There are hundreds of architectural points of interest in Barcelona, but these five highlights are among those not to be missed.
Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu: This former hospital—Gaudí spent his last days here in 1926—is today home to Catalonia’s national library and the Institute for Catalan Studies. Constructed during the 15th and 16th centuries, the hospital is a fine showcase of Barcelona’s prevalent Gothic architecture.
La Sagrada Família: Even in its incomplete state, Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most-visited attraction in the entire country, stands as one of the world’s most spectacular manmade creations. Given the crowds, it’s a good idea to book your ticket in advance and skip the queue.
Palau de la Música Catalana: One of Europe’s great concert halls, this marvellous UNESCO-certified Art Nouveau structure was built in the early 20th century. If you can’t get tickets to a live musical performance—or perhaps even if you can—join one of the one-hour guided tours offered daily, every 30 minutes, between 10am and 3:30pm.
Park Güell: Along with La Sagrada Família, this fantastical world-famous park headlines Barcelona’s Gaudí architectural trail. Finished in 1914 and opened to the public 12 years later, Park Güell features landscaped gardens, grand terraces, colourful mosaics, and colonnaded walkways.
Santa Maria del Mar: This cavernous cathedral is a sweeping, though beautifully restrained, example of Catalan Gothic architecture. Constructed in the 14th century, Santa Maria del Mar often hosts classical music performances—the acoustics are incredible—and offers daily-guided tours that include a visit to the rooftop.