Jun 23, 2022
Ensure your trip to Barcelona is an unforgettable one with our ultimate guide to one of Spain’s most vibrant and colourful cities. Discover a wealth of things to do in Barcelona, from cultural and other activities to sightseeing, and from places to eat and drink, to regular events. We also cover the best time to visit the city, getting to and around Barcelona, and much more. Use our ultimate guide to Barcelona to find:
Fun facts and things to know about Barcelona·
Travel tips when visiting Barcelona
Best time to visit Barcelona
Top things to do in Barcelona for city lovers
Top things to do in Barcelona for romantics
Cool things to do in Barcelona with the family
Explore Barcelona for the nature enthusiast
Top cultural activities in Barcelona
Top events in Barcelona
How to get to Barcelona
Getting around Barcelona
Where to stay in Barcelona
Ready to explore a city unlike any other? Let’s dive in! The guide can be downloaded and taken with you wherever you go!
The following fun facts and things to know about Barcelona might just enhance your trip. Let’s take a closer look.
While Barcelona is a Spanish city, it’s also the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, which has its own language entirely distinct from Spanish, namely Catalan. The city’s two official languages are Spanish and Catalan.
The famous Spanish Cubist artist Pablo Picasso studied at Barcelona’s School of Fine Arts, spending his formative years in the city. The Picasso Museum in the Born neighbourhood houses more than 4,000 of his works. If you’re an art lover, add a visit to this museum to your list of things to do in Barcelona!
Spain has become a major foodie destination, thanks to a coastline and climate that lend themselves to amazing fresh ingredients, and the presence of top chefs – many of whom call Barcelona “home.” Among them are Cristian Escribà, Albert and Ferran Adrià, and Joan Roca.
On 23 April, the feast of St George, patron saint of Catalonia, Catalan couples, lovers, and friends exchange gifts of books and roses. This tradition inspired UNESCO to institute World Book and Copyright on that date in 1995.
Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona, which also happens to be the largest football stadium in Europe. The stadium has the capacity for almost 100,000 people. There’s also a museum to visit and guided tours that offer opportunities to explore this impressive structure.
As many as 1,400 air raid shelters were built in the city and the surrounding areas during the Spanish Civil War, which lasted from 1936-1939. One of the largest, the Poble Sec neighbourhood’s Refugio 307 has space for almost 2,000 people. You can go on a guided tour of the shelter with the Museum of the History of Barcelona by appointment.
Planning a trip to Barcelona can be a daunting prospect for anyone who has never visited the city before. Use the following travel tips to make the most of your stay in the city.
Research and book in advance: Save time and avoid disappointment by researching and booking flights, accommodation, and tickets for attractions and other cool things to do in Barcelona as much as possible. Doing this offers you more choices, better prices, and less time spent standing in ticket queues. You also won’t have to face the prospect of being disappointed by arriving at an event or attraction and discovering the tickets are sold out or the attraction is closed.
Get skip-the-line tickets: Purchase skip-the-line tickets online for major landmarks and the other main tourist attractions you want to visit. This way, you won’t need to stand in queues for hours just to get entrance tickets.
Book guided tours where possible: Consider booking guided tours to ensure you gain a deeper appreciation of the city and its marvels. Guided tours of Gaudi’s architectural wonders, such as the Sagrada Familia church, are highly recommended, as a guide can help you appreciate his use of symbolism.
Take advantage of Barcelona’s free museums: Add visiting museums to your list of free things to do in Barcelona. Most museums in the city offer free admissions on the first Sunday of the month, as well as at other times. For example, the Museum of the History of Barcelona offers free entrance in the late afternoon on other Sundays, and the Picasso Museum also offers free entrance on Thursday evenings. You can visit the Cathedral of Barcelona between 8.30am and 12.30pm and from 5.45pm until 7.30pm.
Save money with package deals: If you’ve put several different landmarks on your list of the best things to do in Barcelona, see if you can save money on entrance tickets with package deals. For example, the Barcelona Pass covers a variety of attractions as well as some transport options, while the Gaudi Bundle covers the main Gaudi sites in the city.
Be prepared to adjust your dining routine: If you plan to eat out regularly while in Barcelona, be prepared to adjust your dining routine. Lunch, the main meal of the day, is usually served from 2pm or 2.30pm onwards, while dinner is usually served from 7.30pm, 8pm, or even 9pm onwards.
