Barcelona Travel Guide

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Updated: December 14, 2019

The 90 best hotels, restaurants, shops, tapas bars, craft beer, cafes, modernist buildings, museums, galleries, markets, neighborhoods, and things to do in Barcelona, Spain.

See Also

Fanciful and colorful sculptures by Gaudi in Park Guell, Barcelona.

Gaudi’s Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona Hotels

1. Cotton House • Eixample • $$$$

This five-star design hotel inside a 19th-century mansion combines historic elements with contemporary design, bold colors, and modern art. Understated elegance is the theme in the light-filled rooms and suites. There’s Mediterranean dining on-site, and the hotel’s signature Gossypium cocktails are served in the atmospheric library. Rooftop pool, solarium and an ideal location for sightseeing in Barri Gòtic and Eixample. • Map • +34 934 50 50 45

2. Sir Victor Hotel • Eixample • $$$$

Barcelona’s first design hotel (formerly Hotel Omm), with a cutting-edge interior, a winning Eixample location, and excellent dining. Of the minimalist rooms, superior ones come with large tubs and private terraces, while suites are decked out with four-poster beds and antique furnishings. Both Michelin-starred and casual dining on-site and excellent views of Gaudí’s La Pedrera from the rooftop pool. • Map • +34 934 45 40 00

3. Hotel Casa Fuster • Gràcia • $$$$

Five-star Casa Fuster is an Art Nouveau masterpiece, with vaulted ceilings, antique lamps, Gaudí-designed chairs and plenty of marble. Besides the understated luxury of the rooms, there’s avant-garde Mediterranean dining and live jazz and poolside cocktails on the roof terrace. Well-situated for shopping and dining in both Gràcia and Eixample and for exploring the best of Barcelona’s modernist architecture. • Map • +34 932 55 30 00

4. Mandarin Oriental Barcelona • Eixample • $$$$

Chic, opulent five-star hotel, a stone’s throw from two of Gaudí’s most celebrated buildings. Oriental-themed, enormous suites, and sizeable rooms in soothing creams, plus three superb restaurants, including the 2-Michelin-starred Moments. Besides the fitness center and rooftop pool, there’s a luxurious basement spa. Casa Pedrera, Casa Batllò, and several other attractions are just a few minutes’ walk away, as are numerous restaurants and fashion boutiques. • Map • +34 931 51 88 88

5. Ohla Barcelona • Barri Gòtic • $$$$

Straddling the divide between Barri Gòtic and La Ribera, this chic yet understated five-star hotel is ideally placed for exploring the attractions and dining scene of Barcelona’s historic center. Two excellent restaurants (Michelin-starred French and casual Catalonian), well-soundproofed rooms, plus a bar with award-winning mixologists. Terrific, clear-sided rooftop dipping pool. • Map • +34 933 41 50 50

6. Claris GL • Eixample • $$$$

Vast luxury hotel that’s an eclectic mix of early 20th-century architecture, modern amenities, and ancient Egyptian artifacts in its private on-site museum. Archaeological finds and artworks in every sumptuous, Brazilian-rosewood-paneled room. Seasonal Mediterranean restaurant next to the rooftop pool, plus an excellent spa. Stellar Eixample location, just steps away from Gaudí buildings and convenient for high-end dining and shopping. • Map • +34 934 87 62 62

7. Hotel Bagués • El Raval • $$$

Ritzy, super-central Bagués overlooks La Rambla. Exotic materials (Venetian glass, rosewood, leopard-print upholstery) and unique jewelry pieces in its sumptuous rooms pay homage to the hotel’s past as a jeweler’s showroom. While amenities are limited due to the building’s heritage status and design, there’s a rooftop plunge pool. Perfect location for sightseeing and dining out in Barcelona’s historic center. • Map • +34 933 43 50 00

8. W Barcelona • Barceloneta • $$$

Stylish, all-glass hotel at the south end of Barcelona’s string of beaches, with some of the best views in the city – particularly from the Extreme Wow corner suite. Young and trendy clientele, plus DJs in the lobby and upstairs in the Eclipse bar. Floor-to-ceiling windows in all rooms, several on-site dining options, plus a super-popular rooftop infinity pool. Barceloneta, La Ribera, and Barri Gòtic are all within walking distance. • Map • +34 932 95 28 00

9. El Palace Barcelona • Eixample • $$$$

This former Ritz is the grand dame of Barcelona hotels – resplendent onyx and marble, chandeliers, and liveried doormen in top hats. Regency furniture, fireplaces, and mosaic-clad marble baths in the ivory-and-cream rooms, plus old-school, impeccable service. Refined on-site dining as well as British-style afternoon tea and live jazz and blues at the cocktail bar. Convenient Eixample location for visiting some of Barcelona’s best Modernist architecture. • Map • +34 935 10 11 30

10. Hotel Neri Relais & Châteaux • Barri Gòtic • $$$$

Intimate hotel spread across a medieval palace and an 18th-century stone mansion on a pedestrian street in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. The individually decorated, minimalist rooms and suites are a seamless blend of exposed stone walls, contemporary paintings, and antique furnishings, while the inviting rooftop terrace doubles as a summer bar. Easy walking distance to El Raval, La Ribera, and Barceloneta. • Map • +34 933 04 06 55

