Barcelona – Top 20 Tourist Attractions

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The second largest city in Spain, Barcelona has rich cultural heritage. This is just one of the reasons that this Spanish metropolis holds such a draw for tourists from around the world. Situated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, flanked by the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, this popular destination experiences the typical Mediterranean climate, with warm and dry summers, and mild but humid winters.

Today, this urban center holds the distinction of being one of the world leaders for economics, having a strong impact on global commerce, as well as taking the European lead in education, media, science, entertainment, fashion, and the arts.

Barcelona’s roots run deep, and can found intertwined within Roman history. Through the ages, the city was besieged numerous times; which has contributed to the development of the culture that is steeped into the very foundation of this destination.

Home to a number of World Heritage Sites, including Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, Palau de la Música Catalana, Palau Güell, and Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, the historical points of reference make this one of the ultimate stops for every European traveler.

Award-winning museums offer a range of archaeological and other historical treasures waiting to be explored. With more than 15 percent of the city dedicated to urban and forest parks, Barcelona is a vibrant green city that also boasts stunning beaches; some of which have been listed as being amongst the top ten beaches in the world.

Barcelona is the first and only city that received a Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1999.


1. Sagrada Familia

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Sagrada Famili Destinations in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia, known officially as the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, is an impressively large Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona. Despite being rated as one UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, construction on the basilica has yet to be completed. Construction began in 1882, is estimated to be finally completed in 2036. What first began as an expression of the revolutionary changes the city was undergoing, and conceived by Josep Bocabella, the church has changed architects and styles through the years.

The first architect to work on the structure was Francisco de Paula del Villar, who had ideas for a neo-gothic-styled church that was simple in design and stature. Subsequent disagreements between Bocabella and Villar led to Antoni Gaudi, a renowned art nouveau architect, being hired on to continue construction on the building. Gaudi’s takeover of the project led to a complete change in design, and become more of a personal expression of Gaudi’s faith and his strong nationalist feelings.

Gaudi devoted more than 40 years of his life to working on the church. His untimely demise was mourned by the faithful people in the entire region who had been following the design and construction of what is considered to be his masterpiece. Due to his complete devotion to the structure, Antoni Gaudi was interred in the Sagrada Familia crypt.

The project continued until the 1935 Spanish Civil War, under the keen eye of Domènech Sugranyes. While the structure was not damaged during the war, a number of plans and models for the building were destroyed by those

who saw it as being a symbol of an outdated and uptight religion that did not belong in the new Barcelona they were erecting.

The 1950’s saw the project once again under construction, following a number of adaptations and reconstructed plans. The current architect has integrated technology to help ensure a much more efficient design for completion of the church.

Filled with deep faith-based symbolism, mosaics and statues, the Sagrada Familia is an incredible destination that is certain to inspire awe in all who visit it. The cost of admission permits guests entrance to a museum within the crypt where Gaudi rests. Visitors can also climb the 400 steps, or take an elevator to the top, where views of the surrounding city can be enjoyed.

The great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt only took 20 years to build with ancient tools, and so far, la Sagrada Familia has taken around 200 hundred years to be constructed with modern technology.


2. Las Ramblas

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Sagrada Famili Destinations in Barcelona: Las Ramblas
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Sagrada Famili Destinations in Barcelona: Las Ramblas

Popular with a trendy vibe, Las Ramblas is a street that runs through the center of Barcelona. With a number of great points of interests and attractions, this dynamic and rambling road offers something for everyone; tourists and locals alike. Just under a mile long, with the southernmost end starting at Port Vell, and the northernmost end being Plaça Catalunya; the majority of tourists find that the best entertainment and dining choices are located at the northern section of the street.

Due to the popularity of the area, the city council took measures that restrict the flow of vehicular traffic, which means that pedestrians are free to explore the area without worrying about speeding cars and trucks.

Hotels, traveler hostels, and apartments line the road. Due to the central location, staying here offers guests to the city swift access to a number of great historical sites, museums, restaurants, and of course the metro stations.

Las Ramblas is an artist’s haven, with human statue art, lively performances, and a number of artists that will be happy to draw your portrait or sell you one of their original pieces. Other attractions along the path include a monument to Christopher Columbus, the Maritime Museum, both the Wax and the Erotica Museum, and of course the Modernist

Boqueria Market, which is a sight to behold in summer when local fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers are on display.

