What to see in Barcelona

What to see in Barcelona - The best 30 attractions not to miss  

 

Sagrada Familia

Las Ramblas

Casa Batlló

Parc Guëll

Finca Güell

Barrio Gotico

Palau de la Generalitat

Montjuic

Tibidabo

Parc de la Ciutedella

La Ribera

Casa Milà

Barceloneta

Torre Agbar

Museu Picasso

Ajuntament

CaixaForum

Casa Amatller
Casa Àsia (Palau de Baró Quadras)

Casa Vicens

Casa Lleó Morera

Cathedral of Barcelona

CCCB

Cementeri Sud-Oest

Colonia Güell
Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat e Palau Reial Major
CosmoCaixa
Palau de la Música Catalana
Funicolar of Tibidabo
Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
Parc de la Ciutadella
Barcelona Parks

 

Barcelona looks like one one thousand different cities, hard to distinguish one from another. Tidy and chaotic, traditional and modern, never ordinary and a nicely elusive place. From the characteristic medieval quarter, through the elegant Eixample from the 19th century and the refurbished promenade, the city rewards the visitors with streets full of charm, attractions and curious things. Barcelona is an ever changing city which always keeps up with the times. What to see? A lot of things. Where to look? Everywhere. What to do? Live the city like the locals do, without forgetting its numerous attractions.


Let's find them out together... follow me!

 

Sagrada Familia

 

The Sagrada Familia, the unfinished masterpiece of Antoni Gaudì (but it will be lent), is one of Barcelona's most popular tourist attractions, probably the only one that alone, even if dear, is worth a visit to the city. His Spanish-language name is Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia. Main characteristic, in addition to the aesthetic, is that of being still under construction: incredible but true, but the works seem to continue at least until 2026... and think that they began in 1882! Like the great churches of the past, this one follows its path, in an architecture that has now become synonymous with the same soul of the city.... Read on the Sagrada Familia.

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Las Ramblas

 

Le Ramblas - BarcellonaLas Ramblas are a great and unique avenue, one of the most emblematic places in the city of Barcelona, which crosses it in its vital heart, connecting Plaça de Catalunya to the north to the old port of Barcelona (Port Vell) in the south, as far as the monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus. This long avenue, originally bedded by a seasonal river, undisputed landmark of the city life, has in its different features different names, such as Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, etc...Read on the Las Ramblas.

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Casa Batlló

 

Casa Battlo BarcellonaIn the early 1900s, Antoni Gaudì, the most famous Barcelona architect and his collaborator Josep Maria Jujol, took charge of designing an ordinary block of apartments belonging to the textile manufacturers magnate Josep Batlló. The result was to create one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of architecture. With its sensual wrought-iron curves and the shimmering "trencadis" (collage of broken tiles and ceramics) on the façade, it would seem that Casa Batlló represents the legend of St. George (patron saint of Catalonia) and his dragon....Read on the Casa Batlló.

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Finca Güell

 

Casa Battlo BarcellonaFantasy and technical innovation merge in the former warehouses of the Finca Güell in Avinguda Pedralbes in Barcelona. The beauty and colour of the buildings do not eclipse the main protagonist of this particular union: the mythological giant dragon of the Garden of the Hesperides (the mythological garden where a tree of gold pomi trees grew), a synthesis of the symbolism and craftsmanship of Gaudí...Read on the Finca Güell.

 

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Ajuntament


The City Hall of Barcelona (Ajuntament) is an elegant building with a beautiful 18th century façade and an ancient Gothic-Catalan entrance hall dating back to the 15th century. Inside you can admire several works of art by the great Catalan masters and in particular the famous Saló de Cent, where the Council of the Hundred (Consell de Cent) used to meet during the government of the city, from 1372 to 1714. The building of the Municipality of Barcelona, also called Casa de la Ciutat is located in the Plaza de Sant Jaume, one of the most central places in the city and therefore used by tourists and citizens of Barcelona. Opposite there is another very significant institutional building, the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya...Read more on Ajuntament City Hall of Barcelona.

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CaixaForum
Casaramona,
Marquès de Comillas avda 6-8
Quarter: Montjuic e Poble Sec
Metro: Espanya

Access: free


In 2011, the former textile factory (Casaramora) designed by Puig i Cadafalch, masterpiece of the industrial modernism, has celebrated its 100 years of life. Don't miss one of the most interesting spaces of contemporary art in town, both for its architecture and its content. It hosts a permanent collection of contemporary art and three huge spaces for temporary shows. The complex includes a large entrance designed by Arata Isozaki, a mural by Sol LeWitt, an auditorium, a bookshop and a library.
 