11. ABaC Hotel • Vallcarga I Els Penitents • $$$$

Its fifteen minimalist rooms and suites surrounding the on-site Michelin-starred restaurant, intimate, five-star boutique ABaC is a revamped 19th-century mansion in the leafy, northern outskirts of the city. Some rooms have whirlpool tubs, and the penthouse suite comes with a roof terrace. Full-service spa with a pool, hammam, and jacuzzi, plus personal shopping service. Most attractions and restaurants are an easy metro or taxi ride away. • Map • +34 933 19 66 00

12. Mercer Hotel • Barri Gòtic • $$$$

Hidden down a tiny pedestrian street, the five-star Mercer is a layered history of Barcelona: a medieval building with an intact Roman watchtower. Neutral color scheme, ancient lintels, and thick, exposed stone walls, coupled with contemporary bathrooms. Mediterranean dining on-site, plus a delightful rooftop terrace with plunge pool. Ideal for exploring Barcelona’s historic center. • Map • +34 933 10 74 80

13. Hotel Miramar Barcelona • Montjuïc • $$$$

Surrounded by lush gardens on the slopes of Montjuïc, this converted early 20th-century palace benefits from excellent sea views, its own Mediterranean restaurant, and relative proximity to downtown’s restaurants and nightlife. Understated yet luxurious rooms come with either a terrace or balcony, plus pool and full-service spa. Family-friendly and ideally located for exploring Montjuïc’s art galleries, fortress, and landscaped gardens. • Map • +34 932 81 16 00

Barcelona Restaurants

14. Enigma • Sant Antoni • $$$$

Over 40 courses served to just a couple dozen diners nightly inside a structure resembling a futuristic igloo, Enigma is Barcelona’s most secretive fine dining experience. The brainchild of Ferran Adrià (formerly of elBulli, the best restaurant in the world), and his brother Albert, Enigma requires diners to pass through six different areas in the maze-like space, tasting delicate bites and mini-cocktails as they proceed. Advance reservations essential. • Map • +34 616 69 63 22

15. Lasarte • Eixample • $$$$

Blow-your-paycheck fine dining at Barcelona’s first 3-Michelin-star restaurant. Once-in-your-lifetime treat by decorated chef Martín Berasategui, with two tasting menus (7 and 11-course) to choose from, plus a la carte. Expect the likes of seabass with mantis shrimp broth and clam mayo and charcoal-grilled pigeon with olive and galangal. Smart-casual dress code. Advance bookings essential. • Map • +34 934 45 32 42

16. Can Culleretes • Barri Gòtic • $$

Step back in time in Barcelona’s oldest restaurant (1786) and taste some centuries-old recipes: rice casserole, wild boar stew, and pork sausage with beans. Old-world decor, popular with families. Reserve ahead for dinner. • Map • +34 933 17 30 22

17. Dos Palillos • El Raval • $$$

Michelin-starred Spanish-Asian fusion bar dining at its finest. Diners sit around the open kitchen and choose between the 17 and 20-course tasting menus. Courses range between bite-sized and tapas-sized and are a fun, creative exploration of Spanish, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese flavors. Reservations essential. • Map • +34 933 04 05 13

18. Moments • Eixample • $$$$

Michelin-starred, creative reimaginings of traditional Catalan cuisine by celebrated chef Carme Ruscalleda and her son Raül Balam. Feast on the likes of venison with black garlic and artichokes, rice with prawn tails, and wild seabass with eggplant. Splurge on the 14-course tasting menu, with each dish inspired by a classic movie. Seating at the chef’s table available. Reservations essential. • Map • +34 931 51 87 81

19. 7 Portes • Barceloneta • $$

Old-school seafood restaurant with linen service and bow-tied waiters, once favored by Picasso, poet Federico García Lorca, and Orson Welles. It’s also one of the very few arrocerías (rice restaurants) in Barcelona where you can get portions of paella, fideuà (paella-like vermicelli dish), and other rice dishes for one person. • Map • +34 933 19 30 33

20. Alkimia • El Raval • $$$

Seasonal and creative Michelin-starred dining by Jordi Vilà. All dishes are created from locally-sourced ingredients, with surprising textures and clean, unpretentious flavors, and served in a striking dining room with a frescoed ceiling. Choose between a la carte and two tasting menus. Relaxed atmosphere, romantic, friendly. Reservations recommended. • Map • +34 932 07 61 15

21. Oaxaca • Barceloneta • $$-$$$

Some of the most authentic Mexican cuisine in Barcelona, with traditional dishes such as cochinita pibil (Yucatan-style slow-roasted pork), chicken with mole negro, and tacos al pastor. Sultry decor, plenty of Mexican art, plus a mezcal bar next door. • Map • +34 933 19 00 64

22. Suculent • El Raval • $$$

Just three multi-course tasting menus to choose from here, with celebrity chef Carles Abellan wowing diners with his innovative takes on seasonal Catalan dishes such as oxtail and mushroom croquettes and calçots (seasonal spring onions) with hazelnuts. Book ahead. • Map • +34 934 43 65 79

23. Koy Shunka • Barri Gòtic • $$-$$$

A block north of La Catedral, this casual Japanese oldtimer is all minimalist decor and open kitchen. The short but sweet menu is divided into rice, seafood, meat, udon, sushi, sashimi, and maki; standout dishes include white fish carpaccio with straw mushrooms, and anything with toro (fatty tuna belly). The 10-course surprise tasting menu is worth the splurge. • Map • +34 934 12 49 91

