10 Cool Things to Do in Barcelona: Vibrant Catalan Capital

10 Cool Things to Do in Barcelona

10 Cool things to do in Barcelona

As a traveler, whenever you go on a vacation, you want to get the most out of the place you’re visiting. This applies even more to Barcelona, with its fabulous architecture and the gazillions of things that you can do. This Spanish gem is buzzing with a rich history, energy, and charm that promises an unforgettable getaway. Imagine mixing Rome and Paris, and you’ll get the vibrant Barcelona. 

As the capital city of northeast Spain, Barcelona has a little bit of everything. It has charming old-world elements that give you a glance into the city’s past, but also modern marvels that make you feel like you just skipped through time. You also have stunning coastlines, exhilarating nightlife, gorgeous buildings, and a food scene that will make every extra pound feel worth it. 

There are many cool things to do in Barcelona, no matter if you are a water sports enthusiast, a gourmet lover, or a diehard art fan. You can shop your heart out, visit the green spots, go yachting, or hit the dance floor on your favorite beats. So, for all the busy bees that like doing something interesting each time they are out, Barcelona will certainly not disappoint. 

That being said, while the multitude of attractions makes Barcelona such a great spot for a vacation, there is one slight problem: what should you hit first? For someone that has all the time in the world, you could take a few weeks to visit the place. Still, for the average person, unless you find a way to clone yourself, you won’t have time to see it all.  

This is why you need to be selective with your itinerary. Luckily, there are a few ways for you to enjoy everything that Barcelona has to offer. Here are our top 10 cool things to do in Barcelona so that you can make your vacation truly unforgettable. 

1.Take a Stroll through Las Ramblas 

If you want to enjoy as much of the Barcelona atmosphere as possible, then you’ll have to take a stroll through Las Ramblas. This beautiful and vibrant boulevard is situated smack in the heart of Barcelona, and it has everything that you need to make your evening complete. It’s an explosion of senses, no matter if you are looking to please your ears, eyes, nose, or taste buds. The bustling promenade will certainly create an unforgettable experience for every visitor.  

Las Ramblas has a way of pulling you into its ambiance from the moment you take your first step in. There are numerous performers and street artists on various spots on the sidewalks, allowing you to step back and enjoy the show. The best part is that many visitors go here to have fun, so you may as well spontaneously start dancing to their beats. There are no rules here, except one: have fun. So, if you want to dance to someone playing the Ievan Polkka, there’s no one to stop you. In fact, they may just join in the fun. 

While there, there are shops and street food points for as long as your eyesight goes. You can buy anything from flowers to souvenirs and local food. The place was created to be a central hub for Barcelona, allowing tourists to enjoy a little bit of everything. Remember that since it’s a touristy place, it’s also a pickpocket magnet, so you should always be careful with your belongings.  

Visiting Las Ramblas is one of the top cool things to do in Barcelona, but the main street can also get very crowded, especially around noon and in the evenings. To get away from this, you may check out the side streets branching out from there and find the hidden gems. You’ll see plenty of cozy cafes, cute boutiques, and less-crowded squares where you can sit back and relax. 

If you’re lucky, you may also come across various seasonal shows that can make your day even better. What you shouldn’t forget is that Las Ramblas is not just a street – it’s the heart of Barcelona, where people go to mingle and have fun. Learn more about Las Ramblas by reading our comprehensive guide here! 

2.Rent a Yacht and Hit the Sea 

If you are feeling adventurous, you may want to take your feet off the ground and hit the waters. You’re surrounded by beaches, so you can find a yacht hire Barcelona at pretty much any corner. There’s nothing more relaxing than cruising through the Mediterranean Sea waters, away from the buzzing of the city. 

Depending on your preferences and where you rent your yacht or catamaran from, you can have someone guide you through the waters or you may be your own sailor. Regardless, by renting a yacht, you can go and explore the hidden coves, gorgeous landscapes, and picturesque beaches.  

