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Barcelona, Spain has an amazing history and the city is packed with iconic sights. The best way to experience the Catalonian Capital is to set off on foot on a Barcelona Walking Tour.
Many of the city’s top attractions are clustered around the Barcelona Old Town – which is the best place to start exploring. Travelers can opt to join one of the Barcelona Guided Tours or plan to venture out and discover on their own with our DIY Free Barcelona Tour.
Our easy-to-follow Free Self-Guided Barcelona Walking Tour includes the best sights in the Old Town. Seeing these sights is a must for your Barcelona Itinerary – so lace up your travel shoes and follow in our footsteps for a fantastic introduction to Barcelona!
Self Guided Old Town Barcelona Walking Tour FREE
Our Barcelona Self-Guided Walking Tour is ideal for visitors who like to discover sights at their own pace. We include information about each attraction – as well as a map link so that you can easily find your way. At the end of the article, we include a complete Barcelona tour map that plots all of the attractions on the route.
The route of our Barcelona free walking tour loops through the metropolis, passing sights like Las Ramblas, the vibrant waterfront, Barceloneta beaches, the city’s greenest park, historic Barcelona neighborhoods and the most famous Barcelona attractions.
Guided Walking Tours Barcelona
We think our DIY Barcelona tour is the best way to see the city. However, if you would rather a guide lead the way to the sights, we offer recommendations on the top rated walking tours in Barcelona at the end of the article.
Tips For Exploring Barcelona on Foot
Before we hit the pavement and get started, we have a few tips for your Barcelona, Spain walk!
Barcelona Tourist Map
As we already mentioned, we provide a Barcelona Attractions Map at the end of the post that includes all the highlights of our tour. Additionally, we include a helpful with walking directions.
However, to follow along online, a WiFi connection is necessary. Foreign visitors can use a Mobile WiFi device, like GlocalMe for internet access (which can be cheaper for families and groups of friends than adjusting individual phone plans to include international data).
Travelers who prefer paper maps can buy one online (like this one) or pick up a Barcelona tourist map from the Tourist Information Center.
Self-Guided Walking Tour Barcelona Details
Our Self-Guided Walking Tour of Barcelona covers 5+miles. The entire route can be (ambitiously) completed in about 2 hours. But, that won’t leave much time for stops, photos or detours. Unless you are short on time, we recommend slowing down and taking an entire day to enjoy the Barcelona sights.
Barcelona Detours and Suggestions
Walking around Barcelona, Spain, you can be easily distracted by architecture, hidden lanes and old churches. While we think our outlined tour is one of the best walks in Barcelona, there is plenty of room for wandering! Use this as a guide, but create your own walking routes in Barcelona to experience the city as it suits you!
Pin, Bookmark or Save our Barcelona Walking Tour for Free to plan your trip to Spain!
15 Barcelona Self-Guided Walking Tour Sights
Let’s get started on our Walk Through Barcelona! Remember to refer to the Barcelona Walking Tour Map below for walking directions.
#1 Placa de Catalunya
The starting point for our Best Walking Tour Barcelona is Placa de Catalunya – or Catalonia Square. It is a vast square located on the north end of the Barcelona Old Town. In the square are fountains and statues – and it’s central location is the ideal place to start your Barcelona exploration!
#2 Las Ramblas
The most famous street in Barcelona is Las Ramblas. What was once a drainage ditch is now a wide, pedestrian path – and the most well-traveled street in the city. Strolling the length of Las Ramblas is a must on your Barcelona Self Guided Walking Tour.
Newsstands, flower shops and street artists line the length of The Ramblas. Extending from Placa de Catalunya to the Waterfront, strolling down Las Ramblas is a must for Barcelona visitors! Detour off the main strip to discover small squares and quaint streets.
#3 Placa Vila de Madrid
The next stop on our free tour of Barcelona is the inconspicuous Placa Vila de Madrid Square – and it is filled with fascinating history. Once the site of a convent, excavations revealed an ancient past…one dating to the 1st century AD, when Barcelona was a Roman colony, known as Barcino.
The archaeological findings – about 60 tombs lining a road – are now on display in the square. The Roman Necropolis lends insight into the history of the city. A small museum at the Via Sepulcral site provides further information and artifacts.
#4 La Boqueria Market
The La Boqueria Market – officially The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria – can trace its history to the year 1217. The Barcelona city center market offers a range of goods, including everything from seafood to sweets – all presented in colorful displays. In addition to vendors, small kiosk restaurants are also on site.
In fact, La Boqueria is home to some of the Best Tapas in Barcelona – so if you are hungry, take a break from your Self Guided Tour Barcelona and grab a bite to eat.
#5 Gran Teatre del Liceu
One of the best sights near La Rambla, continue your Best Free Walking Tour Barcelona by sidestepping from the famous street to a top attraction: Gran Teatre del Liceu.
A luxurious opera house, Gran Teatre del Liceu opened in 1847 (although, it had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1994). The façade, however, is original – if not rather plain in comparison to the beautiful theater that lies within. Visitors can attend a performance or take a tour.
#6 Placa Reial
Another one of the great destinations just steps from Las Ramblas as you walk south from the La Boqueria Market is Placa Reial.
A hidden gem right in the heart of the city, Placa Reial is a spacious square located off a side street (Carrer de Colom) from Las Ramblas. The square is ringed with restaurants and cafes – and features swaying palm trees, a fountain and lamp posts designed by Antoni Gaudí.
#7 Palau Guell
The Guell Palace, a mansion designed for the Guell family, is an early (and quite extraordinary) work by Gaudi. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, “Works of Antoni Gaudi” and can be toured with a ticket.
Even if you don’t tour the palace, it is worth seeing Palau Guell from the outside on your Barcelona walking route.
#8 Columbus Monument and Barcelona Waterfront
Continue your Self Guided Free Walking Tour in Barcelona to southern end of La Rambla and the Columbus Monument. The obelisk rises 200 feet into the sky marking the south end of La Rambla and the beginning of the Barcelona waterfront. A statue of Christopher Columbus pointing to the New World is perched atop the singular, decorative column.
The monument stands to commemorate the return journey to Barcelona, where he reported the discovery to the Spanish Queen Isabella and Ferdinand. The statue was erected in 1888 for the Universal Exhibition. Today, visitors can take in the views from the top of the monument (buy your ticket in advance!).
#9 La Rambla del Mar
From the Columbus Monument, step onto the wooden walkway that is best known as La Rambla del Mar – the Walk by the Sea.
The boardwalk leads to a hub of activity – and plenty of places to distract you from your Self Guided Walking Tour Barcelona. Top things to see and do include seaside eateries, the Maremagnum shops and the Barcelona Aquarium (buy your Skip-the-Line Aquarium tickets).
Heading north around the harbor, continue walking in Barcleona past the hundreds of sailboats and a few extraordinary large yachts in Port Vell and enter the seaside neighborhood of Barceloneta.
Previously the local fisherman’s quarters, the dilapidated area was overhauled in the 80s – and is now one of Barcelona’s trendiest spots. In addition to the wide, popular beach, the Barceloneta district features a plethora of seafood restaurants and ocean view cafes.
#11 Parc de la Ciutadella
The next stop on your Barcelona city walk is the enormous park, Parc de la Ciutadella. It is Barcelona’s best (and, at one time, only) green space. The park encompasses the Barcelona Zoo, waterfalls, ponds and monuments.
Don’t miss Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella, the most opulent fountain in the park. The decorative fountain dates to 1881, but was enhanced with sculptures and the arch in time for the 1888 Universal Exhibition – with some credit going to then novice Antoni Gaudi.
#12 La Ribera and Santa Maria del Mar
After visiting the spacious park, continue your Self Guided Walking Tour of Barcelona into the historic lanes.
Navigate your way to the cobblestone streets of La Ribera. Many of the buildings in the district date to Medieval times, when it was home to Barcelona’s most affluent citizens. Artist studios, boutique shops and hip cafes now line the streets.
In the tangle of lanes, find the Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar. The expansive Gothic church, which dates to the early 1300s, is one of Barcelona’s most beautiful buildings.
#13 Barri Gothic Quarter and Barcelona Cathedral
Barri Gothic is the heart of the Barcelona Old Town and the oldest part of the city. The majority of the district is pedestrian-only – so take time to wander the streets, perhaps venturing into a few shops or tapas bars along the way.
As you wander the district, make your way to La Catedral – a must-see sight on Barcelona city walks.
The massive La Catedral – or Barcelona Cathedral – is situated in the Barri Gothic Quarter (and should not be confused with the still-unfinished work of Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia).
The cathedral façade is decorated with soaring spires and decorative gargoyles. The interior of the cathedral is lit by grand chandeliers. Beneath the altar is a crypt hosting the remains of Santa Eulalia, one of Barcelona’s Patron Saints.
#14 Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona
If time permits, continue your free Barcelona Walking Tour to one of the best Barcelona sights: The Modernist Palau de la Musica Catalana.
It is one of Barcelona’s most beautiful concert halls. Built in 1908 by Spanish architect Domenech i Montaner, the exquisite building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (just one of the many Modernist buildings in the city to earn the UNESCO status!).
Want to see the interior of Palau de la Musica Catalana? Join a 45-minute guided tour that includes the famous skylight, the grand staircase and sights that are usually off-limits!
#15 Arc de Triomf, Barcelona
The final stop on your Self Guided Barcelona Walking Tour is the Arc de Triomf.
Unlike most city arches, the Barcelona Arc de Triomf was not built to celebrate a military victory. Instead, the grand, red-brick arch was built in 1888 to welcome visitors to the Universal Exhibition World Fair.
Barcelona Sightseeing Map
Use this link to Google for an interactive version of our Walking Route Barcelona Map.
Barcelona Walking Map
Click for the Barcelona Tourist Attractions Map with Walking Directions in Google Maps.
Guided Barcelona Walking Tours
Our Barcelona Self-Guided Walking Tour is a great way to explore the city on your own! However, there are many guided Barcelona walks that are theme-based. We are featuring a few of the most popular Barcelona walking tours.
Old Town and Gothic Quarter Walking Tour
Visitors who want a local guide to lead the way through the heart of the city can join a highly rated tour that features the best sights in the Old Town and Gothic Quarter. The local guides share history, facts and fun stories along the route.
Gaudi Tour Barcelona
Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona’s most famous architect. Learn about his life, his designs and his impact on the city on one of the guided walking tours through Barcelona. Top Gaudi sights to see are La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila.
Visitors can take a private tour, join a small group tour or even pedal along on a bike tour to Gaudi attractions. Read reviews on Viator to find the perfect Gaudi tour for your trip!
Barcelona Tapas Tour
Tapas are an art form in Barcelona! Let a local guide lead the way on an introduction to the unique cuisine on an evening tour.
However, you can follow in our footsteps and create your own Tapas-hopping Tour based on our recommendations for the Best Tapas in Barcelona!
Free Barcelona Walking Tours
Many different companies offer free walking tours in Barcelona. Just keep in mind that ‘Guided Free Walking Tours’ are not in fact free – as the tour guide expects to be tipped for their service.
More Things To Do in Barcelona, Spain
Navigating the city on foot is a great way to spend a day in Barcelona. Guests staying longer can use the travel tips in our 3-Day Barcelona Itinerary for tips on what to see and do.
We offer tips for what to do in Barcelona for 3 days – plus offer day trip ideas, feature top museums and highlight activities – like a popular Flamenco show.
Planning a Trip to Trip to Barcelona
We know that there is so much more to planning a Barcelona trip than deciding what sights to see – so we have a few more travel tips that will help you plan the perfect vacation.
First, if you are traveling from overseas, read our guide to Planning a European Vacation. We share need-to-know details and tips that will help you make the most of your trip abroad.
As you make your plans, be sure to stay on top of all the details! Use our Trip Planner Printables to stay organized for your trip to Barcelona.
Where To Stay in Barcelona
There are a lot of choices when it comes to places to stay in Barcelona! We recommend choosing centrally located accommodations – based on the activities that are of most interest to you. We like two areas – L’Eixample neighborhood and El Poble-sec.
We have stayed in the L’Eixample District in an Airbnb apartment (which we loved for the extra space and kitchen, where we could prepare breakfasts). The neighborhood was excellent for seeking out local cafes and bars – and extremely convenient to exploring the Modernism architecture.
Recently, we stayed in the Hotel Concordia Barcelona in the El Poble-sec district – which lies between Montjuic and the Old Town. The location was ideal for local transportation from the airport and within reasonable walking distance to the Old Town, Montjuic and the famous tapas street. The clean hotel features modern rooms, an outdoor pool and a casual on-site restaurant and bar.
Use our Guide to Finding the Best Hotels at the Best Rates – then start your search for the perfect Barcelona hotel on Booking.com!
What To Pack for Your Barcelona Trip
Now that you are well on your way to planning the perfect Barcelona trip, it’s time to start packing! We are sharing a few must-have items for Barcelona – but you can find all of our advice on our Packing Tips page. Grab your Free Packing Checklist before you go!
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Our Barcelona Walking Tour covers some ground – so make sure to pack good travel shoes. It’s best to wear shoes that are comfortable and versatile – which is why I like these sneakers. Kris prefers to wear Merrell trail shoes for men when walking around cities.
Barcelona is beautiful! We recommend upgrading to a real camera for your trip. We use a Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens. We love that it is easy to use, takes quality photos and is well-priced as a budget DSLR camera for travelers.
Barcelona Map and Guidebook for Spain
Anti-Theft Day Bag
While Barcelona has wonderful sights, it also has pickpockets. Be sure to pack a zippered day pack – like the ones by Travelon – to organize and secure all of your daily travel items. Read our tips for The Best Day Bags for Travel.
Spain Trip Insurance
If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your vacation to Spain, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.
Tips For Visiting Spain
Planning to visit more than just Barcelona on your trip to Spain? We have travel guides for top Spain destinations.
- Plan a perfect 1-Week Spain Itinerary
- Spend Christmas in Barcelona (and other European Winter Destinations)
- Discover the Best of Seville
- Explore the Sights of Madrid
- Enjoy the Best of Basque Country
- Feast on Pintxos in San Sebastian
Find more tips and guides on our complete Spain Travel Guides page!
We want to know: What would you add to our Barcelona on Foot walking tour? Give us your best tips and suggestions for a Self-Guided Barcelona Walking Tour in the comments!
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