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With centuries of history to explore over miles of winding streets, sightseeing in Barcelona might seem a little intimidating. But all you have to do is tackle this list of the essential experiences to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

Essential experiences to enjoy everything in Barcelona

 

Wander Las Ramblas

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a stroll through Las Ramblas, the wide, shady boulevard that runs through the heart of the city from Plaça de Catalunya down to Port Vell. Whether you’re taking in a street performance, ambling beneath the trees, or people-watching from a terrace, there’s never a dull moment here. To get a bird’s-eye view of all the action, finish your Ramblas route at the 18th-story mirador at Columbus Monument for panoramic views of the city and sea.

Hang out in Park Güell

Park Güell is Gaudí’s greatest triumph in urban planning and shows the sculptor at his most organic. Using the Collserola foothills as his canvas, Gaudí designed an architectural park whose structures (houses, fountains, pillars, walkways) often appear to be extensions of nature. Columns shoot up like tree trunks, arches are jagged like cave openings, and fountains are guarded by giant lizards with scales fashioned out of mosaic tiles. As you leave the monumental area and follow the steep, uphill path, let the sweeping views awaiting you at the top be your motivation. As with many Barcelona attractions, it’s wise to buy tickets ahead, since the park allows just 400 visitors per half hour.

 

Stroll Manzana de la Discòrdia

For a crash course in Catalan Moderniste architecture, just walk up Passeig de la Gràcia in the Eixample district to Manzana de la Discòrdia, a city block featuring buildings designed by Barcelona’s four most renowned Modernistas: Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and Enric Sagnier.

The “discord,” of course, refers to the rivalry among these architects, each of whom was trying to forge his reputation at the time as the leading mind in Modernism. By most counts, Gaudí eclipsed his competition with Casa Batlló, whose undulating façade and kaleidoscopic mosaics make it one of the city’s most emblematic and visited sites.