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What to do in Barcelona

A trip to Barcelona blends city living, full of intriguing architecture and friendly people, with beautiful beaches. This vibrant, yet charming destination will entice you with its eclectic mix of things to do.

From the stunning beaches, to the cosmopolitan shopping areas and unique dining and nightlife, Barcelona is a fantastic choice for beach holidays, family getaways and city breaks. Spend your days sightseeing and your nights embracing the exquisite Catalan cuisine and diverse evening entertainment. Each area has its own character and history, from the Roman remains of Barri Gotic to the modern skyscrapers of the commercial area, Port Olimpic.



Stroll along La Rambla – a Barcelona ritual well worth observing. Or wander down Passeig de Lluis Companys, through the Arc de Triomf, and on to the Parc de la Ciutadella. Feast your eyes on Gaudi’s most famous masterpieces, like the World Heritage site Casa Mila. Visit his most treasured building, La Sagrada Familia, a spectacular sight in the evening. Make sure to hike up Montjuic, for breathtaking views and a well-deserved beer.


Food: tapas or pinxto?

You’ll find something for all tastes in Barcelona’s abundant tapas bars. These delicious nibbles will tide you over until dinner, which is not traditionally eaten until late in the evening. Many places also serve a leisurely three-course lunch – the perfect way to sample traditional delicacies, accompanied by fantastic wine from the Penedès region. Barcelona is big on al fresco dining, so be sure to grab a table outside for some people-watching opportunities.

Art, galleries & museums

Art, galleries & museums

Alongside the public art and world-class architecture, you’ll also find an array of galleries and museums. The Museu de la Catedral encapsulates the city’s history and art throughout the centuries. Try the Fundacio Joan Miró, which houses the most important collection of works by modernist Joan Miró. Even its magnificent Mediterranean-style architecture, designed by Josef Lluis, makes its own artistic statement.


Shopping, shopping, shopping

Barcelona has some of the best shops in Europe, with markets, boutiques, and branded chain stores popping up on every corner. Especially good is La Boqueria market on La Rambla, selling fresh fish and fruit – both a visual and culinary feast. Don’t miss the exclusive high-end boutiques on Via Laietana, try the vintage shops in El Raval, or find a bargain in the Born-Ribera district.


Bars and nightlife

Traditional tea lounges and beer houses rub shoulders with fashionable restaurants and intimate bars in Barri Gotic. Dance the night away in Poble Nou, or lose yourself in the narrow streets of Gracia, beyond Eixample. If you dine late, as the Spanish do, go afterwards to an evening of live music at a club or bar. They’ll likely be open until ‘madrugada’ – a flexible closing time which means ‘whenever the customers go home’.


Barcelona: a city by the beach

Enjoy a city break with a difference on Barcelona’s fantastic beaches. Combine days of sightseeing or shopping with an afternoon at the beach, or a lazy brunch on the water’s edge at Port Olimpic. Barceloneta is an area worth exploring, and is right next to the best beach. Golden sands and shallow waters make the beaches ideal for everyone. So hire a bike, pack a picnic, and laze in the sunshine.

Tips from a Ventoura Local

Locals can unlock the secrets of your destination. We caught up with Rosa, a local with a passion for tranquil Spanish beaches and road trips around Barcelona. Check out her recommendations for the complete Barcelona getaway, or connect with her to book an experience on the Ventoura app.

Discover more about Ventoura locals
collapsedshowSee film and music at the open-air cinema
Sala Montjuïc.

See film and music at the open-air cinema

The Sala Montjuïc outdoor cinema feels more like a summertime festival than a night at the movies. Lounge chairs and picnic rugs abound as hundreds come together on the iconic Montjuïc castle’s lawns to enjoy music and cinema. While there are English films screened, visit on a night showcasing Spanish cinema and experience Spanish life and culture like a local! Be sure to arrive before the screenings to enjoy live jazz performances from local Spanish bands.

collapsedshowSip on a Barcelona-brewed beer
La Cervesera Artesana microbrewery.

Sip on a Barcelona-brewed beer

Sample Barcelona’s most weird and wonderful beers at the La Cervesera Artesana microbrewery, where Catalan creativity meets hipster beer culture. There’s always house-brewed beer on tap with styles ranging from stouts to pale ales. Beer buffs will be spoiled for choice with these experimental brews fresh from the brewery, and you can even take a class in food and beer pairing. Cheers to that!

collapsedshowExplore the Gràcia district
Gràcia district.

Explore the Gràcia district

The Gràcia district is Barcelona’s most trendy and vibrant region. During August Gràcia is home to its Festa Major, a week-long festival that sees the streets adorned with colour and decorations to celebrate Catalan life and history. Outside of the Festa Major, Gràcia is a bustling nightlife and music hub attracting local and international artists. For the ultimate spot to savour live music head to Heliogàbal, an intimate bar and gig venue that defines a good night out in Gràcia.

collapsedshowTaste tapas like a local

Taste tapas like a local

You’ll be dining elbow-to-elbow with locals at La Esquinica, an authentic tapas bar in Barcelona’s north. Popular amongst locals for its high-quality, speedy service and affordable prices, come here hungry and spoil yourself with an array of Catalan delights including grilled meats, seafood, and patatas bravas. Walk on the wild side and sample a Spanish speciality with the vino turbio: wine served after being shaken until frothy and cloudy.

collapsedshowExplore hidden beaches along the coast
Canals in Amsterdam.

