1. Park Guell
Experience the utter enchantment of Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, and wander through his 42-acre wonderland, Park Guell.
(And one of my own personal favorite spots!)
Step into a dreamland and explore the park’s whimsical shapes and sculptures. Get lost in its mystical alleyways and feel its strange, yet natural, familiarity. Though visitors can explore 95% of the park for free, you’ll need a ticket to the monumental zone if you want to see the park’s most iconic sites. To avoid all the lines, book your tickets online. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
Run up the central staircase and find the the colorfully-crafted ceramic dragon. Feel free to snap some photos with him–I promise he won’t bite.
Before you leave, be sure to make it up the hill and see one of the park’s most famous icons: the serpentine bench. Its colorful mosaic tiles twist and turn above the city like a snake, giving the bench its name. Oh, and did I mention the view?
I know right?! Paradise.
Address: 08024 Barcelona, Spain
2. La Boqueria
While inevitably strolling down the famous street of La Rambla, make your way over to La Boqueria. Walk through the grand iron gates and let your senses soar in this vast and vibrant marketplace.
La Boqueria is as colorful as a crayon box and is a mixing pot of cuisines and cultures. You can find almost anything here... from fruits and meats, to cheeses and treats. La Boqueria is truly a food lover’s paradise.
Saunter through the market in the morning while it’s still in full swing. It’s a perfect place for people watching. Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part: IT’S FREE (if of course, you manage to walk out of there without succumbing to the thousands of tasty temptations…)!!
Hours: Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 8:30
Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
3. Palau de la Música Catalana
Visit the famous Art Nouveau music hall and give your eyes and ears a thrill. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this place is sure to please. Stop by the Concert Auditorium, where you’ll find a gorgeous interior decorated with flower motifs and a colorful, stainglass skylight said to represent the sun. Guided tours are available in multiple languages; but note, the palau is still a working music hall with live performances, so tours may not always be available. Check and book online before planning to tour. If you wish to attend an event as well (I highly recommend it!), you can find a schedule of events here.
Address: C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Phone:+34 932 95 72 00
4. Casa Mila
Venture over to Casa Mila for another one of Gaudi’s mosaic masterpieces. Also known as La Pedrera, the building is famous for its unique shapes and sculptures. Head up to the roof and find yourself transported into a psychedelic dream filled with strange statues and winding walkways.
Tip: You can also purchase the ‘Gaudi’s Pedrera: The Origins’ ticket and experience the museum by night to enjoy an audiovisual show with lights and colors.
Address: Provença, 261-265, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Monday-Sunday 9AM-6:30PM, 7-9PM
5. Hospital de Sant Pau
Take a little trip to the neighborhood of El Guinardó, and discover the surprising beauty of Sant Pau Hospital. Yes, that’s right– a hospital. But don’t be fooled, it feels more like a fairytale city than a collection of hospital buildings.
Still in use until 2009, this collection of former medieval hospitals is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but according to their website, it’s also the largest Art Nouveau Site in the world! Who would’ve thought? Purchase tickets for the guided tour and learn about the hospital’s fascinating history. With its domes, towers, sculptures, gardens, mosaic ceilings and stained-glass windows, this site is sure to delight.
Address: Carrer de Sant Quintí, 89, 08026 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 932 91 90 00
6. The Barcelona Cathedral (La Seu)
Take in Barcelona’s Gothic quarter and marvel at the raw splendor of the Barcelona Cathedral. More commonly referred to as La Seu, the cathedral proudly sits in Pla de la Seu, almost at the center of the Gothic Quarter. Note its famous 13th-century architecture including its spires and gargoyles.
Tip: Try to visit the cathedral on a Saturday at 6:30 P.M. or Sunday at noon for a true taste of Catalan culture. Watch in amazement as people gather in front of the cathedral and hold hands to dance the Sardana (a traditional Spanish circle dance).
Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
7. La Sagrada Família
Last but not least, head over to one of Barcelona’s biggest attractions: La Sagrada Familia.
Though its first brick was laid in 1882, construction on the church still continues today. Gaudi fused Gothic elements with that of Art Nouveau to create the iconic exterior found in pictures and postcards alike. Though it may look like a clump of mud from afar, as with most things in life, everything is not what it seems. Its hidden details tell stories, so look closely, and I guarantee you’ll be rewarded.
Get a glimpse of heaven as you walk inside and take in all its glory. Its light, airy, and bright interior is a stark contrast from its dull, harsh-looking outer walls.
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Enjoy Barcelona’s brilliant beauty!