Best Things to Do in Barcelona

Barcelona's Most Exciting, Innovative and Intriguing Attractions and City Activities

One area in which Barcelona does not lack is in the array of eclectic, funky, innovative and really cool attractions and activities found within. It's a city full of avant- garde architecture, trendy design and advanced urban development, not to mention the thriving contemporary art scene and ties to luminaries such as Picasso, Miro and Dali; all of whom made Barcelona their watering hole at different points in their lives. Whether you're more partial to the 'foodie' experience, a history buff or fascinated by Modernism and the works of Antoni Gaudi, there are plenty of options to keep one occupied for a day, a weekend or a few weeks.

From tapas tours to the magnificence of Gaudi's works and that of his contemporaries including Lluis Domenech i Montaner amongst others, to bike excursions and relaxing strolls in Ciutadella Park, Barcelona has plenty of exciting things to see and do no matter how long your stay. There are also a fair amount of free activities and attractions in the city as well as plenty of great things for kids. La Rambla is a fun walkway to visit and the parks provide for beautiful scenery at no cost. There's also the chocolate museum, which isn't free, but provides for hours of entertainment. 



A definite 'must-see', even if you're not into art. The Picasso Museum, showcases a small yet wide selection of the artist's works; you'll be taken through the different and very diverse stages of his life and career. The Museum often has special exhibits open for a few weeks at a time, so be sure to check the schedule. Some tour companies offer Picasso tours which include both the inside of the Museum and the streets and bars and shops where Picasso spent his time and gained inspiration. Hi. This Is Barcelona is one company that offers an Intimate Picasso tour.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: An excellent Museum in Barcelona, even if you're not a Picasso lover it'll conver you into one

Sam's expert tip: Reserve tickets online in advance and avoid all lines by walking right in

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Parc Güell

Another one of Gaudi's amazing creations, Park Guell features the longest bench in the world as well as Gaudi's tiny house where he lived for several years. The park is a mix of design and architecture with nature and illustrates Gaudi's connection with natural beauty and its greatness. From the Park you can see beautiful city views and even bring food for a small picnic on the grass. This is a romantic and very unique park, intertwined with authentic Modernism structures as well as a rich and beautiful landscape. New to the Park is the Gaudi Experience which is a small shop and interactive ride at the bottom of the Park's entrance.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Gaudi's magnificent wonderland Park with a mix of architecture and greenery

Sam's expert tip: Get off at the Lesseps metro stop (green line) and enter the park through the back avoiding the long stairway on the other side.

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Built in the 1700's the Citadel turned into a park in the 19th century and today is a great place for family outings, yoga classes, gatherings amongst friends and a relaxing day in nature. There's a small pond in the center of the garden and a beautiful fountain built by Josep Fonster who was helped by his young apprentice at the time, Antonio Gaudi. Park Ciutadella is a great place to spend an afternoon amongst friends, with the kids or on your own. There's a small pond where you can watch the Swans or feed them and a few picnic tables as well. There's also ping pong on the far side you just need to bring your own rackets and balls.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: A relaxing and pretty place to stroll, picnic or feed Swans

Sam's expert tip: Great place to stroll or have a picnic on the weekends

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Hospital Sant Pau

Dubbed "The Stone Quarry" for its remarkably sculpted stone facade. Built in the early 1900's and designed by Gaudi, the building's edifice is considered the world's largest abstract sculpture. Declared a heritage sight by UNESCO in 1984. Founded in 1401, Hospital Sant Pau used to be six small medieval hospitals. The hospital now houses the art school in Barcelona (Escola Massana) and the National Library of Catalonia (Biblioteca de Catalunya). The actual hospital was closed in 2009. This is one of the lesser well known Modernist buildings in Barcelona, and not on the typical 'route'. So you'll definitely get a glimpse into something more off the beaten path.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The world's largest abstract sculpture and a Barcelona hit

Sam's expert tip: Go early in the morning if you want to avoid line ups

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Palau de la Música Catalana

If you're able to experience a concert in this gorgeous music hall, then definitely do it! Palau De La Musica is a modernist masterpiece, designed between 1905-1908 by architect, Lluís Dom?nech i Montaner. It was originally built as a home for the Choral Society but today has turned into a prime spot for live concerts on all scales. If you're able to take a tour of the inside, be sure to set up a time with the Palau de La Musica itself. Only their official guides are licensed to give tours inside, which they do in both English and Spanish.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The most gorgeous concert hall to listen to music

