Barcelona is the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia in the northeast of Spain. Its metropolitan area is home to nearly 5 million people which makes it the 5th-largest metropolitan area in the European Union after Paris, the Ruhr area, Madrid, and Milan.
The city is also filled with historical buildings, many of which were designed by some of the most famous architects in history, including Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech I Montaner. These two men among multiple other Catalan Modernist architects left a permanent mark on this magnificent city.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona, buildings you simply have to put on your list of things to see here!
1. La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Família or Basilica of the Holy Family is one of the most famous churches in the world, mainly because of its unique design by Antoni Gaudí. The other reason it’s one of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona is that it’s still a work in progress, even though construction started in 1882.
The design of this Roman Catholic minor basilica combines both Gothic and Art Nouveau architectural elements and is considered to be Gaudi’s ultimate masterpiece. Even though it’s the most famous church in Barcelona, it’s not the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of the city.
2. Casa Milà
Casa Milà is also known as “La Pedrera,” (which translates to “stone quarry) and is another remarkable building in Barcelona designed by Antoni Gaudí. It’s another prime example of the Catalan Modernist architectural style and was built between 1906 and 1912 for the Milà family.
One of the most remarkable features of this building, apart from its peculiar design elements, is that it has a self-supporting stone façade, a revolutionary design element in the early 20th century. The building has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013 and is sometimes used for cultural and educational purposes.
3. Camp Nou
Did you know that Barcelona is the home of the largest stadium in Europe and one of the biggest stadiums in the world? Camp Nou is the stadium of the popular football club FC Barcelona and has a total seating capacity of 99,354. A serious renovation is scheduled as well in the upcoming years which will bring the capacity to over 100,000.
The stadium will be renamed “Nou Camp Nou” upon completion and will surely increase the stadium’s purpose as a popular tourist attraction. Apart from standing in awe of this magnificent sports temple, it also features a popular museum which is part of the tour for visiting sports fans.
4. Park Güell
Park Güell is a pubic park located on Carmel Hill in the La Salut neighborhood in the Gràcia district of Barcelona. It features numerous architectural sculptures and gardens which turn this little area into a magical land. The park also overlooks the city of Barcelona which makes it a popular spot for tourists to visit.
The structures in the park were commissioned by Eusebi Güell, a rich Catalan entrepreneur, and designed by Antoni Gaudí. The park was built between 1900 to 1914 and opened to the public in the year 1926. It has also been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984.
5. Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is another building designed by Antoni Gaudí and is located right in the heart of Barcelona on the Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample District. It wasn’t a completely new structure as the existing house on the site was remodeled by Gaudi and his assistants in the year 1904.
The house is known locally as the “Casa dels ossos,” which translates to the “House of Bones,” referring to its skeleton-like architectural elements. What makes this fascinating structure even more remarkable is that it is flanked by 3 other famous buildings designed by the most renowned Catalan Modernist architects in history.
6. Torre Agbar
The Torre Agbar, originally named after the Agbar Group that built it but currently known as the “Torre Glòries,” is one of the most fascinating skyscrapers in Barcelona. It’s located near the Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, a square that forms the entrance to the technological district of Barcelona.
This remarkable 28-story office tower was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and stands 144.44 meters (473.88 feet). It was built between 1999 and 2004 and has dominated the Barcelona skyline ever since.
7. Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral is the short name of the “Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia.” Even though this magnificent Gothic church is overshadowed by the most famous church in Barcelona, the Sagrada Família, this is the city’s main church and the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona.
The construction of the church started in the year 1298 and was largely completed in the year 1420. the exuberant Gothic façade was the final addition to the church and was built in the late 19th century. The roof of the cathedral is topped with countless sculptures of gargoyles and mythical animals.
8. Palau Güell
The Palau Güell is a mansion commissioned by rich tycoon Eusebi Güell and designed in the 1880s by Antoni Gaudí. The structure was completed between 1886 and 1888 and was especially focused on welcoming VIP guests in the magnificent main room of the structure.
This remarkable room has holes in the ceiling through which lanterns were hung at night to resemble a starry night. This fascinating structure can be found in the El Raval neighborhood of Barcelona and further emphasizes the mark that Gaudi has left on the city.
9. Arc de Triomf
The Arc de Triomf is an amazing triumphal arch located on the Passeig de Lluís Companys which leads all the way up to the Ciutadella Park, a park that was created in the mid-19th century.
This remarkable monument was designed by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas in the “Neo-Mudéjar” or “Neo-Moorish” architectural style. It was built to serve as the main gate of the 1888 Barcelona World Fair.
10. Torre de Collserola
The Torre de Collserola is one of the most astounding towers in the world, located right on top of the Tibidabo hill in Barcelona. This is the tallest hill in the Serra de Collserola, the mountain range near the city, as it rises to a height of 512 meters (1,680 feet). This also means that it’s one of the best spots to get astounding views of the city.
The tower was built in honor of the 1992 Summer Olympics that were held in Barcelona and serves both as a TV and radio transmitter and observation tower. It was designed by one of the most renowned architects in the world, Sir Norman Foster. The antenna has a height of 288.4 meters (946 feet) and the top floor is situated at a height of 152 meters (499 feet).
11. Casa de les Punxes
Casa de les Punxes is also known as Casa Terradas and is one of the most remarkable buildings in Barcelona’s Eixample District. It was designed by another Catalan Modernist architect named Josep Puig i Cadafalch and was completed in the early 20th century.
The building was commissioned by a rich Catalan textile entrepreneurial family and designed to have a medieval feel to it. The 6 pointed towers are how the building got its name. It’s considered to be one of the most iconic structures in Barcelona and was declared a historical monument of National Interest in 1976.
12. Monestir de Pedralbes
The Monestir de Pedralbes or “Monastery of Pedralbes” is a large Gothic monastery that was constructed in the 14th century. It was commissioned by King James II of Aragon for his wife Elisenda de Montcada in 1326 and also features an adjoining palace where they lived.
The monastery was originally named “Pertes Albes” which literally translates from Latin to “White Stones,” a reference to the material used for its construction. It houses the tomb of the woman for whom it was built, Elisenda de Montcada, and today it serves as a museum.
13. Palau de la Música Catalana
The Palau de la Música Catalana or “Palace of Catalan Music” is a concert hall that was designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was built between 1905 and 1908 in the fascinating Catalan Modernist architectural style.
Even though it was commissioned by the “Orfeó Català,” a choral organization that was founded in 1891, a lot of the funds to build the structure were donated by wealthy Catalan industrialists. This has resulted in one of the most amazing landmarks in Barcelona that was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
14. Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, locally known as the “Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor,” is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located right on top of the famous Tibidabo Hill in Barcelona.
This magnificent structure was built between 1902 and 1961, even though the church was consecrated in the year 1952. It consists of a Romanesque crypt and the main building which was built in a neo-Gotic architectural style.
15. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is an amazing fountain located in the Montjuïc district of Barcelona, right in front of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, also known as the “Palau Nacional.” The fountain along with most buildings in the area was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona World Fair, the second and final World Fair to be held in the city.
The enormous fountain sprays 700 gallons of water a second through 3620 jets with the highest jet spewing water up to 51 meters (170 feet) in the air. The fountain in combination with music and an amazing light show makes this the perfect location to relax in Barcelona in the evening!