Beautiful Barcelona. The city that is filled with some of the world’s most famous landmarks and impressive architecture. But the question is, can you see it all in one day? Not quite. However, it is possible to squeeze in some must-see attractions in one jam packed day – just make sure you’re up early, wearing comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to take plenty of photographs!
From Antoni Gaudi’s early 20th century buildings, such as the Sagrada Familia, to tasty tapas and street performers, Barcelona’s rich culture has something for everyone. We’ve tried to scale down this brilliant city into a few unmissable stops so that you can enjoy the best bits that Barcelona has to offer you and your camera.
The key to making the most of your time is planning and getting ahead of the game. With so much to see, it makes sense to book as much as you can in advance. As with all attractions, booking ahead online will mean that you can avoid the brunt of those pesky queues. If you have a place in mind, check online to see if you can book a time slot to make sure you’re guaranteed entry. You may also save a few pennies with the advance discounts that are available to early birds!
Discount cards such as the Barcelona City Pass, The Barcelona Card, The Bus Turistic and the Hola BCN allow you to book in advance, travel the city and view the main attractions alongside some handy discounts.
Picture Perfect Hot Spots
You’ll want lots of photographs of these legendary masterpieces so make sure you’re prepared to take snaps without hesitation and fuss. Don’t let converging verticals (which is when buildings look as though they are sloping inwards) ruin your shot. To avoid this, simply walk much further away from the building and use a longer lens. If it doesn’t bother you too much, you can fix it in editing.
Antoni Gaudi was the Spanish architect that is responsible for iconic monuments such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà and the Casa Batlló. Mention Barcelona and 9/10 times, Gaudi’s name will soon follow! As the heart of Barcelona art and culture, you simply can’t miss the legendary architecture that has left a lasting impression to this day. In fact, the Sagrada Família is the most-visited monument in Spain – even though it is yet to be completed.
Casa Batlló is a beautiful building in the centre of Barcelona that was redesigned in 1904 by the legend that is Antoni Gaudi. This fairytale inspired piece of art is a must-visit due to its stunning exterior and interior. Bursting with colour, design and texture, it’s almost indescribable! We guarantee that you’ll want to photograph every detail so make sure your camera is charged and ready to go.
The Sagrada Família is a large, Roman Catholic church that is still under construction and estimated to be fully completed by 2032. Don’t be fooled, although unfinished, it is still a glorious and breathtaking monument that you shouldn’t miss. Combining Gaudi’s love of religion and nature, the pillars are said to be representative of trees and decorate the ceiling like a forest canopy. Point that lens up!
“There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature. Therefore, buildings must have no straight lines or sharp corners.”
The last private residence designed by Gaudí; it has secured its place in architectural history. This is due to its functional and constructional inventions alongside the ornamental and decorative design. These impressive attributes create stunning photos, so don’t be afraid to get snap happy. Look out for the curved iron beams that add detail to the windows and the fluid nature of the curved windowsills. There is a spectacular terrace on the roof of this amazing building too – just think of the views!
Gothic Quarter (Barri Gottic)
The Gothic Quarter may not be something you can squeeze in and enjoy in an hour, so if you’re wanting to explore somewhere in a bit more detail, spend the afternoon (or the morning if you don’t mind an early start) getting stuck in. The Gothic Quarter is a neighborhood that consists of buildings that date back to Roman and Medieval times. Here, you can learn about Barcelona’s Jewish history, explore where Picasso grew up, eat, drink and explore the La Boqueria market. It is also known for its charming, winding, narrow cobbled streets and variety of small independent shops and cafes – this makes it an amazing spot for portrait photography.
Famous for gargoyles, mythical animals, and resident geese, Barcelona Cathedral is a beautiful Gothic cathedral with stained glass windows that date back over 500 years.
You won’t be short of anything to point your camera at, especially if you take the elevator to the roof. Here, you can enjoy an incredible 360-degree view of the city and take a moment to enjoy some fresh air. Top tip – if you’ve got your camera with you, it’s best to take photos in the late afternoon as it faces north-west. If you’re after more photo opportunities, there is also a beautiful fountain and garden in the middle.
While this is definite must-see for football fans, its enough to impress even those that aren’t! This gigantic stadium has a seating capacity of 100,000 which makes it the largest football stadium in Europe. If you fancy spending a chunk of your day there, Camp Nou has a range of reasonably priced tours for you to enjoy. There’s also an FC Barcelona Museum if you want to learn something new!
Places to Eat
Photographing food in a dimly lit restaurant, an overcast market or just generally indoors can be a challenge. So, before you tuck into your photography, we’d recommend raising your ISO. Always check your cameras’ ISO beforehand and try not to use a flash as it will wash out the final image. If you’re outside, be wary of those sneaky shadows and reflections.
Las Ramblas is a promenade that is lined with outdoor markets, shops, restaurants, and cafes. Cutting through the heart of the city centre, this vibrant and lively area attracts lots of tourists and there’s always something going on! (Which means there’s always something to photograph…)
Mercat de la Boqueria
Self-titled ‘the best market in the world,’ this popular food market sells some of the freshest fruit, vegetables and seafood in Barcelona. If you’re looking to avoid chain restaurants or fast food, head to Mercat de la Boqueria and you won’t be disappointed. It may even be a canvas for some interesting photos. For example, keep your eyes peeled for market traders in action or capture the hustle and bustle of Barcelona and its locals. While you’re there, its also a great place to grab a super cheap bite to eat.
Make Your Memories Last a Lifetime
Took a snap that you’re particularly proud of? Turn it into wall art! What is more personal to your home than a memory that you captured? If there’s just too many photos that you love, then make them last forever with your very own CEWE PHOTOBOOK.
We love to see your pictures, so if you visit Barcelona (or anywhere else for that matter!) tag us on social media at @cewephotoworld and share your holiday photo book on our CEWE Community pool. Happy holiday-ing!