Whether you’re just staying for days or a few weeks, it’s best to be prepared and have an idea of the best things to do and see in Barcelona considering how massive this city is. Here are the top five best things you MUST do that I personally recommend to all my friends visiting this fabulous city during their eurotrip. It includes this secret viewing point that most tourists don’t know about so read on!
1. Eat, Drink, and Party at Placa Reial
I love hanging out in this beautiful square called Placa Reial. Here you can find more traditional Spanish cafes and Catalan restaurants where you can just chill with a jar of Sangria or clara with some of the best local dishes available and just sit and enjoy the atmosphere.
The square is also the epicenter of some of Barcelona’s best night clubs. It is also a place where you can watch live Flamenco performances.
I love the vibe of Placa Reial, made cooler by the palm trees dotting it. My advice? Grab a beer, hangout at the fountain and soak in the medieval atmosphere of this place.
2. Get lost in the maze of El Born & El Barrio Gotico
If you want to get away from the touristy spots and discover less touristy Barcelona, then walk through the dirty yet beautiful and thrilling alleyways of El Born and El Gotico.
El Born would be your place to stroll around if you’re looking for more quirky shops, local art and booze. El Barrio Gotico meanwhile is like traveling back in time when you’re surrounded by its gothic architecture and picturesque streets.
You can check out Picasso’s museum, local galleries and the historical buildings around by day; have a glass of cava and an order of tapas after siesta; and lastly, sample the bars late at night.
It’s also great to find accommodation in this parts of the city because it’s very central. You can look for some hostels or apartments for rent through Oh Barcelona for instance.
3. Have a picnic or watch the sunset at Turo de la Rovira viewpoint
OK, I’ll tell you one big secret: Turo de la Rovira is the best place to have breathtaking panoramic views of Barcelona. The place is pretty remote and it’s sort of complicated to access so only a few people know about this viewpoint and you will rarely see a tourist there.
How did I know about it? From my Spanish bestfriend who lives in Barcelona, of course.
One day he decided to take me to this place when I visited him for the first time in winter. It was late in the afternoon when we took the bus and hiked there so it was a bit cold and windy but my god, the views made it all worth the effort of going there and climbing it.
I mean look:
Why is this the best viewpoint in Barcelona? Because you can see almost the entirety of the city from it. Because you can watch the sunset over Barcelona with a panoramic 360 degree view of the city. You can also see all the important landmarks of Barcelona like Sagrada Familia, Torre Mapfre, Torre Agbar, Tibidado and almost any outstanding building in the skyline of the city that you can think of. You can even see Las Ramblas and the main highway if you look closely. That’s how awesome this viewpoint is!
How do you get there? OK, I did say it is kind of complicated to get there but actually it’s not that complicated. The best way to get to this viewpoint is via public buses. You can take buses 24, 28, 92, 86 or 119 to the last stop. And then hike up for around 15 minutes.
4. Grab a drink, get a tan and ogle hot people at Barcelona’s beaches
I have to say that Barcelona is probably the best beach city in Europe. There’s a beach for everyone and the perpetual buzz of the beach life makes it impossible not to feel exhilarated.
Just from El Born, you can head towards the harbour and Barcelona’s most popular beach, Barceloneta. It may look like the usual with its expensive drinks, loud reggae music and the people overcrowding the strip but it’s still worth visiting as you stroll around or just lie down till the day ends. Discover more as you go further away from Barceloneta to Port Olimpica or to the nudist beach, Marbella.
There’s so much happening in the beach that it’s almost impossible to not feel excited. The beaches are also full of hotties, both local and international, so ogle all you want as you sip your poison of choice while working on your tan. Don’t be shy to chitchat and make new friends.
5. Marvel at Gaudí’s grand designs
You can not NOT go to Barcelona without seeing Gaudi’s amazeballs art.
Barcelona is probably an enormous life-size canvas of Gaudi’s art. Experience the breathtaking interiors and structure of Sagrada Familia; taking a close look at every sculpture of flora, fauna or human figure that collectively shows Christ’s early years.
In addition, Park Guell’s magical design and the amazing view of Barcelona and the sea at its peak is something that shouldn’t be missed. There’s also La Pedrera, a masterpiece on the outside and more on the inside with its three exhibition spaces for Gaudi and other artists’ works. Don’t even dare to forget looking up to the roof or view more from the roof itself.
P.S. Don’t forget to eat Filipinos! ;P
Photo credits: me my friend Ismael and Marcel Germain.
#glomad = global nomad or, glamorous global nomad ;P