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Casa Amatller
Passeig de Gràcia 41
Quarter: Eixample
Metro: Passeig de Gràcia

Access: ticket fee
Don't miss a visit to this wonder of modernist architecture, built by baron Amatller. He (1851-1910) belonged to an ancient family of chocolate makers from Barcelona, whose activity started in 1797. Art and photography lover, the baron commissioned the costruction of his residence between 1898 and 1900 to the famous architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, one of the main exponents of Catalan modernism. Together with Casa Batló and Casa Lleó-Morera, it's considered one of the main buildings in the quarter of Illa de la Discordia in Barcelona. Inspired by the style of Dutch houses from the 17th century, the building has a characteristic Fleming pediment covered with glossy ceramic, while the lower front and the portal are decorated with sculptures by Eusebi Arnau i Mascort. The building today hosts an art institute (Instituto Amatller de Arte Hispánico) and is an archive for the vast collection of Amatller. The guided tour of the house also includes Amatller's chocolate tasting.
 

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Casa Àsia (Palau de Baró Quadras)
Avenida Diagonal 373
Quarter: Eixample
Entrance: free


The Cultural centre for Asia and the Pacific is hosted in the adorned Palau de Baró Quadras, a modernist building designed by Puig i Cadafalch in 1904. Besides somptuous sculptures and mosaics, you can admire a variety of excellent temporary art shows, from modern art to Chinese abstractism, to Iranian graphics. The aim of the cultural centre is to promote Asian culture in Barcelona, with language courses, international conferences and cinema.

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Casa Vicens

Carrer de les Carolines

Quarter: Gracia
Metro: Fontana


Casa Vicens is the first important building completed by Antoni Gaudi, built between 1883 and 1888. You can only see it from outside, since it's inhabited by the descendants of the tiles producer Manuel Vicens i Montaner (in 2007 the house was sold for 27 millions euro). You can admire the beauty of its external front, with its mosaic of colored tiles, one of the first examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Barcelona and in the entire Europe. The internal spaces include Ottoman, Islamic and Andalusian influences; at that time Gaudí was deeply influenced by the architecture of North Africa and the Middle East and this can be noticed especially in the internal design of the house.
 

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Casa Lleó Morera
Passeig de Gràcia 35
Metro: L'Esquerra Eixample
Metro: Passeig de Gràcia
On the corner Carrer del Consell de Cent, there's Casa Lleó Morera, one of the three houses on the famous street which were completed by Domènech i Montaner in 1906. Art Nouveau style, the inside of the shop is the only part of the building which is open to the public.
 


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Chathedral od Barcelona
Pla de la Seu
Quarter: Barrí Gòtic
Metro: Jaume I
Access: free (except for museum and panoramic view)
The cathedral of Barcelona (its official name is Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia) is one of the main examples of gothic-catalan architecture. Its spires are visible from almost everywhere in the Barrio Gotico and the huge square where it's located, Plaça de la Seu, is one of the most trafficked spots in the area. In the same position, before the cathedral, there used to be a roman temple and, more recently, a mosque. The construction started in 1298 and was completed in the 15th century, but the front and the central spire were completed not earlier than 1913. You can admire the bright cloister enriched by a vault of grids in wraught iron, embellished by orange trees, medlars and palms: plus, it hosts 13 white geese (as many as the years of Saint Eulalia's life). The Museum of the Cathedral, in the capitular room of the 17th century, includes paintings and sculptures by maestros of the Gothic style such as Jaume Huguet, Bernat Martorell and Bartolomé Bermejo. During the Corpus Domini festival (in June), the cloister of the cathedral presents a typical catalan tradition from 1637, L'ou com balla (the dancing egg): a shell of an empty egg is positioned on the upper part of the fountain that pours water and is left there " dancing" .
 

 

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CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona)

C / Montalegre 5
Quarter: Barri Gòtic
Metro: Catalunya
Access: ticket fee
The biggest cultural centre in Spain was inaugurated in 1994 in the Casa de la Caritat, a former hospice built in 1802 on the site of a medieval monastery. The imposing front and part of the courtyard belong to the original building, the rest was rebuilt in a dramatic contrast, all glass and steel, by the architect Piñón Viaplana.
 

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Cementeri Sud-Oest

C / Mare de Déu de Port 54-58
Quarter: Montjuic and Poble Sec
Bus: n 38

Designed by Leandro Albareda in 1880, the great cemetery was originally divided into four sections: one for catholics, one for protestants, one for non christians and the fourth for aborted fetuses. Now it extends over the South-western corner of the mountain. Many graves, especially those belonging to the gypsy community, are a blaze of colours and flowers. Inside, you can also find the Fossar de la memoriale Pedrera, remembering the fallen people from the International brigades and Catalan martyrs of the civil war, Holocaust Memorial and a mausoleum for the former president of the Generalitat, Lluís Companys.
 