24. La Bella Napoli • Poble Sec • $$

Red-and-white checked tablecloths, Neapolitan waiters, and some of the most authentic Italian pizza in Barcelona, fresh from the wood-fired oven. Good selection of fresh pastas and gnocchi, made in-house, plus quality Italian wines. Popular with families. Reservations are a good idea for dinner and on weekends. • Map • +34 934 42 50 56

25. Disfrutar Barcelona • Eixample • $$$$

Helmed by three head chefs formerly from elBulli, this 2-Michelin-starred dining extravaganza consists of 28 adventurous, surprising little courses that celebrate the Mediterranean culinary heritage, served in a light, bright, pared-down setting. Expect the likes of melecular gastronomied olives, made using elBulli’s famous spherification process, one-bite lobster baguettes, wagyu beef cannelloni, and much more. Reservations essential. • Map • +34 933 48 68 96

26. Restaurante Angle • Eixample $$$-$$$$

A much more central and modest little sister of Chef Jordi Cruz’s 2-Michelin-starred restaurant in Hotel ABaC, Angle serves two tasting menus of beautifully presented, playful dishes such as scarlet shrimp bouillabaisse, veal rice with oysters, and sardine with black garlic charcoal bread. Stylish yet informal; romantic ambience. Book ahead. • Map • +34 932 16 77 77

Barcelona Shopping

27. Artesanía Catalunya • Barri Gòtic

Unique, locally made gifts, from thimbles resembling Gaudi’s chimneys and Salvador Dali-inspired sculpture to jewelry, wooden toys, scarves, paintings, and more. • Map • +34 934 67 46 60

28. Sala Parés • Barri Gòtic

Barcelona’s oldest art gallery doubles as a shop selling many works from Catalan artists such as Magí Puig, Xavier Rodés, and Núria Guinovart. Also paintings from Spanish artists further afield. • Map • +34 933 18 70 20

29. Lurdes Bergada • Eixample

Lurdes Bergada has been designing affordable, offbeat men’s and women’s fashions made from natural fibers since 1978. She now works in partnership with her son and has several outlets in Barcelona alone. • Locations

30. Altaïr • Eixample

Vast travel bookstore with an excellent selection of guidebooks (mostly in Spanish, but also English and other languages) that span the world, as well as maps, travel literature, and more. There’s a good café downstairs. • Map • +34 933 42 71 71

31. La Manual Alpargatera • Barri Gòtic

A local institution for decades, this footwear store has been selling hand-made espadrilles (rope-soled canvas shoes) since 1941. Salvador Dali famously bought a pair here. • Map • +34 933 01 01 72

32. Dr. Bloom • Eixample

Barcelona fashion label that releases a new collection of colorful, bold dresses, tops, skirts, and other women’s streetwear every month. Also a range of wallet-friendly accessories such as purses made of leather and natural fibers. Several branches around the city. • Locations

33. Art Escudellers • Barri Gòtic

One of several gift shop branches in Barcelona that sell both functional and decorative handmade ceramics, some with Modernista designs, as well as candelabra, metal and glass sculptures, tiles, and colorful homewares. • Map • +34 934 12 68 01

34. FC Botiga • Eixample

This is the official Barcelona FC football club merchandise store, with several branches around the city, including in Barri Gòtic and Eixample. Get your Lionel Messi jerseys, footballs, signed photos of the team, and other memorabilia here. • Map • +34 932 69 57 93

35. La Capell • Barri Gòtic

Inside the Collegi de Arquitectes, this terrific gift shop sells original gadgets, educational toys, original Barcelona-themed jewelry, and books on architecture and art. • Map • +34 932 24 39 32

36. Custo Barcelona • La Ribera

Cutting-edge Barcelona threads for men and women. Come here for jackets, pants, dresses, and more. Two more stores around the city. • Map • +34 932 68 78 93

Barcelona Tapas Bars

37. Tickets • Sant Antoni

Owned by Albert, the brother of Catalan superstar chef, Ferran Adrià, this is a circus-themed tapas bar with the most creative tapas you’re ever likely to taste – a globally-inspired world tour in a few dishes. It’s a casual, informal, buzzy place, and the only tapas bar in town that you have to book online two months in advance. • Map • +34 932 92 42 52

38. La Alcoba Azul • Barri Gòtic

Tiny, candlelit bar with low ceilings and medieval stone walls. Squeeze in for good tapas – morcilla, tostas (open-topped sandwiches), patatas bravas – and plenty of wines by the glass. • Map • +34 933 02 81 41

39. Bar Pinotxo • El Raval

Arguably the best tapas counter bar in La Boquería market, going strong for over 70 years. Just look at the platters along the counter and ask the bow-tied owner, Juanito Bayen, about the daily specials such as truita de carfoxes (artichoke omelet), botifarra (grilled Catalan sausage), bacallà amb Samfaina (codfish with ratatouille), and cap i pota (veal head and leg). Busy, fun, quick meal. Cash only. • Map • +34 933 17 17 31

