15 COOLEST Things to Do in Barcelona [2018 Bargain Guide]

A stunning Catalonian treasure, Barcelona is a top place for culture vultures, creative souls, sun seekers, foodies, and party animals.

Whether you’re taking a trip with your friends, the family, your loved one, or all on your lonesome, Barcelona really does have something for everyone.

Barcelona literally has it all – and that’s the problem! Where are you supposed to start? What are you supposed to see with your limited time?

This is exactly why we wrote this insider guide of the coolest things to do in Barcelona. 

Curated by our travel specialists, this list was written to show you the best of the best of Barcelona. Whether you are looking for must-see tourist attractions, or prefer to find the cultural hidden gems, this guide will get you exactly where you want to be.

Let’s get into the coolest things to do in Barcelona – for all budgets!

Additional reading – 17 of the Best Hotels in Barcelona, and the Complete Barcelona Neighbourhood Guide 

Things to do in Barcelona

Quick Answer – Best Things to Do in Barcelona

 

Fun Things to do in Barcelona

One of the most fun things to do in Barcelona, especially for first-timers, is wandering around soaking up some of the truly off-the-wall sights the city has to offer.

These usually take the form of wacky but incredibly impressive architecture dating back centuries, that the locals are incredibly proud of. When it comes to bucket list items that you can’t leave town without seeing, have no fear, we’ve got you covered!

Parque Güell

Parque-Güell

  • Outdoors
  • Park
  • Architecture

As well as being one of the city’s most beloved and treasured sites, a trip to Parque Güell is one of those fun things to do in Barcelona that isn’t at all strenuous or complicated – it’s quite literally a walk in the park – but you can bet it’s unlike any you’ve seen before.

Bursting with vibrant, multi-coloured mosaics and sculptures like the “El Drac” salamander statue, the park is a testament to Gaudí’s visionary architectural style and is an absolute joy to wander around. The oasis-like settings are also a great place to enjoy sweeping views of Barcelona from a raised terrace that is easily reached.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada-Familia

  • Architecture
  • Photography
  • Gaudi

No trip to Barcelona would be complete without – at the very least – admiring the Sagrada Familia basilica from outside, though anyone who is even slightly culturally inclined should head in and prepare to be promptly awed by the insanely opulent interior.

The UNESCO-listed monument, with its majestic spires and stained glass windows, is by far Gaudí’s greatest masterpiece, even though it was never finished and is still in the stages of completion.

What’s more, with this tour, you’ll be able to fast-track the famously long queues and explore Barcelona’s favourite landmark with ease.

Montjuïc Cable Car Ride

Montjuïc-Cable-Car-Ride

  • Views
  • Architecture
  • Culture

If you’re looking for truly breathtaking views of Barcelona then look no further than the famous cable car running from town all the way up Montjuïc Hill to overlook the city.

The views from the Castell de Montjuïc at the summit are simply unbeatable and you’ll come away from the experience with some unforgettable snaps and a completely different perspective of the buzzing city.

Romantic Things to do in Barcelona

What better way to spend time with your other half than in the sun-kissed, food-filled, late-night romance haven that is Barcelona.

Some of the most romantic things to do in Barcelona can be simple strolls around town taking in the sights. But if you’re after something a little different, there’s plenty to do to keep the spark alight during your visit.

From sizzling dancing shows to hands-on cooking experiences, there’s no shortage of romantic things to do around town if you know where to look.

Flamenco Show

Flamenco-Show

  • Dance
  • Traditions
  • Culture

Immerse yourself in the stunningly passionate art of flamenco in one of the city’s most revered tablaos found in the Plaça Reial, and experience true sensuality that’s enough to get any couple tapping their feet.

The flamenco venue is among the most famous in the country and Barcelona itself is a powerhouse of flamenco talent; you can be sure you’ll be watching some of the best artists around in their element.

While the performances are world class, they’re also accessible to the casual visitor, making it a perfect date if you’re new to the age-old dance – and one you won’t forget in a hurry!