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Colonia Güell
Claudi Güell s/n
Santa Coloma de Cervello (outside Barcellona)
Transports: railway FGC for Güell Colonia. Lines S33, S34, S8, or S7 (from Plaça Espanya)
Eusebi Güell was a progressive man and he wanted to found a colony for the workers of his textile factory. The colony would include a hospital, a library, public residences, a theatre, a church and a crypt. Nowadays, it's a village with 775 residents, located out of Barcelona, in the Comarca of Baix Llobregat (municipality of Santa Coloma de Cervelló). Its creator and designer once again was Antoni Gaudí, who started the works in 1890, helped by collaborators such as architects Francesc Berenguer and Joan Rubió Bellver. Most of the buildings are now private residences, but others such as the factory and the warehouse have been abandoned, and this gives to the area a ghost city atmosphere.
 

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Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat e Palau Reial Major

Plaça del Rei s / n, Barri Gotic
Metro: Liceu o Jaume I
Accesss: ticket fee
Two of the biggest museums in Barcelona are located in a square called Plaça del Rei, situated near the borders of the remaining section of the walls of the ancient town. Besides the expositions of Medieval Barcelona, you should pay particular attention to the underground part, under the square: the excavations brought back to light a huge section of Barcino, the old roman city. An incredible ancient Barcelona emerges from the ground: streets, squares, houses decorated with mosaics, shoops, the forum and the wine warehouses.
 

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CosmoCaixa(Science Museum)
C/Teodor Roviralta 47-51,
Quarter: west
Transport: bus 17, 22, 58.
Railway FGC from Avenida Tibidabo, followed by Tramvia Blau
Access: ticket fee


Financed by the bank La Caixa, the Museu de la Ciència closed in 1998 for a huge renovation, for 6 years. These works contributed to create one of the biggest and most beautiful science museums in Europe.
 

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Palau de la Música Catalana
C / Sant Francesc de Paula 2
Quarter: Pere Born & St
Metro: Urquinaona
Access: ticket fee


The Palau de la Música is, according to many people, the most relevant contribution left by the Catalan modernist movement. Simply wonderful, it was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1997. The palace of music was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, an architect who lived at the same time as Gaudí. Commissioned by the National Choral Society Orfeo Català, the building is richly decorated: the ceiling is an inverted bell made of colored glass, representing the sun in a blue sky, formed by 18 semi-mosaics, with muses appearing as bas-relieves from the back of the stage, winged horses fly over the superior balcony... Don't miss a visit to this unique-in-the-world jewel.
 

 

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Funicolar of Tibidabo
Plaça Doctor Andreu a Plaça Tibidabo
Quarter: west


Transports: railway FGC Avenida Tibidabo then Tramvia Blau
Don't miss a ride on this art deco vehicle to admire part of the town below, which winds through the pine woods to the top of the hill. It's been operating since 1901, according to a complicated timetable. When it's not operating, it's substituted by the line FGC from Plaça de Catalunya to Peu, with the funicular to Vallvidrera Superior, where you can catch the 111 bus to Tibidabo.
 

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Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

C/Sant Antoni María Claret 167
Quarter: Eixample
Metro: Hospital de Sant Pau
Accesso: ticket fee
Domènech i Montaner built the hospital (1902-1911) by keeping patiences in mind, as he was convinced that sick people's health could profit from aesthetic harmony. One of the UNESCO World Heritages in Barcelona, it's made of 20 pavilions, richly adorned with colored byzantine, gothic and moorish influences, united by the architectural style of the garden, which expands over 9 blocks in a North-Eastern corner of the Eixample district. Hospital Sant Pau was commissioned by Pau Gil i Serra, a rich Catalan banker who wanted to create a hospital based on the " garden town" of the model.
 

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Parc de la Ciutadella

Passeig Picasso
Quarter: Born & St Pere
Metro: Arc de Triomf o Barceloneta
Accesso: free
You can find a bit of everything in this huge and fascinating park: a zoo, the Natural History museum, buildings of the Catalan Parliament, a school, a church, a navigable lake, kiosks, families and young people having pic-nics... the most classic park in Barcelona is also the richest in history. Gaudí contributed to the construction of the Italian style monumental fountain when he was still a student. Don't miss this park for a little bit of relax.
 

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Barcelona Parks


There are so many parks in Barcelona: you can choose according to the area of the city where you are, or the characteristics of each park. Apart for the ones we've already talked about, the main ones are:
Parc de la Creueta del Coll (C / Mare de Déu del Coll 77 - quarter Gràcia)
Parc de l'Espanya Industrial (C / Muntadas 1-37 – West of Sants - Metro: Estació)
Parc de l'Estació del Nord (C/Almogávers 27-61 – Area: Eixample)
Parc del Laberint (C/Germans Desvalls 21, Passeig Vall d'Hebron - Metro: Mundet)
Parc Joan Miró (C/Tarragona/ C/Aragó 2 – Area: Eixample
 

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