The advantage of hiring your own yacht is that you get a better view of what beaches are or aren’t good for relaxing. For instance, when you are going on a beach connected to a public road, there is a good chance it will be packed with people. However, if you go by yacht, you may come across beaches that do not have any easy access from land. It’ll be just you and the people on your boat, allowing you to truly relax.  

When you rent a yacht in Barcelona, you open yourself to numerous possibilities, in a place that you may choose for yourself. You can arrange for a family outing, a hot date, or even a fun adventure with your friends. You may get a small boat or a big boat, depending on how many people you are planning to bring with you on your yachting trip.  

When you are going on a yacht, you aren’t only limited to feeling the waves and wind in your hair. You can use the yacht for waterboarding, jet skiing, snorkeling, and many more. At the end of it all, you can simply take the opportunity to catch a nice tan on the deck.  

Flyboarding is also an increasingly popular sport. Connect yourself to the yacht and propel yourself into the air and back into the water. You can either let your superhero loose or do dolphin-like jumps. It could be a memorable experience that lets you connect to the sea and offers an exceptional experience. Click here to learn more about yacht hires in Barcelona!

3.Go to Dali Museum for a Surreal Journey 

If you are passionate about culture, then one of the top cool things to do in Barcelona is to visit the Dali Museum. As one of the 20th century’s greatest artists, Dali’s work allows you to embark on a spiritual journey, where reality seems to merge with imagination. Since the Dali Museum is located in the heart of Barcelona, it doesn’t take much of your time – although you may feel woozy afterward. Don’t worry, it’s the good kind of woozy. 

Inside the museum, you can see a lot of Dali’s works such as dreamlike landscapes, distorted figures, and the famous melting clocks. Each of Dali’s pieces is packed with hidden meanings and symbolism, taking you like a roller-coaster through his mind.  

His masterpieces are not the only things you will see there. In the museum, you may find insights into his life, who influenced him, recreations of his workspaces, and many more. Whatever object could not be brought to the museum, you can at least find photographs of it. To get the most out of the experience, you could also join Dali Museum guided tours, as they can offer more insight. For more information on this matter, you may want to check our in-depth guide here. 

4.Check Out the Boqueria Food Market 

Whenever you go on a vacation, you cannot miss the local food. Obviously, you need sustenance to give yourself energy, but why not make it a gourmet journey as well? This is why you should check out the Boqueria Food Market Barcelona, known for its vibrant atmosphere and wide array of food choices.  

La Boqueria has been around since 1834, gathering people from all around to either buy or sell produce. Found right in the heart of Las Ramblas, the place is a gastronomic paradise that introduces you to various foods. Some of them you may know, whereas others you may have never heard about. It is a place where you can indulge all of your senses and allow yourself to indulge in the plumpest, most succulent foods you’ve ever seen. 

There are more than 200 vendors out there, selling their fresh produce. You can find everything from local fruits and vegetables to cheese, fresh-caught seafood, olives, olive oil, and even the Spanish staple jamón. If you booked, say, an Airbnb in Barcelona with a private kitchen, you can buy the ingredients from the Boqueria Food Market to cook your meals. 

Even if you don’t want to cook, the Boqueria Food Market also has numerous tapas bars where you can try out the local cuisine. The Pinotxo Bar is one of the most coveted options there, and you may try a variety of delicious dishes such as lamb stew (or as they call it, “cap i pota”). The food is very rich and delicious and will give you renewed energy to keep strolling through Barcelona.  

The best part about the Boqueria is that the people aren’t only there to sell food. Each person there is very passionate about their crafts. Considering that all of them are spending good hours selling their products, they always love it when a customer takes them out of their boredom. It wouldn’t be difficult at all to strike up a conversation and learn about their culinary culture. You may be able to gain some insight into the Barcelona gastronomic heritage, and perhaps even recreate a few dishes once you get home. 

