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.

Not Sure What to See in Barcelona? Check Out Our Awesome Guide

Not Sure What to See in Barcelona? Check Out Our Awesome Guide

The eyes work tirelessly while exploring new places, constantly darting from side to side and up and down, trying to take in all the dazzling sights and scenery.  Maybe you’re a history buff who gazes in awe of ancient buildings or an art connoisseur who stares diligently at art displays to interpret their meaning.  Perhaps you’re an outdoors expert who is constantly gaping at the sight of breathtaking mountains… or you prefer to bask in the sun and watch the waves roll onto the beach.  Whatever you like to see, Barcelona has the perfect attraction for you!  Investigate sights that interest you or discover a new passion within the vast list of what to see in Barcelona!

Arts, Architecture, and History

As a region that can be traced back to the 2nd century, Barcelona has a rich history as well as spectacular art and architecture that developed throughout the years.  These are just a few highlights of Barcelona’s most famous museums and monuments.  (Also something to keep in mind: all city-run Barcelona museums are free on Sundays!)

Joan Miro´ Museum: Learn about the famous Joan Miro´ and observe rare paintings and exhibits in this unique museum.

Barcelona City History Museum (MUHBA): Study ancient artifacts as you discover more about Barcelona’s history and how it has developed since its founding.

Modernista Art and Architecture: Many modernista architects, such as Antoní Gaudi, have left their mark in Barcelona in the form of countless, breathtaking buildings all across the city for the public to admire.

Barcelona Ramblas: Once a rushing river, this significant part of Barcelona is now the most famous street in the city, filled with businesses, historical sites, restaurants, markets, and more!

Hiking

Since it is a city surrounded by hills, Barcelona is home to many beautiful hiking trails.  If you love the outdoors, lace up your hiking boots and investigate these magnificent scenes of nature.  

Montjuïc mountain: This towering hill, which historically served as a defense for the city, now contains gardens, parks, hiking trails, and even cable car rides to view the city from above!

Collserola Park: An ideal area for biking, this park has picturesque views of the city, the Mediterranean, and the countryside.

Montserrat: View the famous Montserrat monastery before hiking the peak of this mountain, which is known for possessing the best view of Catalonia.

Pyrenees & Montseny Mountains: You should reserve an entire day trip to fully appreciate what these mountains have to offer; you’ll find countless parks, trails, and views of the mountains as well as ancient towns and buildings.

Beaches

The beaches of Barcelona are truly a sight to behold.  Over four kilometers long, these beautiful beaches are spread along the Mediterranean and include multiple coastal towns and marketplaces to explore.  Many of these areas have a thriving nightlife as well, making these beaches a must on the list of what to see in Barcelona!

Sant Sebastià: The longest and arguably the most popular beach in Barcelona, Sant Sebastià stretches 1,100 meters long and possesses many sporting clubs for sea-related activities.

Nova Icària: Closeby to the Olympic Marina, this beach has a wide variety of restaurants in its adjoining town, offering some of the best Barcelona cuisine.

Mar Bella: This active and bustling beach is best known for its watersports.  Visitors and locals alike here can be seen windsurfing or kayaking; there’s also a perfect area for joggers and cyclists.

Barceloneta: The oldest beach in the area, Barceloneta is known as Barcelona’s classic neighborhood by the sea, where people from far and wide come to enjoy seafood in this traditional fishing district. 

Come and Stay with Us at bizFlats!

Now that you know all about what to see in Barcelona, check our availability and book a vacation with us today!  We offer a variety of different penthouses, studios, apartments, lofts, and villas, all designed for you to get more living space for less money than a hotel.

Photo by Rick Ligthelm / Flickr

 

Where to Enjoy the Views While Hiking in Barcelona

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 best things to do in Barcelona!

Montserrat

hiking in barcelona

An easy day trip from Barcelona, Montserrat offers many attractions to keep you busy, including some great hiking trails. A short journey away on public transportation, when you arrive you can explore the monastery or museum, or just head straight out exploring the Sawn Mountain. Many visitors follow in the footsteps of the old tradition, walking to the mountain’s highest peak from the base. While most people drive or taking the tram, walking will give you an extra challenge and spectacular views of the city below.

