Known for its architecture and art, Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonia region of Spain. Visitors from around the world flock to the city to take in the breathtaking buildings, enjoy the ambiance, and bask in the friendliness of the people.
Several landmarks in the city were designed by modernist architect Antoni Gaudí and some are included in the top six must-see attractions in Barcelona. Art museums abound in the city, including a museum dedicated to Picasso.
Stroll through the streets of Barcelona, peak down Gothic alleys, hike in the hills, and meander down sandy Mediterranean beaches. Everywhere you look there is something new to see and experience.
Find a Barcelona luggage storage facility to stow your things while you are exploring this interesting and diverse destination. Many places do not allow large bags inside, so stroll through the city without being inconvenienced.
This Catholic Church is one of the most popular places for tourists to visit in Barcelona, actually, in all of Spain. Officially named the Basilica de la Sagrada Família, this church has been under construction for well over 100 years.
Even though it is technically a perpetual construction zone, it does see over three million visitors each year. Antoni Gaudí was the second architect and his Catalan Modernism style is very prominent in the design of the building.
The original architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar, began the project in 1882 but resigned in 1883 and Gaudí took over. Gaudí died in 1926 and he is buried in the church’s crypt.
The venue is now a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and should not be missed while in Barcelona. Get your tickets online to avoid long lines.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
This was the very last private residence designed by Antoni Gaudí. La Pedrera means stone quarry and comes from the rough-hewn look of the building’s façade. It is a building you absolutely do not want to miss when visiting Barcelona.
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The building was commissioned by Pere Milà and Roser Segimon in 1906. It took Gaudí six years to complete the building. Some diehard Star Wars fans believe the shape of the Casa Milà inspired the design of the stormtrooper helmets.
Casa Milà was completed in 1912 and Milà and Segimon moved into the main floor as their private residence. The other floors housed apartments that were rented out. Located on a popular street, the building quickly gained great fame.
In 1984, the Casa Milà was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the restoration process began. In 1996, the doors were opened to the public and it became a museum dedicated to Antoni Gaudí.
Get your tickets early and check out the schedule of events to see what interesting workshops or exhibits are available while you are here.
While it may seem like you are on an Antoni Gaudí tour, Casa Batlló should not be missed. Designed by Gaudí for the Batlló family, this former townhouse was transformed into an architectural masterpiece.
Nicknamed Casa del Drac or House of the Dragon, the intricate tile façade seems to mimic the scales on a reptile. Considered to be one of Gaudí’s masterpieces, the townhouse was transformed in 1904.
While Casa Batlló has been refurbished several times since the initial design, it has remained true to Gaudí’s vision. The Modernist architecture gives the house a sculpted, flowing look with few straight lines. Skip the lines and purchase your tickets online.
Built during the 13th century, the Barcelona Cathedral was a plain church until the 19th century when it received a facelift. Officially known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, you must check out the Gothic and neo-Gothic façade of this church.
The facelift in the 19th century took away much of the plain Gothic charm of the cathedral and added many neo-Gothic elements. But the side of the building still has much of the original design.
The dome, which stands 295 feet tall, was added in 1913 and in 1969 the vaults and altar also received facelifts. While work continues through the years on this ancient cathedral, it is still a site to see while in Barcelona.
Guided tours are available and the cathedral sees over three million visitors each year. Daily masses and confessions are offered and special baptisms for adults and children can be witnessed.
Pablo Picasso has deep roots in Barcelona, where he moved to as a child. He was a student at La Llotja Art School before he found his very first studio, located in the Gothic Quarter of the city.
The museum opened in 1963, is dedicated to Picasso’s life work, and is home to the biggest collections of his artwork. There are 4,251 pieces on display here and you can easily spend hours at the museum.
Some of Picasso’s first major art pieces are displayed here including The First Communion completed in 1896 and Science and Charity completed in 1897. Plan your visit to the Picasso Museum while you are in Barcelona.
Located on Montcada Street in the La Ribera neighborhood, the Picasso Museum is so large that it is housed in five adjoining palaces. The medieval palaces are a sight to see and you will enjoy the stroll down Montcada Street, taking in the beautiful buildings.
When you get tired of touring inside, head over to Park Güell, one of the best outdoor spaces inside the city to stretch your legs and breathe in the fresh air. Wear comfortable shoes and head out to explore.
The park was supposed to be a housing estate to be developed by Antoni Gaudí and Eusebi Güell. A model home was built but investors were few and far between, causing Gaudí and Güell to abandon the project.
The land was donated to the city to be used as a public park and Park Güell was born. The park opened in 1926 and is home to several manicured gardens and amazing architectural elements that must be seen in person!
Located in the La Salut neighborhood, the park was designed by Gaudí in the Catalan modernism style he is best known for. In turn, the park was named after Gaudí’s good friend, Eusebi Güell.
You do need tickets to get into the park, but you can purchase them online to avoid long lines. Stunning Güell Park was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
No matter why you are in Barcelona or how long you plan to stay, there are several incredible places to experience. Don’t miss these top six must-see attractions in Barcelona.