Things to do in Barcelona

The Most Unique and Wondrous Things to Do in Barcelona

Modern and medieval wonders collide in Barcelona. Join us as we set off on a tour of all the unique things to do in this Mediterranean city.

Crisp winds whip across the Collserola mountains and drift down the sun-warmed streets of Barcelona. Founded by Romans and long ruled by kings, this is an ancient city preserved for modern eyes. What remains of the old metropolis can be found in Barcelona's eccentric crevices.

Here, creative energy fizzes and sparks. The city churns with a life of its own. Step outside, and even the air feels different. An experience like this can't be had anywhere else. There are plenty of unique things to do in Barcelona, but these venues will turn your sightseeing trip into a full-blown adventure.

Cultural and Historical Exploration

Ancient traditions and modern-day marvels combine for a walk in a cultural wonderland.

1. Audio Tour Through El Raval

Dense with art museums, monasteries, and street markets, El Raval is one of Barcelona's glimmering crown jewels. Old stone alleyways lit with streetlamps transport passersby to medieval times — until they turn the corner into the bustling city center.

With so much history to uncover, the best way to explore El Raval is with your ears. Audio tours offer a unique and affordable glimpse into the neighborhood. As you stroll, the spot's vibrant history comes to life through your headphones.

The tour takes you into El Raval's greatest treasures. Think steaming hot coffee at Meson del Cafe, a love-drunk mural at El Peto, and culturally rich landmarks like Bishop's Bridge. With a click, pause your tour to revel in El Raval's spoils up close.

Photographer: Jens Freudenau

2. Free Flamenco Show

We love storytelling, and Barcelona's flamenco dancers are fellow masters of the art. Born from the folkloric traditions of southern Spain, the art blends music, movement, and visuals to evoke powerful emotions.

When these dancers perform, you can expect to experience a full range of feelings, from passion and love to joy and despair. Clapping crowds' sharp, measured raps are audible across the city.

To their credit, highly produced flamenco shows are a sight to behold. But the energy found within a lively hole-in-the-wall is simply unmatched. Spots such as Gracia Latina hold free shows in a cozy space that's sparking with feeling. Come, sip an icy cocktail, and take in the expressive art like a local.

Architectural Discoveries

Gothic spires and medieval mansions dot these winding city streets.

3. Casa Vicens

In 1852, a future architect was born in Reus. With him came Barcelona's architectural destiny. Antoni Gaudí's first project was a mere lamppost, although his touch soon extended to the entire city. The mastermind behind La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell's famed palace, Gaudí put Barcelona's buildings on the map for architectural fanatics.

Gaudí's first house, Casa Vicens, still stands in Barcelona today. Now a museum, the space gives visitors an up-close look at its design and the cultural context surrounding it. Like all of Gaudí's work, Casa Vicens was crafted with his unique, highly individual fashion.

This spot is a lesson in standing out from the crowd, from the checkerboard turrets to each carved window shutter. Plus, the nearby square boasts a fabulous coffee house. Sit and sip while your mind escapes to centuries past.

4. Casa Les Punxes

Barcelona's medieval history is hard to ignore. Bits of its defensive stone wall and ancient chapels still exist as reprieves for people stuck in the modern and mundane. Through the years, city architects have continued the tradition. Though not quite as antique, the Casa Les Punxes takes cues from a lost age.

Josep Puig i Cadafalch designed this building with a castle in mind. Six-pointed towers crowned with sharp spikes give the spot its name, while recurrent floral details soften the dramatic facade. Just off the Passeig de Gràcia, shops and restaurants are never far away. Stop for food and take in the other fun things to do in Barcelona.

Photographer: AILes

5. Barcelona Supercomputing Center

A rich history doesn't mean Barcelona is stuck in the past. The city's excitement for what's next is obvious on every busy street. Just look at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

This public research hub is a crusader of science and engineering. Visitors come face-to-face with an actual supercomputer inside these halls. Within its glass case, the computer whirs and blinks its way to superintelligence.

But the chapel that houses this engineering marvel is just as impressive. Dubbed the Torre Girona, this building boasts clean lines and twin turrets built from massive stone blocks. Just around the corner lies a quiet, tree-lined pond. On a sunny day, there's no better place in Barcelona for a stroll.

Unique Dining and Drinking Experiences

Cured, spiced, and fire-grilled — it doesn't get fresher than this.

6. Bosc de les Fades

Calling Bosc de les Fades a café would be an understatement. Most cafés don't have a fairy forest inside — the café's name even translates to fairy forest — or a butterfly wall. And they likely aren't spitting distance from a wax museum. This place isn't like any other, and that's why we love it.

Inside these dim, lamp-lit walls lies an enchanted forest. When you're not sipping espresso and swinging on floating chairs, a portal to another world waits between the leaves. Come here to eat, drink, or escape. That part’s up to you.

Conveniently located just a short journey from some of Barcelona's best beaches, Bosc de les Fades is best enjoyed after a long day of lazing on the sand.

7. Vermut Tradition

To live like a local in Barcelona, you only need one word in your vocabulary: vermut, which technically means vermouth. But in this Mediterranean city, vermut refers to the Catalan tradition of enjoying a light but boozy snack-and-drink combo before a meal.

Naturally, vermut is the drink of choice. The accompanying snack may vary, but nuts, cockles, and pickles are all fan favorites. Stroll down any Barcelona street on a late Sunday morning, and you'll find vermut in full swing.

