Top Places to Visit in Barcelona, as Recommended by a Local

Top Places to Visit in Barcelona, as Recommended by a Local

If you’re Barcelona-bound, then you probably already know that the list of attractions to visit, things to do, and places to see in the Catalan capital is long and plentiful.

To help you on your way to making the best of your time here, we got the inside scoop on the top things to do in Barcelona, the must-eats, the best city views, and unmissable experiences from lovely local and BCN expert, María.


6 great places to visit in Barcelona

  1. Take a dip in the Mediterranean or just relax on La Barceloneta beach

  2. Delight your taste buds with traditional Catalonian bites in La Boqueria

  3. Enjoy a glass of wine and see the sights from high up in the Marea Alta Restaurant

  4. Explore living history on the hilltop fortress of Montjuic Castle

  5. Devour Barcelona’s best patatas bravas in the local’s favourite, Bar El Tomás de Sarrià

  6. Chill out with the locals & watch the sunset on majestic Barcelona from atop ‘The Bunkers’


Read our guide or press play and let Maria take you through her six best things to do, eat and see in beautiful Barcelona!



1. Barceloneta Beach

La Barceloneta beach is a must-do when in Barcelona under the summer sun, and even in wintertime. Full of life and buzzing with beach-bods year-round, it’s the ideal place to chill out with a beer or picnic, soak up the atmosphere, cool off in the Mediterranean sea, try your hand at water-sports or beach-based games like volley-ball, or even catch a movie in the open-air on the outdoor cinema screen.

Easy to get to and close to the centre of Barcelona in a historic district, the beach is parallel to a stretch of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, and offers the perfect golden canvass for the numerous sand artists proudly showing off their creations and sand-structures that will put your bucket & spade sand-castle to shame.

See also: Free tours in Barcelona, Spain


2. La Boqueria food market


places to visit in barcelona

Located in the heart of Barcelona, close to the Opera House in the Ciudad Vieja district, the Mercado de La Boqueria has been a hub of all things tasty since 1836. Accessible from Las Ramblas, the historic food market is a hive of activity and aromas with innumerable stalls selling everything from international food to delicious local Catalan sweets and desserts like carquinyoli, turrón, and yema quemada.

One of Barcelona’s prominent tourist sights, owing to the sheer vibrancy and colours of the tasty delights on offer, it is also a primary source of quality ingredients for the locals and restaurants alike, particularly for its huge array of seafood and fresh fish - especially sardines, a local favourite.


3. Marea Alta Restaurant

One hundred and ten metres up on the Edifici Colón skyscraper towering over the Ciutat Vella district, you can enjoy an unbeatable 360-degree panorama of Barcelona stretching all the way out to the surrounding hills on the horizon, taking in iconic sights like Sagrada Familia and the monument of Colombus who thinks he’s pointing to the Americas but has it totally wrong.

Located at the end of Las Ramblas, the Marea Alta Restaurant is the perfect place for resting your weary feet, having a glass of wine (or two) and taking in the view over one of the most impressive cityscapes in Spain.


4. Montjuic Castle

places to visit in barcelona

Source: Flickr - dconvertini [CC BY-SA 2.0]

The vantage point from atop Montjuic hill provided the perfect place for a military fortress way back when in 1640; and for centuries since, the fortress, later turned into the current castle complex form between 1751 and 1799, has played a central role in the turbulent history of Barcelona and Catalonia.

Used as both a military enclave and a prison at various stages throughout its lifetime so far, Montjuic castle was the site of many executions of prominent figures of Spanish and Catalan history, especially following the civil war.

The complex itself and the area surrounding Montjuic are rich in fascinating history and intriguing stories which you can learn all about on different tours here, such as e-bike tours and Segway tours, or indeed from any of your lovely local free tour guides in Barcelona, all available to book on

An electric bike will have you up to the fortress in a jiffy if just the thoughts of walking to the top make your feet ache; but you can also take the bus number 150 from Plaza de España or, perhaps the most fun way, by the Montjuïc Funicular from Paral·lel metro stop (green line L3) to Montjuïc Park Station from where you can hop in the cable-car which takes you the rest of the climb to the castle.


5. Bar El Tomás de Sarrià

There’s no doubt that when you’re visiting Barcelona you’ll be spoiled for delicious food – tasty tapas are a must-have here; but one little local staple, patatas bravas (potatoes), is a firm favorite and there’s one place the locals swear by as being an institution in Barcelona for famously good bravas – Bar Tomas!

places to visit in barcelona

"Patatas bravas". Source: Wikimedia Commons - Krista [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Located on Carrer Major de Sarrià, this tapas bar has been in the Sarrià area for almost one hundred years, but it was not until the 70s that they started doing the best bravas of Barcelona. Not to paint Bar Tomas as a one-trick pony, their menu includes other delectables such as ham tapas, anchovies tapas, sardines & tuna, and traditional desserts too, but it’s their bravas that bring locals and tourists alike from far and wide. Don’t miss them!

You’ll find Bar El Tomás twenty minutes by train from Plaça de Catalunya. Sarrià is the last stop, and it’s a worthy jaunt.


6. The Bunkers

places to visit in barcelona

View from the Bunkers. Source: [CC BY-SA 4.0]


One of many potential perfect ends to a perfect day in Barcelona is to venture up atop Turó de la Rovira in the Carmel neighborhood to watch the sunset, casting a golden glow across the sea and the city. If you're on a romantic getaway or you just want to surprise your partner for a special occasion, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Barcelona.

While there are many places to visit in Barcelona for exceptional views of the city's skyline, the Bunkers are a favorite local hang-out come evening owing, perhaps, to their unrivaled view of the coastline. There’s always a friendly atmosphere here as locals and visitors alike ascend the steep climb to be rewarded by the incredible views. 

Walking up is a bit of a slog, we won’t lie, and takes about twenty minutes to half an hour, depending on your fitness level, but you can take the metro or V17 bus instead. The bus is probably the better option as it gets you closer to the top and passes by some interesting sites along the way, such as the Gothic Quarter, the beach, and Passeig de Gracia. Yours is the last stop, Gran Vista – Pl de la Mitja Lluna, and from there it’s about a six- or seven-minute walk to the bunkers.


To make the most of your time in Barcelona, and learn about the history, traditions, and culture of the city, or indeed wherever your next destination may be, be sure to book a free tour of Barcelona with expert local guides.

There are lots of different tours to choose from, and all are geared towards helping you get real local insight to the places and people around you, our intriguing local culture and heritage, and are an unbeatable source for authentic local recommendations and insider tips for exploring and experiencing the wonderful city of Barcelona.
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