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5 Things to do in Barcelona

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 20th February 2014 14:46

Spain’s most cosmopolitan city and the capital of a very much independent Catalonia region; Barcelona is not like other Spanish cities.  A hub of the Mediterranean spirit, people flock from far and wide to consume the city’s cultural delights, weather and one of the greatest football teams on the planet.

Ramble down Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas lies at the very heart of the Barcelona.  It is often a tourist’s easy reference point and a walk down this lively promenade is simply a must.  The wide boulevard connects the Plaça de Catalunya, a busy square, with the Columbus Monument and the city's waterfront.  It’s a great introduction to the city as, one of the world’s most famous strips, it is packed with people 24/7.  Its vibrancy can be attributed to the noisy pet stalls, tourist packed restaurants and hawkers selling all types of fluorescent objects as well as street performers.  Like Icarus being drawn to the sun, you will find yourself here several times over; the simple pleasure of strolling up and down is an attraction in itself which never grows old.

Camp Nou

It is just as well that the Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe.  Ever since the freakish talents of Lionel Messi  graced La Liga, Barcelona have become one of the most watched teams in Europe, with the 99,354 capacity stadium regularly being filled out.  The “Camp Nou” has stood since 1957 and was originally under the name of ‘Estadi del FC Barcelona’.  It soon came to be popularly known as the 'Camp Nou' (the ‘new ground’), as opposed to the club’s old home at Les Corts.  Tickets are pricey but some tour operators can arrange tickets for the game while there are plenty of tours of the ground available where you can take a closer look at the chapel next to the changing rooms, the presidential box, the VIPs lounge, the press rooms, several television studios, the Sports Medicine Centre, the Operative Control Unit (UCO), the veteran players area, the FC Barcelona club museum, and the offices of all of the many different club departments.

Art Attack


Art is everywhere in Barcelona. There are many places you can walk in the city and be treated to a visual treat; the buildings themselves are examples of modernist architecture, the most famous of which is La Pedrera.  A simple walk around local parks is also a great way to learn about Spanish art.  The lush gardens of Teatre Grec are a particular delight; home a magnificent theatre, summer travellers can enjoy cultural performances and festivals.  The city itself is practically a giant contemporary art gallery full of eye-ball pleasers, predominantly the culturally rich neighbourhoods of El Borne and the Gothic Quarter which are brimming with creativity as the walls are plastered with colour.  “Parc Güell” is also an aesthetic highlight; designed purely for Barcelona aristocracy, it is full of amazing stone sculptures, colourful tiles and breathtaking buildings.

Life’s a Beach

No visit to Barcelona would be complete with a visit to the beach.  Four kilometres of sandy coast stretches from the beach of Sant Sebastià and passes through Barceloneta, ending at the beaches of Nova Icària and Marbella.  Barceloneta is the most popular beach in town; do not be put off by the crowds as this is where all the fun is.  Chiringuitos (beach bars) blast out reggae music while there are Mojitos readily available for you to sip in the sun.  Warning: if you head to Mabella Beach prepare to feel a tad is an unofficial nudist beach.


It would be quite frankly blasphemous not to sample some great seafood in Barcelona.  Caught fresh straight from the Mediterranean, the high quality fish is the central ingredient when it comes to one of the most well known culinary dishes in Spain, paella.  Although the dish actually originates from Valencia, the excellent food scene in Barcelona means that you are surrounded by good places to eat paella.  Whether it’s enjoying some in the corner of the world-famous La Boqueria market or somewhere a bit more up market like Can Majo in the district of Barceloneta, there are plenty of restaurants dedicated to this signature meal.  

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