There are plenty of amazing things to see in Barcelona including beautiful squares, wide open spaces and incredible art and architecture. While some parts of the city are historical, rustic and uniquely Spanish, others are modern and culturally diverse. There are some beautiful squares such as Plaça de Catalunya and Plaça Reial and the Gothic Quarter is one of the most charismatic areas of any city. To help you decide on what to see, we have compiled a shortlist of the best things to see in Barcelona.
Barcelona is the city which Pablo Picasso personally chose to host his museum. It is made up of five conjoined palaces which have been restored and filled with Picasso’s fabulous works. While the museum doesn’t contain any of Picasso’s famous pieces, it contains many of his early works including those from his Blue and Rose Periods. As beautiful and detailed as these painting and ceramics are, Picasso was a prolific artist meaning the museum may take a few hours to get round!
Camp Nou is the home ground of FC Barcelona and, with a capacity of more than 96,000, is the largest stadium in Europe. Camp Nou has hosted many momentous occasions such as Olympic events, concerts and even a mass for 121,000 people by Pope John Paul II, for which he was in which he was made an honorary citizen of Barcelona.
The name of the stadium was changed in 2000 when the majority of fans who responded to a poll stated that they preferred “Camp Nou” to “Estadi del FC Barcelona”. The stadium features an expansive memorabilia shop, a number of mini-pitches and the second most visited museum in Catalonia. Whether you are a fan of football or not, if you’re in the city on a game day you should grasp the opportunity as the breath-taking atmosphere creates a truly unforgettable experience.
Spain is famous for its love of opera and this manifests itself in Barcelona’s breath-taking opera houses. Perhaps the grandest of these is the Liceu Theatre which is located halfway down La Rambla – Barcelona’s main street. The Liceu was opened in 1837 but was rebuilt 100 year later on this site. The building has survived two fires and a bombing, but not without being rebuilt twice! The theatre has 2,292 seats on six levels but no royal box, as funding for the construction of the theatre came entirely from private sources, rather than from the Spanish monarchy.
At the Liceu you can watch opera, ballet, recitals and child-friendly adaptations. There are also some late-night performances and concerts in the foyer. Tickets can sometimes be purchased for next to nothing so it’s always worth getting in touch with the theatre directly. There are also guided or “unguided” tours available.
Park Güell is an enchanting and surreal park designed by Antoni Gaudí. The park was intended as a Bourgeois housing development but when the first and only house didn’t sell, Gaudí bought it and truly made the park his own. The house is now the Gaudí House Museum and the park is now one of Barcelona’s most-visited attractions. Situated on the hill of El Carmel, Park Güell is on a number of levels and landscaped in a fantastically unique way. The park features illusory architecture, and undulating balustrade-cum-bench and a large stone salamander named “el drac”. The park contrasts pattern and randomness with the use of mosaic, camouflage and other elements which have simply been thrown together. Gaudí absolutely let loose on these 17 hectares of hillside but his magical, magnificent vision was never fully realised as the park remains unfinished.
There is a small entrance fee but it is well worth the price to see Guadí’s beautiful buildings, benches and mosaics. What’s more, a further 20 minute walk up the hill will provide amazing views of both the park and the city. Alternatively, you could go to the top of Tibidabo Mountain for even more commanding views of Bacelona.