Restaurants and boutique shops make this street a destination that you must explore when in Barcelona.

Las Ramblas is actually 5 different avenues


3. Plaça Reial

Icarus Travellers: Top 20 Destination in Barcelona: Plaça Reial
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destination in Barcelona: Plaça Reial

Located in the Barry Gòtic section of the oldest section of Barcelona, Plaça Reial is a popular square amongst locals and tourists. The square can be thought of as being a great representation of what life in this Spanish city is truly like. A great number of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment choices line the streets. Several hotels are right off of the square, which makes this a great central point for visitors exploring Barcelona.

Since the first brewery opened its doors in 1850, this area has been a vibrant cross section of bohemians, professionals, and of course guests to the city. Over the centuries, the square has undergone a number of changes that have all contributed toward it being one of the most famous and trendy stops on every itinerary.

A number of outdoor events are staged in this open-air meeting place, including the annual La Mercè Festival and a celebration of New Year’s Eve, which does tend to get very crowded with intrigued tourists and partygoers.

Soak up the atmosphere, enjoy some tapas, and head on out for a night of dancing; Plaça Reial is a great choice for tourists who are looking to truly connect with what makes Barcelona such an incredible spot to visit.

4. Park Güell

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destination in Barcelona: Park Guell
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destination in Barcelona: Park Guell

Park Güell has a well-earned reputation for being one of the more stunning icons in all of Barcelona. Famed designer and architect Antoni Gaudi was responsible for this skillfully designed masterpiece, which offers amazing views of the surrounding city. A visit to the park offers a walk around some wonderful modernist works of art, each unique and impressive in its own way.

Park Güell was once a part of a planned housing development that was ultimately proven to be a commercial failure. The brainchild of Count Eusebi Güell, and inspired by the popular English garden city movement, fresh air and stunning views of the city were considered to be the major draw. Larrard House was already on the site, with sixty luxuriously designed homes being planned. Two houses were built, neither of which were by Gaudi, but the architect did ultimately purchase one of the two houses and

move into it with his family in 1906. The house contains many of Gaudi’s original works, and is now a museum dedicated to the life of this great visionary.

The municipal garden is home to several famous art pieces, including the mosaic salamander known as El Drac. Located at the main entrance to the park, this vibrantly colored piece of art is a popular stop for visitors. The primary focal point is a large terrace that features a sea serpent styled bench flowing around the perimeter of the square; with cozy enclaves offering the ideal spot for visitors to enjoy private conversations with one another.

Enjoy what is considered to be the most complete view of Barcelona, and the shimmering bay, along with panoramic views of several key points in the city, from the highest points of this defunct housing development.

Entrance to the park is free, but viewing Gaudi’s home will require a small entrance fee.

5. The Barcelonetta Beach

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destination in Barcelona: The Barcelonetta Beach
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destination in Barcelona: The Barcelonetta Beach

The Barcelonetta Beach, with its golden sands, is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of life in Barcelona, the sandy shores offer a place to catch a few rays, splash in the cool Mediterranean Sea, and just enjoy some rest and relaxation.

There are definitely other spots around the area to enjoy some time by the water, but this beach is the closest to the city center, which makes it a great choice for an afternoon or even all-day get-away.

The area is well-known for a vibrant nightlife, with many clubs and restaurants lining the boardwalk. Many of the restaurants offer breathtaking views of the bay, along with fresh seafood and other mouthwatering menu

items. One of the highlights of spending time near the water is being able to indulge in your favorite drink or enjoy a massage.

Some of the other attractions on La Barcelonetta Beach is the “Homenatge a la Barceloneta” monument, which is typically one of the first landmarks visitors notice upon arriving. A giant shimmering fish constructed from copper and steel lattice is another of the points of interest on the beach; this fantastical structure “Peix d’Or” was designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry.

Whether you are looking forward to dipping your toes into the Mediterranean, or you’re headed to the shore to take in the sights, sounds, and flavors offered by this little slice of paradise, you are sure to find your time to be wholly enjoyable.