Explore hidden beaches along the coast

Take a day trip north of Barcelona to explore the beautiful coastline. You can enjoy panoramic views from the cliffs and explore hidden beaches. If you want someone to lead the way, find me on the Ventoura app for iPhone and Android. I can pick you up from the city for an adventure filled day; we’ll scale the walls of a medieval castle and visit a lighthouse, while learning about the Mediterranean’s wild flora.

Our recommended Barcelona Experiences

Book your Barcelona sightseeing tours before you go.

Barcelona Football Stadium Tour and Museum Tickets

Do not miss this fantastic opportunity to retrace the footsteps of legendary players from past and present on this self-guided tour through Barcelona FC's Camp Nou football stadium. This ticket also includes ‘skip the line’ entry to the Barcelona football museum, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the stadium and discover the history of this legendary football team. Take this once in a lifetime opportunity to walk in the footsteps of celebrated players such as Cruyff, Maradona, Ronaldinho and Messi.

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Barcelona Hop-on Hop Off Tour: North to South Route.

The hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour is a convenient and affordable way of seeing Barcelona. There are three different tour routes to follow onboard this open-top, double-decker bus, covering all the major sights. The Tour Guide will answer any questions and provide you with up to the minute information to help you make the most of your visit. You can hop-on and off as many times as you like at any of the 45 stops.

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Flamenco Night at Tablao Cordobes.

Feel the passion of flamenco at Barcelona's legendary Tablao Cordobes, where some of the world’s greatest names have performed. As you are entertained by an internationally renowned flamenco group, you'll discover why the traditional dance of Spain is so popular. This show reveals the variety of the music, singing and dancing that is incorporated in this passionate art form. Improvisation is a key element of flamenco, with each artist individually interpreting the rhythm and communicating the beat.

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 Barcelona in One Day Sightseeing Tour.

Spend a full day seeing all the highlights of Barcelona, including Barcelona Cathedral, Gothic Quarter, Port Olimpic, the Picasso Museum, and buildings created by Barcelona's famous architect Antoni Gaudí. Enjoy a complimentary glass of Cava at the Poble Espanyol or ‘Spanish Village’ and take in bird-eye views of the Barcelona skyline on a cable car from Montjuic. See the classic sights of Barcelona in the morning, then after lunch explore the city's artistic side. You'll see the best of Barcelona, old and new, in one day.

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Barcelona Super Saver: Montserrat Day Trip and Barcelona Gaudi Tour

If time is limited and you'd like to travel beyond Barcelona, this full-day tour gives you a delicious taste of both the city and beyond. Start the morning with a tour to Montserrat's Royal Basilica, part of the stunning Benedictine Abbey high in the Montserrat mountain, before spending the afternoon exploring Barcelona's artistic heritage including a visit to Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s masterpiece.

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Tapas Waking Tour of Barcelona.

The fascinating Barro Gotic, Barcelona’s oldest area, is teeming with history. On this two-hour morning tour you will visit the district’s streets, squares and grand old buildings, to learn about the history and people of the quarter. Alongside the stunning medieval architecture are the remains of the ancient Roman city, including a visit to the Temple d’August, the best-preserved Roman relic in Barcelona. You will also visit the Place del Rei, and the beautiful Palatine chapel of Santa Agata.

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Tapas Waking Tour of Barcelona.

Combine gourmet food and Catalan culture on this amazing walking tour of Barcelona’s famous tapas bars and restaurants. It’s the perfect way to start your visit to Barcelona - sample amazing food, learn how to order and visit some of the best bars and cafes on offer. Plus your friendly guide will help you make the most of your stay in the city, suggesting new bars, cafes and restaurants you can try in your own time.

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PortAventura and Costa Caribe Entrance Ticket.

Enjoy a trip to Spain’s top theme park and aquatic centre: PortAventura and Costa Caribe. Simply head inside the parks with our entrance ticket to enjoy the attractions at your own pace. Try out rollercoasters, accelerator rides, themed adventures and ‘Sesame Street’ rides at PortAventura, or head over to Costa Caribeto splash around in the many jets, slides and tubes. Just an hour away from Barcelona centre on the train. Choose from a selection of ticket options to suit your family’s schedule.

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Barcelona Discount Card.

Explore Barcelona at your own pace, see the sights, and visit the attractions on the top of your list with a Barcelona discount card, valid for two days. Gain discounted access to show-stopping sights, like the Casa Mila (La Pedrera), Barcelona Zoo, Camp Nou and of course La Sagrada Familia. Save money on favourite restaurants, cut-price tickets for flamenco shows, sightseeing tours and a lot more. Also, ticket holders get unlimited access to Barcelona’s public transport for free.

How to book

One-artist museums.

Five of the best one-artist museums

Sunday Times Travel Magazines’ Lucy Thackray picks five of the world’s best one-artist galleries.

Read more here

Barcelona weather

Prepare for the weather before your holiday

Average seasonal temperatures°C/°F
  • 13°Jan
  • 14°Feb
  • 15°Mar
  • 17°Apr
  • 20°May
  • 24°Jun
  • 27°Jul
  • 27°Aug
  • 25°Sep
  • 21°Oct
  • 16°Nov
  • 14°Dec
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
  • 41
  • 29
  • 42
  • 49
  • 59
  • 42
  • 20
  • 61
  • 85
  • 91
  • 58
  • 51
Average daily sunshine (hours)
  • 5
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 9
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5

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