Barcelona, capital of Catalonia and one of the coolest cities in Europe. Locals in Barcelona are having a huge problem with tourists who are treating this beautiful city like their personal playground. If you go to Barcelona, please make sure to be respectful and do not make too much noise after 1 A.M. These are the top 10 things to do in Barcelona.
Start off in the heart of old Barcelona in the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter. It dates back to Roman times, and it’s the perfect place to get lost. It’s also home of Picasso museum, but admissions are limited and crowds are massive so buy your tickets online to guarantee yourself a spot.
Avoid the hustlers on las Ramblas, and go grab a coffee in La Boqueria Market before wandering the neighborhood of El Raval. Long known for its vices, El Raval is full of character and has plenty of plazas for a leisurely menu del dia. A three-course lunch for 10 to 15 Euros, wine included. After lunch head over to MACBA, the contemporary art museum and a gathering spot for Barcelona’s international skate crowd.
Dive into the world of Gaudi, the Catalan modernist architect that gave Barcelona its distinct style 150 years ago. Getting the intro at Casa Batllo and Casa Milà, originally constructed as a private mansion for Barcelona’s industrialists. Today they’re open to the public, and they offer augmented reality tours.
The Sagrada Familia
Gaudi’s architectural masterpiece is the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, which is still under construction almost a hundred years after Gaudi’s death. Crowds here are crazy. It’s easily the most popular attraction in Barcelona, so either get here early, book tickets online, or just take a selfie from across the street.
Estadi Camp Nou
It is home to FC Barcelona, one of the world’s best football clubs and the unofficial symbol of Catalan culture abroad. If you can’t get tickets, don’t worry. Every bar in town will be playing the game, especially if it’s El Classico.
Another must-visit is Parc Guell, a mystical monument of modernism built by Gaudi. Access to the central part of the park is restricted to a few hundred people at a time, so book your tickets online if you want that perfect profile pic or just wander the outside area out for free.
From Parc Guell, walk down the hill to Gracia, a village that has been absorbed into Barcelona. It’s funky and bohemian and it feels like a small-town oasis in the middle of a big city. If you’re visiting in August, make sure you don’t miss the Festa Major de Gracia, which is a neighborhood festival where locals build huge human castles, known as Castells.
One of the best things about Barcelona is that it’s right on the Mediterranean. Barceloneta is the beach of the city, and it’s where the young go-to tan, occasionally surf, and there’s some great nightlife. If you’re at a beach for the day, the enjoining neighborhood of Barceloneta is a really great place to grab some lunch. There’s beautiful plazas as well as some old school taverns that serve tapas.
Bunkers del Carmel
For sunset, head to the hills in the Bunkers del Carmel, a military complex, which helped defend the city when it was besieged in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War. A lot of people don’t know this, but during the Spanish Civil war, Barcelona was actually run by an anarchist trade union. To find out more about that fascinating history, either take a walking tour or check out the book by George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia.
Tapas and nightlife
When night falls, it’s time to get tapas, bite-size eats that cost a few euros a pop. One of the best places to get tapas is the “Carrer de Blai” in the neighborhood of Poble-sec, It’s fun but not filling. So, if you’re going to go party make sure you order quite a few tapas and get some patatas bravas, potatoes which are great for soaking up the booze.