Barcelona is one of those fabulous places in the world that boasts a mild climate year round.

From March to May, it´s a great place to visit as the temperatures are warmer but it´s not as busy as summer months.

I am often asked about Things to do in Barcelona as I lived there for 8 years and know the city well. Here are some ideas from my recent visit that work well especially in Springtime.

Things to do in Barcelona

 

Casa Batllo

One of my favourite sights in Barcelona is the façade and rooftop of Casa Batllo. Located on Paseo de Gracia this Gaudi building is stunning both inside and out. Built in 1877 for a local textile merchant and buinessman, it has 6th floors.

More information: Casa Batllo

The visit takes around an hour. They are open everyday throughout the year from 9am to 9pm.

Casa Batllo Barcelona

Literary route in Gothic Quarter

Two bestselling novels set in Barcelona are The Shadow of the Wind and The Cathedral of the Sea. Both books recreate the city of Barcelona in years past. If you have read these books, the descriptions of some locations around the city will be familiar to you.

The narrow alleys around El Gotico and the magnificent Santa Maria del Mar, an historic church, close to the seafront near the Ramblas will take you back into the story and even back in time.
For more information and bookings here> Literary Walking Tour

 

Casa Batllo façade Barcelona Spain

Maritime Museum

This impressive museum at the foot of the Ramblas has a historic exhibits and even a large ship inside the building. This galleon ´Real de D. Juan de Austria´ always impresses visitors. Some of the maritime stories are dramatic and thrilling.

Drassanes was originally used as the arsenal for the ships of the Aragon kingdom. Built in the 13th century its purpose changed over the centuries. Originally this was a Roman graveyard, then a Shipyard for many centuries. At one time the plans were to build a royal palace on the site.

Then in 17th and 18th centuries it was used as a miltary barracks. Then in 1935 the building was gifted to the city and converted into the Maritime Museum.

For visitors nowdays there is also a comfy café opposite the museum entrance. A quiet place to stop off after your visit to Drassanes.

Spanish Cruise Barcelona

Barcelona in spring

 

Feria de Abril

La Feria del Abril de Cataluña is held in the last week of April. This year it will be from 30th April until 7th May. Flamenco and fairground rides are set up in the Forum area of the city. Not quite as authentic as the Andalusian fairs down south but lots of fun and colour all the same.

They usually have around 50 casetas set up on the ferial.  Perhaps not the most obvious of Things to do in Barcelona but it´s lots of fun all the same.

Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona in Spring

Sant Jordi

The 23rd of April is Sant Jordi. The festival of Saint George in Barcelona is all about books and roses.

This festival is the same date as International Book day. The day in history when Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died. It is also the day of the Patron Saint of Cataluña.

The legend of Saint George recounts a princess kidnapped by a dragon. A gallant knight, named Jordi rescued her fighting the dragon. When he plunged his sword into the dragons heart a rose emerged.

There are similarities between San Jordi and Valentines. Boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives gift roses and books to each other. The tradition is popular and in some offices, companies leave roses and book tokens on their employees’ desks on the 23rd April.

This festival which covers the Paseo de Gracia, Rambla Cataluña and Las Ramblas with Rose stalls and book sellers. There are often special offers on books with some stores offering 10% discounts.

Other traditional activities for San Jordi are Human Towers or Castellers in the Plaza de San Jaume. They also open the Catalan Parliament building to the public. Find exact information at www.bcn.cat (section on activities in Barcelona city)

Cathedral Barcelona Spain

 

Romantic City Break in Barcelona

Barcelona Beachfront

Barcelona is not just hustle and bustle. Although it is a large cosmopolitan city, it has many beaches and open spaces to discover. Dinner by the sea is a real treat for any visitor. Restaurants such as Agua or Bestiari in Port Olympic are popular places on the seafront. Dine on local food while watching the waves break onto the sand on the coastline.

Bike rental is a great option to explore the different beaches of Barcelona. It´s an easy ride with no steps or slopes for kilometres along the seafront. You could even a trip out on one of the boats from Port Vell (at the end of the Ramblas.)