Stop by any bar, and take your pick of red or white on ice. A wedge of orange or lemon makes a dramatically simple drink that doesn't skimp on flavour. Plaça de Catalunya, a busy city center, has plenty of bars to explore. Try tapas at Txapela restaurant for small plates to snack on while you sip.

Photographer: falco

8. Pastrami Bar and Paradiso Cocktails

The secret ingredient for the perfect bar is a heaping spoonful of secrecy. Paradiso in Barcelona serves theirs with an impossibly juicy pastrami. Look past the unassuming sandwich shop facade if the crowds aren't a dead giveaway. Past a suspiciously marked fridge, you'll find yourself in the gloomily lit mouth of a bar.

This list is built on uniqueness, and Paradiso is a prime example. Mixology knows no bounds here. Think smoked milk with bourbon and Jerez wine set aflame with a laser.

The presentation is unmatched here, so have your camera ready. Paradiso's proximity to some of Barcelona's best live music venues makes it ideal for a post-concert dinner and drinks.

Nature and Outdoor Activities

From sea to mountain peak, sunny Barcelona is best enjoyed alfresco.

9. Parc del Laberint d'Horta

A city like Barcelona doesn't get by without a few tricks up its sleeve. And one of its most dazzling hidden gems was centuries in the making. Mountain breezes drift down to Parc del Laberint d'Horta, rustling the hedges and cooling sun-soaked visitors. This is the oldest garden in the city, and it wears the title proudly.

The park was born in the 18th century, with a garden commissioned by its owner, a marquis. His was a neoclassical vision, complete with mythological statues and a winding hedge maze.

A century later, his descendants added a garden of their own — this one romantic. Today, massive trees, water canals, and gazebos crown each corner. Visit on a clear day and lose yourself in the whimsy and drama of every detail.

10. Parc de Collserola

Of all the crazy things to do in Barcelona, this might be the tallest. Parc de Collserola offers a sweeping view of the city from its highest point. For city dwellers, this space is a natural wonderland. Lush forests and friendly wildlife are surreal to behold, and it's all a short drive from civilization's apex.

There's something for everyone here. Adventurers scramble for the best views from the peak of Mount Tibidabo. For the artistic crowd, the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor is specked with the telltale signs of Gothic design.

It even has a full amusement park for younger visitors. This is a place for anyone, anytime. It's the perfect place to enjoy sunset hikes, morning Ferris wheel rides, and picnic brunches. Once you're here, you might not want to leave.

Photographer: WeLoveBarcelona_de

Unique Experiences and Entertainment

Make a Mediterranean memory that will forever dazzle.

11. Helicopter Ride Over Barcelona

If you're looking up, the Barcelona streets glow with centuries of historic artistry. But when looking down, they might be even more spectacular. A Barcelona helicopter ride offers a perspective like no other, one that truly allows you to take in the charm of this ancient city.

Channel your inner acrobat as you follow the Mediterranean coastline. Look the sacred Montserrat mountains in the eye and soar over Camp Nou. You might even catch a glimpse of FC Barcelona at play.

Architectural marvels, such as the Sagrada Familia, are in rare form from above, with Gothic spires spearing into the sky. Rife with color and movement, the city's avenues bustle even from the clouds. After landing, Barcelona's lively pulse is clearer than ever.

12. El Raval Experience

If there's one thing El Raval is rich in, it's character. Once a dried-up riverbed, this Barcelona neighborhood is now awash with life and color. Visitors gather in droves all day, determined to take in the eclectic sights.

Whether you're looking to shop, dine, or people-watch, there's no better place than here. While all Barcelona neighborhoods are unique, El Raval's recent rise in popularity is worth checking out.

The neighborhood lights up after dark with the vibrant energy streaming from nightlife haunts. Cocktail bars and late-night restaurants keep crowds fueled and raring to move. During the day, the sun shines on the cultural highlights El Raval continues to sprout.

Art galleries and museums cover everything from sculptures to maritime history. Stop at a local marketplace to nab a souvenir — proof that you've seen this wild and wonderful spot with your own eyes.

13. Casa Milà Night Tour

Gaudí strikes again. This time, it's the last private residence ever captured on his drafting table. La Padrera's Casa Milà is unconventional in every sense of the word, from its twisted balconies to the stony drape of its curtain-like wall.

To behold it is to be in awe at Gaudí's masterful manipulation of materials. Wrought iron is braided like dandelion stems. Hulking limestone is given delicate, drifting movement.

Craning your neck to glimpse the entire structure in its full glory is an experience worth having. But after dark, Casa Milà becomes another entirely separate entity.

Join an illuminating night tour to see this work of art as few others will. Brilliant lights reveal a hidden world of butterflies, whales, and warriors within the famed walls. Lit from within, the space is part, architectural landmark, part breathtaking experience.

Photographer: tbvieri

Unveiling Barcelona's Secret Charms

A city handcrafted over centuries will have a secret or two up its sleeves. Peer past the spots that trap unassuming tourists to find a hidden world of stunning whimsy. Barcelona is brimming with otherworldly excellence. All you have to do is find it.

Tucked inside an ordinary theater, our magicians and acrobats wait for the sun to set over Barcelona. We take flight before the sidewalks have cooled, watched by a faithful audience eager to enter a world of dreams. Bursts of music and color bring our stories to life.

With physical feats, thrills, and plenty of heart, you'll find it's far too easy to get swept away. Expect a whirlwind of emotion at our hands. Like Barcelona's living, breathing pulse, reality will be swept away once you've seen it.

Spirits soar in this fantastical city by the sea. Take your pick of our shows in Barcelona.

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