What is Barcelona known for? 15 famous attractions not to miss!

barcelona is known for the sagrada familia

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, one of the finest cities in the world, and a must-visit place in Spain. Wherever you might be in Barcelona, there is always something to see, like unique architecture, art masterpieces or urban beaches. Take a stroll in las Ramblas, admire the beautiful modernista buildings or enjoy some tapas like a true local.

Here are the 15 most famous things that Barcelona is known for!

1. Barcelona most famous church: The Sagrada Familia

Designed by the famous catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí, the Sagrada Familia is the most iconic and famous modernista building in the world. Even though this Roman catholic basilica is still unfinished, it is one of the most visited churches in the entire world, and the symbol of the city itself. The construction of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and should be finished in 2026, after almost 144 years. This large building encompasses several styles like Spanish Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism and Art Nouveau.

Being Spain’s most visited attraction, the Sagrada Familia was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2005, together with six other buildings in Barcelona designed by Antoni Gaudí.

2. Barcelona is known for its Gothic Quarter

barcelona is famous for its gothic quarter

The Barri Gòtic, as Catalans call it, is the old city center of Barcelona. It is a picturesque, medieval labyrinth of narrow streets of 2,000 years and one of the most loved attractions of Barcelona. The huge Gothic cathedral is located right in the heart of the Barri Gòtic. Its construction started in the 13th century and it was completed in the 15th century.

Make sure to enjoy a nice walk in this mysterious and traffic-free neighborhood, and visit the inside of the cathedral: you won’t be disappointed!

3. And also for Gaudi’s Park Güell

Park Güell is another modernista creation by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. It is a beautiful, vibrant, huge park that encompasses many colorful architectural elements. Here you can find bizarre buildings, organic shapes, large terraces, colorful mosaics, and paths through nature!

Park Güell was commissioned by Eusebi Güell, Gaudí’s patron, who initially wanted the architect to design a luxury residential complex. Later on, in 1900, this project was replaced by a park.

Thanks to the eclectic style that characterizes Catalan Modernism, Park Guell has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

4. Barceloneta Beach

Do you feel like hitting the beach and enjoying a relaxing day away from the bustling city? Then Barceloneta beach is the perfect location for you.

Barceloneta is part of the old city district and one of the favorite spots by both locals and tourists. This modern seaside quarter features sunny beaches, nightclubs, impressive architecture, and tasty tapas; it suits every taste!

Make sure not to miss the “chiringuitos”, the beach bars along the way. They are a must-visit if you want to try the fresh fish, the paella, and a nice glass of fresh sangria.

Additionally, they say that this sandy beach has inspired none other than Cervantes himself, who set the last fight of Don Quixote right here.

5. Casa Batlló: another work from the most famous architect in Barcelona

Located in the city center, more precisely in Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Batlló is considered one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces, and as such, it is a must-visit in Barcelona. Luís Sala Sánchez commissioned the house at the end of the 19th century, and later it was bought by a wealthy Spanish businessman named Joseph Battló.

Its location contributed to the prestige of the building itself, as Passeig de Gracia was at that time one of the most exclusive and fashionable areas of Barcelona. The house was part of the “Block of Discord”, a block of four buildings designed by the four most prominent architects of the city. As each architect had his own style, the buildings ultimately clashed with each other and their neighbors: the square of houses became a Modernist showcase.

Battlò wanted Gaudí to design a building like never seen before, and Gaudì came up with an unusual architectural design inspired by nature.

6. La Rambla street: Barcelona’s most famous street

Everyone who is in Barcelona will eventually end up walking in La Rambla. It is the most iconic street in the city and the most famous too.

This road is 1,2 kilometers long and was laid out in 1766, becoming the perfect meeting place for locals right from the start.
Its central location makes this road very special, as it passes by almost every landmark building of Barcelona, from the Gran Theatre del Liceu to the Boqueria Market.
Connecting the heart of the city directly to the sea, La Rambla is the perfect place for taking a nice stroll and admiring all the attractions that the city has to offer.

7. What is Barcelona best known for? Its football team!

Football enthusiasts are probably very familiar with Barcelona Football Club, also called Barça, since it is one of the most important and well-known football teams in the whole world.

FC Barcelona was founded in Barcelona in 1899, and since then it has become the symbol of the city and Catalan sports. Several famous football players have played in this team, like Maradona, Messi, Iniesta, Guardiola, and Ronaldinho.

