Barcelona is one of the most beautiful and photogenic cities on Earth (there’s a reason illustrious directors like Woody Allen and Pedro Almodovar shoot films here), and in a destination packed with famous attractions, the biggest problem you’ll have is keeping track of them all. Luckily, we’ve done that work for you — from basilicas to nude beaches, read on for a list of spots you won’t want to miss.
1. La Sagrada Familia
Every trip to Barcelona should include a visit to the city’s number one attraction, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Construction on the basilica started in 1882, and is slated to be finished in 2026, when it will become the tallest church on the planet. But it’s not all about size — the Art Nouveau architecture inside and out are unlike any other building on earth.
2. Parc Guell
If you’re looking to spend some time in nature, this is the best parks to visit in Barcelona. Also designed by Gaudi (are you noticing a pattern here?) it’s got phenomenal views from an elevated terrace, an iconic dragon fountain at the entrance, and a museum dedicated to the Gaudi himself. (Try out your best strut at the colonnade where CariDee won ANTM’s 7th cycle.)
3. La Rambla
Almost a mile long, this central pedestrian thoroughfare is a great place to stroll and check out the locals each night. The walkway is flanked with newspaper kiosks and stands selling snacks, but the bigger selling points are the Joan Miro mosaic, the flower district, and the Font de Canaletes — a drinking fountain that’s also one of the most famous meeting points in Barcelona.
4. La Plaza Real
Just off La Rambla in Barcelona’s old city you’ll find this open-air plaza, a hot spot for locals and tourists alike. There are plenty of great restaurants to try out authentic Catalan cuisine, clubs for fans of jazz and flamenco, outdoor musical performances, and plenty of gay-friendly nightlife.
5. The Picasso Museum
Barcelona’s not just about Gaudi. Visit the Picasso Museum to enjoy work by the city’s other favorite son (he wasn’t born here, but spent his formative years in town). With more than 4,000 artworks laid out in a complex of five Medieval palaces fit for a queen, it’s a great place to appreciate one of modern art’s greatest masters.
6. The Gothic Quarter
History buffs shouldn’t miss this neighborhood, which dates back to the city’s founding as a Roman village. Full of narrow, winding streets and architecture from all eras, you’ll want to keep your GPS handy here – if only so you know which way is north. A walking tour is your best bet to see landmarks like the ruined Temple of Augustus, the Jewish quarter, and the Cathedral of Barcelona.
You’ve seen it from the streets, but if you want the best aerial view of Barcelona, don’t miss Tidibado. The highest mountain in the city boasts the Sagrat Cor church, as well as Tibidabo Amusement Park. Built back in 1889, it’s one of the oldest still-functioning parks of its kind — and if you hop on their rainbow-colored Ferris wheel, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of Spain’s most beautiful city.
Montjuic’s most beautiful features come from the 1929 International Exposition. Don’t miss the Spanish Renaissance-style National Palace (now home to the Catalan National Art Museum), the Spanish Village (made up of different Spanish architectural styles) and the Magic Fountain of Montjuic – where you can see illuminated water shows (to the tune of Freddie Mercury’s ‘Barcelona,’ Spanish opera, and current pop songs) on the half hour every evening.
Okay, so it’s not technically in Barcelona, but this artsy beach community only 40 minutes away has been called ‘the San Tropez of Spain,’ and in the summer about ⅓ of the vacationing crowd is LGBT. Whether you’re there for Carnival (in late February/early March) or for sun-worshipping (there’s a lot to take in at gay & lesbian beach, Playa de Muerto) you won’t be disappointed!