- Barcelona for cruise passengers
- Barcelona's must-see churches
- Outstanding secular buildings in Barcelona
- Important buildings by Antoni Gaudí
- Market hall Mercat de La Boqueria
- Selected museums in Barcelona
- Selected places in Barcelona and the Parc de la Ciutadella
- Selected streets of Barcelona
- Barcelona - selected destinations for overnight stays
- Other useful information
With more than 1,6 million inhabitants, Barcelona is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. Spain's second largest city is the political, cultural and economic center of the area. Barcelona offers its guests a multitude of sights, all of which are easy to discover "on your own". And, no other Spanish city offers so many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in such a small area as the Catalan port city.
Barcelona - Port Vell
Barcelona's day visitors are well advised to visit the two districts Old City and Eixample to visit and discover. Ciutat Vella stands for the "Gothic Quarter" with the old town and the cathedral. Eixample was built in the middle of the 19th century as a structured extension of the old town. The main attraction of this district is the monumental Sagrada Familia basilica, which has been under construction since 1882.
Eternal construction site - Sagrada Familia
Barcelona for cruise passengers
In terms of passenger numbers, Barcelona is Europe's most important cruise port. This article is aimed specifically at cruise ship passengers, who are often only allowed one-day stays in ports. Those visitors whose ship is in Barcelona overnight can consider themselves lucky. The sights listed below represent our top sights. Given the mass of what is offered in Barcelona, they do not claim to be complete.
Barcelona's must-see churches
The three-aisled Gothic Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia is the main church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. It is located in the historical center of the city. The church was provisionally completed in 152 after 1450 years of construction. The centuries that followed were devoted to perfecting the Church. For example, the mighty middle tower was not completed until 1913. On the roof of the church there is a platform that allows good views over Barcelona.
The cathedral has a remarkable crypt and a beautiful cloister. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Eulalia. She was a goose-shepherd who was martyred when she was 13 years old. In memory of the saint, 13 geese are kept in an enclosure in the cloister, one for each year of life of the martyr. The cathedral and a visit to the surrounding area are part of our “must-see” program.
Cathedral location and opening times
Location: Plaça de la Seu
Opening times: daily between 8:45am and 19:30pm
Entrance fees (mandatory donations) are due between 13:00pm and 17:00pm Adults pay 7 euros. The purchase of the ticket includes access to the observation deck on the roof and the choir.
Note: There may be waiting times for entry at all times.
The Sagrada Familia basilica
A bookseller named José Maria Bocabella had the vision of building a church dedicated to the Holy Family in Barcelona. Construction of the crypt began in 1882. In March 1883, the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí took over the planning of the building project. Gaudí directed the construction of the Sagrada Familia until his death in 1926.
Under In the footsteps of Antoni Gaudí let us describe the monumental, so far unfinished building project.
The Sacrat Cor basilica on Mount Tibidabo
Barcelona is dominated by the 520 meter high Tibidabo mountain. The attractions of the summit are the church Templo Expiatori del Sagrado Corazón, called "Sacrat Cor" for short by Barcelona's residents, the adjoining amusement park and the fantastic view. We describe more about the church below Discover selected sights of Barcelona.
Sagrat Cor basilica
Outstanding secular buildings in Barcelona
Castell de Montjuïc
The Castell de Montjuïc is located 173 meters above the port area. The task of the large citadel: protection of the city and the port; at the time of the Franco regime it served as a military prison.
Barcelona - Castell de Montjuïc
Barcelona has been using the fortress regularly as a venue for concerts, seminars and exhibitions since 2008. Visitors enjoy the view of the city and the harbor. - The Mirador del Poble Sec offers beautiful panoramic views halfway up the hill. On the footpath from the castle back to Barcelona's Poble Sec district, you inevitably pass the viewpoint.
Barcelona - Castell de Montjuïc
Comfortable ascent aids to the Castell
Two cable cars offer convenient ascent aids to the Castell:
From Avinguda del Paral.lel in the center (metro station L2, L3) the Funicular de Montjuïc funicular goes up to Avinguda Miramar im Montjuïc Park. From there, visitors can take a cable car to the mountain station below the fort.