When you visit the Boqueria Food Market, you aren’t just satisfying your appetite – you are immersing yourself in the culinary heart of Barcelona. It’s best to come here with an open mind and an empty stomach because there are endless products that you could try out here. Follow this link to learn more about the Boqueria Food Market! 

Roof Top Bar Crawl Barcelona

5. Hit the Rooftop Bars 

When it comes to getting the perfect view, Barcelona seems to be the master of that. This is one of the reasons so many parks provide a panoramic view. There is something special about watching the city glisten as you are watching from a high spot. And what could make that moment even more perfect? A glass of wine, or perhaps a sangria.  

Sadly, because of the municipal regulations of Barcelona, you are not allowed to drink in public places such as parks. If you try it, you may just end up spending your wine money trying to cover your fine. Luckily, you are covered, with one of the cool things that you can do there: hitting the rooftop bars in Barcelona.  

There are plenty of rooftop hotels you can go to, the most popular ones being Ayre Hotel Barcelona Rooftop and the Sagardi 1881 Roof Top. Sagardi 1881 is particularly beautiful, as it not only offers a beautiful view of the Barcelona Skyline but also of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the perfect place to lounge with a mojito and feel the breeze. Click here to read a more in-depth guide on the best rooftop bars in Barcelona. 

6. Go on a Day Trip to See the Surrounding Gems 

Barcelona is packed with a lot of experiences and attractions within the city that can keep you busy. However, if you have the time, there are many cultural treasures and breathtaking scenery right over the city borders. This is often a good idea for those who visit Barcelona in their car, but there are also plenty of trains and other forms of transportation that you could take. 

While you’re planning a day trip to the surrounding gems, here are some top attractions near Barcelona that should make your must-see list:  

The Vineyards:

You’re on vacation, and a glass of wine is the best thing to enjoy while you are traveling. There are several vineyards along the way, all of which provide Spanish delights and cheese along with your glass of wine. If you are planning to go on a vineyard spree, you may want to leave the car in the hotel parking lot and check the train station. It would be a shame to be a designated driver and not be able to enjoy these one-of-a-kind delicacies. 


If you are in the mood for visiting natural landscapes and escaping the Barcelona bustle, you may want to check out Montserrat. This glorious mountain range is located only about an hour away from Barcelona, and it’s very popular with the Benedictine monastery at its top. The Montserrat Monastery is particularly popular, as the 11th-century construction houses the Black Madonna statue. This attracts numerous visitors from all over the world every year. 


If you want to step back in time, you can give the small Girona city a try. Packed with a lot of medieval charm, this place is around 100 km (62 miles) away from Barcelona, which means that you could easily make this into a road trip. The city is very well-preserved, from the ancient city walls to the narrow streets paved with cobblestone. The colorful houses also bring joy to everyone lucky enough to pass the city. Girona not only has a rich past but also a wonderful personality. 


Found along the Mediterranean coast, this charming and picturesque city marks one of the top cool things to do in Barcelona and its surroundings. The culture is vibrant yet relaxing, and nothing beats taking a stroll on those sandy beaches. The seafood is delicious, and the views from the seaside restaurants are stunning. Sitges is also quite laidback as a community, known for its friendliness towards the LGBTQIA+ community. 

As you can see, Barcelona has numerous places nearby that can give you lots of entertainment. You may also read our in-detail guide for more attractions near Barcelona. 

7. Embrace the Nightlife 

Very often, when you visit a new city, you might be very disappointed that nothing much goes on at night. If you are not a night owl, this may not bother you much. However, if you like to bust clubs at night, a city with no nightlife may put a damp spot on your vacation. Nothing makes you feel more unfulfilled than wanting to party all night long but being forced home as the only bar closes at 1 AM. Or worse than that is not knowing where to go.

The cool thing about Barcelona is that this place never really sleeps. In fact, once the sun sets, the city becomes livelier. Wherever you go, you feel the hussle and bussle, energy, and excitement that follows you through the entire day and night. Whether you are in the mood for a live music show or want to hit the floor at a dance club, you have your pick of places to go to.  

