*ADDED UPDATE APRIL 2, 2018
I’ve been here for about 9 months now (check out 6 months in..). In being here, I’ve traveled a bit, and I’ve had a few visitors come. With those visitors I’ve had to make a ton of itineraries for various days for people with various interest. I try to pin down the most important tourist stops, the must-see’s, as well as the hidden gems. I still learn about places and see new things every day (still a newbie) so this list will more than likely change. It may not be feasible for everyone to do every single thing on this list, and I’m not suggesting you try to, things listed are for variety.
These activities range from free.99 – $50
A common question I get is how long is a good amount of time to be in Barcelona? You can have a good, semi-superficial trip in 3 days, or a pretty full relaxing trip in 5 days, I personally wouldn’t want to stay here for vacation for more than 7 days, if that’s the case I’d take a bus or train to another part of Spain because, why not.
Keep in mind I’m not listing anything on here that I haven’t done or had a friend do while here.
*note that a lot of places offer discounted ticket prices for various reasons. The most popular one tends to be for students, or on certain days of the week. Make sure to check the websites.
- Walking Tour of El Gotico – the barrio Gotico is home to a lot of important figures and Spanish historical culture. The official Cathedral of Barcelona is there, Picasso’s school, as well as other historical places.
- *La Sangrada Familia – probably the best money you’ll spend to look inside an unfinished masterpiece. I personally did the full tour, up inside the towers. It was very beautiful to see the architecture up close and personal. If you don’t want to pay entry, yeah you’re missing out a bit but outside is almost as pretty to just look at.
- Arc de Triomf/ Ciutadella Parc – the Arc and the walk way that follows it leads to the Parc. If you’re going to go by one you may as well head to the other. Ciutadella has a lot of charming qualities about it as well as a lot of different areas. (small playgrounds, a fountain, an underdeveloped garden house, ping pong, music, dancing, etc. etc.)
- Passeig de Gracia – straight away from the Arc de Triomf this long strip has some Gaudi landmarks such as Casa Batllo and Casa Mila as well as tons and tons of shopping.
- Biking tour of Barcelona
- FCB stadium (Camp Nou)- they have tour times and prices so check the site.
- If you’re going to be here during a game GO! (wear the colors). I checked this out with my little brother, he loved going here!
- *The Picasso Museum – Bring a student ID if you have access to one (if so it’s free!) Nice museum, cool decor, but honestly to me at least not so amazing. its cool to see how his artwork develops and changes over time though, so if you have the time go for it!
- *MACBA- Museum of Contemporary Art – a good reason to check out the Barrio Raval. Skaters are usually in front of the museum and students studying, very chill vibes. The museum in itself is always changing. It’s a pretty cool place to check out and can have some interesting pieces. the walking back and forth can get annoying.
- Walking/Biking Guadi Tour- there are a few different companies that do this.
- Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour – a bit pricey, and Barcelona is very easy to navigate walking wise. But this is a straight to the point, at your leisure tour. I suggest bus tours to anyone who has the money to blow and is here for a shorter time or just doesn’t want to walk much to find the stops. I did this tour when I had older family in town for a day.
- The Barcelona Zoo / The Barcelona Aquarium – honestly, I only recommend this is you have children you need to appease. They’ll love them. I’ve been to both and at least the Aquarium I dont think is that good at all.
- Las Ramblas – because … tourist love it… locals hate it. think of it as the time square of Barcelona. There’s tons of resturants on it that i do not recommend eating at, a bunch of stores for souvenirs purposes, and tons of people lol..
Dining and Entertainment
** these events can be done by going through companies that will put it together and guide you. For shorter trips I recommend that, it saves time. But they can be quite expensive, and replicable for extremely less. Bar hop and give yourself your own tapas and wine tour :).
- Comedy/ Jam Sessions – the city offers a lot of these on different days in different places. For the longest I was going to Craft BCN tue-thurs for both. It was in english and fun. They also have jam sessions Wednesdays and Sundays at Marula €5 cover, great vibes.
