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What to see and do in Barcelona – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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A city packed full of attractions, Barcelona is bursting at the seams with things to do.  Visit the awe-inspiring La Sagrada Família, explore the art treasures housed within the impressive Palau Nacional or relax on trendy Barceloneta beach. Aside from jumping on and off the metro to explore all the sights, however, make sure to take some time to soak up the unique atmosphere of this vibrant and multicultural city.

Nuria Lacer

My Destination local expert on


La Sagrada Família


Perhaps the most iconic attraction of all, no trip to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to La Sagrada Família. The project that singlehandedly consumed Gaudí until the day he died, the towering structure of this Roman Catholic church is a truly impressive sight to behold.   Contributing to the overall sacred feeling, intricately carved sculptures and biblical scenes dominate the entire façade of the church.


Park Güell


A magical realm of landscaped gardens plucked from the vivid imagination of Gaudí himself, Park Güell is a fascinating place. Be warned, however, with twirling architectural structures, colorful mosaic murals and curious cobblestone pathways to lead you astray, it is easy to lose track of time in the intriguing garden complex.




A broad hill (officially a mountain), Montjuïc offers spectacular views across Barcelona’s harbor and cityscape below. Originally the site of several fortifications, this historic spot houses the area’s crowning monument: the Castle of Montjuïc. Dating back to the late 17th century, this striking fortification attracts hoards of visitors all wishing to enjoy the castle’s panoramic views.


The Old City & Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic)


The cultural hub of Barcelona’s Old City, the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) is undoubtedly one of the most interesting places to explore. Stretching from La Rambla to Via Laietana and from the Mediterranean seafront to the Plaça Catalunya, this region offers travelers one of the best introductions to the city. Here you can soak up the frenetic buzz of La Rambla, the artistic ambiance of Plaça Reial (royal plaza) and the rustic cafes of neighboring El Born.


Palau Nacional


Situated in Montjuïc and constructed between 1926 and 1929 for Barcelona’s International Exposition, the Palau Nacional contains the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Housing the artistic spoils of the city, over 5,000 Catalan artworks are beautifully showcased within the palace walls. Flanked by neatly-trimmed topiary and cascading fountains, the Palau Nacional is one of the best places to dose up on Barcelona’s local history.


Barceloneta Beach


A place to see and be seen, Barceloneta is one of the city’s trendiest beaches. While you will find it jam-packed with sun-worshippers hoping to bronze themselves, the atmosphere of this beach is simply electric. Enjoy a chilled cocktail from one of the many Chiringuitos (beach bars) dotted along the beach, lie back and relax.


Museu Picasso


Containing works from his formative years, the Picasso Museum is another of the city’s artistic treasures.  Housing more than 3,500 works, you’ll find yourself moving from early sketches and oils to portraits, engravings and ceramics. Showing Picasso as the prolific artist that he was - both in terms of medium and style - this museum will have you queuing to return.