Barcelona famous buildings: 14 famous buildings in Barcelona: Did you know about all of them?

14 famous buildings in Barcelona: Did you know about all of them?

Every time I visit my boyfriend in Barcelona he tells me: When walking around Barcelona, instead of looking down, you actually have to look up. Why? Because one building looks more beautiful and unique than the next one. Barcelona has so much to offer for lovers of architecture and history. There are so many beautiful buildings to admire and interesting monuments to see. But in this blog post, we will focus on 14 famous buildings in Barcelona. Yes, we will talk about Antoni Gaudí and the famous buildings in Barcelona he designed. But not only that, a couple of the buildings in this list made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list.


I am pretty sure that you might already know some of the famous buildings on this list. But I bet there are a couple of ones you did not know about yet! So let’s jump into it: Here are 14 famous buildings in Barcelona and what you should know before visiting them.

Affiliate links may be sprinkled throughout the free content of this blog post. If you purchase from one of the links I may receive a small commission while the price for you stays the same. This helps me cover the costs of The Lithuanian Abroad. Gracias!

Other blog posts about Barcelona that could interest you!

Let’s do a self-guided walking tour around Barcelona: This post includes a complete itinerary for a self-guided walking tour in Barcelona. I made sure to include the city’s most important monuments and places to see. + An interactive map you can download!


Barcelona Bucket List with more than 20 activities: This post is a bucket list for visiting Barcelona so that you will never run out of ideas about what to do during your trip. It features the most important Gaudí buildings, museums, monuments, sunset spots and more!

25 free things to do in Barcelona, a budget-friendly guide: And you thought visiting Barcelona has to be expensive?! This guide includes more than 25 things you can do in Barcelona for free. Which even includes one Gaudí building, the best museums, parks and more.

What to do in Barcelona during the evening and at night: This post includes the best ideas about what to do in Barcelona at night. Here, I show you Barcelona’s best cocktails bars, sunset spots, and other amazing activities you can do in the evening. Check it out 🙂


Make sure to do a free walking tour in Barcelona

Free walking tours are one of my favorite things to do when I go on a city trip. It’s a great way to see the most important parts of the city and learn a lot about its history. The local guides always do an amazing job showing you not only the tourist spots but also the secret places only locals know about.

How do free walking tours work? Free walking tours do not come with an exact price tag, which is why they are free. You will spend some hours walking around Barcelona with your local guide, and I promise you, you will learn a lot about the city. At the end of the tour, you will have the chance to leave your local guide a tip. And it’s really up to you how much you would like to tip him. It really depends on how much you liked the tour and what’s in your budget.Advertisements

You can find more information about free walking tours and book your free walking tour in Barcelona here.

AdvertisementsTake the hop-on hop-off bus in Barcelona

The hop-on hop-off bus will be a lifesaver if you are not planning to stay in Barcelona for long, but still want to see as much as possible of the city. Even though Barcelona is very walkable, which is one of the reasons I love visiting it, you cannot always walk to the monuments that are further away from the city center. So how do hop-on hop-off buses work?

These red buses are driving around Barcelona in a circle, attending more than 30 stops. These stops are usually close to the most important monuments in the city. With your ticket, you can get on the bus at your closest stop. Once you reach your desired destination, get off the bus and explore the surroundings. When you want to continue your trip, you just have to walk to the closest stop. The next bus is usually only a couple of minutes away.

The tickets start at 30€/day. You can find more information here.


Let’s start: 14 famous buildings in Barcelona you should know about:

1. Barcelona’s most iconic building: La Sagrada Familia

Okay, number one is not going to surprise anyone: You have to visit the Sagrada Familia when coming to Barcelona (Duh!). It is probably Spain’s most iconic landmark, which up to this day remains unfinished. The construction of the Sagrada Familia already began in 1882 and currently is planned to be finished in 2026. This would make the centenary of the death of Antoní Gaudí, the famous architect behind this majestic building. 

Like many other sources you probably already have checked out, I do recommend seeing the Sagrada Familia from the inside. If you are planning to visit the Sagrada Familia you really should book your tickets in advance. That way you can skip the queue at the entrance, which will save you loads of time! You can book your tickets here. 


By the way, if you want to have a unique view of the Sagrada Familia, the rooftop terrace from Hotel Ayre Rosselón is the place to go! From there, you will have the best view of the Sagrada Familia. You will feel like in a movie. The reservation is free, but you have to order food/drinks when you are there.

You can book your reservation at Hotel Ayre Rosselón here

2. Another famous Gaudí building to admire: Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló is another gorgeous building you cannot miss during your Barcelona trip. Again, we have to thank the one and only Antoni Gaudí for it, who designed a couple of buildings on this list. Casa Batlló is a beautiful building located on the central street of Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona.   In 1903, it was acquired by Josep Batlló who did not like its design and therefore hired Gaudí to redesign the building in 1904. Right after Sagrada Familia, this will be another UNESCO World Heritage site in Barcelona you can cross off your bucket list. 

Nowadays, you can go inside Casa Batlló and admire the beautiful interior design of the building. Believe me, there is a reason why people say it’s one of Gaudí’s best works. It’s completely out of this world!

You can find more information about Casa Batlló and book your tickets here.

3. A famous building in Barcelona locals used to hate: La Pedrera

Casa Milá, also known as La Pedrera, has a very interesting history. This building was built between 1906 and 1912 and it was designed by guess who? Right, Antoni Gaudí. But here comes the interesting part: 

Because of its unusual design, many locals did not like the building and started calling it La Pedrera (in Spanish: Stone quarry). Some homeowners in the area were even scared that this ‘ugly building’ would decrease the prices of other buildings in the area. Can you believe that? I honestly doubt anyone would dare to call this building ugly now! 

