This post covers the best things to do in Barcelona. We include a top 10 list, things to do for free, at night, with kids, and by the season.
TOP 10 ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS
Free Tours By Foot has led more than 100,000 travelers on various walking tours across the world, and our guides are very knowledgeable about the most significant and interesting places to visit in each city.
With more than a decade of experience, we've got a pretty good idea of the most interesting and beloved activities you can enjoy in popular tourist destinations around the globe.
Below is our list of the top 10 things to do in Barcelona, including tours, activities, popular landmarks, and links to other resources.
1. Go on a Sightseeing Tour
There are interesting sights, attractions, and monuments everywhere you look in Barcelona. Where do you start?
A sightseeing tour is a perfect way to see all the highlights of the city and pick out which spots to come back to for a more in-depth look.
Of course, we recommend pay-what-you-like walking tours to start with.
Another popular option is taking a boat tour. Speed boats are fun for the whole family.
We also recommend Rick Steves’ free audio tour of the city center – complete with a map.
2. La Sagrada Familia
It might be impossible to go to Barcelona and not hear about or see La Sagrada Familia.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its breathtaking architecture, as well as the fact that it is still unfinished.
Antoni Gaudi started working on the church in the 1880s and died ten years later.
Construction is planned to be completed in 2026, which will be 144 years after the construction started.
Lines tend to get very long to enter La Sagrada Familia, so we recommend to buy skip-the-line tickets or take a skip-the-line tour.
3. Park Guell
Park Guell is another one of Gaudi’s famous architectural works.
The park was originally meant to become a housing district, but only two buildings were built.
It ended up as a public park - and most of the area is free to enter and explore.
You’ll find grassy areas, ponds, and interesting architectural elements.
Since so many tourists want to visit the famous mosaic bench at the top of the Dragon steps that overlooks the city, the park has started charging an entry fee for this area.
They call it the “Monumental Zone,” and use the proceeds to help with upkeep.
For more budget-friendly activities, check out our free section.
4. See the Picasso Museum
The Picasso Museum is one of the most popular museums in Barcelona.
Fans of Pablo Picasso’s art often stand in lines down the street to see the largest available collection of his work.
Since he spent his formative years in this city, there is plenty of information about his life.
The museum has no entry fee on Thursday evenings after 18:00, though the lines can get quite long during free hours.
Tickets can be sold out before the day is over, so we recommend you purchase your tickets in advance.
If you want to see multiple museums, the Barcelona Card is a great option and includes the Picasso Museum.
5. Take a Bus Tour
There’s only so far you can go with your own two feet in one day.
That’s why bus tours are a really popular option with many visitors to Barcelona.
City Sightseeing Barcelona is one of the more well-known names to operate in the city.
They are a hop-on-hop-off style tour, which means you’ll get some great commentary on the way to popular sites and have the time to check them out on your own.
6. Find Your Barcelona Team Spirit
Barcelona residents are really proud of their home football team, FC Barcelona.
Taking a tour of the Camp Nou football stadium is a great idea for any football fan, and a hit with the kids!
They'll get to see behind the scenes. Admission to this activity is included with some Barcelona tourist passes.
For more fun ideas, check out our family-friendly section.
7. Enjoy the Music
From free summer concerts in the park to the Opera, Barcelona is a city full of music.
For some big-name artists, take a look at the popular venues Palau Sant Jordi.
They have seen acts come through like Mumford & Sons, Michael Buble, and the Backstreet Boys.
From June to August, you could enjoy free, open-air jazz or a classical concert for Musica als parcs.
Fans of Opera and the theatre can tour the Liceu Opera before an evening show.
And if you’re looking to get into the local culture, why not enjoy a Flamenco show?
For more great evening activities, check out our recommendations for things to do at night.
8. Find a Lookout Point for Great Views
There are plenty of great lookout points from which to view the whole city!
One of the more popular ones is Bunker del Carmel.
These former anti-aircraft bunkers from the Spanish Civil War now offer a high vantage point. It is a bit of a strenuous hike to the top.
