The Catalonian capital, Barcelona, attracts jet setters from around the world and is among Spain's top vacation spots. A distinctively designed city, Barcelona is characterized by the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, who is responsible for many of Barcelona's striking buildings, most notably, La Sagrada Familia cathedral.
Barcelona has a long history dating back around 2,000 years. It's believed either the Carthaginians or the Phoenicians founded Barcelona. The city has changed hands several times, including occupation by Napoleon in the early 19th century. As a modern city, Barcelona drew international recognition and an improved infrastructure when they hosted the 1992 Olympics.
With its unique cityscape, array of world-class museums, and postcard-perfect oceanfront, it's easy to see why tourists flock to Barcelona.
17 Best Ways to Experience Barcelona in 2023
In many ways, this Spanish city has everything to offer the curious tourist. The architecture is sublime, it is teeming with museums, and its beaches offer a break from the madding crowd. Top that off with a wide variety of different culinary traditions and some of the world’s best wines and you can see why this city is as popular as it is.
Whether you are wandering through the narrow back streets, strolling along the Ramblas, or admiring stunning art, the one thing you don’t want is to be dragging heavy bags. Here is where Bounce comes to the rescue. Drop your bags at one of their many storage facilities and then explore in complete freedom and total peace of mind.
Best wine tour — Barcelona Wine Tours
Spain has a long and illustrious history as a nation of winemakers. Helena has been offering wine tours for twenty years and her knowledge of the local wines and cava will expose you to some of the best wines that the Barcelona region has on offer. She proposes ten different tours and offers a pick-up and drop-off service. Contact her on +34 637 799 127 or email on email@example.com
Best photography tour — My Barcelona Photographer
Radu has been a photographer in Barcelona for twenty years and he brings with him not only the technical and artistic skills you will need in a photographer, but he also has that all-important local knowledge. Top this with an easy-going nature and a broad range of experience and you have the ideal person to record any important event.
You can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +34 698 653 967
Best hiking tour — Catalan Trails
For the avid hiker, the Catalan country has plenty to offer and one of your problems is going to know where to begin. Catalan trails offer a wide range of guided hiking adventures and they are passionate about showing off not only the wild countryside but also the picturesque villages and the local cuisine. Call +34 604 175 927 or email email@example.com
Best shopping tour — Handmade Barcelona
If you are tired of inauthentic, mass-produced tourist mementos, this is the company for you. They offer a wide range of authentic foot ware ranging from Espadrilles to delicately hand-crafted leather oxfords. If you want to experience making Espadrilles for yourself, they also offer a one-day workshop where you can do just that. Call +34 640 126 099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Best custom tour — Barcelona Day Tours
This is a company that can make your Barcelona experience so much easier and more enjoyable. They offer a wide range of tours, pick up and drop off service, and if you tour with them, you also get to skip those interminable queues. They offer both private and semi-private tours as well as shore excursions if you are arriving by cruise ship. Call +34 931 807 009 or email info@BarcelonaDay Tours.com
Best excursions — Barcelona Y Day Trips
This company offers a number of day trip options including their popular 'three countries in a day' trip. This is a great way to dip your toe into Spanish, French, and Andorran culture in a hurry. If you would rather design a tour to your own tastes, that is perfectly possible as well. Call them at +34 931 861 616 or email on Hello@Spain-Road-Trip.com
Best bike tour — Born Bike Tours
This company, based just five minutes’ walk from the beach, describes themselves as a company that combines culture, art, and fun. It’s true that cycling is a great and environmentally friendly way to see the city. Born Bikes can hire you a bike and a map and advise you on some good itineraries, or you can opt to join one of their tours such as the tapas tour or the Gothic to Modernism ride. To find out more about them and what other tours they offer call +34 933 190 02 or email email@example.com
Best cultural experience — Bodega Maestrazgo
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was just a very upmarket wine bar. In fact, Bodega Maestrazgo is much more than that. They offer wine tastings, wine courses and a window into the exciting world of both Spanish and international wines. They even offer a wine finder and delivery service. To find out about paying a visit or some of the other services they can provide email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on +34 933 102 675
Best quirky tour — Barcelona Local Experience
This is a company that aims to provide unique insights into the city for small groups. Their friendly guides can take you from the most important attractions, right through to those secret little hideaways you would not otherwise have found. Whether your tastes lean toward local cuisine or unique photo tours of the Gothic Quarter, this company will be able to offer you an experience like no other. Call +34 603 112 187 or email at email@example.com
Best tailor-made tours — Barcelona by Road
This company offers unique tailor-made tours to suit you. They are a company that pride themselves on taking their clients deeper into local culture, rather than skimming over the bigger picture. Whether you want to horseback ride among the vines of a wine estate or enjoy a gourmet slow food extravaganza, the company will be able to build a package around you. Call them on +34 679 431 990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Best creative activityBarcelona Mosaic Classes
Martin Brown is an experienced and talented mosaic artist whose works decorate luxury hospitality venues and exquisite homes. He works with cut glass, Italian smalti and ceramics. Martin offers short courses for those wishing to do something a little more creative on their visit to Barcelona. Classes can be designed for small groups as well as corporate days out. Contact Martin at email@example.com or by calling +34 600 973 259
Best local guide — Our Guide in Barcelona
