Best Things To Do In BarcelonaApril 3, 2020
From Gaudí to Messi, towering architecture to towers built of people, visiting the sea to gorging on produce, Barcelona’s to-do list is as plentiful as its sunny days. It’s a city that seamlessly melds the medievally old with the most modern spectacles. So what really cuts it? Consider this your capsule edit of attractions: the definitive list of what to do in Barcelona for the time-smart traveler.
Catedral de Barcelona
It might not have the quirkiness nor the hype of La Sagrada Família, but it holds court: a giant Gothic temple that looms large against the narrow lanes and matchbox shops. Its site originally housed a Roman temple some 2,000 years ago, when Barcelona was still called Bàrcino (you can track down parts of the old Roman walls and aqueduct nearby). Today, the cathedral’s official name, Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, honors Eulalia, a local girl who refused to accept Roman emperor Diocletian’s demand to recant her Christian faith. It’s beautiful and atmospheric, as religious buildings so often are. Regardless of your personal level of piety, the architecture inside—plus the city view from the short elevator ride to the top—is quite something.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta
“The World Begins With Every Kiss” Mural
Wanderbeak Tours Barcelona – Born to Eat – Tapas & Wine Tour
Park Güell is an almost make-believe landscape: home to Barcelona’s famous mosaic lizard—the image on a thousand postcards—plus spiral towers that look like fairground slides. The city’s grandest park began life as a collaboration between entrepreneur Eusebi Güell (hence the park’s name) and Antoni Gaudí. The lizard stairway and city views from Nature Square, the large open area surrounded by a wavy wall of mosaics. This is where it’s important to know your ticket options. The free ticket gets you into the park, but, honestly, not into the best parts. For that you need a €10 Monumental Cove ticket. Know that you need to book in advance online, and arrive promptly for your allotted slot—there’s zero wiggle room with timing.
Blend and Bottled – Wine Experience
Blend and Bottled’s studio feels like a cool living room with a huge tasting table in place of a sofa, industrial-style exposed brick instead of a TV, and and a drinks cabinet that feels like an above-ground wine cellar. Host Claartje van den Bogaard—who goes by Claire—is the antidote to stuffy, pretentious, wine club events. Yes, her classes are meticulously prepared—you’ll cover wine theory, sniff and taste your way around an aroma wheel, and never dare sip a glass of wine again without swirling it first—but she’s sweet and easygoing.
Santa Maria del Mar
Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site
Built by legendary Modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (he of Palau de la Música Catalana fame) with all the features of Catalan Art Nouveau—extravagant domes, stained glass windows, epic pillars—it was designed to be a building that people enjoyed recuperating in. His vision was a garden city for nursing the sick instead of the clinical-looking spaces we still know today—buildings are oriented for maximum sun exposure, for example. When the hospital was moved further north in 2009, this site went through its own rehabilitation: into a museum and arts venue. It now hosts the runways for Barcelona Fashion Week.