Seven Things You Must Check out in Barcelona
1. La Sagrada Familia
Soon to be the tallest church building anywhere in the world, and perhaps Barcelona’s biggest attraction, La Sagrada Familia is the perfect place to start your trip, and the first place for your Antoni Gaudí inspired tour around the city. More than 140 years after the artist’s first involvement, the cathedral is only roughly three quarters complete and is scheduled for completion in 2026 to coincide with the centenary year of Gaudí’s death in 1926. The project’s completion date will mark 144 years since the laying of the first stone.
Be sure to also check out the stunning interior, which was only completed and opened to the public in 2013. The cathedral is a true masterpiece and the detail in each and every aspect is astounding.
2. Mercat de la Boqueria
Mercat de la Boqueria is one of Barcelona’s largest tourist attractions and definitely worth a visit. This famous market in the city is an example of a tourist attraction which is also fundamentally part of the locals’ everyday lives. A trip through the market is a truly authentic experience, so expect to be overwhelmed with smells, colors, and noise as you take in the best fresh produce Barcelona has to offer.
The market can be traced back to 1217, where the first documents confirm the presence of meat stalls on Pla de la Boqueria. In the present day, after changing location to La Rambla, the market is 13,600 square meters in size and open in all weather conditions, since a roof was fitted in 1914.
3. El Camp Nou
Home to one of, if not the biggest, football club in the world, it’s safe to say that Barcelona lives and breathes football. So, with that in mind, surely the biggest football stadium in Europe is worth a visit? El Camp Nou is a football colosseum, and with a capacity of 99,354 people — this huge stadium is hard to ignore if you’re out and about in the city.
Why not take a stadium tour and experience the true heart of the stadium, visiting the dressing rooms and walking out onto the famous pitch? Alternatively, if you’re lucky enough, be sure to visit on game day to watch one of the best teams in the world put on a football exhibition. It’s an atmosphere that has to be experienced!
4. Parc Güell
Located on Carmel Hill, Parc Güell is a World Heritage Site and an area of fantastic gardens and architecture. Originally constructed and intended as an estate for the rich by Count Eusebi Güell, it was presumed that the brilliant views of the city and the clean air outside the hustle and bustle of the center would lead to a high demand for property in the estate. However, the park failed to materialize as an entrepreneurial concept, and later opened as a public park in 1926.
An almost ever-present feature in the historical and cultural past of Barcelona, Antoni Gaudí was assigned to the design of the park, and his wonderful and unique artistic touch has insured that it shall forever remain a cornerstone of Barcelona’s exceptional history.
Visitors to the 17.18-hectare park marvel at the modernist features — mosaics, fountains, ceramic and stained-glass, colonnades and sculptures, as well as artistic representations of the surrounding nature, make Parc Güell unlike any other park you will visit. Another must-see inside the park is the Gaudí House Museum, the famous artist’s residence from the end of 1906 up until the end of 1925. The house is now a revered home museum, exhibiting various items of furniture and other objects designed by the Artist.
5. Casa Batlló
The last of the Gaudí works in this list, Casa Batlló offers another brilliant opportunity to witness more of the stunning architecture which dominates the city. The house belonged to the wealthy businessmen Josep Batlló, and he wanted a house that would stand out from the rest. So, with that in mind, he turned to Catalonia’s most revered architect, Antoni Gaudí.
In 1904, Gaudí began work on the family home. Originally, the plan was to demolish the building and to start again from scratch, but Gaudí saw something in the architecture that Batlló was overlooking. He managed to convince the homeowner that renovating the building would be enough to achieve the desired end product. Work was completed in 1906 after an overhaul of the main apartment, and as in many of his other famous designs, Gaudí manipulated the light that poured into the building to create an atmosphere in the house which is unique to himself. Nowhere else is his combination of light and creativity in structural design as prominent as it is in Casa Batlló.
Since opening to the public in 1995, the house has become one of Barcelona’s biggest tourist attractions, welcoming one million visitors every year.
Montjüic is a large hill, or a mountain to some, which is located south of Plaça Espanya. Historically, it has played an important role in the defense of the city, due to it’s strategic and elevated location. Nowadays, the mountain provides some of the best views of the city and is awash with many different tourist attractions. For those of you interested in history, a visit to Montjüic castle should most definitely be on top the list. The castle dates back to 1640 and over the years has written a truly fascinating history, having been captured during the Napoleonic wars and becoming a symbol of defeat for Catalonians after the Spanish Civil War, where the castles guns were used on its own people.
If it is art and culture that grips you, then not to worry, as Montjüic is home to some of Barcelona’s finest museums and exhibitions. Here you’ll find the Catalonian National Art Museum, the Caixa Forum and the Miró Foundation, which collectively hold some of Spain’s most impressive collections of modern and contemporary art. If that wasn’t enough, then why not pop into the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia. There really is no shortage of things to do on Montjüic. For the hikers among you, the area can be reached on foot, although I would recommend making use of the available cable car and funicular railway services for a more pleasurable ascent up the mountain.
7. InterNations Official Events and Activities
In Barcelona, do not miss the opportunity to visit one of our InterNations Official Events. Get yourselves acquainted with the global minds of Barcelona, both locals and expats, and seize the opportunity to have a good time and share your experiences in the city. If you sign up to be an Albatross Member, you can also check out one of our many activities happening around the city. Whether it’s an outdoor movie, exploring the local cuisine, or biking around the city, we have something for every interest! What must-see spots would you add to your list? Let us know on our Barcelona Facebook page!