Spain’s second largest and definitely most cosmopolitan city and one of the Mediterranean’s busiest ports. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, which is a region of Spain with its own language – Catalan, and it’s own culture and character. Some people can be forgiven for thinking they are in another country when they visit Barcelona.
Barcelona offers the best of both worlds, situated on the Costa Brava on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, the city gently rises up from the coastline through the city and up into a range of wooded hills. It’s perfect for those wishing to combine a city and beach break.
Getting around Barcelona is easy. You can pretty much walk around the whole city. They also have a daily rent-a-bike system and the Metro is very good and simple to use. There is much to see around each corner – Gothic architecture, the famous Las Ramblas avenue, Gaudi’s Güel Parc and the unfinished La Sagrada Cathedral, the old Raval quarter, La Ribera and La Barceloneta, a beachside ravel of corridor style streets where you can find some fantastic local restaurants and bars, away from the typical tourist area.
The GlobalCityBreak team thoroughly recommends Barcelona for all types of traveler – families, couples, globetrotters and devourers of culture. It really does have something for everyone.
Below, we have compiled a list of things to do on your city break in Barcelona. See our holiday apartments in Barcelona.
Barcelona tourist and information video
La Sagrada Familia
This is the architect Antonio Gaudi’s absolute masterpiece and without doubt the most famous and most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona and maybe worldwide. Originally it was started by the architect Francisco de Paula de Vilar in 1882, after which the end of 1883 was continued by Gaudi and he continued the project for over 40 years until his death in 1926. Then a large number of architects continued his work and the church is expected to be completed around 2035. You have to visit La Sagrada Familia when you are in Barcelona and also must sacrifice an entrance ticket and take a tour of this stunning masterpiece. It is possible to come up in one of the towers which give you a fantastic view over the city.
La Rambla is Barcelona’s famous pedestrian street that never sleeps. It separates the two areas Barrio Gothic and El Raval and
buzzes with life all year. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy a cold refreshment in the heat or just enjoy Barcelona’s charm. Similarly, there are many souvenir shops, flower sellers and other exciting things. From La Rambla, there are a myriad of small side streets and at the end of the street you will find the 52 meter high statue of Christopher Columbus and Barcelona’s beautiful harbor.
Antonio Gaudi is undoubtedly the most famous person in Barcelona and has put his powerful imprint on many of the city buildings. Gaudi was born in 1852 and had rheumatic problems which prevented him from a normal childhood. To start with he was not included on the architect academy, but his subsequent application was accepted and the city is probably grateful for that today. He was educated architect in 1878 and many of his first works were made a laughing stock, but to his great luck fate led him along Catalan patriarch Eusebio Güell, who had great faith in his abilities and he could continue working and gradually increased his popularity. Among the greatest works of Gaudi include La Sagrada Familia, Parque Güell, Casa Mila and Casa Batlló. Antonio Gaudi died in 1926 when he was tragically run over by a tram and as he was not recognized he was not given the appropriate first aid and
died a few days later in a poor hospital. He is now buried in his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Is another of Gaudi’s wonders and is located in the Eixample area of Passeig de Gracia 92 This non-typical house was build as a private mansion to Rosario Segimon and Pere Milà between 1906 – 1910 and was officially completed in 1912. Throughout the
construction process, there were many problems because the city council would not accept the house’s original design. The house is now available to the public and we recommend a tour in the house where you on the roof to specifically can see Gaudi’s special kind of design.
Barrio Gothic is Barcelona’s old town and the historic center. Here you will find most of Barcelona’s many fascinating buildings such as Plaça Reial, Plaça Sant Jaume, Santa María del Pi and the La Seu Cathedral. The area also contains plenty of good restaurants, small bars and it has its own charm, which you find nowhere else in the city. Similarly, Barrio Gothic is very centrally located to all attractions and within walking distance of the beach, the port and Las Ramblas – this makes the area the most popular place to live as a tourist.
Santa Maria del Mar
In El Born, you will find this impressive church which is built in Gothic style in the years 1329 – 1384. The church is built on top of a temple which is said to contain the remains of Barcelona’s patron angel of Santa Eulalia. The church is entered in record time – it took 54 years to build the church and it is said that all different kind of the city’s population helped to build the church. The church is impressive and what makes it special is the distance between the columns of 13 meters – which is European record.
In the Northern Barcelona, you can visit the famous and distinctive Park Güell designed by Gaudi. The park was published in 1923 and today the park is visited by both the people of Barcelona, but also a large part of tourists. It is named after the Catalan patriarch Eusebio Güell which was a wealthy businessman, who asked Antonio Gaudi to design the park, as he was very fascinated by the architect. The house where Gaudi lived for the last 20 years of his life is found in the park and serves as a museum.
One of the city’s impressive buildings is called Torre Agbar and many find the name strange – but actually it is very straightforward – Agua Barcelona is the city’s water supply. The building is 144 meters high with 33 floors and contains offices. Torre Agbar has now led to many different names because of its shape and only your imagination is the limit.
Barcelona has two soccer teams in the best Spanish Premier League, RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona. The last mentioned is the most famous and especially their home ground Camp Nou is impressive and has capacity for approx. 100,000 spectators and is worth a visit. Here you will also find the club’s museum with the history of major players including Michael Laudrup, Diego Maradona and Gary Lineker. If you wish to experience a game you can purchase tickets at the club’s website – see more here.
Barceloneta is located only 15 minutes walk from the city center and in the old days it was here that the town’s fishermen lived. Today’s Barceloneta changed, but still hold firm in the past old buildings, many of them restored and many residents have chosen to
invest in a holiday home in this charming area with many local bars and fish restaurants. But Barceloneta is most known for its beach, where there is ample opportunity to enjoy the sun and swimming in the heat. We can also recommend the beach at Vila Nova Icària Olimpica.