether you’re seeing a performance, taking a tour, or just walking by you won’t be disappointed that you visited that Palace.

  1. Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

You won’t just get lost in the history of the Barcelona Gothic Quarter but also in the amazing variety of things to do in this corner of the city that is among the most visited places by tourists and residents alike. With its labyrinthine streets, it’s best to pay extra close attention to your surroundings as it’s common to literally get lost in the area. Along with beautiful squares that make for the perfect place to relax for an afternoon with a bottle of wine or a good book, there are numerous great boutiques for shopping, a grand cathedral, and a lively nightlife. During your next visit to Barcelona, be sure to take a walking tour though the Gothic Quarter!

  1. The Pablo Picasso Museum

Among the city’s many cultural attractions in Barcelona is the famous Pablo Picasso Museum, housing a sizeable collection of the Spanish artist’s lifeworks. If you’re an art enthusiast or at all interested in the life and works of Picasso, this museum is central to understanding his career and the extensiveness of his talent. Located on the Carrer de Montcada, the city’s most important stretch of mediaeval architecture, the Pablo Picasso Museum Barcelona building is a site to see in itself.

  1. Las Ramblas

The Barcelona Ramblas is the most famous street in the whole city. Stretching for 1.2 kilometers through its midst, this street has been a central meeting place for residents since the 18th century. Originally situated outside the walls of the medieval city, Barcelona Ramblas was once the site of a flowing river. In fact, the word ramblas originates from the Arabic word ramla, meaning a sandy riverbed. When the walls came down and the river dried up, sometime around 1766, covenants, monasteries, and a university were built along this new city limit.

  1. Barcelona’s Camp Nou

If you’ve ever happened upon Barcelona during a football match then you may have been surprised to see the red and blue streets filled with ecstatic fans cheering as if their very lives depended on victory. Catalonians couldn’t be prouder of their all-star team now sporting football heroes such as Lionel Messi, an idol of many Spanish youths, and soccer players around the world. Camp Nou was the team’s very first stadium in its inaugural year of 1957, carrying some of the team’s richest history in its bleachers as well as on the turf. Soccer fan or not, taking a tour of Camp Nou will provide a lot of insight into the heart of Catalan culture.

  1. Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc

Located in the center of Barcelona, the Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc is Barcelona’s intriguing open-air architectural museum. Whether you want to take a tour, attend a special event or class or just wander its old streets and buildings for hours and maybe enjoy some delicious food and drink, a trip to Montjuïc is well worth it. It’s also not much of a trip since it is so centrally located, accessible by public transportation or even by foot or bicycle if you so desire. Enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean climate in the midst of Spain’s most famous architecture all within a few blocks of breathtaking buildings and alluring alleyways.

  1. The Various Cathedrals in Barcelona

Exploring the cathedrals in Barcelona is one of the best ways for visitors to learn about the city’s history and architecture. With deep catholic roots, there is much to learn about Barcelona’s long heritage reaching back to medieval times by exploring the city’s many cathedrals and other holy places. Music is central to the experience, which you’ll discover as you tour the cathedrals in Barcelona and see or hear their enormous organs and perhaps even their majestic choirs. Another key characteristic to a cathedral is that they are the seat of a bishop, making it the central church of the diocese.

  1. Barcelona’s Beautiful Beaches

Though Barcelona has always been on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, it wasn’t always known for its lively beach culture. The beaches in Barcelona used to be almost entirely industrial space so they weren’t the most inviting destinations. As the city prepared to host the 1992 Summer Olympics, the governing powers began to reconsider Barcelona’s identity as a Mediterranean cultural center and decided to start cleaning up its beaches. Barcelona has since been known as one of Europe’s most recommended beach destinations where turquoise waters and white sand rub up against an epicenter of culture, history, and architectural beauty. With a climate as mild as on the Mediterranean, the beaches are beautiful year-round, though visiting the beaches here is one of the best things to do in Barcelona in July!

Even More Attractions in Barcelona, Spain

A list of the top 10 things to do in Barcelona barely scratches the surface of all the amazing reasons to visit our great city! Are you still wondering what to do in Barcelona? As locals, our list of favorite things to do here is quite long!

