Top 20 Things to do in Barcelona
September 29, 2014


Mireia Garmendia is a native Spaniard and SAI is lucky to call her the SAI Barcelona Program Coordinator!

Below are her top 20 things do in Barcelona – from a local’s perspective!

  1. Sagrada Familia: world famous Modernist Architect Gaudí’s masterpiece.
  2. Magic Fountain Show at Montjuïc: large and spectacularly colorful fountain performance with music, built in 1929.
  3. Picasso Museum & Born Neighborhood: most extensive collection of artwork by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso in a neighborhood full of history: Santa Maria del Mar church, Fossar de les Moreres, war memorial for the siege of Barcelona (1713-1714), among others.
  4. Las Ramblas: a promenade through Las Ramblas is one of the city’s main attractions.
  5. Modernist Parc Güell: Gaudí’s urban design combining city and vegetation in a park full of mosaics with a great view of Barcelona.
  6. Route of Modernist Buildings: starting from Gaudí’s and other modernist architects’ buildings at Passeig de Gràcia street (Casa Batlló, Casa Ametller, Casa Lleó Morera, Casa Milà etc) to the biggest Modernist complex in the world recently open to the public after restoration: Hospital de Sant Pau Modernist Complex!
  7. Gothic Quarter, a neighborhood full of history: a walking tour through the old Jewish quarter, the Roman remains (Museu d’historia de Barcelona at plaça del Rei), the ancient city wall, etc.
  8. Montjuïc Hill – Castle, Olympic Stadium and Poble Espanol: take a walk through Montjuïc park to the castle, enjoy the views or take the cable car, visit the 1992 Olympic Stadium or get lost in Poble Espanyol where you will find full-scale replicas of typical houses from different parts of Spain.
  9. Montserrat & Cava Cellar: Montserrat is a multi-peak mountain that hosts a Monastery and many legends. It has become one of the symbols of Catalunya and it is less than an hour away from Barcelona in the wine region. There is also a Cava cellar to visit where you can try fantastic sparkling wine.
  10. FCB Museum and Camp Nou visit: Barça soccer stadium is a must in the city for those who like sports (of the best soccer clubs in the world).
  11. Barcelona Beach Promenade (Passeig Marítim) with its Mediterranean Xiringuitos:  visit the old port and the new olympic port, and the numerous beaches with their xiringuitos (bars and/or restaurants on the beach sand). Also pass through the Barceloneta and Poble Nou neighborhoods, one of the best places to enjoy the typical Mediterranean drink, horchata!
  12. Seafood and Rice: enjoy the Mediterranean’s amazingly fresh seafood and rice! Escriba Xiringuito Restaurant offers some of the best rice dishes in the city, right at the Passeig Marítim, including different paellas, black rice and fideuà.
  13. Artsy Side of the City: discover all the art that Barcelona has to offer through its museums and exhibits: Fundació Joan Miró, MNAC (Jewel of the Catalan Romanesque), Palau Robert with its free exhibits, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Vinçon Design store at Passeig de Gràcia (mandatory visit for Design lovers), etc.
  14. Urban Art in Raval neighborhood: discover Barcelona’s urban culture, music and good food in the Raval neighborhood, which hosts essential art centers like CCCB and MACBA museums and now also the Filmoteca arthouse cinema.
  15. Tapas & Pintxos dinner: taste and share these delicious bites for a relaxing evening!
  16. Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres: this museum is dedicated to the artist Salvador Dalí in his home town of Figueres in Catalonia. It has to be seen as a whole, as the great work of Salvador Dalí, for everything in it was conceived and designed by the artist in order to offer visitors a real experience of getting inside his captivating and unique world.
  17. Tibidabo: The journey alone is worthy: take the old tramway Tramvia Blau, and then the funicular to the top of Mount Tibidabo. Once there, enjoy a children’s amusement park and the Sagrat Cor, Barcelona’s most widely visible landmark. But the biggest draw is the view over the city.
  18. Liceu and Palau de la Música Catalana: these two music halls offer a big variety of concerts and both buildings are full of history and art. Palau de la Música Catalana offers guided tours as well, since it is a very important Modernist building by Modernist architect Lluís Domenech I Montaner.
  19. Gothic & Romanesc style churches: the Cathedral (best gothic religious building and its beautiful cloister with geese), Santa Maria del Mar (best Catalan gothic style, unique!), Sant Pau del Camp (special Romanesque style), Santa Maria del Pi and Sant Pere de les Puel·les, among others.
  20. A Local Festival for Traditions and Music: experience a local festival full of traditions like castellers (human castles), correfoc (fire-run performance), fireworks displays, etc. Barcelona’s main festival is called La Mercé, but also Festes de Gràcia, Saint John’s festival, Festes de Sants, etc.


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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.