Must-Do Activities In Barcelona, Spain

By: Emily Margolis

For those of you who are studying in Barcelona, here are some activities you cannot miss during your time abroad. Barcelona is a beautiful city with so much to do and see, but these things you definitely have to see!

For those of you interested in history you do not want to miss the Carmel Bunkers and Parc de la Ciutadella. The Carmel Bunkers are from the Spanish Civil War. The Bunkers have stunning panoramic views of Barcelona. The best time to visit is at sunset for a breathtaking cityscape. Parc de la Ciutadella has been around since the mid-nineteenth century and for a long time was the city’s only park. Parc de la Ciutadella is a must and you do not want to miss seeing the fountain. Parc de la Ciutadella is a relaxing park with a lake for rowing boats. While in the area you do not want to miss the Arc de Triomf which is a beautiful triumphal arch nearby.

Some of the best architectural sites in Barcelona can be credited to Antoni Gaudi like Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, and the Gaudi houses. Park Güell would best be described as Gaudi's whimsical park with colorful mosaics and unique architecture. Book tickets in advance and go at sunset. Make sure to explore the entire park, including the serpentine bench and terrace with the famous mosaic lizard. La Sagrada Familia is an iconic basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí. Make sure to book tickets online in advance because they sell out. Consider a guided tour to learn about the history and architectural details. All of the Gaudí houses have their charm, but if you only have time for one, Casa Batlló is the most famous for a reason. Visit Casa Batlló for a unique architectural experience. You will marvel at the intricate details and imaginative design. Casa Batlló is definitely touristy but worth every penny.

If you have time to travel outside the city, Montserrat or Sitges are both great options. Montserrat is perfect for a day trip. This trip includes the stunning mountain range and the Montserrat Monastery. Take the cable car or funicular for incredible views. Another fun day trip is to Sitges. Sitges is a charming coastal town known for its beaches and vibrant atmosphere. While there, visit the historic old town and the Church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla. Make sure you give yourself enough time to lounge around on the beach!

Two must visit museums are the Moco Museum and the Picasso Museum. The Moco Museum is a contemporary art museum featuring works by renowned artists like Banksy. Check for special exhibitions and events. In the Picasso Museum, you get to explore the extensive collection of Picasso's early works and learn about the artist's life and evolution through his art. 

Two neighborhoods that are favored by many are Barceloneta and the Gothic Quarter. Barceloneta is an iconic beach neighborhood with a lively atmosphere. Enjoy the beach, stroll along the promenade, and visit the local restaurants. Barceloneta is a must see because of its vibrant and energetic ambiance, offering a perfect blend of sun, sea, and delicious cuisine. Whether you are looking to relax on the sandy shores or indulge in some paella, Barceloneta has it all. Don't miss out on this unforgettable experience that truly captures the essence of Barcelona's coastal charm. Explore the Gothic Quarter, the historic heart of Barcelona, with its narrow medieval streets. While there, visit the Barcelona Cathedral and Plaça Reial. Immerse yourself in the artist's life and evolution through his art by visiting the Barcelona Cathedral and Plaça Reial in the Gothic Quarter. These historic landmarks offer a glimpse into the city's rich history and architectural marvels. 

Dive into the vibrant atmosphere of local markets like Palo Alto Market and La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a famous food market, while Palo Alto Market features design and art. Both markets offer a wide range of unique and locally-made products. Visiting different markets is a great way to immerse oneself in the local culture.

Barcelona has beautiful street art. Discover the vibrant street art scene in neighborhoods like El Raval and Poblenou. Consider joining a street art tour for insights into the city's urban art. In one of my classes, we went on a field trip where we toured street art! We had the opportunity to explore the colorful murals and graffiti that adorned the walls of Barcelona. It was fascinating to learn about the different techniques and styles used by the local artists. A tour guide provided insightful commentary, giving a deeper understanding of the messages and stories behind each piece. It was truly a unique and eye-opening experience, and if you visit, it will allow you to appreciate the vibrant street art scene in Barcelona.

Hope these recommendations should help you make the most of your time in Barcelona. Definitely add these to your Barcelona bucket list. Enjoy your semester in the best city!