Something that you should know is that La Pedrera has a spectacular terrace! And not only that, there are light shows during the evening on the rooftop that you can attend. Sounds like this could be the highlight of your Barcelona trip.

La Pedrera offers incredible night shows. You can book your tickets here.

4. Casa Amattler, a beautiful building most people miss!

Casa Amattler is a beautiful building that is located right next to Casa Batlló. Since most people admire the beautiful and more known Casa Batlló sometimes Casa Amattler does not get the attention it deserves. But here is what you should know about it: 

This building was designed by the famous Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. It was built in 1875, but later redesigned by the lover of archeology and chocolatier Antoni Amatller. It was owned by the Amatller family for almost a whole decade which is the reason why the inside is incredibly well preserved. Currently, it serves as a house museum and café. 

5. Palau de la Música Catalana, a jewel of Barcelona

Palau de la Música Catalana is a very unique concert venue in Barcelona. So exceptional, that it is the only concert venue as such in the world that ever received UNESCO world heritage status.

Palau de la Música Catalana is the perfect example of a building in the style of Catalan modernism and was inaugurated in 1908. It was THE place for concerts, orchestras, or any other events with instrumental music. 

Nowadays, you can do self-guided tours in the concert hall and see its beautiful interior. You will even get to see the concert hall and see the beautiful decorations of each room. You can book your tickets and find more information here.

6. Look out for Palau Güell, a beautiful building right on La Rambla

When you walk down La Rambla you might not even realize that you are walking past another one of Gaudí’s artworks: Palau Güell. Many people do not know about it, but this building is just as impressive as other famous buildings in Barcelona on this list.

This building was built between 1886-1890 and let’s see if you knew the following: Eusebi Güell was a wealthy business man and wanted to build a mansion close to where his parents lived. By the way, La Rambla was not a great neighborhood of Barcelona back then. It was infamous for its nightlife, full of strip clubs and gambling halls. Building a house like that in that location? Seems crazy! You have to check out this mansion from the inside to make yourself a picture. It primarily served Güell for receiving and entertaining guests. Make sure to check out the roof. It is so unique and beautiful!

And because I am all about saving money, I am leaving you a tip about how to visit Palau Guell for free: There is free entrance on the first Sunday of each month. You have to book your free ticket before going.


7. Admire Barcelona’s beautiful Cathedral

The Cathedral of Barcelona was named after the patron saint of Barcelona “Santa Eulàlia”, hence the complete name is “Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia“, which means “Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia”. 

This gorgeous building is from the 15th century and is a perfect example of Catalan gothic architecture. But the actual construction took way longer: The construction of the Romanesque church started in 1058. The construction of the actual cathedral started 200 years later. The last part of the cathedral, the neo-Gothic facade was only added in the 20th century.   After the Sagrada Familia, this is the second most important church in Barcelona. 

By the way, the perfect place to admire it is the “Colón” hotel right across of it. The views from the rooftop terrace to the cathedral are incredible!

8. A beautiful monastery from the 14th century: Monasterio de Pedralbes

Monasterio de Pedralbes is a very beautiful place in Barcelona that you should not miss. It’s a beautiful monastery from the 14th century that is incredibly well-preserved. 

The monastery houses its own exhibition, which has many pieces of furniture and other artifacts. But it also shows temporary exhibitions from time to time. Just look at the beautiful cloister of three floors and the quiet garden with orange trees and a fountain. This is one of the places that, in my opinion, is definitely worth visiting in Barcelona!

9. Palau Nacional of Montjuïc, one of Barcelona’s most glorious buildings

Montjuïc is one of the places you cannot miss during your Barcelona trip, especially during sunset! The name “Montjuïc” means “Jewish Mountain” in Catalan and refers to the area of Barcelona where the Jewish community used to live. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular areas to visit for tourists and locals. The views you have from up there are just incredible! 

Since we are talking about famous buildings in Barcelona in this blog post, I wanted to mention the Palau Nacional in Montjuïc. It was the main location of the famous 1929 International Exhibition. Nowadays it is home to the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Advertisements


10. Casa Vicens, Gaudí’s first building in Barcelona

Casa Vicens was the first important job Antoni Gaudí ever received in 1883. Wealthy businessman Manel Vicens i Montaner decided to trust Gaudí with the design of a summerhouse in the beautiful neighborhood of Grácia. During that time, Grácia was a suburb of Barcelona where many wealthy families had a holiday house. 

You absolutely have to see Casa Vicens from the inside. It’s such a colorful building that is absolutely unique. Stylistically, it belongs to Gaudí’s oriental phase. And you will be able to find many elements to prove that. The highlight will definitely be the “smoking room”. The colors are from out of this world!

You can buy your tickets for visiting Casa Vicens here.


11. Torre Glòries, a famous building in Barcelona’s skyline

Okay, you probably thought about it and I am gonna say it: Yes, locals do compare this building to a huge penis in Barcelona’s beautiful skyline. But according to French architect Jean Nouvel, Torre Glòries was designed to have the shape of a geyser rising into the air. So stop it with the dirty mind!

But there is more to know about this building than just this anecdote: 

Torre Glòries has a total of 34 floors and is 144m high, which makes it the tallest building in Catalonia! It looks especially beautiful lit up in the evening. Have a look at it in your Barcelona skyline photos in the evening!



Barcelona’s most famous hotel: W Barcelona Hotel 

The W Hotel, also known as Hotel Vela, is a famous hotel right at the beach in Barcelona right next to the port. It is a luxury 5-star hotel that belongs to Marriott International and operates under the brand W Hotels.

This hotel owns 473 rooms, 67 suites, a rooftop, a gym, several pools, and everything you could even ask for in a 5-star hotel. Their restaurant is operated by the famous Spanish Michelin-starred chef Carles Abellán. If you are interested in staying there, you can find more information about availabilities and prices here. 

