A trip to Barcelona is, in itself, an essential part of many people’s bucket list. This is a stunning city with so much to see and enjoy, and it caters to all ages, and all tastes.
Barcelona is accessible from most parts of the world and is perfect for a short break, or an extended vacation. Beyond the journey itself, there are many sights and experiences that will undoubtedly exist on many of those bucket lists.
El Prat Airport, often referred to simply as Barcelona Airport, is the destination for international flights. It’s located around 15 km outside of the city center, and there’s an abundance of licensed taxis waiting if you have yet to arrange your transport. El Prat connects to major international cities all over the world and there are options from all four locations – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton.
When you choose to fly to Barcelona, arranging travel and internal transport can be a hassle, but it can be made easier using online travel agencies where you can have a clear overview of every step of the journey, including accommodation. All booking information is saved in one place ahead of time. By streamlining those travel details, there’s more time to focus on your Barcelona bucket list.
The city offers a multitude of traditional hotels, while many independent providers have now embraced the Airbnb concept. In short, there are travel deals to suit all preferences and all budgets. Barcelona is a flexible location and it’s relatively easy to design a tailor-made package for each traveler.
Coming Alive at Night
In recent years, Barcelona has developed a growing reputation as a great center for nightlife. This is a location with every possible form of entertainment after dark and there are many recommendations to check out.
Bars and nightclubs are located across the city, but the highest density can be found in the Gothic Quarter, El Born, and Raval. Port Olimpic is another popular destination for fun seekers. Visitors also rate the boat parties that can be booked here, and there are many operators to choose from.
Non-drinkers are also catered for in Barcelona. Many local bars produce a range of mocktails, and Sputnik Gopnik at Gracia comes highly recommended on social media.
Dance to your own tune
Music plays an important role in city life, and many tourists come here to bask in the cultural experience of Barcelona’s festivals that run throughout the calendar year. The most popular of these is Primavera Sound. It takes place from the end of May through to the beginning of June, and its notoriety ensures that some world-class artists are in attendance.
In 2023, the list of top names to appear at Primavera Sound included Depeche Mode, Calvin Harris, and the Pet Shop Boys.
Barcelona’s music scene comes alive in the summer months, and there are many other festivals taking place from June through to August. All styles and tastes are catered for including classical, heavy rock and disco. For those who have always wanted to perform, an Open Mic night can also help to tick another box on that bucket list.
Your List of Must Sees
Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, which focus on visuals, will offer an excellent virtual tour of must-see locations. Within Barcelona, the most photographed tourist location is undoubtedly the Sagrada Familia.
Designed by the incomparable Antonio Gaudi, it’s incredible to think that this Roman Catholic Church is actually a work in progress. The Sagrada Familia is expected to be finished in 2026, but this ongoing project was so stunning that it became a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 2006.
No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to this iconic church, but there’s so much more to see. Speaking of Antonio Gaudi, Barcelona has dedicated a museum to the Catalan architect, and rightly so. The museum is a sprawling mansion situated in Park Guell.
Beyond the homage to Gaudi, the other non-negotiable museum in Barcelona pays homage to the great painter Picasso who spent his formative years in the city. It’s an intriguing set of displays that offers a real window into his early life.
Other must-see, man-made sights in the city include the Casa Batllo. Another of Gaudi’s creations, this is a perfect example of his modernist style. Additional recommendations include the Palace of Catalan Music, Guell Palace, Torre Glories, and Casa Amatller.
There are some stunning man-made creations here, but visitors shouldn’t overlook all of the charming natural sights of Barcelona.
Parks and Walks
Barcelona is packed with open spaces and each would be a worthy addition to any bucket list. As we’ve seen, the Gothic Quarter is a top location for city nightlife, but it’s also a good option during those daylight hours.
With its endless streets and traditional buildings, this is a perfect location for more photo opportunities. During the day, the Gothic Quarter provides a quieter alternative to the City’s main thoroughfare. Most visitors would place a walk through La Rambla on their bucket list, and there are many good reasons why.
There’s great shopping here, together with some of the best bars and restaurants in the city, but La Rambla is perfect for combining a little bit of everything. There’s entertainment on every corner, including musicians, jugglers and some incredibly lifelike human statues.
There’s even an original Miro artwork in the area, although it’s not made obvious to visitors. The acclaimed painter Joan Miro helped to design and create La Rambla, so be sure to stop and appreciate the Miro Circle.
Of the many open spaces in Barcelona, Park Guell is the most visually stunning. It offers great views across the city, and many of the Gaudi works can be seen from this one, central location. Elsewhere, you can literally get lost in Barcelona’s outdoor spaces at the Parc del Laberint d’Horta. This park features an intricate maze, along with acres of lush greenery.
For a change of scenery, many visitors like to head to the city’s port. The Port of Barcelona has been operational for thousands of years, and tourists can pass a peaceful hour or two as they watch the boats come and go.
Food and Drink
Reviews of food and drink outlets will always be subjective, and it’s unlikely that one specific location will make it onto anyone’s bucket list. However, there are certain local delicacies that you simply must try before leaving the city. Barcelona is home to that delicious and iconic national drink, Sangria. A combination of red wine, fruit, and brandy, it’s a perfect accompaniment to most meals, or it can be enjoyed in isolation on a summer’s day.
Tapas is unavoidable across the city, and every national-themed outlet will offer a range of these dishes. If you can’t decide on a location, why not try one of the many tapas walking tours that will take in a host of outlets in one single evening?
Don’t Forget Your Shopping
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without a few souvenirs to take home to friends and family. At the top end of the range is the exclusive Passeig de Gracia, where many high-end international brands can be found, including Chanel, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent and Jimmy Choo.
For more everyday shopping outlets, the city’s markets are hard to beat, and they offer the chance to support local producers. While you’re staying in the city, Mercado de la Boqueria is highly recommended for its huge range of fresh fruit, among other delicacies.
In regards to souvenirs for those unlucky souls who are left at home, there are many more recommendations. Other popular shopping destinations in the city include Portal de L’Angel, Carrer d’Avinyo, El Corte Inglés, and El Born. As with everything in Barcelona, there’s something to match all tastes and all budgets.
A Sporting Theme
For sports fans, no trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the home of Catalan football. The Nou Camp plays host to one of the most successful teams in the history of the game, and FC Barcelona has fielded many of the world’s best players. Ideally, football followers will want to take in a game during the Spanish domestic season. Planning in advance is imperative here as the stadium fills up quickly, so look to secure tickets as soon as possible.
Alternatively, the Nou Camp runs stadium tours, and there’s more sport to enjoy around Barcelona. The city has a second top-flight football team, RCD Espanyol, and there’s a highly successful basketball side here too. Handball and ice hockey are also popular, while rugby union has a small, but loyal following.
Every bucket list is different, and it can be tough to find a location that provides the diversity to tick each box. Barcelona is one of those places that would tick more than most. This is why the city is a great destination for couples, families, and groups.
Barcelona is diverse enough to cater to a wider range of tastes, and it’s a perfect location to add to even the biggest of bucket lists.