Barcelona is a beautiful city, from the quirky Gaudi architecture to the long strip of golden sand at the city beach – it has heaps to offer and keep you occupied for a (long) weekend.
I’ve compiled my top picks for things to do in & around the city, but to be honest there is so much to do here, you could easily have a two week holiday here!
Depending on the time of year you visit it can get very hot and as a lot of the cities accommodation doesn’t have swimming pools to cool off in, heading down the the beach is a good shout. Up to the northern end are more bars & cafes to keep hydrated, along with even a (slightly inconsistent) surf break if you fancy a paddle. We were kept satisfied by the 5 Euro mojitos though, which are sold alongside ice-creams by peddlers on the beach.
If you’re looking for less crowded beaches, it’s worth hopping on the train to Sitges, about 20 minutes south of the city. The old town center is beautiful, with winding streets and archaic buildings. Along with several long sandy beaches & bays to choose from.
As mentioned, the architecture in the city is amazing, we spent hours wandering around looking at the mixture of designs and styles. The Gothic quarter is a maze of passageways, with parts dating back to medieval times and the epic Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia at the heart.
Barcelona is also renowned for Antoni Gaudí modernist designs. Which can be seen scattered all over the city, with sweeping doorways and curved shapes – with the most ore inspiring being Sagrada Família. I suggest visiting in the evening, when it is up-lit, highlighting all the intricate detailing. Also a great afternoon out is Park Güell- it’s a fair walk from the city centre (and up a big hill) but totally worth it. It felt like an architectural theme park, with pathways winding around structures which look more like fine pieces of art!
Another place which is worth a visit is the Olympic Park from 1992. We didn’t actually do the stadium tour, but found the Olympic pool with epic views over the city far more exciting – however this isn’t open all year round, so check before you pack your swimmers. From here is also a beautiful walk through gardens down to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, where you can admire sights over the expansive city too. If you end up staying here until it turns dark, you’ll also have a treat at the ‘Magic Fountain’ opposite, with a beautiful light show each evening.
In the city center there are all the usual store and bustling activity of any large European city – however please be warned when visiting here. Pickpockets are rife here, which I sadly learned the hard way, by having my passport & phone stolen on the metro system (which is why all the photos included are from my film camera!) It’s a super fun city, but keep your stuff extra safe & hidden.