If you’re looking for views with a little less effort, why not ride a cable car up to Parc de Montjuïc?
You’ll get 360-degree views on your quick ride to the top.
And if you go into the nearby castle, you can scale the parapets and be at the highest point in the city.
These are great activities to do with the kids!
9. Discover the Food Scene
If you’re looking for a good overview of the types of tapas available, we recommend a tapas walking tour.
The tour will take you to four different restaurants to try a paired Catalonian wine with each plate of tapas.
Some bars still follow the tradition of offering a free tapa with each drink order in the evenings.
- At Raspall, a draught beer, wine, or vermouth comes with one free tapa.
- La Xula Taperia accompanies each drink you purchase with a free bite.
If you're looking for a food tour that will cover even more great dishes, consider taking a Secret Food Tour.
These outings include several different meals including Catalonian pastry, paella, tapas and more!
This company also offers a Secret Wine Tour for anyone in search of a good Monsant, and these outings also include great food to pair with the wine.
Of course, you can find an even wider variety of food to try at the Santa Caterina Market.
The oldest market in Barcelona is lively and housed in a renovated building with a mosaic roof.
10. See More with a City Pass
There are multiple major attraction passes that can help you get the most out of your time in beautiful Barcelona.
If you go for an all-inclusive pass, you’ll get free entry into multiple attractions in addition to discounts on more activities and tours.
Other passes are designed to let you pick a specified number of attractions and get up to 40% savings on entry to those.
Attractions Available for Discount Include:
- Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
- Barcelona Bike Tour
- Camp Nou Tour
- Barcelona Zoo
- L’Aquarium Barcelona
- Picasso Museum
- Park Guell’s Monumental Zone
- Montserrat Morning Tour
- Hard Rock Cafe
If you’re really looking to maximize the time you have in Barcelona, using a tourist pass is the best way to do that.
11. Haunted Barcelona Self-Guided Game
This is an interesting alternative to traditional walking tours which allows you to explore the city at your own pace as you learn about the haunted history of Barcelona.
You can expect to learn about true crime stories, reportedly haunted buildings, and even spells/curses placed on people or locations throughout the city.
FREE THINGS TO DO
Barcelona doesn’t have to break the bank - there are plenty of free or cheap things to do in this beautiful city.
Of course, we must highlight the pay-what-you-wish walking tours in town.
With experience leading more than 100,000 travelers on free tours around the world, you can trust that we're quite familiar with all the best activities and attractions that won't cost a dime.
Here’s a list of our top 10 free things to do.
Our Free Things to Do in Barcelona post has even more detail about this top 10 list, and more free activities.
12. Find free music in cafes across the city
Some of the bars and cafes in Barcelona will host a variety of musical talent every week, and it's usually free to enter and enjoy this music.
That said, if you enjoy the experience, you might want to consider offering a tip or buying a drink while you're there.
13. Check out the free museums on Sunday afternoons
If you're interested in experiencing more of the culture of Barcelona, there are multiple free museums you can visit throughout the city.
Some of the most notable examples include the Picasso Museum, the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona, the Natural Science Museum, the Maritime Museum, and more.
14. Explore each of Barcelona’s diverse neighborhoods
While most people will stick to the historic centre of Barcelona, the only way to experience the full culture of this city is to explore its multiple neighborhoods.
There are several interesting sites to see all over the city, including the Gothic Quarter, Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia and more.
15. Get free tapas when you order a drink at happy hour
Some bars and restaurants offer specials during happy hour, and one of the most popular offerings is free tapas with any drink order.
If you're looking for a snack and you don't really want to grab dinner yet, this is an excellent option that will allow you to save some money.
16. Play in one or more of Barcelona’s many parks
There are many different public parks you can visit in Barcelona.
Whether you just want to go for a walk, or you're looking for a playground that your kids will enjoy, there's plenty to see and do at the parks in this city.
17. Explore the city’s authentic Santa Caterina Market (Mercat de Santa Caterina)
If you're looking for the best fresh food in Barcelona, chances are you'll find everything you need at the Santa Caterina Market.'