Wear comfortable shoes: There’s a chance you’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing while in Barcelona, so make sure you bring comfortable casual shoes. The last thing you want is to be bothered by sore feet.
Spain’s reputation for a sunny climate is well-deserved, but that doesn’t mean you can expect ideal weather all year round. The best time to visit Barcelona is from May to June, when balmy temperatures in the low- to mid-70s (low 20s Celsius) coincide with the many festivals that mark the beginning of summer.
The height of summer, from July through August, is thick and sticky with humidity, which prompts many locals to leave the city for breezier holiday destinations. The shoulder seasons of April to May and September to October also offer plenty of sunshine with temperatures warm enough to wear short sleeves on most days.
Barcelona is an urbanite’s paradise! Take a look at a few of the top things to do in Barcelona for city lovers.
Visit Parc Güell on an Ebike: A Gaudi-designed park with landscaped gardens and architectural elements on Carmel Hill, Parc Güell is one of Barcelona’s must-see attractions. Getting there and getting around the park can involve a great deal of strenuous walking, but a 9-speed electric bike can transform the experience. You can hire one of these easy-riding bikes in the city, or you can join an Ebike tour that includes visits to the Dragon Stairway, the Hypostyle Room, and the viewing terrace, as well as a visit to the Sagrada Familia church and light refreshments.
Take the cable car to the castle: Montjuic Hill is home to a castle, the Botanical Gardens, an Olympic stadium, the Joan Miro Foundation, the MNAC Museum, Poble Espanyol, and Magic Fountain. While those attractions are among the cool things to do in Barcelona, getting there can be just as fun. Take the Montjuic cable car for a journey with a difference – and, yes, that includes amazing views of the city.
Enjoy the view from a Sagrada Familia tower: No visit to Barcelona is complete without taking in the architectural marvel that is La Sagrada Familia. The as yet unfinished minor basilica is a masterpiece of soaring columns, otherworldly symbolic sculptures, and ethereal light filtered by stunning stained-glass windows. Make your visit all the more memorable by purchasing a ticket or joining a guided tour that offers access to one of the church’s two towers and the spectacular views they offer. Note that you’ll take the lift to the top of the tower, and descend by stairs, so be ready for some exercise!
Join a paella cooking class: Paella, a platter of fragrant rice and seafood or meat or vegetables or all three, is one of the quintessential Spanish dishes. Learn how to cook it the authentic Spanish way while in Barcelona. Join a paella cooking class with a Spanish chef, roll up your sleeves, and spend a few hours making your own platter with their expert guidance. This is certainly one of the best things to do in Barcelona, Spain!
Go on a free walking tour: A free walking tour is the perfect way to orientate yourself in the city or to explore specific districts with a local guide. The ‘free’ bit is a something of a misnomer, as most free walking tours operate on the understanding that participants each will tip the guide between €5-10. What’s more, you’ll need to book a spot on the tour of your choice.
Known as one of the most romantic cities in Europe, discover some of the top things to do in Barcelona with your partner (not forgetting about the exquisite countryside just beyond the city limits).
Take a private wine tasting tour: Barcelona is almost surrounded by various wine growing regions, Penedes and Priorat among them. Treat yourself and your beloved to a private wine tasting tour that takes you into idyllic countryside, where you’ll visit boutique wineries, taste their produce, and enjoy a delicious country lunch. You’ll agree it’s a special way to spend a day.
Do a Spanish cooking class together: Fresh, fragrant, and sometimes spicy, Spanish cuisine is known and loved around the world. Spend a morning with your special someone in a Spanish cooking class that starts with shopping for fresh ingredients at a local market and then goes on to see you prepare a four-course lunch with the guidance of a local chef.
Go on a morning hot air balloon ride: A 7am start is a small sacrifice to make for one of the most fun things to do in Barcelona for romantics. A guide will take you to the Montseny mountain range, a UNESCO biosphere reserve about an hour’s drive from the city. When you reach your destination, you and your partner will board a hot air balloon and enjoy unrivalled views of some of the most beautiful scenery the region has to offer. Once back on terra firma, you can enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at a countryside restaurant.
Enjoy boating on the lake at Parc de la Ciutadella: Enjoy a splash of classic romance by going boating on the lake at the lush Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona’s El Born district. You’ll find the lake at the centre of the park, and you can hire a rowboat for a few Euros. Take the experience up a notch by packing a picnic hamper and enjoying a bite to eat while on the water.
