Barcelona Bucket list: 50 Things to do in Barcelona

Insiders advice from an exchange student

Anyone who has visited Barcelona before will tell you that the city is a traveler’s dream. Everything you could possibly hope for a city break is wrapped up in one. There’s art, stunning architecture by the incredible Gaudi, the beach, parks, awesome spots with breathtaking views, world class food culture and a buzzing nightlife. In this guide, I am sharing with you all the knowledge I have collected after living in Barcelona for six months – throwback to my Erasmus days! So here’s the ultimate Barcelona bucket list : the ultimate guide on where to eat, drink and shop and EVERYTHING you should see and do in the cosmopolitan city of Catalonia.

 

Contents

1.Watch an FC Barcelona game at Camp Nou

If you enjoy football you should definitely watch a game at Camp Nou and ddmire the feats of Messi or Neymar in a festive atmosphere while thousands of fans are filling the stadium and cheer for their favorite Catalonian team!

2.  Visit the iconic La Sagrada Familia

If there’s one thing that everyone knows about Barcelona is the famous La Sagrada Familia, the stunning unfinished church that was designed by Gaudi and is still in progress. Even If it’s unfinished, it’s one of the most iconic churches in the world with millions of travelers visiting it every year.

3. Take a daytrip to Montserrat

Escape the city buzz and explore one of the most picturesque places of Spain,the  Montserrat mountain. It’s a perfect hike which gives you some of the most rewarding views once you reach the top.There is also a unique monastery once you arrive there and outside there are locals behind food stalls that sell local goods.

4. Have a karaoke night at George Payne’s

The George Payne’s is one of the most popular bars in Barcelona and it’s most commonly visited to watch sports on their TV’s. Although, there’s one night every week when you can enjoy a karaoke night. Not good at it? Don’t worry – more likely no one will judge you!

5. Enjoy the legendary nightlife

This city knows how to party. I have never been a “party” person but my perception about partying changed completely after living in Barcelona.  People in Barcelona party with their souls out and enjoy every minute of it! There’s club for every music taste so whether you are looking for a techno venue or pop club, there are hundreds of clubs.

6. Have a cocktail at W Hotel

W Hotel is one of the most luxurious and popular hotels in Barcelona. You can instantly recognize it from Barcelonetta. What you don’t know, is the Eclipse Bar & Night Club on the 26th floor of the hotel which gives you magnificent views of the city and offers some of the greatest cocktails.

7. Join a rooftop party during the day

Sundays in Barcelona are quite popular for the rooftop parties (during the warmer months) and a really cool experience. There’s not such thing as the right time to party in this city as there’s literally always a cool event happening in the various venues.

8.Visit Tibidabo Theme Park

Tibidabo could be great to visit as a family as it has quite interesting activities for the kids but it’s also the perfect spot to capture Barcelona from the highest point in the city. It’s quite big, has numerous parks and you can also take a coffee break with picturesque views!

9. Watch the sunset from Bunkers

My ultimate favorite spot in Barcelona will always be the Bunkers of Carmel especially during the sunset hours.  Some people bring their guitars and sing along, others have a picnic with beers and there are always the couples that find their way in the best viewpoint of Barcelona. It might be a little tricky to discover but totally worth it!

bunkers barcelona

10. Visit the Picasso Museum

I am not an art enthusiast by any means but I truly enjoyed the certain museum. I like the way everything is positioned and how every room separates the art pieces regarding the stage of life the popular Spanish painter was and how his art progressed throughout the years. Budget Tip: Visit the museum for free on Thursday afternoons from 6.00pm to 9.30pm and on the first Sunday of each month, from 9am to 7pm.

11. Eat Tapas

You are visiting Barcelona, so tapas should definitely be in your Barcelona bucket list! There are numerous restaurants in Barcelona that have a variety of tapas you should try out!