Sam's expert tip: Be sure to take a guided tour with one of their professional guides

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Fabulous cooking classes by a professional nutritionist and vegan cook. Pabulum focuses on fresh, organic, local and in season foods, providing private and group cooking classes in a modern, trendy loft in the Gothic Quarter. Classes are run by a native American with a passion for food and not only are incredibly fun and informative, but focus on creating pretty, elegant dishes that are sure to impress vegans and non-vegans alike. Cocktails and an amuse-bouche accompanies the classes.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: A beautiful Gothic Quarter Cathedral in the heart of the Old City.

Sam's expert tip: Be sure to schedule in advance as spaces are limited

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La Sagrada Familia

Without a doubt this is Gaudi's crowning glory. Set to be completed in 2046, the Sagrada Familia is a Barcelona must-see. Even if you don't want to go inside, the outside facades, history and master design are equally breathtaking. This was Gaudi's last piece of work before he died and is still yet to be finished having taken more than 100 years already. The outside is breathtaking and leaves most people gawking, eyes and mouths wide open. If you want to look inside it's worth it to take a tour or get the audio tour. The towers and elevator up provide for gorgeous city views as well.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: A Modernist masterpiece and a Barcelona 'must-see', at least from the outside

Sam's expert tip: Be sure to go early if you want to enter the Church, or reserve tickets online before hand.

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What's a trip to Barcelona without taking a stroll down La Rambla. This vastly famous walkway is one of the most popular stretches in Europe as well as the world. Starting at the the Colon (Christopher Columbus Statue) by the beach, it goes until Plaza Catalunya dividing the Old City with the Gothic Quarter on one side and the Raval on the other. At the very top is the Eixample neighborhood, where the city expanded at the end of the 19th century. If you're looking for an entertaining and fun stroll, La Rambla won't disappoint. Featuring everything from street performers, to merchants selling books, art, portraits and even animals, this is a top Barcelona attraction. Just be sure to keep your purses closed and pockets zipped as it's also a haven for pickpockets.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: One of the most famous walkways in Europe, a fun and exciting free activity

Sam's expert tip: Find the soldier he doesn't move

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Barcelona Slow Travel
Photo courtesy of Barcelona Slow Travel

Barcelona Slow Travel is one of the city's most unique tourism companies as it's all about sustainability. Founded and run by two young and dynamic locals, they focus on creating authentic and real experiences by connecting travellers to locals in every community. Each of their tours and experiences embodies their philosophy of respecting the local community, promoting family-run businesses, keeping culture and traditions alive and and helping to preserve the environment. This is truly a company that 'walks the talk' and practices what it believes in. They provide the ideal experiences for people who truly care about connecting with, learning from and supporting the local culture that they're visiting.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: A sustainable approach to tourism, one of a kind in Barcelona offering authentic experiences with locals

Local Expert tip: Book early as they fill up quickly especially in the summer

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Food Lovers Company

The Food Lovers Company tapas tour is an authentic and wonderful way to experience Barcelona through food. It is clear from the beginning that the guide is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about local, fresh and quality food. The tour visits four amazing places and at each of them the guide knows the owners as if they were family. It showed throughout the entire evening. This is a great way to experience Barcelona outside of the traditional tourist experience; eating and interacting like a local for the night. The food is exquisite: artichoke, butifarra and white beans,fresh grilled chorizo, fresh grilled calamari, croquettes, octopus stew, alioli bread, rice with quail, crema catalana, all to die for. Because every restaurant in Barcelona offers croquette or chorizo it can be overwhelming to choose and it may seem like any place will do the trick. Any tour can take you to the biggest and busiest tapas bar, but it takes a true local and foodie to serve up and experience like this.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: A fabulous food tour, off the beaten path, unique and authentic

Local Expert tip: Book early they fill up quickly

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Meet Sam Mednick

Sam’s passion for the sea and mountains makes Barcelona the optimal living destination. 

Sam's love for traveling has taken her to Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Before...  More About Sam