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Things To Do In Barcelona

If you’re planning a city trip to Barcelona, it’s a good idea to start looking into what there is to do in Barcelona. Barcelona is a city with a lot to see and do, where there’s always something fun to experience. Depending on the season, whether it’s your first or umpteenth time in Barcelona, and what your interests are, you can choose to do one thing or another in Barcelona. To help you out, I’ve gathered all my tips for visiting Barcelona on this page.

Discover the Real Barcelona

What Must You Really See?

Barcelona is filled with beautiful buildings, squares, and streets, interesting museums, and delightful parks. From the old city center and the beach area to the many monuments, modernist buildings, and wonders of the world that make Barcelona so unique, such as Gaudí’s Sagrada Família and Park Güell. But what should you really check out during your trip to Barcelona? Below you’ll find a selection of stunning places that you must explore.

What Should You Definitely Do in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a city full of splendor and offers a wide range of experiences that you shouldn’t miss. As a born and raised Barcelonian, I have my own favorite things that you definitely shouldn’t miss. So, make sure to note the following activities on your to-do list!

1. Visit Gaudí’s Architectural Works

Be enchanted by the architectural geniuses of Antoni Gaudí, including the breathtaking Sagrada Família, the fairytale-like Park Güell, and the unique Casa Batlló.

👉 Read more about Gaudí’s life and work in Barcelona.

Casa Batllo inside
Inside Casa Batlló

2. Enjoy Shopping

Dive into the lively shopping streets of Barcelona, from the chic boutiques in Passeig de Gràcia to the colorful stalls of the Boqueria market. Discover the latest fashion trends and the flavors of Barcelona.

👉 Read more about shopping in Barcelona.

Passeig de Gràcia
Passeig de Gràcia

3. Taste the Local Cuisine

As in every Mediterranean city, food is a very important part of the local culture. So, there’s no shortage of dining spots, fresh markets, and specialty stores in Barcelona! Let your taste buds dance with the rich flavors of Catalan cuisine. Enjoy tapas and pinchos in cozy bars, taste the seafood at the fish market, and discover the delicious world of paella and Catalan wines.

4. Experience Local Festivities

Embrace the vibrant culture of Barcelona by participating in local festivities. Whether it’s the celebrations of La Mercè or Sant Jordi, the traditional castellers (human towers) and sardanas (the Catalan circle dance), or the passion of Semana Santa, you will be immersed in the local atmosphere. Also fun to experience is a flamenco show in Barcelona.

5. Venture Off the Beaten Path

Leave the tourist routes and discover the real Barcelona, for example, by following one of my walking routes. Explore charming neighborhoods like El Raval or Gràcia, where local artists and boutiques await discovery.


6. Learn About the City’s History

Explore Barcelona’s rich history by visiting historic sites such as the Gothic Quarter, the Roman Barcino, and El Born. Walk through the ancient streets and learn about the fascinating cultural heritage that has shaped Barcelona into what it is today.

👉 Read more about the city’s history here.

7. Climb a Beautiful Viewpoint

Experience Barcelona from a different perspective by climbing one of the many beautiful viewpoints. Whether it’s the picturesque Bunkers del Carmel or the breathtaking panorama from Tibidabo, enjoy the city in all its glory. On Montjuïc, you can also enjoy the free music, light, and water show of the Magic Fountain.

👉 Read more about the viewpoints in Barcelona.

Viewpoint at Bunkers del Carmel
Viewpoint at Bunkers del Carmel

8. Relax at the Beach or a City Park

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and relax at Barcelona’s expansive beach, where you can enjoy the soft sea breeze and the sun. Another option for a peaceful afternoon is to head to one of the many city parks in the city. The largest and most famous of these is Parc de la Ciutadella.

👉 Read more about the city parks in Barcelona.

9. Visit a Local Fresh Market

There’s nothing more authentic than shopping at a local fresh market. Besides the famous Boqueria market, in Barcelona, you will find numerous markets where locals go to get fresh products, such as Mercat de Santa Caterina or Mercat de Sant Antoni. There, you’ll be amazed by all the delicious goods from the land and sea that are sold. In addition to tasting delicious ham and cheese, you can also buy various delicacies, such as spices, canned goods, or olives.

Charcutería in Mercat de Santa Caterina
Charcutería in Mercat de Santa Caterina

10. Immerse Yourself in the Bustling Nightlife

Barcelona comes alive at night, and a visit to the vibrant nightclubs and bars is a must. Dance under the starry sky at the chiringuitos on the beach, discover trendy bars in the Gothic Quarter, or party until the early hours in world-famous nightclubs. The nightlife in Barcelona is as diverse as the city itself, so dive in and enjoy the unforgettable atmosphere.

👉 Read more about nightlife in Barcelona.

Bonus Tip: See Barcelona with the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Finally, a fun and convenient way to explore Barcelona: the hop-on-hop-off bus. Barcelona has two different hop-on-hop-off buses that let you view the city. With these two lines, you can explore all the highlights of Barcelona in no time. Buy your tickets in advance and you can easily hop off and on wherever and whenever you want.

⭐ Grab Your Advantage Here!

More Fun Things to Do in Barcelona

As you can see, the range of activities to choose from in Barcelona is truly enormous. This city never sleeps and offers entertainment for every taste, age, and travel group. If you need more fun ideas for things to do during your trip, look below for my suggestions.

What to Do in Barcelona by Season?

