If I could live in a European city it would probably be Barcelona. I love the balance of city life, outdoor space, culture, and history that makes up this eclectic city.
You could easily spend your days eating tapas and drinking sangria and be perfectly happy. But if you are looking to explore the city a bit and see some of the more unique sites this list has some of the coolest thing you can do in Barcelona.
Bunkers Del Carmel
The Bunkers del Carmel are an abandoned anti-aircraft fortress utop the Turo de la Rovira hill. The remaining concrete and metal structures provide panoramic views of the city and are a beautiful place to watch the sunset or sunrise. Bring a little picnic with you and enjoy the views!
Montjuic & Cable Cars
Montjuic is a hill on the southeastern side of the city, but it’s more than just a hill. It’s filled with gardens, museums, hotels, restaurants, an Olympic stadium, a castle and has two cable cars and a
Wander through over 800 different varieties of cacti in the Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera. The cactus garden is located on the northeastern side of Montjuic facing the harbor so not only do you get to see awesome cacti but you get great views of the water as well.
The Magic Fountain
By day the fountain in front of the National Art Museum of Catalonia is a large beautiful fountain. But on Thursday through Saturday nights at 8PM this fountain lights ups in a beautiful display to music for a totally unique experience.
Get lost in the Parc del Laberint, one of Barcelona’s oldest gardens. In the center of the park is a hedge maze that might give you some Pan’s Labyrinth vibes, but it is a beautiful place to wander around and explore.
You don’t have to look very hard to find artwork in Barcelona, if you are paying attention you’ll notice colorfully painted garage doors and little mosaics all around. However if you want to seek out some art the best places to find it are in the El Raval, Poble-Sec, and Gracia neighborhoods.
Even if you aren’t a beach person Barceloneta Beach is worth checking out. You can lay on the warm sand and swim in the water, or walk, bike, or rollerblade along the boardwalk, or just hang out and have some food and a drink at one of the many beach side bars and restaurants. It’s fun and lively and there is always something going on.
This is a must for anyone interested in architecture and design. The Barcelona Pavilion was originally designed for the International Exhibition in 1929 as the German Pavilion, since then the modern building has been turned into a museum to showcase its modern design and unique use of materials.
Parc de la Ciutadella
Find some green space in the Parc de la Ciutadella, with plenty of paths to walk, gorgeous fountains to admire and a lake where you can rent a little paddle boat, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon. At the east end you’ll find the Barcelona Zoo and on the west end (just outside the park) you’ll see the Arc de Triomf de Barcelona.
Every Barcelona travel guide will tell you to see the Gaudi Architecture, this is nothing new. But in all honesty it is worth it, you don’t have to see everything or even go in any of the buildings but at least stop by a few and appreciate the detailed design. From the most famous buildings like La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Casa Batllo to lesser known buildings like Colegio Teresiano de Barcelona and Torre Bellesguard, Gaudi’s unique influence and design can be seen all over the city.
A few things to remember
There are a few things I’d highly recommend having to make your time in Barcelona awesome. The first is good walking shoes. Barcelona is a very walkable, their public transit is great when you have to get from one end to another but otherwise walking around is the best way to see the city. My go to shoes are All Birds and Vans the are comfortable, casual, and cute. The second thing I’d recommend is a purse that zips or closes securely. Its not that Barcelona is dangerous, but the more touristy areas have a reputation for having issues with pick-pockets. So keep your stuff close and secure, I’m a big fan of Madewell’s bags, they have both a large tote and smaller purse that zip up. The last thing to remember is a beach blanket for picnicking in the parks and hanging out at the beach. This nylon one folds up super small making it easy to pack without taking up much space in your bag.
A Hipster’s Guide to Barcelona
Barcelona Attractions: What to See & What to Skip
Hidden Gems of Barcelona
Street Art of Barcelona
A Guide to Park Güell
Where to Find Craft Beer in Barcelona
Gaudi Architecture Tour of Barcelona
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