17 Feb What to see in Barcelona: Top 10 essential places that you must visit
We present you a guide of what to see in Barcelona with the Top 10 essential places that you must visit to meet the authentic spirit of the city
Barcelona has such a number of narrow streets, squares and monuments that are worth visiting that choosing only 10 is almost an impossible task.
However, being aware that we leave out the list authentic works of art and emblematic buildings that we also strongly recommend, we offer you a list of the 10 must-see places that you should know when visiting the city.
1. La Sagrada Familia
Probably the most famous monument in Barcelona and one of the jewels of world architecture, the Sagrada Familia represents the symbols of the Christian faith through a dazzling combination of artistic disciplines.
The exterior has three majestic facades that represent the Nativity, the Passion and the Death of Jesus. The interior is no less impressive, the decoration of the basilica is inspired by natural forms, imitating a large stone forest. After more than a century under construction (the works started in 1882), Gaudí’s masterpiece is expected to be finished in 2026, coinciding with the anniversary of the death of the Catalan architect.
2. Manzana de la discordia
The block known as Manzana de la Discordia , located between Aragó and Consell de Cent streets, joins together in a single facade three masterpieces of the main architects of the Catalan modernism: Casa Lleó Morera (by Lluís Domènech i Montaner) Casa Ametller (by Joan Puig i Cadafalch) and Casa Batlló (by Antoni Gaudí).
Three buildings that have compete in beauty since its construction (the name of Manzana de la Discordia means in English “block of discord”, which came up from the healthy rivalry that existed between its creators) and together, form an authentic open-air museum of architecture in the heart of Barcelona.
3. Park Güell
One of the green lungs of the city designed by Gaudí and turned into an ode to the imagination and fantasy. Park Güell was declared World Heritage by the UNESCO in 1984, thanks to the spectacular set of terraces, mosaics and sculptures that fuse perfectly architecture with nature.
Among them it highlights the charismatic salamander that presides over the fountain at the main entrance and which has become one of the icons of Barcelona.
The visit to Montjuïc will allow you to know some of the most beautiful gardens, the Olympic facilities and some of the main Cultural Centers of the city.
You can start the tour in the Castle of Montjuïc, a former military fortress located on the top of the mountain, and then you can continue with the spirit of the Olympic Games by visiting the main venues of the Olympic Games in Barcelona 92, such as the Palau Sant Jordi or the Olympic Stadium.
You can’t miss the Poble Espanyol (a collection of buildings representing the typical architecture of all regions of Spain) and the Miró Foundation a beautiful building that houses the permanent collection of works by Miró and a wide range of temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
For its part, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Cataluña (MNAC) has one of the largest collections of medieval art in Europe and, as an ideal plan to end the day, you can contemplate the show of lights, colors and music that offers the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, one of Barcelona’s main tourist attractions and a symbol of the city.
The Amusement Park of Tibidabo, one of the oldest in Europe, has resisted perfectly the passing of time thanks not only to the fun for the whole family of their attractions, but to the magnificent panoramic views of the city that offers from almost any point of the venue. In addition, you can enjoy an extra entertainment by going up with the funicular.
6. La Rambla
La Rambla (where Arc La Rambla Hotel is located) has become by its own merit in the most famous street of Barcelona. From the Plaza de Catalunya (one of the main points of the city) to Port Vell, you can stroll between historic shops, the famous human statues and beautiful stands with flower and local products.
If you are hungry along the way you can regain strength in La Boqueria Market, the largest market in Catalonia. A gastronomic paradise where you can taste the typical Catalan dishes as well as the most exotic products from countries around the world.
7. The Cathedral and Santa Maria del Mar
Well, they are in different places … but leaving one of them out of our way would be unforgivable… 😉
In the heart of the city it rises the imposing Cathedral of Barcelona, one of the best examples of the Gothic in the catalan architecture of the fifteenth century. In the late 19th century the neo-Gothic façade and central tower were completed as inspired by the original 15th-century designs. As a curiosity, in the interior of the cloister there are 13 white geese recolling the 13 martyrdoms that had to suffer Santa Eulàlia (the martyr that gives name to the temple) for refusing to give up its Christian faith.
Relatively close, in the Born district, is located the elegant and imposing church of Santa Maria del Mar, which inspired the famous novel “La Catedral del Mar” (“Cathedral of the Sea”) by Ildefonso Falcones.
8. Laberint d’Horta
The Park of the Laberint d ‘Horta stands out for the beauty of the neoclassical 18th-century neoclassical garden that lends its name to the park, famous for being the stage of the film “El perfume”.
Its exceptional design and the beauty of its details make the labyrinth an architectural marvel where getting lost can be a real pleasure.
9. La Pedrera
If you are still not dazzled by the legacy of Gaudí in Barcelona, La Pedrera will definitely conquer your heart. Both its stone facade and the interior of the building are full with sinuous curves, impossible architectural forms and a decoration that imitates the nature.
Another element to be noted of La Pedrera is its amazing rooftop, full of artistic and symbolic power, with chimneys shaped like warriors that form an impressive army of stone.
10. Hospital de Sant Pau
We conclude our list with the Hospital de Sant Pau, one of the most representative symbols of the Modernism in the city, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
The guided tour will allow you to discover its amazing history (initially built at the beginning of the 20th century as a city-garden for the patients of the hospital) and the secrets this complex which includes underground tunnels, beautiful gardens, sculptures, stained glass windows, mosaics and all kinds of applied Arts.
We have presented you a tour where some outstanding places were not included, such as the Carmel bunkers, the Camp Nou for football fans, the Picasso Museum, the Port Vell or the Barcelona beaches…
But we are open to debate, what do you think of our list? Would you change something?
We are looking forward to hearing your opinion!