Barcelona sightseeing – top locations reachable by rental car

Barcelona – famous for its architecture and cultural heritage

Barcelona is the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region and is cosmopolitan city known for its architecture. We planned our visit there in end-September, begining of October, when the weather is warm but not too hot.


We chose not to stay in Barcelona. Instead we booked a room in the peaceful Castelldefeles region close to Barcelona, famous for its beach. You can read about our stay in Castelldefels hotel SG Marina Apartments here.

You can also book your stay with a discount if you follow our instructions here.

Castelldefels is a 15-20 min drive from Barcelona, so it’s best if you have a car. There are buses with regular schedules, but they’re fairly expensive.

Rental car

When we arrived to the Airport, we had to find our rental car from the company Europcar.  Their offices are far from the airport, so we had a difficult time finding them. After some confusion and walking around Terminal 1 of the airport, we discovered that they have airport transfer shuttles.

After we arrived at Europcar office, we picked up our car, which was not the type we initially intended to book and we were charged additionally for the cost of a full tank of fuel. That amount was returned later when we gave back the car with a full tank, but it was not mentioned that we will be charged for the fuel. Overall not the best rental car experience.

Parking in Barcelona

During the day, finding a parking spot in Barcelona city center is a nightmare on its own. People park everywhere, sometimes in 2 rows, cars so close together I am not sure how they get out. There are public parkings, but they are expensive. The prices vary, but we used an underground parking which charged 0.70 EUR per 15 mins. If you are going to Barcelona with a car, I suggest to review this site in advance.

Sightseeing in Barcelona

Barcelona is famous for its impressive architechture. It’s a mix of modern buildings and Gothic style. I was especially impressed by the famous Gothic quarter and, of course, the Cathedral.

Top places you must see in Barcelona:

  • Gothic quarter and the Gothic cathedral
  • Sagrada Familia and other pieces of Gaudi architecture
  • FC Barcelona stadium
  • The marina
  • The beach
  • Modern architecture – Torre Agbar and other modern-day buildings
  • Barcelona malls

The Cathedral

My top must-see place was the Gothic cathedral, so we parked our car close to Barcelona marina and walked about 15 minutes until we reached the Gothic quarter. It’s incredibly well preserved and the architecture is impressive. The narrow streets and paved alleys take you back in time to Gothic Europe. The experience is so unique, it cannot be described.

The Gothic cathedral in Barcelona – a landmark of Gothic architecture

Surprisingly enough, the entrance in the Cathedral is free. You can get inside and view the architecture or sit down quietly and pray. It is a place of worship after all.

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia

Of course we could not go to Barcelona without seeing the infamous Sagrada Familia. Gaudi’s masterpiece is the most iconic building in Barcelona and the crowds of people that want to visit it are huge. Sagrada Familia is an unfinished cathedral, which building began in 1882. Once completed, this will be most probably the biggest cathedral in the world. It is so huge and tall that it can be seen from kilometers away.

We arrived there in late afternoon but the queues were still too long and we did not get the chance to go inside. In the future, I recommend to get your tickets online in advance so you can skip the queues.

The Sagrada Familia - Gaudi's masterpiece
The Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s masterpiece

Sagrada Familia is so huge it cannot all fit in a normal photo. The architecture is amazing.

Modern Barcelona

I loved the old Barcelona architecture, expecially the Gothic buildings, but my SO wanted to get a view of the modern city, so we took a walk in the city center. In the evening, Barcelona is very lively, the streets are full with natives and tourists. We saw the fountains, the center alley, the Marina with the huge yachts. We had the best paella in a small restaurant close to the sea got on a huge Ferris wheel. Barcelona is an amazing city and a must-visit place in Europe.

The famous business center Torre Agbar

Barcelona city beach with a view of modern architecture


Magic fountain at the heart of Barcelona


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