12. Marvel at Gaudi’s architectural genius

Park Guell is probably the most abstract, fairytale-like design in the world. It’s unlike anything else I have ever seen before and my favorite sight in Barcelona. Only Gaudi could have made something this full of color and life.  Originally, it was meant to be a high-class housing estate for well-off families and even Gaudi spent the last years of his life there but eventually the concept didn’t work out and turned into the public park we visit today.

13. Enjoy a picnic in Parc de la Ciutadella

My favorite park in Barcelona and one of the most chilled places. Grab your book, a towel and head to the park to enjoy the endless rays of sunshine. You will see people doing every kind of activity in the park ; cycling, jogging, doing yoga or even having little picnic parties.

14. Visit the fairies themed bar

El Bosc de les Fades which is translated as the “Forest of Fairies” is one of the coolest hidden gems in Barcelona. It’s absolutely the most magical and mysterious bar I have ever been to. The bar takes it to another level when suddenly the lights fade and thunder and lightning begin – certainly not to miss!

15. Learn how to salsa for free

El Sabor in Graca organizes weekly free salsa classes with an instructor for an hour or two! Don’t miss on the opportunity to learn some basic moves

16. Take a chupito or two

Chupitos are “shots” in spanish and there is a place in Barcelona where it has more than 600 different shots for only 1€ on Mondays and Tuesdays! (2€ for the rest of the week). It’s called Espit Chupitos and it’s one of the most fun places to go in Barcelona.

17. Eat with the locals at Mercat Santa Caterina

If you visited La Boqueria and hated the flock of tourists that were only visiting to take a selfie or two, then here’s the locals alternative, the Market of Santa Caterina. Located in the quirky streets of El Born, you will spot many locals doing their groceries and is considered one of the best Barcelona food markets.

18. Take a ride with the teleferic of Montjuic

If you want to see Barcelona from above, there is no cooler way than a ride with the teleferic. You get stunning views and an unforgettable experience!

19. Explore the Montjuic Castle

Built on the top of the hill of Monjuic, it used to be a military fortress back in the 17th century. Nowadays, it’s open for visitors and offers some of the best views of the city and is great for photographs!

20. Limehouse for Mojitos

Limehouse is one of the favorite bars for students and international people living in Barcelona. It’s mostly known for it’s 4€ strong mojitos, its relatively cheap drinks menu and the friendly environment. It’s one of the best places in cities to start a party Barcelona style!

21. Visit the oldest bar in Barcelona – Bar Marsella

One of the most historic bars in Barcelona that’s been running since 1820 and it’s said to be the first bar in the city. There are rumours that say that Picasso and Hemmingway used to be regulars at some point in this establishment’s long history. The bar is quite famous for its absinthe and even the movie “Vicky Christina” shot some scenes here.

22. Have a brunch at Milk Bar & Bistro

Probably one of the best spots in city for brunch as it has a huge menu and the food is always delicious! So If you are a brunch enthusiast, you will definitely fall in love with this place.

23. Take a photo of the famous street art work

“The world begins with every kiss” is a outstanding piece by  the Catalan artist Joan Fontcuberta. It’s made up of 4,000 photographs taken by residents of Barcelona and printed on tiles. The famous piece of art is located close to the center, somewhere among the streets of Gothic Quarter.

24. See the musical fountain show at plaza Espanya

I absolutely love the fountain show as it reflects the true spirit of Barcelona. Even If stayed there for a while, whenever I was around the city centre and had the time I would go see it. It’s also absolutely free for everyone and one of the most romantic spots in the city.

25. Visit the famous Casa Battló

Another masterpiece by Gaudi, this modernist building is truly breathtaking. During the night, it’s illuminated so you can better appreciate the facade and its colors.

26. Discover the cool skate bar

Somewhere nidden among the alleys of Barri Gotic, you will find an extremely unique and unusual underground grunge bar, called Nevermind which is named after Nirvana’s album. What makes this place so unique is the rock atmosphere and that there is an actual skate bowl where you can sit on the ledges and drink your beers.

