What to see in Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia The unfinished masterpiece of Antoni Gaudì is one of the most famous symbols of Barcelona. The Nativity facade, built under the supervision of Gaudì, is considered the most beautiful part of the building. On the other hand, the Passion facade, which is on the opposite site of the building, and is still under construction, has been often criticized. Inside the building, where construction work is still being carried out, it is possible to visit a museum dedicated to the history of this building, and to take one of the lifts to enjoy the beautiful view of Barcelona from the towers. In the crypt, which is actually not very easy to locate, it is possible to find the tomb of Gaudì.
Address: Carrer de Maiorca, 401
Underground: Sagrada Familia
Opening times: every day, April to September: 9 am to 8 pm - October to March: 9 am to 6 pm
Underground: Catalunya, Liceu e Drassanes
The other famous symbol of Barcelona is also the area of the city most popular with tourists. Its imaginative buskers and especially the beautiful market of the Boqueria are among its main attractions.
Address: Carrer de Montcada 15-23
Underground: Jaume I
Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm
This museum, dedicated to Pablo Picasso, is the most visited in Barcelona. It is located inside the evocative setting of five medieval buildings of the Born district that are connected to one another. It hosts a remarkable collection relating mainly to the youth of the artist, who spent in Barcelona his education years. The best known items of the exhibition are the “blue period” works (1901-1905) and the "Las Meninas" series, a re-interpretation of Velasquez’ homonymous masterpiece.
Font Màgica de Montjuïc
Address: Plaça de Espanya
Opening times: June to September: Thursday-Sunday, 9:30 pm to 11 pm; October to May: Friday-Sunday, 7 pm to 9 pm
The show of water, colours and music of the Font Màgica de Montjuïc is one of the attractions of the city most appreciated by tourists.
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
Address: Plaça de Espanya
Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm; Sunday and holidays, 10 am to 2:30 pm
Admission: €12; free on the first Sunday of the month
This beautiful museum hosts an enormous collection of Catalan works of art through the Romanesque, Gothic, modern and contemporary periods. Particularly interesting are Romanesque frescoes that have been taken from remote churches of the Pyrenees thanks to the detachment technique. The collection is located in the Palau Nacional, which was built to host the 1929 International Exhibition and has recently been renovated by Gae Aulenti.Barcelona’s Cathedral is a splendid example of Catalan Gothic architecture. The crypt hosts the tomb of Saint Eulalia, one of the city’s patron saints. A lift goes to the roof, where one can enjoy the wonderful view of medieval Barcelona.
Catedral de la Seu
Address: Plaça de la Seu, 3
Underground: Jaume I
Opening times: weekdays, 1 pm to 5 pm; Sundays and holidays, 2 pm to 5 pm
Address: Carrer d'Olot, 7
Opening times: every day, 10 am to sunset
Casa-Museu Gaudì opening times: every day, May to September: 10 am to 8 pm; October to April: 10 am to 6 pm
Admission to the park: free
Admission to Casa-Museu Gaudì: €5.5
This park, which was commissioned to Gaudì by his benefactor, Count Güell, is one of Barcelona’s wonders. The park deserves a visit not only for the fantastic decorations of its entrance and square but also for the beautiful view of Barcelona it offers. Inside the park is the house where Gaudì lived from 1906 to 1926, today a museum.
Beaches Casa Milà, most commonly known as La Pedrera because of its facade of stones, is one of Gaudì’s masterpieces, declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Most of the apartments are occupied by private citizens. It is possible, though, to visit the top floor apartment, the terrace on the roof with its fantastic chimneys and view over Passeig de Gracia, and the Espai Gaudì, which occupies the attic. In the Espai Gaudì the theories and works of the Catalan architect are illustrated.
Underground: Barceloneta or Ciutadella-Vila Olimpica
One of Barcelona’s strengths is its beautiful beaches. The sea is not very clean, but this is to be expected in a large city with a very important port. Even so, the beaches are pleasant and relaxing oases for both inhabitants and tourists. The closest beach to the centre is San Sebastià (Underground: Barceloneta), followed by Barceloneta, Nova Icaria, Bogatell, Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella beaches.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Address: Carrer de Provença, 261-265
Opening times: every day, March to October: 9 am to 8 pm; November to February: 9 am to 6:30 pm
Casa BattlóSituated in Passeig de Gracia, Casa Battló, one of Gaudì’s best known masterpieces, is part of the so-called "Manzana de la Discordia", a row of three adjoining buildings, each designed by a different modernist architect. Gaudì planned a surreal building inspired as usual by nature, and in this case by the sea. The adjoining buildings are Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Casa Lleó Morera by Lluís Domenech i Montaner.