Barcelona - Telefèrico del Puerto cable car
The Telefèrico del Puerto / Transbordador Aeri del Port cable car takes you from the port area to Montjuïc in seven minutes. There is an entry near the city beach, which is more than four kilometers long Platja de Sant Sebastià; Another entry point is the intermediate station Tower of Jaume I.
Palau de la Música Catalana
From the outside, the concert hall looks like a stroke of genius by the architect Antoni Gaudí. However, it was designed by the Catalan Domènech i Montaner "as a garden for music". He used the elements of Catalan modernism, the Catalan Art Nouveau. The building, which was inaugurated in 1908, was financed by donations. The magnificent facade and the imposing concert hall are worth seeing. The concert hall, which has been expanded by a modern extension, is on the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage.
Palau de la Musica Catalana with the Carmela sculpture
Location: Carrer del Palau de la Música 4-6 (Barri Gòtic)
Opening times: daily; Guided tours every half hour between 10:00am and 15:30pm Other times on request.
Arc de Triomphe
Barcelona's triumphal arch was built as the main entrance gate to Parc de la Ciutadella, the site of the 1888 World's Fair. The monumental archway, made of brick in neo-Mudejar style, is over 30 meters high and decorated with the city's coat of arms and sculptures.
Barcelona - Arc de Triomf
Location: Passeig de Lluís Companys, north of Parc de la Ciutadella.
The La Rambla promenade leads to Plaça Portal de la Pau. There is the 1888 meter high Columbus Column, which was also erected on the occasion of the World Exhibition of 68. A small elevator takes visitors to a narrow viewing platform, which offers good views of the city, the harbor and the surrounding area.
City panorama with the Columbus column
May to October 09am to 00pm, November to April 20am to 30pm
Completed in 2004, the 142-meter-high, 32-story skyscraper resembles the London skyscraper "30 St Mary Ax", known as the "Gherkin". Barcelona's Torre Agbar is one of the tallest buildings in Spain. At night it is illuminated by 4.500 light-emitting diodes not open to visitors despite an existing viewing platform.
City panorama with the Torre Agbar
The “golden fish” by the Canadian-US-American architect and designer Frank Gehry is one of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona. The work of art was created on the occasion of the Olympic Games in 1992. The 35-meter-high and more than 50-meter-long work consists of interwoven, golden steel strips. Depending on the incidence of light, the installation changes its appearance. The Peix d'Or can be admired from both the beach and the Olympic marina.
Art installation El Peix d'Or - artist Frank Gehry
Important buildings by Antoni Gaudí
Antoni Gaudí is celebrated as a pioneer of Catalan modernism. Barcelona has more than 2.000 modernist buildings. No other master builder could match Gaudí's creativity. His most famous buildings include:
Sagrada Familia basilica
The most visited attraction in Barcelona is also Gaudí's most important work. The monumental church has been under construction since 1882. In November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church and raised it to the "Basilica minor". If the construction work goes according to plan, the church will be completed in 2026, on the 100th anniversary of the architect's death. The 170 meter high central crossing tower is still missing. When the construction work is complete, it would be the tallest church tower in the world.
Although the construction of the Sagrada Familia has not yet been completed, the church is already celebrated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is unique. It takes many hours to see and interpret the allegories on the facade, the towers and the nave.
According to the independent Denver-based Catholic news site CRUX, three million people attended Church in 2014. Every year there are construction costs of around 25 million euros. High entrance fees finance these expenses.
Location: Carrer de Mallorca 401
The entrance fees vary depending on the scope of the tour content. In advance sales, prices for adults are currently between 20 and 33 euros. Seniors (65 plus) pay less.
It is strongly recommended to buy a ticket online for a fixed visit. Waiting times are almost completely eliminated. Visitors without a fixed date have to prepare for long waiting times at the ticket counters.
The six-storey, stately town house was one of Gaudí's first great works. The industrialist, politician and patron Eusebi Güell entrusted Antoni Gaudí with the planning of the house. The requirement was to design residential and representative rooms on an area of 18 by 22 meters.
