Top 10 Must-Sees in the Historical City of Barcelona

Tags: #Barcelona ,   #SagradaFamilia ,   #Montjuic ,   #VisitBarcelona ,   #CityBreak

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2023-11-02 15:38:35

Barcelona is a magnificent city in the south of Spain. Once you step foot on its ground, you'll be mesmerized by the astonishing architecture. This is mainly due to the famous artist Antoni Gaudí who left his mark here. Barcelona is a harbor city, with a beautiful port and a beach near it. Moreover, it has vivid streets buzzing with life. Furthermore, this urban metropole combines modern and historical landmarks in such remarkable harmony that it'll capture your soul at first glimpse. So, let's take a walk around this fantastic city and peek at the top ten must to do in Barcelona. 

10. Camp Nou

Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain
The largest football stadium in Europe (Photo: Manminder/

Camp Nou stadium is a must-visit Barcelona spot for all European football fans. This is the home of FC Barcelona, the football team that won multiple Champions Leagues, FIFA Club World Cups, and numerous national cups and leagues. Plus, it has one of the best youth teams in the world.

Moreover, Camp Nou is the largest soccer stadium in Europe. The club has fans worldwide as some of the greatest players have worn the FC Barcelona colors, including Maradona. Additionally, Camp Nou offers a museum with all the trophies won by FC Barcelona and much more. 

9. Montjuic 

Montjuic hill in Barcelona, Spain
There is so much to explore at Montjuic (Photo: Joaquin Aranoa/

Montjuïc is the most famous hill in Barcelona. For the World Fair in 1929, sports stadiums, palaces, botanical gardens, parks, pavilions, and exhibition rooms were built on the hill. Hence, some of those buildings now serve as museums. The entrance to the Montjuic is decorated with two Venetian towers and a fountain. Furthermore, the cascade is colorfully lit in the evening with the dreamlike fountain show.

At the top of the hill is the castle with a magnificent view of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Among other highlights is the Miro museum and open-air museum Poble Espanyol, or "Spanish village."

8. Picasso Museum

Pablo Picasso signature
Picasso Museum houses over 4300 Picasso's artworks (Photo: Clker-Free-Vector-Images/

The Picasso Museum of Barcelona is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city. This place has over 4300 Picasso artworks, mainly belonging to cubism and surrealism. Moreover, the museum collection highlights two of his most significant works, "First Communion" and "Science and Charity." Furthermore, the "Museo Picasso" has an extensive collection of prints, oil paintings, drawings, ceramics, and a photo exhibition about Pablo Picasso's life.

The "Museo Picasso" reveals Picasso's connection to Barcelona. His youth shaped this relationship when fourteen-year-old Picasso enrolled in Barcelona's "Academy of Fine Arts" and took his first steps as a painter.

7. Gothic Quarter 

The drawing of Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, Spain
Gothic Quarter is the oldest part of the city (Photo: ArtTower /

Barcelona's Gothic Quarter is a labyrinth of tiny alleyways leading to the city's famous squares. The center of the old town is positioned between La Rambla and the Via Laietana and between Barcelona harbor and Ronda de Sant Pere. The Gothic Quarter is the oldest part of the city, with preserved centuries-old buildings.

The Barri Gòtic is home to the city's municipal headquarters, including Barcelona city hall, the Casa de la Ciutat of Ajuntament, and the medieval Palau de la Generalitat. The royal palace (Palau Reial) is also in the Gothic Quarter. Its central square Plaça Reial is crowded with tourists and restaurants. 

6. Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia

Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia in Barcelona, Spain
Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is the second most significant cathedral in the city (Photo: NRThaele/

Cathedral is located in the Gothic Quarter and is among the top places to visit in Barcelona. After Sagrada Familia, this is the most paramount church in Barcelona. Commonly known as La Seu Cathedral, it dates back to 343 CE when the first church was built at this location. Since then, it has been reconstructed several times, and the last addition, the central tower, was built in 1913. 