Here, I also want to mention some controversies about this building: Many locals complain that the building does not comply with Spanish coastal laws which prohibit the construction of a building closer than 100m to the shore. You can tell that this building was built right at the beach. So can anyone tell us what exactly happened there? 

13. Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Tibidabo

When walking around Barcelona you probably already have seen a hill in the distance with a building and a big statue overlooking Barcelona. That is Mount Tibidabo, the highest mountain in the Serra de Collserola mountain range surrounding Barcelona.

The church at the top of the mountain is called Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús and features a big statue of Jesus. The views you have from Mount Tibidabo of Barcelona and its coastline will blow your mind!

By the way, visiting Mount Tibidabo in Barcelona is the perfect one-day trip. I wrote a detailed guide about visiting Tibidabo, which you can find here. 

14. Camp Nou, the biggest football stadium in Europe

I thought we also have to mention the iconic Camp Nou stadium here, which is the biggest football stadium in Europe. If you are a football fan, this is a place you have to check out. Apart from the stadium, you can visit the FC Barcelona museum. It shows the history of the team and you get to see trophies the team has won in its history. There are guided tours that show you the stadium, too.

I feel like it’s interesting to mention the following fact: In March 2022 it was publicly announced that Spotify made a deal with FC Barcelona and acquired the naming rights of the Stadium. In July 2022, the stadium will be renamed Spotify Camp Nou.

You can get your tickets for the stadium tour and museum here.

10 Modernist Buildings in Barcelona You Shouldn’t Miss

If you are an architecture or Gaudi lover, here is the perfect guide to help you enjoy the most iconic modernist buildings in Barcelona, including helpful booking and visiting tips to make your trip easier.

Barcelona is well known for its iconic architecture, whether it’s Catalan modernism, modern architecture or the famous grid pattern of the Eixample District.

But it is Catalan Modernism by architects such as Antoni Gaudí and Josep Puig i Cadafalch, amongst others, that the city stands out for. The amount of Modernist buildings in Barcelona is pretty extensive, and if you love this style of architecture you will feel like a kid in a playground and you’ll want to visit them all.

So I have selected here the top ones to get you started in your architectural exploration of this incredible city.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Top Modernist Buildings in Barcelona
    • 1.1 Sagrada Familia
    • 1.2 Casa Batlló
    • 1.3 Casa Amatller
    • 1.4 Casa Milà (or La Pedrera)
    • 1.5 Casa Vicens
    • 1.6 Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
    • 1.7 Palau de la Música Catalana
    • 1.8 Parc Güell
    • 1.9 Palau Güell
    • 1.10 Casa de las Punxes
  • 2 Barcelona Pass Modernista
  • 3 Planning your trip to Barcelona
  • 4 Visiting Spain? Check out my other Spain articles

Top Modernist Buildings in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

Located in one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia is Gaudí’s most famous work and his ultimate masterpiece. It has been a work in progress since 1892, and it’s predicted to be completed in 2026, in time for the centenary of Gaudí’s death.

He took over the project from another architect who resigned one year into the construction of the cathedral, and completely transformed the plans, and incorporated Gothic with the non-linear and geometric elements characteristic of his Modernist style.

The Sagrada Familia was his last project, which he left incomplete after he was run over by tram at the age of 73 in 1926.

One of the most impressive things about this building is the effect the light has in the interior of the cathedral, playing with the space and colours.

This is one of top things to do in Barcelona, so the queues can be long. I highly recommend skipping the line and booking your Fast Track ticket in advance.

Address: Carrer de Mallorca 401, Barcelona
Opening Times:
Nov – Feb: 9am to 6pm / Mar & Oct: 9am – 7pm / Apr – Sep: 9am – 8pm

Book Your Sagrada Familia Skip the Line Ticket Here

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló is arguably the flagship building of Catalan Modernism in Barcelona. The original building was built in 1877 when there was still no electric light in Barcelona.

In 1903, it was purchased by Josep Batlló y Casanovas, a prominent textile industrialist, who contracted Gaudí to demolish it and build a new house, who instead reformed the existing building and turned it into a work of art.

Gaudí used elements such as ceramics, stone and forged iron to create a fluid space with organic shapes. There is hardly a straight line in the whole building.

The roof resembles the back of a dragon, with its arched shape and its scales for tiles. And there is a theory that the rounded tower crowned with a cross represents the lance of Saint George, patron saint of Catalonia, plunged into the back of the dragon.

This dragon theme is something that can be seen in many of the buildings he designed, like in Casa Botines in León.

Casa Batlló is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must see if you are interested in Gaudí’s work, Barcelona’s history and visual arts, even if you only have one day in Barcelona.

Casa Batlló can get extremely busy and the queues can double back around the block, so I would recommend visiting first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening.

One way to avoid queuing twice (one queue to buy the ticket and another to enter) is to buy a fast-track ticket in advance

Address: Passeig de Gràcia 43, Barcelona
Opening Times: 9am to 9pm (last entry 8pm)

Book Your Casa Batlló Fast Track Ticket Here

Casa Amatller

Located right next door to Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller was built by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in a modernist-gothic style with Dutch influences, for Antoni Amatller, an important chocolate industrialist.

This row of houses of which Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló are part of, is known as the Manzana de la Discordia (or Block of Discord or Bone of Contention).

It includes four of the most important Modernist buildings in Barcelona, all by four different architects, and all with completely different styles but all of them clashing and competing for the most impressive architecture of the time.

Puig i Cadafalch used elements from Romanesque and Catalan Gothic and reinterpreted them for a façade that is full of symbolism and decorative elements. The combination of colours and materials makes this building stand out even today.

