Barcelona is widely considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It has a richness of unique architecture and art that not many cities can compete with. It has an amazing level of cultural offer, so your choice is endless. It is also famous for it’s fantastic beach and vibrant nightlife. The number of enticing restaurants, bars and discos will astonish you. Last but not least, as everywhere in Spain, life here is lived outside, on the beautiful squares and streets throughout the city.
There is plenty to see, do and enjoy. We are here to help you to select what to see first.
If your time is limited, try to see the indicated buildings at least from the outside, as their façades are a must-see. But to have a real experience of Barcelona – try to visit them well. They are all totally worth it.
Which are the top 10 places to see in Barcelona?
1. Barrio Gotico / The Gothic Quarter
The beating heart of Barcelona, Barrio Gotico is an enchanting labyrinth of narrow streets and irregularly-shaped plazas. Its distinguished medieval character comes from a skillful combination of authentic Gothic buildings and Neo-Gothic imbellishments and additions on later constructions. This lovely district has definitely Mediterranean atmosphere, with its squares bustling with life at any time of day and night. It is best discovered by strolling through its winding streets without a specific itinerary.
Main sights of Barrio Gotico include:
- Cathedral (see #2)
- Plaça dei Rei with some of the best preserved medieval buildings
- Plaça Reial – beautiful and very characteristic square full of palms trees (my favourite place for a drink!)
- Plaça de Sant Jaume – with the City Hall and Catalan Government Palace
Address: Plaça Reial, Barcelona
Exquisitely decorated façade of the Cathedral of Barcelona never fails to impress the visitors. Curiously, the original Gothic façade was very plain and unadorned, therefore at the beginning of the 20th century the Neo-Gothic wonder was added – and that’s what we admire now.
Cathedral is a splendid monument with many interesting elements. Don’t miss:
- The main Gothic nave and Chapels of Sant Benet and Santa Lllucia.
- The cloister with palm trees and… 13 geese walking around. They symbolize the martyr Sant Eulàlia (the patron saint of Barcelona) who was 13 years old when she died for Christianity.
- The rooftop of the Cathedral with its amazing view all around Barrio Gotico.
Address: Pla de la Seu, 08002 Barcelona
3. La Rambla
The most famous – and the most crowded – street of Barcelona is a 1 km-long pedestrian zone between the central Plaça Catalunya and the sea, that certainly can’t be omitted among the top 10 places to see in Barcelona. Its fame comes from the fact that it is always full of life at any time, day and night. In its various sections, there are restaurants and cafés, press kiosks and flower stands, and numerous street artists. Walking along La Rambla, you will see a lot of beautiful historical buildings on both sides.
- Mosaic by Joan Miró (see #10 below) in the central part of La Rambla
- La Boqueria – colourful and appetizing traditional food market
- Columbus statue at the end of La Rambla, facing the sea
Address: La Rambla, Barcelona
4. Sagrada Familia
Among the 10 top places to see in Barcelona, it is usually listed as No. 1. Barcelona’s most emblematic building and its symbol, proudly represents the rich Modernist heritage of the city. Art-Nouveau in Barcelona is of top-of-the class level, and everybody has heard of the most famous architect of this style: Antoni Gaudí. It’s impossible to imagine Barcelona without his phenomenal buildings. This outwordly basilica impresses with creativity, originality and unique design. Gaudí was far ahead of his times, and his visionary works enchant with their mimicry of nature, organic forms and the use of light.
A curiosity: La Sagrada Familia is unfinished, it has been constantly under construction since 1882, strictly following Gaudí’s design, and its completion is planned around 2026.
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona
5. Casa Batlló
For me, it’s Gaudí’s most beautiful building, filled with shapes and objects of unique fantasy and playfulness. The structure is an alegory of the legend of St George who killed a dragon. The roof looks like the dragon’s back, its curvy shape covered with shiny ceramic scales. The balconies resemble the skulls of the dragon’s victims. The interior of the house plays with the theme of water, with staircase that gives a feeling of diving underwater, many shades of blue and marine animals’ shapes hidden on the walls and ceilings. Amazing!