There were no beaches in Barcelona until 1992. The seaside of Barcelona was full of local industries up until the city decided to host the Olympic Games. Thanks to this, one can now find several beaches.


6. Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

Said to be perhaps the ideal example of Gothic style architecture, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar features harmonious proportions and an overall sense of purity to the design. While many churches built in the middle ages typically changed architectural styles during the decades it took to complete construction, this basilica is an exception. The structure was built in a short 55 years, which didn’t leave much room for the changing of architects. It is thought to be the only still-standing church that is reflective of the Catalan Gothic style.

There are a great number of stained glass windows allowing natural light into the interior of the church. While time and nature have taken their toll on some of the windows, a great many of them have survived through the years, and can offer a visual feast.

Stepping into the church offers the impression of spaciousness and brilliant light. The sense of openness and brightness within the building is almost a contradiction to the stark severity of the exterior, which is a stray from many of the other designs of the period, as it doesn’t have much in the way of decoration. Soaring ceilings and arches, which can be boasted of as being the most slender support arches in a structure of this type and age, contribute to a sense of weightlessness.

Outstanding acoustics within the church make it a popular choice for a number of concerts and other events. The Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar is open to visitors each day, and should be near the top of every traveler’s itinerary (especially those who have an appreciation of pure Gothic architecture).

Saint George Day, known in spanish as Día de Sant Jordi, is a national Catalan holiday. It is also called the Day of the Rose, which in spanish is el Día de la Rosa, because of the amount of roses that one can find all over the city. This meaning that Sant Jordi is more or less Barcelona’s version of Valentine’s Day.


7. Picasso Museum

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Picasso Museum
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Picasso Museum

Pablo Picasso is one of the most recognizable artists in all of history. The Museu Picasso boasts the most extensive collection of work completed by this well-known Spanish artist, with over 3,500 pieces of work being housed within the museum. Located in five medieval palaces that are interconnected, the collection can be found in Barcelona’s bank district.

Upon opening its doors in 1963, the museum became the first of its kind dedicated entirely to the work of Picasso. A lifelong friend of the famous artist, Jaume Sabartés, developed the idea for a public space to showcase the many drawings, paintings, and prints that he had received as gifts; his personal accumulation of more than 550 pieces were the foundation to of the collection. First thoughts were to open the museum in Picasso’s place of birth, Málaga, however it was the artist himself who made the suggestion that Barcelona would be a better choice, due to his connection to the city.

The number of pieces housed within the Museu Picasso has expanded significantly through the years. The artist himself donated more than 900 pieces of varied works of art; including academic pieces and paintings that were created during his Blue Period. The permanent compilation is split into three separate sections; ceramics, engravings, and paintings and drawings.

This is a destination for every art enthusiast, and for those who can appreciate the creativity that is unique to the works of art created by this renowned artist.

8. Royal Palace of Pedralbes & Barcelona History Museum

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Royal Palace of Pedralbes & Barcelona History Museum
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Royal Palace of Pedralbes & Barcelona History Museum

The Museu d’Història de la Ciudat, also known as the History Museum of the City, lays out the rich history that is woven through the streets of Barcelona. Perhaps the most impressive draw to this historic site is the lower level of the building, where guests can view the remains of the city from a time when it was under the control of the Romans. The archaeological site encompasses an area of more than 43,000 square feet. Walkways allow for an exploration of each area of this uncovered city.

The Palau Padellàs houses the museum, with multiple floors telling more than 2,000 years of the story of Barcelona.

Open six days a week, and closed on Mondays, the Museu d’Historia de la Ciudat is an amazing site that is a treat for history buffs, and for those interested learning more about the vibrant city that Barcelona has become today.

The Palau Reial, also known as the Royal Palace of Pedralbes, is a collection of history-infused buildings that were once home to Spanish royalty. There are three distinct structures, including the Palatine Chapel of St. Agatha, Saló del Tinell and the Palau del Lloctinent.

9. La Pedrera

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona La Pedrera
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona La Pedrera

As one of the buildings designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudi, La Pedrera, also known as Casa Milà, boasts a bold design that caused quite the controversy at the time it was built; between 1906 and 1912.

