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Heading to the capital of Catalonia? If you want some great photos while in the city, here’s a thorough list of some of the most beautiful places in Barcelona, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities to visit. The best way to see most of these sites is by opting for a Barcelona Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour – you’ll hit most of the major sites without becoming drenched in sweat in the strong Catalonian sun. Heading there for a few days and need ideas as to what to see? Here is a three day Barcelona travel guide. If you have enough time or are just sick of all the crowds, escape the city for a bit with these epic day trips from Barcelona. Enjoy!
beautiful places in barcelona
- 1. bunkers del carmel
- 2. barri gòtic
- 3. del born
- 4. arco de triunfo
- 5. tibidabo
- 6. sagrada família
- 7. casa comalat
- 8. la boqueria
- 9. parc de la ciutadella
- 10. casa batlló
- 11. plaça d’isidre nonell
- 12. parc güell
- 13. whimsical shops in the city
- 14. pont del bisbe
- 15. palau de la música catalana
- 16. passeig de colom
- 17. playa de la barceloneta
- 18. font màgica de montjuïc
- 19. catedral de barcelona
- 20. recinte modernista de sant pau
- 21. plaça reial
- 22. casa vicens
- 23. plaça d’espanya
- 24. museu nacional d’art de catalunya
- 25. casa milà
- map of the most beautiful places in barcelona
1. bunkers del carmel
Los bunkers del Carmel offer the most BEAUTIFUL panoramic views of Barcelona, from the Spanish Civil War bunkers where anti-aircraft guns were installed in 1937.
The bunkers are situated 262m above the city – it feels a hell of a lot higher! And if you’re the type who likes sprawling vistas and remarkable vantage points in your photos, Barcelona’s bunkers are the perfect spot.
Today the bunkers are owned by Heritage of the City of Barcelona, but they are accessible to everyone, for free, 24/7.
Pro tip: Head there super early to catch the sunrise, or a couple of hours before sunset to get a good spot to watch the sun set over the city. Not as touristy as Parc Güell or la Sagrada Familia, but the Bunkers are on the tourist radar now, so it’s been busier than in years’ past.
I very much enjoy walking around new cities, so I set off for the bunkers from the gothic quarter on foot. Literally just put it into Google Maps and it led me right up. Otherwise, there are bus routes you can take to the foot of the mini-mountain, but, the climb you’ve got to do on your own.
2. barri gòtic
The Gothic Quarter, or, el Barri Gòtic, is the historic center of the city dating back to medieval and Roman times.
Famous for its narrow streets & looming, leaning buildings, the Gothic Quarter is a great place to get lost in the city.
Plaça de Sant Jaume, the major square in the center of the Gothic Quarter, is the political center of the Catalonian capital, where you will often see protests or other (peaceful) rallies & demonstrations.
3. del born
Barri del Born is a neighborhood between the Gothic Quarter and Parc de la Ciutadella.
Barri del Born has seen an upswing in popularity over recent years, making it one of the trendiest and most popular neighborhoods in Barcelona. It’s also a great place to take a night tour of the Dark History of Barcelona!
If you’re into boho-artistic vibes in a more local-focused neighborhood (not to mention a large international community), this is where you should hang out in Barcelona.
4. arco de triunfo
The Arco de Triunfo was built as a main access gate in 1888 for the Barcelona World Fair.
The colorful brickwork is done in the Mudéjar style, which has its roots in Moorish architecture.
See if you can find the embellished Spanish Coat of Arms when you visit!
Tibidabo is a mountain overlooking Barcelona, situated higher than the Bunkers at 512m above sea level. Another good addition to the most beautiful places in Barcelona.
Tibidabo is the tallest mountain in the Sierra de Collserola mountain range.
Once you reach the top, you’ll find a cathedral, a telecommunications tower, and an amusement park.
