Spain’s second city and proud capital of the Catalan heartland, Barcelona is a city that oozes fun. With a world class football team, an array of party packed districts, incredible food and cool city beaches, Barcelona is a city that calls people back again and again. Ahen doin Barcelona can be many things. From cultural to wild, you choose.
The Olympic site from the 1992 Barcelona games occupies more than 400 hectares near Montjuic and is a fascinating visit. The sports facilities are still used by Barcelona’s fitness fanatics, but if you’re coming for a wild hen or stag weekend you’ll still find the site a fascinating visit. Home to the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum, the Olympic stadium and Montjuic communications tower, visit for the great views and some beautiful botanical gardens.
This Gothic cathedral is the centrepiece of the Barri Gotic. Still the biggest religious building in the city, the cathedral sits in a lively square with a bustling market. Although not as famous as it’s cousin down the road, it’s still an impressive architectural sight.
The neighbourhood between the port and the beach, La Barceloneta is where the locals come to soak up the sun, enjoy tapas by the sea and generally hang out. You’ll find lots of great places to enjoy a sundowner cocktail or beer, or al-fresco restaurants and cafes to ease those morning hangovers.
Recognised world wide as a temple to football, Camp Nou is a formidable sight whatever team you support. If you’re on a stag do to Barcelona and you’re a fan of football then this is an unmissable stop. With a capacity of 99,354 it’s the world’s third largest stadium and the largest in Spain. FC Barcelona are one of the world’s best supported and most successful teams and are integral to the Catalan identity.
Casa Milà / La Pedrera
Barcelona is an architect's dream, with some of the most incredible buildings to be found anywhere on the planet. La Pedrera, aka Casa Mila, is probably the best known of the Gaudi works (aside from the big unfinished church down the road). This is the one with the rooftop covered in strange Star Wars stormtrooper helmet chimneys. The building also houses a fascinating museum to Barcelona and Gaudi and is a must visit.
A lesser known architectural marvel, Casa Planells is located on Avenida Paralel, in the heart of the city. Architect Josep Maria Jujol was commissioned to create a house on a small plot of land in a busy part of the city and the modernist Casa Plannells was born.
Estació de França
Often compared with Orsay Station in Paris (now a museum, the Musee d’Orsay), the Estacio de Franca, or French station is a quiet station that serves French stations. But it’s the grandeur and design of the station rather than the destinations it serves. A spacious wrought iron marvel, the station was designed for the exposition of 1929 and today makes a fascinating stop on an architectural tour of the Barcelona.
On the Eastern side of La Rambla, Barri Gotic is the old heart of ancient Barcelona. It’s winding streets still carry the echoes of the history of this fascinating city, with Roman era relics sitting alongside modern more Gothic inspired architecture. The area is packed full of cool bars and nightlife, boutique shops, local and international eateries, daily markets, plazas and museums.
Illa de la Discòrdia
A block of houses on a main street might not sound like much of a tourist attraction, but the Illa de la Discordia is not block of houses. Four of Barcelona’s most inspired and influential modernist architects have designed houses on this stretch, with Gaudi’s Casa Battló the most famous. Make sure to take a stroll and catch Casa Lleo Morera and Casa Amatller too!
The lifeblood of the city, this is Barcelona’s high street. La Rambla runs from the harbour front to La Placa de Catalunya, which acts as Barca’s town square. By day it is packed with cafes and restaurants, street performers and all manner of street food enticements. By night, the area comes alive, with clubs and bars found in many of the side streets around La Rambla. No visit to Barcelona is complete without a stroll down La Rambla, day or night.
Mercat de la Boqueria
Just off La Rambla, Mercat de la Boqueria is a huge bustling market open every day. The sprawling site is home to a variety of traders, offering everything from local meats and cheeses to international food stalls and home supplies. Wander the market sampling delicious tapas or local beers and wines or grab some amazing local produce to take home.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The Magic Fountain was created for the International Exposition of 1929 by Catalan architect Carles Buigas. A nightly display of colour and music co-ordinated with water acrobatics makes this one of the most enchanting tourist attractions in Barcelona. You’ll need to check the schedule for exact timings, but shows take place around 8 or 9 pm nightly.
Parc de la Ciutadella
A short stroll from the beaches of La Barceloneta and the buzzing centre of town is this stunning park. With a boating lake, fountains, tropical greenhouses and a Zoological museum housed in an old castle, the park makes a great place to take a stroll or picnic or have a hangover induced siesta under a tree.
Few cities have been so influenced by the work of one architect, but Antoni Gaudi really did leave his mark. Park Guell is a free to enter park which features an array of Gaudi architectural features alongside stunning views and beautiful gardens. The man himself actually lived here in the park too.
Plaça Sant Felip Neri
This pretty square, a stone’s throw from the cathedral in Barri Gotic is built on an old medieval cemetery. An oasis of calm among this frenetic city, the square is home to a church and a shoe museum that used to be the offices of the guild of shoemakers. There’s also some tragic history associated with the site, with shrapnel damage visible on the church which was bombed by Franco’s forces in 1938 killing 42 people, most of them children.
Towering above the skyline, Sagrada Familia is truly a sight to behold. No matter how many times you’ve seen its image, up close it is even more impressive. Work started in 1882 and bit by bit the cathedral is nearing completion. In fact, it’s scheduled to be finished in 2026 but you can visit today and marvel at the Gothic masterpiece in progress.
The Carmel Bunkers
Former anti aircraft bunkers don’t spring to mind as great tourist attractions for most. But these old encampments in the Turo de Rovira (a hill not far from Parc Guell) are worth a visit for the incredible views across the city. By their very nature of being anti aircraft guns, they would have needed a 360 degree view and as such the vista is amazing.
As one of the most visited cities in Europe, you’re sure to find Barcelona a great choice for yourhen weekend. Spend the day being cultural, exploring the fascinating history of this amazing city, then try and keep up with the party mad locals. The local lifestyle of tapas and drinks before a big night is easy to get used to, plus there are bars, nightclubs and beach parties for all tastes. And as a bonus, ease your hangover with a stroll around one of the amazing parks or with a swim in the Mediterranean sea. Check out moreBarcelonaweekend ideas to really make the most of your hen weekend.