I have yet to run out of things to do in Barcelona and I only have a couple of days left in this amazing city. As sad as that is, I have compiled my favorite things I have done in Barcelona that I think everyone should try and do. Now some of these activities are free (yay!) while others you do have to pay for but are still 100% worth it.
1. Walk around the Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter is directly off of Las Ramblas and is the oldest part of the city. With quaint narrow streets, you will find cute boutiques and good restaurants. It is so easy to get turned around in this neighborhood which makes it even more of an adventure. Make sure you have ample free time when you explore the Gothic Quarter because you will definitely get distracted by the stunning architecture and spend more time in shops thank you probably anticipated.
2. Bunkers del Carmel
The Bunkers del Carmel is a lookout spot on the hills behind Barcelona and arguably one of the best places to watch the sunset. It is definitely a bit of a climb to get up here, but the views make up for all the hard work you put in. I recommend ordering a pizza from a local restaurant by your house and taking it up there to share with your friends. When you are up there it is definitely more of a local’s spot so you will be hanging out with people who live in Barcelona full time.
3. Park Guell
This is a park built by Gaudi with amazing views of Barcelona because you are on the top of the city. It is a huge park that you can spend the whole afternoon exploring. You will find one of the most popular photo sports with the mosaic tile benches. Beware if you do go in the summertime the Barcelona heat will get you when climbing up all the stairs getting there, so I highly recommend bringing a water bottle.
4. Picnic at the Citadel Park
This picnic may have been one of my favorite things my friends and I did because we were able to be outside eating an amazing charcuterie board all while enjoying the amazing weather with each other’s company. Although the work to make the charcuterie board took a little extra time than we expected it ended up being totally worth it. Due to the temperate climate, this is something you can do at any point in the year.
5. Sagrada Familia
You cannot go to Barcelona without visiting Sagrada Familia. This is another Gaudi masterpiece in Barcelona and by far my favorite one that I visited. It is a massive church that is still not finished but is still stunning. This is something you need to book ahead of time, since they have a modified schedule due to COVID, so make sure you plan accordingly. The facade is incredibly unique with intricate sculptures around all sides and when you enter you will be enamored with the stained glass. Something to know before going is that you cannot have your shoulders showing so make sure to wear a short sleeve shirt.
6. Casa Batllo
This was the first spot that my friends and I visited that has a worldwide reputation. This is another Gaudi creation and if you haven't caught onto this, yet he was one of the main architects of Barcelona. This is a beautiful home right on Passeig de Gracia and in one of my favorite neighborhoods Barcelona. This is an exhibit you do have to pay to get into and it is totally worth it in my opinion because you are getting an audio-guided tour and amazing views of Barcelona from the rooftop. I had never seen anything so architecturally unique in my travels before so if you are looking for a cool experience that doesn't take up your entire day, I would definitely recommend this.
7. Make up a Tapas Tour and do it in El Born
Barcelona has some of the best food I have ever had and there is an amazing restaurant or tapas bar on almost every street. If you are looking to get the full tapas experience El Born is the place to do it. It is a young and vibrant neighborhood with some of the best tapas I have ever had. You are able to make reservations at some restaurants but for others, you just walk in and see if they can seat you. No matter what restaurants you go to, you will be bound to try something amazing.
8. Go to a beach in Barcelona or just outside
Barcelona is located right on the beach and if you are there during the summer or warmer months it's something you have to do. If you are looking for a little bit more of an adventure and to get away from the crowds of the Barcelona beaches, I would recommend heading up north to Costa Brava. These beaches are probably some of the most stunning I have ever been to and would highly recommend visiting no matter what time of year you are in Barcelona. They are only about 1 ½ hours outside of Barcelona by bus and tickets are relatively affordable. But if you are looking to stay close, the Barcelona beaches are still great.
9. Rent boats in the Citadel Park
Even though this is at the bottom of this list does not make it last in my mind! This was the perfect afternoon activity and something you can do for as long as you want depending on how many people are there. My friends and I rented two boats for 30 minutes and paid a couple of euros each. This was a super relaxing activity and made you feel like you weren't in the middle of a metropolitan city. After the boats, we decided to explore the park a little more and then made the decision that we had to come back here for a picnic and that this park is a go-to spot if you spend time in Barcelona.
10. Go to a rooftop terrace to get an amazing view of Barcelona
There are rooftop terraces scattered all across Barcelona and you cannot go wrong with anyone you pick. My favorite ones my friends and I visited was the one right across from Sagrada Familia called the Ayre Hotel. The rooftop looks right out onto Sagrada Familia, and it is like you are right on top of it. This is just one rooftop amongst many in Barcelona! Before going make sure you make a reservation because a lot of these rooftops are part of hotels so do your planning ahead of time.
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<p>Hey! My name is Ellie Carter, I am a senior in college studying media advertising and minoring in political science and Spanish at Indiana University. I am studying abroad on the Barcelona Summer - Language and Area Studies - Summer 2021 and am looking forward to all that I get to share with you about my time here. In my free time, I love cooking, spending time with my friends, and running. I am excited to explore the city through food and find hidden gems in Barcelona as well as other Spanish cities. I am excited to share my experience with you as a navigate studying abroad in Spain!</p>