Gregorio is a licensed tour guide who has lived in Barcelona since he was six years old. He loves to share both his passion for, and his astounding knowledge of, the city he calls home. In addition to many other tours, he also offers a tour called Off the Beaten Track where he shows you territory that is seldom seen by the visiting tourist. Contact Gregorio on +34 647 266 629 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Catalonian tour — Living It Tours
This company describes their mission as being to ‘show the intangible cultural heritage of Catalunya’. They go out of their way to show you events as they would be seen through the eyes of the local population. Whether it be the human tower builders of Castellers or a spring onion cooking festival in Colcotada Popular, Living It will get you there and offer in-depth local knowledge about the traditions and history of the events you are experiencing. Call them on +34 930 134 833 or email at email@example.com
Best vehicle tours — Coolvertible - Barcelona Tours in a Convertible
Enric was born in bred in this city and if you want to feel the wind in your hair while being shown the secrets of the city, then the Coolvertible tour might be just the thing for you. Enric offers half-day, full-day and night tours, and you are free to adjust tours to suit yourself or to just sit back and let Enric show you the unusual aspects of his city. Tel +34 661 978 394 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Segway tours — Barcelona Segwayday
Why walk when you can slide? This has to be one of the coolest ways to discover this city and Segwayday has a wide range of tours on offer ranging from two-hour guided tours, to bachelor and bachelorette fun tours. Whether you just want a bit of unusual fun or more in-depth architectural exposure, this company can make it happen. Call +34 608 408 112 or email at email@example.com
Best artistic tours — Postcards from Barcelona
If you are looking to do something a little more unusual, then why not consider drawing your own postcards? Evgeniy Stasenko is a graduate of the Moscow Pedagogical Institute of Fine Art and now lives in Barcelona. He will not only help you create your own unique postcard mementos; he will also guide you to some of the finest vantage points from which to draw them. Courses range from two hours to full-day workshops. To get in touch and book your place, use the contact form on “Postcards from Barcelona.”
Best dancing class — BCN Baile Classes de Salsa Bachata y mas
Even if you are one of those with two left feet, salsa classes can be fun and they are a great way to meet other people while getting some exercise. BCN has some of the best salsa teachers in the city and promises that you will have a ball even if you have never danced before. Tel +34 628 150 266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A weekend in Barcelona
Barcelona is perfect for a weekend getaway, whether you're traveling with family or whisking your significant other off for a romantic overnight stay. With so much to do, consider dropping your belongings off at a Barcelona storage locker before taking a tour. Here are a few of the best activities dotted across the city.
- Marvel at La Sagrada Familia. This towering minor basilica is considered Antoni Gaudí's masterpiece. It's been under construction for 200 years and is among the most recognizable buildings in the world.
- Discover masterpieces at the Picasso Museum. With over 4,000 works of art, the Picasso Museum has one of the world's largest collections of paintings by Pablo Picasso.
- Watch a soccer match at Nou Camp. Home to FC Barcelona, Nou Camp is the largest football stadium in Europe with a capacity of just under 100,000 spectators.
- Tuck into some tasty local cuisine at one of Barcelona's best restaurants. Popular options include Agut, Tickets, and Sensi.
You'll do plenty of walking while exploring Barcelona. The city takes at least two hours to tour completely, and that's without stopping to admire landmarks and visit museums. Carrying your bags around the Catalonian capital can be tiresome, so consider finding a luggage storage service in Barcelona. Bounce provides the best luggage storage services in the city, with secure facilities at easily located businesses. Book a spot on the Bounce app and get ready to make the most of your visit to Barcelona.
Off the beaten path in Barcelona
Looking to get out and explore the Catalonian countryside or just want to avoid bustling crowds? There are many parks and hidden gems in Barcelona, where you can explore without being surrounded by other people. Drop off your bags at a luggage locker in Barcelona and head off the beaten path to one of these secluded spots.
- Plan a trek up Tibidabo. Standing at 1,680 feet, Tibidabo is the highest hill in Barcelona. It provides sweeping views of Barcelona's skyline and the ocean. The hill is also topped with the Sagrat Cor church and an amusement park.
- Park Güell is a great way to escape the city streets without straying far. At around 42 acres, this is the largest green space in the city, with Antoni Gaudí designing the park.
- Another fascinating city park worth visiting is the Joan Miró Park. This smaller park is noteworthy for containing sculptures by famed artist Joan Miró, including a 22-foot statue at the park's center.
What to do alone in Barcelona
Solo sightseers looking for something to do in Barcelona won't be disappointed. Whether you're looking to kill some time between business meetings or have a lengthy layover in the city, check out some of these things to do alone in Barcelona.
- Plan a shopping spree along La Rambla. Barcelona's main avenue, La Rambla boasts many of the city's best stores and cafes.
- Take a walking tour of some of Antoni Gaudí's other remarkable architectural creations. Buildings like Casa Milà and Casa Batlló rank among Barcelona's top attractions.
- Explore Aquarium Barcelona. One of the largest aquariums in Spain, the Aquarium Barcelona contains over 10,000 marine creatures, ranging from seahorses to sharks.
The best souvenirs in Barcelona
Buying souvenirs in Barcelona is a breeze, with dozens of traditional and fun knick-knacks available across the city. Soccer fans might want to consider picking up an FC Barcelona jersey, while food fanatics might want to pick up some extra virgin olive oil or some sweet red vermouth. Other popular keepsakes include Picasso prints, leather goods, and a tapas cookbook.
You'll find plenty of souvenir shops dotted across the city, with some offering better mementos than others. If you're looking for something Gaudi-inspired, swing by Itaca just off La Rambla, or visit WaWas just down the road from the Picasso Museum for something small like a Catalan t-shirt or a postcard.