Things to do in Barcelona: your personalized city tour

Destinations

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Using Kiwi.com’s Where Next social media game, our users built their very own personalized tour of Barcelona, giving suggestions and their own tips, and deciding on things to do and see!

Instagram hotspots: Barcelona through a lens

Famous Concert Hall Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona Famous Concert Hall Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona — Shutterstock

Barcelona is an amazingly picturesque city, so let’s start with visiting a few of the must-see destinations around the city. The world-famous Sagrada Família is the obvious place to start. Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece towers into the sky above the city, an extraordinary example of a modernist take on Gothic architecture, but it’s still not even finished! That shouldn’t stop you though: one of Spain’s most iconic buildings, right there? Get that camera out!

La Rambla is another place that’s a must-visit. Okay, so it’s a bit of a tourist trap, but which major city doesn’t have those? It’s a great place for people-watching along its 1.3km length, with locals, tourists, street artists, buskers, living statues, and the like. Find a table at one of the many restaurants and cafes along its length, and watch the world go by.

A place for performance, but equally for simply admiring the architecture, space, and silence is the Palau de la Música Catalana, the only Art Nouveau concert venue in the world to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. From its exterior, featuring colorful frescoes and wild statue work, to its incredible auditorium, a riot of stained glass, motifs of nature such as fruits and palm trees, and a glass roof that floods the hall with sunlight.

 

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Finally, let’s relax on the beach. Head to La Barceloneta and the Sant Sebastià Beach to lie on the sand or splash in the sea, watch the yachts in the harbor, or enjoy some fresh seafood or tapas from one of the many beach bars. A great end to a successful day!

Get hip: Barcelona city history

Carrer del Bisbe passage in Barcelona's Gothic quarter Carrer del Bisbe passage in Barcelona’s Gothic quarter — Shutterstock

Okay, so we’ve done the main sights; it’s time to dig a bit deeper. We’ve got three areas to explore today, namely El Born, Gótico, and Gràcia, so there’s no time to lose!

Let’s start in El Born. It’s an area of medieval streets and squares, narrow and characterful, with specialty shops selling delicious things like coffee, meats, and cheeses, as well as a selection of cafes that turn into wine bars and cocktail places at night. If you’re not in the mood for that level of sophistication, head to the Antic, a former theater that was reborn in 2003 when a group of artists transformed the space into a social project. It’s now a cool outdoor bar where you can take a break before moving on.

 

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Gótico is, unsurprisingly, the Gothic Quarter and, similar to El Born, is another maze of narrow streets, this time opening out onto squares such as Pla de la Seu that houses the Cathedral of Barcelona. Stroll the cloisters among the orange trees and flowers, or climb the tower for amazing views over the city. For a bit of artistic inspiration, head to Els Quatre Gats, a bar that was the regular haunt of the aforementioned Antoni Gaudí, as well as one Pablo Picasso, who staged his first and second solo exhibitions here in 1900.

Finally, Gràcia, and it’s a slightly quieter area than the two listed above, but no less beautiful and no less creative. It’s not so central, but is around a 30-minute walk to Gótico and 50-minutes or so from Barceloneta and the beach. There are a bunch of indie art shops and galleries, and it’s also home to a lot of places that offer classes in dance, cookery, yoga, and all manner of creative things. It almost feels more like a small, friendly town than an area of a big city, so might be a good place to stay while you’re in Barcelona.

Points of view: Barcelona from above

View of Barcelona from Bunkers del Carmel (Turo de la Rovira) View of Barcelona from Bunkers del Carmel (Turo de la Rovira) — Shutterstock

Otherwise, there are tons of places to simply hang out. You’ll probably do a lot of walking while you’re in Barcelona, so give yourself a break and find somewhere to relax.

Parc Güell is an amazing place to start. Up on a hill, it was originally planned as a housing development, if you can believe it, but that failure gave rise to one of Barcelona’s most beautiful areas. Peaceful, colorful, and again designed by that man Antoni Gaudí, it’s the perfect place to escape the noise of the city below. It’s even home to beautiful birds including eagles and parrots, so maybe you can make a couple of colorful friends while you’re there!

 

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Or why not take the Telefèric de Montjuïc — the Montjuïc cable car — and get two-for-one views; once when you’re riding the cable car over the city, and more again when you get to the top. It arrives at Montjuïc Castle at the top of the hill with which it shares its name, and once you’ve explored the 17th-century fortress, you can gaze from the hill over Barcelona and the bay below.

For an amazing sunset, try the Carmel Bunkers. Built as an anti-aircraft gun installation in 1938 during the Spanish Civil War, this site on top of the Turó de la Rovira hill used to be closed off, but now welcomes tourists. It’s still relatively secluded, however, so head up there as the sun goes down for incredible, romantic views as your trip comes to an end.

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