Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Spain. I did an exchange there in high school, and worked there for three summers during college, which has made Spain one of my favourite countries and cultures.
After visiting several areas of this country, and many cities around the globe, I can honestly say that Barcelona is still one of my favourite cities in the world. The mix of beach vibe, and busy city chaos is to me, the perfect combination. Here are some of my must-do things when visiting this city.
It’s some of the best you’ll get in Spain—and I’m not just making that up, many of my Spanish friends told me this. Trying this signature Spanish rice dish is a must, and don’t opt for the seafood-free versions, because the fresh seafood is what makes it amazing!
Approximately 1.2km long, Las Ramblas is a must-do in Barcelona, and it’s pretty hard to miss. This street is lined with street performers, stalls, shops, and great restaurants. Open during the day to late at night, this busy street is not only lined with great shopping and food but also historical sites. The Palace of Virreina, Liceu Theatre, and Font de Canaletes can all be spotted while walking down this strip!
Parc Guell, La Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi’s architecture
Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish Catalan architect and many of his amazing buildings and works of art are located in Barcelona. Viator offers lots of great tours that will take you around to the best Gaudi spots in Barca, but don’t skip La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell and some of these other top ten Gaudi buildings listed on Globotreks if you want to do your own tour.
Cheer on FC Barcelona
Not something I’ve had the chance to do yet, but I did catch a Real Madrid game in Madrid, and knowing how crazy the Spanish are about this sport, this is definitely something you shouldn’t miss. This helpful guide on TripAdvisor will guide you through how to score yourself some tickets, but on a regular game day (not during tournaments, etc.) there didn’t seem to be any issue finding tickets up to the last minute when we were there!
La Boqueria Market
I LOVED this market in Barcelona, but during high season the swarms of people that are pouring in and out of it will probably discourage you. Wake up early and arrive for opening (8am, Monday-Friday), this way you’ll get to enjoy the market with almost no one else. Walk the stands of delicious fresh food, juices, and more. Don’t bother eating breakfast because you’ll want to arrive hungry!
The centre of the city—the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean seafront to Ronda de Sant Pere. Many of the building in this area, including the most notable sites—the cathedral and Place Reail, date from the Medieval Times. This cool area is amazing to walk around and explore the many landmarks, but it’s even more fun to just walk down the small side streets and alleyways.
Go to the beach
Barcelona is filled with awesome beaches that are located conveniently from the city centre, and this is part of the reason I love this city. You can seriously be right in the city centre shopping one minute and head down to the beach the next. It’s the perfect mix! Not all the beaches are close by, but here are some great options to soak up the sun.
Santa Maria del Mar
This cathedral may not be anything in comparison to La Sagrada Familia, but it’s definitely worth a visit. This church is located in the Ribera district in the city and took over 50 years to build in the 1300’s, and is the only surviving church in the pure Catalan Gothic style. Definitely make some time to pop by this historical cathedral on your visit.
What are some of your favourite things to do in Barcelona?