It doesn’t get as busy as its more popular neighbour, but if you are pressed for time, book your priority ticket here so you can walk straight in. You can either choose a self-guided tour or a guided one, and both options include a cup of Amatller chocolate at the end.

Address: Passeig de Gràcia 41, Barcelona
Opening Times: 10am to 6pm

Book Your Casa Amatller Priority Ticket Here

Casa Milà (or La Pedrera)

Also known as ‘La Pedrera’ (The Quarry), Casa Milà was commissioned by industrialist Pere Milà i Camps when Gaudí was at the height of its career and creativity.

The building was initially publicly ridiculed because of its unusual designs, but it is now considered one of the most important modernist buildings in Barcelona.

Built over a period of just four years, it is Gaudí’s last private residential work. The façade, with its forged iron balconies, is an organic undulating and fluid shape that takes its fluid shapes from elements from nature.

You can see throughout the whole building that Gaudí has used nature as inspiration and this is reflected on the lines, shapes and colours everywhere you look.

Casa Milà was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

During your visit you will see the Whale Attic with Gaudí’s famous catenary arches, the iconic Warrior Rooftop (which sadly I missed because of bad weather), and the Tenants’ Aparment, where you can see how an early 20th century bourgeois family lived.

You will also see the Flower Courtyard and the Butterfly Courtyard, as well as the exhibition hall located within the Milà family’s apartment.

This is an extremely popular site to visit in Barcelona, so booking your ticket in advance is highly advisable.

Address: Passeig de Gràcia 92, Barcelona
Opening Times: 9am to 8.30pm (last entry 8pm)

Book Your Casa Milà Skip The Line Ticket Here

Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens is Gaudí’s first masterpiece. But despite this, it is the new kid on the block of all the Modernist buildings in Barcelona, as it’s only been open to the public since 2017.

Built for a stock and currency broker in 1883 as his summer residence, Casa Vicens kicked off the Modernist movement in Catalonia and in Europe, making it very significant in architectural terms.

Gaudí broke away from tradition with this building by using a variety of different materials such as iron, glass, ceramic tiles and concrete, and by incorporating different architectural styles with Moorish influences, and oriental and neoclassical elements.

Casa Vicens is the most eye-catching Modernist building in Barcelona in my opinion, with its bright coloured patterned exterior. It was a private residence until 2014 and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can book your ticket to visit the whole house at your own pace or join a guided tour.

Address: Carrer de les Carolines 20-26, Barcelona
Opening Times:
1stApril – 14thOctober – 10am to 9pm (last entry 6.40pm)
15thOctober – 31stMarch – Mon 10am – 3pm (last entry 1.40pm) / Tues-Sun 10am – 7pm  (last entry 5.40pm)

Book Your Casa Vicens Ticket Here

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

The Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, also known as Sant Pau Recinto Modernista, is the largest Modernist complex in the world.

It worked as a hospital until 2009, when the medical facilities were relocated and the complex was rehabilitated and prepared to receive public visits, finally opening in 2014.

Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the leading architect of Catalan Modernism, it came to be as a result of a merger of six hospitals.

The complex has a palace and 12 pavillions, which you can visit at your own pace. The intricately decorated façades and impressive main building are guaranteed to capture your imagination.

Patterned tiles, bold mosaics and colourful stained glass windows are elements that you can see through out the whole complex.

This is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the Palau de la Música Catalana, and a must visit in everyone’s plans of Modernist Barcelona.

You can visit the Sant Pau Recinto Modernista by booking a ticket here.

Address: Sant Antoni Maria Claret 167, Barcelona
Opening Times:
Nov – Mar: (Mon – Sat) 9am to 5.30pm / (Sun) 9.30am to 3pm
Apr – Oct: (Mon – Sat) 9.30am – 7pm / (Sun) 9.30am – 3pm

Book your Sant Pau Recinto Modernista Ticket here

Palau de la Música Catalana

The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and built between 1905 and 1908. Following the typical Catalan Modernism style, dynamic shapes are more predominant than static forms and curves are preferred to straight lines.

Highly decorated, it was the wealthy citizens of Barcelona that helped finance this building that requested characteristics that symbolised the Catalan character.

The concert hall is still in use today and it sits about 2,200 people. It is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light. The enormous stained glass skylight is a masterpiece and truly spectacular.

Besides attending a performance, the Palau de la Música Catalana can be visited by buying a ticket for a self-guided tour.

Address: Calle Palau de la Música 4-6, Barcelona
Opening Times: Easter – July: 10am to 6pm / Aug: 9am to 6pm / Rest of the year: 10am – 3.30pm

Book a Self-Guided Tour of the Palau Música Catalana here

Parc Güell

Ok, this one is not a building per se, but it contains a few modernist buildings and it is a Catalan Modernism masterpiece, so I’m including it here.

Parc Güell was commissioned by Gaudí’s best client and friend Eusebi Güell, and it was here that the architect perfected his personal style and his trademark technique of ‘trecandis’ (broken tile mosaics).

The Parc encloses a number of buildings, including Gaudí’s House, that are clearly identifiable as his work.

The most famous areas of the Parc are the colonnaded hall and the terrace with serpentine shapes, from which you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Barcelona. In front of the colonnade is where you will also find the iconic dragon covered in mosaics.

If you are looking to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit Parc Güell is first thing in the morning. Saying this, the terrace is perfect for sunset time, but bear in mind that it will be extremely busy.

In recent years, the number of visitors to Parc Güell has been controlled by a ticketing system to what is now known as the Regulated Zone, so make sure you skip the queue by booking your ticket online.

Opening Times: 8am to 9.30pm (last entry 8.30pm)

Book your Parc Güell Skip the Line Tickets here

Palau Güell

It may not look like one of his works from the outside, but Palau Güell was built by Gaudí for his friend and industrial tycoon of the 19th century, Eusebi Güell.