Sunset Boat Tour

Sunset-Boat-Tour

  • Boat Ride
  • Sightseeing
  • Romantic

If you’re looking for a little time for yourselves, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, there’s no better way to get the romance flowing than taking a trip out on the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea to soak in a breathtaking sunset.

Aboard the esteemed Golelta Karya vessel – a beautiful wooden boat – you’ll have the chance to unwind and relax with your loved one, enjoying cocktails as you sail past a range of awe-inspiring monuments – as well as having time on the open water.

Look out for the Sagrada Familia and Tibidabo Mountain for a completely unique water-level perspective.

Paella Cooking Experience

Paella-Cooking-Experience

  • Cooking
  • Traditions
  • Shopping

Possibly one of the most romantic things to do in Europe, let alone Barcelona, this intimate gastronomic experience will see you and your other half being accompanied by a professional chef as you shop for your own ingredients in the historic and world-renowned Boqueria Market.

Marvel at the colours, sights and smells of the famous food market before ambling back to a private kitchen and dining room in the desirable El Born district.

Here, you’ll be treated to a full-on Iberian feast of tapas and sangria, while you watch your chef prepare the nation’s beloved paella dish – which incidentally means ‘for her’ in Spanish. Get ready to let the romance simmer and make sure you arrive hungry!

Things to Do with Kids in Barcelona

With so much constantly popping up in the ever-evolving city, it can be hard to time a visit to when there’s something fantastic on offer for the whole family to enjoy.

But as with all diverse metropolitan hubs, there are always some family favourite, timeless things to do with kids in Barcelona. Here are a few of the best ones.

Tibidabo Amusement Park

Tibidabo-Amusement-Park

  • Theme Park
  • Family Fun
  • Views

This amusement park has amazingly been around for over a century and is as much synonymous with iconic Barcelona culture as it is with endless fun for the kids.

From its vantage point on Tibidabo Mountain, it’s a fantastic way to get the family out of the city for the day and experience a different side to Barcelona, while enjoying the park’s numerous attractions.

From roller coasters to excellent food and unbeatable views, the kids will be begging to stay for an extra few hours. For the best views and no shortage of adrenaline, check out the Tibidabo Skywalk – not for the fainthearted!

Illa Fantasia Water Park

Illa-Fantasia-Water-Park

photo credits:barcelona-home.com

  • Water Park
  • Slides
  • Fun

There’s no better way to cool off from the sweltering Mediterranean sun than with a trip to Barcelona’s most popular water park, found a short bus journey away from the city.

With an astonishing 22 slides, not to mention three huge pools to splash around in, its hands-down one of the most fun things to do with kids in Barcelona.

Though the restaurants found in the park offer excellent food, why not make a day of it and bring some shop-bought tapas to enjoy in the gorgeous picnic area found at Illa Fantasia.

Spend a day at the beach

Spend-a-day-at-the-beach

photo credits:barcelonaturisme.com

  • Beach
  • Relaxation
  • Sunbathing

Of course, no trip to the heart of Catalonia would be complete without a day out at one of the surprisingly high numbers of beaches, with enough to suit every taste.

Dig your toes into the sand at the classy Barceloneta beach and enjoy a cocktail while the kids have a dip, or head further afield to somewhere like Castelldefels Beach, which has enough space for them to run around unhindered. A day out that everyone can enjoy, a trip to Barcelona’s famous beaches is a timeless family favourite.

Things to Do for Free in Barcelona

In a city where around every corner lies a different architectural marvel, street event or Spanish attraction, you’ll quickly find that there are endless things to do for free in Barcelona.

As with many fascinating cities, the Iberian coastal hub is made up of distinct districts – each prettier than the last, and ranging from heaving crowds to quiet plazas lined with boutique shops. Here are some of the best things to do for free in Barcelona.