This marketplace has dozens of shops which sell a variety of goods including fruits & vegetables, fresh fish, poultry, eggs, meat, and more.
18. Admire Barcelona’s graffiti and street art
Barcelona has a fairly vibrant culture of street art and graffiti, with excellent examples to be found in multiple neighborhoods throughout the city.
Many of the best spots are in the Gothic Quarter, but you can also find great works of art in Three Chimneys Urban Park, La Carbonería, Carrer de la Selva de Mar and more.
19. Climb to a lookout point to admire the city
There are a lot of great places to enjoy the view of Barcelona. Here are a few locations you may want to consider:
- Park Güell
- Bunkers of Carmel
- Tibidabo Peak
- La Sagrada Familia
- National Museum of Art of Catalonia
- And more!
20. Watch the Magic Fountain of Montjuic Castle
This is one of the most popular fountains in all of Barcelona, and visitors come from around the world to see the fantastic fountain shows they offer here at Montjuic Castle.
The hours of operation have changed a bit, but they still perform fountain shows on Tuesday - Saturday from 11 am - 1 pm and 4 pm - 6 pm.
They also have Sunday shows from 11 am - 3 pm.
That said, if you want to see the fountain light up the night sky, you'll have to visit in summer from June - September.
They'll also have night shows from December - March.
21. Take a pay-what-you-like walking tour
While it is customary to provide a tip to your tour guide, these walking tours are technically free to enjoy, and at the very least you can rest assured they won't cost much.
This is a great way to become acclimated to Barcelona and learn about the history of the city without worrying about your budget.
For more inspiration, check out our Free Things to Do post.
22. La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria Market, also known as Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, is a famous public market located in the heart of Barcelona, Spain.
It is one of the most famous and oldest markets in Europe, with a history dating back to the 13th century.
The market offers a wide variety of fresh and local produce, including fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, seafood, and other culinary delights.
It is also a great place to sample traditional Spanish dishes and tapas, with numerous food stalls and bars offering freshly prepared dishes and drinks.
In addition to its culinary offerings, La Boqueria is also a popular tourist attraction and cultural center, with its vibrant and colorful atmosphere attracting visitors from all over the world.
23. Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site
Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Barcelona, Spain. It is a unique complex of modernist buildings that served as a hospital until 2009.
The site is one of the most important and beautiful examples of Catalan modernist architecture. You can take a tour of the historical site, which includes several buildings, courtyards, and gardens designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
The site also features a modern exhibition space that hosts a range of temporary and permanent exhibitions related to art, history, and culture.
It also has a series of beautiful gardens that are open to the public. The gardens include a mix of Mediterranean and exotic plants, sculptures, and water features.
You can visit free of charge on the first Sunday of every month!
24. Plaça Reial
Plaça Reial is a beautiful and lively square located in the heart of Barcelona, Spain.
It is known for its elegant architecture, palm trees, and bustling atmosphere, and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
The square is home to a number of bars, restaurants, and clubs, making it a great place to socialize and enjoy a night out.
Plaça Reial is also notable for its stunning lamp posts, which were designed by renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
You also get to see Font de les Tres Gràcies fountain which is a beautiful monument in the center of Plaça Reial, featuring three female figures representing the three graces of Greek mythology.
25. Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia or simply the Cathedral of Saint Eulalia, is a Gothic-style cathedral located in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
The cathedral was constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries, with subsequent additions and renovations carried out over the centuries.
Visitors can marvel at the intricate details of the façade, including the spires, sculptures, and stained-glass windows. Inside the cathedral, visitors can explore the magnificent nave, the choir stalls, the crypt, and the cloister.
Another popular attraction of the Barcelona Cathedral is the roof terrace, which offers stunning views of the city. Visitors can climb up to the terrace and enjoy panoramic views of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter and beyond.
One of the most fascinating features of the Barcelona Cathedral is the crypt, which houses the remains of Saint Eulalia, the patron saint of Barcelona. Visitors can see her sarcophagus and learn about her life and the history of the cathedral.
