The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, is one of the most enticing and vibrant cities in all of Europe. At every turn, Barcelona oozes character and an effortless cool that has to be seen to be understood. With world class food and wine, dazzling architecture and a population with an unrivalled love of life, Barcelona is truly a brilliant destination.
With so much on offer, narrowing down what to add to your dream Barcelona itinerary can be a challenge. Here are our picks for the best of what this exciting city has to offer.
1. La Sagrada Familia
An ongoing project, the spectacularly bizarre La Sagrada Familia is surely one of Barcelona’s most famous – and perhaps most controversial – sites. Famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi devoted the last 14 years of his life exclusively to the project, which is a Catholic Church and draws inspiration from numerous biblical stories and is steeped in symbolism. However, it is perhaps the most unique Church in the world. More than 130 years after construction began, it is still unfinished, but has become one of the most recognizable attractions in Barcelona.
2. Las Ramblas
The wide boulevard of Las Ramblas is difficult to describe, not least because it changes every day. The most famous street in Barcelona, a wide and shady boulevard between Placa de Catalunya and Port Vell, attracts an incredible array of street performers, from mimes to break dancers to impromptu street theatre. It is possible to pass many hours simply people watching here from one of the many terrace bars – just make sure you also watch your wallet, as this is pickpocket central.
3. Camp Nou
Even if you do not consider yourself much of a football (soccer) fan, to see the home of Futbol Club Barcelona is to understand one of the city’s greatest passions. Games are played here frequently, and the atmosphere of a home game for the beloved “Barca” is almost unparalleled. Even if you don’t get the opportunity to actually attend a game, a stadium tour is great fun – complete with a walk down the ‘player’s tunnel’, allowing you to hear the roar of match day from the players’ perspective.
Barcelona enjoys its position as a city by the sea, and visiting the beach is a beloved past-time. The most well-known and popular beach, Barceloneta, is not necessarily Spain’s most beautiful beach but it does have an incredibly fun and light-hearted vibe. Whether you want to play volleyball on the sand or enjoy delicious seafood tapas from a nearby bar, ‘a day at the seaside’ has a distinct appeal at Barceloneta.
5. La Boqueria
Within a city absolutely teeming with gastronomical delights, the packed market of La Boqueria is probably the best loved. Attracting more than 45,000 visitors per day, there is an astonishing array of food stalls serving up everything from fresh fruit to traditional Catalonian meals. Just a visit to La Boqueria is a must-do, but it is even better to bring a few tasty cheeses home for later, or to drop by one of the many eat-in stalls for a sample of delicious, authentic local food.