Things to do in Barcelona
January 1, 1970
by Anna Font
One of the capitals of the Mediterranean sea, Barcelona is nowadays one of the most visited cities in southern Europe. The Catalan capital is famously known for being the home of one of the best football teams, Football Club Barcelona but also home of Antoni Gaudí.
Barcelona has a lot to offer, but since the city is not very big, three days will work just fine. Amazing architecture, nice weather, walkable distance to most famous places from the city centre and an amazing nightlife if you’re up to it and aren’t too tired after an exhausting day out!
A few tips before we get to the important places to visit:
- From the airport: take the Aerobus, which has a stop outside both terminals. It will take you downtown in thirty minutes.
- The one-way ticket costs 5’90€ (10,20€ two ways) and it runs from 05:35 am to 1 am. During the night time bus, N18 follows the same route but takes 50 minutes.
- You also have the chance to take the metro L9, but I’d choose the Aerobus because the metro is trickier.
- Once you’re settled in the hotel and you’re ready to start exploring there are two things that I would point out. If you like to walk, this is the right city to do so. You can easily walk, from the centre to most of the important places but the metro is still necessary and there are special cards for tourists. The metro-card is called Hola Barcelona! and can be bought from the machines at the stations or online. You can choose from a two-day card and up to five days. The two-day card cost 15€.
If I had to highlight one of the things that make Barcelona such a unique city, that is the architecture. For that, we have to thank a lot of people, but mostly Antoni Gaudí. He is the architect of important buildings like the Sagrada Família and Casa Milà – La Pedrera, both should be on your must-visit list. Casa Milà – La Pedrera is located in the very city centre and offers 360º breathtaking views of the city and Sagrada Familia is just astonishing. The Basilica started to built back in 1882 and is still not finished. The architects are following Gaudi’s guidelines and it is estimated to be done in 2026. Internet pictures and videos don’t come close enough to do it justice, and just for that, I consider a must-go if you ever get the chance to come to Barcelona. You won’t regret it. Quick tip: get your ticket in advance!
If you’re up for more views of the city, then you cannot miss Plaça Espanya (Spain’s Square). Right beside it, there’s a shopping centre called Las Arenas, which was a bullfighting ring until 1977. Nowadays bullfighting is prohibited in Catalonia. If you take the stairs up to the attic you’ll get a fantastic 360º view of the city and a chance to spot many of the important buildings. Also, if you’re hungry or you just want to have a quick break and eat a tapa, you will find many restaurants with indoor and terrace spaces.
Continuing down the sightseeing path, I would recommend watching the sunset at the beach to get views like or quite similar to this one. The building in the picture is called Hotel Vela.
The easiest way to get to the beach from the centre is to take bus 15 right to the last stop (Plaça Rosa del Vents), but you can also take the metro, Line 4 (yellow), get off at Barceloneta and walk for 20 minutes towards the sea.
If you’re in the city in the warmer days of the year you could take a dive into the sea, have a run along the seafront, even do a bit of yoga or have a relaxing time on the sand.
There is one thing that I love to do and that I recommend to everyone that comes to the city: get lost in El Born. El Born is a neighbourhood in the centre of the city which is known for its bars and pubs, but also for its restaurants. The atmosphere, the narrow streets, and the architecture make El Born one of the most interesting and charismatic parts of town. Beautiful to get lost at daytime and fun to go out for a drink after dinner.
For the nightlifers, you may already know that Barcelona is well known for the clubs and parties. There’s a lot of places to go but I would highlight discos by the sea: Pacha Barcelona, Shôko, and Opium; if you’re looking for a more rock-pop-alternative vibe, Razzmatazz is your place and if you just want to grab a drink and a bit of live music, I would go to Obama which is pretty near to Plaça Catalunya.
Fun activity for kids
If you travel with kids and you want a day of fun in a theme park, Tibidabo is what you’re looking for. The park is right at the top of the mountain which demarcates Barcelona on one side and offers fantastic views alongside fun rides, especially for younger kids. From Plaça Catalunya you can catch a bus, T2A, which stops right in front the store Desigual which is easy to spot for its bright colours and it’s also beside the Apple Store. The bus runs from 10 am until an hour after the theme park closes and it costs 3€ per person.
As someone who was born and raised in Catalonia, you do not want to leave without tasting our gastronomy. Write these few dishes down because there’s really no translation! Pà amb tomàquet, llangonissa or fuet, botifarra amb seques and crema catalana. With these, you’re set for a typical Catalan meal, which I promise you won’t regret! There are quite a lot of traditional cusine restaurants but in my opinion, Cal Boter is definitely one of the best.
Last but not least, and a must-see if you’re a football (soccer) fan, you should definitely visit the FC Barcelona museum and go to a match if you have the chance. The museum offers all of Barcelona’s winning titles and its history from the start to the present and if you book it, you also get a chance to see the field during the tour. As I mentioned, if you get the chance and Barça happen to play home during the days you’re in Barcelona, I wouldn’t miss the chance to see them play. It’s truly an exciting experience. Not only to see the atmosphere a football team creates but also to see the world’s finest players on one of the most important fields, Camp Nou.
I hope you enjoy the time in the city and everything it has to offer!