10 Must Do Things when Visiting Barcelona, Spain
1.) Parc Güell : Antoni Gaudí's Parc Güell is as whimsical as parks can get. The park was originally supposed to be a housing community for the rich, commissioned by Eusebi Güell. Güell hired Gaudí but the project eventually folded due to the land's incompatible building conditions. Gaudí continued on, modeling the park after gardens he had seen in England (Güell means English in Catalan) and building around the natural elements of the land instead of tearing them down.
2.) La Sagrada Família : From 1882 up until his death in 1926, Catalan Art Nouveau master Antoni Gaudí devoted himself to the construction of La Sagrada Família (Church of the Sacred Family), a towering Gothic-style-with-a-twist church. And even then, he was unable to finish; Gaudí was known for saying "My client (God) is in no hurry." The church, which is funded by private donations, is still under construction today and is said to be completed by 2026.
3.) Las Ramblas : This bustling thoroughfare is one of the city's major tourist hubs. So much so that if you're visiting Barcelona, you're bound to end up here eventually. Las Ramblas is a pedestrian-friendly pathway situated right smack dab in the middle of the city, so expect it to be busy all hours of the day and night.
4.) Barri Gòtic : 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 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.
5.) Camp Nou Stadium : Even if you're not a fútbol (soccer) fan, Camp Nou is worth a visit to experience the pride Catalans have for the FC Barcelona team. Able to hold nearly 100,000 screaming fans, which can be quite intimidating for visiting teams, Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe. The on-site museum showcases trophies and awards the team has garnered through the years. Interesting and interactive displays invite visitors to learn a little more about the fútbol culture and its impact on the city.
6.) Casa Batlló : The details highlighted in Casa Batlló show famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí at his best. Of all the Gaudí apartments in Barcelona, this is probably the most recognized (it's also a UNESCO World Heritage site). Sitting down the street from Casa Milà, Casa Batlló is known for its vibrant colors, intricate tile work and skeletal terraces. The unconventional façade is inspired by the legend of St. George, whose story is famous for slaying a dragon to save the princess.
7.) La Barceloneta Beach : In between all the cultural and artistic attractions Barcelona has up its sleeves, it's easy to forget that the city is situated right along the brilliantly blue waters of the Mediterranean. The city's largest stretch of sand is broken up into two beaches; La Barceloneta and Platja de la Nova Icària.
8.) Boqueria Market : Even if you're not keen on visiting Las Ramblas, make the trek to the thoroughfare only for it to lead you to the foodie heaven that is the Boqueria Market. The Boqueria Market is Barcelona's first local market, having opened in 1840. Great Bay Beach - The waters are clear and calm. Great Bay is excellent for swimming, but is also a favorite place for beach strollers, as you can watch the coming and going of cruise ships in the harbor.
9.) Picasso Museum : While most people know Pablo Picasso for his distorted portraits, this museum displays his work on a timeline of sorts, allowing you to follow his progression from the more controlled works of his early years to the very whimsical paintings and sculptures from the end of his career. Make sure you dedicate plenty of time to Picasso: the museum itself holds several thousand pieces by him.
10.) Palace of Catalan Music : Barcelona's Palau de la Música Catalana is considered to be a masterpiece of Catalan art nouveau. Built by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the palace earned the title of a UNESCO World Heritage site for its striking architectural features.