The building is considered to be a true architectural innovation, for the fact that it has a solid steel structure and curtain walls, along with a self- supporting façade. Several other innovative features were built into the design, including underground parking. Separate elevators and staircases for the owners and their staff were also included.

Now declared to be a World Heritage Site, La Pedrera was built to be the home of Roser Segimon and Pere Milà. Gaudi is often remembered for his deep devotion to his Catholic faith, and his designs very often included religious elements. This particular project was planned to include numerous

statues of Mary, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and so many more. Local government officials however did not approve all of the plans, and in fact imposed fines upon the owners of the property, and also ordered the demolition of features that exceeded standards set for the city.

The property was sold by the original homeowners in 1946, and over the next few decades was subjected to a number of renovations that destroyed much of Gaudi’s original design elements. It was not until being appointed as a World Heritage Site in 1984 that efforts were made to protect further destruction of the world-renowned architect’s work. The 1980’s found the home to be in a poor state, with much of the original charm having been lost over the years. Restoration and cleaning was undertaken so that this historical site could be brought back to life.

Unique in design, La Pedrera is an architectural wonder that is a true representation of Gaudi’s eye for design.

10. Casa Batlló

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Casa Batlló
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Casa Batlló

Another masterpiece designed by Antoni Gaudi, Casa Batlló can be found in the very heart of Barcelona. The building is actually a remodel that was treated to a redesign in 1904; it was refurbished several times after Gaudi’s work was completed. The home is said to evoke the creativity of the architect, and is also infused with the playfulness that is reflective of his personality.

While the location was once known for being a prestigious area, the house itself had a design that made it less than desirable to buyers. Josep Batlló purchased the property for his family, with the idea of tearing it down and having a brand new house constructed on the land. Gaudi worked with Batlló to convince him that the bones were in great shape, and that they could be adapted to his vision for the place.

Locals long ago nicknamed the building Casa dels Ossos, which can be translated to House of Bones. It was so named because of the very organic and skeletal quality of the building itself. It is often thought that the goal of the redesign was to totally avoid the use of straight lines, as the features of the home include arches and flowing stone sculptures, along with irregular shaped windows.

The exterior is decorated with a beautiful mosaic that is made up of various shades of yellow, orange, greens, and blues. The roof is yet another feature that defies straight lines; it is arched and is often said to resemble the back of a dragon. Casa Batlló has changed ownership and purposes several times over the decades. Today it stands as a monument to the ingenuity of the famous architect.

11. Montjuïc Castle

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Montjuïc Castle
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Montjuïc Castle

Montjuïc Castle (Castell de Montjuïc) stands proudly upon the southeastern side of the tall hill it was named after. With breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, no visit to Barcelona should be complete without a visit to this incredible elevated point.

While today the fortress serves no more sinister purpose than being a tourist hotspot, it has a rather dark history that is intertwined with the political strife the region has dealt with over the past several hundred years. It served as a prison for anarchist supporter and others who defied their political leaders during the many battles and wars that took place in this corner of Spain. It was also used as one of the favored execution spots for many regimes.

Much of the artillery that stood for decades in the central courtyard has been stolen or removed to museums, but several of the seaward guns are still in place. Prior to 2009, the castle featured an old military museum that left much to be desired. A temporary exhibition has since been installed as a preview of the international peace center that will be established within the walls of the castle.

A walking path surrounds the base of the structure, and offers wonderful sights of the city below and of course of the sea. The sinister history of Castell de Montjuïc is not necessarily of interest to all, but the panoramic vantage point is definitely well-worth the trip.

Admission is free.

12. Sant Pau del Camp Church

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Sant Pau del Camp Church
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Sant Pau del Camp Church

Església de Sant Pau del Camp is a monastery that is thought to have been founded in the 9th century. When it was first constructed, it was some way outside of the city in a rural location that provided the monks with the solitude that they were searching for. An attack in 985 all but destroyed the structure, and led to it being abandoned by the monks who’d long called it home. 1096 saw a new monastic community moving in and starting the process of restoration. 1114 saw yet another attack on the monastery, but restoration started just three years later. Through the decades, as the area was built up, the monastery gradually became enveloped by the flourishing municipality of Barcelona. By the 14th century it was now protected by the confines of the city, and was declared to finally be a national monument in 1879.

