Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is one of the world’s ICONIC cities- a place with so much culture, so much history, so much to see and do- no matter how many days you decide to spend here, you’re bound to leave wishing you had more time. Beautiful beaches, stunning architecture, a world-class culinary scene, legendary nightlife, and a uniquely Catalan passion and perspective on life- Barcelona is INCREDIBLE. One of BPU’s Top Ten Cities in the World...

    Welcome to Barcelona!

  • Ride the Tourist Bus(?)- Yes, we realize it sounds corny, and is pretty cliched, but riding the tourist bus around Barcelona is actually a great way to get your bearings, learn a little about the city, and plan out what you want to see during your visit. The buses depart from Plaza Catalunya, and tickets are good for 48 hours.
  • Walk around the city- Barcelona is a great city to just get lost in. Every neighborhood is different, there is so much to see and do, and sometimes the best way to get after it is to hit the streets and wander. Grab a map from your accommodation, ask for some pointers, lace up your walking shoes, and get amongst it.

Barcelona Waterfront

  • Visit the Sagrada Familia- Perhaps THE symbol of Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia has to be seen to be believed. Whether you’re a religious person or not, visiting this incredible structure is a religious experience. Considered Antoni Gaudi’s ultimate masterpiece, the church has been under construction since 1882, with work continuing today. Incredible sculpture and design, with a nave built to mimic the trees of a forest, the Sagrada Familia is unlike any other church in the world. Book your tickets online ( to avoid standing in the MASSIVE que...

The Sagrada Familia is AMAZING....

  • La Rambla- Though it may be viewed by many as the ‘Tourist Trap’ of Barcelona, La Rambla is worth a stroll, if only to see what all the fuss is about. A pedestrian street lined with cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops, and hotels, La Rambla is a cacophony of sights and sounds. Tourists mix with locals, vendors and florists line the walkway, and it seems every cafe has a Happy Hour special that you can’t possible miss out on. Yes, it is all a bit over-the-top, but still worth a stroll. Mind your belongings- La Rambla is ‘Pickpocket Central’ in Barcelona.

La Rambla

  • Go to the BEACH- Barcelona is famous for its beaches, routinely named on any ‘Best Beach City in the World’ list. The best thing about Barcelona’s beaches is that they’re RIGHT THERE, a literal stone’s throw away from the city’s center. Barceloneta is the closest, and can easily be reached on foot or via the Yellow Line on the metro. The rest of the beaches string out along the coast from there- take a stroll in the sand, sip some sangria along the way, and soak up the sun- Barcelona-style.

Barceloneta Beach

  • Hang out in Grácia- Grácia is one of the coolest neighborhoods in all of Barcelona. Narrow streets lined with shops and cafes, historic buildings rising to the sky, a quiet vibe that contrasts with the drone of the city, and hidden squares that seem to appear out of nowhere. Stroll through Grácia during the evening, stumble upon a busy square, buy a beer or two from one of the countless vendors selling them out of coolers, and grab a table at one of the crowded tapas bars. THIS is Barcelona at its best...
  • EAT TAPAS- Speaking of tapas- EAT SOME! Tapas in Barcelona are DELICIOUS, and these small plates and dishes are a great way to sample a little of everything. YUM!
  • Tour the Gaudí sights- If you’re into history, architecture, or historical architecture, Barcelona has more than enough to keep you busy. The famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí is a hero in Barcelona, and you can see his work all over town (Casa Batllo, La Pedrera, Sagrada Familia, Parque Guell, etc.). There are numerous guided tours of these sights- ask at your accommodation about various options and recommendations.

Parque Guell

  • Get some culture- Barcelona is home to countless museums, most of which are world-class. Get a sense of the story of Catalonia at the Museo d’Historia de Catalunya. Hit up the Contemporary Art Museum on Montjuic Hill. Learn about the city at the Museo d’Historia de Barcelona. Whatever you do, take advantage of these museums, and learn a little about what makes Barcelona such a special place.
  • Visit Anella Olimpica- Home of the 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona’s Olympic Park is located on the Montjuic Hill on the southwest side of the city. This is a great place for a stroll in the afternoon, wandering through the various venues, and enjoying the peace and quiet of the green spaces above the city.
  • Check out the Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)- Located at the top of Montjuic Hill is the immense (and FREE) National Art Museum of Catalonia. The building alone is SPECTACULAR- and of course, the art inside is worth a look while you’re there (Again- it’s FREE!).

