Ultimate Guide for Entertaining Visitors in Barcelona

Victoria Ernst headshot
Victoria Ernst
April 3, 2024

Got visitors in Barcelona? Play tour guide with them and plan out these activities for a memorable experience. 

  1. Parc Guell

If I’m going to be honest, I thought Parc Guell was a bit overrated when I went, but it’s a must-see. You get a taste of Gaudi's architecture, some paths to stroll along, and many spots for Instagrammable photos. If it’s a clear day, you might get lucky and see the skyline with the beach in the background. Make sure you secure your tickets a couple of days in advance. 

2. Walk the boardwalk from Poblenou to Barceloneta. 

The boardwalk stretches for nearly four miles in one direction and is a beautiful place to walk. If it’s a nice day, you can stop for a dip in the ocean or lie down on the beach. Bonus points if you make it to The Surf House, a great brunch spot in Barceloneta, before closing.

3. Explore the Gothic Quarter.

The Gothic Quarter is one of my favorite parts of Barcelona. I love how the architecture is different from the rest of the city. Personally, I like the architecture of the cathedral in the Gothic quarter better than that of the Sagrada Familia.

 4. Stroll through Parc de la Ciutadella. 

As a New Yorker, I like to call this park “Barcelona’s Central Park”. It’s a super clean, beautiful green space to take a stroll. You’ll also see several landmarks, including the golden chariot waterfall and the Parliament of Cataluyna. Doesn’t sound interesting? You can go for a row boat ride, check out the two greenhouses with exotic plants, or go to the zoo instead. 

5. Go to an FC Barca game. 

Even if you’re not a soccer fan, the FC Barca games have such a fun atmosphere and show the true spirit of Barcelona. It’s impossible not to have fun there. The locals chant and make it a lively, exciting atmosphere. My mother isn’t a soccer fan, and she had a blast cheering on Barca and doing waves with the rest of the crowds. Pro tip: you get a discount if you book seven tickets together.

6. Go for tapas.

You can’t leave Barcelona without trying tapas. There are so many different kinds, from vegetarian and pescatarian options to delicious Iberico ham; there’s really something for everyone. You can find great tapas places pretty much in every barrí, though most people recommend going to Poblenou. Check out Timeout.com for the best recommendations based on different price ranges.

7. Try paella. 

Palella is another famous Spanish dish that’s a must-try- especially if you’re a seafood fan. I like to think of it as Spanish friend rice. I think it’s worth paying extra for authentic pallela- the fake stuff tends to have a fishy aftertaste. Or make it yourself and book a cooking class with TripAdvisor! 

8. Check out a museum. 

There are many museums in Barcelona, including the Catalonian National Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Catalonia, and the Picasso Museum. Do your research and see which appeals most to you.

9.  See the Sagrada familia.

It’s free to view the Sagrada from the outside, but you’ll have to buy a ticket to see the inside. Make sure you book in advance, though—since it’s such a popular tourist destination, tickets are usually only available with at least a week’s notice.

10. Go to La Boqueria. 

Sure, La Boqueria is one of the more touristy destinations in Barcelona, but it’s cool to see the all the vendors and the food in one place. As my professor recommends, you’re better off just looking around than buying anything there since it’s catered to tourists.

Honorable mentions:

  1. Tribidabo. This massive hill offers a great view of Barcelona and has an amusement park and hiking trails. It's a great trip if you have the time—just note it will take a day.
  2. Montjuic Castle. Again, the caste is another incredible thing to see, and maybe you can check it out before going to an FC Barcelona game since they’re in the same general area, but otherwise, it is a bit out of the way.
  3. The Gaudi houses. If you’re an art fanatic, a tour will be worth it for you. For me, I'm okay with just seeing the outside- the line isn’t worth it, and I’d rather enjoy other attractions in the city. 
  4. See a Flamenco show. I’ve never done this, but it seems like such a cool cultural experience. If you don’t want to do it with your family, IES Abroad student affairs book tickets in bulk at a discounted rate for its students, so keep an eye out for emails from student affairs!

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Victoria Ernst

Hi, my name is Vic. I'm a junior at Washington and Lee University, and I am a strategic communication and German double major and entrepreneurship minor. I interned in Germany last summer and hope to live abroad after graduation!

2024 Spring
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German Language
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