Barcelona is definitely one of my favourite cities. I fell in love with it when I visited it for the first time back in 2015, and I was over the moon when I got the opportunity to return last month. From the beautiful sandy beaches to stunning works of Antoni Gaudi to sprawling shopping streets, Barcelona is a city that has something for everyone. There is so much to do in Barcelona but unfortunately, work and education obligations may mean that you are pushed for time and won’t get to visit everything on your list. I’ve rounded up some of my fave places in Barcelona so that you have some idea of where to go during your trip:
1. Marvel at the Arc de Triomf
Nope, I’m not talking about the one in Paris! There’s one in Barcelona too! The Arc de Triomf is ideal for photo opportunities and was built by Josep Vilaseca I Casanovas for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. As you’d expect, the Arc de Triomf tends to get really crowded, so aim to get there early in the morning, preferably before 10:30.
2. Check out Parc de la Ciutadella and surrounding museums
Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the most picturesque places in Barcelona and was once the only green space in the city. With a spectacular fountain and fun zoo, this 70-acre park is the ideal place to relax after sightseeing. As it’s right next to the Arc de Triomf & chocolate museum, I’d suggest venturing to the Arc first thing and then take a quick detour to the museum before heading back to the park for a light lunch. In the afternoon, you could either go to the zoo or explore the other museums in the area, such as the Picasso Museum, Museu Martorell or History Museum of Catalonia.
3. Venture out to the Park Güell
Park Güell is a bit of a trek from the centre of Barcelona, but it’s definitely worth the visit if you’re into Gaudi and architecture. If you haven’t hired a car and don’t fancy catching a taxi/bus, I’d recommend hopping on the metro and getting out at Lesseps. I made the mistake of going to Vallcarca, which is a bit in the middle of nowhere, but luckily I was able to travel via Lesseps on the way back! Be warned that both stations require walking up a steep hill in order to get to the park, but there are escalators from Vallcarca.
I went to Park Güell just after 11 (on a Friday in mid-December), which is surprisingly a good time to go. It was quite busy inside the park itself, but the queue to get in was relatively short. Once you’re inside, wander around and check out the Gaudi architecture and mosaics.
Want even more Gaudi? Head to Casa Batlló and Casa Mila in Passeig de Gracia, and Casa Vicens in the Gracia district. Oh, and don’t forget La Sagrada Familia!
4. Shop ’til you drop!
Barcelona is absolute heaven for shopaholics! There are plenty of indoor shopping centres, such as the Maremagnum (which has stores like H&M, Claire’s and Lush), and Diagonal Mar (where you’ll find Primark and Sephora), as well as a huge number of designer shops (the best place to find these is in Passeig de Gracia, which is also where Casa Batllo & Casa Milà are situated).
5. Eat tapas
No trip to Spain is complete without tapas! These are ideal for sharing and contain small savoury dishes, usually vegetables, fish, seafood or meat. I can’t go for tapas without ordering patatas bravas (potato cubes with tomato sauce), tortilla española (Spanish omelette) and calamari (squid). Delicious!
If you have time, why not visit the aquarium & beach or hop on a sightseeing bus? I didn’t get to do either this time around, but I remember enjoying them when I first went to Barcelona. It’s also worth exploring the Montjuic Hilltop Park and the mountains at Tibidabo and Montjuic.
I hope this post has given you some idea of how to spend your next holiday in Barcelona. Have you ever been to Barcelona or are you planning to go soon? Let me know in the comments!