- George Payne Pubb – if you’re in town during a game but cant make it to Camp Nou, go to this pub . good food, cold beer, and a great crowd for a match. Or on Tuesdays and Sundays they have Karaoke night !
- Flamenco Show – so Flamenco, although native to Spain isn’t native to Barcelona. Nonetheless the shows here are pretty good. I’ve been to free shows in Barcelona which are pretty interactive and intimate I love them. But I’ve also gone to paid ones and they’re great as well and usually include something more, and from what I’ve looked up rather cheap. a popular two are Los Tarantos and Palacio del Flamenco.
- Craft Barcelona Beers
- ** Tapas Tour – so there are tons of tapas tours; so with that of course the reviews are all over the place. I went on one but I have no idea for the life of me which one it was. It was a fun nice experience, but they tend to be quite expensive ranging from €40-€100
- **Wine Tour – (most good tours are outside of Barcelona) but they exist within Barcelona as well! also can be quite pricey also ranging from about €40-€150
- Sensi Gourmet Tapas in Gotico – Just a nice tapas restaurant that I really really really enjoy.
- Mercat de la Boqueria – a sort of flea and fresh food market off of las ramblas.
- El Born Bar Hopping -down Passeig de Born as well as surrounding blocks, you’ll see lots of options. Tons of bars, that fill up quickly. Recommended ones that I’ve had drunken fun in? Pax, Crepes, Porteño, House of Tequila, Bormuth, etc. etc.
- Poble Sec Tapa Hopping – If you want to avoid paying for the tapas tour go to Poblesec and make a tapas/pinchos tour by yourself. There are a number of resturants directly next to each other with drink and food specials (literally specials of €1-€2 per drink or food
*** a lot of places are free before 1am. Most will have promoters outside the doors trying to get you to use their names, or some require you to put your name on a guestlist online (either their website or Facebook page). If there is a cover, more likely than not it includes a drink.
- Espit Xupitos – because fun shots.. because only €2 .. because pregame
- Port Olimpic (Opium/ Shoko/Catwalk/Pacha) – if you tell a local you’re going to one of these clubs they’ll probably put their noses up at you. But in all honesty they’re pretty okay clubs. They are where most tourist go, mostly i think because they do play a lot of top 40. All of these clubs are along the beach and below the boardwalk. All of these clubs also have a million promoters offering you free entrance before 1am. So you should never have to pay. Opium tends to be the one most tourist hear about right away, its usually top 40 mixed with house music. (During the weekend a little bit of a stush crowd can be there, and recently I had a friend (hispanic) tell me they wouldn’t let her or her friends in because of their hair?.. racist much?) Shoko which I personally tend to like is also top 40 but can surprise you with actual hip-hop here and there or actual pop without mixing it with techno beats. Pacha I actually LOVE Pacha everywhere else BUT here the least, they’re the strictest as far as entrance and the crowd can be younger than the rest, *I’ve edited this part due to more recent encounters.. but I actually had a great time at Pacha on a Wednesday for their Hip-Hop night. Still a bit top40 still a bit fluffy but had bangers so they get a slight pass from me FOR NOW. Catwalk is always a good time, they’re only open on the weekend friday and saturday (unlike the rest that are open all week). They have two levels the main floor that plays real hip hop some reggae and sprinkles top 40, then the upstairs that plays mostly reggaeton and reggae and some afrobeats.
- Placa Reial/Rambla (Jamboree/ Rei de Copas/ Karma/ Ocaña/ BLVD/ MOOG) – Most of these places double as a restaurant during the day, bar/club at night. (I cant speak for the eating part, although they can be quite touristy in placa reial). Jamboree has a jazz show at 8pm and 10pm. Then at night it turns into one of the better (if only actual) Hip-Hop and rap club, open every day of the week. Rei de Copas i’ve only been for the night life,its pretty small and hit or miss but fun when it hits. BLVD, only been once, the music was okay mix of top 40 and reggaeton but I honestly didn’t stay long enough to recommend it or not but it’s pretty popular. Moog is a deep house club that plays disco on the top level, very fun if you’re into that scene.