Address: Passeig de Gracia, 43
Underground: Passeig de Gracia
Opening times: every day, 9 am to 8 pm
Fundació Joan Miró
Address: Parc de Montjuïc
Underground: Parallel, then Funicular de Montjuïc, using the same underground ticket
Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm (Thursdays to 9:30 pm); Sunday, 10 am to 2:30 pm. October to June: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm
A museum dedicated to another very famous and innovative Catalan artist, Joan Miró. It regularly hosts temporary exhibitions of modern artists. The foundation is located in a building situated on the hill of Montjuïc, from which it is possible to enjoy a beautiful view of Barcelona.
MACBAThe beautiful building that hosts the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona is part of the redevelopment plan of the Raval district. The museum owns a wide collection that it exhibits on a rotation system throughout the year. It also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions. In the Capella is a permanent exhibition of works by Catalan and Spanish artists.
Address: Plaça dels Àngels, 1
Underground: Catalunya or Universitat
Opening times: June 24 to September 24: Monday-Friday, 11 am to 8 pm, (Thursday and Friday to midnight); Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, 10 am to 3 pm, closed on Tuesdays; September 25 to June 23: Monday-Friday, 11 am to 7:30 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday, 10 am to 3 pm
A modernist masterpiece by Lluís Domenech i Montaner, this theatre, built for the Orfeo Català music association, is dedicated to the renaissance of the Catalan culture that took place at the beginning of the 20th century and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is possible to admire the beauty of this theatre by attending one of the concerts or through one of the guided tours in Spanish or English that it hosts every day.
Address: Avinguda de les Drassanes
Opening times: every day, 10 am to 8 pm
Admission €12. Free on Sundays after 3 pm
This museum, hosted in the ancient royal shipyards dating back to the time when Catalonia was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean, is dedicated to the important role of the sea in the history of Barcelona. La Galera Real, built in 1568, is the main attraction of the exhibition.
Museu d'Historia de Catalunya
Address: Palau del Mar, Plaça de Pau Vila, 3
Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm (Wednesday to 8 pm), Sundays and holidays, 10 am to 2:30 pm
A very large museum displaying the history of Catalonia from prehistory to today. It provides an excellent guide to understanding the complex and fascinating history of the Catalan nation. The information is in Catalan, Spanish and English.
Palau de la Musica Catalana
Address: Carrer de Sant Francesc de Paula, 2
Opening times: every day, 10 am to 3:30 pm, in August from 9 am to 8 pm. Guided tours every half hour. The visit lasts 55 minutes
Santa Maria del Mar
Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1
Underground: Jaume I
Opening times: Monday-Saturday, 9 am to 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 8 pm; Sundays and holidays, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 8 pm
This splendid cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world. Its construction, which took place in the 14th century, was financed by the inhabitants of the Born district, where it is situated. The Catalan sailors used to visit it before leaving on their journeys.
Address: Avinguda del Marquès de Comillas
Opening times: Monday, 9 am to 8 pm; Tuesday to Thursday, 9 am to 2 pm; Friday, 9 am to 4 pm; Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday, 9 am to midnight
Built on the occasion of the 1929 Universal Exhibition, the Poble Espanyol is a group of buildings inspired by the architectural styles of the different regions of Spain. Many artisanal workshops as well as bars, restaurants, and discosare located here. The Poble Espanyol is open also at night.
Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat
Address: Plaça del Rei
Underground: Jaume I
Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm; Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm
Admission: €7. Free entry on the first Sunday of the month, and all Sundays from 3 pm to 8 pm
Interesting museum that includes a visit to the Palau Reial Major, the royal palace of the city during the Middle Ages, and one to the Roman ruins of the city.
Barcelona owns one of the best-kept Gothic historical centres in the world. Among its most beautiful squares are Plaça del Rei, Plaça Reial, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli, and Plaça del Pi.
Aquarium de Barcelona
Address: Moll d'Espanya del Port Vell
Opening times: every day, 9:30 am to 9 pm. July and August: open until 11 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Admission: €20, children: €15
This is one of the most visited attractions of the city thanks to its popularity with children, who can enjoy many themed games and activities. The “gallery of sharks” is among the highlights of the visit.
Barcelona is not a dangerous city. However, bag-snatching and thefts are rather frequent. Therefore, it is best to adopt the precautions common to a visit to all large cities, in particular keeping money and valuables well away from the reach of the thieves.