Barcelona is magical! It’s one of my favourite cities. I visited Barcelona in august for the second time. But this time, I made a list of my favourite things. We stayed for five days, but I feel like you can roam around in this city for a year and still discover new things. This will be a list of a few highlights, some touristy, some less touristy. In other words, this list is a mix for an unforgettable stay in Barcelona!
Gaudi has built three famous houses in Barcelone, namely Casa Battlo, Casa Milà and Casa Vicens. We visited two of them as mentioned below. We didn’t visit Casa Battlo because we didn’t have enough time. I’d still recommend doing all three of them. I wish we would have had the time to do all three, but sadly we had to choose.
Casa Milà – La Pedrera
Casa Milà is one of Gaudi’s famous houses. This is the only house that’s fully furnished. This one might not be as colourful on the outside as the other houses, but don’t be fooled. The interior is stunning. The house is huge and very informative. You’ll get access to the roof which has amazing views! On top of all of this, you get a free audio guide. Students get a discount, so take your student card with you.
Casa Vicens was the first house designed by Gaudi. It’s smaller than the other two. Also, it’s a little more hidden. I feel like it’s less known than Casa Milà and Casa Battlo and therefore less touristy. I think I was there with 20 other tourists, but that was it. Or I might have been very lucky! Casa Vicens is a very cute and colourful house. I liked the outside, the roof and the first floor. You can see the Moorish influence and all the different used materials. It’s very Instagram worthy. The other floors are just white but contain a lot of information about the house. This was a little disappointing after the first floor, but it’s still informative in a fun way. You can’t miss out on this house as it changed Catalonian architecture.
Aaah, the famous Sagrada Familia! A highlight you can’t skip. They’ve been building it for over a hundred years and it’s still not finished. They predict that the basilica will be finally finished in 2026. Exactly a century after the death of Gaudi. The tickets are quite expensive and it tends to get very busy, but the Sagrada Familia is gorgeous. The interior is different from the exterior with each several hidden stories. A little tip: don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance!
Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia and Barri Gotic
In the middle of Barri Gotic, you can find Barcelona’s cathedral. This one is often forgotten because of the Sagrada Familia. In my opinion, you can’t skip this one. The courtyard feels a bit like an urban jungle. Do you want to know something crazy? You can walk on the roof! Did you see the cathedral? Go for a walk in the surrounding Barri Gotic. As the name suggests, this quarter is in the gothic style which differs from the rest of the city of Barcelona.
Park Guëll is a colourful park where art and nature truly come together. It’s a popular Instagrammable location. I recommend going early for several reasons. For one, it’s a very popular highlight which means it gets very busy. Another reason applies, especially in the summer. Barcelona tends to get warm with lots of sun and park Guëll doesn’t offer much shade. It’s simply a matter of reducing the chance of sunburn.
The famous Camp Nou was kind of a surprise. The tour took at least three hours! And not one moment was boring! I think we saw almost everything, if not everything. If you’re a student like me, ask for the student discount. To top it all, we saw a game between Barça and Arsenal. The atmosphere was incredible. This is definitely worth repeating!
Palau de la Musica Catalana
Palau de la Musica Catalana was my favourite must-see on this trip. It’s also famous as an Instagram location. The gorgeous, colourful columns might have to do something with that. Or maybe because of the magnificent ceiling. This was also one of the calmer places. You’re only able to visit this concert hall in small groups. This is kind of a blessing in busy Barcelona. Does the entrance fee not fit into your budget anymore? Visit the Cafe Foyer for free. Or just simply stay for a drink and enjoy the spectacular architecture.
Piscina Municipal Montjuïc
This highlight might not be very ‘cultural’ but more like an activity. If you take the Funicular de Montjuïc to the top, cross the street, you arrive at Piscina Municipal Montjuïc. The former Olympic swimming pool is open to the general public. A pool is always good news in a warm summer but this pool is extra special. Since it’s located on this mountain, it offers a fantastic view over Barcelona. Who says no to that, right?
As lovely as Barcelona is, you have to take into account that Barcelona can get quite expensive if you want to see a lot of monuments. So always ask for discounts like student discounts. A little something that might help if you don’t have a lot of time is the hop-on-hop-off-bus. Barcelona Bus Turistic has 3 routes that pass a great many of these highlights. They also gave us a little book with discount codes for most of the monuments.