6. sagrada família
Construction on the Sagrada Familia started March 19, 1882. It is still under construction. The projected date of completion is 2026, however, it is possible that this could be extended up to 2040. By the time it is completed, its construction will have taken longer than the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
Gaudí, the architect of the building, died in 1926. He was hit by a tram, and his body is buried on site. La Sagrada Familia is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona, inside or out.
There are (will be) 18 towers of the church – 12 apostles, 4 evangelists, 1 for the virgin mary, and 1 for jesus.
Once the building is completed, it will be the tallest religious structure in Europe, standing tall at 170m.
7. casa comalat
You won’t find as many tourists here as you would at Casa Batlló or Casa Milà, so if you’re looking for a good photo backdrop away from the crowds, this might be for you.
One of the reasons Casa Comalat is lesser known is because it’s not one of Antoní Gaudí’s buildings – it was built by Salvador Valeri i Popurull in 1911.
Casa Comalat is actually a private house – so you can’t look around inside.
8. la boqueria
The most popular market in Barcelona, it was voted Best Market in the World in 2005 by the World Market Congress.
La Boqueria boasts over 300 stands to browse covering 2583 square meters!
You can find everything here – beetles, worms, authentic tapas, picnic supplies to bring to Parc Güell, sweets & confections, fresh fish, and more. Go early to beat the crowds.
9. parc de la ciutadella
The largest green space in Barcelona, the Parc de la Ciutadella spans over 70 acres.
The park is home to the Barcelona Zoo.
The gilded horseman that sits on top of the park’s waterfall is ACTUALLY a woman. It is Aurora, the goddess of the dawn.
10. casa batlló
Casa Batlló as we know it today was actually the renovation of a building designed by Gaudí’s architecture teacher!
The building features trencadís, a technique using broken tiles to create mosaics. Gaudí liked this technique for its aesthetic value, yes, but also for sustainability reasons. It’s used on many of the locations on this list and is definitely a contributing factor to the most beautiful places in Barcelona.
Casa Batlló is also known as the House of the Dragon Roof.
11. plaça d’isidre nonell
You may think this is a big piece of graffiti, but as you get closer, you’ll see that it’s actually a tile mosaic. Each tile is printed with a photo of something that in some way represents an expression of freedom.
The piece was designed by Joan Font Cuberta, but the images were taken by locals. Local paper El Periodico requested that people submit photos that represented some moment of freedom. Even without knowing the story it could be considered one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona, but the story adds so much emotion to an already beautiful piece of art.
It was installed in 2014 as part of Barcelona’s Tricentenary Celebrations, commemorating the fall of Barcelona during the War of Spanish Succession. A plaque next to the mosaic reads:
12. parc güell
One of Gaudí’s many masterpieces and one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona, Parc Güell was originally created to be a modern housing complex set away from the smog and chaos of the city.
Turns out, not enough people wanted to live there. It was built between 1900 and 1914, and was opened to the public as a park in 1926, the year of Gaudí’s death. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
The majority of the park is free to visit, with the notable exception of the famous curved benches (ya know, where everyone takes the photos!). It does get crowded, but they do cap visitors at 400 people per 30 minutes.
13. whimsical shops in the city
There are some shops in the Gothic Quarter that are just sheer magic. Pastel hues of pinks and greens, oddly placed animal skulls, gold chandeliers – there are a couple of stores like this scattered in the city.
I don’t think I’ve ever taken so many photos inside a store in my life.
14. pont del bisbe
Like so many of the other things on this list, Pont del Bisbe (Bishop’s Bridge) was built in 1929 for the International Expo.
This narrow passageway can get super crowded, and Barcelona is notorious for pickpockets and theft. Make sure to keep an eye on your belongings.
On a lighter note, local legend has it that if you make a wish while walking backward under the bridge and looking directly at the skull carving, your wish will come true.
15. palau de la música catalana
This is the only concert house in the world that relies on natural sunlight during the daytime hours, thanks to the impressive stained glass windows and massive skylights.