The Museo Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

  • Walk along the beachfront- As mentioned above, heading to the beach is a must when in Barcelona. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get in the water. Barcelona’s beachfront is HOPPING- cool cafes, hip tapas bars, designer surf shops, trendy restaurants, chilled-out beach lounges- the beachfront is a scene in itself. If you’re in Barcelona during the summer months (May-October), this is where the party is.
  • Check out Park Guell- As mentioned above, Park Guell is one of the more famous Gaudi sights in the city. The park itself is free, but there is a fee to enter the large platform and the ‘Gaudi Colonnade’. Unless you’re a Gaudi diehard, save your money- there are great views of the city and the sea beyond from the higher points of the park
  • Hang out in Plaza Catalunya- One of the larger plazas in the city, Plaza Catalunya is considered by most to be the ‘center’ of Barcelona. There are several fountains, numerous sculptures, and plenty of wide open space in the plaza. You’ll find cafes and shops lining the outer streets, and flocks of pigeons inhabiting the center of the plaza. Don’t feed them, unless you want to get swarmed, and ultimately pooped on.

Plaza Catalunya

  • Wander through the Gothic Quarter- This part of Barcelona is awesome: narrow alleys, winding streets, hidden alcoves around every corner, all packed with little cafes, tiny boutique shops, and restaurants of every flavor. Another place to just get lost for awhile...
  • Hang out in Plaza Reial- The quiet, palm tree-lined Royal Plaza is located just off La Rambla, and after dark doubles as one of the epicenters of Barcelona’s buzzing nightlife. Several restaurants line the square, along with some of Barcelona’s hippest nightclubs. Just hanging out in the square turns into a party as the night wears on... Mind your stuff, as pickpockets target those that appear to have imbibed too much.

Plaza Reial

  • Take a walking tour- with so much to see and do in the city, there are numerous walking tours that you can go on, most of which are free (tips at the end). Check at your accommodation for recommendations.
  • Catch the Magic Fountain water show- The Magic Fountain water show takes place in the water fountain at the foot of the stairs leading up to the MNAC. Lights, water, and music come together to put on a display well worth seeing. Throngs of tourists line the stairs and surround the fountain, so it’s better to get there early. The easiest way to get there is to take the metro to the Plaza Espana stop. Note that the fountain show schedule is seasonal, so you’ll want to check the website to see when you can catch the show when in town (

The Water and Light Show

  • Peruse the stalls at La Boqueria Market- Located off La Rambla, La Boqueria is the most famous market in Barcelona, and people have been haggling prices there since the 13th Century. Cured meats, fresh seafood, and locally-grown produce mix with candy, ice cream, and a huge multitude of food stands. This place is as much a feast for the eyes as it it is for the stomach...

La Boqueria

  • Eat PAELLA- Simply a MUST when in Barcelona. Though paella is traditionally a  Valencian dish, the paella found in Barcelona is DELICIOUS. It is made with rice, saffron, and other ingredients, and often contains seafood and/or chicken, but can be made to order upon request. EAT PAELLA. Just trust us on this one...
  • Go up Tibidabo for sunset- The massive ridge running along the north side of town is a great place to go for sunset. There are buses that run up the hill, and a seasonal funicular that can get you all the way to the top. You’ll find locals walking and jogging, and several look-outs over the city.
  • Visit Camp Nou- If you’re a futbol fanatic, chances are you’ve heard of FC Barcelona. Their home grounds (Camp Nou) are located in the city, and are open for visitors. You can buy a ticket to actually go into the stadium on a tour, or just walk around the outside and visit the gift shop. Better yet- get a ticket for a match, and see some of the best football in the world.

The Camp Nou- home of FC Barcelona

  • PARTY- We shouldn’t have to tell you about it, but in case you DIDN’T know, Barcelona is world-renowned for its EPIC night life. Amazing bars, awesome pubs, and THUMPING clubs hit it hard until the sun comes up- and even THEN some places keep going. You’ll have to ease into it, as most nights the parties don’t start until 2am or later- it’s a cultural thing. Still, whatever you do- ease up on the wine at dinner, go slow on the beers at the bar, because you’ll want to be on form when the real party starts...

Montserrat is a great day trip out of Barcelona

  • Get out to Montserrat- About an hour’s train ride outside of the city lies Montserrat- an impressive saw-toothed mountain as famous for its hiking and breath-taking scenery as it is for its town and adjoining monastery. It is an easy day trip from Barcelona, and a good way to get some exercise out in the fresh air after a few days of wandering the city. Pack a lunch and a water bottle- the food is GREAT at the cafe, but it is also EXPENSIVE. Watch out for mountain goats- they’re known to show up on occasion...

Sunset over Barcelona