Barcelona churches & monuments

The best churches and monuments of Barcelona

imageSagrada Familia ★★★ - The weirdest-looking cathedral in Europe rises like a giant, drippy sand castle from the precise grid of street in the Eixample neighborhood, an ongoing project representing Antoni Gaudí’s creativity at its whimsical, feverish best. The architectural details are almost Gothic in their intricacy, but with a modern, fluid twist. The rosy brown and gray stone is flecked with the colors of Gaudí’s signature tile-chip mosaics and crawls with funky gargoyles—which you can peep up close by climbing conch-shell spiral staircases (or taking elevators) up the towers... » more

Casa Batlló, BarcelonaCasa Batlló ★★★ - Gaudí's colorful Casa Batlló is the crowning jewel of the Modernisme movement, with curvaceous theater-mask balconies, soft-serve minaret chimneys, and an oil-slick rainbow of a roof shaped like a dragon's back. The amazing thing is that Gaudí designed every single architectrual element and decorative detail, down to the door handles and trash cans. Most just snap pics from the sidewalk, but it's worth taking the (admittedly pricey) hour-long self-guided audio tour inside.... » more

The cathedral of BarcelonaCatedral ★★ - Behind an elaborate neo-Gothic facade and spire from the 19th century lies Madrid's massive and genuinely Gothic cathedral, a dark, echoey space built largely between 1298 and 1450. It'll take a good 45 minutes to see the marvelously carved 15th-century choir stalls, ranks of glowing votive candles, and shady cloisters surrounded by magnolias and palms and ponds swimming with geese. The adjacent museum is stuffed with medieval Catalonian art... » more

La Pedrera, BarcelonaLa Pedrera (Casa Milá) ★★ - Casa Milà—often called La Pedrera ("the quarry") for its undulating rocky shape, all poured cement set with chips of bone-white cermaic tile—is a magnificent apartment block designed by Antoni Gaudí and declared a UNESCO World heritage Site in 1984. Here, especially, Gaudí seemed to avoid straight lines at all costs—the whole place looks like it's melting. There's an exhibition space on Gaudí and Modernisme inside, and you can tour an apartment and the architectural fun park and swirly chimneys of the roof.... » more

Aeri del Port cable car, BarcelonaAeri del Port (Transbordador) - This low-key, 1,292-meter (0.8-mile) thrill ride in a gondola over the harbor of Barcelona from Barceloneta to the Miramar viewpoint halfway up Montjuïc Hill offers spectacular views. The busy waterfront is below and all around you. In one direction, all of downtown Barcelona and spreads to either side of La Rambla; in the other direction, the waters of the Mediterranean stretch to the horizon... » more

Park Güell, BarcelonaPark Güell - In the northern reaches of the Grácia district, north of the Eixample, rises one of architect Antoni Gaudí’s most colorful creations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This idiosyncratic, 37-acre park was is filled with Gaudí’s colonnades of crooked columns, narrow gardens, small fountains, curvaceous benches, and whimsical animals... » more

Poble Espanyol, BarcelonaPoble Espanyol - For the 1929 World’s Fair, Barcelona created a simulated Spanish village high on top of Montjuïc, where 117 houses, structures, streets, and squares reproduce Spanish monuments and buildings from over the last 1,000 years. Think of it as an early version of EPCOT, only one focused just on Spain and instead of rides it's filed with craft and artisan workshops, restaurants, and nightclubs... » more

Columbus Monument, BarcelonaMirador de Colón - This 1881 architecural exlamanation point is a monument to Chrisopher Columbus on Plaça del Portal de la Pau, anchoring the south (port) end of La Rambla, Barcelona's main boulevard. You can ride the elevator 51m (167 feet) to the top of the column portion for sweeping views over the port and the city—and up La Rambla... » more

Castillo de Montjuïc, BarcelonaCastell de Montjuïc - This 18th century castle remains a glowering presence above Barcelona, half a misshappen star—all triangluar bastions and stony parapets—sunk ino the Montjuïc hillside 173 meters (568 feet) above the city. In 2010, Montjuïc Castle was converted into a space for temporary exhibitions and cultural activities... » more

Montjuïc Cable Car, BarcelonaTelefèric de Montjuïc - These gondolas, holding eight people each, dangle from a cable and sweep 84.5 metres (277 feet) up and along the Montjuïc hillside offering stellar views over the terraced parks and noble buildings of Montjuïc, and heart of downtown Barcelona and its harbor below. It travels from near the funicular station to Montjuïc Castle... » more

Palau de la Musica Catalana, BarcelonaPalau de la Musica Catalana - Barcelona architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner designed this concert hall in 1905–08, and it is the only Art Nouveau performance space to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take one of the 55-minute guided tours to see the sky-lit stained glass of the inverse dome in the auditorium. Even better, return in the evening to attend a concert... » more

Tips & Links

How long should I spend in Barcelona?

If you're just passing through, I'd give Barcelona at least two full days—though if you only have one day, here's how to squeeze in the most of Barcelona into just 24 hours.

Barcelona is a lovely place to relax, however, so you might be happier spending 3-4 days.

» Barcelona itineraries

Save with a sightseeing pass

Barcelona has two types of sightseeing/transport passes:

There's a full description of both passes here, but in brief: The only museum covered fully by the Museum Pass that is not also covered by the Barcelona Card is the Museu Picasso (where you get only a 20% discount with the Barcelona Card).

You can also get discounts (usually 10% to 20%) on a wide range of sights, activites, and shows if you have a hop-on/hop-off bus ticket.

Barcelona tours
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  • Day-trips
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Reserve it


Useful links & resources


Barcelona tourist info: (info office), (events mag); (regional info),

Sightseeing passes: Barcelona Card (20+ sights; transport; discounts), Museum Pass (6 sights)

Tours & activities:,,,,,


Hotels:,, Priceline.comPartner,


Apartments:,,,,, Homeaway.comhomeaway

Hostels & campgrounds:,,,




Trains: (throughout Europe), (within Spain), (throughout Europe),

Public transport: Barcelona Card (free transport; sightseeing); Search all public transit:; Metro/Bus:; Tram:; Light rail:; Taxi:

Car rentals:,,,,,,

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in September 2013.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.