Things to do in Barcelona

Fun and Entertaining Activities in Barcelona

Barcelona is a thrilling cultural crossroads and a haven for art and architecture. Discover the best things to do in this sunny city.

With its sunny weather and spectacular architecture, Barcelona is one of the most beautiful parts of Spain. This sprawling seaside city has a rich history, creative culinary outlets, and artistic events. Add the beachy vibe and the gorgeous nature areas, and you have the ideal vacation destination.

Whether you're a history buff or a dedicated sunseeker, there's no shortage of fun things to do in Barcelona. As you plan a trip to this cultural crossroads, don't miss out on these exciting activities.

Cultural Experiences and Historical Exploration

Everywhere you go in Barcelona, you'll see signs of the city's storied past. Walk past ancient Roman walls on your way to breakfast. Sip coffee overlooking the 13th-century Barcelona cathedral. We've rounded up the most popular tourist attractions in the city center.

1. Visit the Sagrada Família

There's a reason the Sagrada Família is on the top of every Barcelona to-do list — there's nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Antoni Gaudí's masterpiece is a stunning example of biomimetic architecture, a style that mimics the structures and designs found in the natural world.

From afar, the wild, organic exterior looks like a coral castle. Look closer. The jagged edges are actually an array of Biblical figures and intricate animals tucked into lush leaves.

Going inside the cathedral is like stepping into an architect's fever dream. Soaring stone columns rise dramatically from the floor, branching out like trees overhead. Look straight up to find a sea of concave starbursts that's reminiscent of a fantastical jungle canopy.

At certain times of day, the stained-glass windows flood the interior with rainbow-colored light, turning the center aisle into a giant, magical forest.

2. Stroll Through the Gothic Quarter

If you're the type of traveler who loves to get lost, head straight to the Gothic Quarter. This impossibly charming labyrinth takes you through centuries of Barcelona's wild history.

From the neo-Gothic Pont del Bisbe to the grand Plaça del Rei with its Gaudí-designed street lamps, there's an extraordinary sight around every corner.

Tucked into an unassuming residential courtyard off the Carrer del Paradís is a hidden gem of the Gothic Quarter. 2,000-year-old columns that were once part of the Roman Temple of Augustus.

At the Palau Reial Major, look for the massive stone steps. Legend has it that when Christopher Columbus returned to Spain, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella greeted him on that very spot. If the Spanish heat starts to wear you down, stop into one of the many hole-in-the-wall restaurants for a cool drink.

Photographer: Jack Prew

3. Dive Into the Past at Park Güell

Love the Sagrada Família? You won't want to miss Park Güell. Nestled in the hills of the Gracia district, this must-see spot is an explosion of colorful mosaics and surreal structures. It was originally a private residential development funded by the wealthy Eusebi Güell and designed by Gaudí.

Start your visit at Nature Square, where you can sit on Gaudí's famous 360-foot serpentine bench. Get your camera ready — this vibrant bench is made with the artist's trencadís technique, which uses broken tiles to create new patterns.

You can see the same style on the ceiling of the awe-inspiring Hypostyle room, which is built around 86 stone columns. Afterward, cool off with a stroll through the palm trees and undulating stone sculptures of the Passeig de las Palmeras.

Outdoor Adventures and Natural Beauty

Tucked between the Serra de Collserola mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is perfectly positioned for outdoor adventures. Whether you want to break a sweat or relax in the sunshine, there's no shortage of fun activities to do in Barcelona's great outdoors.

4. Relax at Barceloneta Beach

Barcelona might be a big city, but it's a beach town at heart. More than four kilometers of beaches stretch along the city's southeast border, providing plenty of space to relax in the sun or stroll along the sand. The most popular and convenient spot is Barceloneta Beach, with its boisterous crowds and distinct party vibe.

Getting to this buzzing beach is a breeze — just take the metro Line 4 to the Barceloneta stop and walk 10 minutes. In the summer, arrive early to beat the crowds and secure a spot on the sand.

Pop over to the restaurants along the promenade for tapas and a glass of the city's beloved Cava. Prefer something a little less rowdy? Head north to the Costa Brava or head to the other side of Port Olímpic to the more relaxed Nova Icària and Bogatell beaches.

Photographer: Charlene

5. Hike at Parc de Collserola

Need a break from the hustle and bustle? Load up your daypack with water, and head to Parc de Collserola, the "green lung of Barcelona." Located high in the hills above the city, the park offers panoramic views and fresh air to spare.

For a gentle adventure, take the Funicular de Vallvidrera to the Carretera de les Aigües. Join Barcelona's runners and bikers on this mostly flat path, stopping to enjoy the sea and city views from the many scenic overlooks.

If you're up for a challenge, head to the park's Information Center. From there, you can choose from a handful of maintained hiking trails ranging from one to five kilometers long. Another path leads to the summit of Mount Tibidabo and the breathtaking neo-Gothic Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor.

6. Wander Through La Rambla

La Rambla, also known as Las Ramblas, is the most famous street in the city and the beating heart of Barcelona. Always buzzing with action, this 1.2-kilometer pedestrian boulevard attracts both locals and tourists.

Start your journey in the majestic (and massive) Plaça de Catalunya and walk all the way down to Port Vell, where you can ogle the super yachts. Keep an eye out for the colorful tile mosaic by artist Joan Miró near the Liceu metro stop.

