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Ultimate Barcelona Bucket List inc Barcelona Hidden Gems

Ultimate Barcelona Bucket List inc Barcelona Hidden Gems

If you are travelling to Barcelona and looking for the best things to do we and some of our favourite bloggers have put together the ultimate Barcelona Bucket List, covering the main Barcelona tourist attractions and Barcelona hidden gems. So whether you are first time or repeat visitor we have the perfect Barcelona ideas for you. 

Barcelona Bucket List

This Barcelona bucket list is laid out with the best things to do and the most famous Barcelona attractions first before we move on to the more unusual things to do and hidden gems in the city.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

Visit Sagrada Familia

View of Sagrada Familia with construction ongoing

Sagrada Familia should be top of your Barcelona bucket list

Visiting the Sagrada Familia should be at the top of anyone’s Barcelona bucket list. Under construction since 1882 and originally designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia has long been the symbol of the city and the pride of its people even though it is not scheduled for completion until 2026. 

Although many visitors only visit the church from the outside, it is well worth going inside. Just be sure to book your tickets in advance to miss the queue and ensure entry. Also if you want to climb the towers be sure to go on a dry day as the tower climb is closed on rainy days. 

Park Güell 

View from the viewing platform in Parc Guell with curved mosaic bench in fore

Ultimate Barcelona bucket list

Park Güell can be the highlight of any Barcelona trip.  If you want to avoid the crowds then we recommend heading there early in the morning for when it opens. 

Now a large area of the park is free to walk around as it is a public space covering 17 hectares. However, the most impressive area is the monumental area. In this area you will find Gaudís famous work and this area can only be entered after paying a fee.

Highlights in this area include:

  • the famous “El Drac” salamander statue
  • famous mosaic curved seats on the principal terrace with unrivalled views of the city and
  • the Doric columns

As the park gets so busy numbers are restricted so it is imperative that you book this far in advance to ensure you get the day and time you want. The park also limits the number of visitors at any one time so if you want to visit this part of the park (which most do!) it’s very wise to book your tickets in advance to be sure to get it on the day you want to. Click here to book!

Also while in the park you can also add on a trip to the Gaudí House Museum for an additional fee. 

Walk Down La Rambla

View of people walking down la Rambla

La RAmbla

La Rambla is one of Barcelona’s most famous streets and is in fact one of the busiest places in the city receiving over 150,000 visitors per day. And you can’t really say you have visited Barcelona until you have walked down this street. 

This road is over 1.5km and runs from Plaza Catalunya to the monument of Christopher Columbus past the Gothic Quarter and La Boqueria. Along this walk there are many shops but also more artisan stalls, street performers and more to keep you entertained as well as a huge amount of bars and restaurants serving everything from tapas and sangria to full sit-down meals. 

La Boqueria

La Boqueria stall sellling jambon

Barcelona Bucket List

And while you are on La Rambla before to make a stop at The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, better known as La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a must for any foodie travelling to the city. The market has everything on offer from meats and seafood to spices and fruits. 

However, for me the best things to try in La Boqueria is the local Catalonian produce including the amazing jambon.  But be warned, this place can get very busy so you may need to eat on the go as there are very few places to sit and eat within the Boqueria itself.

Barceloneta Beach

Woman walking along Barceloneta Beach with Frank Gehrys building in background

Barcelona Bucket List

Barceloneta Beach is one of the most popular and oldest beaches in Barcelona. This beach is the most accessible from La Ramblas and other tourist areas. It’s also located in the traditional fishing district, and it has a lot of history. It has been said that Barceloneta Beach inspired Miguel Cervantes’ setting of the fight between Don Quixote and the Knight of the White Moon.

In addition to the fascinating history, the beach itself has clean, chilly waters for you to cool off after the summer heat. However, since it’s a city beach, the areas can get a little crowded at times.

To start off, grab yourself a sun lounger, beach umbrella, a drink or some ice cream, and enjoy the breeze as you relax under the sun. Take a plunge into the ocean and soak in the chilly waves afterwards for a cool, calming experience. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and want more than just ocean swimming, paddle boards are available for you to rent! Moreover, you can engage in other fun activities the beach has to offer: beach volleyball, beach tennis, gymnastics area, and table tennis.

Afterwards, get yourself some delicious food at one of the restaurants in the neighbourhood behind the beach. Try out some seafood dishes or perhaps a glass of champagne or wine. La Xampanyeria — a recommended restaurant — is known for its house champagnes and mini sandwiches. As you are eating, lean back and enjoy the sunset.

Nominated by Road Goat

Aquarium of Barcelona

The Aquarium of Barcelona in Spain, situated in Port Vell, is considered to be one of the largest aquariums in Europe. The aquarium is divided into:

  • Mediterranean aquarium containing 14 tanks that represent the Mediterranean’s marine communities.
  • Tropical aquariums consisting of seven tanks that are full of beautiful and colourful corals and most characteristic species.
  • Oceanarium is the highlight of the Aquarium. It features an 80-metre glass tunnel filled with water and enables one to walk under the species swimming above – sharks and other fellow creatures. If you are brave enough and a qualified diver you can observe sharks close as well.

There’s also a section with a permanent shell exhibition – clams, oysters, squids, octopuses, slugs and snails are only some of them. THis place is perfect for those travelling to Barcelona with toddlers or olderr children. 

Nominated by Safari Nomad

Port Vell

Couple sitting on bench at Port Vell Barcelona

Barcelona Bucket List (Best things to do and Barcelona Hidden Gems)

Port Vell is the waterfront harbour area of Barcelona which is just a stone’s throw away from the city centre. The Columbus Monument (which was constructed in 1886 to honour Columbus’ first voyages to the Americas) marks the beginning of the port, which stretches out into the sea thanks to a wooden boardwalk known as the Rambla de Mar.

Along here you’ll find plenty of benches where you can sit, relax and take in the peaceful environment of Port Vell. Watching the harbour boats bob gently around in the water here feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Barcelona!

However, while Port Vell has a relaxing vibe, there are also tons of things to do from the Maremagnum shopping centre at the end of the Broadwalk or you can hop on tjhe cable car up to the Montjuic area.

Nominated by Earth’s Magical Places

Visit Montjuic

Barcelona Cruise Port

 Montjuic is a bit of a hidden gem in Barcelona and a great place to escape the crowds of the city. The best way to get up to Montjuic is to take the Cable Car up from Port Vell and you will be awarded with fantastic views across the cities on the ascent. It is advisable to book your cable car tickets in advance.

When you reach the top you are rewarded with a wealth of tourist attractions. Some of our favourites include

  • Montjuic Castle– an amazing fortress dating back to the 1640s.
  • Palai Nacional– the National Art Museum
  • Poble Espanyol– built for the 1929 World Exhibition which showcases the different architecture of the regions of Spain
  • La Fundacio Miro– a gallery dedicated to the artist Miro
  • The Botanic Garden and
  • Font Magica of Montjuic – my favourite thing to do in Montjuic – an amazing light and fountain show that is sure to delight any traveller of any age.

Flamenco Dance at Tablao be Carmen

Flamenco is a traditional Spanish art form and it’s originated in Andalusia from the 8th to the 15th centuries. The performance consists of three key elements: flamenco guitar playing (guitarra), songs (cante), and dance (baile); and dance movements include foot-stomping, hand-clapping, and finger-snapping. All these art forms combined to perform different emotions ranging from passionate, lament to deep.

In Barcelona, I recommend Tablao de Carmen. The venue was established as a tribute to a great flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya.

Situated in Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc, Tablao de Carmen is nestled in a historic complex that has souvenir shops, restaurants, and a glass-making studio. There are also beautiful fountains, staircases, and houses – perfect for some photo-taking. Typically, Tablao de Carmen’s shows have at least four flamenco dancers; it is an intimate space and we got a table that was really close to the stage. The show started at 7 pm after a pitcher of Sangria was served; each performer wore dresses in different colours which represent different styles and moods. I enjoyed their performance with delicious ham and cheese along with some great guitar playing.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Taking a walk under the Arc de Triomf to Parc de la Ciutadella is a Barcelona must-do. The Arc de Triomf was built as the main gate to the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. Pass under the arc and walk down the central promenade to Parc de la Ciutadella. Parc de la Ciutadella sits on the site of the 1888 Barcelona World Fair and was once the cities only green space. The park has much to offer. Take a horse and carriage ride under the trees or relax on the grass with a picnic.

Explore the Barcelona Zoo or the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona. Take a walk past the Parlament de Catalunya checking out the many sculptures along the way or take a rowboat out in the lake. Stop to let the children play in one of the many playgrounds or on the large mammoth sculpture. Watch the musicians, browse the street vendors souvenirs and be sure to wander past the bandstand, I was lucky enough to find a group of couples salsa dancing. Do not miss the impressive waterfall fountain, Cascada Monumental, built for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. If you are a fan of Gaudi, he assisted the architect of the fountain as an apprentice. The Arc de Triomf is easily reached by metro; do not miss this iconic landmark.

Nominated by  OutOfOffice.Blog

Indulge in a Night of Jazz on the Rooftop of Gaudi’s Iconic Casa Milà

La Pedrera Jazz Night - Best Barcelona Hidden Gems

Casa Milà, or ‘La Pedrera’ as it’s nicknamed, is one of Antoni Gaudi’s most awe-inspiring buildings in Barcelona.  Built in a prime location on the glitzy boulevard of Passeig de Gràcia between 1906 and 1912, this extraordinary property is one of the city’s most recognisable emblems and oozes with old-world charm. But although it’s a joy to explore at any time of day, there’s simply no better time than during one of the summer “Jazz Nights”.

Entry tickets include a complimentary glass of quality Catalan cava (like French Champagne only better), which you can sip on as the sun sets and the musicians swing into action. The lineup changes on a nightly basis, but whenever you go you can always be sure of discovering the finest homegrown and international jazz acts. 
Arrive early to tour the ornate apartments and fascinating Espai Gaudí museum in the attic, before taking to the sinuous rooftop to explore what are easily some of the most spectacular views over Barcelona(you’ll even see Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia on the horizon). There’s really no more romantic way to start a night out in Barcelona. 

Music starts at 8pm on Friday and Saturday nights, from early June to mid-September. 

Nominated by Driftwood Journals 

Mount Tibidabo

While Barcelona endures the throngs of tourists in the city center, Tibidabo mountain is an alternative area that’s under-visited in comparison. At 512 meters high, it’s also the highest point of the city, where you can get magnificent views of the cityscape and beyond. Tibidabo has an attraction for everyone.

First, it’s home to the majestic Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, which is a minor basilica topped with a monument of Jesus Christ spreading his arms wide open.

For the kids and kids-at-heart, Tibidabo also has the Tibidabo Amusement Park, a theme park with vintage rides, death-defying roller coasters, and entertaining sideshows. If you don’t want to pay full price to enter, you can also go to the nearby Skywalk, which has a colorful Ferris wheel, a carousel, and the daring ride called the Talaia, an “arm” that raises you up to the utmost highest point of Barcelona.

Another Tibidabo attraction is the nearbly Torre Collserola, which is a communications tower that you can visit at the observation deck. To get to Tibidabo, take the bus from Plaça Catalunya, which costs under 3 euros for a one-way ticket. Tibidabo is worth it if you want the best views of Barcelona also avoid the city’s crowds!

Nominated by Latitude Forty One

Explore the Gracia Neighbourhood

View of La Pedrera building in Barcelona

Barcelona Bucket List (Best things to do and Barcelona Hidden Gems)

Escape the crowds of central Barcelona and head to the hip neighbourhood Gracia to hang out with locals. This is my favourite area to stay in Barcelona, but it’s also worth visiting for a day (or night) of wandering and eating. 

Gracia has a village feel with narrow streets and leafy squares. It was an independent town until it was swallowed by the city in the late 1800s. Now it has a bohemian vibe with independent art galleries, cool bars, stylish boutiques, and cosy bookstores. 

Many of the quiet streets are pedestrian-only and it’s a very walkable neighbourhood with lots of backstreets to get lost in and pretty squares to stop for a rest on your wanders.

Gracia is known for its many affordable restaurants and bars. There’s a huge range available from a vegan bakery to Thai restaurants and traditional tapas bars including plenty of vegetarian options. The Mercat de l’Abaceria is an indoor market with a fantastic range of fresh produce. 

There are many Gaudi sites not far from Gracia including Park Guell, Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, and the Sagrada Familia. Gracia even has its own little-known Gaudi site—Casa Vicens, which is the first house he designed.

In August don’t miss the raucous Gracia Festival which takes over the streets with colourful decorations, food stalls, rides, and children’s activities. 

Nominated by Never Ending Voyage.

Barcelona History Museum

History buffs will be fascinated by a visit to the City Museum of Barcelona, or, as it’s known in Catalan, the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat (MUHBA). This museum tells the entire history of Barcelona, from ancient Roman times, when it was known as Barcina, right up to the present day.

It’s housed in the Palau Padellàs, which has quite a history of its own. Facing destruction to make way for a new road, the palace was moved stone by stone to its present location on the Plaça del Rei in the Gothic Quarter. During the rebuilding of the palace at its new location, remains of ancient Roman Barcino were uncovered. 

An archaeological dig was begun, leading to the discovery of an entire neighborhood of the ancient Roman city concealed underneath the streets of modern-day Barcelona. This excavation site, and the artifacts found during the excavation, now make up a large part of the museum’s exhibits.

Here you’ll see ceramics and marble busts of anonymous Roman citizens, as well as the ruined buildings of the city itself. These include homes, workshops, a laundry, and a factory that produced garum, a pungent fish sauce highly prized by ancient Romans.I suggest timing your visit around lunchtime so that you can follow it up with a meal at Cat Bar around the corner, which is among the best of the many  vegan restaurants in Barcelona

Nominated by The Nomadic Vegan

Torre Agbar (Agbar Tower)

The Torre Agbar or Torre Glòries is the tallest building of Barcelona in Spain and is still the example of finest architectural masterpiece of urban architecture in Barcelona. As Barcelona is famous for historic architecture and forms a beautiful skyline but its urban architecture is worth admiring too.

This tower is designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and now is the symbol of modern Barcelona. This 38 storeyed building which is approximately 144meters height name – Agbar is derived from the word Castilian Aguas de Barcelona and houses many companies. 

This tower represents a water fountain which constantly changes its appearance and colors. 40 different glossy shades are reflected at specific timing intervals. The specific tilted window angles on the outer cladding of this tower produces different shades of light. Generally the shades from deeper red turns to deep blue with many shades in between. These lights are controlled by computerized animation sequences which also involves 4500 LED lighting devices on the surface.  These illuminations are enjoyed during evenings. Also on special occasions like New Year and other special days, people gather here to enjoy this beautiful building.

Nominated by Travel with me 24 -7

Hospital de Sant Pau 

Barcelona is full of wonderful modernist buildings, and of course the most famous works – such as the Sagrada Familia or La Pedrera – were designed by Antoni Gaudí. Nevertheless, there were several contemporaries of Gaudí who left their mark on the city. The modernist Hospital de Sant Pau is a Barcelona hidden gem and was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and was built for almost 20 years at the beginning of the last century. When we moved to Spain, the building was still a functioning hospital, but a decade ago it was closed and transformed to be a museum. 

The building complex consists of a main building with an impressive art-nouveau façade and several smaller pavilions. The whole building complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. When you visit the Hospital de Sant Pau, you will be amazed by the buildings richly decorated with stained glass and mosaics. The exhibitions in the museum will let you learn a lot about the history of Barcelona as well. This museum is our personal favorite, since it’s the symbol of the neighborhood – El Guinardó – where we have lived for a decade now, and got to see the whole transformation of this fascinating site.

Nominated by Surfing the Planet

Bunkers del Carmel

Woman sat on ledge overlooking Barcelona skyline with sea in distance

Ultimate Barcelona bucket list

Barcelona is a wonderful city full of amazing sights and breathtaking views. Once being a hidden insider-tip only known by a handful of locals and even fewer tourists, the Bunkers of Carmel are one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the whole city.

