Bucket List Planner
1. Eat Paella and Tapas While Watching the Sun Set over the Mediterranean
Some people go all the way to Barcelona and get so caught up in it's inland attractions that they almost forget that they are on the beach! There are hundreds of restaurants that can help you realize this dream. And unless you are spending 3 months in Barcelona, you probably won't have the chance to try all of the different types of Paella or Tapas. Your every evening will be complete if you add just a small pitcher of sangria to your table. Or try some Spanish wines. Tempernillo is my favorite Spanish variety...especially when they call it Tinto del Toro! Enjoy! (BTW -Another great bucket list idea is to eat mussels and fries in every city in the world!)
5. Ride the Barcelona Funicular
The Barcelona Funicular alone is a mediocre experience. What gets it onto the top 10 bucket list activities in Barcelona is the amazing things you get to do surrounding the ride. First, to get there, there is a beautiful walk along the Barcelona waterfront. Along the way, you will pass Christopher Columbus, the Barcelona Maritime Museum, the marina, wonderful public parks with street entertainers, Dali sculptures and the beach. The line is a little long...but the views are wonderful! And you get a great sense of the scale of the city and it's monuments. Finally, the landing. Needless to say, there are both Sangria and Estrella Beer at the end of the line...on a perch where the views are fantastic. And now you are in a great place to begin a good hike on a nice day.
4. Collect Graffiti
Barcelona is a city exploding with creativity. Everywhere you look there is a public work of art. Even the graffiti artists take things to a different level in Barcelona. If you are bringing children to Barcelona, I would suggest a digital contest. Who can get more pictures of graffiti? Collecting images is a great item to have on your bucket list. Collecting REFLECTIONS is a fun urban past time. In any case, the graffiti finding contest is our favorite thing to do with kids in Barcelona.
3. Visit the Picasso Museum
The collection in Barcelona's Picasso Museum is extensive and concentrates a great deal on Pablo Picasso's classical training in fine art. I picture him, in part because he was alive during my lifetime, as a wacky older man and inventor of whole new genres of contemporary art. But what is equally impressive is the quality of classic fine art that he was completing as a child. It is absolutely worth devoting a few hours to the exhibits here. This is also a nice place to get some tasteful Barcelona keepsakes.
2. Feel the Vibe on Las Ramblas
This is by far the most tourist-centric place in Barcelona. Post cards, caricature artists, street performers, painters; they are all all there! But Las Ramblas is not just for tourists. Locals stop at the Ramblas flower stalls on their way home or on their way to dinner. The energy level explodes when coming off of a side street and onto Las Ramblas. It's really fun and exciting. To add to the mix, there are artists who pose as sculptures all along the walk. This is another terrifically entertaining thing for kids, who will watch them and hope to detect signs of life. Las Ramblas' outdoor public energy -day and night- rivals that of NYC.
6. FC Barcelona
What soccer fan doesn't have plans to cheer for FC Barcelona on their bucket list? BARCA is an institution in the world of soccer. Even Scotty Pippen has an FC Barcelona jersey on display at the BARCA team museum! Infact, there are fun interactive exhibits at the museum; almost making the entrance fee for a stadium tour worth the money! It is ideal to visit Barcelona when there is a home game scheduled. But is you can't make that happen, there are a few things to see in the museum. And of course standing on the field is thrilling to those who have dreamed that dream!
7. Mountain Climbing at Monserrat (or just see this wonder.)
Monserrat is a stunning gem, hidden about an hour or so away from Barcelona. For the common tourist, a quick visit can be done in about half a day. But for the more active and adventuresome travelers, a few days climbing or trekking in Monserrat can be life changing. It is a very spiritual place. After riding to Gondola to the town, Gaudi's inspiration for Sagrada Familia becomes apparent. Towering rock columns come to life with the sound of the bells and the choir. Monserrat is otherworldly.
8. Experience Gaudi's Barcelona Masterpieces
If experiencing Gaudi's work in person is not on YOUR bucket list: GET OUT YOUR SHARPIE!!! The scale, complexity, engineering and sheer wildness can never be captured in two dimensions. That being said, we have a Major Travel Tip! Make reservations for every Gaudi attraction. Lines (Bus tours full of visitors) form at each of his masterpieces daily. Reservations can be made at home before leaving for Spain, or your concierge can make them a day or two in advance. And be sure to visit Sagrada Familia early in the morning on a clear winter day, when the sun is low on the horizon. The walls and columns explode with colorful patterns of refracted light. This is a must on any Barcelona Tour.
9. Check out the Christmas Markets in Barcelona
December is a wonderful time to visit Barcelona. Christmas markets begin to pop up in every neighborhood as the holiday season begins. The already lively city explodes with energy in December. Recently, Barcelona has adjusted the December shopping hours to include Sunday. This brings crowds from all over Spain and the opportunity for a visitor to emerse themselves in Spanish culture. Gift shops, fashion start-ups and street vendors make every step in Barcelona into a shopping extravaganza!
Check out the other great Christmas markets in Munich, Rome and all over Italy.
Until I travelled to Barcelona, I had only begun to understand how many types of olives there are in this world! The best outdoor market in Barcelona is La Boqueria. The market dates back to the early 13th century and while no tourist visit is complete without it, locals can commonly be found picking up fresh fish, meat or bread for the evening's feast. The amazing food offerings in Barcelona make it a great city to rent an apartment for the week. Check out our featured accommodations!
Gaudi's iconic Familia Sagrada is one of about a million incredibly creative things to experience in the amazing city of Barcelona. Where else is in the world would a Pablo Picasso museum rank out side of the top 10 things to do!! Whether you are a foodie, a beach comber, a modern art fanatic, a cathedral addict, a graffiti aficionado or a mountain climber ... Barcelona is an amazing city to visit at almost any time of the year. Live music, tapas, shopping and extraordinary public art installations can be found just around the corner from almost any hotel in the city. Here are the top ten things in Barcelona that should be on YOUR bucket list. Check out our recommended Barcelona tours and travel plans.