Worshippers can enter the cathedral for free during hours of worship, but depending on when you visit, entry might require a donation.
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT
Spend the night enjoying culture, food, and history! Having trouble narrowing it down? Here is our top 10 list.
For more things to do after dark in Barcelona, take a look at our Things to Do at Night post.
26. Learn about Barcelona’s dark history
If you're interested in learning about some of the legends, myths, and true crime stories that have their origins in this city, we recommend taking a ghost tour.
These outings typically discuss both the supernatural and real creepy or disturbing events from throughout the history of Barcelona.
27. See an FC Barcelona football match
Depending on when you visit, there may or may not be a football match to attend.
Fans of the sport should definitely consider seeing a live game just to experience the atmosphere of the crowds in this city.
If you're a fan of football, check to see if there are any FC Barcelona tickets currently available for upcoming games.
28. Go to an open-late museum
There are usually a lot of museums in Barcelona that stay open until after dark. Even better, some of these locations are entirely free to visit!
- L’Aquarium Barcelona
- CosmoCaixa Science Museum
- Museum of the History of Barcelona
- Museu de la Musica
- And more!
Many museums have either shortened or made significant changes to their hours of operation following the pandemic.
29. Enjoy Barcelona’s music scene at a jazz club or classical venue
There are a lot of venues in Barcelona which host musical performances throughout the week, including major concerts, classical locations and even jazz clubs.
Whether you're looking for a small, quiet, secluded place to enjoy some jazz, or you'd rather experience more of a party atmosphere, there are many different options to choose from.
30. Have tapas with a Flamenco show
Flamenco is one of the great examples of culture and performance art in Spain and Barcelona in particular, and there are typically several great shows to attend each night.
If you're planning to see a Flamenco show, we recommend ordering tapas to enjoy a nice snack while watching the performers pull off incredible moves!
31. Stroll Las Ramblas for street performers and people watching
This street is one of the main thoroughfares in Barcelona, leading from Plaça de Catalunya to the Columbus Monument and the water behind it.
As you walk along Las Ramblas, you'll probably find several street performers in the area, and this is also an excellent place to enjoy some people watching.
32. Enjoy a dinner show at a medieval castle
If you're looking for a unique and special night out on the town, the Requesens Palace offers a special dinner and medieval show on Saturday nights.
At around 3 ½ hours long, this excellent show includes a meal, drinks, and a guided tour through the palace.
33. Take a sunset cruise and admire the skyline
This is another fun and romantic experience which allows you to experience Barcelona from a different perspective.
Watch the outline of the city change in both color and mood as the sun begins to set and building lights start to turn on.
NOTE: Some tourist passes include admission to Barcelona cruises.
34. See Gaudi’s La Pedrera lit up at night
Located at Casa Milà, La Pedrera is one of the finest works Gaudi ever created, and it takes on a whole new life after dark thanks to the light show and audio/visual display provided on the rooftop at night.
This experience is only offered on weekends, and it's only offered at night due to the fact that it takes place on the roof of Casa Milà.
TIP: Tickets to La Pedrera are included with some Barcelona tourist passes.
35. Party the night away with a Barcelona Night Card
This discount card provides free admission to some of the best nightclubs in the city, including popular locations like Nick Havanna, Club Catwalk and Arena.
If you're planning to do some bar or club hopping while visiting Barcelona, this is an excellent way to save some time and money.
Check out our full post to see everything there is to do at night.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO
Barcelona is the perfect place for a family vacation.
Of course, we must highlight the pay-what-you-wish walking tours in town because they are tours for every budget.
Many of our writers and tour guides are parents themselves, so you can rely on us to give you some good ideas for fun activities your children will absolutely adore!
Here is our top 10 list for things to do with kids.
For a more detailed version of this family-friendly top 10 list and even more ideas, check out our full things to do with kids post.
36. Explore all the free parks
As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of great public parks to visit in Barcelona, and many of them have playgrounds that your children will love.
In addition to that, Ciutadella Park is also home to the Barcelona Zoo, which is another great place to take your kids!
