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10 Top Things To Do In Barcelona

November 29, 2017

10 Top Things To Do In Barcelona

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

Barcelona, the city of Gaudí and the land of tapas, sangria, and Catalan cuisine. Just last month was my first time to Europe when I went to Rome, Italy for 10 days, and I can’t believe I’m back to Europe the very next month! I rode the Eurail, the European train pass where you can travel to 28 European countries, from Spain, France, and Italy in 5 days. We flew into Barcelona, Spain and took a day trip to Girona on the Eurail, and then rode the Eurail to France and Italy.

SEE ALSO: 17 Iconic Foods Of Italy You Have To Eat In Rome

I had 24 hours to explore Barcelona so consider this your 24-hour guide to the top 10 things to do in Barcelona, including what to eat and where to eat in this incredible city!




There are three airports in Barcelona:

  • Barcelona International Airport – nearest airport to Barcelona city centre, only 13 km south of the city centre
  • Girona Airport – 103 km North East of Barcelona
  • Reus Airport – 106 km South of Barcelona.



The currency in Spain is the Euro. There are ATM machines at the airports to withdraw money and there are ATM machines located throughout the city. For the most part, restaurants and taxis all take credit cards. If you go to the local food markets and smaller mom and pop restaurants, they only take Euros.



Uber and Lyft are not available in Barcelona so the easiest way to get around is by taxi. I relied heavily on the mytaxi app to book taxis and taxi stations are located around the city. Make sure you walk to the front of the taxi line, they abide strictly by who’s first in line. Taxis accept both Euros and credit card.


WiFi access points are available throughout the city. For more information, visit bcn.cat/barcelonawifi.


If you live outside the European Union, you can claim back for the VAT. Ask for your tax-free cheque when buying goods with a value greater than 90,16€.

You can claim your VAT back at the airport or at the two locations in the city:

Tourist information centre in Plaça de Catalunya
Plaça de Cataluña, 17-S
Hours: Daily, 10am – 9pm
Only Global rerun tax-free cheques are accepted

Main office of Turism de Barcelona
Passatge de la Concepció, 7-9
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11am – 8pm
Global blue, premier tax-free and travel tax-free cheques



Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set


Sagrada Familia, one of the masterpieces of the architect Antoni Gaudí, is a must visit in Spain. Make sure to book your tickets in advance for the earliest entrance to avoid the crowds. You can spend hours and hours exploring the winding spiral staircases up and down the towers. Depending on what time you go, the sun will shine into the building casting different hues of colors through the stained glass windows.

Insider tip: to get this incredible shot of the Sagrada Familia, go to the rooftop bar of the Arye Hotel.

Tickets: 29€ per person, buy here

Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain, sagradafamilia.org


Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set


Park Güell is also another must visit in Barcelona that’s designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí was hired by Eusebi Güell to create an estate for well-off families in a large property that Güell had acquired in Muntanya Pelada. Walking around Park Güell will make you wonder how imaginative Guadí’s mind was. The UNESCO declared Park Güell a Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1984. Add his colorful playground to your Barcelona bucket list! I would also recommend booking tickets in advance for the earliest admission to avoid the tourist crowds.

Tickets: 7€ person, buy here

08024 Barcelona, Spain, parkguell.cat


Casa Batllo in Barcelona, Spain

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set


Casa Battló, another one of Gaudí’s masterpieces in Barcelona, is a stunning house. Surprisingly it’s located right on the main streets but the interesting modernist façade is hard to miss. The locals call it the Casa dels ossos (House of Bones) for it’s visceral, skeletal structure, colored tiles, and what looks to be a dragon or dinosaur on the rooftop.

Tickets: 28,5€ for fast pass, buy here

Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain, casabatllo.es



This tree-lined pedestrian mall is a touristy shopping street so be careful of pickpocketers. You’ll find national retailers like stores like H&M and Zara, local boutiques, La Boqueria, and art galleries.



Barrio Gótica, Spanish for Gothic Quarter, is one of the oldest and most beautiful districts in Barcelona filled with small, local boutiques. The narrow, winding streets create quite a labyrinth but there are many peaceful squares (plaças) where you can relax and people watch.