40. Euscal Etxea • La Ribera

Super-busy Basque tapas bar, with a great variety of pintxos (tiny, elaborate tapas layered on slices of bread) piled high on the counter. Choose the ones you want and keep the toothpicks for the staff to count. Wash them down with a crisp txakoli (Basque white wine). Mostly standing room. • Map • +34 933 10 21 85

41. Tapas, 24 • Eixample

A gourmet spin put on classic tapas by superstar chef Carles Abellan. Feast on McFois burgers, bikinis (ham and cheese toasties with truffles), slow-cooked oxtail, and more. Book ahead. • Map • +34 934 88 09 77

42. Viana • Barri Gòtic

Vintage decor, internationally-inspired tapas (burrata with guacamole, slow-cooked beef cheeks, cod in blood orange sauce), carefully chosen wines, and great service. Of the house cocktails, the signature blackberry mojito is a winner. • Map • +34 934 63 82 95

Barcelona Cocktail, Wine, and Vermouth Bars

43. Sor Rita • La Ribera

The leopard-print wallpaper and Barbie lamps at this kitschy bar were inspired by Pedro Almodóvar films and the irreverent theme continues throughout – from the original cocktails to offbeat weekly events such as tarot readings on Mondays. • Map • +34 931 76 62 66

44. Zona D’Ombra • Barri Gòtic

A wine shop with over 300 wines and a wine bar attached, Zona D’Ombra is a great place to acquaint yourself with a couple dozen Catalunyan wines by the glass, accompanied by classic tapas (cheese platters, marinated sardines…). • Map • +34 935 00 58 02

45. Boadas • El Raval

Barcelona’s oldest cocktail bar has a timeless elegance about it, as well as professional, bow-tied bartenders who’ll mix you a Fantasia or a Dracula. Hemingway used to hang here. • Map • +34 933 18 95 92

46. Bar Marsella • El Raval

This dedicated absinthe bar has been around since 1820 and the decor looks like it hasn’t changed since. You’ll soon be propping up the counter just like Hemingway once did. Drip the mineral water over the sugar cube provided into your absinthe glass for that sweet, warm buzz. • Map • +34 934 42 72 63

47. Bitter Cocktail Bar • Sant Antoni

Stylish bar popular for late-night drinks, with a lounge out back. Expertly prepared signature cocktails (try Bamboo, Adonis, or Catamaran Cooler), DJ sets on weekends, and decent bar nibbles, including generous grilled sandwiches. • Map • +34 935 32 71 99

48. Tandem Cocktail Bar • Eixample

Long, windowless cocktail bar going strong for over 30 years, with velvet bar stools and a loyal clientele. Bartenders in white tuxedo jackets are particularly good at mixing classic cocktails. Laidback ambiance; ideal for a date or tête-à-tête. • Map • +34 934 51 43 30

Barcelona Craft Beer

49. BlackLab Brewhouse • Barceloneta

Barcelona’s first brewhouse inside the historic Palau del Mar. There are nine homebrews on tap, including a passionfruit IPA and German-style pilsner. Offbeat seasonal offerings, such as the coconut toffee stout, plus a lively kitchen sizzling with burgers. • Map • +34 932 21 83 60

50. Ølgod • El Raval

With 30 craft brews on tap from Denmark, the rest of Scandinavia, Catalonia, and the UK, this Norse mythology-themed bar brings a touch of beery sophistication to bohemian El Raval. Creative beer cocktails and well-priced tapas, too. • Map • +34 934 43 90 82

51. Kælderkold • Barri Gòtic

This Danish-run, intimate craft “beertopia” has 15 regularly rotating beers on tap, with a particularly good selection of Scandinavian brews. There’s always pils and weizenbier on tap, and you can also go for a beer cocktail. • Map • +34 932 77 96 71

52. Garage Beer Co • Eixample

One of Barcelona’s original craft beer breweries, with mismatched furniture and a tap room open daily for tastings of beers brewed on-site as well as guest beers from Catalonia and beyond. Of their own, IPAs (Loose, Virtue Signals, Soup) and DIPA (Hærdball) are particularly good. Good bar food, lively in the evenings. • Map • +34 935 28 59 89

Barcelona Cafés

53. Xurreria • Barr Gòtic

This little café is among the best places in the city for crispy, piping-hot churros (deep-fried tubular doughnuts), served in paper cones. For best results, dip them in the hot chocolate – so thick that you can stand a spoon in. • Map

54. Black Remedy • Barri Gòtic

Gallery-like, laptop-friendly hipster café, responsible for Barri Gòtic’s best coffee. Great for gooey red velvet cake, New York cheesecake, various variations on eggs cocotte, plus smoked meat sandwiches. • Map • +34 934 61 92 12

55. Cereal Hunters Café • Eixample

Popular Spanish chain of all-day breakfast cereal cafes. If you’re hankering after some Lucky Charms, Trix, or Cap’n Crunch, there are plenty of American favorites, too. • Map • +34 937 06 10 83

56. Cafés El Magnífico • La Ribera

These guys take their coffee seriously, with single origin beans sourced from as far afield as Burundi, Costa Rica, and Papua New Guinea. Alternatively, you can try one of their own house blends, prepared using a variety of methods. Cakes and sandwiches also served. • Map • +34 933 19 39 75

