I have now been to Spain a number of times. I visited Madrid for 1 day, but I also surfed in Zarautz a few times. But Barcelona is also highly recommended for a citytrip. The shopping, the good food, Gaudí and the many sights in Barcelona make the city perfect for a citytrip. Down below I’ll list all the top sights in Barcelona.
Barcelona is the largest city in Catalonia. In various places, such as the airport and public transport, information is provided in Spanish, Catalan and English.
We visited Barcelona in late March / early April. The weather is overall fine (happened to be a bit disappointing for us at the time) and the crowds are not too bad. In high season, the sights in Barcelona must be very busy due to the large amount of tourists. Many residents of the city are kinda sick of all those tourists during the high season. Not entirely incomprehensible when you hear how crowded it can be!
Top 10 sights in Barcelona
Many sights in Barcelona have been designed by the Catalan architect Gaudí in Art Nouveau Style.
1. Sagrada Familia
The wow effect cannot be missed when entering one of the most famous and beautiful sights in Barcelona; the Sagrada Familia. Construction of this beautiful basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí started in 1882. In 2026 the church is finally expected to be finished. The architecture is very beautiful and it is also very modern when you consider when it was designed. Visit the church early or buy tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. When ordering, you reserve a time slot.
Opening hours: November to February, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, March 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM April to September, 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM, October, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM.
2. Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
Walk from the Sagrada Familia de Av. de Gaudí until you reach Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. In my opinion, this hospital, designed in Catalan Modernist style (Catalan variant of Art Nouveau / Art Nouveau), cannot be missed during your visit to Barcelona.
The complex contains several buildings that all look beautiful. The buildings are connected underground with corridors so that the patients could be easily transported. Most buildings are open to the public.
The old hospital can be visited free of charge on the first Sunday of the month. Be aware of crowds, so visit it in the morning if possible.
3. Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is also designed by Gaudí. In the construction of this house hardly any straight lines and angular constructions can be found. Most of it is undulating and the architecture and colors are reminiscent of the sea. The mosaic stones on the staircase walls, for example, are blue and the staircase is sandy. The ventilation grilles are reminiscent of the gills of a fish. Very special to see.
Upon entering you will receive a video / audio guide where the space comes to life. Passeig de Gràcia metro station (L2, L3, L4) is the nearest metro station and several buses stop on the same street.
4. Park Güell
Park Güell is a beautiful park, also designed by Gaudí, in the Gràcia district. Bus 92 and 24 stop the most nearby the park, halfway up the hill. You don’t need tickets yet to walk further up the hill. You have a nice view on the city here. For the monumental part where many of his Gaudí’s buildings can be found, you do need tickets. Buy your tickets in advance and reserve a time slot.
In the park you can spend about an hour. After your visit to the park, take some time to explore the Gràcia district. There are nice restaurants in the small cute streets.
5. Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas should not be missed on your list! This kilometer-long street is one of the most visited sights in Barcelona and is full of various stalls. Mercat de la Boqueria is also located on this large street. This huge covered, busy food market is definitely worth a visit. Walk between the stables or buy some refreshing fruit. There are vegetable, fruit, candy, nut, meat and fish stalls. It’s not a market to score a bargain, the prices are quite high 😉
6. Catedral de Barcelona
In the adjacent district of Barri Gotic you will find the Catedral de Barcelona with the associated monastery. Palm trees grow and geese live in the monastery garden. The cathedral and cloister are free to visit at:
- Mo-Fr 8: 00-12:45 (monastery 8:30-12:30) and 17:45-19:30 (monastery 17: 45-19: 00)
- Sat 8: 00-12:45 (monastery 8:30-12:30) and 17:15-20:00 (monastery 17: 45-19: 00)
- Sun 8: 00-13:45 (monastery 8:30-13:00) and 17:15-20:00 (monastery 17: 45-19: 00)
7. Parc de la Ciutadella
Do you want to rest in a beautiful park? In that case you should pay a visit to Parc de la Ciutadella, the largest park in Barcelona with a beautiful large fountain. The Arc de Triomf is located at the main entrance.
A nice addition to your city trip in Barcelona, and near the park, is Museu de la Xocolata (chocolate museum). Your entrance ticket (€ 5) is a chocolate bar and you constantly smell the delicious scent of chocolate. The museum tells about the history of the delicacy and there are mainly chocolate sculptures to admire.
8. Font Màgica
In the evening, visit the Font Màgica fountain show in front of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and near Plaça d’Espanya (accessible by metro L1, L3 and L8). Make sure to be there before the start of the show to get a good spot. The best place I found at the top of the first stairs towards the museum. Do not be at the top of the last / highest steps near the museum, because here you hardly see anything because of the high other fountains that start at the same time as the show. Also, do not be too close to the Font Màgica, because then you have the risk of getting a good shower. Shows are:
- From November to March: Friday and Saturday
Fountain show times: 7:00 PM, 7:30 PM, and 8:00 PM
- April-May-September-October: Friday and Saturday
Fountain show times: 9:00 PM, 9:30 PM, and 10:00 PM
- June-July-August: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Fountain show times: 9:30 PM, 10:00 PM and 10:30 PM
9. Arenas de Barcelona
But before you go here, pay a short visit to Arenas de Barcelona. This used to be a bullring, but has now been transformed into a shopping center. From the roof you have a beautiful view of the city.
10. Mercat dels Encants Vells
Near Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes (metro L1 and several buses and tram) the famous Torre Agbar, which is beautifully lit at night, has a covered flea market; Mercat dels Encants Vells. The market has several floors and you will come across various things; second-hand clothes, paintings, furniture, technical equipment etc. The sellers were very friendly and not pushy towards us.
Opening hours: Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat from 9am to 8pm. Admission is free.
Public transport in Barcelona
Public transport is very well arranged between the sights in Barcelona. The bus is very nice; modern, neat, but the stops are not always clearly announced. I particularly like the metro because everything is very clearly indicated. In total there are 11 metro lines. You can find the metro map here.
You can use the public transport tickets on the bus, tram and metro. There are various possibilities; Buy individual tickets if you expect to use the public transport only once or buy a 10-ride ticket. We bought a 10-ride card of € 9.95 twice that you can share. Most locals use this ticket too. There are also special tourist cards; Barcelona Card and the Hola BCN! Travelcard.
From the airport El Prat you can easily take the Aerobus. One way costs € 5.90, return € 10.20 (return is valid for 15 days). On the way back, pay attention to which terminal the bus runs to (T1 or T2).
Watch out for pickpockets! “But you have to do that everywhere?” you will think (just like us). Yes, but we were really almost rolled. The backpack was open before we realized it. Wear your backpack on your stomach or tie your zippers with an iron wire, because that makes it just more difficult for them. Barcelona is known for the many pickpockets.
Accommodations in Barcelona