Things to Do in Barcelona

Things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona is a major tourist attraction so there are many things to do in Barcelona. This is just a sampler.


MNAC Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

One of the world’s greatest collections of Romanesque art.

Museu Picasso

Early works and late works of Picasso, who spent some time in Barcelona before settling in Paris.

Fundació Miró

Major centre for the art of Joan Miró, by Josep Sert.

Fundació Antoni Tàpies

Dedicated to the art of Antoni Tàpies.

CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona

Barcelona’s Centre for Contemporary Culture (next to the Museum of Modern Art of Barcelona).

MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

Barcelona’s Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by Richard Meier.

Museu de la Història de Barcelona

A group of museums dedicated to the history of Barcelona. In the Plaça del Rei, behind the Cathedral of Barcelona, there is an entrance to an underground museum that reveals the Roman foundations of the city. Another entrance is located by the steps of the Plaça del Rei where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand received Christopher Columbus upon his return from his first trip to the Americas.


An art nouveau factory converted into a polyvalent space for art exhibitions.

Museu de F.C. Barcelona

The most visited museum in Barcelona.


Santa Maria del Mar

The most pristine example of Gothic architecture in Barcelona.

Plaça del Rei

Gothic civil architecture; where Queen Isabella and Kinf Ferdinand received Christopher Columbus upon his return from his first trip to the Americas.

Cathedral of Barcelona

Gothic, not as beautiful as Santa Maria dle Mar; interesting cloister.

Antoni Gaudí:

A 19th century industrial revolution in Catalonia produced a number of newly wealthy families who were interested in commissioning new homes and buildings in the latest –the most modern—style, which happened to be Art Nouveau. So art nouveau became synonymous with new wealth and modernity, and is defined as modernisme in Catalan. Antoni Gaudí was the greatest of the modern architects, but not the only one.

Sagrada Família

One of the most visited sites in Barcelona. Queue up early to get inside. Construction still under way a century after it began.

Casa Batlló

One of Gaudi’s most exotic buildings, in the centre of Barcelona (on Passeig de Gràcia/Paseo de Gracia). On the same city block as the Casa Batlló are two more remarkable buildings, one by Lluís Domènech i Montaner (who designed the venue for the Symposium) and the other by Josep Puig i Cadafalch.

Casa Milà “La Pedrera”

One of Gaudi’s most emblematic buildings, not far from his Casa Batlló. Well worth visiting the interior, especially the attics and roof.

Parc Guell

A park enclosing the beginnings of what was meant to be a residential colony for textile workers. (Eusebi Guell was an industrialist who commissioned several of Gaudi’s works).

Palau de la Música

Perhaps the most exuberant example of art nouveau architecture; designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

Hospital Sant Pau

The largest group of art nouveau buildings in the world; designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner; just down the block from the Symposium venue.

Pavelló Mies van der Rohe

Originally designed by Mies van der Rohe as the German Pavilion for the 1929 World Fair in Barcelona and now reconstructed, this is an important link in the evolution of modern architecture. Near the MNAC and across the street from CaixaForum.

Pavello de la República Espanyola

Originally designed by Josep Sert for the 1937 World Fair in Paris, and the place where Picasso’s Guernica was first exhibited in the middle of the Spanish Civil War, reconstructed in Barcelona for the 1992 Olympic Games. Street art by Claes Oldenburg nearby.



Barcelona’s opera house, halfway down La Rambla.

Palau de la Música

The Liceu’s rival auditorium during bourgeois “culture wars” (for and against Richard Wagner) in the late 19th century.


A new auditorium for classical music performances.

Jamboree Jazz Club

One of Barcelona’s most famous music venues.

Harlem Jazz Club

Another of Barcelona’s most famous music venues.


There are many fine theatres in Barcelona. Most productions in Spanish or in Catalan.

There is a fairly complete guide to Barcelona theatres here:


Recommending restaurants is a dangerous thing to do -- De gustibus non est disputandum.

Here are the 50 restaurants that Time Out recommends as the best in Barcelona:

A more posh guide to the 9  best “elite” restaurants in Barcelona:

Neighbourhood walks

Barcelona is a human-sized city, hemmed in by hills and the sea. There are a variety of distinctive neighbourhoods worth exploring on foot:

La Rambla is the most famous street in Barcelona, starting at the Plaça de Catalunya and leading to the Port. The prices for restaurants and bars drop significantly if you turn off the Rambla down any of its side streets. If you drink from the fountain at the head of the Rambla, they say, you will always return to Barcelona.

Plaça Reial, well down the Rambla, on the left as you head toward the Port.

Raval, the neighbourhoods to the right of the Rambla as you head toward the Port. Perhaps the most cosmopolitan area of Barcelona.

Barri Gòtic, the neighbourhoods to the left of the Rambla as you head toward the Port. If you turn left, up Ferran Street, heading toward the Port, just before the Plaça Reial, and cross through the Plaça Sant Jaume, where the Palau de la Generalitat (the regional government) faces the Ajuntament (the City Hall), behind the Cathedral, and continue to the Via Layetana, a major avenue, the real Barri Gòtic of streets so narrow you can shake hands across facing balconies begins on the far side of Via Layetana.

Gràcia is perhaps the liveliest of neighborhoods for the younger generations, full of bars and restaurants and alternative cultural business and actiuvities.

Barceloneta, on the beach, was originally a fishing village and the architecture corresponds to fishermen’s homes. Many good seafood restaurants.


Barcelona is a safe city but there are pickpockets. You can consult any of the following Web pages for advice on how to avoid them: