It really seems as though Barcelona has something for everyone, whether you're a history buff, an architect fanatic or just really love paella, this city has so much to do it can be difficult to narrow down which sights are really worth it when you have limited time in the city. Although we didn't visit EVERYWHERE in Barcelona we did make the most of our 5 days in the city, so here is a list of the best sights that are really worth hype, how to make the most of them and which attractions you shouldn't waste your time on.
La Sagrada Familia
Park Guëll ... (however)
Also the product of Gaudí is Park Guëll, a public park located in Barcelona covering over 40 square acres of land. With an impressive peak and panoramic view over the city, Park Guëll is a great place to wander around and really soak up some of his work, perhaps enjoying a picnic in one of the many green spaces. Although you can pay to enter into the main buildings and structures, most of the park is free, allowing you wander at your own pace without any time-restricted entry.
Whilst I am sure the mosaic work within the site is pretty incredible, unfortunately during our visit there was a significant amount of restoration and construction work underway which meant that money spent of tickets would have been pretty wasted in my opinion. I'm not sure pictures of the mosaic'ed structures with a JCB in the background would have really been postcard material. That being said we really enjoyed wandering around the park, a surprisingly large area for free and is still host to some impressive structures.
Any time of the day would be suitable to visit this park as it is so huge it probably won't be too crowded. That being said it was incredibly hot during lunch, so if climbing lots of stairs in the heat isn't your thing than maybe avoid the mid-hours of the day.
METRO STOP: Lesseps or Vallcarca Green L3
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Although visiting the beach may not be the top of your to do list on a city break, I would advice packing a swimsuit just in case you need a break from the busy bustle of the tourist attractions. Whilst we prioritised visiting attractions in the mornings, we would usually visit the beach in the late afternoon to unwind after hot and cramped journeys on the underground, and crowded sites. With a nearby supermarket you can access cheap food and alcohol to take onto the beach, but be wary of leaving your belongings unsupervised. We also have a guide to Barcelona Beaches here.
METRO STOP: Barceloneta Yellow L4
La Rambla and La Boqueria Market
Over a kilometer long, La Rambla is a central boulevard in Barcelona reaching to Port Vell at its southern point. It is saturated with tourists wandering its streets lined with modern stores as well as souvenir vendors, selling everything from penis pepper plants (really), to fresh watermelon and churros. An ideal spot for some shopping if you're looking for some European and American brands that we don't have at home (makeup mostly - the Sephora ACTUALLY has a slide in it), it's also really nice to wander down to the port to see many human statues and street performers.
Whilst I would warn you that the restaurants and bars on the extortionate (€9.50 for a pint), we did find a square named Plaza Real which was close to the port, full of bars and restaurants that were pretty reasonable, serving good tapas and sangria. With the view of the central fountain it was great to grab some calamari and people watch all afternoon.
Although extremely busy, La Boquiera Market is definitely worth a visit for all the amazing vibrant market stalls here. From fresh fruit to fish, spices and meat, there is all-sorts for sale in this bustling market and whilst you can grab some great bargains here with unique flavoured salts (merlot, truffle, chilli), fresh snacks and souvenirs I would advice you to be wary of your belongings while passing through.
METRO STOP: Catalunya Green L3 Red L1 to start at the Northern tip and walk downwards towards the port.
I'm surprised I am saying this, but I was actually really disappointed in the Barcelona F.C. stadium. I'd set up high hopes for this trip, booking the tickets well in advance and planning to spend the whole morning at the stadium, but was let down by actual lack of things to see and feeling like I was being ripped off at every stage of the tour. Unless you are an avid fan, then I would generally avoid the minimum €25 each to enter the stadium, which doesn't include any of the multiple photos they take of you throughout the trip (€20 per printed photo, unless you want it in a souvenir album which will cost you a cool €50). If you're a huge football fan then maybe you will feel different but personally I was really expecting more from the visit.
Other Gaudí Buildings
Gaudí's buildings are extraordinary, with the most popular creations including casa batlló and casa milà in the Eixample district. And whilst I would definitely recommend visiting these buildings (conveniently they're are extremely close together and sandwiched between Chanel and Prada to name a few), I don't necessarily think it is worth to pay to get inside when they are so spectacular from outside. If you do plan on visiting however I would definitely recommend entering in off-peak times as it can become extremely crowded inside.