Barcelona: things to do in Spain’s most cosmopolitan city

Fanciful and sophisticated, Barcelona casts a spell over the most jaded traveller the minute they leave the airport. The Catalan passion is infused into everything in this magical city.


Barcelona is defined by its architecture, so a walking tour is in order on any holiday here. The city’s most recognizable architect, Antoni Gaudí, left his undulating stamp on several of the bizarrely bewitching buildings around town, but he isn’t the only modernist to make his mark here. Domènech i Montaner is behind some of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks, like the Palau de la Música and Casa Lleó Morera.

Barcelona isn’t built on modernism alone. Spain’s second-biggest metropolis has one of the greatest concentrations of Gothic architecture in all of Europe. Design buffs flock to Santa Maria del Mar and the Royal Palace when they want a taste of the medieval.

Things to see

Though Picasso spent his formative years here, Joan Miró is the most famous 20th-century artist who can lay claim to Barcelona as his birthplace. The Joan Miró Foundation, donated by the painter in 1971, houses an exceptional collection of his seminal works.

Attracting 2.8 million people a year, Gaudí’s lifelong obsession, the Sagrada Família, is Spain’s most visited monument. Despite being incomplete for more than a hundred years after construction began, the church’s strange, towering grandeur is nothing less than awe-inspiring.

Delicious food

For a taste of authentic Catalan cuisine with a modern twist, the Michelin-starred Cinc Sentits creates quite a stir. An ice cream made from cherry pits is a unique favourite here.

Euskal Etxea is one of the best places to try pintxos (Basque tapas). The chicken tempura with saffron mayo is particularly divine.

Trips to Barcelona: Good to know

To ensure a successful trip to Barcelona, read this useful information about travelling to Spain.