Things to do in Barcelona
At the center of Barcelona’s old city lies the Gothic Quarter, a maze of narrow medieval streets packed with intriguing shops and cafés surrounding the Cathedral de la Seu, which is composed of Roman ruins and Gothic structures. Architecture buffs can’t miss Antoni Gaudí’s modernist structures, like Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Park Güell, and his masterpiece, the still-unfinished Sagrada Familia. Gaudí’s genius is represented in every imposing structure and whimsical detail of his constructions.
A walk down La Rambla is an unparalleled way to absorb the city’s energy. This tree-lined pedestrian street starts near Plaça de Catalunya and ends at Rambla de Mar, by the water. Find newsstands, souvenir kiosks, street performers and sidewalk cafés along La Rambla, and stop at La Boquería, a magnificent food market, for a bite to eat.
Head to Plaça d’Espanya, a grand square built the 1929 International Exhibition, to be welcomed by the Venetian Towers. Nearby, the Font Mágica de Montjuïc provides a beautiful spectacle of dancing fountains, lights and music in the evenings with the Palau Nacional in the background. For soccer fans, taking a tour of Camp Nou, home of Barcelona FC, is a must. You’ll never run out of things to do in Barcelona.
This unassuming shop stocks exquisite Italian leather goods: buttery-soft black flats from Pompeii and bags from the Sicilian line Bid Hand Made.
Cereria Subirà claims to be the oldest shop in all of Barcelona, although no one can agree on when exactly it was founded, and it hasn’t always sold candles. This “waxery” (or cereria) stocks home accessories, most of which have something to do with generating light.
Since 1897, Els Quatre Gats (“The Four Cats”) has served many purposes: pub, café, hostel, cabaret, and restaurant. Located on the ground floor of a Josep Puig I Cadaflach-designed building, this space was a rumored haunt of artist Pablo Picasso.
The concert hall, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner (a contemporary of Antoni Gaudí) and inaugurated in 1908, explodes with vibrant color and ornamentation. After a restoration and the addition of a chamber music hall, the Petit Palau, the building is newly resplendent.
Pick up a Ruta del Modernisme brochure at Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and amble the Eixample district admiring the mosaics, wrought-iron railings, and grand spiral staircases.
The well-edited boutique for men and women is stocked with the greatest runway hits from, among many others, Valentino, Alexander McQueen, and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
A Catalonia-born graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York City, Helena Garriga has worked for the likes of Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier. Now she’s a curator of edibles, assembling the choicest local and international foodstuffs at her new shop.
Though largely gentrified thanks to the arrival of the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona and attendant galleries, the former slum of El Raval maintains a lively, global vibe.
Red awnings branded with a large “CH” mark the entrance to this Eixample district shop, which sells fashions from eponymous designer Carolina Herrera.
Founded by Javier Serra in 1987, En Línea Barcelona is one of the city’s most prestigious furniture and interior design stores. The store sells items from such high end designers as Knoll, Louis Poulsen, and Maxalto.
What to Expect: Located partly on a peninsula near the old-but-still-working harbor in the traditional fisherman’s quarter of town, this three-quarter-mile-long family- and tourist-friendly beach was once a funky, working-class area with to-die-for seafood restaurants.
Style-conscious men can find shoes, handbags, and accessories from labels like Jil Sander, Balenciaga, and Comme des Garçons at this guy-centric shop.
The Gothic cloister is one of the city's most tranquil spots.