The façade doesn’t resemble anything that Gaudí has built before, which in my opinion makes it more interesting and intriguing. However, you will be able to identify his trademark designs in the interiors.

You will find catenary arches throughout the building, and colourful tile mosaics in the back patio and rooftop terrace, as well as other characteristic elements.

Palau Güell is located in the Gothic Quarter, which is unusual too, as most of the Modernist buildings in Barcelona are in the chic Eixample District. Make sure you don’t miss visiting the stables in the basement, which are pretty impressive and I’d happily make them my own home!

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Palau Güell is not as popular as other Gaudí buildings, so visiting feels a bit off the beaten path, and you will likely have the building to yourself and a handful more people.

Address: Carrer Nou de la Rambla 3-5, Barcelona
Opening Times: Apr – Oct: 10am to 8pm / Nov – Mar: 10am – 5.30pm / Closed on Mondays

A 5-day Northern Spain Itinerary By Train – Cider, Bagpipes And A Surprising Gaudí

Casa de las Punxes

Casa de las Punxes, or House of Spikes, has only been open to the public since 2016. The official name of this medieval-inspired house is Casa Terradas, named after the Terradas family, who commissioned this building to Puig i Cadafalch.

The visit to Casa de las Punxes is a bit different to most Barcelona’s modernist buildings. As well as learning about the history of the house through interactive and educational displays, you learn about the Legend of Saint Jordi (Saint George), the patron saint of Catalonia.

The building is full of symbolism acknowledging the patron saint, and the museum takes you on a journey through a number of multi-sensory displays combining video and animation.

Don’t forget to visit the beautiful terrace and get up close and personal to the punxes (spikes) that give the building its nickname and enjoy the spectacular views of the city.

Address: Avenida Diagonal 420, Barcelona
Opening Times: No longer open to the public

Barcelona Pass Modernista

If you are going to be visiting a handful of Modernist buildings in Barcelona, you may want to consider getting a Barcelona Pass Modernista for €90 (~$100USD).

It includes free admission to a number of Modernist buildings such as Casa Amatller, Casa de les Punxes, Casa Vicens, Sant Pau Recinte Modernista, Palau de la Música Catalana and others.

Barcelona Pass Modernista
Buy it online here

Planning your trip to Barcelona

Ready for your Barcelona adventure? Use this travel toolkit

  • Plan your trip to Barcelona with these guidebooks.
  • Get the best deals on flights with Skyscanner.
  • Find the perfect place to stay on
  • Discover more about Barcelona through local experiences.
  • And last, but not least, don’t leave without travel insurance!

Do you have other suggestions for Modernist buildings in Barcelona?
Let me know in the comments!

Visiting Spain? Check out my other Spain articles

  • 19 Exciting Things to Do in Valencia, Spain – An Insider’s Guide
  • 8 Reasons to Visit Valencia This Year
  • A Photographic Journey Through Alicante’s Old Town, Spain
  • Valencian Treats and Tastes: A Food Tour with Valencia Urban Adventures
  • Learning the Secrets of Real Paella in Valencia

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Disclosure: A big thank you to Visit Barcelona, who provided me with a Press Pass.  As always, all views are my own.


Teresa Gomez

Teresa is an award-winning travel blogger based in London. She’s on a mission to explore the world through responsible cultural and adventure travel, and through deeper, more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and she’s always looking for ways to make a positive impact through sustainable travel.


Barcelona Modern Architecture: 10 Cool Buildings

In one day in Barcelona you can see ancient ruins and Catalan Art Nouveau, sit on the steps of the 14th century Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter and immediately go to the Museum of Modern Art. Barcelona harmoniously combines architectural traces of different eras and makes them convenient for citizens.

The 1929 World’s Fair and the 1992 Olympic Games attracted the attention of famous and aspiring architects. Their experimental projects have already grown into the fabric of the city, and some of them have become its symbols. Barcelona in the 21st century continues to amaze. You can walk along the embankment and the main streets, or you can go to the sleeping areas – interesting objects of modern architecture will meet you everywhere. Yana Alexandrova, who runs the Geometry of Barcelona blog, talks about ten of them.

Park Forum
(Carrer de la Pau, 12, Sant Adrià de Besòs)

Barcelona has recently become a magnet for first world tourists, expats and wealthy retirees. Before the 1992 Olympics, there were practically no beaches in the city, and the area near the sea could hardly be called well-maintained. Barcelona’s coastline is a testament to how shabby neighborhoods and abandoned industrial outskirts can be turned into places that are enjoyable to live in and proud to show off to guests. One example is the Forum Park (Parque del Forum), located a few stops from the main tourist attractions, on the border of Barcelona and the satellite city.

The park was built in 2004 for the opening of the World Cultural Forum, designed by architects Elias Torres Tour and José Antonio Martínez Lapeña. They did it on a grand scale – for exhibitions and concerts designed for tens of thousands of spectators. It also hosted Primavera Sound and other festivals canceled in 2020. In its free time from events, Park Forum is a place for those who want to feel the grandeur of space. There is where to walk, play sports, and the geometry of architecture, the combination of the sea and white stone make the park a great place for photo shoots. On the square there is a lead triangle of the Museum of Natural Sciences, next to green dunes, in which two concert halls are hidden. On one side of the park there is the sea, on the other side there is a modern quarter with skyscrapers. The football field-sized photovoltaic panel is visible from all nearby beaches. The panel, made up of 2,688 solar panels, provides energy to all Forum buildings, thus preventing the emission of 440 tons of carbon dioxide per year. From May to September, a swimming area is open in the park – without sand, but with all the beach infrastructure.

