Worldwide Holiday Specialists

0208 819 1111

We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Brightsun Travel
Best Things To Do In Barcelona

Best Things To Do In Barcelona

Our must-do list in the city that you just can't miss!

Barcelona is a favourite destination for many tourists. At least 9.5 million visitors arrive in the city every year. Their holidays to Barcelona are packed with activities, from admiring the unique architecture to paddle surfing. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a province in the north-east of Spain. It's also one of the busiest ports on the Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning to pay this vibrant city a visit, there are many attractions and activities to look forward to.

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia

Barcelona holidays must include a pilgrimage to La Sagrada Familia. Even if church architecture isn't on your list of hobbies, you'll be utterly amazed at the originality of the Basilica of the Holy Family. The imaginative design by the Catalonian architect and artist, Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), is a strange blend of modernism and Gothic.

The first stone of this immense cathedral was laid in 1882, and more than 100 years later, the building is still unfinished. Only nine of Gaudi's eighteen spires have as yet been put in place. You can view the interior, which is quite magical. Instead of pillars, you'll see a forest of stone trees and branches illuminated by multicoloured, stained-glass windows.

There's a poignancy to Gaudi's devotion to the cathedral where he then lived and worked. While walking home one night, he was hit by a tram and died later of his injuries. However, his creation lives on and may even be completed by the anniversary of his death.

Parc Guell

You'll find this uniquely beautiful park built into Carmel Hill amongst the Collserola Mountains on the outskirts of Barcelona. There are winding paths and sloping terraces filled with thousands of trees and plants. They include olive trees, magnolias, Aleppo pines, lavender and rosemary. Amazingly, the land was once derelict, but it was originally rejuvenated in the early twentieth century as a private housing estate.

The Parc Guell is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's also an ecological haven for many creatures including short-toed eagles. As you walk through the park, you'll discover more of Antoni Gaudi's work. There's a fantasy influence in his sweeping balustrades covered in mosaics. However, it's El Drac, the colourful mosaic salamander, that's the Parc's most famous Gaudi creation.

La Rambla and Passeig de Gràcia

Tourists love to spend part of their holidays in Barcelona exploring the main streets. Passeig de Gràcia stretches for just 1.3 kilometres (0.8 miles). It has been one of Barcelona's most fashionable avenues since the early nineteenth century. Exclusive shops are filled with designer fashions and handmade chocolates. However, Passeig de Gràcia is famous for being the most expensive shopping district of not only Barcelona, but the rest of Spain.

When you're looking for souvenirs, join the other tourists and visit La Rambla instead. Measuring 1.7 kilometres (0.7 miles), La Rambla has tree-lined pavements, outdoor cafes and many kiosks selling interesting bric-a-brac. La Rambla connects the historic port of the city to the central square, the Plaça de Catalunya, where you'll find cafes and beautiful fountains.

Magic Fountain of Montjuic

This spectacular water display is an essential part of Barcelona holidays. It's not just a fountain, but a coordinated extravaganza of lighting effects, music and acrobatic water. The fountain contains 3,620 jet spray fitments. They release more than 3,100 litres (700 gallons) of water every second. Some sprays reach a height of almost fifty-two metres (170 feet).

The fountain was designed by Carles Buïgas, who had become something of an expert in water monuments. He intended it to be a centrepiece of Barcelona's Great Universal Exhibition of 1929. Officials believed his 1928 plans were too elaborate to be ready in time. However, Buïgas employed 3,000 workers on the project and unveiled his fountain's first performance on the eve of the Exhibition. You'll find the Magic Fountain near the Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina.

Poble Espanyol Spanish Village

The Great Universal Exhibition of 1929 inadvertently created another of Barcelona's most popular tourist attractions. The organisers moved 117 buildings of architectural interest from around Spain to a site at the top of Montjuic Hill. They hoped to showcase the traditional architecture and culture of a typical Spanish village. The squares and alleyways of Poble Espanyol were only meant to be temporary, but the village became an instant success.

It's now an open-air museum surrounded by parkland and picnic areas. You can enjoy relaxing while admiring amazing views of the city. There are many craft displays such as traditional Spanish glass-blowing. However, some of the most popular events are the displays of Flamenco dancing and music. There is also traditional Spanish cuisine to savour at the village's restaurants.

