Barcelona lies on the southern coast of Spain and is a very popular destination. This city is the second most populous in the country. It is often mistakenly said to be Spain’s capital, probably due to just how many things Barcelona is known and famous for! Whilst Madrid may be the capital, Barcelona is certainly the more well known Spanish city. With museums, parks and beaches – there is something for everyone. Read on to find out exactly what Barcelona is famous for!
The Sagrada Familia is perhaps Barcelona’s most famous landmark. This is the work of Gaudi, the Spanish artist whose work can be found all over Barcelona. The church itself is unlike no other. The outside of the building is completely unique, and full of intricacies. To really make the most out of it, you should book a guided tour. there are features that you would never spot yourself, as well as a whole host of stories surrounding the church. Work started on the Sagrada Familia in 1882, and it is still unfinished! At the moment, 2026 is rumoured to be the date of finish. Do not let that put you off though! The church itself is still amazing. Stepping inside is like steeping into another world. The interior is full of awe inspiring features, including fantastic multicoloured windows and mathematically exact features.
The main street in Barcelona, Las Ramblas is not to be missed! This street runs for around 1km from the beach through the centre of Barcelona. Popular with tourists, the street is brilliant for shopping. There are also street vendors, markets and restaurants. Around the half way point of the street you will find the Liceu, and important Opera house and a must visit for any fan. You can also find tourist trap museums such as Museum Erotica, and the Boqueria Market. Las Ramblas also intersects Plaça Catalunya – often cited as the very centre of Barcelona. This plaza is 50,000 square metres and a popular place for tourists and locals alike. There are important buildings, statues and fountains in the square.
Amazing Spanish food
From local bodegas, bustling markets and upmarket restaurants, Barcelona has it all! Food is always an important part of travel, so indulge in some Spanish dishes! Pull up a seat at one of the restaurants down the beach and enjoy traditional Paella, or perhaps some fresh seafood. Head to the Boqueria market to pick up tapas, small bites and fresh juices. The atmosphere here is buzzing, just beware of pickpockets. There are plenty of higher end restaurants too. As of Autumn 2019, there were 22 Michelin star restaurants on Barcelona. Barcelona is famous for the food scene, so be sure to soak it up!
Barceloneta – a beautiful beach
Situated in the traditional fishing area, this is one of Barcelona’s most established and adored sea shores. The beach grew from the old fishing town of Barceloneta. It is now a place for locals and tourists alike to come and enjoy tapas and fresh sea food. By day, the beach is crowded with sun seekers and swimmers. As night falls, sunset illuminates the strip. by late evening, their are clubs further down the strip where those who like to can party all night! The strip is long and there is something for everyone. There is a beach, volleyball court, toilets and shops. There are also some of Barcelona’s best restaurants down at the beach.
Initially imagined as a garden city, Park Güell is a public park that exhibits the strange and surreal craft of Antoni Gaudi. The park gives a panoramic view of Barcelona thanks to its location atop a hill. Strolling through the park, you will find colourful mosaics and sculptures all designed by Gaudi. Inside the park has a distinct other worldly feel. In summer, the park is brimming with life, with crowds of visitors and buskers. The park itself is free to enter, but there is a museum and a plaza which you must pay to gain access to. Elsewhere in Barcelona city itself, much of Gaudi’s work can be found. Just wander the streets and you will find much of the architecture is influenced by the artist. If you are really intrigued by Gaudi’s work, I recommend checking out buildings in the city such as Casa Battlo and La Pedrera.
Barcelona Football Club
Many people will know of Barcelona’s world class football team. Locals who support Barcelona FC are passionate, and the club has a huge following. Over the years, Barcelona has produced some infamous players. Any football fan should try to come along and be a part of the 100,000 strong crowd at the Camp Nou stadium. The atmosphere is always electric. Tickets start around 50 euros, but expect to pay more for bigger games. You can also take a tour around Barcelona’s famous stadium. It offers great insight into the history plus some interesting stories. Prices start at around 30 euros and include a trip to the trophy room.
Barcelona city has plenty to do, but the surroundings are also worth exploring! There are some great day trip options such as Sitges coastal town, or Mount Tibidabo. Perhaps the most exciting though, is Montserrat mountain and monastery. Montserrat is around one hour from the city, and easily reached by train. I suggest dedicating a full day to visiting. On arrival, you can take the cable car which offers spectacular panoramic views as you soar up the mountainside. At the top is a spectacular monastery, an important place for Catholics. There is also a small cafe and a tourist information shop here. There are several hiking trails suitable for all levels of fitness. Check the tourist information for a map and local advice.