Here are are top recommendations on what to see and do while in Barcelona:
Mercat de Santa Caterina: Located at Avinguda de Francesc Cambo 16, is a market that is known for its unique colorful and wavy roof which was completed in 2005.
La Boqueria on La Rambla 91: This is one of the best food markets in Europe according to many sources. It has wonderful produce, meats, fish, cheese, chocolates and sweets. I had lunch at El Quim de la Boqueria, which was highly recommended. It was a really great choice. I would suggest going early around 12:30 to get a seat at the bar.
Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Pavilion: Located at Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guardia 7 in Parc de Montjuic. This is a must see for architecture fans. This is one of van der Rohe’s most outstanding works. It was built as the German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and then dismantled at the end of the event in 1920. It was reconstructed between 1983 and 1986 on its original site. The Barcelona chair is featured and is one of the most famous pieces of 20th-century design. The chair was custom made for the German Pavilion.
Palau Musica Catalana: Check out their website for a list of concerts and events. The exterior architecture is great but the ceiling in the Sala de Concerts is amazing. I saw a classical guitar concert and enjoyed the evening.
Cathedral de Barcelona: I would recommend a quick visit.
Sagrada Familia: This should be a must on your list of things to see. It was Gaudi’s main undertaking which is a cathedral based on the Latin cross. Gaudi took over the project in 1882; in 1883 he made fundamental changes to the first project and continued the work until his death. The crypt was built in 1884 – 89 and the Nativity façade finished in 1905. The four bell towers were completed in 1925 – 30. The drawings were lost in, I believe, the Spanish Civil War and had to be redone completely. The transept elevation of the Passion was started in 1960. Work continues today to finish this huge project. The interior is really exceptional.
Casa Batllo, Passeig de Gracia 43: Another of Gaudi’s homes not to be missed. It was a renovation of an existing building completed in 1906. It contains his famous broken tile mosaics on the exterior and on the roof. As you walk through make sure to take note of the stained glass windows in the drawing room and the wooden doors and windows.
Colonia Guell: If you have time take the Metro to Placa Espana and connect to a suburban line. Go to the town of Colonia Guell and walk from the station into town. Here the Guell family owned a large textile manufacturing facility and employed a large number of the townspeople. Gaudi designed a church and crypt for the Guell family which is known for its ceiling and stained glass. I walked through the town and had lunch in a café on the main square. It was nice to get out of the city and enjoy a small town.
Palau Guell, Carrer Nou de la Rambla 3-5: Having recently been renovated, this is a Gaudi house built for the Guell family. It is well worth the visit. The finishes are rich and the atrium/dome is wonderful.
To see some of the best sites by bike tours or walking tours can be a great way to explore Barcelona. Fat Tire Tours offers a daytime bike tour, a night bike tour, a Gaudi Bike Tour with a skip-the-line ticket of the Sagrada Familia, There is nigh tapas tour with Flamenco show and a daytime walking tour.