After dark, La Rambla comes alive with lights and music. Come on a weekend, or visit Barcelona on New Year's Eve, and you might see opera-goers dressed to the nines near the Gran Teatre del Liceu. Make sure to keep a hand on your bag or wallet — the crowds tend to attract pickpockets.

Photographer: Jorge Fernandez Salas

Culinary Delights and Gastronomy

The Barcelona food scene is thriving, which means you can try a different restaurant for every meal without getting bored. From traditional Catalan cuisine to some of the freshest seafood in Europe, local eateries offer a dish for every palate.

7. Explore La Boqueria Market

There's been a market on the site of La Boqueria since 1217 when meat vendors came from miles around to sell their wares. Today, this sprawling spot is home to endless stalls of fruit, nuts, and everything in between. Come hungry — it's impossible to resist the fresh smoothies and paper cones filled with jamón ibérico.

La Boqueria is a foodie's paradise. Try to snag a seat at the El Quim De La Boqueria tapas bar to try the chef's legendary fried eggs and baby squid. At Kiosko Universal, the grilled sardines and Galician octopus get rave reviews. Not into seafood? There are plenty of stalls selling empanadas and other snacks.

8. Attend a Cooking Class

If you love the food in Barcelona, a cooking class is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. You'll learn a few traditional techniques to impress friends at home and end the day by eating your creation. Some classes even include a shopping trip with a chef to a local market.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, cooking classes in Barcelona often teach you how to prepare paella, seafood, or tapas. There are also plenty of other options to choose from, including patatas bravas and Spanish omelets. Join a group class to meet other travelers, or book a private session for more one-on-one attention.

Photographer: Florencia Dalla Lasta

Arts, Music, and Entertainment

The arts are alive and well in Barcelona. Tourists flock to art museums and galleries by day. At night, our thrilling shows draw curious crowds, and you hear music spilling out of bars and clubs until the wee hours. Get to know the cultural roots of the Catalan capital with these essential experiences.

9. Experience a Flamenco Show

Flamenco is synonymous with Spanish culture. This spicy style of dance was created by Roma people who migrated to Andalusia hundreds of years ago. It's incorporated other cultural influences over time. Today, flamenco shows are among the most popular tourist events in Barcelona.

From the moment you step into a flamenco venue, traditional acoustic guitar serenades you. The energy of the dance is unmatched — every move is infused with passion and drama.

Venues range from grand theaters to intimate "tablao flamenco," where chairs surround a small stage. If you want to see the dancers up close, the latter is definitely your best bet. Make an evening of it by choosing a show that includes dinner and drinks.

10. Visit Museu Picasso

Dive deeper into Barcelona's rich artistic scene with a visit to the Museu Picasso. Set between the Gothic Quarter and the Parc de la Ciutadella, this spot is dedicated to the iconic painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso.

Many collections feature the artist's early pieces. This gives you the opportunity to trace the development of his unique style. In fact, Picasso donated some pieces himself. Even if you're not interested in art, the building is worth a visit.

The five medieval townhouses, built in the Catalan civil Gothic style, are grand arches, silent courtyards, and mysterious alcoves. Some structures date back to the 1200s; the stone passages still provide a cool escape on a steamy summer day in Barcelona.

Unique Experiences

Barcelona welcomes millions of visitors each year; in 2022, there were 9.9 million tourists in Barcelona. If you're looking for a respite from the crowds at major attractions, get off the beaten path with these unique things to do in Barcelona.

11. Night Tour of Casa Batlló

See one of Gaudí's showpieces in an unexpected way during a night visit to Casa Batlló. Lights and projections bring the wild and wonderful architecture to life, turning it into a living, breathing work of art. The Batlló family's story unfolds gradually as you wander from room to room.

Even if you've visited Casa Batlló during the day, it's worth coming back for an evening tour. Colored lights bring out new dimensions and emotions in the curving ceilings, unusual columns, and vibrant tile work. The experience is engaging for both adults and kids; don't hesitate to bring the whole family.

Photographer: Colin + Meg

12. Watch a Game at Spotify Camp Nou

You don't have to be a football fan to enjoy a game at Spotify Camp Nou — standing in the midst of 105,000 screaming fans in Europe's largest stadium is thrilling for everyone. It's the best way to experience one of Barcelona's biggest passions: Futbol Club (FC) Barcelona.

Once home to the great Lionel Messi, this team is beloved throughout Spain. An FC Barcelona game is a true cultural immersion. Crowds start heading toward the stadium well before the start; most people take metro Line 3 or 5. Inside the stadium, keep an eye out for the grada d’animació (singing section).

Around 17:14 (5:14 p.m.), they begin chanting for Catalan independence from Spain. If you want to sit nearby, make sure to buy tickets online well in advance.

Barcelona Awaits: Your Next Adventure Begins Here

With so many fun things to do in Barcelona, you never run out of adventures. After a day of exploring medieval courtyards or sipping sangria under the palm trees, spend an evening at one of our shows in Barcelona. Each one is as lively and vibrant as the city itself.

Filled with gravity-defying circus artistry and otherworldly effects, our immersive performances transport you to a universe filled with color and wonder. After an evening with our talented performers, you'll depart with a sense of awe and inspiration that will carry you through the rest of your journey in Barcelona and beyond.

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