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Top 10 things to do in Barcelona

31 August 2016 ( 18 October 2016 )

Unsure of where to begin with Spain's golden city? Well read on…

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is one of those landmarks that every traveller has on their must-see list.

As Spain's most colourful and cultural city, you can expect a sea of surreal architecture, winding medieval alleyways and an unmistakably Catalan feel. It is this indistinguishable strand of northern Spanish identity that has drawn travellers for centuries.

1. La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is one of those landmarks that every traveller has on their must-see list. One hundred years in the making, this fairy-tale structure seems to breathe and blossom. It is undoubtedly Gaudí's whimsical, wonderful, crowning creation.

2. Modernisme walking tour

Witness Barcelona's Modernisme architectural wonders. Park Güell is the kaleidoscopic cousin of Casa Batlló, both surrealist masterpieces defined by their multi-coloured mosaics, gingerbread-house appearance and melting surfaces reminiscent of Dali's clocks.

3. Art Gallery Tours

From Miró to Dalí, Barcelona has been intrinsic in shaping Spain's artists exploits. Picasso may have been born in Malaga, but it is in Barcelona's Picasso Museum that you can find his earliest and most enigmatic art. 

Practice your pensive face and set off for The National Museum of Art and the Joan Miró Foundation.

Related: The best museums in Spain for art lovers. 

4. The Gothic Quarter

Spain is known for her quintessential town centres, but in a city as old and as sprawling as this one, the Gothic Quarter is unlike anywhere else. 

Stroll through time and see the old Jewish Quarter, – el Call – or venture deeper and meander into Medieval Barca and see the Roman Ruins of the Temple of Augustus.

5. Santa Maria del Mar

Impressive not just in size, scope and aesthetics, but in speed too. This 14th century church took just 55 years to complete – in comparison to the usual 100 – making it one of the few purely Gothic structures in the world.

6. La Gran Teatre del Liceu

First built in 1847, this grand theatre has survived recessions, wars and two fires. With emblazoned gold leaf, bold red seats and ornate carvings adorned on every surface, the only problem is such an opulent setting may distract you from the performance.

7. Tapas, tapas, tapas

Eating is an art form in Spain. Barcelona is blessed not just with a gorgeous cuisine of its own, but because of the smorgasbord of northern influences readily available on the menus. 

Sure, Malagueño seafood dishes are delicious, but have you tried Catalan Pulpo (squid)? Feast on paella and make sure you leave room in your luggage for a leg of jamón serrano.

Related: Spanish cuisine: what to expect from Spanish food when on holiday.

8. La Boqueria market

For the gastronomically great among us, why not try your hand at making your own tapas? There are few things more authentically Spanish than exploring one of her many markets. 

La Boqueria is Europe's largest food market, so get stuck in and stick to your guns: the ingredients will be fresh and delicious, but you may need to haggle.

Related: The top food markets to visit when in Spain. 

9. Montjuïc hill

For a mix of nature, culture, castles and stunning views, head to Montjuïc hill. If you're not up for the walk, catch the cable car and enjoy Barcelona by air. 

The Magic Fountain is one of Barcelona's most beloved sights, so check the timetable and prepare to see a beautiful display of music and waterfalls.

10. Hit the beach

After all that sightseeing, you deserve a few cañas (beer cans) in the sun. So arm yourself with a good book and a picnic and have yourself a well-earned siesta. 

Try the ever popular Barceloneta and Sant Sebastià, but for something slightly quieter try the Sitges.

Discover Barcelona for yourself on a cruise with Saga. 


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.