Nowadays it is the world’s fourth richest football club and over the years it has won the UEFA Champions League several times. If you are in Barcelona and you are a football fan, you can’t miss the visit to the Camp Nou stadium and museum, one of the most visited sites in the city!

8. Boqueria Market

The most famous market in Barcelona! It is called Mercado de San José, but everybody calls it “La Boquería”. It is one of the best-loved places by tourists interested in Spanish gastronomy.
First mentioned in 1217, the Boquería market has undergone many changes since. The market was legally recognized only in 1826 when the iron and glass structure was also built. Nowadays, the Boquería Market is a labyrinth of 2,500 square meters located on the Ramblas.
Locals and tourists come here to buy the city’s best, fresh, local products. Given the mix of colors, flavors, and tastes, it is indeed a must-visit if you are in Barcelona.

9. Museu Picasso in Barcelona

Founded in 1963, Museu Picasso is the best-known art museum in Barcelona and the most visited by tourists. The museum is located in the Old City of Barcelona and features a collection of 4251 works by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Even though the artist was born in Malaga, he spent his life as a young boy in Barcelona, where he moved with his family in 1888.

The paintings are displayed in a complex of five gothic buildings dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The extensive art collection belongs to the formative years and the Blue Period of the painter and shows the importance of Barcelona in his life. Pablo Picasso had a significant tie to the city and thanks to his will, the Museu Picasso became the first museum ever dedicated to his work.

10. Barcelona is known for its nightlife

Barcelona is well known for its amazing nightlife. You will find beach clubs like CDLC or Opium Barcelona, upscale clubs like Bling Bling, cocktail bars like Dry Martini or vintage bars like Bar Marsella.

It is almost impossible to miss the party as there are many different locations with lots of places to have fun. The most famous areas for going out in Barcelona are El Born, El Raval, Gracia and La Rambla.

11. More about Barcelona famous architecture: Casa Milà (La Pedrera)

Casa Milà is another must-visit place in Barcelona. It is an unconventional modernista building designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. The building is also known as “the stone quarry”, given the criticism that arises after its construction.

Built between 1906 and 1912, Casa Milà was commissioned by Pere Milà and his wife Roser Simon, who wanted to live on the main floor of the building and rent the rest of the apartments. Inspired by nature, Gaudì designed an undulating façade, twisting iron balconies, and many more innovative architectural elements that make this building unlike any other.

Casa Milà was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984.

12. Barcelona’s famous urban planning: Plan Cerdà.

Barcelona is known for having developed the most innovative urban planning in the XIXth century in Spain. After the demolition of the city walls, the city expanded with the Eixample project, drawn up by Ildefons Cerdà. The Cerdà Plan, in 1859 instituted an orthogonal layout between Montjuic and the Besòs, creating many of the main avenues we know now, like Diagonal or Gran Via.

Nowadays, when walking around the Eixample you will notice that all buildings were designed with an octagonal floor plan with chamfers that favored circulation, which was a revolution those days!

13. What is Barcelona known for? Tibidabo Theme Park

You cannot miss the Tibidabo mountain and its Amusement Park with 25 attractions. It is one of the oldest theme parks in Spain and the views are simply amazing. Also, after having some fun in the Tibidabo theme park, you can continue to the highest point of the Tibidabo mountain where the Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Heart is located. This temple is a splendid neo-Gothic building, crowned by an enormous statue of Christ, that symbolically embraces the entire city from above.

14. Palau or Palace of Catalan Music

The Palace of Catalan Music is a splendid concert hall, an example of Catalan modernism. Designed at the beginning of the century by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the palace is located in the Sant Pere neighborhood near Via Laietana. It was a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and, if you are lucky, you might be able to attend some concert!

15. Montjuic: most famous place for sunsets

Last but not least on our What is Barcelona known for list is Montjuïc. The works carried out for the Universal Exposition of 1929 and the 1992 Olympic Games have made the Montjuïc mountain a very interesting place for visitors, with a wide cultural and leisure offer, such as the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) or the sports and musical activities at the Palau Sant Jordi.

After 80 years working, the magic fountain of Montjuïc still stands out with its light show at sunset.

Now it’s your turn! Can you think of any other thing that Barcelona is known for? Let us know in the comment section below.

And, if you are coming to Barcelona or Catalonia to see some of the top-rated attractions we just told you about, consider these recommendations:


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