15 Iconic and Famous Buildings in Barcelona to Add to Your Bucket List
A guide to the most iconic buildings, famous architects and famous landmarks in Barcelona, Spain
One of the most visited cities, Barcelona is home to the most famous building in Spain and some of the most iconic buildings in the world. The capital of Spain’s Catalonia region has its own unique atmosphere with its fabulous Gothic architecture combined with later influences of the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.
Barcelona’s architecture with its twists and turns will play with your imagination and amaze you many times during your trip. So let’s take a look at the 15 most famous buildings in Barcelona that should be on your list.
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1. Park Güell
Park Guell is a sprawling venue composed of gardens and quirky architectural pieces located on Carmel Hill from which you get a breathtaking view of the entire Barcelona. One of the major works of Gaudi in Barcelona, it was originally intended as a residential park for Barcelona’s aristocrats, but eventually became one of the most famous Barcelona landmarks.
Gaudí is the most famous architect in Barcelona, if not all of Spain, and his iconic buildings are considered to be among the best architecture in Barcelona. So it’s no surprise that Park Güell is now a most famous landmark in Barcelona and officials started charging entrance fees.
While Park Guell is away from the center of Barcelona, it’s still located within the city limits.
You can spend a lot of time wandering around this gem that features The Gaudi Museum, the entrance pavilion and an incredible panoramic view from the balcony.
If you are visiting during the peak tourist season which falls in late spring through early fall, you should book your tickets online to skip the crowds.
The Palau Güell is one of the prettiest buildings in Barcelona and thus very popular. It’s thus very important to book in advance as the entrance is limited.
2. Casa Batllo
Located in the center of the city, this famous house in Barcelona is another architectural jewel created by the Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. Nicknamed “The House of Bones” by locals, Casa Batlló is known for its elegant terraces, bright colors and unusual facade.
Casa Batllo is one of the reasons why Barcelona is considered one of the most beautiful places in Spain.
Along with nearby Casa Amatller and Casa Leo Morera, Casa Battlo comprises a so-called “Block of Discord” – prominent modernist houses located on the same block. Gaudí is considered the greatest exponent of the Catalan modernist movement, and most of his iconic buildings are in this style.
If you are willing to pay for the entrance, I highly recommend taking some time to explore the inside with a guided audio tour. The major pet-peeve of many travelers is the long line at the entrance which can be avoided by buying tickets online and showing up early.
This Gaudí designed building is one of the main tourist attractions in Spain, and one of Barcelona’s most iconic buildings. It is without any doubt one of the top Gaudi Houses in Barcelona.
3. Casa Amatller
Right next to Casa Battlo you’ll find Casa Amatller, a Catalan modernistic building that is often ignored by tourists because of its more famous neighbor. The neo-gothic facade of the building probably will remind you of the Dutch architecture, and rightfully so, because it was inspired by the buildings in the Netherlands.
Take a guided tour inside the building and learn about the history of art in Barcelona.
Casa Amatller is one of the most famous Barcelona, Spain buildings.
4. Casa Lleó-Morera
Along with Casa Battlo and Casa Amatller, Casa Lleo-Morera is one of the most grandiose modernist constructions in Barcelona. The design of the building and the details of the balconies are intricate and impressive.
Similar to Casa Amatller and Casa Battlo, you can purchase tickets online and take a guided tour of the building to learn about one of the geniuses of the Catalan modernism – Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
5. Casa Mila ( La Pedrera)
Case Milla is located only a few minutes away from Casa Batllo, and is another famous house in Barcelona. Just like Casa Batllo, Casa Mila is nicknamed “The Quarry House” because its irregularly shaped facade resembles a quarry. The rooftop of Casa Mila is a major attraction thanks to the amazing city views.
To skip the long lines which are also typical for this place, I strongly recommend booking your tickets in advance.
Casa Mila is one of the masterpieces of Catalan art.
6. La Sagrada Familia
Gaudi’s masterpiece is probably the most photographed piece of famous architecture in Barcelona. In fact, it is easily the most famous building in Spain.
While there are countless interpretations of what Gaudi was trying to portray through his artwork, La Sagrada Familia is an indisputable testament to his unrelenting imagination and religious devotion.
Despite still being under construction, this Roman Catholic church is considered some of the best architecture in Barcelona. It consistently draws huge numbers of tourists year round, so prepare to brave the crowds.
The main highlight of the interior of La Sagrada Familia are the columns that stretch toward the ceiling.
If you look closely, you will notice that the style of construction is somewhat different between the old and new parts of the church. This difference has created a lot of controversies, as some think that Gaudi would not have approved of the construction methods that are used to finish his most famous work.
This building can already be seen as UNESCO World Heritage. It is one of the most visited Gaudi buildings in Barcelona. The building is a must-do, even if you just have 48 hours in Barcelona.
7. Arc de Triomf
The Arc de Triompf is a red-brick triumphal arch that was built as the gateway to the fair in the Parc de la Ciutadella, but today it serves a purely decorative purpose.
