Barcelona It is one of the most visited cities in Europe, and the grounds are well known. First, the works of Gaudí: from the iconic Sagrada Familia to Park Güell, through masterpieces such as Casa Milà (La Pedrera) or Casa Batlló, the truth is that there is no shortage of things to see in Barcelona - including tourist attractions such as the Palau de la Música, several museums and historical monuments. And even Camp Nou, the historic FC Barcelona stadium is worth a visit!
Now, given Barcelona's popularity as a tourist destination, there are sometimes long lines to visit the main attractions of Barcelona. Fortunately, there is a way to mitigate this inconvenience.
Get to know Barcelona's best attractions and learn how to visit the most iconic museums and monuments no rows.
This text is part of a series produced with the support of GetYourGuide, with the aim of recommending the main tourist attractions in ten destinations around the world. In many of these museums, palaces, cathedrals and other monuments, the visit can benefit from the advance purchase of tickets.
What to see in Barcelona
#1 Holy Family
The Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia (or simply the Sagrada Familia) is a colossus of contemporary architecture that is difficult to catalog. Considered one of the greatest exponents of Catalan modernist architecture, the Sagrada Familia is regarded as Antoni Gaudí's masterpiece. Not by chance, it is the most visited attraction of Barcelona. And this despite being an unfinished work. It is now desired that it may be completed on the occasion of the centenary of Gaudi's death in 2026.
Ubiquitous in skyline from the city, there is no way to ignore the presence of the Sagrada Familia during your trip to Barcelona. And is same a must visit attraction!
To visit the Holy Family wasting less time in lines, Just buy the ticket in advance. It currently costs 31 € and allows priority access to Gaudí's masterpiece. Note that the ticket does not include access to the Nativity Tower (or Tower of Passion) or audio guide.
Tips for visiting the Sagrada Familia
- Dress appropriately. Being a sacred place for Catholics, avoid shorts, miniskirts and large necklines. Even in the summer. Hats or hats are not allowed either.
- As a rule, there are fewer people visiting the Holy Family from 17: 00.
For a more exclusive experience, consider visiting the Sagrada Familia in a GetYourGuide Originals Tour. Originals are towers led by selected local guides, who allow changes in schedules if plans change and the money back if not completely satisfied.
#2 Park Guell
Perhaps Antoni Gaudí's happiest failure, Parque Güell was to have been a new urbanization of Barcelona, where houses and public spaces would be a tribute to Nature. The project turned out not to work commercially, but left the city an unusually original and creative park.
To me it's one of the most amazing places in the Catalan capital; especially because of the beautiful and totally harmonious way that, in Parque Güell, cement goes hand in hand with nature. It's Gaudí at its best - and one of the must-see Barcelona attractions!
#3 Palace of Catalan Music
The Palace of Catalan Music is one of Spain's most charismatic concert halls; and surely one of the most representative monuments of Catalan modernism. It is another of Barcelona's main attractions (it is possible to visit at times without shows).
For my part, and apart from the famous acoustics, what impresses me most is the visual richness of the interior, especially the use of stained glass as a decorative element (an unusual solution in concert halls).
#4 Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Being one of the main attractions of Barcelona with regard to Gaudí's creations, it is worth considering a strategy to reduce the time lost in queues to access the nothing consensual Casa Milà. In this regard, it is said that the building shocked the Catalan population so much that, because it found the construction aberrant, it named it, among other less pleasant epithets, La Pedrera. And so it became known to this day. It is in the middle of Passeig de Gracia, in the heart of Barcelona.
#5 Casa Batlló
The Casa Batlló is one of Gaudí's most accomplished - and important - works. For me, the architecture of the building combined with the interior design, makes Casa Battló one of the most beautiful and amazing Barcelona attractions.
It is, so to speak, where the unlimited creativity of the Catalan genius reaches its peak. From the wavy facade to the dragon on the roof, few words will be able to describe the originality of Casa Battló. It is true that on the facade of Casa Batlló there are no angles, no flat planes, no corners or geometries. There are, instead, ways to remember elements of nature, from cliffs with nests to lakes with water lilies. Also the roof is zigzagging, resembling scales of reptiles or dinosaurs. Fabulous!
#6 Joan Miró Foundation
Although less visited than other famous sites in the Catalan capital, the Joan Miró Foundation houses one of the best museums in the city, dedicated to the homonymous Spanish surrealist painter. It is, without a doubt, one of Barcelona's attractions absolutely not to be missed by art lovers. The foundation is in the Montjuïc Park.
#7 Camp Nou Stadium and FC Barcelona Museum
The Camp Nou is one of the most emblematic stadiums in the world. The house of FC Barcelona - Leonel Messi and company - is currently one of the main attractions of Barcelona. Of course, it is especially interesting for football lovers - whether or not they are Barça.
Attractions in Barcelona: useful tips
For other suggestions, see Tony and Cecilia's tips on Things to do in Barcelona.
Barcelona Card: worth it or not?
Of course, it depends. If you plan to visit many of Barcelona's main attractions, other than the works of Gaudí, it is only natural to buy the Barcelona Card compense. Honestly, however, I do not think it is justified.
More useful is Hola Barcelona, a free use pass of the public transport network during 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours. The cost of Hola Barcelona starts at 29 €.
Buy your tickets in advance
Due to the high number of tourists visiting Barcelona, it can be difficult to get to some of Barcelona's most popular attractions quickly. I therefore recommend that whenever possible, you should choose tickets to avoid queues - especially in the Holy Family.
They are naturally more expensive than regular tickets, but they are worth every extra penny (no one wants to stay for two hours waiting to enter the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló or La Pedrera!). Buy tickets on-line for the main attractions of Barcelona, before traveling, has, therefore, several advantages over buying on the spot. To know:
- In most cases, you can avoid the long queues of museums, monuments and other attractions of Barcelona;
- The additional cost is ridiculous (no one wants to wait an hour or two to enter a museum!);
- O voucher is sent by e-mail and, in most cases, you do not even need to print (just show in the smartphone).
For me, the only downside of buying tickets to museums and attractions in advance is the loss of some flexibility during your stay in Barcelona. This is in case the visits to the attractions are scheduled.
Be that as it may, this is the price to pay for the comfort of not having to buy tickets on time; and especially avoid the queues. In these cases (which require scheduling), the ideal is perhaps to mark the visits for the beginning of the day, leaving the rest free to discover the city at your own pace.
All in all, I highly recommend the early purchase of Barcelona attractions - especially if you want to visit the most emblematic works of Gaudí. I do this regularly in my travels!
Although not as connected by air and at low cost as Madrid, Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and, as such, will not have difficulties in reaching the city. See my tips for finding cheap flights and enjoy.
Where to stay
Being Barcelona an immense city - and a very expensive destination - I recommend reading the text where to stay in Barcelona (briefly), where I speak of the best neighborhoods to stay in the Catalan capital based on your tastes and available budget. Alternatively, search all available hotels using the link below.
A World Nomads offers one of the best and most complete travel insurance recommended by National Geographic and Lonely Planet. Other excellent and cheaper option is IATI Seguros, which has no age limit and allows multivariate insurance (including long-term travel) to any destination in the world. It's the insurance I use in my travels.