In addition to aesthetics and infrastructure, this place is interesting for its history, which runs parallel to the history of Barcelona. At the beginning of the 19th century, the French military opened a shooting range in the future territory of the park, marking it on the map as Campo de la butte (French shooting range). Over time, butte evolved into the Spanish bota, meaning boot. Under Francisco Franco, there was a firing line here, at which those who posed a danger to the regime were destroyed. In the 1950s, the wall was left unused, and the inhabitants of the coastal slums pilfered it for building materials. Last year, a memorial was erected in the park with the names of 1,706 people who were shot here from 1939 to 1952.

Almost the entire 20th century, the territory was occupied by slums typical of Barcelona – a one-story squatter building on the seashore. Workers who arrived in developing Barcelona from other provinces and Andalusian gypsies settled here. In the poorest quarters of the city, flamenco stars and crime stars grew up. Residents of the last barracks were resettled in 1990, including in the La Mina quarter, whose panel high-rise buildings can be seen from the bridge near the Forum Park.

(Plaça d’Ernest Lluch i Martin, 5)

From the Forum begins Diagonal Avenue, crossing Barcelona from the coast in the northeast to the mountain trails in the southwest. Here, next to the Museum of Natural Sciences, the skyscraper Diagonal 00 (Diagonal 00, Diagonal Zero Zero, Torre Telefonica) was built. Because of the sharp angles with which this tower cuts the sky, it is sometimes compared to the triangular Flatiron Building in New York.

Diagonal 00 is not the tallest building in the city, but it is definitely one of the ten giants – its height is 110 meters. The facade is made of glass and white aluminum and creates a striking contrast with the sky, especially in clear weather, which is not uncommon in Barcelona. From a distance, Diagonal 00 resembles the prow of a huge liner facing the open sea. The skyscraper was designed by EMBA and won the LEAF Awards for Office Building of the Year in 2011. There is some irony in the fact that the windows of the tower, bought out by a Filipino billionaire’s company last year, overlook the coastal region where poor Filipino fishermen settled in the 19th century.

Bac de Roda or Calatrava Bridge
(Puente Bac de Roda o Puente de Calatrava, Carrer Felip II)

The architect Santiago Calatrava has developed a style that is unmistakable. Its snow-white buildings and bridges have become part of the panorama of cities in Europe, Asia, North and South America. In his native Valencia, he created the Biotech City of Arts and Sciences. His most famous work in Barcelona is the Montjuic TV tower, built for the Olympic Games 1992 and inspired by the silhouette of an athlete carrying the Olympic flame. But there is another, no less interesting object of his authorship.

Between 1984 and 1987, Calatrava built his first bridge, the Bac de Roda. This project brought him worldwide fame. The bridge, known among the people of Barcelona as the Calatrava bridge, passes over the railroad tracks and connects two districts: Sant Martí and Sant Andreu. The upper part of the structure seems thin and light, like a cobweb. This effect is achieved due to the bends and play of light in steel arches and cables tied to concrete supports. In preparation for the Olympics, the Barcelona authorities paid attention to the areas adjacent to the railway. The most problematic of them were resettled, while others demanded qualitative changes. The bridge was conceived not just as a link between the divided parts of the city: it was also assumed that this bright element would ennoble the environment and contribute to its development. 9Photo: Ralf Roletschek

Photo: Santiago Calatrava


Encants Market
(Carrer de los Castillejos, 158)

Built in 2013 by b720, the Encants Market building attracts attention from afar with its pointed roof. From the inside, it is covered with golden mirrors, the broken edges of which reflect the Brownian movement of the market. Due to the pandemic, Enkants is still working with restrictions, but even now in the mornings there is a queue near the entrance. Here you can find rare and not so rare things, participate in an auction, try on jeans on a newspaper, buy local products and eat sardines in one of the bars. This popular market in every sense unfolded not far from the Glories (Agbar) tower and the @distrito22 business district adjacent to it.

Encants is a special place for the natives of Barcelona. They go here because their grandmothers shopped here. The owners of the shops continue the family business. This is one of the oldest markets in Europe – the first mention of it dates back to the 13th century. Its ancestor is considered to be the medieval market in Piazza Sant Jaume, where the property of the dead was auctioned off to help their families, pay for the funeral and repay debts. Then Enkants moved several times and by the 20th century it had grown and turned into one of the main markets of the city. They say in Barcelona: “If you can’t find something on Encants, then it doesn’t exist.” Here you can find antiques and jewelry, appliances and cosmetics, spare parts and books, products from Catalan farmers and street food for every taste. But you need to know how to search. If you love flea markets, then Enkants should be on your program.

Auctions are a special feature of this place. They are held on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings and gather a lot of people who want to bargain. Enkants is the only market in Europe where this medieval tradition is still alive today.

When it comes to groceries, Catalans often prefer markets to supermarkets, even though the latter are cheaper. Products in the markets and shops are considered to be of higher quality and environmentally friendly, in addition, family traditions and the desire to support local producers play a role.

far from the market is the project b720 and Jean Nouvel – the Glories tower. The skyscraper is lined with glass panels and shimmers in the sun in red and blue. This is one of the symbols of Barcelona, ​​which can be seen from different points of the hilly city. At night, the tower is illuminated, and on New Year’s Eve, a light show is arranged here.

The old name Agbar is an acronym for Aigües de Barcelona, ​​the city’s water company. A few years ago, the building was renamed the Torre Glories Tower – in honor of the square on which it stands. It is difficult to say what exactly inspired the phallic shape of this skyscraper. It was built in 2005, at a time when thoughtful analyzes of funny architectural forms were in vogue. There are many versions: from cucumber to the peaks of Mount Montserrat or the Sagrada Familia bell tower. Perhaps this was Jean Nouvel’s answer to Sir Norman Foster, who designed the world’s first cucumber skyscraper – in London.