57. ARTiSA • Barri Gòtic

Steps away both from La Rambla and Plaça Reial, this bright café is a favorite for brunch (crepes, classic local ‘pa amb tomàquet’ sandwiches with Iberic ham…), smoothies and shakes, excellent coffee, and a fantastic array of cakes. Outdoor seating ideal for people-watching. • Map • +34 931 86 36 23

Things to Do in Barcelona

58. Take a Stroll along La Rambla

Strolling the length of La Rambla is a quintessential Barcelona experience. Stretching from the waterfront to Plaça Catalunya, the city’s most famous pedestrian boulevard is overlooked by stately 19th-century buildings and lined with restaurants, bars, and souvenir stalls. It throngs with strolling crowds, palm readers, and caricature painters, and is a great place for people-watching. La Rambla acts as a divide between Barri Gòtic to the east and El Raval to the west; a leisurely walk from the Columbus monument on the waterfront to Plaça Catalunya takes around half an hour. • Map

59. Climb Up or Down Montjuïc

Named after the small Jewish community that once lived on its slopes, Montjuïc is the dramatic hill that rises above Barcelona’s port, topped with a fortress and covered in extensive landscaped gardens. Montjuïc is also home to two of Barcelona’s most important art galleries and the Olympic stadium. It’s a joy to wander around the hill’s lush gardens, and there are terrific views of the city and/or the sea from the cable cars that rise to the summit, ramparts of the fortress, Olympic terraces, and the steps leading up to the Museu Nacional. • Map

60. Visit the Palau de la Música Catalana

Covered in tiles and mosaics and boasting an elaborate façade, this 2,138-seat concert hall was built in 1908 by modernista architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Inside, Catalan music is celebrated in a series of playful sculptures of Muses surrounding the main stage and representations of nature and music in the stained glass. The pièce de résistance is the stupendous stained-glass skylight that turns the concert hall into a “box of light”. Attend a concert (September to June) or join one of the excellent hour-long day tours (book online). • Map • +34 932 95 72 00

61. Spend an Afternoon at Park Güell

On a hillside on the northern edge of Barcelona, Gaudi’s sculpted urban park requires an admission fee and a specific half-hour time slot (book online). A monumental stairway ascends past the ceramic dragon fountain to the huge Hall of Columns that resembles a petrified forest. Continue up to the “pathway of columns”, where organic-looking stone arches support a long arcade. Terrific city views from the terrace on top of the Hall of Columns, flanked by a meandering ceramic bench and covered in colorful broken tile-and-glass mosaic. • Map • +34 934 09 18 31

62. Catch the Sound-and-Light Show at the Font Màgica

Part of the purpose-built 1929 World Expo fairgrounds at the base of Montjuïc, in the evenings, the Magic Fountain becomes the centerpiece of a sound-and-light extravaganza. The waters of the fountain rise and fall to the tune of “Barcelona” by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé – Barcelona’s theme song from the 1992 Olympic Games, as well as other songs. The free shows last around 20 minutes and commence every half hour between 9.30 pm and 10.30 pm, Wednesday to Sunday (June-September) and Thursday to Saturday between 9 pm and 10 pm from April to December. Popular with families. • Map

63. Take the Kids to Tibidabo

A big hit with kids, this collection of old-school fairground rides sits at the top of Barcelona’s highest peak. Most of the rides – the Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds, hanging monorail – are suitable for younger kids. It’s worth coming up here for the view alone: if the weather is good, you can see the whole of Barcelona spread out beneath you, with the Mediterranean Sea just beyond. • Map • +34 932 11 79 42

64. Ride the Aeri del Port Cable Car

The telefèric is an exhilarating, vertigo-inducing ride high above Port Vell from Barceloneta to Montjuïc. The cable car soars 107m above Barceloneta, above the yachts clustered in the harbor. You get a great bird’s eye view of La Rambla as well, with the pointy turrets of La Sagrada Familia in the distance, before the cable car gently glides to a stop at the Miramar viewpoint park, about a third of the way up Montjuïc. From here, it’s an easy walk to Montjuïc’s museums and other attractions. Try to go on a weekday, or as early as possible on the weekend, as lines can be long. • Map • +34 934 65 53 13

65. Catch a football (soccer) game at Camp Nou Stadium

If you’re a football (soccer) fan, you wouldn’t want to miss visiting the legendary home of Barcelona FC. It’s easy to get tickets to most home games, and if you’re lucky enough to get tickets to one of the big matches – particularly against bitter rivals Real Madrid – the atmosphere is incredible! Even if you don’t attend a match, you can come by for a day tour of the stadium – the press room, impressive trophy room, interactive museum, warmup bench, and football field itself. Stock up on all the Barça merchandise you want at the gift store. • Map • +34 902 18 99 00

66. Take the Kids to L’Aquarium Barcelona

This state-of-the-art aquarium showcases different marine ecosystems: the shallow coastal waters of the Mediterranean, the Caribbean Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Red Sea, as well as sharks of the open ocean. There are also the ecosystems unique to Spain: Catalonia’s Delta del Ebro and the Medes Islands, complete with fish and other creatures. Highlights include the shark tunnel, clownfish and their anemone home, seahorses, and octopus tank. Daily feedings (sharks, penguins, rays, moray eels) are particularly fun for kids. • Map • +34 932 21 74 74

