What are the five best things to see and do in Barcelona?

Ryan Craggs

In Barcelona, the streets themselves are works of art, with the city’s combination of ancient and modern. The coastline, hills and paved roads all juxtapose for a city like few others. Here are the five best things to see and do in Barcelona:
 
1. Picasso Museum. Possibly the world’s most famous artist, Pablo Picasso divided most of his life between Barcelona and Paris. With that in mind, the Picasso Museum explores the master’s relationship with the Spanish city, housing more than 3,500 works, composing the most complete collection of his art of any museum in the world.
 
2. La Sagrada Família. There’s a running joke that when something is running past deadline, it will be done after La Sagrada Família. Under construction since 1882 and originally designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudí, the Basilica I Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família looks different from any basilica you’ll see in the world. Made of 22 different stones, the structure boasts eight towers, though it will have 18 once it’s completed. The iconic pillars and façade appear in all brand of souvenir, and a ride to the top will give you another view of the city and its famous cathedral.
 
3. The beach. Surprisingly, Barcelona didn’t focus much attention on its coastline, for tourism purposes, until a redesign for the 1992 Summer Olympics brought about change to the port and shipping waters. But since then, the Mediterranean seaside has given visitors and residents alike just another reason to love the city and its terrific weather.
 
4. Camp Nou. If you visit between August and May, you’ll likely have the opportunity to catch FC Barcelona, one of the world’s most famous and successful soccer (football, to locals) clubs. Camp Nou is the Catalan soccer mecca, holding nearly 100,000 fans for games. Though FCB lost La Liga in 2011 to hated rivals Real Madrid, the team has been on an unprecedented run through European and domestic soccer in the last five years.
 
5. Parc Güell. Architectural master Antoni Gaudí’s playful mind combines nature with mortar in this Modernist park. Multicolored mosaics abound in the park’s man-made structures, including the tiled dragon in the main entrance’s fountain. The Hall of Columns provides its own photo ops within its 86 Doric pillars, while the central terrace gives you spectacular views out on the city, the sea and the mountains behind.

  • On March 12, 2013
    Sònia Graupera answered the question: Sònia Graupera

    Where can you get the best view of Barcelona?

    My favourite place in town to enjoy the views and for free is Carretera de les Aigües, a 16-kilometer path below the Tibidabo amusement park in the Collserola mountain. Accessible with public transportation, the path is very popular to jog, walk, or bike for the locals. If you wish to have a drink there, don't miss the Mirablau Bar.

    In town (seaside) my favourite place is the restaurant Torre d'Alta Mar. In the city, my must-see terraces are: La Dolce Vitae at Majestic Hotel, Alaire Terrace at Hotel Condes de Barcelona, above the Ramblas at Terrace of Hotel Bagués (to see what happens in the heart of the city from the posh side) and the rooftop terrace of Grand Hotel Central (to see the old town).

    For great views of the Montjuïc Mountain ("Olympic Mountain"), go up to the huge circular terrace at the shopping mall Les Arenas des Barcelona — plus there are plenty of restaurants there too.
  • On March 1, 2013
    Sònia Graupera answered the question: Sònia Graupera

    What is public transportation like in Barcelona?

    Public transportation (bus, metro and ferrocarrils) are good, not expensive and safe. Don't hesitate to use them. For more information check the official website http://www.tmb.cat/en/home they can easily answer how to arrive to your destination, time and what to use. I suggest you download the apps, really useful
    Buy a ten ride card (called T10, 1 zone is for all Barcelona), you can change during 1,5hs from bus to metro and to another bus line. Worth!
    For transportation from the airport I always book a Mercedes from Taxi Class
  • On March 1, 2013
    Sònia Graupera answered the question: Sònia Graupera

    Where can you get the best view of Barcelona?

    My favourite place in town to enjoy the views and for free is the Water road, or "Carretera de  les aigües", it's a 16kms path below the Tibidabo amusement park in the Collserola mountain. Accessible with public transportation. Very popular to jog, walk, or bike for the locals. If you wanna have a drink there, don't miss the Mirablau bar.
    In town (seaside) my favourite places are the restaurant Torre d'alta mar, In the city my must terraces are: La dolce Vita at Majestic Hotel, just in front Alaire Terrace at Condes de Barcelona hotel, in the Rambles the Terrace of Hotel Bagués to see what happens in the heart of the city from the posh side, as well to see the old town from the rooftop terrace of Grand Hotel Central, and for great views of the Montjuïc mountain (olympic mountain) go up the huge circular terrace at the shopping mall Les Arenas at Espanya square, plenty of restaurants to eat out there.
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  • On March 1, 2013
    Sònia Graupera answered the question: Sònia Graupera

    What is public transportation like in Barcelona?

    Public transportation (bus, metro and ferrocarrils) are good, not expensive and safe. Don't hesitate to use them. For more information check the official website http://www.tmb.cat/en/home they can easily answer how to arrive to your destination, time and what to use. I suggest you download the apps http://www.tmb.cat/en/descarregues-i-aplicacions really useful
    Buy a ten ride card (called T10, 1 zone is for all Barcelona), you can change during 1,5hs from bus to metro and to another bus line. Worth!
    For transportation from the airport I always book a Mercedes from http://www.taxiclassrent.com/
  • On March 1, 2013
    Sònia Graupera answered the question: Sònia Graupera

    What language is spoken in Barcelona?

