I have been in Barcelona so many times. Also my good few friends live there. Every time when I am going to explore this incredible city, I find something different. Few weeks ago, I have received an email with a request to create an itinerary and pick the best things to do in Barca from both a local and tourist’s point of view. I have picked 8 things that you cannot miss. Are you curious of what I chose? See below :).
1. Visit Park Güel
The Park Güell (Spanish: Parque Güell) is a public park system composed of gardens and architectonic elements located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona. Carmel Hill belongs to the mountain range of Collserola. The Parc Del Carmel is located on the northern face, where Park Güell is situated in La Salut a neighborhood in the Gracia district of Barcelona. With urbanization in mind, Eusebi Güell assigned the design of the park to Antoni Gaudi, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism. The main gate is located between two buildings. As soon you enter inside you will find way to get up. In the middle of the stairs you will see fountain with the dragon. Behind the dragon is Sala Hipostila situated on the first floor. As soon you enter inside you will find way to get up. In the middle of the stairs you will see fountain with the dragon. Behind the dragon is Sala Hipostila situated on the first floor.
First thing when you get inside you will spot beautiful columns also designed by Gaudi. Next that you can notice is tiled mosaics on the ceiling. What is very unique that the floor is acoustics. You might find a musician playing among columns and you might have an opportunity, to listen live music. On the next level you have a terrace.
There, you will see long benches in unique shape. In the bench you will notice small bumps made by Gaudi. It is tiled and in order to dry up quickly after it rain. The Terrace has beautiful view on the park, main gate and city. If you have more time, you can go west from the bench and discover local trees and find hidden spots to take a rest.
2. Take a pic of Sagrada Família
To get into the church you can walk from Park Guell (25 minutes walk) or take a public transport (7 minutes by bus). It is a large Roman Catholic Church, designed by Gaudi. The construction of the building has not been finished yet. They have started building the Sagrada Familia in 1882 and it’s still in progress.
The building has 18 towers with special significance on each. The middle tower has been dedicated to Jesus Christ and is surrounded by 4 different towers which represent the Gospels; the books written about life of Jesus. The tower above the apse is crowned by stars and represents his mother the Virgin Mary. The rest 12 towers represent the 12 Apostles. If you want to get inside, you have to purchase a ticket in advance. Also if you would like to get a nice photo shoot, I recommend you to go beside the church. As soon you pass the lake, you will find several places to sit and take the perfect picture.
3. Walk around Gothic Quarter
Gothic Quarter is perfect to walk in the evening. The Gothic Quarter is the center of the old town in Barcelona. If you get hungry, you can find there one of the oldest restaurant in Barcelona or go to local bars and get some tapas with drinks.
My favorite part of Gothic Quarter is Placa Reial, very close to La Rambla. First thing that you would notice there are lanterns. Those lamps have been designed and created by Gaudi. They were one of his first projects in Barcelona. Around the place you will see many restaurants, clubs etc. In central part of Placa Reial you will spot fountain, where usually people meet up in the evening.
4. Admire beauty of the Magic Fountain
This coming attraction is a must do at night time. If you remember our post about weekend in Vegas, you will notice few common things between them. This is mix of water, music and lights. The fountain moves 2,610 liters per second and has 3,620 pipes. If you are not able to find the good spot to see the show, you can go to Arena Shopping center which is located right beside the fountain. You just have to get on the top of the shopping mall by elevator and watch the show from the rooftop. Is it worth it to see the show? Check video below.
5. Take a Breakfast at La Boqueria
The place is also called the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria and is one of the largest public markets in Barcelona. La Boqueria is located next to La Rambla. You can find there fresh vegies, fruits, fish and sea food, meats, bakeries and coffee shops.
This place is perfect for having delicious breakfast or healthy lunches. This is how we are recommending to start your perfect day in Barcelona or it also can be a great opportunity to take a stop on the way to the beach and enjoy fresh fruit squeezed juices or smoothies.
