By: Mike Argyle
Barcelona is one of the most exciting and culturally significant cities in Europe with many sites worth visiting. Keep your valuables secure and put on a good pair of walking shoes, because both will be needed if you want to see all that this phenomenal city has to offer, not to mention if you have never heard of Antoni Gaudi, you will soon be enlightened. Some of the best things to do in Barcelona involve merely walking around and seeing what you can discover, from restaurants to shops to old buildings. Be sure to spend a day or two on the main tourist street, La Rambla and the surrounding area. Below are a few must see and do things if you find yourself in Barcelona for a few days or a few months, although there are many more also worth mentioning but will be left up to you to discover.
By far and away the thing you have to see in Barcelona is the shrine to the sacred family, designed by famed Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. Construction began in 1882 and optimistic reports put its completion in 2026 – a century after Gaudi’s death. Take a tour of the building if you can, as the architecture on the inside is just as astonishing as the carvings on the outside, not to mention the spiral staircases going up into the spires for a few extra euros. You may have never heard of this building prior to visiting Barcelona, but after seeing it you’re unlikely to ever forget it.
Lay on the Beach
One of the great things about Barcelona are the beaches. Bring a towel and swimsuit (optional) and a few euros to buy a cerveza or get a massage and soak up the sun and the bronzed bodies. With many beaches to choose from, if one is too crowded, walk to the next one.
The Night Life
Not only because of the clubs, Barcelona truly is a city that never sleeps. With many people not having dinner until after 10pm, the city doesn’t really seem to come to life until after midnight, particularly around La Rambla.
Sunrise on the Mediterranean
The best way to cap off a great night of partying is to make your way to the coast before dawn and take in the day’s first light. Set against the Mediterranean Sea, watching sunrise as a few boats head out to begin their day is something you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Sunset by the National Art Gallery of Catalonia
Of equal beauty and much less difficult to do is watching the sun go down on Barcelona. While there are many locations to enjoy this daily occurrence, the National Art Gallery of Catalonia is high enough and picturesque in its own right to provide the best spot to take it all in. Get there early, bring a drink and just relax – you might even be lucky enough to be serenaded by classical guitar as you watch the day come to a close.
L’Aquarium de Barcelona
If you enjoy marine life, spend a few hours in one of the biggest aquariums in Europe – boasting the continent’s only Oceanarium. At a price of 17.50 Euros for adults, it’s a fair price for remarkable sights.
Yet another location designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, this park shares the designs similar to all other Gaudi structures but in a park rather than a building. A great place to view the cityscape and for exercise, Park Guell is one of the top tourist sites in Barcelona. Be sure to sit on the benches along the edge of the park with the strange curved backs – great for private conversations, photo ops and your back.