Take in a flamenco show with dinner: Head to one of the city’s many tablaos and take in a show featuring the passionate Spanish dance known as flamenco. Standard tickets usually include the show only, so elevate the evening by finding a tablao that offers a dinner option. Tablao Cordobes is one of the best in the city. Make sure you book a table to avoid disappointment.
There’s something for everyone in this warm and welcoming Spanish city. Take a look at our top picks of cool things to do in Barcelona with the family.
Enjoy a show at the Magic Fountain: Head to Plaça de Carles Buïgas, el Poble-sec, Sants-Montjuïc, and enjoy a spectacular show of water, lights, and music at the Magic Fountain. Shows take place on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9pm to 10pm.
Have fun at Parc d'atraccions Tibidabo: Spend a few memorable hours with the little ones at Parc d'atraccions Tibidabo, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. You’ll find an incredible variety of classic and modern rides and attractions for the young and the young-at-heart, as well as restaurants and much more. The amusement park undoubtedly is one of the most entertaining things to do in Barcelona with kids.
Find your way through the maze at Parc del Laberint d'Horta: Make your way to Barcelona’s Horta-Guinardó district, where you’ll find Parc del Laberint d’Horta. The park contains two sections, namely the neoclassical and romantic gardens. There are sculptures depicting Greek mythology and Catalonian folk motifs, as well as fountains, pools, and springs throughout the park. The big attraction is the hedge maze on the lowest of the neoclassical garden’s three terraces.
Do experiments at the CosmoCaixa Science Museum: A hands-on science museum, CosmoCaixa offers you and the kids opportunities to explore physical, technical, geological, chemical and mathematical relations by doing hundreds of experiments. If you have a Barcelona Card, you get free admission.
Relax with sun, sand, and sea at Bogatell Beach: Spend a morning or afternoon of fun on Bogatell Beach. The relaxed atmosphere offers the perfect break from the hubbub of the city, while the stunning variety of facilities, amenities, restaurants, and shops promise to elevate the experience from being just another day at the beach.
Barcelona’s certainly no concrete jungle. Mediterranean nature surrounds and permeates the city. Explore some of the best things to do in Barcelona for nature lovers.
Wander through Parc natural de Collserola: Escape the hustle and bustle of Barcelona by spending a day at Parc natural de Collserola. The 8,000-hectare natural park is right on the city’s doorstep, so it’s easy to get to. Explore old hermitages and country chapels, farmhouses, springs, a lush forest, gullies and streams, hiking trails, caves, and much more.
Discover the Jardins de Laribal: Spend a few hours being enchanted by the paths, pergolas, ponds, squares, terraces, and waterfalls of the Jardins de Laribal. The gardens, which were designed and opened in the early 20th century, are on the slopes of the Montjuïc mountain.
Go on a Barcelona sailing tour: Gain a different perspective on the city by joining a sailing tour. Not only will you see points of interest and the Barcelona skyline from a yacht on the Mediterranean, but you’ll also have a chance to swim and to enjoy drinks and snacks – and you might even catch a glimpse of marine life such as dolphins and whales.
Take a day trip for Montserrat hiking: Famous Montserrat is close enough to Barcelona for you to enjoy a day trip that includes hiking the mountain’s hidden trails, enjoying incredible views, and visiting the Benedictine monastery. This old religious centre is the home of the Virgin of Montserrat Black Madonna statue.
Barcelona’s history stretches back more than 2,000 years, so you can expect it to be a cultural centre par excellence. Here are some of the best cultural things to do in Barcelona, old and new.
Wander through the Gothic Quarter: Stepping into Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) is like stepping back in time to the Mediaeval ages. The quaint cobblestone streets and Gothic facades of this traffic-free area invite exploration – and the time spent doing exactly that is well worth it. You’ll find busking musicians, ancient churches, outdoor cafes, uncrowded plazas, bars, cocktail lounges, restaurants, artisanal shops, and much more.
Tour the Palau de la Música Catalana: Built between 1905 and 1908, the Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall is a wonder of Art Nouveau. A guided tour is the best way to appreciate the mosaics, murals, and stained glass that have made the concert hall a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Explore the Roman ruins of Tarragona: The modern town of Tarragona has ancient roots. Back in the day, it was known as Tárraco, and it was nothing less than the cultured capital of Roman Spain. An hour’s train ride from Barcelona, Tarragona makes for a fabulous outing. Explore the ancient ruins before filling up with a hearty lunch at a local restaurant or tapas bar.