The church features a doorway with Visigothic sculptures decorating it; these predate the first attack, and the pristine condition they are in makes them an important historical hotspot (“Visigoths” were a member of the western Goths that invaded the Roman Empire in the fourth century A.D. and settled in France and Spain). The interior is also a large draw for visitors, with its outstanding Romanesque architectural style. The tomb of the man thought to have originally founded the monastery, Wilfred II, is housed within the chapter house.

Today a small tree-filled garden surrounds most of the church and the cloister, while the surrounding section of the city is now mainly comprised of densely packed inner-city housing communities.

13. Joan Miró Foundation

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Joan Miró Foundation
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Joan Miró Foundation

The Joan Miró Foundation is a celebration of the art by the artist for whom the museum is named. Miró himself came up with the idea for forming the foundation, and partnered with a close friend in 1968 to create a building that would not only celebrate his own modern pieces, but that would also encourage and inspire other artists to try their hand at contemporary art.

Located on Montjuïc hill, with courtyards and terraces adding to the overall ambience, the doors opened to the public in 1975. Expansion over the years saw the addition of an auditorium and also a library; the library houses some of the more than 10,000 items in the collection, which includes many items donated by Miró himself.

A wing of the museum is named “Espai 13” and it is dedicated to the promotion of the work of young artists, which is of course one of the primary reasons that Miró wanted to start the foundation. Many other famous artists have their work displayed, including Rothko, Saura, Chillida, and Peter Greenaway…

One of the must-see features is the Mercury Fountain. This unique piece uses liquid mercury in place of water, in the fountain; the fountain is of course behind protective glass to protect guests.

A testament to modern creativity, this is a must-see destination for all who truly appreciate contemporary art.

14. National Art Museum of Catalunya

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: National Art Museum of Catalunya
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: National Art Museum of Catalunya

Perched upon Barcelona’s Montjuïc hill, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is noted for its impressive collection of Romanesque church artwork, as well as for Catalan art from across the centuries. The museum can be found housed in an Italian-styled building known as the Palau Nacional; built in the 1920s.

A movement was started in the 19th century, to both protect and revive the artistic heritage that makes Spain such an incredible destination. While the collection has been in place since 1934, it wasn’t until 1990 that it was finally declared to be a national treasure. After extensive renovations, the building was once again opened in 1992, just in time for the Olympic Games that were hosted in Barcelona that same year. 2004 saw the museum finally inaugurated and open to all who visited.

Since then, an amazing number of collections have been on display. Most of the pieces are Catalan artwork, but there is also a considerable amount of European art; all of which contributes towards telling the tale of the country’s artistic history from the earliest medieval times, to the middle of the 20th century. Those with an appreciation for art can see examples of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Romanesque, and contemporary styles. The Romanesque collection is considered to be unmatched by any other museum in the world.

15. The Olympic Valley

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: The Olympic Valley
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: The Olympic Valley

As the name would suggest, The Olimpic Valley (Vila Olímpica) is the area that was first built in order to provide comfortable housing to athletes competing in the Olympic Games hosted in Barcelona in 1992. Prior to construction, the site was occupied by warehouses and factories that had been abandoned and consequently fallen into a state of disrepair. The esteemed architectural firm, Bohigas-Martorell-Mackay-Puigdomènech was engaged to design Barcelona’s Olympic Village. Plans made room for the goal of converting the housing complex into residential quarters once the games had concluded.

For several years it appeared that the grandiose plans of designers were destined to fail. It wasn’t until a decade after the end of the Olympic events that businesses, boutique shops, and activities moved into the area that the

Vila Olímpica finally become the vibrant neighborhood that it was envisioned to become.

Trendy and all-around beautiful, the broad avenues and contemporary-styled buildings make this a pleasant place to visit and to live. There are a number of open green spaces, ideal for enjoying a stroll or simply taking in the upbeat atmosphere.

Perhaps one of the best reasons for tourists to visit this suburb is to take in the picturesque golden-sand seafront. Frank Gehry’s iconic sculpture of a fish is another great landmark to enjoy. Nearby Port Olímpic was once the site of water events during the games, but it is now a marina that not only provides berths for small vessels, but also offers guests the ability to charter yachts for some time spent on the shimmering Mediterranean. With a number of sailing schools, even novices can take to the sea.