67. Hit the Beaches

Barcelona’s string of beaches stretches for three miles east of the city center. The most central is the Sant Sebastià beach, a wide stretch of white sand, popular with older sunbathers and families. To the east, it morphs into the Barceloneta beach, lined with numerous seafood restaurants and cafes. It’s paralleled by the palm-backed esplanade (Passeig Marítim), busy with cyclists, rollerbladers, runners, and strolling beachgoers. East of Port Olímpic are the family-friendly Nova Icària and Bogatell beaches, with open-air cafes and playgrounds. Further along are Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella, and Llevant, popular with a younger crowd. • Map

Barcelona Modernist Buildings

68. La Sagrada Familia • Gràcia

Due to be completed in 2026, on the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death, this remarkable mega-church is the symbol of Barcelona. There are three façades – Nativity, Passion, and Glory – that chart the life of Jesus. The extraordinary interior gives you the illusion of being in a forest, its soaring columns blossoming with leaves and branches, and stained glass windows filtering light in a myriad different hues. You can choose whether to take the elevator up either the Passion or the Nativity tower. Book entry tickets online days in advance. • Map • +34 932 08 04 14

69. La Pedrera/Casa Milà • Eixample

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed by Gaudí from the ground up, from the rippling façade (inspired by the mountains of Montserrat) to the apartments with their balconies of tangled metal. An elevator whisks you up to the jaw-dropping rooftop, lined with Gaudí’s undulating chimneys. Great views of the city from the top. Check out the multimedia exhibit on Gaudi in the vaulted attic. There are daily after-dark visits that include a glass of cava and a visit to the eerily-lit rooftop. Book tickets online. • Map • +34 902 20 21 38

70. Casa Batlló • Eixample

Gaudi’s sea-themed apartment building. The light-filled interior with its rippling walls and window frames is every bit as fascinating as the mosaic-covered exterior, complete with balconies that look either like toothy fish maws or carnival masks. Point the audioguide at a room, and the display screen comes alive with fish and other creatures of the deep, reflecting the architect’s vision. The indoor courtyard gives the illusion of being underwater, while the roof terrace sparkles with kaleidoscopic patterns made of broken ceramic tiles. • Map • +34 932 16 03 06

71. Hospital de Sant Pau • Gràcia

Designed by modernist architect Lluís Domènch i Montaner, this early 20th-century public hospital is a dazzling Art Nouveau complex with a riot of ironwork, mosaic, stained glass, and sculpture. Its 23 pavilions, topped with golden domes, have now been restored and sit among sculpted grounds dotted with orange trees. Domènch believed that being among trees and beautiful gardens would do wonders for the patients’ convalescence. • Map • +34 932 91 90 00

72. Casa de les Punxes • Eixample

Designed by renowned modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch and built in 1903, this striking modernist building looks like a Gothic castle that’s been dropped in the middle of the city. You can admire the spectacular exterior: the tiled conical roofs, ending in spikes, the wrought-iron balconies, beautiful stained-glass windows, and Gothic-style sculpture. Since 2016, visitor can also visit the interior, where one of several interactive displays for kids lets them look for dragon elements in the design of the house. • Map • +34 930 18 52 42

Barcelona Museums and Art Galleries

73. Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA) • Barri Gòtic

Ruins of Roman Barcelona. The excellent Barcelona History Museum walks you through the excavated ruins of the Roman town of Barcino (12 BC to 600 AD), spread through a labyrinth of buildings surrounding the Plaça del Rei. Don’t miss the temporary exhibitions in the beautiful 14th-century Santa Agata chapel, or the vaulted Gothic Saló de Tinell, where Christopher Columbus briefed Ferdinand and Isabella about his New World discoveries. • Map • +34 932 56 21 00

74. Museu Picasso • La Ribera

One of the world’s most important collections of Picasso’s work, spread across five medieval palaces. While you won’t find Picasso’s most famous works here, this extensive collection traces his development as an artist. Look out for his boyhood pencil drawings, Impressionist landscapes, and paintings of Parisian can-can dancers, as well as a few Cubist works, paintings from his moody Blue Period, and ceramics. Book entry tickets online. • Map • +34 932 56 30 00

75. Fundació Joan Miró • Montjuïc

World’s best collection of works by Catalan abstract artist Joan Miró. Housed in a white modernist building, this collection loosely follows Miró’s entire career. Look out for the “assassinate art” works from his Constellations series (1930s) with their distinctive bright colors and bold shapes, and the dark, brooding black-and-white lithographs from the Barcelona Series (1939-44) that reflect the turmoil of war. Don’t miss his enormous tapestries or the outdoor sculptures on the roof terrace. • Map • +34 934 43 94 70

76. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya • Montjuïc

Located inside the grand Palau Nacional on Montjuïc, this tremendous art museum showcases a thousand years’ worth of Catalan art. There are extraordinary biblical frescoes from Catalan churches (11-13th centuries AD), Renaissance landscapes by Zurbarán, as well as works by Old Masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, Tintoretto, and El Greco. Take the glass elevator up to MNAC’s unsurpassed Catalan modern art collection, particularly strong on the modernista art movement (Gaudi, Salvador Dali, Picasso). • Map • +34 936 22 03 60

77. Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) • El Raval

Barcelona’s premier contemporary art museum. The permanent collection focuses mostly on contemporary art movements in Catalunya and Spain since 1945, while regularly changing themed exhibitions can be anything from sculptures and paintings by Catalan greats such as Antoni Tàpies or Joan Miró to installations by the likes of Francesc Torres and video productions by Martha Rosler. • Map • +34 934 12 08 10