27. Indulge yourself with a delicious churro

Churro is a traditional spanish friend dough pastry which is best served with chocolate or nutella. There are many churrerías in Barcelona – yes that’s what they call the place that makes the churros but the best one is said to be Churreria Laietana, a short walk away from Plaza Catalunya.

28. Wander through the streets of Gothic Quarter

Explore the quaint narrow streets of Gothic Quarter that can keep you busy for a couple of hours.It has a lot of narrow little alleys, courtyards, plazas and you can just explore without much plan and see what you stumble upon! Take a break at the cozy cafés in the corners and discover the little authentic boutiques.

 

29. Visit the Cathedral

The gothic building is quite impressive but what is really amazing about the cathedral is the atmosphere in this certain square. It’s such a lively square, filled with musicians and amazing tapas restaurants and bars.

30. Engage in fun activities

One of the coolest things about Barcelona is that you can almost enjoy every activity. If you take a look on Meetup, there are numerous fun activities to do for free such as photography walks, yoga and dancing classes and much more!

31. Have a glass of cava

In the world of sparkling wine,  the French ‘Champagne,’ is the only type of wine in the world legally allowed to use that terminology, and is seen as the benchmark of quality. However, the spanish version known as cava, has long been considered a delicacy in Spain and it can be found almost in every bar in Barcelona.

32. See the castellers in action

Another part of the Catalan culture are the castellers when people build human pyramids which can reach up to 10 people in height. The youngest usually climb at the very top of the castell, or the castle.

33. Eat a paella

Even If Barcelona is technically not the birthplace of paella, the spanish specialty is one of the most consumed dishes by travelers visiting the city.

34. Ride a bike down the coastline of Barcelona

One of the coolest ways get to know a city is by renting a bike. The coastline of Barcelona is one of the best places to explore the area and

35. Watch a movie under the stars

There are loads of outdoor cinemas in Barcelona and have become a huge phenomenon in recent years. Grab your coziest blanket and have an experience like no other!

36. Find cool and authentic boutiques in El Born

El Born is one of the most artistic neighborhoods in Barcelona hence and you can discover a variety of shops and authentic boutiques with unique pieces!

37. Have a unique experience at Dow Jones Bar

Another alternative bar to keep an eye on is Dow Jones Bar in Eixample. What’s so unique about it is that the prices of every drink changes on the digital menu and they keep rising or lowering it. Then at some point of the night, the whole “stock market” crashes and red lights go off, signaling your cue to order a drink dirt cheap before you watch the price go up again – seems fun?

38. Arc de Triomf

It has become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, This arch crosses a long avenue with a pleasant promenade under the palm trees holds;

39. Find the hidden fountain in Cathedral area and take stunning photos

I bumped into this place only by accident as I was walking around the Cathedral area. It’s called Casa de L’ardiaca and it’s a 16th century historic building which houses the city’s archive. The unique architecture, the decorative plants and the fountain which is located at the heart of the building makes it a great spot for photos!

Casa de L'ardiaca

40. Keep an eye for any upcoming festivals/concerts

There’s almost always something going on in the music scene of Barcelona. There is almost always a music festival or a concert. When I was in Barcelona I had the opportunity to watch a Chris Brown concert for free! Not the greatest fan,but hey it was free! Also got to watch Soulja boy for free in a club – my 12 year old self would be proud!  Many celebrities are touring in Barcelona and the tickets are generally cheaper than the UK or the States. Songkick is my favorite place to check for events so check it out!

41. Act like a local in Grácia neighborhood

Located a little bit outside the city centre, this neighborhood has managed to keep its local identity. I used to spend hours walking around the streets like a real (wannabe) local, grab a second hand book at a local bookstore in the area and simply visit a cozy cafe to enjoy my reading.