Stroll along La Rambla

Stroll-along-La-Rambla

photo credits:Driftwood Journals

  • Shopping
  • Local Life
  • Market

Quintessentially synonymous with Barcelona, and as a result one of the first places tourists head for, is the beautifully busy pedestrianized avenue known as La Rambla.

It doesn’t take long to see past the sometimes kitschy street vendors pedalling Spanish football shirts lining the streets and appreciate the gorgeous walkway for the symbol of Barcelona that it is.

Be sure to poke your head into the Boqueria Market, easily the most thrilling – and certainly the oldest – food market in town.

Shop in El Raval

Shop-in-El-Raval

photo credits:Beroomers.com

  • Shopping
  • Art
  • Hipster Vibe

The effortlessly chic and unashamedly hipster El Raval district lies just next to the Barri Gòtic and can be a breath of fresh air compared to the dense historical overtones found in the latter.

Here, you’ll find endless vintage stores nestled alongside antique vendors, and street stalls hawking all manner of wonderfully bizarre wares that’ll keep you entertained for hours. For some critically acclaimed art from around the world, you can also cool off with a stroll around the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona.

Catch a Font Màgica Show

Catch-a-Font-Màgica-Show

photo credits:barcelonaturisme.com

  • Show
  • Fountain
  • Architecture

The enchanting sonic and visual display put on by the Font Màgica is one of the most rewarding things to do for free in Barcelona. It will be sure to captivate even the most aloof passerby.

The Magic Fountain light show has been delighting tourists and locals alike since the 1930’s. Featuring vibrantly coloured jets of water dancing to soundtracks, it’s perfect for some light evening entertainment that won’t break the bank.

Best Things to Do at Night in Barcelona

Last but not least, it’d be positively criminal to visit the buzzing city without sampling one of the many wonders on offer once the Iberian sun dips below the horizon.

Though both famous and infamous for the quality of its nightlife, the best things to do at night in Barcelona are incredibly varied, and you’ll have no trouble finding something to suit every taste.

Spend an evening at Gaudi’s Casa Batlló

Spend-an-evening-at-Gaudi’s-Casa-Batlló

photo credits:Jurjen de Vries(Flickr.com)

  • Architecture
  • Live Music
  • Gaudi

If you arrive in the summer months between June and September, be sure to book an evening at the fascinatingly designed Casa Batlló, known for its prowess as a live music venue, as well as a gorgeous structure from which you can enjoy striking views of the city lights below.

The modernista rooftop is one of Gaudi’s greatest works and is a fantastic place to enjoy a few drinks and world-class music before heading further afield.

Have dinner at Fabra’s Observatory

Have-dinner-at-Fabra’s-Observatory

photo credits:gratisbarcelona.com

  • Dining
  • Views
  • Romantic

Fabra’s Observatory gives new meaning to dining under the stars. Held from June through October, you’ll have the chance to sample some truly unforgettable gastronomy in the inspiring settings of one of the oldest observatories in Europe.

Everything down to the menu is inspired by astronomy, and you’ll have the chance to spot your favourite star through one of the traditional telescopes found there.

Dance the night away in one of Barcelona’s music venues

Dance-the-night-away-in-one-of-Barcelona’s-music-venues

photo credits:barcelona.com

  • Bars
  • Nightlife
  • Partying

Arguably the be all and end all when it comes to the best things to do at night in Barcelona, are the eternally tempting array of high-quality music venues scattered around the city.

From scorching beach parties under the stars that can be found on summer nights in Barceloneta, to pumping basements in nightclubs such as Apollo, there’s something for everyone after dark.

Be it salsa or electronic music, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable night in the pride and joy of Catalonia.

Conclusion to the best things to do in Barcelona

Fill your Instagram feed with images of Barcelona’s majestic buildings. Bask on beautiful beaches and admire incredible views. Spend the day at an amusement or water park, cook up a storm, feel the spirit of flamenco, and bust out your best moves on the dance floor.

Get ready to have a blast with these best things to do in Barcelona!   

What do you think? Did we miss and of the coolest things to do in Barcelona? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author Aaron Radcliffe

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