  1. 10 of the Best Restaurants in Barcelona

Barcelona restaurants are an attraction in and of themselves! Catalonian food is world renowned, and a visit to Barcelona and Catalonia in general wouldn’t be complete without enjoying as many fantastic restaurants as possible. There are plenty of romantic restaurants as well as amazing tapas restaurants in Barcelona to choose from.

  1.  The Opera is Spectacular at the Gran Teatre del Liceu

The Gran Teatre del Liceu is not only Barcelona’s premier opera house, but a historical institution founded on La Rambla in 1847. It is a symbol of the city’s diverse arts culture. Visiting the Teatre on La Rambla would be a great night out in Barcelona, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. A nice meander down the tree-lined, open air mall, and maybe a meal or cappuccino at one of the outdoor cafes would be a great precursor or finish to a show. This outing in the heart of Barcelona will be all but disappointing whether it’s your first time in Barcelona, or you’re just looking for something new to try in this wonderful city.

  1. Go for a Hike on a Day Trip to Montserrat

Montserrat’s serene setting continues to attract not just spiritual pilgrims, but also naturalists and those in need of some time in mountains. This destination soaring above the Barcelona skyline, whose name means “sawn mountain”, makes not only for an incredibly unique horizon, but also a convenient natural retreat for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re heading on your day trip to Monsterrat to visit the monastery, the museum or for an event, give yourself some time to explore one of the numerous hiking trails on the mountain. No matter your timing or fitness level there are varying degrees of difficulty to choose from, all offering breathtaking views and the peace and quiet unique to mountaintops. Taking a hike is one of the best things to do near Barcelona in the summer, especially in July or August.

  1. Enjoy a Day Cycling the Serra de Collserola

Nearly bordering the city, Serra de Collserola natural park is a wonderful place to enjoy the wild beauty that surrounds Barcelona. From the sea to the mountains, this Catalonian city is not just a dream destination for urban junkies, but outdoorsy types as well, with everything from boating, mountain climbing, and cycling to participate in. Tours leave from downtown Barcelona daily to take groups exploring the area’s natural heritage. Whether you’re a road cyclist or a mountain biker, you’ll find the perfect routes at Serra de Collserola to explore. The views are spectacular and the terrain can be as challenging or laid-back as you’re looking for, with plenty of places to stop for bathrooms, food and drink along the way.

  1. Inspire the Artist Within at the National Museum of Catalan Art

Located on Montjuïc Mountain where there is an overwhelming number of fantastic things to see and do, the National of Museum of Catalan Art captures the spirit of this unique region within Spain. While this is a place for art enthusiasts and certainly artists themselves, it is also a wonderful place for leisure and reflection, as its location offers a unique vantage point from which to see both city and yourself. Enjoy the art collection as well as the bird’s eye view of the city while you explore one of the Barcelona’s best art collections.

  1. Dive With the Sharks at l’Aquàrium de Barcelona

Of the 450 different species living in harmony at l’Aquàrium de Barcelona, the sharks are by far the most popular, with many different activities to wow the crowds with their beauty and ferocity. This is the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world, meaning that the variety of sharks who call it home are all from the waters that surround the Barcelona Marina. Its six million liters of water are home to 11,000 different organism, all living happily with the sharks who also welcome divers and observers of all kinds. While reportedly a dangerous species, at l’Aquarium de Barcelona you’ll learn what they truly are. Visiting the aquarium is one of the best things to do in Barcelona with kids.

  1. Visit the Joan Mirò Museum

Barcelona has long had a celebrated community of the arts, from incredible design and architecture throughout the city, to painters and sculptors like the amazing Joan Mirò, a Barcelona native known for his rebellious surrealism. If you have yet to visit the Joan Mirò Museum in Parc to Montjuïc in the heart of the city, it is well worth the trip and is easy to reach by public transportation or even on foot depending where you are staying when you visit.

  1. Where to Enjoy the Views While Hiking in Barcelona

You won’t run out of great things to do and places to see in Barcelona though you may find yourself seeking some outdoor adventure to break up your urban exploring. While Barcelona is at the heart of Catalonia, the majority of this unique Spanish region is surrounded by beautiful mountainous country for hikes, backpacking, or rock climbing. If you’re interested in doing some hiking in Barcelona while visiting, there are plenty of options. Whether you’re inclined to grabbing a map and exploring the country on your own or would prefer to take a group tour, the experience will be breathtaking as well as enlightening as you begin to understand the Catalonian culture from a larger vantage. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Barcelona, Spain!