It took four years for the City Palace to be completed in 1890. Among other things, Gaudí created a 17-meter-high salon for the bel étage. He realized a new understanding of space and incorporated light into the architecture. The accessible roof garden is also worth seeing. In the basement of the house horse stables and living quarters were created for the servants. The magnificent building has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Location: Carrer Nou de la Rambla 3 - 5
Casa Milà / La Pedrera
“La Pedrera” stands for “quarry” in Spanish. At first glance, Casa Milà looks like a rock. And yet the building is anything but static. Inside, the walls on the piano nobile can be moved with little effort. In addition, the building has a natural ventilation system and an elevator shaft. The originally large storage rooms of Casa Milà are now used as a Gaudí museum. Visitors can enjoy views of Barcelona from the roof terrace. The Casa Milà is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Barcelona - Casa Milà / La Pedrera
Location: Passeig de Gràcia No. 9
As for the Casa Batlló, Gaudí demonstrated his architectural prowess in remodeling an existing house. There were no restrictions on the part of the client for this order. Gaudí designed the facade with hints of creepers, bone structures and mosaics in a flowing, almost lively way. The undulating roof allegorizes the scales of a dragon's tail. It reminds of St. Georg, the legendary Christian dragon slayer. Casa Milà is, how could it be otherwise, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Location: Passeig de Gràcia No. 43
Parque Güell is one of the outstanding works of Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí's patron and friend, the industrialist Eusebi Güell, planned to build a garden city with 60 villas on a ridge in the north of Barcelona. The project failed when no buyers were found for the project. What has remained is the fairytale park landscape designed by Gaudí. Around 90 percent of the extensive park area can be viewed free of charge. In the core area of Parque Güell you have to pay admission. Access is limited to a maximum of 400 visitors per half hour. Parque Güell is also one of Barcelona's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Location: Main entrance Carrer de Larrard
Market hall Mercat de La Boqueria
The Spanish are to be envied for their market halls. A splendid example is the Mercat de la Boqueria. Originally the market hall was called Mercat de Sant Josep. Under the spacious hall roof, customers will find everything they need to prepare simple dishes or delicious dishes from over 200 retailers. Locals and tourists meet in the market hall. Delicious food is eaten at food stalls between the market stalls.
Mercat de La Boqueria
Location: La Rambla 91
Opening times: Monday to Saturday between 8:00am and 19:00pm
Selected museums in Barcelona
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC)
The Palau Nacional, the former Spanish pavilion of the 1929 World's Fair, is the seat of the MNAC. It houses some of the world's most important art collections. These include the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection with Gothic works and the Cambó Foundation with paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt. In addition, representatives of Romanesque art and modern artists are given a wide space.
Barcelona - Palau Nacional
Location: Parc de Montjuïc
Fondació Joan Miró
The foundation personally established by Miró is dedicated to the work of the master. Temporary exhibitions show the work of innovative contemporary artists. Approximately 400 works by Miró are regularly shown.
Barcelona - Fondació Joan Miró
Location: Parc de Montjuïc; near the mountain station of the Funicular de Montjuïc funicular.
Maritime Museum of Barcelona
The museum uses the halls of the former Drassanes shipyard. It presents objects typical for shipping such as figureheads, anchors, cannons and nautical instruments. Ships are also shown. A special exhibit is the “Real”, a 60-meter-long royal galley that is replicated in its original size. The rowed galley was used in the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571.
Barcelona - Museu Maritimo
Location: Avenida de les Drassanes, at the end of the Rambla
Selected places in Barcelona and the Parc de la Ciutadella
The square "Royal Square" branches off from the Rambla. Stately buildings with arcades line the plaça. Palm trees and a large, central fountain give it a Mediterranean feel. Cafes and restaurants grouped around the square deepen the southern atmosphere.
Barcelona - Plaça Reial
Plaça de Catalunya
The spacious square is one of the transport hubs in Barcelona. The metro and local trains stop under the square; the regular buses, the Aerobus to the airport and the double-decker tourist buses stop in the square.
Barcelona - Plaça de Catalunya
From the café-restaurant on the top floor of the El Corte Inglés department store, the entire square can be clearly seen. If there was an outside terrace, the view would be perfect.
The Plaça d'Espanya is another important transport hub in Barcelona. The streets of Gran Via and Avinguda del Paral.lel intersect at the Plaça. The old bullring, which today houses the “Las Arenas” shopping center, stands on the square.