Barceloneta Beach

Barcelona has a shoreline of 4.5 kilometres (2.7 miles). As the main beach of the city, it's an ideal place to start your beach activities such as volleyball or relaxing on one of the sun loungers. Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea is monitored by lifeguards stationed on the beach. Popular water sports include sailing, paddle boarding, jet skiing and kayaking. You can also try your hand at parasailing and wind surfing.

Refreshments are usually available from small beach bars. You'll find similar facilities at each of Barcelona's beaches. These include Somorrostro Beach next to the Port Olympic, Sant Miquel, Bogatell and Levant Beach. Once the sun goes down, the beachfront clubs come to life, offering some of the best entertainment and music in the city.

Golf Courses

Golf is one of the most popular activities in Barcelona. Real Club de Golf El Prat, established in 1912, is one of the oldest. The beautiful parkland landscape has developed into a 45-hole course most recently designed by Greg Norman. Barcelona Golf Club was launched in 1990 with an 18-hole course created by Jose Maria Olazabal. It features plenty of hazards and wonderful views of the Montserrat Mountains. Other popular courses include Club de Golf Llavaneras, Golf Montanyà and Golf la Roca.

Tibidabo Amusement Park

Holidays to Barcelona should always include a trip to the Tibidabo Amusement Park. It's located at the top of Tibidabo, the most prominent hill in the Serra de Collserola mountains. You don't even have to enter the park itself to enjoy the magnificent views of Barcelona and the surrounding countryside. The park was planned in 1899 and opened in 1905, making it one of the oldest amusement parks to still be functioning.

You'll find traditional carousels, roller coasters and ferris wheels, but one of the most popular rides in Tibidabo is Avió, the Red Aeroplane. When it was launched in 1928, air travel was very limited, but Avió provided visitors with the same sensation of flying. Although the majority of tourists fly to Barcelona, there's something quite exhilarating about circling high above the city. When you've worked up an appetite, you can visit one of the park's restaurants.

Picasso Museum

The artist, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), is famous for establishing cubism in the first decade of the twentieth century. He lived in Barcelona from his early teens until the age of twenty-three. Picasso adored the city and often returned for holidays to Barcelona rather than his childhood home of Malaga.

The museum was developed by Jaume Sabartés, one of Picasso's friends. It opened in 1963 and features more than 4,000 of Picasso's sketches. You'll find the museum in an atmospheric mansion in El Born, the mediaeval Old Town of Barcelona. It's not far from La Rambla, one of the main tourist streets.

Barrio Gotica

The oldest neighbourhood in the Old Town of Barcelona is known as Barrio Gotica or the Gothic Quarter. It's here that you'll realise how old the city actually is. Its foundations are more than 2,000 years old. You can see the remains of the ancient Roman walls of Barcino as the city was then known. In the local museum there are also underground displays of the remnants of the ancient city's houses. The district now includes many shopping opportunities. There's a range of exclusive boutiques with designer fashions and souvenirs.

You can also take time out for relaxing at a pavement cafe in one of the squares before visiting the nearby cathedral. The Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia dates back to 1298 and features magnificent Gothic revival architecture. Stroll back to El Born, and you can visit the Museu de la Xocolata, or the Chocolate Museum. You can indulge in your favourite confectionery shaped like of some Barcelona's most famous landmarks. The nearby Columbus Monument is dedicated to Christopher Columbus who sailed to America in 1492. He was allegedly the first explorer to return with cacao beans, which are used to produce chocolate.


There are fascinating markets to visit throughout the week. La Boqueria is one of the largest that's noted for fresh produce. Mercadillo de la Placa de Sant Josep specialises in works of art, often by local artists. It's only open during the weekend. On Thursdays, you can enjoy browsing through the antiques, dolls and unusual artefacts at El Mercat Gotic. Perhaps the most atmospheric of all is the Christmas market. The decorative stalls feature many gifts, seasonal delicacies, Christmas trees and festive novelties. It has been held every year since 1960 outside the equally captivating Sagrada Familia.

Holidays in Barcelona

Barcelona is the perfect base for a short or long stay away. The city is expansive, but its attractions are all very accessible and centrally located or just a short metro ride away. Browse our holidays in Barcelona and find the perfect base in this vibrant city.

Send us a message

Book with Confidence

Stay connected with Brightsun Travel

100% Secure Payment Gateway

We Accept