A trip to our fantastic city would be incomplete without a visit to at least one of these Barcelona, Spain points of interest. Explore this city’s vast history, culture and ascetic beauty from your home base at a great short term rental in the heart of Barcelona. Our vacation rentals are an excellent alternative to Barcelona hotels. If you’re making the trip to enjoy the best of Barcelona tourism, you may as well do it right.

Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc: Discover Spain’s Architectural Diversity

Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc: Discover Spain’s Architectural Diversity

Located in the center of Barcelona, the Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc is Barcelona’s intriguing open-air architectural museum. Whether you want to take a tour, attend a special event or class or just wander its old streets and buildings for hours and maybe enjoy some delicious food and drink, a trip to Montjuïc is well worth it. It’s also not much of a trip since it is so centrally located, accessible by public transportation or even by foot or bicycle if you so desire. Enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean climate in the midst of Spain’s most famous architecture all within a few blocks of breathtaking buildings and alluring alleyways.

History

Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc was built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exhibition. The goal in building what has become Barcelona’s fourth most visited attraction was to showcase architectural features that are quintessentially Spanish in one little inner-city village. Modeled after the typical Iberian village, it’s architectural features encompass a variety of styles found throughout the entire peninsula, with 117 buildings, streets and squares from around Spain reproduced at scale. While the village was planned to be demolished after the fair, its impact reached far and wide, causing both the artisan community along with many interested locals to speak out against its destruction. This collage of Spanish life was built by four famous architects of the time, who traveled throughout Spain, gaining inspiration from each area’s unique architectural accents. The idea was not to bring together Spanish masterpieces, but to be a monument to Spain and therefore a masterpiece in itself.

The Architectural Museumpoble espanyol de montjuïc

Built on Montjuïc Mountain, Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc is a cultural attraction you don’t want to miss featuring architecture dating back to 11th Century. At Calle Cuna you’ll notice the Arab influenced architecture while Torre de Utebo, the bell tower, is in the Aragonese Mudejar and Gothic style. Enjoy the Neoclassic mansions, and gates from the wall of the oldest town in Europe, Ávila. Baroque and Renaissance-Herrera style palaces will wow you with their extravagance and the intricacies of their design. While all the buildings, streets, and squares are simply replicas made with more modern equipment, the architecture won’t fail to leave you in awe of what people centuries ago were capable of building without modern construction equipment or design software. Be sure to stop by the Monasterio Romántico de Sant Miguel to witness one of the most beautiful and quaint monasteries in all of Barcelona, which also has sweeping views of the city.

 

A trip to Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc isn’t simply educational, it’s downright entertaining. Aside from wandering its fascinating streets and getting a glimpse of Spain through the centuries, you can also enjoy the many wonderful events it hosts. Whether you’re heading there for weekend brunch, for the early may Biergarten, or for one of their nights of food and entertainment, you will surely have a wonderful time while enjoying breathtaking views of the city below. Be sure to visit Montjuïc while staying at one of these Barcelona short term rentals.

 

Explore the Cathedrals in Barcelona

Explore the Cathedrals in Barcelona

Exploring the cathedrals in Barcelona is one of the best ways for visitors to learn about the city’s history and architecture. With deep catholic roots, there is much to learn about Barcelona’s long heritage reaching back to medieval times by exploring the city’s many cathedrals and other holy places. Music is central to the experience, which you’ll discover as you tour the cathedrals in Barcelona and see or hear their enormous organs and perhaps even their majestic choirs. Another key characteristic to a cathedral is that they are the seat of a bishop, making it the central church of the diocese.

Here are four of the most famous cathedrals in Barcelona worth visiting on your stay.