Whether you’re visiting Barcelona during the summer holidays, when it’s pleasant at the beach, or in spring or autumn, when you enjoy mild temperatures and fewer tourists in the city, or even during the winter months under a radiant winter sun, Barcelona always has something to offer.

Barcelona in Spring

Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit Barcelona. The sunny days, pleasant temperatures, and green city parks in full bloom invite people to go out and explore.

Additionally, many events take place, such as the festival of Sant Jordi (the day of love in Catalonia) and Semana Santa (Holy Week).

Around Easter, chocolate eggs and figures also adorn the windows of Barcelona’s patisseries. They are meant to decorate the mona de pascua (a type of Easter cake) and are an integral part of the Easter celebration in Catalonia.

Barcelona in Summer

In the summer months, Barcelona’s beaches are a great place to enjoy. Eating ice cream, grabbing a drink at a terrace, visiting a festival or open-air cinema are just a few of the many activities you can undertake.

Summer also hosts some of the city’s biggest events: Sant Joan (the Catalan midsummer night festival), Festes de Gràcia (the Gràcia neighborhood festival), and Festa de la Mercè (Barcelona’s city festival) are just a few examples.

Another summer highlight is visiting the many beaches and coastal villages around Barcelona, which often have quieter beaches than Barcelona itself.

Barcelona beach
Barcelona beach

Barcelona in Autumn

Autumn in Barcelona is welcomed by the smell of chestnut stalls on the streets and the sweet panellets, sold at bakeries and patisseries. They are essential ingredients for the Castanyada, a festival coinciding with All Saints’ Day.

Another autumn highlight is taking a beautiful forest walk, for example, in Collserola Natural Park or further inland in Catalonia. There, you can often collect chestnuts or pick mushrooms.

Autumn is also a good time to visit the vineyards of El Penedès, which turn into beautiful red, yellow, and brown colors.

Panellets in Barcelona
Panellets in Barcelona

Barcelona in Winter

Winter in Barcelona is primarily about Christmas celebrations. Towards the end of November, the streets and shop windows in Barcelona are beautifully decorated, and Christmas cribs, markets, caga tiós, and Christmas trees are set up all over the city.

Major events like Fira de Santa Llúcia and the Three Kings also take place. New Year’s Eve, Carnival, and Festes de Santa Eulàlia are other important events that take place during the winter in Barcelona.

Winter is also a great time to go skiing in the Pyrenees, eat calçots with friends, and visit a traditional granja to enjoy a tasty serving of chocolate con churros.

Christmas in Barcelona
Christmas in Barcelona

FAQ About What to See and Do in Barcelona

What to see and do in Barcelona for the first time?

For a first visit to Barcelona, there are a number of sights that are standard on the to-do list. Think of the Ramblas, Mercat de la Boqueria, Parc de la Ciutadella, Sagrada Família, and Camp Nou.

What to do on a return visit to Barcelona?

A family holiday in Barcelona is a great idea. The city offers plenty of entertainment and fun for both young and old. For the little ones, there are numerous fun playgrounds, engaging museums, and child-friendly places. Barcelona even boasts a real amusement park, Tibidabo, a zoo, and an aquarium!

What to do in Barcelona for teenagers?

If you’re visiting Barcelona with teenagers, take them to one of the many interactive museums where they can take cool photos, like the illusion museum Big Fun. Also fun is to go shopping together, take a bike tour through the city, ride the cable car to Montjuïc, attend a football match at Camp Nou, and of course, taste tapas at an authentic tapas bar!

What to do in Barcelona with friends?

Coming to Barcelona with your friends? There are a whole lot of things you can do. From a guided bike tour through the city to a cozy cooking workshop or a boat trip through the harbor and beach. Check out all my suggestions here.

What can you do in the evening in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a city that buzzes deep into the night. The rhythm and eating habits of Spaniards differ from what you might be used to in the Netherlands or Belgium: people generally eat at later times, and many shops are closed in the afternoon, only to open again in the evening until about eight o’clock. In the evening, you can do all sorts in Barcelona: from shopping and visiting museums or attractions to relaxing with a book in a café, watching a movie in the cinema, or walking in the park.

An important moment for Spaniards is la merienda, the afternoon snack around six o’clock, often consisting of something tasty like churros con chocolate. Only at nine o’clock do the first guests sit down at the table in restaurants for dinner. After dinner, it’s time for a drink and to go out to one of the many clubs that Barcelona has to offer.

What can you do on a Sunday in Barcelona?

On Sunday in Barcelona, you can rummage through a second-hand market for treasures, find a small festival, drink vermut on a sunny terrace, enjoy paella on the beach, or visit a museum. Many locals take it easy on Sundays, but there’s still plenty to do!

Good to know that most shops are closed on Sunday (except the Maremagnum shopping center), and many museums are free, especially on the first Sunday of the month.

What to do in Barcelona when it rains?

Even when it rains, there are still plenty of things to do in Barcelona. Besides the typical visit to a museum, you can go shopping in a covered shopping center or market, wander through the Encants Vells flea market, dive into a beautiful bookstore or library, watch a movie in the cinema, or settle down in a cozy cafe. See all my tips for a rainy day in Barcelona here.

What can you do for free in Barcelona?

Even if you go to Barcelona on a small budget, you don’t have to get bored in the city. Life in Barcelona is generally a lot cheaper than in Northern Europe, so you can comfortably grab a cup of coffee or a drink. Many sights, such as markets, various viewpoints, city parks, and the beach, are free anyway. In many museums, it’s possible to enter for free or at a reduced rate. And, of course, walking around the city is completely free!