Barcelona Food and Flea Markets

78. Mercat de la Boquería • El Raval

Barcelona’s most famous produce market – meat stalls with dangling legs of jamón and displays filled with botifarra (Catalan sausage) and chorizos, seafood stalls with heaped razor clams and shrimp, olive stalls offering dozens of different kinds of olives, and fresh juice stalls. The tapas stalls that fringe the main market area make an excellent stop for a snack and a drink. • Map • +34 933 18 25 84

79. Mercat de Santa Caterina • La Ribera

Produce market housed inside an architecturally-striking Modernist building with undulating roof. Come here for all your charcuterie, olive oil, and fresh produce needs; there are also a couple of good cafes here. • Map • +34 933 19 57 40

80. Mercat de Sant Antoni • Sant Antoni

This large market has over 230 vendors, with numerous fresh produce stalls inside, a Sunday book and trinket market on c/Urgell outside, and various food stalls. • Map • +34 934 26 35 21

81. Mercat del Ninot • Eixample

Modern steel and glass market with numerous fresh produce stalls. The food stalls get particularly busy with diners at lunchtime. Open all day Monday to Saturday. • Map • +34 933 23 49 09

82. Mercat Gòtic • Barri Gòtic

This flea market has been taking place in front of La Catedral every Thursday for over 40 years. Browse the stalls for antiques, decorative art, vintage cameras, silverware, coins, and more. • Map

Barcelona Neighborhoods

83. Barri Gótic

Barri Gòtic is Barcelona’s historical and geographical center. A tangle of medieval streets and plazas, the largest quarter hosting the city’s Gothic cathedral, this part of the city has been inhabited since Roman times. Barri Gòtic is within a 20-minute walk from numerous attractions and most other neighborhoods of interest. This part of the city attracts the tourist crowds, and with good reason: it’s an all-rounder, with great dining, shopping, and numerous great places to stay.
Best stuff: Ohla BarcelonaHotel Neri Relais & ChâteauxMercer HotelLa RamblaLa CatedralMuseu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA) • Museu Frederic MarèsSinagoga Mayor (Barcelona’s last surviving medieval synagogue turned museum) • Can Culleretes (Barcelona’s oldest restaurant, hearty Catalan dishes) • Capet (stylish bistro, seasonal Mediterranean dishes) • Pla (medieval dining hall, creative fusion dining) • Koy Shunka (terrific Japanese dining, surprise tasting menu) • Xurreria (one of the best cafes in Barcelona for churros) • La Alcoba Azul (excellent tapas inside a tiny, candle-lit medieval space) • Zona D’Ombra (wine shop and wine bar, terrific Catalan wine selection) • Kælderkold (Danish-run, intimate craft beer bar with plenty of Scandinavian brews) • Viana (internationally-inspired tapas, signature blackberry mojito; reserve ahead).

84. La Ribera

To the east side of Barri Gòtic is La Ribera, another maze of medieval streets with popular attractions of its own, from the Picasso Museum to the family-friendly Chocolate Museum. Plus there are good markets, plenty of tapas bars and boutiques to boot, as well as a vast park separating La Ribera from the hip neighborhood of Poblenou.
Best Stuff: Museu PicassoBasilica de Santa Maria del Mar (Barcelona’s finest Catalan Gothic church) • Palau de la Música CatalanaParc de la Ciutadella (huge landscaped park, home to Barcelona’s zoo) • Museu de la XocolataMuseu de Cultures del MónMercat de Santa Caterina (produce market with food stalls inside a striking Modernist building) • Casa Delfín (sleek bistro, traditional Catalan dishes) • Ziryab (intimate bar, fusion tapas) • Euscal Etxea (bustling Basque tapas bar, great variety of pintxos) • Sor Rita (kitschy bar inspired by Pedro Almodovar movies) • Bar Manchester (inexpensive beers and cocktails with 90s Britpop soundtrack).

85. El Raval

The edgy, arty neighborhood of El Raval was formerly one of the roughest parts of town, as well the city’s red light district. El Raval has shed most of its negative image through gradual gentrification, though its independent character is still very much on display, along with a terrific contemporary art museum, quirky stores, independent boutiques, and good restaurant and bars.
Best Stuff: Hotel BaguésMuseu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) • Mercat de la BoqueríaPalau Güell (Guell Palace) • Suculent (old-school bistro specializing in Catalan cuisine) • Gats (fusion bistro with good cava and wine selection, popular for lunch) • Caravelle (Mexican-style hipster eatery with craft beer on tap) • Dos Palillos (Michelin-starred Spanish-Asian bar dining, daring tasting menus) • Alkimia (seasonal, Michelin-starred dining, book ahead) • Bar Marsella (absinthe bar that Hemingway used to frequent) • Boadas (Barcelona’s oldest cocktail bar) • Bar Pinotxo (the pick of La Boquería’s tapas bars, no menu) • Ølgod (Scandinavian craft beer bar with beer cocktails and tapas).