  1. La Sagrada Familia Basilica is one of Barcelona’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi’s, most celebrated masterpieces. Part of what makes this extravagant cathedral so remarkable is that it has been under construction cathedrals in barcelonasince 1882 and isn’t expected to be finished until at least 2020, which will be the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death. This gothic style cathedral, when completed, will have eighteen spires and three epic facades featuring different Catholic scenes. It is a mix of Spanish Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism, and Art Nouveau styles and is one of the most astounding things to see in all of Barcelona.
  2. To walk through medieval times, visit Santa Maria Del Mar, located in the Ribera district of Barcelona. Built between 1329 and 1383 during Barcelona’s prominence as a maritime merchant city, this imposing cathedral is designed in the pure Catalan Gothic style that is unique to the area. The exterior is a looming contrast to the open interior flooded with natural light through stained glass windows.
  3. The Cathedral of the Holy Coss and Sant Eulalia, also known as the Barcelona Cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. Originally it had a nondescript exterior that was typical of Catalan churches at the time, and in the late 19th century the neogothic facade, which you will see there today, was constructed. The Barcelona Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona and is well known for its roof that is home to statues of gargoyles and other mythic creatures.
  4. The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, which in English is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was completed in 1961. It was designed by the famous Catalan architect Enric Sagnier and was completed by his son, Josep Maria Sagnier i Vidal. Located on the summit of Mount Tibidabo its construction was motivated by the Protestant-Catholic divide when there was talk of the site being purchased to build a protestant church. The cathedral displays gorgeous architecture and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and city below. 

If you’re planning a trip to the city you don’t want to miss the chance to explore some of the spectacular cathedrals in Barcelona. Look into these Barcelona short term rentals located in and around the Gothic Quarter where you will be closer to the old medieval city of Barcelona. You’ll love exploring Barcelona’s’s Roman roots from one of these luxurious flats.

The Palace of Catalan Music is a Feast for Both the Eyes and the Ears

The Palace of Catalan Music
The Palace of Catalan Music / Photo By kkmarais via Flickr

In the heart of Barcelona, Spain you’ll find the Palace of Catalan Music, which is just as much an historical institution as it is a center for the arts. Featuring world-renown art in both performance arts and in fine arts, this is certainly a stop worth making on your trip to Barcelona. Whether you’re seeing a performance, taking a tour, or just walking by you won’t be disappointed that you visited that Palace.

Built between 1905 and 1908, the Palace of Catalan Music is itself a masterful work of art. Part of the turn-of-the-century Catalan Art Nouveau movement, also known as modernisme, it is the only art venue of this style to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It stands today as a symbol of the history and heritage for the people of Catalonia. The building’s beautiful architecture is centered around a metal structure covered in glass, flooding it with natural light and making it a wonderful place for large installations.

The Palace has three separate venues. Two are large concert auditoriums, and the third is an intimate concert room for small shows. It also has two meeting places, one is used for intermissions, while the other is an event venue. Each space has a unique art piece all its own, and evoke strong senses of place.

This unique center for the arts is the culmination of local, national and international talent performing in an historic setting. The Palace also has a renowned music education program and guided tours of their gorgeous building. The house Chamber Choir is a professional international benchmark. These 22 voices are devoted to rediscovering the Catalan musical heritage while embracing international choral music and developing new works. This traveling group has worked with the most prestigious international orchestras, opera companies, and conductors.

Shows at the Palace of Catalan Music are diverse and entertaining. Here are some listings for the 2014 holiday season.

Soweto Gospel Choir – Gospel Greats
This South African gospel choir will be performing a tribute concert to Nelson Mandela.

Waltzes and Dance Festival – Orquestra Sinfonica del Valles
This is a festival of Waltzes, Dance and gospel.

Christmas Gospel Rhythm – Alabama Gospel Choir
This show is a journey through the history of gospel from the 19th century to modern Christmas tunes that invite the crowd to join in.

Christmas With Swing – Coros de las Escuelas del Conservatario del Liceu
This is an instrumental and vocal jazz show by students of all ages.

Great New Year’s Concert – Strauss Festival Orchestra and Ballet
This is one of Europe’s most famous tours celebrating the musical traditions of 19th century Vienna.

When you visit the Palace of Catalan Music you’ll be treated to several unique, and famous experiences. The Palace itself is a symbol of an artistic movement set in that particular area while simultaneously celebrating its cultural heritage. The in-house acts are just as noteworthy as the guest ensembles they host from around the world. The Palace of Catalan Music is worth a trip when you’re visiting Barcelona. If you’re looking for a great accommodation while in town, check out the great bizFlats apartments scattered about this beautiful city.