    Catalan and Spanish are the 2 official languages in Catalonia. In Barcelona both are widely spoken. Amazing but true, you will rarely find a taxi driver who speaks English, or if you ask in the street is not very common to speak fluent English. It's a big gap. If you speak some Spanish you will come along very well, if you want to get more in the Catalan culture, you can learn some words before your arrival http://www.parla.cat/pres_catalaenlinia/AppPHP/login/index.php?lang=en
  • On February 5, 2013
    Mai Pham answered the question: Mai Pham

    What are the five best Barcelona food experiences?

    Paella, Photo by Mai Pham 1. Jamon Iberico. Order it at a tapas bar, or straight from a vendor in one of Barcelona's many food markets. Don't think about it, just do it.

    2. Lobster paella. A good paella is hard to find outside of Spain. In Barcelona, head to Barceloneta for some of the best paella in the world, or visit one of the market-adjacent little restaurants for a decadent paella with seafood purchased fresh from the market.  

    3.  Navajas, almejas, ciperones, sepia and pulpo. There are five things I try to eat as much of as I can while in Barcelona, and they all have to do with seafood. Razor clams, clams, squid, sepia and octopus are some of the best you'll find in the world. Simply grilled or steamed (in the case of clams), with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon, the pleasure you'll experience from their taste and texture will rival many of the Michelin starred experiences in the city. Head to Kiosko Universal in La Boqueria or Cal Pep for a Michelin-starred omakase-style sampling.

    4. Patatas Bravas.  Potatoes in spicy tomato sauce are one of the quintessential hot tapas you'll find in the city. Done right, the slightly crispy skin combined with the smoother, soft textures of the potato and the added zing of tangy spice are simple, but out of this world.

    5. Tapas. You'll find countless tapas bars in Barcelona, some mediocre, others excellent. For an honest experience among locals, head to La Bombeta in Barcelona and make sure you can order in Spanish. The almost surly middle-aged waitstaff take pride in the fact that they only speak Spanish. For specialty gourmet tapas, head to Bubo in the Barrio Gotico. Order any number of tapas from their menu and revel in the beauty of the dishes you receive: potato croquettes, pulpo a la gallega, albondigas, sardines, and more.


  • On October 18, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    What are the five best places to eat in Barcelona?

    Jean Luc Figueras, Comerç 24, Casa Tejada — which is now probably less trendy, because it was trendy 25 years ago. But Comerç 24 is very recent. Barcelona is a city that renews itself all the time. I just feel good there — it’s a good vibe.
  • On October 18, 2012
    Ken Oringer answered the question: Ken Oringer

    What are the five best Barcelona food experiences?

    Well you have to get percebes, but they are really hard to find now and very expensive. I think angullas are another one, which are baby eels. Also I would say, obviously the jamon iberico. It’s something that everyone talks about, but every time I go to Spain, I can’t stay away from it. 
  • On October 18, 2012
    Ken Oringer answered the question: Ken Oringer

    What are the five best places to eat in Barcelona?

    Well now the Adrià brothers have two new places that I am dying to go to — one is called Tickets and one is called 41 Degrees. One is a cocktail/tapas place and the other is a tapas place. So I can’t wait to check those out.

    There is another one called Dos Pallellos; so it’s two things that are near and dear to my heart. It is a Spanish guy cooking Asian tapas — really funky, Asian-inspired stuff.

    We love a lot of the classic ones like Quimette & Quimette, that’s spectacular. Everything comes from a can there. A lot of Americans say “How can you eat there when everything comes from a can?” But it works. They get the best of the best. You’re going to eat some razor clams from a can that are probably better than if they were fresh.

    Tapas 24 that has a creative mind behind traditional tapas. All the food there is spectacular.
  • On August 16, 2012
    Ryan Craggs answered the question: Ryan Craggs

    What are the five best Barcelona food experiences?

    You’ll be hard-pressed to find a place with food as varied and fresh as Barcelona; its location on the Mediterranean and closeness to the mountains give the city the best of both the land and sea. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the five best food experiences in Barcelona:
     
    1. La Boqueria. You name it, and if it’s indigenous to Catalonia and edible, you’ll find it at the famous La Boquiera. This expansive market sells the freshest fruits, vegetables and seafood around — and you can even have your purchases prepared in corners of the market, so you can nosh while you shop around.
     
    2. Pa amb tomàquet. It sounds simple — bread with tomato — and that’s what makes pan con tomate beautiful. Find yourself a restaurant with terrace seating and enjoy this typical dish that squashes and spreads tomato over the bread, topping it off with ham, sausage or cheese.
     
    3. Arròs negre. While in Barcelona, don’t shy away from black rice, a variation of paella made with squid’s ink. Each region has its own take on paella, and Catalonia’s specializes in seafood. The squid’s ink isn’t like many ingredients you’ll ever have — and that’s why it must be tried.
     
    4. Cava. If you’re at all into wine, then you must drink like the locals by sipping on a glass of cava, the Spanish version of Champagne. What better place to have Spain’s sparkling wine than in the very place from which it hails?
     
    5. Crema Catalana. Similar to the French dessert crème brulee, crema catalana is a custard dish traditionally served on St. Joseph’s Day. The custard is often flavored with lemon, orange zest or cinnamon, and the sugar is traditionally caramelized with a special iron broiler, as opposed to the crème brulee technique under an open flame.
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