Barcelona - Plaça d'Espanya - Las Arenas Shopping Center
Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina branches off from Plaça d'Espanya. Between two towers called "Torres Venecianes" the street leads to the imposing fountain Font magica de montjuïc. The two towers resemble Venetian bell towers. From the fountain, visitors take stairs up to the Palau Naçional.
The world exhibition of 1888 took place on the grounds of the park. Visitor magnets are a water basin with the Cascada waterfall, Barcelona's zoological garden, the Catalan Parliament and several museums.
Barcelona - Parc de la Ciutadella - Cascada Monumental waterfall
Selected streets of Barcelona
The wide promenade connects Plaça de Catalunya with Plaça Portal de la pau, on which the Columbus Column towers, in a north-south direction. Cars drive on both sides of the tree-shaded promenade. The pedestrian zone, which is more than a kilometer long and always very busy, with shops, cafes, flower stands, kiosks, jugglers and much more is simply incomparable.
Barcelona - La Rambla with the Miro mosaic
At the level of Plaça Boqueria, the promenade is adorned with a large, colorful mosaic created by the artist Joan Miró.
The elegant shopping street is Barcelona's magnificent boulevard. The street starts at Plaça de Catalunya and ends further north at Jardins de Salvador Espriu.
Barcelona - Passeig de Gracia
Passeig de Sant Joan
Originally clogged with through traffic, Passeig de Sant Joan was converted into a boulevard for strollers and cyclists in 2012. Bars, cafés and restaurants line the promenade, which, like the Rambla, is not entirely free of through traffic.
Barcelona - Passeig de Sant Joan
The media cheered the Passeig into the “area of trendsetters”, the “best location in Barcelona”. However, this should not necessarily be taken seriously. The Passeig runs between Avinguda Diagonal and the Arc de Triomf.
Barcelona - selected destinations for overnight stays
Font magica de montjuïc
Between the Plaça d'Espanya and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is the Plaça de Carles Buïgas, adorned with a huge oval fountain. During the day the fountain is a water surface like many others; only in the evening does it reveal its true meaning.
Barcelona - Font Màgica
Then countless, colorfully illuminated fountains rise Magic Fountain upwards. There is also music. Both are worth seeing and hearing! On the way from Plaça d'Espanya to the fountain complex, there are a number of small pools whose water features are also included in the evening performance.
Times of the water games: almost all year round when it gets dark. The operating times can be found on the Internet.
Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery
Approximately 50 kilometers north of Barcelona lies the 1.236 meter high mountain Montserrat in the middle of a natural park. The 700-meter-long and 70-meter-wide, single-nave monastery church rises more than 30 meters above the ground. The Benedictine monastery itself does not justify the long way from Barcelona. It is the mountain scenery that makes the journey worthwhile. Believers visit the monastery because of Catalonia's patron saint, the "Black Madonna".
Montserrat monastery in front of a rock backdrop
Arrival to the monastery:
From the Plaça d'Espanya the regional train R 5 leaves every hour in the direction of Manresa. In Montserrat the train stops at the Montserrat Aeri cable car. - The driveway to the monastery can also be mastered with a rack railway. The appropriate exit point is the Monistrol stop. The Trans Montserrat ticket (Barcelona metro, train, cable car and / or rack railway) is available for around 35 euros at the train station.
Other useful information
Public shuttles at the cruise terminals
Barcelona's cruise terminals are very spacious. It is not recommended to walk to the Rambla from the cruise lines. Public shuttle buses cover the distances. The day ticket costs 5 euros.
The shuttle buses advertised by the cruise lines should be avoided because they are overpriced (day ticket 8 euros and more). All shuttle buses end at the "Cruise Terminal Drassanes", about 250 meters from the Columbus Column.
The metro is clean and inexpensive. The closest station to the cruise terminal is Plaça de les Drassanes. The single ticket costs 2020 euros in 2,40. If several metro trips are planned, we recommend buying a T-Casual ticket for 10 trips (price 2020: 11,35 euros)
The trip from the Cruise Terminal to the Sagrada Familia costs around 25 euros. A trip from the Sagrada Familia to Parque Güell costs 10 euros.
Hop on hop off buses
There are three routes to choose from. You will visit the top attractions in Barcelona.
Update - May 2020