Is Barcelona Worth Visiting? 7 Reasons Why You Should Visit
If you’re trying to weigh up which city/cities to visit in Spain or even in Europe as a whole, you might be questioning whether Barcelona is worth visiting, and if so, how long should you spend in Barcelona. Well, we’ve been there, considered it for you and made up our minds!
Barcelona is a city like no other thanks to its beachside location, its famous works of Gaudí art and architecture and its general atmosphere of food, fun, partying and people. While Madrid is Spain’s capital (and has its own charm), and London, Paris, Rome, and Venice all have a wealth of attractions to draw you in, Barcelona is totally unique and that in itself makes it well worth a visit.
Is Barcelona Worth Visiting?
Barcelona is bursting with architectural gems that draw in the crowds, but if you’re not into buildings (and you probably will be after your trip), is there anything else that makes Barcelona worth visiting? The answer? YES, loads!
Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya, has a whole host of attractions that are sure to excite even the most discerning traveller. From a stunning beachfront and top-notch cuisine to world-class shopping, an excellent nightlife scene, and intriguing museums, Barcelona has something for everyone.
Whether you’re visiting for a romantic weekend break, a bachelorette, a lads’ trip, a family vacation or just as a stop on a European adventure, Barcelona will entertain, enlighten and enchant.
While there are some drawbacks to Barcelona being such a popular tourist destination (think: expense and crowds), we believe that the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Read on to find out reasons why Barcelona is worth visiting, a few reasons why you might not want to put Barcelona on your bucket list, and some general tips about exploring this fantastic city.
Reasons Why Barcelona Is Worth Visiting
Barcelona has so Many Attractions
Whether you have a particular attraction in mind when planning your visit to Barcelona, or just know that the city is home to a collection of great sites, you won’t be bored or disappointed by the range of tourist attractions that are on offer here in Barcelona.
Not only is Barcelona home to the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell (which we’ll come to in a minute), but it also boasts the Barcelona Cathedral, Gothic Quarter, Parc de la Ciutadella, Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, Santa Maria del Mar and even its own Arc de Triomf and Statue of Liberty. And that’s not including the museums or the beach!
While you won’t be able to see all the sights in one weekend trip, you will be able to enjoy a taste of what Barcelona has to offer, and it will leave you longing to return to explore even more.
The Gaudí Architecture Is Worth It Alone
Perhaps the most famous draw of any visit to Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí’s intricate yet unfinished basilica, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most-reviewed Trip Advisor attraction in the world! This fascinating church is more than just a building, but a work of art. The basilica has been in construction for over a century, with Gaudí having died in 1926 when only a quarter of the project had been completed. Despite remaining unfinished, the Sagrada Familia is a spectacularly beautiful building, and no visit to Barcelona would be complete without a visit.
But the Sagrada Familia isn’t the only amazing piece of Gaudí architecture in the city, oh no! Barcelona boasts the magical Casa Batlló, the impressive Casa Milà, the Gaudi House Museum and Palau Güell in the grounds of the incredible Park Güell. Each of these buildings and works of art is worth a visit and play a part in what makes Barcelona such a fascinating city.
The Public Transport in this City is Fantastic
Even if you look at whether Barcelona is worth visiting from a completely logical point of view, you’ll be impressed with the ease of getting flights to and from Barcelona, the ease of reaching the city from the airport and the ease of getting around using the public transport system. While many of Barcelona’s top attractions are quite spread out, you can easily purchase a day pass or batch of metro tickets and hop your way around the city with no trouble at all.
Most metro stops and buses have signs in both English and Spanish, and the ticket machines cater to a range of languages so that everyone can use them without any hassle.
It's a City With a Beach – Win-Win!
When we have limited vacation time, it’s often difficult to weigh up whether we want to see some new, exciting cultural sights or whether we’d simply rather kick back and relax on the beach. Thankfully, Barcelona takes this decision out of our hands and offers us both in one hit!
It’s not often you get a city break destination located on the seafront. In fact, this wasn’t always the case for Barcelona, but ever since the city hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, it has drawn in visitors by ticking both boxes.
