Destinations Europe

A Day In Barcelona – Our Top 5 Places to Visit

We often see Barcelona listed online as one of  the ‘must see‘ cities of Europe but some how, we had never visited this famous Catalan capital.  All the more surprising as it is an easy city to get to with lots of cheap flights from most regional airports.

Finally at the start of September, the stars had aligned, the omens were good or simply speaking, we just got our act together and bought a couple of EasyJet tickets. We then headed south to the the sun, sea and Sangria of Barcelona.

As you get to know any city there are always the more obscure attractions that are supposed to be worth visiting. But as first timers, you probably want to see the main sites which Barcelona is famous for. You can leave the vegan, hipster coffee shop which is only accessible  by unicycle until your 3rd or 4th visit to the city.

These are our favourite 5 places we visited in Barcelona.

Sagrada Família
The Sagrada Familia

Exterior & Interior of the Sagrada Familia

90 years and still unfinished. This cathedral is number one for tourists and it does live up to the hype. Antoni Gaudi’s architecture is really interesting if slightly bizarre, he didn’t really go for the ‘less is more‘ style. There is still building work going on around you, an estimated 10 more years to go. Yes it is worth going inside, the stained glass windows are outstanding even if you are not religious.

Make sure you book an audio tour online to get the most out of the visit and avoid the queues.

La Rambla
La Rambla

La Rambla

The famous ‘La Rambla’ is a tree lined walkway stretching from the Columbus monument up to the Plaça de Catalunya. There are plenty of street cafes and bars as well as the compulsory caricature artists and illegal street vendors. So if you want a highly flammable, fake FC Barcelona kit then this is the place to come.
Yes it is full of tourists and usually quite crowded but the areas either side are very interesting. You must wander through  the market ‘Mercado de La Boqueria’ or visit Gaudi’s ‘Güell Palace’. La Rambla is touristy but like Piccadilly Circus, London or Times Square, New York it’s a place you can’t miss during your stay.

There is a lot of talk of how bad the pickpockets are in this area, when we visited there was a highly visible police presence and felt like any other city centre. Just use your common sense and you’ll be fine.

Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló by Gaudi

Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudi

The unusual Casa Batlló designed by Antoni Gaudi, there’s no straight lines here. Venetian mask style balconies, multi coloured mosaics and windows, a dragon like roof and that’s just the outside. Like the Sagrada Familia, book online to avoid the queues and get a designated entry time. What is excellent is the augmented reality tour which really captures the imagination and vision of Gaudi and brings the building to life.

La Barceloneta
La Barceloneta

La Barceloneta

La Barceloneta is the main beach front area of Barcelona. It was originally the home of the fishing community and basically ignored by the city until the 1992 Olympics. Since then there has been a major transformation, boardwalks, good seafood restaurants and cool beach bars have replaced the run down industrial units of the past.  We would recommend visiting the area and enjoying La Barceloneta’s nightlife but not really the beach itself. It can get very busy but if you’re happy to lie sweaty  shoulder by shoulder while looking at an old man in budgie smugglers then you’ll be fine.

The Gothic Quarter
Gothic Quarter

The Narrow Streets Of The Gothic Quarter

Take a stroll through the old Gothic Quarter and lose yourself in the narrow streets. These narrow streets suddenly open  up to reveal a shaded square or ornate gothic church. One of the best way to get know this area and the Catalan culture is on a walking tour. You can see what we got up to on our Walking and Tapas Tour.

Do you have any Barcelona travel tips for the first time visitor then let us know, thanks Mel and Marcus.

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Cathy Glynn
    September 23, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    It certainly looks stunningly beautiful. Barcelona is on my travel to do list xx

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      September 23, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      It was stunning, we will definitely be going back.

  • Reply
    Evelina
    September 23, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I loved my time in Barcelona. You definitely mentioned the best places there.

  • Reply
    Dean of Little Steps
    September 23, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Love your photos. I’ve never been, but would love to go, especially since it isn’t too far from the UK. Hopefully soon!

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      September 24, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Yes it’s only 2 hours away from the UK.

  • Reply
    clairejustine
    September 23, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Oh wow, it looks beautiful here. It is one of the place to visit on my wish list 🙂

  • Reply
    Alina
    September 24, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Wow, you’ve done LOADS. I’m always a big fan of walking tours so always try and go on those wherever I go that’s new 🙂 I’ve got a friend living there at the moment so maybe I’ll ask her if she’ll have me !

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      September 24, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      The walking tours are pretty good especially if you have a good guide. They can often make or break the tour.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    September 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I do love Barcelona, it is such a beautiful city, though havent been for years x

  • Reply
    Fashion and Style Police
    September 24, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I visited Barcelona many years ago. Would love to visit again.

  • Reply
    Kara Guppy
    September 24, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I really want to go back to Sagrada Família as its been 12 years since our last visit and I bet it has changed

  • Reply
    MELANIE EDJOURIAN
    September 25, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Great photos. I’ve never been but this post has really inspired me to take a look at holidays there.

  • Reply
    Jollies and Jaunts
    September 26, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Barcelona is so lovely, and I think visiting the little streets of the Gothic Quarter was also my highlight. I also really liked the food markets which were so bright and colourful.

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      September 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Yes, you can get lost in the Gothic Quarter but you always end up in a nice square somewhere.

  • Reply
    Grant R
    September 26, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to Spain. My wife has been to Barcelona but didn’t get to see any of it because of a horrendous patch of bad weather. We will go soon and we’ll see all of the above!

  • Reply
    Laura H
    September 27, 2016 at 12:55 am

    I’ve never been to Barcelona but it’s pretty high on my bucket list! You’ve picked some great things to visit 🙂

  • Reply
    Anosa
    October 1, 2016 at 7:57 am

    I have been hitting up Europe for my weekend getaways since January and I am still to make it to Barcelona. Thanks for the must see places list

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      October 1, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      You must get to Barcelona, we wish we had visited the place years ago.

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