Barcelona is a stunning seaside city and Catalonia’s vibrant capital that flaunts her beauty and sunny lifestyle. Gorgeous scenery, breathtaking architecture, and superb cultural attractions make for an alluring destination. Several architecture are UNESCO listed.
Best Time to Visit
Many travelers prefer to wait until the shoulder season to visit Barcelona. This season, which falls between the high and low seasons, happens twice a year: April to June and September to October. Weather-wise, this is a wonderful time: days are mild and nights are cool.
Top Places to Visit in Barcelona
- Basilica de la Sagrada Familia
One of Europe’s most unconventional churches, this spectacular basilica is the most famous sight in Barcelona. The UNESCO-listed Basilica de la Sagrada Familia stands in the northern part of the city, dominating its surroundings with its 18 spindly towers soaring high above all other monuments. Visitors are first struck by the lavish exterior with its expressive Nativity facade depicting the birth of Jesus. The ceiling sparkles with opulent decorative details, and colorful stained-glass windows allow ethereal light to flow in.
2. Palace of Catalan Music
Built between 1905 and 1908 as a concert hall for the choral society Orfeó Català, The Palau de la Música Catalana was designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, in the Catalan Modernista style. But although the building is characterized by the style’s curving lines and colorful palette, unlike Gaudi’s works, this design puts function ahead of form. Although the interior décor is just as colorful and fanciful as the outside, its shape and decoration are dedicated to choral and other musical performances. The concert hall of the Palau, which seats about 2,200 people, is the only auditorium in Europe illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light. The walls on two sides consist primarily of stained-glass panes set in magnificent arches, and overhead is an enormous skylight of stained glass.
3. Gaudí’s Surrealist Park
Colorful, cheerful, and full of whimsy, this splendid surrealistic park is another UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Antoni Gaudí. Created between 1900 and 1914, the Park Güell is beautifully landscaped and features architectural elements in Gaudí’s signature style. Viaducts, grottoes, a colonnaded hall, winding staircases, and semi-closed conversation seats are scattered throughout the space. These creative structures are decorated in multicolored ceramic fragments. A spectacular terrace offers panoramic views of the city and the sea. Gaudí himself loved this area of the city, and his home was located here.
4. Casa Batlló
Yet another amazing Gaudí creation, the UNESCO-listed Casa Batlló is one of the most characteristic Modernist buildings in Barcelona. The fantastical mansion was designed as a private residence for the textile manufacturer Josep Batlló i Casanovas. With its freely swinging shapes and ornamental facade, this dreamlike building looks like a castle from a surreal fairy tale.
5. La Barceloneta
Adjacent to the cruise port, the neighborhood of La Barceloneta borders the long, wide Sant Sebastià Beach, where locals go to sunbathe, surf, and socialize in the many seafood restaurants and tapas venues that overlook the sea. A long promenade lined with palm trees connects the beach area to marinas filled with yachts. You get a good view of the marinas and port area from the Port Cable Car, which ascends from here to hilltop Montjuïc.