1. Visit the Sagrada Familia
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the symbol of the city, the Sagrada Familia church makes a great excuse to keep on coming to Barcelona thanks to its unique architecture designed by Gaudi and the fact that it is the only church in the world that is constantly changing. Its estimated completion date is 2026.
INSIDER TIP: If you pass the Sagrada Familia on a taxi at night, you will be reproducing a scene of the Oscar winning movie All About My Mother by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar.
2. Stroll along La Rambla
This vibrant street is always buzzing with life and is considered by many the heart and soul of Barcelona thanks to its multiculturalism and famous attractions such as the Boqueria market, where you can buy fresh products at great prices, or El Liceo, where some of the best ballets and operas are represented all year round. The statue of Christopher Columbus is also found here.
INSIDER TIP: In front of La Boqueria Market, you can find the recently opened Jamón Experience, the only audiovisual and gastronomic museum in the world dedicated exclusively to Iberian ham. A tasting of 6 varieties of ham and 2 drinks of cava or wine are included in your ticket.
3. Admire Gaudí and Modernism
There are three places that art lovers and modernism enthusiast cannot miss when coming to Barcelona: Parc Güell, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (also known as La Pedrera). These are widely regarded as some of the most emblematic masterpieces of Gaudí and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Works of Antoni Gaudí.
INSIDER TIP: Tickets to visit the Monumental Zone at Park Güell and the interior of Casa Batlló & Casa Milà can be bought at the official sites of the attractions to avoid queuing.
4. Take the cable car to Montjuïc Hill
For a unique experience and breathtaking views of Barcelona, take the metro to Paral-lel (or the sightseeing bus and step down at Telefèric de Montjuïc) and then take the gondola lift at the nearby Montjuïc Funicular.
There are three stops along the route. In the first one, you can visit the Montjuïc Park where you can see the Olympic ring and the stadium built for the 1992 Games, the Palau Sant Jordi often used for concerts and sport events or the Magic Fountain. In the second one, you can visit the Montjuïc Castle, an ancient military fortress. In the third and last one you can admire the city of Barcelona from the splendid vantage point that Montjuïc is.
INSIDER TIP: Ideal to visit during a hot summer day to escape the heat of the city as the park offers shade and is generally cooler.
5. A bath and free tapas in Barceloneta
One of the many things that make Barcelona be what it is, is its sandy beach La Barceloneta. Located in the Ciutat Vella district, it is easily reached by public transport (L4 of Barcelona metro) and provides an escape from the city; although it can get quite crowded during the summer. Perfect for a stroll with an ice cream or a light swimming session.
INSIDER TIP: After visiting, we suggest you head to the nearby Carrer L’Almirall Aixada, 5 and walk into Ca’l Chusco, a small charming bar where you can enjoy delicious free tapas with your drink.
6. Hike to Montserrat Abbey
Less than 50 kilometres west of Barcelona, stands the mountain of Montserrat and its Benedictine monastery, Catalonia’s most relevant religious retreat. It can be reached by road, train or cable car. There is also a sanctuary with La Moreneta (the brunette) as the Virgin of Montserrat is called and a basilica with a museum featuring Works by El Greco, Dalí and Picasso.
INSIDER TIP: There is nothing quite as especial as an overnight hike to the abbey to see the sunrise from the heights of the mountain.
7. Explore the Gothic Quarter
The heart of the old city is made of narrow streets with stone walled buildings that transport you to the medieval times and manage to make you forget that you are in Barcelona altogether. Some of the main landmarks include the Barcelona Cathedral, the city hall and the Carrer del Bisbe Irurita with a romantic neogothic-style bridge crossing it that reminds many of Romeo and Juliet and that links the Government Seat with the residence of the president.
INSIDER TIP: After exploring this unique neighbourhood, head to Plaza Sant Felip Neri and enjoy a coffee or a cool beer at the superb terrace of Hotel Neri. If this historical square seems familiar it might be because you‘ve seen it before on the cinema as it has been featured on famous movies like The Perfume and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
8. Be a child again at Tibidabo
This mountain overlooking Barcelona is home to the oldest and probably most beloved amusement parks in Barcelona: El Tibidabo. Theme park lovers will appreciate it for its authenticity will children will adore it for its unique style as it still features original rides that date back to the late 19th century. Definitely a must if you are travelling with children. The park can be easily reached by funicular railway, bus or car.
INSIDER TIP: If you want to enjoy one of the best views over Barcelona and are not afraid of heights, we recommend you to ride the big wheel for a unique experience.
9. Explore the innovative cuisine of ABaC
Commanded by chef Jordi Cruz – famous for being one of the chefs of the Spanish version of Master Chef – the ABaC restaurant offers its guests Mediterranean and innovative Spanish recipes in an unmatched relaxed atmosphere that turns each meal into a memorable experience thanks to his expertise and the exceptional service of the staff. The presentation of each dish on the menu is a feast for the eyes and after the first bite, the harmonic fusion of flavours, textures and colours makes you wish the plates would be bottomless.
INSIDER TIP: The Gran ABaC menu with its 15 dishes is a must for gourmands. However, if you are not sure of what to try, then simply trust the staff.
10. Enjoy Barcelona for free
Believe it or not, there are a lot of things that you can do and enjoy for free in Barcelona. On the 1st Sunday of every month, all the museums of the city (these include Picasso Museum, the Science Museum…) are free. It’s best advised to arrive early as long queues are frequent but they are all worth the waiting.
Free walking tours conducted by local guides and in several languages are also available around the city with some specialising in specific neighbourhoods, making them ideal for those interested in knowing more about the city or getting to know an area such as the Gothic Quarter better.
INSIDER TIP:If you are visiting with children or are a music enthusiast, we recommend you visit the Ciutadella Park as live music is played every weekend and it’s the perfect place to take a break from sightseeing and just relax like locals do: with an outdoor picnic.