37. See the educational and entertaining museums
There are several museums in Barcelona which are perfect for children and their families. Here are a few great examples you might want to consider:
- L'Aquarium Barcelona
- Natural Science Museum
- Barcelona Was Museum
- Maritime Museum
- And more!
38. Make your own mosaic art
What better way to learn about the cultural history of Barcelona than by creating your own Gaudi inspired mosaic artwork?
Families and their children will love the opportunity to use their imaginations and create a wonderful memento of the time they spent in this beautiful and culturally rich city!
39. Go to a football or basketball game
Depending on the time of year, families visiting Barcelona will likely have several opportunities to see a sporting event.
Football is one of the most popular sports in this city, but Barcelona also has its own basketball team, so fans of either sport will probably enjoy the opportunity to see a live match or game.
40. Rent a boat at Parc de la Ciutadella
In addition to the zoo and other attractions, this park is also home to a small lake where you can rent a row boat and get off your feet for a little while.
If you're looking for a tranquil spot where you can relax for a bit before heading to the next activity, this is an excellent option that children and their families will enjoy.
41. See a Flamenco show
Discover this historic and culturally significant performance art which is hosted at many different venues every night in Barcelona.
This is an easy and fun way to introduce your children to one of the most interesting dances in the world, and there are several different locations to choose from.
42. Go to the Miniature Catalonia amusement park
After taking your family to some of the most notable sites in Barcelona, you may want to consider a stop at this interesting amusement park.
This location houses an exhibition with 1:25 models of important and historical attractions that you'll find throughout Catalonia.
This park also includes a playground, so there's plenty for your kids to see and do while they're here!
43. Ride a cable car
If you're looking for a fun and easy way to get around the city and to some of the highest points in Barcelona, it's difficult to beat the cable cars.
Visitors planning to visit the Montjuic Castle or spend some time at Tibidabo Peak should definitely consider using this form of transportation to enjoy excellent views of the city.
44. Take a ghost tour of Barcelona
Parents visiting Barcelona with teens or young adults may want to consider taking them on a haunted tour of the city.
These outings typically include details about various myths, legends, supernatural events, and true crime stories.
While it might not be appropriate for younger children, older kids will probably love this kind of tour!
45. Take a tour of Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s football stadium
Even if you can't make it to a game, there are usually multiple opportunities to take a tour of this football stadium throughout the week, and in fact, the tour is included with some tourist passes!
Fans of the sport will more than likely jump at the opportunity to take a tour of one of the most beloved stadiums in all of Football.
It's also worth noting that this activity is included with some Barcelona tourist passes!
Find even more things to do with your kids in Barcelona on our full family-friendly post.
46. Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is a famous landmark and tourist attraction located in the heart of Barcelona, Spain.
It was designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí and the building is known for its stunning and unique architectural features, which include a façade covered in colorful tiles and broken glass, organic shapes inspired by nature, and the use of light and color to create a mystical atmosphere inside.
Gaudi's design transformed the building into a work of art, with a curved facade that resembles a dragon's back, balconies that resemble masks, and a rooftop that evokes the scales of a dragon.
The interior features intricate details, such as stained glass windows, ornate woodwork, and a central staircase that resembles a giant vertebrae.
Today, Casa Batlló is open to the public as a museum and cultural center, where visitors can admire Gaudi's masterpiece and learn about the history and artistry of this iconic building.
Purchase tickets for 10% off using discount code FTOUR10.
NOTE: Admission is included at no extra cost with the 3 Houses of Gaudí Pass.
47. Palau de la Música Catalana
Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall located in the city of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
It was designed by the Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner is considered one of the most important examples of Catalan modernist architecture.
The concert hall features an ornate façade with a large central rose window, intricate mosaics, and sculptures.
Inside, the main hall is adorned with stained glass windows, mosaics, and sculptures depicting flowers, birds, and other natural elements.
The ceiling is decorated with a large skylight in the shape of an inverted dome, which floods the room with natural light.
The Palau de la Música Catalana is renowned for its exceptional acoustics and is considered one of the best concert halls in the world.
