Exploring Barcelona, Spain: Must-visit Destinations for Tourists

exploring Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the must-visit destinations when traveling in Spain. It has some of the most unique and inspiring architecture in the world, so a tour of the city’s parks, museums, and churches is a must. Exploring Barcelona is really an unforgettable experience for tourists when traveling to Spain. Let’s start right now.

Must-visit Destinations in Barcelona

1. Basilica de la Sagrada Familia

exploring Barcelona

 

One of Europe’s most unconventional churches, this spectacular basilica is the most famous sight in Barcelona. The UNESCO-listed Basilica de la Sagrada Familia stands in the northern part of the city, dominating its surroundings with its 18 spindly towers soaring high above all other monuments. The Basilica of the Sacred Family is also known in Spanish by its official name: Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família.

Antoni Gaudí was commissioned in 1883 to design this basilica as a neo-Gothic church. But instead of following the plans, he created a signature example of his famous surrealistic Art Nouveau architecture. He had no firm ideas in mind, preferring to alter and add to the plans as work progressed. Although Gaudí had originally forecast between ten and fifteen years, the church was never completed. As a result, the main work by the most important Catalan architect of modern times remains just a shell, and nobody knows whether or when it will ever be completed.

2. La Rambla

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The heart of Barcelona’s social life is found on La Rambla, a broad, tree-shaded avenue that divides the Old Town into two parts. La Rambla stretches from the Plaça de Catalunya, where the beautiful Romanesque 12th-century Convent of Santa Anna stands, all the way down to the port. This wide street, featuring expansive pedestrian sidewalks, is lined with shops, restaurants, and outdoor cafés, making it one of the most popular hangouts in the city.

During the day, many locals are found here doing their everyday shopping at the Mercat de la Boqueria, and at night, groups of friends and families take their evening paseo (stroll) on La Rambla to enjoy the fresh air and lively ambiance Depending on the day, onlookers might be treated to live music, a mime show, or other impromptu street performances.

On its northeast side, La Rambla borders the Barri Gòtic, and halfway down the avenue is the Plaça Reial, a lovely palm-fringed square enclosed by historic houses. These elegant buildings have arcades filled with shops, cafés, and restaurants. At the center is the Fountain of the Three Graces with a candelabra designed by Antoni Gaudí.

3. Park Güell

exploring Barcelona

Park Güell is one of the most popular outdoor attractions when exploring Barcelona, and yet what few people know is that it was initially conceived to be a revolutionary housing estate.
Antoni Gaudí and his patron and friend Eusebi Güell originally acquired the area and began construction on a model home. When no one invested in the project, they eventually abandoned it, and it was later donated to the local council and transformed into a public park.

4. Barri Gòtic

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The Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, is the oldest part of Barcelona, and considering its location next to the city center, also its liveliest. Here, you’ll find beautiful examples of Roman and Medieval-era architecture rubbing elbows with the many shops, restaurants, alfresco cafes, bars, and clubs that line this neighborhood’s narrow roads and picturesque plazas. And there are so many plazas to explore.
Aside from Plaça de la Catedral, which you’ll no doubt end up in if you visit the Barcelona Cathedral, make sure you stop in Plaça Reial and the smaller and much quainter Plaça Sant Felip Neri, which was bombed by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. The palm tree-clad Plaça Reial is much more energetic and usually buzzes till the wee hours of the morning. Definitely come here to start your night out in Barcelona.
Another notable plaza is Plaça Sant Jaume, where the Catalan seat of government has been since the Middle Ages. No matter where you end up in the Gothic Quarter, travelers say its Spanish splendor will leave you charmed long after you leave.

5. Barcelona Catedral

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Towering above the center of the Barri Gòtic district is Barcelona’s principal cathedral. The Gothic cathedral’s construction began in the late 13th century, though it wasn’t completed until the mid-15th century. While you’re here, make sure to dedicate plenty of time to the numerous examples of artisanship that went into completing this cathedral, from its exterior details to the many gold furnishings within, including the stately altarpiece, part of the Church of Saint Severas as well as 140 statues of saints that call the cathedral home. While you’re here make sure to mosey on over to the cloister, which features a verdant tropical garden.

Many travelers found the Catedral de Barcelona to be stunning, though visitors who have said that they’ve seen a number of European cathedrals prior didn’t find this cathedral to be that noteworthy. If you have enough time, visitors highly suggest taking advantage of the opportunity to go to the top of the cathedral on the roof. There, visitors can get an eyeful of the spire up close as well as some prime city views.

6. Picasso Museum

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A great destination for you when exploring Barcelona is the Picasso Museum. Pablo Picasso moved to Barcelona when he was a child and attended the prestigious La Llotja art school before acquiring his first studio in the Gothic Quarter. The city remained an important place for the artist throughout his lifetime, and the Picasso Museum is a testimony to this important relationship.

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