Even though nowadays it’s not such a hidden gem anymore (it even has a bus stop and is part of several Barcelona tours), it still hasn’t lost its beauty and unique views.

The bunkers were built for strategic reasons on top of the hill as during the civil war the locals of Barcelona were able to see approaching enemies from all directions way before they could reach the city. Even though the bunkers are no longer needed as a strategic viewpoint, its unique views can be used to get a breathtaking overview of the city and shoot some amazing pictures.

Since you have a Panoramic view over the whole city, you cannot only enjoy the unique sights of Barcelona such as the Sagrada Família but also have a look at the beach, the surroundings of the city and the huge cruise ships waiting in the port. Moreover, the bunkers are one of the best places to see the sunrise and sunset in Barcelona. So make sure to get here pretty early or late before or after the crowds are arriving.

Nominated bt Vicki Viaja

La Mercè Festival

Each September, Barcelona is buzzing with excitement for the local street festival, La Mercè which honors the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Mercy. Each day of the nearly week-long festivity is filled with free activities and events that run until the sun comes up. The festival takes place in key locations throughout the city and includes free concerts, fireworks, dance performances, outdoor art exhibitions, circus acts, parades, and more. The main highlights of La Mercè are local traditions like the correfoc (fire run), parade of giants, and the jaw-dropping castellers (human towers).

Watching castellers  is a nerve wracking and unforgettable experience. Every La Mercè, colla (teams of castellers) from around Catalonia meet in Plaça de Sant Jaume in front of the City Hall and attempt to make the tallest human tower possible. Children are lightest and make up the top tiers of the towers, which often reach up to 10 levels. To view everything that’s going on for the festivity, visit the official La Mercè website or grab a program in businesses throughout the city.

Nominated by Lost and Abroad

Montserrat Day Trip From Barcelona

An easy day trip from Barcelona, Montserrat offers great hiking and phenomenal views. Getting there is fairly simple, just head to the station at Plaça Espanya where you can purchase a ticket. The local train takes around an hour to get to the bottom of Montserrat. From here, you can choose to take the funicular train up the mountain side, or the cable car.

At the top is a monastery and a tourist information centre, plus plenty of viewpoints for stunning views. You can take a short hike, around 20 minutes, up to a cross, which offers panoramic views over the countryside. If you decide you want to make a full day out of it, you can continue hiking and do the whole loop which will take several hours.

The views up at the top as you loop around the back of the mountain are breathtaking. The great thing with Montserrat is there is a hiking trail for everyone, from those who only want a gentle walk to great views, to those who wish to escape the crowds and wander along steep ridges.

Nominated by Around the World With Her

Sitges Day Trip From Barcelona

Sitges is a posh and quaint small village 30 minutes south of Barcelona accessible by a train ride. It is located by the sea and famous for many cultural events including the Carnival, the Vintage Car Rally, and the many gay festivals. It is also the birthplace of the founder of Bacardi Rum and the first pizzeria in Spain.

Sitges is a popular weekend and day trip destination from Barcelona and many locals will have a house there. The beach is a main draw, as the village has a 3km shore lined with smaller bays and a pretty promenade alongside. 

Culturally, there are a few museums, the most notable Maricel and Cau Ferrat which are housed inside former mansions built when Sitges was the center of literati and artists at the end of the 19th century. 

The town center is mostly pedestrian and makes for a great place to stroll and you can also do some shopping or enjoy a drink and some tapas at one of the many terraces. In the summertime, it is common to get there on the train, spend the day at the beach followed by a lazy lunch at one of the terraces and a walk to the end of the promenade. Try Santa Maria for a casual paella or tapas, a pizza at Pizzeria del Cap de la Vila, a coffee at people-watching Bar Roy and a more formal meal at La Fragata.

Nominated by Once in a Lifetime Journey

Where is top of your Barcelona Bucket List? Have you found a Barcelona hidden gem that we didn’t mention let us know in the comments.