Font Magic, Barcelona

Magic Fountain

The Font Magic is a water and light show outside the Palau Nacional. (Close to Plaza España) It is free and worth the jaunt across the city on the metro.

This is a memorable experience for any visitor to Barcelona. It lasts about 25 minutes and is on each weekend. Great especially if you visit Barcelona with your family

  • Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm, 7.30pm and 8pm November to March
  • Fridays and Saturdays at 9pm, 9.30pm and 10pm April to October
  • Thursdays and Sundays only in July & August at 9pm, 9.30pm and 10pm

Las Ramblas Barcelona Spain

Las Ramblas, Barcelona

No trip to Barcelona is complete without a stroll down the Ramblas. At the top of the Ramblas leaving Plaza Cataluña behind. Walking towards the port. The first things you´ll notice are newspaper kiosks and the famous Fountain of Caputxins. At this Iron fountain Barcelona F.C fans celebrate their victories. You´ll see some stalls selling small pets and birds and maybe a few human statues and street artists.

Don´t miss the Casa de las Paraguas (1883) This is about halfway down on the left. You´ll notice an intricate stone dragon on the corner. This stunning building used to be an umbrella shop years ago.

Further, down the Ramblas, notice the flower stalls and the grand opera house, El Liceu. The Ramblas have different names on each section. Rambla dels Caputxins, Ramblas dels Flors etc.

Barcelona Ramblas in Spain by piccavey

Boqueria Market

On the left is the Iron structure of the entrance of the Boqueria Market. One of my favourite places to wander round. Go early in the morning. As early as you possibly can, to avoid crowds. The seafood and fish stalls are the ones that I especially like to look around. The variety, of food and bright colours in the stall presentation is jaw dropping.  Look out for little cafés and bars on the edge of the market

On the lower section, there are often artists and painters ready to do a quick portrait of passers-by. Further on is the Wax Museum and Bosc de les fades, a themed bar designed like an enchanted forest. At the end of the Ramblas you will come to the Columbus statue and the Maremagnum shopping centre.

Palau de la Musica Catalana

This dramatic building just off Via Laietana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Well worth visiting to see the intricate architecture and details inside. They have daily guided tours. Don´t miss the glass-domed ceiling and the stunning entrance hall.

If you get tickets to one of the concerts on here then even better. The artistic setting along with the musical performance make this venue difficult to beat. The acoustics are incredible.

Palau de la Musica – Skip the Line Tickets

Plaza de Cataluna Barcelona Spain

Barcelona for Families

Laberinto de Horta

The Horta labyrinth is in the northern area of the city. You can get there by Metro L5. This large public park offers a respite from the urban streets of Barcelona. This 18th century garden has a large maze, Italian style pavilion and even a romantic garden complete with waterfall. As there plenty of space for them run around, play hide and seek etc. (No pets or bicycles allowed in the park)

This has been used a as film location for Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Open daily from 10am to 7pm.

It costs 2.50 euros but it´s free on Sundays.

Barcelona Aquarium

I visited Barcelona Aquarium many times while I lived in the city. Located close to Maremagnum this is a great day out. Watching all the fish swimming around is such a soothing thing to enjoy whatever age you are.

Of course families with younger children will appreciate this kid friendly activity too.

Maremagnum

The modern lines of the bridge in the port and the boats on the edge of the city makes a great spot for photos. The water and sky meet with few buildings interrupting the perspective which is a fabulous scene for photographers.

Book Tickets – Barcelona Boat Ride 

From this Marina in the Maremagnum and Port Vell area you can also take Boat Rides. Another good idea for families. This gentle boat ride along the harbour is perfect for Springtime and Summer days in Barcelona.

Here are some other ideas:

Barcelona Plaza Sant Jaume

Rent a Bike in Barcelona

Barcelona is an ideal city for cycling. With the long promenades along the beach, head over Barceloneta. You can ride all the way to Port Olympic enjoying a views of the coastline as you cycle along.

It´s easy to arrange bike rentals in Barcelona allowing you to enjoy other interesting routes such as the Gothic Quarter or around the moderniste buildings of Sagrada Familia and Hospital de Sant Pau.

Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

This build of this impressive Gaudi building began in 1883. It is still incomplete. The completion date it´s currently estimated around 2026 (just 10 years left)

Children will be in awe of the dimensions and the fairy-tale like architecture will get their imagination going. The beautiful colours inside from the stained glass windows are also eye catching.

This neighbourhood has many businesses with street cafés and shops around the temple for before or after your visit.

How to get there: Metro L5 or L2 or Buses 44, 43 and 34

Tickets need to be booked ahead of time to avoid dissapointment or huge queues that snake around the block.

Book Sagrada Familia – Skip the Line Tickets 

You can pre book skip the line passes too, which is recommended if you do not have much time in Barcelona.

Another lesser known Gaudi building in Barcelona is Casa Vincens,  recently opened to the public.

Inside Sagrada Familia Barcelona

 

 

Barcelona for Foodies

Catalan style food

Taste delicious local recipes at El Mussol. This restaurant began in 1994 and since then has opened more locations around the city. Typical dishes are baked potatoes with garlic mayonnaise and Butifarra sausage.

Catalan Food Mel Mato

Dessert are Catalan crème brulee or carquiñoli biscuits, served with Moscatel wine.

Semproniana is also another firm favourite of mine. Located on Carrer del Rosselló 28 they always have something to surprise you when you dine there.

Book ahead especially on weekends. 

Cake Shops

On the Ramblas is the historic Confectioners Escribá. The shop is really worth looking at; it´s art deco style façade is beautiful. The window display, sweets and cakes don´t disappoint once you get inside.

Escriba

Churros in Barcelona

Another place I like to visit for an afternoon treat is the Granja La Pallaresa on Calle Petrixol 2. The speciality is Chocolate and Churros. Open since 1947, this café does a thick hot chocolate topped with cream. Known as a Suizo, this comes with side of churros for under 3 euros.

Chók Barcelona is a cute little shop just off the Ramblas, here you can find delicious colourful donuts and other sweet treats. Find them at Carrer del Carme 3 or at Carrer de les Ramelleres, 26

Churros Granja La Pallaresa Petrixol Barcelona

Plaza Reial

Just off the Plaza Reial you´ll find La Fonda. This busy restaurant has a great lunchtime menu (weekdays) for under 10 euros. 3 starters to choose from, 3 mains, and 3 desserts. Drink included. Get there between 1pm-1.30pm to beat the rush.

Plaza Reial Barcelona

Photos of Barcelona

Carrer del Bisbe

Just up from the Plaza San Jaume and behind the Cathedral, the Carrer del Bisbe is an iconic place to get a stunning photo. The bridge crosses from the Catalan parliament building above the street. Built in 1929, it has a mysterious skull on the stone walkway. This skull has a dagger through it which you´ll see if you look up as you walk underneath this architectural feature.Gaudi Architecture in Barcelona Spain

Moderniste Architecture

As well as Casa Batllo other notable architecture in Barcelona is worth visiting too.

  • The colourful benches and stunning cityscapes from Parc Guell are a must for photographers.
  • Palau Guell also has some great photo opportunities from it´s sculptured roof terrace. The coloured mosaic chimneys and Barcelona Rooftops views give a great perspective.
  • Sagrada familia has some fabulous colours inside from the staind glass windows and its impressive façade is also a great photo opportunity too.
  • Hospital de Sant Pau is close to Sagrada Familia and quite stunning inside and out.

Hospital Sant Pau Barcelona (135)

Montjuic Castle

Open from 10am to 6pm daily. This impressive fortress has some great views over the city and coastline. A 17th century castle with a dramatic past of Napoleonic wars and maritime battles. Book your tickets online – Museum of Catalonia

Best option is to get there by car (parking available at the castle grounds) although if you are brave you can also take the Montjuic Cable Car

Other options are by  bus 150 which takes you up the hill or you can get the cable car, which links, with the metro stop Parallel.

Things to do in Barcelona

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These are just some things to do in Barcelona but my list changes over the seasons.

What are your ideas for Things to do in Barcelona?

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