It’s completely underrated and not as high on the tourist radar on some of the other locations listed here. But it definitely deserves recognition as one of the most beautiful places in Barcelona.
There is a lot of symbolism found on the walls, including the union of classical and folk music. There is a depiction of Wagner’s Valkyries on one side, with a sculpted choir of Catalan girls on the other.
Architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner was heavily involved in politics, and fought for the regional autonomy of Catalan.
16. passeig de colom
The Passeig de Colom is the iconic, palm tree-lined avenue in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona.
The street runs from the Columbus Monument to the Central Post Office.
Construction of the avenue began in 1878 when the old sea wall was taken down.
17. playa de la barceloneta
Playa de la Barceloneta is the most famous of Barcelona’s 7 beaches that span about 4.5km of coastline.
The beaches, however, are not actually real. The area was industrial until the 1992 summer Olympic Games were held in the city, when man-made beaches were created.
If you swim over here, you’re swimming in the Balearic Sea.
18. font màgica de montjuïc
The biggest ornamental fountain in Barcelona, it was built in 1929 for the International Expo.
The fountain uses music, water, acrobatics, and lights that display over fifty colors to put on shows for nearby onlookers.
The fountain operates on recycled water so as to save drinking water!
19. catedral de barcelona
The Barcelona Cathedral is a functioning Roman Catholic cathedral (actually, minor Basilica) in the Gothic Quarter.
Locals refer to the cathedral as la Seu. Seu means ‘seat,’ and it is referred to as such because it is the seat of the diocese in Barcelona.
Construction of the cathedral spanned the 13th and 15th centuries, beginning in 1298.
20. recinte modernista de sant pau
The largest art nouveau complex in the world that is actually a hospital!
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, the space is often used to hold events.
It was a fully functioning hospital until 2009 when a new building took its place. It reopened to the public in 2014.
21. plaça reial
Plaça Reial is a square located in the Gothic Quarter featuring a fountain, palm trees, and two iconic street lamps designed by none other than Antoni Gaudí.
The Fountain of the Three Graces, the focal point of the square, represent the goddesses of charm, beauty, and fertility.
Plaça Reial transforms into a nightlife hotspot once the sun goes down. Home to numerous restaurants and bars, there are also a few clubs – discoteques, jazz clubs, flamenco – you name it.
22. casa vicens
Casa Vicens was Gaudí’s first house. On the building’s exterior are three inscriptions, all written in Catalan:
- “Sun, little sun, come and see me”
- “From the hearth, the fire of love lures”
- “Oh! the shadow of summer”
Two interesting features of Casa Vicens are that 1.) there are no hallways! The use of ‘hexagonal distributors’ made it possible to pass from room to room without them. The other interesting feature of Casa Vicens is that, unlike the other works of Gaudí, there are no curved lines or trencadís (his signature mosaic tile work).
23. plaça d’espanya
Plaça d’Espanya is a square situated at the bottom of Montjuïc Hill.
For centuries it was the site of hangings in the city, until the gallows relocated to the Ciutadella.
The square, like so many other things in the city, was created for the 1929 International Expo.
24. museu nacional d’art de catalunya
The museum boasts a collection of over 290,000 pieces.
This building was also built for the International Expo in 1929. Seriously, can you imagine what Barcelona must’ve looked like in 1928!? It has the most important collection of Catalan art from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The museum offers beautiful views of Plaça d’Espanya.
25. casa milà
One of Gaudí’s most famous creations, it was built between 1906 and 1912. It is another of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in Barcelona. One of the most beautiful places in Barcelona, if not THE most beautiful.
Similar to his other works, there is not a single right angle or straight line due to Gaudí’s affinity for nature. Gaudí only put lifts on every other floor, because he thought that people living in the same apartment complex should get to know each other.
map of the most beautiful places in barcelona
stretch it out before you go – here’s a pre/post flight yoga sequence to ease or prevent achy, stiff joints