Barcelona

Barcelona On Foot – A Self-Guided Barcelona Walking Tour

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Again it’s my favourite time of the year. Sadly, I was not able to be in Barcelona to catch the early summer breeze due to some exciting works going on in Asia. However, this does not stop me from reminiscing the wonderful summer time I had in the past years combined.

A cosmopolitan city filled with magical characteristics, Barcelona is a world of wonder that comes straight out from a European fairytale and is easily everybody’s travel wonderland.

Touring Barcelona is easy, or should I say effortless. All you need is to get on your feet and start walking. But how to walk and where to start? The whole city is a wonderment in itself. If you were to explore every single detail and point of interest in the city, I am afraid that two weeks is not enough to cover everything. And what if you only have one week or just three days? Well, to be frank with you, no matter how much time you have in Barcelona, it’s never enough! That’s why I am here for good.

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Barcelona is best experienced on foot. Walking around the city gives you the opportunity to spot many hidden fascinating details that you will not get a chance to do so on a normal private or group tour. A walking tour also allows you to understand the lifestyle of the local neighbourhoods and its people.

Walking is part of the daily lifestyle here in Barcelona anyway. So yeah, I love walking around this beautiful city for many other reasons and I have created an itinerary for a walking tour based on most of my favourite Barcelona locales.

Here’s a glance of the ‘must-see’ point of interests you will be setting foot on in Barcelona:

Walking Tour Highlight

We shall start the tour from the Eixample district, passing through the famous road of Via Laietana all the way into Ciutat Vella and ending at the famous monumental fountain of Plaça de Catalunya. The whole walking tour will take approximately 4 hours. But please, slow down. There is no rush and best you don’t. You can take one full day to complete this tour as this  guide is just but a small golden nugget. And trust me, along the way, you will definitely find some other interesting things that will make your eye balls roll and cause you to sidetrack a couple of times.

To suit your convenience, you can also start this tour in the reverse order. It doesn’t really matter as all the points of interest look equally stunning with its distinct uniqueness at any time of the day.

Now, let’s get the journey started.


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#1. Torre Glòries 

An iconic tower representing present day contemporary Barcelona. Torre Glòries, widely known as Torre Agbar is a 35 storey high modern glass-steel skyscraper constructed in an exclusive cylindrical design. Situated just a few steps away is the local’s favourite hang out place, Les Glòries shopping mall.


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#2. Hospital de Sant Pau

A medieval hospital turn Unesco World Heritage site, Hospital de Sant Pau is a classical turned neo-modernist building dressed in the finest awe-inspiring art and architectural facades with a huge garden compound. Every structure and detail here clearly redefines the every word of “hospital” and makes one wonder why aren’t all hospitals built this way.


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#3. Sagrada Família

The masterpiece of architectural genius Antoni Gaudí. Taking more than a decade to construct, the Sagrada Família is finally reaching its final stage. Extraordinarily detailed and well adorned with skilled sculptures, this is a definite architectural wonder with great historic significance and hidden symbolism awaiting for you to decode and unravel.


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#4. Arc de Triomf

The red-stone triumphal arch of Barcelona that used to be the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. Arc de Triomf stretches over the long promenade of Passeig de Lluís Companys leading up to Parc de la Ciutadella where the present day World Fairs are still being held.


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#5. Parc de la Ciutadella

The central park of Barcelona, Parc de la Ciutadella is known for its beautiful Cascada, a huge water fountain framed with Baroque style arches. Climbing up the stairway to the top, you get to catch a full glimpse of its tranquil surrounding and locals enjoying the sun at the park with family and friends.


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#6. Barceloneta

Sun, sand, sea and surf… More than stunning beaches and deep blue Mediterranean sea, Barceloneta is also home to some of Barcelona’s most delicious Paella and seafood extravaganza. Examples are the Can Majó and Can Solé. You definitely want to have your lunch here and enjoy the breeze.


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#7. Santa Maria del Mar

The only bona fide Catalan gothic-style architecture, Santa Maria del Mar is one of my favourite churches in Barcelona. Though not as grand as the Barcelona Cathedral, Santa Maria del Mar has an unique ambience that comforts every souls who visit, making them want to stay a little longer away from the buzz of the city around it.


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#8. Plaça Sant Jaume

A historically and politically important square. Thus you’ll see policemen and soldiers patrolling around the square. Seated on the compounds are two important buildings; the Barcelona City Hall and the Parliament of Catalonia. This huge open area also serves as a popular cultural venue for fairs and musical events.


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#9. Plaça de Sant Just

A captivating little medieval square tucked away in a corner from the touristy streets that houses the Basilica of Sants Just i Pastor and the gothic-style Fivaller fountain. A square with perfect serenity, it is a great place to laze around for an afternoon tea. Oh, did I mention that the tiramisu at Bliss Cafe is the best tiramisu I’ve tasted in my life so far?


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#10. Temple d’August

A Roman temple built during the Roman Empire, Temple d’August is hidden behind a quaint medieval courtyard. With history dating back to more than 2,000 years, what is left of the temple today are its four columns that have survived the past centuries.


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#11. Catedral de Barcelona

The magnificent northern European gothic cathedral that has mesmerised lots of visitors from around the world. Catedral de Barcelona or simply Barcelona Cathedral is one of the few churches that had survived the Spanish civil war. Dressed with intricate facades and excellently designed gargoyles and roof art, the cathedral is no doubt the stardom of the Gothic Quarter. The cathedral has an inner open garden and an amazing rooftop that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. 


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#12. Plaça de Sant Felip Neri

A truly emotional heartfelt square filled with pain and trauma of a tragic past. Evidence of original wounds scarred from bullets and shrapnel from the Spanish civil war in 1938 are stabbed deeply onto the faded facades along the Baroque style Church of Sant Felip Neri. The painful memories here can never be erased and serves as a silent reminder that the price of war is always paid by the blood of innocent people.


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#13. Plaça del Pi

Deriving its name from pine tree, Placa del Pi has its own distinct vibe that changes throughout the day. From tranquil to vibrant to unexpected fun, this square is simply filled with unknowing surprises. A favourite square of the local artisans, a marketplace pops up every first and third Friday of the month and runs through the weekend. A 14th century church, Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi sits gloriously on the square as the peaceful backdrop.


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#14. La Rambla

A wide iconic walkway filled with endless lifestyle activities and entertainment from the talented street-buskers paving the way. From morning till late night, curious tourists from everywhere flock to La Rambla to experience the Barca lifestyle and not to mention the avenues of shopping and multi-cultural and ethnic restaurants.


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#15. La Bouqueria

Seated on a former monastery site, Barcelona’s famous central market is full of interesting varieties of colourful fresh local produces ranging from meats and seafood to fruits and vegetables down to all kinds of sweets, candies and chocolates. There are also food stands selling freshly cooked local delights at pocket friendly prices.


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#16. Plaça de Catalunya

Located between the 19th century built Eixample and the neighbourhoods of Ciutat Vella, Placa de Catalunya is a huge vibrant park with a beautiful fountain at its core. This is a favourite meeting point among the locals and tourists. Right along an established shopping district, you can sure end your walking tour scouting around El Corte Inglés or Zara.


Next Read: The Ultimate Barcelona Travel Guide

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