There are multiple bars and clubs that you can go to, most of them spread over three areas: El GòticEl Born, and Port Olympic. That being said, there are other areas where you can enjoy quality time during the evenings such as Gracia, which is more locals and expats. Each of them offers a different vibe depending on what you are looking for. There is a venue for every taste, so you can grab your gang and see what the nightlife in Barcelona has to offer.  

El Born is usually the area that most people start with when they want to embrace the nightlife, as it’s in the heart of the city. The streets there are narrow but with a bohemian vibe, catering to the cosmopolitan and hip crowd. There are several places there where you can enjoy some pre-dinner drinks. The street called Rambla del Borne is a hot spot for people, day and night wanting to have food and drinks on the many terraces.  As the night progresses, you may discover some of the hidden gems of the side street such as Paradiso, Collage Cocktail Bar and Bar Brutal Wine bar, just to name a few.

Most bars close at around 2-3 in the morning, but the discos and clubs open around midnight and will stay open until about 5-6 AM. Before you hit the non-stop bars, you may visit the Hard Rock Café situated at the top of Las Ramblas (especially if you love the genre). The place closes at around 2 AM on weekends, so it can mark your starting point before you go to the clubs. 

If you want a place with more history, you may want to go to El Gòtic. There are plenty of atmospheric bars in the Gothic Quarter, all in buildings that withstood the test of time. Considering the number of bars in this area, it is understandable why some of the cool things to do in Barcelona include bar jumping. You can start your evening at a traditional and cozy bodega with a glass of Vermont, after which you can move on to the other venues. 

Bar Manchester is very popular for its Britpop music and tap beer, but you may also try The Bollocks if you are in the mood for a rock-themed bar.  One of my personal favorites’ in Gotic is Rei de Copes. Not only because of the friendly staff and the vibe, but because it sits smack bank in the middle of the beautiful plaza Reial.

If you’re feeling beachy, Port Olympic also has numerous bars and clubs that stay open until the early hours. For instance, Carpe Diem offers a fabulous view of the sea. You can enjoy a very tasty dinner before the club atmosphere begins at night. There are plenty of bars at the beach, so if you want to dip your toes in the water or feel the sand underneath your feet, there are some places there that can make you feel alive. 

Check out our Private Barcelona Bar Crawl for some experienced Barcelona city fun.

8. Cool Off at the Ice Bar 

Barcelona is a very beautiful city, with warm temperatures that are generally very pleasant for a stroll in town. This is to be expected from a city situated in a Mediterranean climate. The problem is that during summer, temperatures can go past 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). Unless you are a fan of high temperatures, walking around during the daytime may feel like a stroll through a gigantic oven.  

This is why you may want to add the Ice Bar Barcelona to your list – you can find it between some of the city’s biggest clubs. When you enter this place, it will feel like nothing short of a frosty wonderland. The entire bar is made from hand-carved ice, which the staff keeps at -5 degrees Celsius (23 Fahrenheit).  Everything else is made from ice too, even the tables, making it a special icy attraction in Barcelona. 

There are also numerous ice sculptures inside, carved by international artists. Each of those carvings tells a story about Barcelona, bringing you on a cultural journey. It’s the perfect place for you to snap a couple of pictures in a frozen wonderland, feeling like Elsa in her ice castle. The entire experience can make you feel like you just went into a grown-up alternative of Narnia, only with more alcohol and less snow. Fun, right? 

This bar is often passed by many people during summer, as they believe themselves to be under-dressed. However, the staff expects that you wouldn’t be carrying around a winter coat during the dead of summer. This is why they’ll be the ones to provide you with a jacket, gloves, and anything else you need to stay warm. That being said, you may still want to prepare with some long pants, or at least have them in your bag. Not even a thick parka will help you much if you are wearing booty shorts, so be prepared.  