Visit Camp Nou: Football is an inseparable part of modern Spanish and Catalonian culture, so be sure to add something footie-related to your list of things to do in Barcelona. Camp Nou, a stadium with the capacity for almost 100,000 people, is the home of Barcelona FC. Tour the stadium if you have the opportunity. If you can attend a game, even better.
Be amazed by Parc Güell: It’s impossible to imagine a modern Barcelona without the works of Gaudi. Already mentioned above, exploring Parc Güell is a wonderful way to take in the talents of the famous architect and designer. If the weather isn’t great, get your Gaudi fix by visiting the Sagrada Familia church.
The people of Barcelona know how to party, and no where is this more evident than at the city’s top annual events. Check out our pick of the best yearly festivals and other events.
Dia De Los Reyes Magos: Held around 6 January, el Dia De Los Reyes Magos celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men who bring gifts for the baby Jesus (and for good Spanish children). The day is marked by a grand parade that starts at Port Vell and ends at the Magic Fountain, gift-giving, and indulging in sweets and King’s Cake.
The Calçotada: A winter food festival held at the end of February or the beginning of March, the Calçotada is all about the arrival of spring onions. They’re grilled with meat and sausages over fires and washed down with delicious local wine in an atmosphere of fun and festivity.
Barcelona Carnival: Usually held at the beginning of March, the Barcelona Carnival is a week-long fiesta of parades, floats, dancing, costumes, music, food and drink, and fireworks. The event’s origins are in the festivities held just before the beginning of the Christian Lenten fasting season.
Feria de Abril: If you’re in Barcelona in April, make your way to Parc del Forum in the Diagonal Mar area for Feria de Abril. The two-day event is a celebration of food, drink, and flamenco!
Sonar Festival: Does electronic arts music get your toes tapping? Make sure you’re in Barcelona in June for the three-day Sonar Festival. The festival is one of the world’s biggest events for electronic music.
La Mercè Festival: Held in September in honour of Our Lady of Mercy, patron saint of Barcelona, the La Mercè Festival is not to be missed! The week-long event offers a staggering variety of activities and entertainment in plazas, streets, museums, and parks.
If you’re flying to Barcelona and not renting a car, there are three easy ways to get from the airport to the city centre.
Aerobus: The Aerobus connects Barcelona – El Prat airport (Terminals 1 and 2) with the Place de Catalunya in the city centre. It’s fast (35 minutes), inexpensive (less than €6), and has three strategic stops on route: Pl Espanya, Gran Via-Urgell, and PL Universitat.
Metro: The Barcelona airport metro (L9 sud) runs from both airport terminals to the south-west of the city. The metro departs every 7 minutes (more frequently at peak times) from 5am to 12am Monday to Thursday, 5am to 2am on Fridays, and non-stop from 5 am Saturday to 12am on Sunday. There are 15 stops on the line, namely Airport T1, Airport T2, Mas Blau, Parc Nou, Cèntric, El Prat Estació, Les Moreres, Mercabarna, Parc Logístic, Fira, Europa-Fira, Can Tries-Gornal, Torrassa, Collblanc, and Zona Universitaria.
Taxi: There are taxi ranks at both terminals at the airport. A taxi from Barcelona airport to central Barcelona takes about 30 minutes and costs approximately €35.
Getting around Barcelona is never a problem, thanks to the variety of transport options available.
Walk: Barcelona is a wonderfully walkable city, and walking’s a great way to see all the little details you would miss if you went whizzing past in a car. Some of the main streets that offer access to several neighbourhoods and areas include Las Ramblas, Via Laietana, Avinguda Diagonal, and Passeig de Gracia.
Metro: The Barcelona Metro is a fast and convenient way to get around the city. You can purchase a Metro card that offers unlimited rides for two, three, four, or five days.
Scooter: Many Barcelonians love the ease of zipping around their city on two wheels. Blend in with the locals by hiring a Vespa or another scooter while you’re in the city.
Rental car: A rental car’s a good option if you prefer driving yourself and have the nerves of steel you need to cope with the city’s chaotic traffic. You may prefer to hire a rental car if you’re planning to do day trips out of the city.
Buses and trams: Barcelona has an extensive network of buses and trams that run regularly. You can find routes and schedules on the Transport Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) website.
Located in one of the most beautiful and culture-filled cities in Spain, our Barcelona location offers holiday-goers everything they could need for a city break, weeklong vacation or even an extended stay. From sunny beaches to bustling city life, you can enjoy it all when you stay at Capri by Fraser Barcelona.