42. Catch the sunset at the Olympic Stadium

On my very first walking tour in Barcelona as an international student I visited the Olympic Stadium and even if it was little hilly the views were totally worth it!

43. Visit the beach

Pack your towel and head to one of the most popular beaches in Barcelona, the Barcelonetta. Whilst there are many otherbeaches, Barcelonetta is the one closest to the public transport and the one most travelers visit. It could be quite relaxing and refreshing for as long as the guys selling beers and the girls offering massage don’t interrupt you!

44. Participate in water based activities

One of the greatest advantages of the sea, is the plethora of activities you can engage to. So whether you are interested into kayaking, paddle-surfing, parasailing or whatever sport you’re looking for, Barcelona has the best amenities and places to enjoy your free time.

45. Beat the crowds at the Boquería market

It’s Barcelona’s most famous fresh food market but at the same time the most crowded. Buy a 2€ fresh fruit juice  at a stall and take a stroll around the food market. You can capture some great photos of the stalls and

46. Visit the chocolate museum

Chocoholics, embrace yourselves – there’s an entire museum in Barcelona dedicated to chocolate! You can learn all about the process of chocolate making, admire the statues made of chocolate and even participate in a workshop!

47. Visit Sant Pau’s Hospital

Not so known like Gaudi’s masterpieces but it features an impressive modernist design by the architect Domènech i Muntaner. Sant Pau is a complex of buildings that used to serve as a hospital until 2009 . Today the building is open to the public and serves as a cultural centre and museum.

48. Watch talented young skaters in front of MACBA

Every afternoon in front of the Contemporary Art Museum in El Raval a number of skaters gather in the square to show off their skills.

 

49. Play beach volleyball at Barcelonetta

Locals and expats in Barcelona surely love  beach volleyball. There are many groups along the beach playing so If you are a volley enthusiast or keen to meet some new people join the Multicultural Volleyball Barcelona group on facebook!

50. Join a free walking tour

Last but not least in my Barcelona bucket list, join a free walking tour as it’s the best way to explore the city and its history in a quick and fun way. The tour guides share some local tips and advice as they have been staying in the city for a period of time. It’s also one of the best ways to meet other people especially If you are traveling solo. All you need to decide is which walking tour you are going to join!

 

Budget Saving Tips

  • On the first Sunday of the month most of the museums in Barcelona and galleries are free of charge. Also, If you take your student card with you, you are more likely to get a discount
  • Dining in Barcelona could be really expensive. I can count the times I had a meal in a restaurant on the fingers of one hand. So consider cooking your own meals If you are on a tight budget.
  • Taxis are quite expensive too so consider using public transportation as it’s really well connected and available at all times. Purchase a T-10 bus ticket which is valid valid for 10 intermodal journeys. A ride from the airport to the city center could be as expensive as 50€ so alternatively use a bus or the Barcelona’s underground network which is connected to both terminals of the airport.
  • Always book your tickets ahead of time. My friends were pretty upset to visit Barcelona in June only to find out that it was almost impossible to visit Sagrada Familia on the spot! The queues are huge and it could take so many hours to get a ticket so book in advance!
  • If you don’t want to spend a euro when visiting a club but still want to experience Barcelona’s nightlife there’s this guy called Shaz and If you sign up on his guest list you can enter most clubs for free! Here’s his fb page.

 

I hope you enjoyed my ultimate Barcelona bucket list and If you have any more suggestions for fellow readers you are more than welcome to leave a comment below or simply ask any relevant questions – I might be able to give a good response!

 

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Don’t forget to check out my ultimate Lisbon bucket list with lots of tips on things to do and see in the hippiest capital of Portugal after living there for a whole summer!

 

7 Comments

  1. What a great list! Chocolate museum? I’m there! Those sunsets are gorgeous. My son’s cardiologist is from Barcelona. I just love listening to him talk. Bad news sounds better with an accent. Actually, so does good news.

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