It hosts a wide range of musical performances, including classical, jazz, and traditional Catalan music. The building also houses a music school and various cultural institutions.
48. Day Trip to Montserrat or Girona
A day trip to Montserrat peak in Catalonia, Spain can be an amazing experience that includes stunning natural landscapes, historical landmarks, and cultural attractions.
Montserrat is known for its towering peaks and dramatic cliffs that offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside. You can take a cable car or hike up to the top for panoramic views of the region.
Montserrat is also home to the famous Montserrat Monastery, a Benedictine abbey that has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries.
Alternatively, you can visit Girona which is a historic city in northeastern Spain that is known for its beautiful architecture, winding medieval streets, and rich cultural heritage.
Some popular places to visit in Girona are Girona Cathedral, which is a stunning example of Gothic architecture; the Jewish Quarter; and the Arab Baths, a well-preserved 12th-century baths with a Moorish past.
You can also visit the Onyar River, a picturesque spot with brightly colored buildings along its shores.
49. Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró is a museum and cultural center located in Barcelona, Spain.
The museum's collection consists primarily of works by Miró, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints, as well as contemporary art and works by other artists who have been influenced by Miró's style and philosophy.
The museum is housed in a modernist building designed by the architect Josep Lluís Sert, a close friend of Miró's.
The building was completed in 1975 and is located on Montjuïc hill, overlooking the city of Barcelona.
In addition to its permanent collection, the Fundació Joan Miró hosts temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and cultural events throughout the year.
50. Palau Güell
Palau Güell is a mansion located in the El Raval neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain.
It was designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí and was built between 1886 and 1890 for the wealthy industrialist Eusebi Güell.
The building features a central atrium that serves as the heart of the palace, with a soaring ceiling that is decorated with intricate mosaics and stained glass.
The palace also has a rooftop terrace, which offers panoramic views of Barcelona's skyline and was designed to be used for outdoor events and parties.
The interior of the palace is also adorned with a range of decorative elements, including painted ceilings, intricate wood carvings, and colorful tiles.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
How many days do you need to visit Barcelona?
The ideal duration for a trip to Barcelona is about 3-5 days, as this allows enough time to see the major attractions such as La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and the Gothic Quarter, as well as enjoy the city's culinary and cultural offerings.
However, the actual length of your stay may depend on your personal interests and travel preferences.
How much money do you need for a 3 day trip to Barcelona?
The cost of a 3-day trip to Barcelona can vary greatly depending on factors such as accommodation, transportation, and activities.
On average, a budget of around €300-€500 per person should be sufficient to cover basic expenses such as food, accommodation, and public transportation.
However, this can vary greatly depending on your travel style and desired level of comfort.
How much is food per day in Barcelona?
The cost of food per day in Barcelona varies depending on your budget and dining preferences.
On average, you can expect to pay around €25-€40 per day for meals at mid-range restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors.
However, you can also find cheaper options at local markets, fast food restaurants, and bakeries, or splurge on higher-end dining experiences if you have a bigger budget.
Things to Do in Barcelona when it Rains
Barcelona has plenty of indoor activities and attractions to enjoy on rainy days.
You can visit museums such as the Picasso Museum or the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, go shopping in the many indoor markets and malls, or visit the city's historic cathedrals and churches.
You can also indulge in the local cuisine at cozy restaurants or cafes, or enjoy shopping at any indoor market or shopping center.
What are some romantic things to do in Barcelona?
Barcelona is a beautiful and romantic city with many options for couples.
You can take a stroll along the beautiful beaches of Barcelona, and they provide a great setting for a romantic walk.
You can also go for a candlelit dinner or enjoy a ride in a hot air balloon.
Taking a bike ride together can also be a fun and romantic way to explore the city.
THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA BY MONTH
We have also created guides based on the time of year. Click on the links below for the corresponding time that you plan on being in Barcelona.
- January (weather)
- February (weather)
- March (weather)
- April (weather)
- May (weather)
- June (weather)
- July (weather)
- August (weather)
- September (weather)
- October (weather)
- November (weather)
- December (weather)