I recently wandered the beautiful streets of Barcelona alone for four days. So I thought I would share some of my highlights with all of you.
All Things Gaudí
Depending how much you want to dedicate to these sights there are tours at each, or you can simply browse the outside of the structures of all of them except for Park Güell. I personally only went inside Sagrada Familia, and felt like I still got to experience the beauty of Gaudí’s work. I didn’t want to spend the time and money to be stuck in tours all day while there was valuable beach time to be had. Also now I have a reason to go back. (;
If you are traveling during peak tourist season I advise for you to preorder your tickets to Park Güell and Sagrada Familia one to two days in advance. Especially with Sagrada Familia if you want to do a tour, access to the tour, or beat the heat and go in the morning. These tickets go fast!
*I did not get tickets for Park Güell and they told me I would have to wait several hours before I could get an open time slot. There isn’t much near this area so I couldn’t just go sightsee elsewhere and return later. Also, it is on top of a large hill which is not the funnest thing in the world in incredible hot temperatures.*
Even if you have no intentions of going to Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya you should still maybe consider going just to see the outside. You can take the metro to Plaça d’Espanya and walk towards the museum. It is a beautiful area and worth an hour of your time. This is also where the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is located, where you can see free shows every night at 9pm.
The museum is €12 for entry and depends on your interests if it is worth it. I personally loved the way it was organized, and felt I learned a lot about Catalan culture and art.
Another museum that was recommended to me, but I passed on was the Museu Picasso (entry for €11). This museum is located more centrally, and might be a great way to get out of the heat for an hour or two.
L’Eixample: High end designer shopping, you will find all of the big names while walking down beautiful streets.
Gràcia: While a bit more residential it had a lot of boutiques and small artisan shops. If you wander into this area I advise to know a tiny bit of Spanish to get by as I did not encounter many people who knew English.
Il Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter): Wandering these streets never got old full of random boutiques and small quirky shops. Make sure to go at the right time as the shops are all closed in the middle of the day for siesta!
Barceloneta: possibly the most popular. I stopped here my first day in the city and it was too crowded for my liking. There were a handful of bars along the beach and small bars in the neighborhood of Barceloneta. If you travel north on this beach you will come into another area full of very classy (see: expensive) restaurants and night clubs.
Playa de la Mar Bella: this beach was my preference. It was quieter, more space, and I could rent an umbrella. My skin thanked me for that one. In this area you can also do a lot of different water sports, if that interests you.
La Boqueria : a lively market off of La Rambla is a must eat lunch spot! Tons of stands selling fresh squeezed juice for just €1 and a handful of places to eat. I had incredible seafood paella for only €9. I sadly forgot to make note of the name of the stand, but I advise you to wander around the market and follow your nose for whatever you would like.
La Xula Taperia: I loved this place so much I went twice. It is in Gràcia so not exactly in the center of tourist Barcelona. They have free tapas 5-9pm with a purchase of a drink, and an impressive menu. I just really enjoyed the vibe of this place, and everything I ate was really nice. If you are looking for something more off the beaten tourist path check it out.
Below is a map with points of interest as mentioned above and others as suggested by readers. If I am missing your favorite place drop a comment below and I’ll add it!