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona
6. La Pedrera (Casa Milà)
Close by you will see another fantasy house designed by Gaudí. The flowing shape of the façade of La Pedrera, also known as Casa Milà, is adorned by creative, irregular shapes of balconies made of wrought iron. Its best known element however, are imaginative chimneys looking like rows of heads of medieval knights. Also two internal patios are a masterpiece of creativity, with light playing with their colours. Their beauty is timeless.
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona
7. Parc Güell
There can never be too much of Gaudí (indeed there are as many as 4 of his masterpieces among the top 10 places to see in Barcelona!). The genius’s favourite spot where he chose to live (you can visit his house) was the world’s most imaginative garden: Parc Güell. It incredibly melts the borders between the nature and architecture, with man-made structures so organic that they seem to be growing out of the ground. The perfect harmony of the plants and the artificial caves, stone benches and balconies of flowing shapes, is truly mesmerizing. Parc Güell is located on a hill with a spectacular view over the city and the sea.
Address: Parc Güell, 08024 Barcelona
8. Palau de la Música Catalana / Palace of Catalan Music
This spectacular concert hall is considered the maximum expression of the Barcelonian Modernism. It’s designer was Lluís Domènech i Montaner, No.2 (after Gaudí, of course) in Catalan Modernist architecture. Both the outside and the inside of the Palace are mesmerizing. On the outside you can admire colourful columns covered with mosaics of flower motifs (each with a different one!). In the main concert hall, apart from all the beautiful and elegant mosaics, shell-shaped columns and refined windows, your sight will be immediately attracted to the incredible ceiling. In the middle of it you will find a spectacular concave sun made of stained glass colouring the interior with multiple shimmering shades.
You may visit Palau as a monument, or for not a much higher price, you may chose to listen to a concert sitting in this amazing hall.
Address: Carrer Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona
9. Barceloneta Beach & Port Olimpic
Barceloneta might be Europe’s most famous urban beach. That’s because of great urban planning, which gave it multiple purposes. Apart from actually going to sunbathe here in the warm months (that here span even from April till October), you can do here endlessly more activities. Port Olimpic is a location of all the most exclusive and coolest discos and dance clubs of Barcelona. During the day, you will find here excellent options for eating or for a drink with seaview. It is also the favourite spot for fit locals to go: running, biking, rollerskating, Segway-riding, paddle surfing, playing beach volley, using open-air gym, and doing yoga. And it’s a perfect place for a really nice walk and people-watching. Choose your favourite activity – and absolutely don’t miss Barceloneta, any time of the year!
Address: Paseo Maritimo Barceloneta, 14, 08003 Barcelona
10. Fundació Joan Miró / Joan Miró Foundation
Catalans seems to have a particular talent for arts. Joan Miró was the world famous Catalan painter and sculptor who greatly influenced the art of 20th century. His characteristic surrealist outlines of human and animal shapes, and his basic palette of colours, are highly recognizable. In this art gallery, you will find as much as 400 pieces of his works created in a span of 60 years. The space itself is pleasant and gives a relief from the crowds. Don’t miss the terrace garden.
Address: Parc de Montjuïc, 08038 Barcelona
Where to Stay in Barcelona?
See our article on the best areas to stay in Barcelona, with an interactive map showing the best deals – updated in real time:
Other Top Places to See in Barcelona
This splendid city offers so much more culture, entertainment and all kinds of pleasures! If you stay a bit longer, check out other fantastic places, such as:
- Museu Picasso
- Montjuic Cable Car
- Parc de la Ciutadella
- Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
- Museu d’Història de Barcelona
- Museu Marítim de Barcelona
Do you have any other proposals of top places to see in Barcelona? Write them in a comment! Do you have any questions? We will be happy to answer.