Recommended time of stay 1.5 weeks
Overall Vibe of the place: fun, touristy, energetic, friendly
Barcelona! Wow what a perfect place to start off my solo trip, it is full of life, architecture, friendly people. It just has this fun, friendly party vibe to it with so much to see. But it also has a huge amount of tourists so be ready for lots of people walking around with cameras, there are also a lot of pickpockets especially in the touristy areas so be sure to watch your stuff. My friend came to visit me in Barcelona and got his wallet stolen and was only there for like 4 days. It’s definitely a huge problem but you should be fine as long as you are careful. There really is so much to see in Barcelona but here are my top places that just really stood out.
1. Sagrada Familia (Architecture)
If there is one place you need to go to in Barcelona it is the Sagrada Familia. My heart literally jumps every time I see it, the architecture is just so detailed and fantastical, I was amazed to find a new thing every time I examined the structure. With detailed carving all around, mosaic tiles, and words all around the building it is the most interesting beautiful building I’ve ever seen in my life. It kind of reminds me of a magical and very detailed sand castle.
Now to go over the inside, I would say it is worth is to see it on the outside just onlooking the building but it is even MORE worth it to go inside. I got so emotional inside I literally had to cry a little because it was just so beautiful I couldn’t believe it. With tall grand high ceilings meant to replicate trees, and rainbow colors of light reflecting through the windows it just had this sacred feeling to it. I’m pretty sure I stayed inside for at least an hour just looking around taking it all in. I honestly can’t compare it to any other place I’ve been to. It sort of has this sci-fi feeling to it like your in a futuristic spaceship or something. I love Gaudi's work for his uses of curves, and combining classical architectural ideas with natural subjects and designs.
A little about the building, it was built by Antoni Gaudi and it is so detailed it is still not complete yet but is projected to be done in 2026 (I can’t wait to see it completed!) to coincide with Gaudi’s death in 1926. Gaudi’s body is also buried inside of the Sagrada Familia which makes sense since he dedicated part of his life to working on this structure and never worried about how long it would take. I guess this really teaches you truly great things take a lot of time.
Also I recommend you purchase your tickets AT LEAST 3 days in advance I bought mine 2 weeks in advance which you don’t need to do but they sell out very fast.
2. Casa Batlló (Architecture)
Another building designed by the great Antoni Gaudi (he really is a genius and I wish I could’ve met him). Located in the Illa de la Discòrdia and commissioned by Josep Battló who was a wealthy textile manufacturer. He gave Gaudi full creative access to do whatever he pleased and boy did he. There are no straight edges throughout the entire building and it has this sort of under water playful aquatic feel to it. When I was climbing up the stairs I felt as if I was in a pool of some sort. Once you get to the top you have an stunning view of the city along with mosaic designs throughout the top area. I’ve never been in any place like this and I don’t think there are many building out there with these types of designs so it is a must see especially for architecture lovers.
3. Gothic Quarter (Shopping and Experience)
I will admit this is a very touristy area but I can definitely see why, I love walking through the small alleys with beautiful windows and architectural designs with every step you take. Also I’m not a big person for tourist shops but these shops seemed less basic and more interesting. I bought a handmade leather bracelet as my tourist item and the women makes all of it there she even sized it in front of me to fit my tiny wrist haha. The restaurants are all fantastic in this location and be sure to buy some hot chocolate they have rich, thick hot chocolate almost everywhere you go, it’s basically hot pudding and it is heaven.
4. Barcelona Cathedral
Right in the Gothic District is the Gothic Quarter and it is free to go in at the right times (From 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m) otherwise you just need to pay a donation fee. The building took almost 2 centuries to build, yeah thats right and you can tell walking past it you can’t help but stop and stare and it to take in all the elegance of it.
5. Barcelona Beach
This is the beach to go to just to sit and relax, its right next to the Gothic Quarter so it’s the perfect place to take in some sun after walking around all day. The water is really warm I even checked it out at night and it was still warm and swimmable. There's a lot of young tourists here and it’s next to all the nightlife happening so this is the place to be.
6. Picasso Museum
The Picasso Museum is one of the best museums to go to for all you Picasso fans out there. It shows his evolution as an artist and how he did different things at different periods in his life. I have to say I was very pulled into his simple pencil and paper drawings since I like to draw myself. It was refreshing to see some his mistakes and messy lines which really reassured me as an artist that everyone makes mistakes. It also showed me that it is completely normal to go through different design periods throughout your life. His work really took me away and brought me into his most memorable times in his life. I didn’t realize this until later but the museum is free Thursday nights from 6:30-9:00 pm to try to check it out then.
7. Park Güell
Another wonderful achievement by Antoni Gaudi, originally a garden city and later commissioned by Eusebi Güell to redesign it. He continues with his playful, colorful, and smooth designs throughout the park. He wanted to keep its natural design and just build on top of that. While adding detailed mosaic tiles and keeping the natural ground stones all over the park. Not to mention the spectacular view you get of the entire city in the park, this is definitely a place you wouldn’t want to miss.
This is the club I went to to see one of my favorite bands and the show was amazing but I was blown away by the club myself. This is a place where people come for music and I can tell I even made some friends on the rooftop of the club. There is a stairwell section with red lights and the design of it just really surprised and delighted me. No one was pushy here and the drinks weren’t too much. Definitely a place to check out if you’re into live music.
9. La Nena
Since I was in Spain I had to try out the rich thick hot chocolate that they seemed to have everywhere and hands down this place is the best. I can really tell the quality and taste is truly exquisite. I love the interior of this place also it’s really great for just working on your computer and relaxing and the staff was very friendly and polite.
10. National Art Museum of Catalonia
Located in Catalonia, Spain this huge museum is surely a place to check out while you’re in Barcelona. They have all different types of artwork throughout history ranging from gothic artwork to renaissance showing how history has made art evolve throughout time. They also have a featured side exhibit at the museum, when I went it was Dali and Gala and how they both inspired each other with their artwork. This is a huge museum so be sure to plan staying for the full day (I would say 2-4 hours at least).
I really hope this helps you out on your next trip to Barcelona and let me know if you do go to any of these places!