Clubs, bars, and live music events also contribute towards making this a wonderful retreat for every individual seeking an opportunity to take in the best of Barcelona.

16. Tibidabo

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Tibidabo
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Tibidabo

Standing tall at over 1,600ft, Tibidabo is the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola range. Overlooking Barcelona, guests are treated to breathtaking views of the city and the Mediterranean. At the summit there are a number of great points of interest. The Temple de Sagrat Cor is a Roman Catholic Church that took more than 50 years to construct, and offers a Romanesque exterior with soaring ceilings and stunning stained glass windows on its interior. The Sacred Heart statue atop the building is an amazing sight to behold. Open to the public, this is a great place to appreciate the architecture while also soaking in the ambience of the sanctuary.

Tibidabo Amusement Park is another great draw that locals and tourists alike enjoy. More than 100 years old, this is one of the oldest in the world and certainly offers some of the best scenery. There are more than 25 rides, wonderful live shows, restaurants, picnic areas, and the Sky Walk, which offers some of the best glimpses of the city below. Riding the Ferris wheel is said to be a completely unique experience.

A communications tower is also situated on the mountain. It is an engineering feat that truly something to behold. Build in 1991 in preparation for the 1992 Olympic Games, it is used primarily as a radio and TV transmitter. Open for tours, those who ascend to the top are treated to phenomenal views of the surrounding area and coastline.

The summit can be reached in a number of ways, including by car, bus, or by the funicular railway which was established in 1901 and was the first of its type in all of Spain.

17. Montserrat (Greater Barcelona)

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Montserrat (Greater Barcelona)
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Montserrat (Greater Barcelona)

Situated near Barcelona, Montserrat is a mountain that reaches over 4,000ft (1200m) at its highest peak. Formed from an interesting type of sedimentary rock known as pink conglomerate, this area holds the distinct honor of being the first national park in Spain.

The unique landscape offers a visual feast, while also being home to one of Spain’s leading museums, which is housed at the Abbey of Montserrat (the structure is more than a thousand years old). Guests are treated to an impressive showcase of artistic and archaeological legacy from various cultures around the world. There are more than 1,300 pieces within six very distinct collections that cover a significant chronological period. Those who have an appreciation for art will enjoy seeing work by Chagall, Picasso, Monet, Dali, and more. The exhibitions are continually being transformed and rotated out, which allows for a unique experience each and every time.

Also calling the mountain home is the Benedictine Abbey. This sanctuary is a shrine that is dedicated to a Black Madonna, the Virgin of Montserrat. There are those who believe that this faith-infused location is actually the reference spot of the Holy Grail, which of course plays a role in Arthurian legends.

As one of Spain’s most frequented pilgrimage destinations, the statue that has earned fame for being associated with several miracles is said to have been carved around 50 AD by St. Luke himself (it was hidden for centuries in order to protect it from the invading moors). Upon its rediscovery, plans were to move it to another church in the region, but the petite statue was found to be unreasonably heavy, which meant that it could not be lifted. This was determined to mean that the Virgin had indicated she wished to remain on her lofty perch.

The Monastery that is located very close to the summit is home to a number of monks, all of whom happily welcome guests and enjoy allowing them to join in daily Mass and other ceremonies. The oldest and most celebrated boys’ choir in all of Europe also performs daily, which can be an awe- inspiring attraction.

A train is the best way to reach these elevated treasures. A funicular takes over once the train tracks end, and some find that walking on foot can be an interesting alternative.

18. Palace of Catalan Music

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Palace of Catalan Music
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Palace of Catalan Music

Said to one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world, the Palau de la Musica Catalana is also often said to be complex and mystical beyond what mere words can describe. With a capacity of 2,200 people, it also holds the distinction of being the only amphitheater in all of Europe that is lit up during the daytime entirely by the natural light that filters in. Two of the walls are stained glass panes that are inset into impressive arches, and overhead can be seen a stained glass skylight of impressive proportions.