Montseny

Montseny

This verdant region of national park land is a scenic area perfect for doing some hiking in Barcelona. Similarly an easy trip on public transportation from the city, prepare yourself for lovely trails through the woods. Ranging from 8 to 25 miles in length, this will be an epic outdoors experience giving you a real sense for the Catalonia backcountry, as well as some of its villages.

Parc de Collserola

Rising up over the city of Barcelona is this beautiful park that is nearly touching the city. This immense natural area is a preserved 8,000-hectare area which is predominantly forested, with lakes scattered about, making it among the best hiking near Barcelona.  There are numerous hiking trails throughout the park, but it is also a great place for leisure and education. The Serra de Collserola is a wonderful option for hiking in Barcelona, also accessible by public transportation.

Hi. This is Barcelona…

If you would prefer that someone show you around an unfamiliar countryside, there are plenty of tour options for hiking in Barcelona. Similar to guided walking tours throughout the city, knowledgeable guides at this great tour company will lead you through some of Catalonia’s most remarkable settings, all the while explaining their natural and historical significance.

Pyrenees Mountain Tour

hiking in barcelona

This is noted the only tour that leaves the city and heads for the famous Pyrenees Mountains, leading guests through this awe-inspiring landscape that many visitors travel to Spain exclusively to see. Hikers will not only get to explore some of the many trails throughout the region, but will also ride the mountain train up to 6,000 feet, getting one of the most spectacular views in Catalonia.

 

Hiking in Barcelona is an opportunity you don’t want to miss while visiting. While the city itself is enough to keep you busy and excited, the surrounding countryside is unforgettable. The juxtaposition of the rich city life to the simple countryside will be an enlightening cultural Catalonian experience.

Go for a Hike on a Day Trip to Montserrat

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.

Here are some of the most popular hikes to be enjoyed on a day trip to Montserrat:

  1. The walk from Montserrat Monastery to the Degotalls is a perfect, leisurely walk recommended for those seeking a time for self meditation. Just 3.2 kilometers in length, it should take you about 50 minutes to complete. On this hike you’ll get a great view of the Pyrenees and the flat lands of the Llobregat Valley.
  2. One of the most popular walks is from the Monastery to Santa Cova, an important pilgrim site. This is a more challenging trail with a steep incline at the end of its 2.7 kilometers. It should take about an hour and ten minutes to complete.
  3. There is a funicular lift on site at Montserrat to make its challenging terrain accessible to all. The trails from the Sant Joan Funicular Station to the Monastery make for two great hikes. The first option brings hikers to the peak of Montserrat Mountain, offering some of the most amazing views in all the the Montserrat Natural Park, and is 7.5 kilometers in length. The second option is a gradual walk stretching for 5.2 kilometers with great views of the Llobregat Valley and its river, and is significantly easier than the first route.

    day trip to montserrat
    Photo Credit: Nellmac/iStock/Thinkstock

A day trip to Montserrat is easy to do from your vacation rental in Barcelona. You can take public transit to the base of the park, and hop on the Cramallera train to the peak, or ride the Cable Car up. If you have a car you can also drive up, but if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can even walk up the Montserrat mountain, which is an age old tradition. The Montserrat Natural Park attracts many with its unique jagged shape of its limestone peaks and evergreen forests, which are also scattered with maple, lime and hazelnut trees. The setting offers great wildlife viewing opportunities, especially for being so close to the city. Bird watchers love to come for a walk on the mountain, and there are annual wild boar hunting trips organized in-season.

Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace, or just a beautiful landscape to breathe in on an easy day trip to Montserrat, you won’t be disappointed by what you find on your trek up the mountain. Barcelona is unique for its proximity to both mountains and sea, making it a wonderful vacation option with a myriad of great rental properties throughout the city.