6. Enjoy Barceloneta Beach
Barceloneta beach is only 10 minutes walk from the city centre. The beach is 422 meters long and is the focal point of the neighborhood and place where locals and travelers alike come to experience a classic Mediterranean vibe.
Around the beach you can find plenty of beach bars, outdoor gyms and several night clubs. The most common things that you will notice around the beach are: 4 cubes monument (meeting point for locals) and El Peix (52m metal sculpture of a golden fish, shimmering by the waterfront).
7. Catch the view from Port Vell Aerial Tramway and walk around Montjuïc
On your way to Barceloneta beach you will see Port Vell Aerial Trams. The Transbordador Aeridel Port (Port Cable Car) was built for the 1929 Barcelona Universal Exposition and is connecting the Barceloneta beach to Montjuïc.
Over there you would be able to buy one way or return ticket. This is a great option to spend a sunny afternoon. On the way up you will see an amazing view of Port, beach and La Rambla.
When you arrive to the hill, while walking around you can find Olympic Stadium Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companysa (possible to get inside and take some pictures ;).
If you are not into sports you have second option, which is Montjuïc Castle. This is an old military fortress, with roots dating back from 1640. You can get inside and visit the museum and explore the outdoor gardens.
If for some reasons you would miss a chance to take photo shoot from cable car, you can always have the opportunity to freeze the moment next to the castle. Once you have Montjuic fortress on your back, just right in front of you, you can enjoy this amazing view point. Unfortunately many tourists are there, but you can avoid them. Next to the bench you will find another view point, which is not very popular like the first one and with better landscape.
8. Learn history about Hemp in Barcelona
Have you ever heard about Hemp products and hemp culture in Spain? If not, this place is definitely for you. This museum is the second hemp museum in Europe (the first one is in Amsterdam). If you decide to take a part of the tour, you will get at the entrance with your own audio guide where you can listen history of Cannabis. They will give you an example of how the hemp has been used in the past. The museum has 12,000 cannabis related items. You can find there anything from unique old master paintings by contemporaries of Rembrandt, antique devices used for hemp processing, botanical prints depicting marijuana and industrial hemp, nineteenth century medicinal cannabis bottles, hemp ropes, old and modern textiles to state of the art bioplastic made of hemp fiber. Cherry on the cake, the tour has no time limit so feel free to stay as long as you wish!
Probably many people will ask me in comments: Is it Cannabis legal in Spain? Let me answer and save your time. Barcelona is cannabis friendly since 2014. If you are Spanish citizen ore resident, you can grow cannabis trees for your own consumption only in the garden or at home. Because of that, a lot Spanish cannabis associations were created (don’t confuse with coffee shops in Amsterdam or shops at Venice Beach in LA). You can meet people with the same interests as you, talk about Hemp and smoke, but inside association building only. You can enter to the building for the meetings, but you need to get an invitation, from club member. As a tourist you are not allowed to have marijuana and smoke in the street. Be aware that if the police catch you, you might get a ticket up to 500 euro, but this is not a crime. If you would like get more info about Cannabis and in associations Barcelona check Barcelonasmorkers.
In my opinion, these are the top 8 things to do in Barcelona. What about you? Have you ever visit Barca? If you think that I have missed some activity, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
- Park Guell tickets: I highly recommend to buy them online, to avoid the queue and save money. The best time for visit is in the morning.
- If you would buy something from the street (drinks, souvenir etc.), feel free to negotiate the price with sellers.
- Tickets for public transport: When you arrive and get out from the airport, go to the tickets machine. You can get great deal of 10 tickets for 10 EUR.
- Be careful of pocket money guys.
- Don’t leave your personal belongings while you go swim at the beach.
- Magic fountains show: It’s good to check show times on the website and be 20 minutes before to get good spot (especially in the evening).
- La Boqueria Market: Don’t visit the place on Sunday (The Market is open from Monday to Saturday only).
- Travel guide: If you want to see places for locals, tourist attractions, find good place for shopping, private tours, feel free to contact Barcelona Holidays with Kris.