As the Catalan capital, Barcelona is one of the world’s most vibrant and compelling cities. Read more about why we love it, and gather tips on things to see when you visit! Visit Barcelona on our Europe Explorer tour!
Bathed in sunshine for most of the year, Barcelona is the perfect place to escape to. You may need to readjust to the idea of siestas – I’ve been caught out trying to eat dinner at a ‘normal’ time – but it’s totally worth it. Throw yourself in and see why this is one of Europe’s most popular destinations! You could have a quick taste of Spain or plan a longer holiday.
Probably the most popular stretch in all of Barcelona, Las Ramblas is a tree-lined, pedestrian road stretching over a kilometre through the city. With the Gothic quarter to the east and the rather different El Raval quarter to the west, there are countless little roads to explore on either side. Although the restaurants on the main strip are nothing special for the most part, there is an incredible food market. It’s called La Boqueria – and it’s well worth a visit! Pick up fresh fruit, visit delicatessen-style stalls and enjoy coffee (or hot chocolate) and churros. It’s the perfect place to start a day of exploration!
La Sagrada Familia
One of Europe’s most popular architectural attractions, La Sagrada Familia is an unfinished basilica designed by the late Antoni Gaudí, a Catalan modernist who designed some of the city’s most distinctive buildings. With an anticipated completion date of 2026, it’s easy to see why this building has taken so long to complete – the detail in each part of the structure is astounding! Of course, the Spanish Civil War also put a stop to things for a time, which delayed completion even further. This is one masterpiece that really has to be seen to be believed. Other projects by Gaudí in Barcelona include Parc Guell, a city park which offers spectacular views, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (better known as La Pedrera).
One of the best things about Barcelona is the food, and there really is no better place to enjoy tapas. There are countless places advertising tapas, but to really enjoy the best tapas bars, get away from Las Ramblas and find the hidden gems. In some places you might have to prop yourself up at the bar before sharing a table with locals. Don’t let that put you off – it’s all part of the vibe, and the food is really something special! Simple ingredients with strong flavours, prepared fresh. Can’t beat it. We can help you get off the beaten-track in Barcelona, as we ask a local for some advice!
A hill overlooking the harbour, Montjuïc is the perfect place to go for more great views of the city. Catch the funicular to the summit and visit the fortress, Montjuïc Cemetery (where the famous artist Joan Miro is buried) and the botanical gardens.
Make the most of the weather and join the beauties of Barcelona on the beach! Barceloneta is the most popular, touristy strip of sand in the city, but it’s also highly entertaining as a people-watching exercise, and the cafes and bars serve good food and cold drinks. Alternatively, head to Bogatell (around 15 minute’s walk from Bogatell Metro station) for something a little quieter.
Boutiques, bars and restaurants
More so than many other places I’ve visited, Barcelona is a rewarding city to explore on foot. You’ll be surprised by little design boutiques, enthralled by incredible architecture that draws influence from a range of styles and cultures, inspired by street art and delighted by the tasty treats on offer from the various cafes and restuarants. Night-time is equally rewarding, with little cocktail bars and drinking establishments coming alive for revellers local and foreign after dark. Don’t be surprised to find the party starting later than anticipated and continuing into the very small hours – they do things differently here!
Want to make a trip to Spain and see what this beautiful country has to offer? Join one of our Europe and Spain tours, we’d love to guide you in person!