top 20 sights of barcelona
Barcelona is a stunning seaside city that flaunts its beauty and sunny lifestyle. The capital of Catalonia has something for everyone: gorgeous scenery, breathtaking architecture, superb cultural attractions, and a balmy Mediterranean climate. Whether you want to explore the atmospheric medieval quarter, admire the Modernist masterpieces of Antoni Gaudí, or relax at the sandy beaches, you will find plenty of things to do and see in Barcelona. Here are some of the top sights that you should not miss.
Basílica de la Sagrada Família
This is the most iconic landmark of Barcelona and one of the most unconventional churches in the world. Designed by Antoni Gaudí, this UNESCO-listed monument is a masterpiece of surrealistic Art Nouveau architecture. The Basilica features 18 spindly towers that soar high above the city skyline, and two elaborate facades that depict the Nativity and the Passion of Christ. The interior is equally impressive, with a vast nave illuminated by colorful stained glass windows and decorated with organic motifs. The Basilica is still under construction and expected to be completed by 2026.
Another UNESCO-listed site designed by Gaudí, this whimsical park is a showcase of his imaginative style. The park features colorful mosaic sculptures, playful buildings, and winding paths that offer panoramic views of the city. The highlight is the main terrace, where you can admire the famous dragon fountain and the undulating tiled bench.
This is the most famous street in Barcelona, where locals and tourists mingle and enjoy the lively atmosphere. The pedestrian boulevard stretches for 1.2 kilometers from Plaça de Catalunya to the harbor, and is lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, and street performers. Along the way, you can also visit attractions such as La Boqueria market, the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house, and the Palau Güell mansion.
This is the oldest part of the city, where you can step back in time and discover the medieval charm of Barcelona. The Gothic Quarter is full of narrow alleys, hidden squares, and ancient buildings that date back to the Roman and Moorish eras. Some of the highlights include the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, the Plaça del Rei, the Plaça Sant Jaume, and the Picasso Museum.
This is one of the most stunning examples of Gaudí’s residential architecture, located on the elegant Passeig de Gràcia. The facade resembles a colorful dragon’s skin, with scales made of ceramic tiles and a roof shaped like a spine. The interior is equally fascinating, with curved walls, organic shapes, and creative details that reflect Gaudí’s inspiration from nature.
Also known as La Pedrera (The Quarry), this is another masterpiece by Gaudí on the Passeig de Gràcia. The building has a wavy stone facade that defies conventional rules of architecture. The roof terrace offers spectacular views of the city and features surreal chimneys that look like warriors or animals. The building also houses a museum dedicated to Gaudí’s life and work.
This is a hill that overlooks the city and offers many attractions for visitors. You can take a cable car or a funicular to reach the top, where you can enjoy sweeping views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. You can also visit the Montjuïc Castle, a 17th-century fortress that was used as a prison and a museum; the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), which displays an impressive collection of Catalan art; and the Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics.
This is the home stadium of FC Barcelona, one of the most popular soccer teams in the world. The stadium has a capacity of 99,000 spectators and is one of the largest in Europe. You can take a tour of the stadium and visit the museum, where you can see trophies, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits related to the history and achievements of FC Barcelona.
Palau de la Música Catalana
This is a stunning concert hall that was built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a contemporary of Gaudí. The building is a masterpiece of Modernist architecture, with a richly decorated facade and a spectacular interior that features a stained glass skylight, ceramic tiles, sculptures, and mosaics. The concert hall hosts classical music performances as well as other cultural events.
This is a lively neighborhood by the sea, where you can enjoy the beach life of Barcelona. The sandy beach stretches for 1.1 kilometers and offers facilities such as showers, sunbeds, umbrellas, and lifeguards. You can also practice water sports such as surfing, kayaking, or sailing. Along the promenade, you will find many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs that offer a vibrant atmosphere.
This is one of the most visited museums in Barcelona, dedicated to the life and work of Pablo Picasso, who lived in the city for several years. The museum displays more than 4,000 works by the artist, ranging from his early sketches to his later paintings. The museum also organizes temporary exhibitions and educational activities.
This is a mountain that rises above Barcelona and offers stunning views of the city and the sea. On top of the mountain, you will find the Sagrat Cor church, a neo-Gothic building with a statue of Christ on its dome. You will also find the Tibidabo Amusement Park, one of the oldest in Europe, which features vintage rides and attractions for all ages.
This is one of the largest and most impressive squares in Barcelona, located at the foot of Montjuïc hill. The square was built for the 1929 International Exhibition and features a monumental fountain, two Venetian towers, and several buildings that showcase different styles of Spanish architecture. The square is also a hub for public transportation and events.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
This is a spectacular fountain that was also created for the 1929 International Exhibition. The fountain offers a dazzling show of light, color, music, and water every evening from Thursday to Sunday (depending on the season). The fountain is located near the Plaça d’Espanya and the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC).
Montserrat Half Day Experience from Barcelona
This is a great way to escape the city and discover the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Catalonia. Montserrat is a mountain range that features unique rock formations and a Benedictine monastery that houses the revered Black Madonna statue. You can take a bus tour from Barcelona and enjoy a guided visit of the monastery, as well as a hike in the natural park with stunning views.
Passeig de Gràcia
This is one of the most elegant and fashionable streets in Barcelona, where you can find luxury boutiques, upscale hotels, and stunning architecture. The street is also home to some of Gaudí’s most famous buildings, such as Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, as well as other Modernist gems by architects such as Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
This is a magnificent mansion that was designed by Gaudí for his patron, the industrialist Eusebi Güell. The building is located near La Rambla and features a lavish facade with iron gates and a domed roof with colorful chimneys. The interior is equally impressive, with a central hall that has a parabolic ceiling and a skylight that resembles a starry night.
Santa Maria del Mar
This is a beautiful Gothic church that was built between 1329 and 1383 by the people of the maritime district of La Ribera. The church has a harmonious and elegant design, with a spacious nave, slender columns, and stained glass windows. The church also has a rich history, as it was the scene of events such as the Catalan Revolt and the Spanish Civil War.
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)
This is one of the most important museums in Barcelona, located in the impressive Palau Nacional on Montjuïc hill. The museum showcases the artistic heritage of Catalonia, from Romanesque frescoes to Modernist paintings. The museum also has collections of Gothic art, Renaissance art, Baroque art, and photography.
Parc de la Ciutadella
This is a large and green park that was created in the 19th century on the site of a former citadel. The park features a lake, a fountain, a zoo, and several monuments and museums. The park is also a popular place for locals and visitors to relax, picnic, or enjoy cultural events.