Barcelona’s unmissable landmarks and historical sights

Sightseeing in Barcelona? These 15 landmarks should be top of your list of places to see in the city.

Make sure these historic, cultural, and natural landmarks are all on your itinerary when you visit Barcelona. Each iconic location tells part of the city’s story, making them essential sightseeing stops. Think Gaudí’s brilliant masterpieces, beautiful mountains, iconic beaches, and standout art museums.

With so many things to do in Barcelona, a hitlist of the must-sees is good preparation for your visit. You can then weave all the romantic activities, places to eat, and neighborhoods you want to visit around them. Use this round-up of Barcelona’s most important landmarks to get you started.

Historic and architectural landmarks in Barcelona

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1. Let the lights and colors of the Sagrada Familia take you to another world

The Sagrada Familia is more than just the world's most famous building site and Barcelona’s best-known landmark. There's a good reason why Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece is top of every visitor's list.

Highlights:

A Sagrada Familia ticket with an audio guide is the best way to get around and see what the rest of the crowds don’t see. Learn the incredibly detailed story behind the façades and descend into the crypt to see Gaudí's tomb.

Address and opening hours:

Carrer de Mallorca 401, 08025 Barcelona. Open Monday-Sunday 9:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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2. See the hilltop mosaics at Park Güell

Another Gaudí masterpiece, Park Güell is a riot of colors, shapes, and incredible mosaics. As you walk around the park, you'll also have some of the best views across the city skyline.

Address and opening hours:

Parc Güell, 08024 Barcelona. Open Monday-Sunday 9:30 AM-7:30 PM.

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3. Admire the modernist genius of Casa Batlló

It's hard to believe that Casa Batlló was originally built as a private residence. As you gaze out of the colorful windows and admire the intricate balconies, you can imagine living in this magical house.

Highlights:

A Casa Batlló entry ticket includes an audio guide and will give you access to Lord Batlló's private bedroom for an intriguing behind-the-scenes experience.

Address and opening hours:

Passeig de Gràcia 43, 08007 Barcelona. Open Monday-Sunday 9:00 AM-8:00 PM.

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4. See the twists and turns of La Pedrera's rooftop

Casa Milà, commonly known as La Pedrera, is a work of fantastic whimsy. Its rooftop, with chimneys that look like dragons, gives you a delightfully playful spot to admire the city skyline.

Highlights:

A Casa Milà skip-the-line ticket to La Pedrera includes the chance to visit a little museum inside. The Espai Gaudí exhibit will tell you all you need to know about Gaudí's life and works.

Address and opening hours:

Passeig de Gràcia 92, 08008 Barcelona. Open Monday-Sunday 9:00 AM-11:00 PM.

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5. See Gaudí's earliest masterpiece at Casa Vicens

This is one of Gaudí's lesser-known works. Casa Vicens, the great architect's first house, is worth a visit if you love architecture. Check out the bright red walls and distinctive modernist mosaics.

Highlights:

You'll find guides on every floor of the house. This means that with the Casa Vicens ticket, you can explore at your own pace and have all your questions answered without the need to book a private tour. Don't miss the beautiful garden, rich with interesting geometric designs.

Address and opening hours:

Carrer de les Carolines 20-26, 08012 Barcelona. Open Monday-Sunday 10:00 AM-8:00 PM.

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6. Indulge your artistic  side at the National Museum of Art of Catalonia

MNAC is the city's finest art museum. It's also a landmark in its own right, with its imposing domes and towers. Set on the side of the Montjüic hill, this museum offers an amazing walk through the history of Catalan art.

Highlights:

The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya entry ticket includes an audio guide so you won't miss a thing. Visit in the early evening to see the Magic Fountain show as you leave.

Address and opening hours:

Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuic, 08038 Barcelona. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 AM-8:00 PM, Sunday 10:00 AM-3:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

7. Explore the majestic Gothic cathedral at the heart of the city

Barcelona's Gothic cathedral is one of its most iconic sights. Named after Santa Eulalia, this architectural jewel effortlessly blends beautiful Gothic architecture with an incredible, tropical-style cloister garden.

Highlights:

A ticket for the Cathedral of Barcelona includes access to both the beautiful rooftop and the cloister. Look out for the flock of 13 geese who live in the cathedral, representing the age of Santa Eulalia when she was killed.

Address and opening hours:

Plaça de la Seu, 08002 Barcelona. Open seven days a week; times vary.

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8. Dine like a local at the Boqueria market

Located halfway down the iconic Rambla, La Boqueria is Barcelona's most famous market. Here you can buy fresh produce, juices, meat and fish, prepared meals, and more. Both local and exotic treats are available.