Photo: Zona Industrial

Park Spain Industrial
(Parque de la España Industrial, calle Muntadas, 37)

District near the Barcelona-Sants train station seems to be made entirely of glass and metal. Graffiti painted concrete, street noise, strict geometry of business centers – everything is saturated with a harsh urban vibe. But very close there is a place where you can relax in peace, surrounded by water, greenery and art. This is a park built on the site of the Spain Industrial textile factory. At 19In the 70s, the owners of the industrial giant moved production outside of Barcelona and planned to build up the vacant place with skyscrapers. But local residents actively protested against the construction and won. The result was the Spain Industrial Park, built in 1985 and reconstructed in 2009 to its current state.

Nine futuristic lighthouses separate the park from the bustle of the city. Here you can relax on the white (in spring and summer sunglasses are required) steps of the amphitheater, go down to the turquoise pond, play basketball and table tennis, sit down with a book in the shade of Mediterranean trees. The design of the park is inspired by the unity of the four elements: water, earth, fire and air. Sculptor Andres Nagel added a 12-meter-high metal dragon to the ensemble, part of which became a slide for children and a ramp for skaters. They say the park is not always clean, but it’s as lucky.


(Parque Central de Nou Barris, Pl Major de Nou Barris, 1 )

The Nou Barris district of Barcelona is either not mentioned at all in guidebooks and realtor reviews, or is mentioned as a dubious place where people with dog heads live. In fact, this is a large district, which includes 13 districts that differ from each other in architecture, infrastructure and demographic composition. There are no tourists here and you can see ordinary citizens: find out what houses they live in, what parks they walk in, what bars and schools they go to. There are no well-known attractions, but for those who are interested in architecture and urbanism, there is something to see. There are many faceless barracks in remote areas 1950-60s, in which not only low ground floors are inhabited, but also basements with a single window. And the areas closer to the center are much better equipped than the sleeping bags of any post-Soviet city.

Nou Barris Central Park (Parque Central de Nou Barris) is located on the site of the former Santa Creu Psychiatric Hospital. It appeared much earlier than most of the houses in the area. The hospital was open from 1889 to 1987, now in its place is the district administrative center, a library and a police station. The hospital itself is recognized as part of the architectural heritage of Catalonia, and during the development of the area it was treated with respect: elements of the Nou Barris park and typical Barcelona high-rise buildings are designed in the same color scheme as the historic building of Santa Creu. The park received the International Urban Landscape Award and became an example of how a modern and safe recreational place can be made in a residential area. Ponds and fountains are equipped here, 50 species of plants are planted, there is an area for street workout, picnic tables, a children’s sports complex in the form of a giant whale and an old aqueduct – in general, the place is hospitable for residents of all ages.

009 (Ctra. Reial, 106, Sant Just Desvern)

Following the trail left by the Catalan Ricardo Bofill in the architecture of Barcelona, ​​​​it would be worth devoting a separate review. These buildings are very different in style and character: the hotel-sail Hotel W on the coast – a recognizable detail of beach photos from Barcelona, ​​the National Theater of Catalonia in neoclassical style, La Fábrica – a former cement factory, which the architect converted into his house and workshop, which is difficult to get into mere mortals. But the object closest to the people is the Walden 7 apartment building in the suburbs of Barcelona.

From afar, this representative of social housing looks more like an element of the Martian landscape than anything human. Initially, the project was called “City in Space”, but eventually acquired the name of a book that influenced the concept of the building. This is Walden Two, a utopian novel by psychologist and philosopher Burres Skinner. It describes a separate and self-sufficient community of about a thousand people who established their agriculture, industry, medicine, education and art, and on this foundation created an unattainable beauty for 19For 48 years, a world in which they lead a healthy lifestyle, work four hours a day and rest, without abusing alcohol and political activity. By 1970, when Bofill began designing the future home, the idea of ​​a community building had not been innovative for a long time, but the architect was interested in the possibility of giving it a new form.

Walden 7 consists of 18 towers, 14 floors and 7 well-yards connected by a labyrinth. Inside there are even streets named after Albert Einstein, Ivan Pavlov and other personalities known for their contributions to science and culture. The facade is lined with terracotta tiles, however, over time it had to be shifted. The interior walls are painted turquoise, reminiscent of jade stone. The contrasting combination is inspired by the nature and culture of Algeria, the red-brown land of the Algerian desert, where Ricardo Bofill and his team went during the development of the project.

The house is located in a quiet suburb of Sant Just Desvern, away from active city life, but has its own infrastructure. In this, it is similar to a modern residential complex with shops, a swimming pool, a restaurant and a kindergarten, but initially the price of apartments here was relatively low. It was assumed that it was the desire to live in a community that would attract people there. In the past, weekly rooftop pool parties were commonplace. Now in one of the courtyards, residents arrange film screenings. From the windows you can see the panorama of Barcelona and the same cement plant converted by Bofill into a workshop. Before the pandemic, it was possible to get inside with a guided tour, now it remains only to look for a secret entrance (if you really want to, you can always find it).

(Edificio Meridiana, Avenida Meridiana, 312-320)

Another unusual residential building outside the center. Its windows overlook Meridian Avenue, one of the busiest streets in Barcelona. A group of architects led by Oriol Bohigas worked on its creation. Decades later, the same group would take on the project of the Olympic Village, now a fashionable and expensive area near the sea and Ciutadella Park.

