Nov 202013
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Barcelona Port

Architecture, museums, food, festivals, and more in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain is one of the top tourist destination cities in the world. Located on the Mediterranean coast, it is the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain. Founded as a Roman city, it has a rich cultural heritage. Good public transportation, along with walking and cycling paths, make exploration easy. There is much to see and do in the city. Here are ten things to do on your visit to Barcelona.

1. Tour La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is one of the top tourist attractions in Barcelona, Spain. Building of this church, designed by architect Antoni Gaudí , began in 1882 and continues today. Buy tickets online in advance to avoid line-ups. A guided tour or purchase of audio headsets is recommended to gain a fuller appreciation of this masterpiece.

2. See the Complete Works of Antoni Gaudí
Casa Batlló

La Sagrada Familia is not the only Antoni Gaudí work to see in Barcelona. The architect most associated with Barcelona, left a legacy of interesting and unusual buildings. There are public works of art and building facades to be seen throughout the city. Both Casa Batlló, shown in the photograph, and Casa Mila offer tours. A visit to Park Güell is well worth it.

3. Explore Barcelona Architecture Beyond Gaudí
Els Quatre Gats, Barcelona

Barcelona contains architectural gems beyond the works of Antoni Gaudí. In 1999, the city received the Royal Gold Medal for architecture. Although best known for the colourful, free-flowing Modernisme style, many architectural styles can be found in Barcelona.

4. Visit Museums
Pablo Picasso Museum

Barcelona has many museums to choose from. Pablo Picasso spent his formative years in Barcelona. The Pablo Picasso Museum houses one of the most extensive collections of his artwork. I spent a couple of very enjoyable hours there. Joan Miró was a Surrealist painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona in 1893. The Fundació Joan Miró is dedicated to his work. The Bullfighting Museum of Barcelona is housed in the Monumental Building, where bullfighting events took place prior to Catalonia’s 2012 ban on bullfighting. The Barcelona City History Museum narrates the history of the city and contains underground Roman ruins. For something a little different, the Chocolate Museum provides a journey through the origins of chocolates, its spread in the world, and its medicinal and nutritional value.


 5 Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Barcelona food

One of the great joys of travel is tasting an area’s cuisine. Tapas are Spanish appetizers or snacks. Tapa bars are found throughout Barcelona, some of the best offering food at crowded, stand-up bars. In some, you will order from a menu. In others, the selection will be on display at a front counter and/or passed out on trays by waiters. In this case, each selection will contain a toothpick. At the end of the evening, you pay according to how many toothpicks are on your plate.

Seafood is popular, as is cured ham, which is often served on its own as an appetizer. There are shops selling nothing but varieties of ham. Many restaurants offer paella, a saffron-flavored Spanish dish made with varying combinations of rice, vegetables, meat, chicken, and seafood, each restaurant creating a slightly different version. Arroz negro is a traditional Catalonian dish of squid and rice, prepared in a similar manner as paella.

Wash it all down with a glass of Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine produced mostly in the Catalonia region.

6. Take in a Festival
Gracia Street Festival, Barcelona

Festivals take place throughout the year in Barcelona and surrounding area. Check out what’s on during the time frame of your visit and join the party.

I was there in August and took in the Gracia Street Festival. Streets in the Gracia district compete to win the prize of being the best decorated street. There are also concerts and shows.

The opening evening parade included human acrobats, folk dancers, giant wooden figures (Geganters), marchers in old-time military dress firing arquebus muskets loaded with blanks, and a correfoc. A correfoc is a fire run and has been described as a frenzy of pyromania. Groups of horned devils dance through the streets, brandishing tridents that spout fireworks, followed by fire-breathing dragons. I don’t believe safety regulations would allow this anywhere in Canada or the U.S., but it was fun to see. The atmosphere was definitely festive.

Correfoc Gracia Street Festival parade

Correfoc (fire run) at Gracia Street Festival parade

Gracia Street Festival decorations

Street decorations in Gracia Street Festival

7. Discover Street Art
Barcelona street art

The city of Barcelona is a contemporary art gallery. Walls, streets, doors, and even power boxes are covered with expressions of urban art. Walk around and discover the works on your own, or take one of the organized street art tours.

8. Wander through the Gothic Area

Barcelona Cathedral

The Gothic area is the birthplace of the city, where the ancient Romans first built the city. It is easily explored on foot. It’s an area of grand squares and narrow streets. You’ll find Roman ruins, twelfth century buildings, and lots of atmosphere. Here you’ll also find Barcelona Cathedral, a centre of Christian worship since the fourth century, the current building dating from the fourteenth century.

9. Walk Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas, Barcelona

For more than a century, the walk down the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard of Las Ramblas has attracted tourists and locals. You’ll find cafes, stalls selling everything from flowers to candy, street performers, and interesting architecture and side streets.

10. Relax at the Beach
Barcelona beach

Barcelona has over 4 kilometres of beach, seven individual beaches, on the Mediterranean Sea. Barceloneta Beach is the busiest beach, closest to the centre of the city. Mar Bella Beach is the nudist beach.

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  12 Responses to “Ten Things to Do in Barcelona”

  1. That sounds like my ideal weekend in Barcelona, especially the street art and food! I love your photos.

  2. really its fantastic blog i love this city.Tourist Attractions In Barcelona

  3. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing this valuable & informative information. I must say that you have done a commendable job with it! Keep it up!!
    Barcelona Famous Attractions | Barcelona Spain Tourist Attractions

  4. Great post. Barcelona is really amazingly beautiful. I love the beach and the food.

  5. happy to me have short time working in here and near by this famous architect design, so amazing with the architect in Barcelona

  6. Love your photos, Donna! I would love to visit Barcelona during Carrefoc. Nothing like flowing cloaks with flying sparks to get a party started!

  7. I’ve only been to Barcellona once and since I was working during the day I missed most of this stuff. I did get to sit outside in cafes with a carafe of Spanish wine and that’s the first thing I think of when Barcellona comes to mind. Your images and descriptions make me anxious to go back.

    • Ken, It sounds cool to be sent to Barcelona on business, but it’s too bad you didn’t have time to explore the city. However, you did experience the ambiance with Spanish wine at an outdoor cafe. Hope you get back someday.

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