One of the most famous monuments in Barcelona, the triumphal arch has numerous details and motifs that are definitely worth checking out.
So, take a few minutes to walk down the palm-tree avenue and take a peek at this architectural marvel.
8. Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Barcelona.
Full of history, the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is the gateway to the Old City. It has trendy bars, restaurants, and nightlife combined with centuries-old buildings and cathedrals. The Gothic Cathedral, a majestic 13-15th-century building is the major highlight of the area which shouldn’t be missed.
On top of it, the Gothic Quarter boasts several of Barcelona Spain’s prominent buildings such as Sant Jaume Square and Church of Santa Maria del Pi.
Other places located within the Gothic Quarter that are worth visiting are Plaça del Rei, home the Museum of History of Barcelona and Plaça Reial, a popular gathering place with a lot of restaurants and a lively atmosphere.
La Boqueria is a market well-known for its large assortment of products. Even though it’s technically located right on the border of the Gothic Quarter, you should take a walk around and breathe in the unique atmosphere of this historic place.
9. Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar
One of the best examples of the Catalan Gothic Style, Santa Maria Del Mar (Our Lady of the Sea) is located in the Ribera district of Barcelona. Completed in the 14th century, the church took over 50 years to be built.
Make sure to check out the inside of the church and take a guided tour to one of the rooftop terraces if you want to learn more about the history of the cathedral. The tour is available from May to October.
The church is known for its unique architectural style with a simple interior devoid of any imagery and stern-looking outside complete with an ornate nave.
I recommend you take this tour early morning before the venue gets crowded. This building is less known but is one of the reasons why Barcelona is considered one the top city breaks in Spain.
10. The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor – Tibidabo
Tibidabo Cathedral or with its Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor ( Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ) is another famous building in Barcelona. This church sit on top of Mount Tibidabo, from which it gets its name.
Climb up the stairs to the top of Tibidabo cathedral and you will be rewarded with an amazing panoramic view of Barcelona and more. While the cathedral’s entrance is free, you have to pay 2 euros for the elevator to get to the top.
The venue is accessible by public transport, including buses and trains.
11. Hospital Sant Pau
One of the most famous buildings in Spain is the Hospital de Sant Pau, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Barcelona. This iconic building is the largest Art Nouveau complex in the world.
As the name suggests, Hospital de Sant Pau was a fully functioning hospital until 2009.
But after a newer hospital was opened up across the street, the building was restored and reopened as a museum and cultural center in 2014. The former hospital complex also has gorgeous gardens and intricate mosaics.
12. Palau de la Música Catalana
Palau de la Música Catalana is often grouped together with Hospital de Sant Pau due to both being UNESCO sites built by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. But this building is one of Barcelona’s famous landmarks in its own right.
This iconic Barcelona building is full of fascinating history, some of which is only viewable by guided tour.
The colorful stained-glass skylight, doubled headed eagle statue and Art Nouveau sculptures make Palau de la Música Catalana one of the most famous buildings in Spain.
13. Torre Bellesguard
You might also recognize Torre Bellesguard by the name Casa Figueras. This is another iconic modernist building by famous Barcelona architect, Antoni Gaudí.
The design for Casa Figueras was inspired by the medieval castle originally built on the land in the 15th century for the King of Aragon. In 1900 Jaume Figueres bought the land and castle ruins and commissioned Gaudi for a project.
Gaudi was given free reign to design, unfortunately this wound up being disastrous for the family.
Due to delays and Gaudí’s obsessing over details, the family nearly went bankrupt and had to sell the home. This famous house in Barcelona has been open to the public for the past 30 years.
14. Pavilion Mies Van der Rohe
Although this is one of Barcelona’s famous buildings, it isn’t for everyone. It is definitely worth a visit for those interested in minimalism, modernist art and architecture.
Also known as the German Pavilion and Barcelona Pavilion, this iconic building was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich for the 1929 International Exposition. It is an important building in both modern and minimalist architecture.
With its adjacent pool, the Pavilion is reminiscent of expensive minimalist homes on TV, but what makes it stand out are the materials. The Pavilion is build using expensive and heavy materials, particularly golden onyx, travertine, and green marble.
15. Camp Nou
Football fans will be happy to see Camp Nou make the list of famous landmarks in Barcelona.
Since it was built in 1957, Camp Nou has been the home stadium for FC Barcelona. The stadium holds just under 100,000 people making it the largest football stadium in both Spain and Europe and the third largest in the world.
The easiest way to see this iconic building is to watch a football game or visit the attached museum dedicated to FC Barcelona. But true fans should book a guided tour with a journalist to get special access and behind the scenes stories.
READ MORE: What is Spain Known For?
About the Author
The Discovery Nut is a website about traveling the less discovered locations and encouraging others to get out of their comfort zone. Daria Bachmann has founded The Discovery Nut as she wanted to share her passion for traveling to the less known places. Through writing and videos that can be found on her website and YouTube channel. She hopes to inspire others to venture out into the world and discover new destinations.
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