The Meridian Building was built in the 1960s, at a time when Barcelona’s industry was booming and demanded more and more workers. The population grew rapidly due to migration from other provinces in Spain, and the migration was followed by a building boom that expanded the boundaries of the city. This house was built as social housing, designed for workers and their families. But this is not a typical building, there is no second such building in Barcelona. It consists of apartments of the same size (73 m2), each of which has three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a bathroom. The scaly ceramic façade attracts the attention of passers-by on the opposite side of the avenue. A closer look reveals that the building’s windows are quite narrow and small, but this is not uncommon for economy class housing in Barcelona. However, landlords are using the rationalist aesthetic as an excuse to jack up the average price for an apartment in the area. 9Photo:

Photo: MarisaLR

Hotel de Gràcia, 83)

Toyo Ito compares architecture to clothing – the shell of a person , which loses its meaning without his presence. He creates curvilinear shapes that resemble the lines of the natural world. In this he is close to Antonio Gaudi, who said: “The tree is my teacher.”

Ito is known in Barcelona mainly for the projects of the Porta Fira hotel and the adjacent Realia BSN tower. But it is much easier to get to the Suites Avenue hotel, located in the heart of the city. The rooms offer views of Gaudí’s Mila Houses, which inspired the Japanese. He admitted that he did not want to take on the hotel project until he climbed to the roof of the building. From there, he saw Dom Mila, which he fell in love with during his honeymoon trip to Barcelona, ​​and this changed his mind. The façade of Suites Avenue is graphic strips superimposed on each other, made of stainless steel. As always, the view of the building opens up space for interpretations, the most romantic of which is sea waves reflecting the sun’s rays, and the most vital is fettuccine pasta or an unwound roll of toilet paper.

Photo: Derby Hotels Collection

Text – Yana Alexandrova

picturesque places of the city

This location is perfect for to spend time in a cozy atmosphere, drink a glass of wine and see Barcelona in all its glory. It is from here that stunning views of the Cathedral and the entire Gothic Quarter open up. At the disposal of visitors is a beautiful, minimalistic interior, bewitching landscapes and comfortable areas for relaxation. You can come here at any time until 22:00 to take great photos and enjoy a pleasant pastime. Sometimes live music evenings are held on the terrace – their schedule can be found on the official website. After sunset, this place takes on a special atmosphere thanks to the candles and night lights that are lit in the streets of Barcelona.

Panoramic terrace of the Hotel Colón ©

And now to the museums

Barcelona is a city forever associated with art. Therefore, the question of where to go in Barcelona to enrich yourself culturally is easy to answer. Go to the museum!

For example, at MACBA you will find a wide range of contemporary art from local and international artists. The originality of the exhibition lies in the fact that moving from hall to hall, one can trace the connection between various historical events and processes in art.

You can get a little closer to creativity in the Design Museum. Each floor here is dedicated to a specific theme – space design, industrial design and cultural heritage, printing and fashion.

Art lovers simply must visit the Pablo Picasso Museum, which contains the early works of the artist. True, in the high season there is a high probability of getting into an endless queue.

To dilute painting with science, head to CosmoCaixa, a museum that will tell about the relationship of mankind with nature and space. The exhibits here can not only be touched by hands, but also necessary. Demonstration of some processes occurs precisely due to such interactive. The visitor can take part in interesting experiments, stand under tropical rain or watch huge fish.

In the Museums of the History of Barcelona and Catalonia, it will be interesting to follow how the city and the region developed in different periods of time, and in the Museum of Egypt – to get acquainted with the collection of objects belonging to the pharaohs.

For dessert, you can leave the Chocolate Museum, founded by the Barcelona Confectioners’ Guild in a former convent. Here you can learn everything about your favorite delicacy and buy delicious chocolate souvenirs.

Another obligatory point of the cultural program is a trip to the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC). He showed up at 1990 thanks to the merging of the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Museum of Catalonia. The exhibition presents works of various styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Modernism. It is here that one of the largest and richest collections of medieval art is located. By the way, the museum building itself deserves no less attention – especially the Oval Hall, where the award ceremonies of the Olympic Games were held in 1992.

Prado Museum @ Catarina Belova / Shutterstock

Delicious Barcelona

Time for a snack! In terms of gastronomic pleasures, this city is a real expert. Where to go in Barcelona to make your stomach thank you? Here are some excellent establishments that will delight not only with delicious cuisine, but also with a pleasant atmosphere.

Spanish tapas and sangria © Goskova Tatiana / Shutterstock

Cafes and restaurants

  • Xiringuito Escriba is a culinary highlight and one of the best restaurants in Barcelona. Here you can try paella, traditional black rice with fish and seafood. The restaurant exists since 1992 remains a favorite among visitors to this day. It is better to book a table in advance.

Xiringuito Escriba is one of the best restaurants in Barcelona ©

Xiringuito Escriba is one of the best restaurants in Barcelona ©

  • Pudding is an Alice in Wonderland style cafe interior. It will be nice to have breakfast or enjoy a good dessert here. Large portions and low prices – what else do you need for a perfect snack?

Pudding restaurant in Barcelona – an Alice in Wonderland style cafe interior ©

  • Torre d’Alta Mar – a restaurant with the best panoramic views of the city and the beach. The price category is slightly above average, but the dishes from the chef will not leave anyone indifferent. The restaurant is recommended by the Michelin Guide for its attentive service, gourmet food and exceptional location.

Restaurant Torre d’Alta Mar ©

  • Dans Le Noir is a restaurant where you can dine in the dark. The philosophy of the institution is to surrender completely to the awakening of inner sensory sensations, which you draw only from smell and taste. Guests are offered a choice of one of the surprise menus – meat, fish, vegan or mixed. The use of telephones is prohibited. At the end of the meal, the lights are turned on and the guests are told what they ate. Interestingly, only a few visitors guess what food was on the plates.
  • Buenas Migas is a network of cafes located in different parts of the city. The establishments will please the tourist with a wide variety of dishes and very pleasant prices. A great option if you want to eat while walking.