- Gotico (Sub Rosa/ Tequila 44/ Macarena/ Marula) –
Macarena a good techno club that is open everyday of the week. Marula i honestly can’t tell you much about the everyday scene at Marula lol. I’ve been there on Wednesdays and Sundays. Wednesday is tends to be a jam session whereas Sunday it tends to be live bands. So that’s what I go there for and it’s pretty dope. But I do know it’s open on every regular day also. Sub Rosa has amazing drinks. Tequilla 44, a hit or miss usually go for cheap drinks and sometimes the music is good.
- Razzmatazz – In poblenou area, this club has 5 rooms I believe. Very popular. It’s pretty huge, I’ve gotten lost a few times. each room caters to different music. Downstairs usually is for performances or special DJ’s and would play the more commercial hits if they play them at all. Then they have like an 80s music room, techno, pop, and something else lol. Love this place though, it’s great. If you’re visiting and particular about music I’d check to see who’s playing to make sure you like it.
- Ottozutz – in the gracia area. By far my favorite. I literally went for the first time a month or so ago and keep going back. The main floor is the hip-hop floor where they play very current music. The second floor is split in 2 rooms one top 40 the other reggaeton. This club reminds me of back home a bit, the people who go and the music that’s played.
- Sala Apolo – This is very very popular place here, has a lot of rock concerts here. I’ve only been here once but it was a great time (which could completely be because of liquor). Two floors, when I went on a thursday the bottom floor played old school hip hop and pop, the 2nd floor played 80s hits. It got pretty packed pretty quick.
- White Shisha Lounge – It’s a hookah spot, a bit loungey. People come here dressed and turn up. Good music selection and strong drinks for pretty good prices. I actually like here a lot. It’s in the cut though, in PobleNou
- Park Guell – Although one of the most touristy places, and most of the exhibits are not worth it, in my opinion, but this is definitely a staple to Barcelona and has amazing views.
- Montjuic Hike and fountain show – or to just see the views.
- Tibidabo Hike and (children) Amusement Park
- Barceloneta Beach (or the beaches along the coast but North for a quieter time) – Barceloneta Beach is the more touristy beach in Barcelona, but there are others along the coast for example Bogatell which is more popular among the locals. And the nude beach by the W hotel.
- Ciutadella Park – a big park thats very nice to have a picnic in, do yoga, take a nap, listen to live music, dance, literally anything. It’s a hippy’s paradise and everyone else’s sanction away from the center city.
**** Literally there is shopping everywhere, shopping is top 2 things to do in Barcelona number 1 being to eat lol. Most area’s have the same stores as the others.
- Placa Catalunya – the center of everything
- Passeig de Gracia – for more higher end things
- Corte Ingles – kind of like a Spanish Macy’s and a bit pricey
- Carrer de Pelai – another shopping street like Passeig de Gracia but for regular folk like me with stores I can afford.
- Avinguda del Portal de l’Àngel – another shopping street, but in gotico area
I’m missing tons of things on this list but honestly I’m just way too lazy. Especially in resturants and bars I recommend but literally there are tons and tons and tons of resturants and cafes here, I could name 20 but you’d probably run into 40 more that are just as good !
AH- YES ! I also get asked a lot where’s good to stay.
The center city is considered Plaza Cataluyna, there you’ll be close to a lot of shopping and within walking distance of *some major sites. Me personally would probably stay in Ciutat Vella which consist of Barceloneta, El Gotico, El Born, or La Raval. Thats the main center to everything you’d probably want to see. Personally I prefer Born because it’s a nice area, and still pretty central, but Gotico for vacation is probably lots of fun. Barceloneta is preferred if you’re a beach person. Raval is cheapest but shady as heck. Otherwise, there’s also Poblesec, Poblenou, and Eixample, those are also nice areas, a bit more residential and not directly in the hoopla, but close enough (for vaca I’d probably do poblesec if I had to choose between the three it’s closest to things). Don’t stay in Gracia lol … it’s just far.