Despite being a man-made beach, Barceloneta still offers swathes of white sand, inviting blue waters and numerous al fresco dining options that make it ideal for a day of relaxation.
Is Worth Visiting Just for the Great Nightlife
If finding a decent nightlife spot is always top of your list when planning a trip to a new city, then fear not as Barcelona has a wealth of epic bars and clubs that will keep you dancing until the early hours. Spain’s club scene doesn’t begin until at least midnight, and many clubs are open until 4/5/6 and even 7am! One benefit of these late nights though is that you can spill out into the morning light and as many of the clubs are located on the beach, you’ll be able to enjoy the sights of Barceloneta in relative peace and quiet.
Barcelona's Food and Wine Scene is Amazing
If food and drink are more your scene, then you’re in luck as these Catalonians certainly know how to cook up a feast! With the world-famous La Boqueria market allowing you to savour the flavour of hundreds of local specialties, and more tapas joints than you could visit in a year, Barcelona is the place to get your foodie fix.
Tapas is a fantastic way to try a variety of local dishes and the fact that the wine and sangria you can order at a restaurant or buy at the supermarket comes in at well under €10 a pop means you’ll be one happy bunny!
If you love your wine, or particularly cava, then you’ll want to visit the vineyards and wineries surrounding the city such as Codorníu and Freixenet who produce some of the best sparkling wine in the world (just don’t tell that to the people of Champagne!).
Barcelona Has a Lot of Day Trip Options
Finally, if you’re wondering whether Barcelona is worth visiting for more than just a couple of days, you might want to consider the fact that there are loads of wonderful day trip options within just a few hours of the city. Visiting the Benedictine monastery at Montserrat will be one of your travelling highlights as not only are the building, history and setting stunning but the hike to the top and the views overlooking Catalunya are breath-taking too! Sitges is another great day trip option, allowing you to explore a less touristy beach town. You might even want to take trips to Andorra or Girona if you have extra time.
If you are considering visiting a few other Spanish cities on your visit you should read;
The 11 Best Towns and Cities to Visit in Spain
Reasons Why Barcelona is Perhaps Not Worth Visiting
While I could go on forever about the reasons to visit Barcelona, it is worth mentioning some of the factors that may dissuade you from visiting this Catalonian capital. On the whole, these are reasons to be cautious and to plan wisely, rather than not to go at all, but they are important to think about nonetheless.
It Can Get Really Crowded In Summer
Being a beach town with a wonderful climate, Barcelona is a POPULAR destination in summer! Crowds peak throughout the summer holiday months of July and August and, if possible, these months are best avoided. The crowds make the beach less pleasant, the hotels expensive, the museums jam-packed and generally take away from the beauty of the city. Thankfully, Barcelona’s climate lends itself to being a summer destination from May to September, so these shoulder months offer heat and sunshine with a less hectic atmosphere.
Barcelona is a Fairly Expensive Spanish Destination
As tourism has exploded in Barcelona, the prices have risen, making it one of the most expensive destinations in Spain. Central hotels and Airbnbs will set you back a pretty penny and food, and drink are likely to cost more than they would in more rural parts of the country and even more than in the capital. However, hotels and restaurants can afford to charge over the odds as the tourist attractions that Barcelona boasts cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and therefore, visitors will continue to come.
Pick-Pocketers Are Rife
Another downside to Barcelona becoming a tourist-heavy city is that opportunistic pick-pocketers are now rife, especially on Las Ramblas, Barceloneta Beach and on the Metro. While this isn’t a reason to discount a visit to Barcelona entirely (as pick-pocketing happens in almost all major cities), it is a reason to be cautious while travelling, and to be aware of your possessions and valuables at all times. If you can avoid taking any valuables when you head to the beach, then this is even better as you can relax on the sand in peace.
Hopefully by now, you’ve realised that there are tons of reasons that Barcelona is well worth visiting and while there a couple of items on the ‘con list,’ the amazing attractions far outweigh the handful of minor negatives. Even if, after exploring some other Spanish and European cities you decide somewhere else is your favourite, it’s still undeniable that Barcelona is a must-see that should be on everyone’s bucket list!
If you want to make your own travel bucket list you might want to start here
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