1. La Rambla
Barcelona's most famous pedestrian boulevard is hugely popular with tourists and locals alike. Sit and watch the people go by at one of the many outdoor cafes and restaurants. Sights include the Columbus monument at the end of the Rambla, the Gran Teatre del Liceu (La Rambla, 61-65), Plaça Reial and the Mercat de la Boqueria (La Rambla, 85-89). A good place to find English and other foreign-language newspapers and books at any of the many newsstands.
2. Barri Gòtic
Or Gothic Quarter. Here’s where you’ll find the real Old Barcelona. Wander down the narrow streets to find hidden plazas and the many bars, cafes and restaurants. Plaça de Sant Jaume is where the main government buildings are located. The cathedral, located in this quarter, is also well worth a visit.
3. Port Olímpic/Barceloneta
Barceloneta has some of the city’s finest seafood restaurants and allows easy access to the beach. Port Olímpic is a more upmarket area redeveloped in time for the 1992 Olympics held here. At Port Vell, you will find the city’s aquarium, the largest in Europe, and Maremagnum, a modern shopping center with lots of bars, restaurants, a movie theatre and other fun activities.
One of the two big hills overlooking Barcelona. Getting there is half the fun, as you take the funicular straight up the steep hillside. There is an amusement park at the top, as well as the Temple del Sagrat Cor, the church that can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.
5. Parc de la Ciutadella
One of the few big green spaces in Barcelona. Take a walk around and enjoy the tranquility. At the south end of the park you’ll also find the city zoo. The Museum of Natural Sciences is also here. Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The other hill overlooking Barcelona. Another fun trip just getting there if you take the funicular. There’s a lot to do once you’re there. Poble Espanyol is a touristy but interesting model Spanish village. The Olympic stadium is also located on Montjuïc. You can visit the Fundació Miró, a gallery featuring the work of one of Catalonia’s greatest artists, Joan Miró. At the top of the mountain you will find the historic Castell de Montjuïc, which dates from the late 17th century.
7. Ruta del Modernisme
Visit some of Barcelona's famous Modernist style buildings around town. Key buildings include La Pedrera, a residence built by Gaudí (Passeig de Gràcia, 92), Casa Batlló, also by Gaudí (Passeig de Gràcia, 43) and Casa Lleó Morera (Passeig de Gràcia, 35) by Modernist architect Domènech i Montaner. Also, don’t miss Parc Güell, a fascinating imaginative park designed by Gaudí, or the Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s masterpiece. This impressive Modernist structure has been under construction for more than 100 years and is not yet half completed. You can climb up the towers for an awesome view of the city. To tour the Modernist sights, pick up a copy of the map with routes and descriptions at Palau Güell (Nou de la Rambla, 3-5), the Modernisme Center (Plaça de Catalunya) or Casa Lleó Morera (Passeig de Gràcia, 35).
Museu Picasso, Museu de la Ciència, Museu de la Història de Catalunya, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Museu de la Història de la Ciutat, Museu Marítim and Fundació Miró.
An 11th -century monastery built upon some of the most dramatic and impressive mountain peaks around. Great place for hiking (or even rock climbing) after you’ve seen the famous Virgin of Montserrat, a black virgin who is the patron saint of Catalonia, and heard the famous Choir of the Abadia of Montserrat sing. Get there by taking the FGC trains from Plaça Espanya, and purchase a Tot Montserrat card, which covers transportation from Barcelona, elevated train ride, funicular and even lunch at the restaurant there.
A fashionable beach resort town to the south of Barcelona. Well known for its excellent beaches, seaside walks and friendly plazas. At night, it’s quite festive with a host of nightclubs, cafes and terrace restaurants.