Next to the Cathedral is a 14th-century convent. Interestingly, thirteen geese are always present in the abbey's central courtyard, each symbolizing a year in the life of martyr Santa Eulalia. Moreover, "Sardanes" – the traditional Catalan dance is performed every week in front of La Seu.

5. Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, during the construction
Sagrada Familia is the world's most famous unfinished church (Photo: AndyLeungHK /

The world's most famous unfinished church is dedicated to the Holy Family. This is a masterpiece of the incredible artist Antoni Gaudi who lost his life during the construction. Gaudi started to work on the church back in 1883.

According to his projects, the Sagrada Familia will have 18 towers and three façades. The towers represent 12 apostles, four evangelists, Mary, and Jesus. Façades symbolize stages in Jesus's life, as those signifying birth and passion are finished. However, the front façade displaying the glory is still in progress. Nevertheless, by 2019, eight towers were completed, with the rest done by 2026, a hundred years after Antoni Gaudí's death. 

4. Park Guell

Park Guell
The famous Park Guell is a place where Gaudi showed his viewings of combining nature and architecture (Photo: Michelle_Raponi/

This is another masterpiece constructed by Antoni Gaudi. In 1900, a wealthy royal family member, Eusebi Güell, commissioned Gaudi to construct a luxury residential Gaudi Barcelona park northeast of the city center. The simple task included building 60 houses in a large park area. Hence, Gaudi accepted it with a thrill since he could use his ideas to blend architecture with nature. 

Nevertheless, only two houses were developed before the park was donated to the city by the owner. Therefore today, we have a beautiful place with wavy and colorful mosaics, pergolas growing from the stone, and walkways harmoniously integrated into the landscape.

3. La Rambla

La Rambla fountain in Barcelona, Spain
La Rambla is Barcelona's main street (Photo: dkatana/

The most vivid boulevard in the city is basically the heart of Barcelona. The famous street stretches from Plaça de Catalunya to the Columbus monument in the harbor. The central part of the wide boulevard is a pedestrian area lined with narrow one-way streets for traffic.

Although the locals shun Rambla, this vivid street is full of tourists until late at night. Likewise, it's rich in trees, shops, cafes, restaurants, and street musicians. Visitors often take part in drinking from a black-and-bronze-colored fountain. Hence, according to the legend, a sip from this fountain will ensure your return to Barcelona. 

2. Casa Milá (La Pedrera)

La Pedrera apartment complex in Barcelona, Spain
La Pedrera is an apartment complex designed by Gaudi (Photo: LitschauerErwin/

Casa Milà is a block of flats designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. The Casa Milàcomplex was built in the early 1900, and it's one of the highlights in Barcelona. The name "La Pedrera" (Catalan for "The Stone Quarry") refers to the rough appearance of the apartment complex.

Distinctive for Casa Milà are the organic and natural shapes that Gaudí used in his project. The design was commissioned by wealthy industrialist Pere Milà, who later resided on the first floor. Today, Casa Milà is a museum with a decorated flat, attic, and roof terrace with unique ventilation towers, chimneys, and beautiful city views.

1. Casa Batlló 

Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain
Casa Batlló and its astonishing facade represent one of Gaudi's masterpieces (Photo: pcsfish/

"Museo modernista de Antoni Gaudí" better known as Casa Batlló, is one of Barcelona's most prominent architectural attractions. Gaudi remodeled this four floors house (from 1875) for wealthy textile magnate Josep Batlló I Casanovas. 

Gaudi was inspired by the sea, so Casa Batlló has no sharp angles. Hence everything is wavy and rounded. The façade of the Batlló is covered with mosaics evocative of fish scales. The main inspiration was Saint George killing the dragon, and the small tower on the roof represents his sword. Likewise, the balconies are like the jaws of marine creatures. Today's value of this colorful masterpiece is around 70 million euros.

Barcelona has much more to offer, as shown by our top ten list. While a week to explore the city and absorb its pulsating life will be almost enough, you'll be allured to come back. Additionally, summer trips to Barcelona are a great option, as the city has Barceloneta, one of the most beautiful European beaches.

Have you already visited Barcelona? What is your favorite place in the city? Please write your thoughts in the comments below. 

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