Barcelona bubbles with life in its narrow Barri Gòtic alleys, along the pedestrian boulevard called the Ramblas, in the funky bohemian quarter of El Born, and throughout the chic, grid-planned part of town called the Eixample. Locals still join hands and dance the everyone's-welcome sardana in front of the cathedral every weekend. Neighborhood festivals jam the events calendar. The cafés are filled by day, and people crowd the streets at night, pausing to fortify themselves with a perfectly composed bite of seafood and a drink at a tapas bar. Barcelona's lively culture is on an unstoppable roll in Spain's most cosmopolitan and European corner.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Picasso Museum Extensive collection offering insight into the brilliant Spanish artist's early years.
▲▲▲ Sagrada Família Gaudí's remarkable, unfinished church — a masterpiece in progress.
▲▲ Ramblas Barcelona's colorful, gritty, tourist-filled pedestrian thoroughfare.
▲▲ Palace of Catalan Music Best Modernista interior in Barcelona.
▲▲ La Pedrera (Casa Milà) Barcelona's quintessential Modernista building and Gaudí creation.
▲▲ Park Güell Colorful Gaudí-designed park overlooking the city.
▲▲ Catalan Art Museum World-class showcase of this region's art, including a substantial Romanesque collection.
▲ La Boqueria Market Colorful but touristy produce market, just off the Ramblas.
▲ Palau Güell Exquisitely curvy Gaudí interior and fantasy rooftop.
▲ Maritime Museum A sailor's delight, housed in a medieval shipyard.
▲ Barcelona Cathedral Colossal Gothic cathedral ringed by distinctive chapels.
▲ Sardana Dances Patriotic dance in which proud Catalans join hands in a circle, often held outdoors.
▲ The Gaudi Exhibition Center Fine exhibit about the man who made Barcelona what it is today.
▲ Frederic Marès Museum Quirky museum highlighted by Marès’ collection of bric-a-brac from 19th-century Barcelona.
▲ Barcelona History Museum One-stop trip through town history, from Roman times to today.
▲ Santa Caterina Market Fine market hall built on the site of an old monastery and updated with a wavy Gaudí-inspired roof.
▲ Church of Santa Maria del Mar Catalan Gothic church in El Born, built by wealthy medieval shippers.
▲ Casa Batlló Gaudí-designed home topped with fanciful dragon-inspired roof.
▲ Fundació Joan Miró World's best collection of works by Catalan modern artist Joan Miró and his contemporaries.
▲ Magic Fountains Lively fountain spectacle near Plaça d'Espanya.
▲ Casa Lleó Morera One of the best-preserved Modernista interiors in the city.
▲ CaixaForum Modernista brick factory now occupied by cutting-edge cultural center featuring excellent temporary art exhibits.
▲ Barcelona's Beaches Fun-filled, man-made beach reaching from the harbor to the Fòrum.