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8 Must-See Attractions in Barcelona

June 29, 2017 Allison Swider 1 Comment
Parc Guell with title 5 must see attractions in Barcelona

¡Bienvenidos a Barcelona! This city is dripping with astounding art and architecture that make every walk around the block look like a beautiful gallery, so always have your camera ready. Whether you are strolling down a busy street, admiring the colorful architecture, or eating traditional food, Barcelona has something for the hearts, and stomachs, of everyone. There is so much to see in Barcelona and as Spain’s largest city, that can be overwhelming. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the top 8 must-see attractions in Barcelona that are sure to give you the most insightful and thorough glimpse into Spain and its treasured city.

1. Parc Güell

Barcelona Parc Guell Colorful Bright Mosaics and View

It truly wouldn’t be a trip to Barcelona if you didn’t see the Park Güell. This park is famous for its network of gardens and architecture located on Carmel Hill just outside the city. This is the perfect opportunity to take a relaxing stroll and gawk at the mosaics and gardens around you. The park’s architecture, projected by Antoni Gaudi in the early 1900s, is honored as a Catalan masterpiece drawing over 9 million visitors each year! When you’re here, be prepared for some crowds; but don’t forget to have your camera ready, you won’t want to miss this shot.

2. Sagrada Familia

Barcelona Sagrada Familia

Yet another must-see Barcelona attraction you cannot leave the city without seeing is the Sagrada Familia or Church of the Sacred Family. Not surprisingly, this beautifully constructed Roman Catholic church is also the work of Antoni Gaudi and is one of the most admired aspects of Barcelona architecture and culture. Despite construction being initiated in the late 1800s, the basilica remains unfinished due to interruptions from funding and the Spanish Civil War. However, this does not take away from the pure size and detail that went into the design of this figure as they are what truly make this site so amazing. Don’t let a little construction hinder you from experiencing one of the extraordinary elements of Barcelona’s history!

3. La Barceloneta and Port Olímpic


Take a break from sightseeing in the busy city for a trip along the Mediterranean. The neighborhood area of La Barceloneta is filled with ocean views and restaurants that offer the chance to finally kick your feet up and relax. Barceloneta is also great starting point for any Barcelona sightseeing trip due to its proximity to the heart of the city and its most famous sites! If you keep walking along the Barceloneta Strip towards the southern tip you will come across the Port Olímpic, a marina that hosted the sailing events for the 1992 Olympics. Use this opportunity to enjoy all sorts of water activities such as sailing, windsurfing, or flyboarding to get a unique perspective of Barcelona!

4. Tapas


If you visit Barcelona, the one meal you absolutely must try is tapas. We see plenty of Spanish restaurants throughout the United States containing menus filled with tapas, but it’s something special being able to indulge in them in their native home. When it comes to tapas, there is no limit to the variety of shareable, traditional plates for you and your group to try! This is one of the best ways to try as much of the local food as possible in the shortest amount of time. You will find these tapas bars and restaurants scattered across Barcelona, and we can assure you that your taste buds will be satisfied.

5. La Boqueria and Las Ramblas

Barcelona La Boqueria Sign up close

Las Ramblas is a buzzing tree-lined pedestrian mall popular among tourists for its shopping, food and historic attractions. This street is the heart of Barcelona and contains many of the lively street performances, human statue art, and artists that may remind you of Times Square in NYC. This area is also the home to another Barcelona treasure, La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a large public market housing a diverse selection of produce, flowers, and delicious Spanish cuisine. This market gives tourists the most authentic taste of Barcelona through traditional foods and vendors that have called the marketplace home for generations. You will be sure to walk out of here with your stomach full!

6. Picasso Museum

Be immersed in the works of one of history’s most famous artists at the Museu Picasso! In 1963, Pablo Picasso worked with his close friend and personal secretary Jaume Sabartés to open a gallery housed in the Aguilar Palace. Picasso actually omitted his name from the initial opening, calling it Col.lecció Sabartés, as he feared his anti-Franco views would attract government censorship of the showcase. After 1970, the museum continued to expand and now spans FIVE historic palaces. Some of Picasso’s most famous pieces live in museums across the world (“Guernica” for example is in Madrid) but the beauty of the Barcelona collection is it highlights many of his early works, pieces from his blue period, and his later achievements in cubist form.   

7. Botanical Garden

For nature lovers, strolling through Jardí Botànic in the middle of Barcelona will be a welcome respite from city life. Stretching 32 acres, the gardens include more than 1500 species of greenery from around the world. There are sections dedicated to different geographic climates, including Australia, Chile, California and South Africa. Not only are the natural elements beautiful, but there are spectacular views of Barcelona and the 1992 Olympic ring to enjoy. It’s also close to the National Museum of Catalonia, so you can check off two great spots in an afternoon.

8. Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria Del Mar Interior

Sagrada Familia may be the city’s most famous cathedral, but don’t overlook its smaller sister, Santa Maria del Mar. Construction on this simple, symmetrical church began in 1329. It was notable that the community came together in the actual erection of the building. Local porters known as bastaixos volunteered one day a week to carry stone from the quarries in Montjuïc, and they are represented in stone reliefs across the church’s front doors. In the 1930s, during the Spanish Civil War, anarchists burned the pews of Santa Maria del Mar, and the entire building was on fire for 11 straight days. Luckily, the stone foundation remained, and the church was restored.

So there you have it, 8 must-see attractions in Barcelona. This list will get you started, but once you visit, you’ll be sure to add numbers 9, 10, 11 and more! If you are an educator interested in traveling with your students to Barcelona, we would be thrilled to help you plan your educational travel adventure.

Check out our itinerary for an educational tour to Barcelona and Spain!

Spanish Tapas Lesson Plan


Spanish Tapas Overview

Bring an international flavor to your classroom by introducing your students to the delicious world of tapas.

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Allison Swider

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