Highlights:

La Boqueria has a dizzying number of stalls. A walking tour of the market is a great way to get around and ensure that you're visiting the very best.

Address and opening hours:

La Rambla 91, 08001 Barcelona. Open Monday-Saturday, 8:00 AM-8:30 PM.

Scenic and natural landmarks in Barcelona

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9. Enjoy a breath of fresh air in Montjüic

The hill of Montjüic is one of Barcelona's best green lungs. This glorious hill is easily accessed from Plaça Espanya, and it's the perfect way to spend a morning in the fresh air.

Highlights:

You can hike up Montjüic, but a Montjuic e-bike tour is one of the most fun ways to get around. Explore the grounds of Montjüic Castle and enjoy the stunning views that sweep across the city.

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10. Hike up the sacred mountain of Montserrat

When you spend the day at Montserrat, you can immerse yourself in both nature and culture. This mountain, with its iconic needle-like peaks, is a firm favorite for locals and visitors alike.

Highlights:

Hikers can choose their ability level on a six-hour Montserrat hike. Choose your desired level of challenge, then head up to visit the famous monastery, home to the Black Madonna statue.

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11. Get some rays at the Barceloneta Beach

Barcelona's most famous city beach is actually a fairly new addition to the city, built on reclaimed land for the 1992 Olympics. It's become an absolute Barcelona landmark and is a great place for swimming, sunbathing, or people-watching.

Highlights:

Relax in the sun by the shore or take a Segway tour around the area. This way, you'll be able to find the trendiest bars and coolest beach hotspots.

Address:

La Barceloneta, 08003 Barcelona

12. Meet the mammoth at the Ciutadella Park

The Ciutadella is Barcelona's most famous city park. This green space is a popular spot for cultural events and shows. Even if there's nothing going on, you can wander around, admiring the impressive Parliament building and the unusual life-size mammoth statue.

Highlights:

The park is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon with an ice cream. To see even more, take a three-hour bike tour around the flowers and fountains, then continue into the old streets of the Gothic Quarter.

Address:

Passeig de Picasso 21, 08003 Barcelona

13. Have family fun at Tibidabo

This mountain on the outskirts of Barcelona is perfect for a family day out. Take one of the hiking trails that wind around the mountain or, if you'd rather use the easy option, jump onto the cable car.

Highlights:

You'll find a small amusement park at the top of the mountain. The gentle rides are perfect for the kids.

Address:

Plaça Tibidabo 3-4, 08035 Barcelona

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14. Take in the sunset from the Bunkers del Carmel

The Bunkers del Carmel were originally built during the Spanish Civil War. With the war long gone, today, this hilltop spot is the best place in Barcelona to admire the sunset.

Highlights:

You can visit at any time of day to take a look around the historic site, but the Bunkers are at their best in the early evening. In summer, get there early to grab a good spot.

Address:

Carrer de Marià Lavèrnia, 08032 Barcelona

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15. Get lost in the green labyrinth at Horta

Come to the outskirts of the city for one of its most interesting sights. The park at Horta is best known for its impressive hedge maze. Can you find your way back out?

Highlights:

When you've finished exploring the maze, check out the rest of the park. This eclectic garden features replica Roman statues and temples, a small canal, and a huge array of plants and flowers.

Address:

Passeig dels Castanyers 1, 08035 Barcelona

FAQs

What is the oldest historic landmark in Barcelona?

You can still see some Roman ruins dotted around the city, including the remains of the old wall. However, the oldest completed landmark in Barcelona is the cathedral, which was built from 1298 to 1448.

What are some free landmarks to visit in Barcelona?

Many of the natural landmarks in Barcelona are free to visit. These include the hill of Montjüic, the Bunkers del Carmel, the Magic Fountain, and more.

Are there any guided tours that focus on the architecture of Barcelona's landmarks?

Yes. You'll find a number of guided tours of Barcelona's best historic landmarks. You can choose to get around on foot, bike, Segway, or more.

How can I get the best views of scenic landmarks in Barcelona?

You'll find the best views by getting high above the city. Spend the day hiking up Montjüic for great views of the skyline, or go to Tibadabo for another angle. In the city center, you can go to the top of the Torre Urquinaona for a panoramic observation deck.

What are some natural landmarks near Barcelona worth visiting?

There are a lot of beautiful natural landmarks near Barcelona, as Catalonia is a hiker's paradise. The Costa and Brava and Cap de Creus to the north are stunning, and the Pyrenees mountains are nearby. One of the closest natural landmarks is Montserrat, the region's sacred mountain.