Construction began in 1905 and concluded just 3 years later. It was initially built to be home to the Orfeó Català, which was a choral company that was actually one of the primary forces in the cultural movement that led to the rebirth of Catalan traditions. Decorative structural pieces and other sculptures are just some of the features that make this entertainment hall so

famous. Each element of the design was selected specifically to provide a sense of openness and brightness.

Over half a million music enthusiasts attend performances each and every year. Enjoy beautiful symphonies, chamber music, jazz, and so much more. While spacious, the building is not used for plays and other similar live shows. Even though the stage is large, the sculptures that flank the stage make it very challenging to utilize scenery. Some mistake the Palau de la Musica Catalana for being a church, due to the large pipe organ that was installed. However, it is not at all associated with any church groups but could be seen as being Pagan, which can be seen in the statues of Greek muses and the Pegasus.

19. Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (Macba)

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museu d ́Art Contemporari de Barcelona is a rich source of some of the most incredible contemporary art in the world. Its doors officially opened on November 28th, 1995, but its history goes back to the 1950’s when a noted art critic took it upon himself to gather together a group of contemporary artists in an effort to show their work in a series of exhibitions. The ultimate goal was to start a collection of new contemporary art in the city. Over the next several decades, the city council and several other groups collaborated towards the task of designing and creating a building that would house a yet-to-be-determined collection of artwork.

The permanent collection dates back to the mid-20th century, and is represented by three distinct periods; covering the time between the 1940’s up until the 1960’s, spanning the 1960’s and the 1970’s, and contemporary styles.

2007 saw the opening of the museum’s Study Center, which grants the public access to all of the publications, books, and other notable works contained within the archives. One of the fundamental statements of the foundation overseeing the Museu d ́Art Contemporari de Barcelona is to broaden the opportunities for education that are available to those with an interest or passion for art…

20. Camp Nou Football Stadium

Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Camp Nou Football Stadium
Icarus Travellers | Top 20 Destinations in Barcelona: Camp Nou Football Stadium

Opened on September 24th, 1957, Camp Nou is the largest European football stadium, and the 11th largest across the globe in terms of capacity. It has been the home Barcelona Football Club since construction was completed. Construction was started in 1954, when it became clear that its predecessor did not have the necessary room for expansion. With the signing of new phenomenal players in the 1950s, and a predicted increase in fans enjoying live matches, it was vital that a larger stadium be built.The initial capacity was 106,416, but a project to expand it was undertaken in preparation for the FIFA World Cup in 1982, to more than 121,000. This also saw the addition of VIP lounges, boxes, a great press area, new markets, and much more.

The 1992 Summer Olympic Games also saw the stadium growing once again, with the addition of extra tiers of seating. Further changes were made over the years, all serving to improve this great venue. There is now a memorabilia shop and also a chapel for players who wish to pray. There is also a museum on the premises, which tells the history of the Barcelona football club.

Get Ready to Travel

If you are travelling to Barcelona from abroad, make sure that in your personal bag you have well organized all your travelling documents like tickets, passports, any medical record and few cash. If you are travelling with kids, then prepare an envelope for each kid with their personal documentation. Do not forget antiseptic, tissues, earplugs, gums and medicine. If you do not have the time to make your own benchmarking, there are many websites that do the research for you. Our favourite one is Top of Reviews: you can find the best products for any kind of trip. Is it a curry-on luggage, a check in luggage, a sleep mask, ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones, a travel pillow, an all-in-one universal adapter, a toiletry bag or anything that has to do with travelling; they simply have benchmarked all the necessary things you need for your next trip. For more information on travelling, please read our “Low-Cost Flight Packing Tips” and “Enjoy Every Moment” articles.

For flight tickets, please use our Flight Search Engine.

For hotel bookings, please use our Hotel/Accommodation Search Engine.

For commuting options, please use our Car Rental and Taxi Search Engine.

For tour tickets, please use our Tour Search Engine.

Finally, if you are looking for travelling essential equipment, you can check our recommendations in our Shop.

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Barcelona – Top 20 Tourist Attractions

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Icarus Travellers
Icarus Travellers
Cyprus is among the first European countries to open its borders for tourists. At a first stage from the 9th of June travellers from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and Czech Republic will be allowed to enter the country upon showing evidence of a Covid-19 negative test result taken over the last 72h.

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