Drinks are also as great as everything around you. The cocktails are served in ice glasses, so you won’t have to worry that your drinks will go cold. Each sip of the cocktails will tantalize your taste buds, making you feel invigorated. Once you go back, you’ll already feel cool enough to handle the summer heat. You can read our guide on the Ice Bar for the hottest (or coldest) scoops. 

9. Check Out Gaudis Buildings

Antoni Gaudi is a great name in Barcelona, as his genius led to the creation of many buildings there. In fact, his surrealism and brilliance are the reasons why Barcelona is considered an architectural marvel of the world. Each of the Antoni Gaudi buildings creates a story, defying convention and standing out in a crowd. His creations are more than just buildings – they are ideas that came to life, bringing sheer awe and a whimsical personality into our reality.

One of his most popular creations is the Sagrada Familia, a basilica that was born from Gaudi’s desire to create the perfect spiritual retreat. When designing the building, Gaudi wanted it to feel ethereal, but also bring architectural significance. And upon looking at its façade, you can safely say that he succeeded. The towering spires, the plays of colors and light, the sheer grandeur of the place, everything makes this building stand out. It looks beautiful, yet it feels like it’s out of this world.

Sagrada Familia is not the only awe-inspiring building that Gaudi designed. Park Güell, for instance, makes you feel like you just stepped into a fairytale. It beautifully blends nature with architecture, and the iconic terrace provides a great panoramic view of Barcelona. There’s a reason why this park was labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s because there’s no other construction like it.

Casa Milà
 and Casa Batlló are also two of Gaudi’s greatest masterpieces. If you are looking for cool things to do in Barcelona, you may want to take a day just to visit all of his marvels. As the Master of Art Nouveau or Catalan Modernism, Gaudi continues to inspire artists to this day. For more information, you can read our in-depth articles on Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona so that you can create the perfect itinerary.

10. Go on a Helicopter Tour 

When you are visiting a new city, you may feel like you want to see everything but do not have the time to go through it all. Well, one of the cool things to do in Barcelona also includes a helicopter tour. You’d be surprised how easy it is to hire a helicopter tour in Barcelona. This way, you can see most of the iconic landmarks without feeling like you are losing precious daytime. Plus, you get the adventure of a lifetime through the simple fact that you’re riding a helicopter.  

One of the most popular options for Barcelona helicopter tours is the Sky Tour. This tour only takes 12 minutes, but it will likely be the most thrilling 12 minutes in your life. During this helicopter ride, you will be taken over by the most popular attractions in Barcelona, giving you a gorgeous panoramic view of everything. It picks up from the coastline and goes over every point of interest such as the World Trade Center, Barcelona Beaches, the Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou Stadium, and more. 

If 12 minutes are not enough for you, there are other helicopter tours in Barcelona that you can try out. This includes the “Monserrat & Sky Tour Private,” which can only be booked on Saturdays. This tour is not only limited to Barcelona, but it will also take you over to the sacred mountain of Monserrat. Imagine being able to see the monastery without driving that big distance or without having to hike. You’ll feel much more relaxed afterward, which allows you to tackle your next attraction. 

The best part about this second tour is that it’ll take you away from the city and give you a glorious view of the mountains. You’ll see the trees popping up and how majestic yet peaceful everything is. You’ll be able to compare the serenity and sheer size of the mountain with the bustling life of the city. As the helicopter glides back to gracefully reach Barcelona, you’ll get a stunning view of the Llobregat River valley, a picturesque place that will leave a great impression. Read our guide on helicopter tours in Barcelona so that you can be prepared.  

The Bottom Line 

Barcelona has a lot to offer, no matter if you are looking for beauty, culture, or experiences. Whether you want to look at gorgeous buildings or sip on a cocktail at a rooftop bar, Barcelona will not allow you to feel bored. You just need to add the right cool things to do in Barcelona to that list. 

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