86. Barceloneta

Barcelona’s sun-drenched coastline stretches along the city’s most central beach, its waterfront promenade popular with runners and strolling families. The narrow streets here are dotted with (mostly seafood) restaurants as well as a handful of bars. Barceloneta flanks the yacht-filled marina, also home to the city’s aquarium, while a cable car soars above the harbor towards Montjuïc. Besides several high-end hotels on the waterfront, there are a few good mid-range options in this neighborhood.
Best Stuff: W Barcelona • Take the kids to L’Aquarium BarcelonaTeleférico del Puerto (ride the cable car high above the harbor) • Platja de la Barceloneta (Barcelona’s most centrally-located beach) • 7 Portes (classic seafood restaurant, plus rice dishes for one) • Oaxaca (authentic Mexican food, exotic decor, mezcal bar next door) • El Vaso de Oro (long and narrow restaurant, meat-heavy Catalonian dishes) • Perikete (numerous wines and vermouths by the glass, limited seating) • Can Paixano/La Xampanyeria (cava bar pairing bubbly rosé with tapas) • BlackLab Brewhouse (9 own brews on tap, plus burgers).

87. L’Eixample

Bordering the medieval heart of Barcelona to the northwest is Eixample, the expansive, upscale neighborhood whose bright, tree-lined avenues are a complete contrast to the Ciutat Vella’s dark and narrow streets. Here you’ll find most of Barcelona’s striking Modernist buildings, including Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, as well as the most upscale shopping and plenty of fine dining.
Best Stuff: Cotton House HotelSir Victor HotelMandarin Oriental Hotel BarcelonaClaris GL HotelEl Palace Hotel BarcelonaLa Sagrada FamiliaCasa BatllóLa Pedrera/Casa MilàCasa de les PunxesMuseu EgipciCasa Amatller (Modernist building designed by architect Puig i Cadafalch; guided tours in English) • Fundació Antoni TàpiesDisfrutar Barcelona (adventurous 2-Michelin star dining) • Lasarte (3-Michelin-star once-in-a-lifetime meal) • Moments (creative reimaginings of traditional Catalonian dishes) • Tapas, 24 (creative spin on classic tapas) • Garage Beer Co (long-standing craft beer brewery, terrific IPAs).

88. Gràcia

Formerly a separate village just north of Eixample, bohemian Gràcia with its narrow streets and tiny plazas retains its individual character. Popular with arty types and young families, the neighborhood has some excellent bars and restaurants, particularly around Plaça del Sol and along Carrer de Verdi. Flanking Gràcia to the north is Park Güell – Gaudi’s striking open-air project.
Best Stuff: Hotel Casa FusterPark Güell (park full of Gaudi’s colorful mosaics and other creations) • Casa Vicens (Unesco-listed building decorated by Gaudi; free guided tours) • Mecànic (hip space with art gallery, art books, and a café) • L’Arrosseria Xativa (terrific rice restaurant with many spins on the paella) • The Hip Fish (poke bowls and sushi burritos) • La Rovira (tapas, sandwiches and good craft beer – bottled and on tap) • Bodegueta Cal Pep (50-year-old tapas and vermouth bar) • Viblioteca (cheese and wine are the specialties here).

89. Montjuïc, Poble Sec & Sant Antoni

To the west of Barcelona’s center, the verdant hill of Montjuïc rises above the sea, topped with a fortress and adorned by the lush gardens and two world-class art museums that perch on its slopes. Built for the 1929 World Expo, a wide pedestrian boulevard leads to the foot of the hill, with the Font Màgica halfway. Flanking the hill’s north face is the former working-class neighborhood of Poble Sec, short on sights but dotted with excellent bars and eateries. Across the busy Avinguna del Paral·lel from Poble Sec is the hipster neighborhood of Sant Antoni, home to some of Barcelona’s best dining.
Best Stuff: Hotel Miramar BarcelonaCastell de Montjuïc (fortress with terrific harbor and city views) • Fundació Joan Miró (terrific gallery dedicated to the Modernist artist’s work) • Museu Nacional d’Art de CatalunyaJardí Botànic (botanical garden dedicated to Mediterranean flora) • Font Màgica (fountain with a popular sound-and-light show) • Enigma (secretive, spectacular fine dining experience from the world’s best chef) • Quimet & Quimet (terrific seafood, tiny sandwiches, and one of Barcelona’s best wine cellars) • Masclans Origens (part-fish shop, part-tapas bar inside Sant Antoni market) • Hoja Santa (high-end, authentic Mexican restaurant) • Tickets (Barcelona’s one-of-a-kind tapas bar; reservations essential) • Barna Brew (Belgian-style craft beers with a local twist) • La Tasqueta de Blai (homemade vermouth and inexpensive pinchos).

90. Camp Nou, Pedralbes & La Zona Alta

To the north of the city, this vast area comprises the hills of La Zona Alta with its rugged parks popular with walkers and cyclists, the lofty Tibidabo mountain, topped with an amusement park, the high-end gated residences of Pedralbes and, just south of Pedrables, Camp Nou – one of the world’s best football stadiums.
Best Stuff: Tibidabo Parc d’Attraccions (old-fashioned amusement park popular with families, reachable by funicular railway) • Camp Nou Stadium (attend a football game or tour the stadium during the day) • Museu-Monestir de Pedralbes (centuries-old convent and museum of monastic life) • ABaC Restaurant (3-Michelin-starred fine dining inside an exclusive hotel at the foot of Tibidabo).

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