Things to Do in Barcelona
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 THINGS TO DO
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 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. 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.
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.
Bonus: 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 your 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.
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.
- Find free music in cafes across the city.
- Check out the free museums on Sunday afternoons.
- Explore each of Barcelona’s diverse neighborhoods.
- Get free tapas when you order a drink at happy hour.
- Play in one or more of Barcelona’s many parks.
- Explore the city’s authentic Santa Caterina Market.
- Admire Barcelona’s graffiti and street art.
- Climb to a lookout point to admire the city.
- Watch the Magic Fountain of Montjuic’s light, water, and sound show.
- Take a pay-what-you-like walking tour.
For more inspiration, check out our Free Things to Do post.
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.
- Learn about Barcelona’s dark history from the medieval ages.
- See an FC Barcelona football match.
- Go to an open-late museum.
- Enjoy Barcelona’s music scene at a jazz club or classical venue.
- Have tapas with a Flamenco show.
- Stroll Las Ramblas for the street performers and people watching.
- Enjoy a dinner show at a medieval castle.
- Take a sunset cruise and admire the skyline.
- See Gaudi’s La Pedrera lit up at night.
- Party the night away with a Barcelona Night Card.
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.
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.
- Explore all the free parks.
- See the educational and entertaining museums.
- Make your own mosaic art.
- Go to a football or basketball game.
- Rent a boat at Parc de la Ciutadella.
- See a Flamenco show.
- Go to the Miniature Catalonia amusement park.
- Ride a cable car.
- Take a ghost tour of Barcelona.
- Take a tour of Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s football stadium.
Find even more things to do with your kids in Barcelona on our full family-friendly post.
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.