We were walking through the Gothic Quarters to La Boquería when we accidentally came across the Barcelona Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of the Santa Cruz and Saint Eulalia. This Gothic cathedral houses fit Archbishopric of Barcelona and was built in 1298 during the reign of James II.

Placita de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain



The Mercado de San José, commonly known as La Boqueria, is a large public market located near the Ramblas and an iconic landmark of Barcelona. The market was inaugurated in 1840 for street vendors and farms from nearby villages and farmhouses to set up to sell their produce. You’ll find stands selling fresh fruit, fruit cups, fresh juices, meat, and local eats.

La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain



I’m all about soaking up the sun during the day in Barcelona but after the sun goes down, I recommend visiting the PIcasso Museum. The Picasso Museum in Barcelona is one of the largest collections of works by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.

Tickets: €11, buy here

Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Spain, museupicasso.bcn.cat



The Magic Fountain is located at the end of the Avenida de María Cristina with the National Palace in the background. At night, the fountain offers a spectacular display of lights, water, acrobatics, and music. Grab a bottle of wine and enjoy the show!

Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain, museunacional.cat


Take a day trip from Barcelona to Girona on the Eurail high-speed train for only 40 minutes. El Celler de Can Roca is a Michelin star restaurant that was rated the best restaurant in the world in 2015. Reservations do need to be made 11 months in advance but don't worry if you didn't do that because we didn't either. After chatting with the locals, I learned that Can Roca is the father's restaurant that's located right around the corner that's more down to earth cooking and doesn't require reservations. No menus and no English but we sat down anyway and were presented with delicious plates of food. The bill for two people was around €40 for a 3-course meal.



And of course of all things to do in Barcelona is to eat at the local restaurants. Iconic foods of Barcelona include tapas, arroz negre, bombas (potato croquette), esqueixada (salted cod Catalan salad), pa amb tomàquet (garlic rubbed bread with tomato), and sangria.


Cafe Cometa in Barcelona, Spain

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set


  • Satan’s Coffee Corner – cute coffee spot in the Gothic Quarters that serves a solid cup of coffee
  • Cafe Cometa – another cute coffee spot (pictured above)
  • Brunch and Cafe – Insta-worthy spot with acai bowls and healthy food options
  • Can Dende – brunch spot with eggs benedict and more
  • Tropico – healthy breakfast spot with fruit smoothies


Cal Pep in Barcelona Spain


  • La Boquería – the market can be overwhelming at first but there’s two spots that you need to eat here: Bar Pinotxo (recommended by @andreannu as the best tapas bar with Catalan food) and Bar Ramblero
  • Cal Pep – highly recommended by my well-traveled friends. No menus at this Michelin recommended restaurant. They’ll ask you two questions when you sit down: do you have any food allergies and how hungry are you. From there they’ll present you with different platters of delicious food. The monkfish was incredible.
  • La Xampanyeria – cheap canva bar with sandwiches*
  • Bo de B – papas bravas and sandwich*


Barraca, paella restaurant in Barcelona, Spain.


  • Barraca – go to the second level of this paella restaurant for an incredible of the ocean while eating their skillet size paellas. The paella is quite expensive and they require 2 people minimum for each pan of paella making it 40€ (20€ each).
  • Xiringuito Escribà – a popular spot for paella next to the beach. If I had more time in Barcelona, I would have eaten here!
  • Da Greco – Italian restaurant that is Beyonce approved.
  • 7 Portes – recommended as a top spot for paella & corquetas*


Hofmann Pastisseria

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set


  • Hofmann Pastisseria – mascarpone croissants, the best thing I ate in Barcelona
  • Chök – cute donut spot in La Rambla
  • La Donuteria – donut shop next to Cafe Cometa that makes freshly made donuts every day
  • Granja La Pallaresa – famous churro spot in Barcelona for chocolate and traditional churros



  • Quimet y Quimet – come early to this 100-year-old small tapas bar. When I say small, it’s very small. Only 30 people can fit in there and you’ll be as jammed packed as the sardines in a tin can that they serve.
  • L’Ovella Negra – late night tapas in a dark bar*


* I did not get a chance to dine at these spots but they were highly recommended.


Follow along on Instagram @atasteofkoko as I travel from Spain to France, and then Italy!

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Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.


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