Barcelona. A city of light, bustling full of historical streets – overflowing with photography motives. Be aware because this city will just conquer your heart in a second.

There is a lot to see and to discover. If you have limited time like most of us – this article is for you. Read on to find a direction for your own photo journey. The following places where proudly discovered with the help of local Instagrammer Nicanor García (have a look at his great gallery, follow him and get even more inspiration).

look down to some colorful tiles - Barcelona streets


My top 5 places in Barcelona

  1. Parc Güell (most amazing park ever with great architecture and city views, there is a free and a paid section)
  2. Barri Gòtic district with the Catedral de Barcelona (old part of the city with lots of great narrow streets)
  3. Skating ground around MACBA (modern white museum with lots of skaters)
  4. Olympiastadion Barcelona with the Torre de comunicacions, Montjuïc and the whole area around the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya to the Caixa Forum
  5. Take the cable car to Montjuïc for harbor and city views or visit a big food market (see list from TimeOut)

Other really cool places Instagrammer Nicandor (@nicanorgarcia) recommended (and still on my “to-do” list):

Old city districts of Barcelona

Get some hot chocolate with churros and put on your walking shoes. The old city of Barcelona with the districts of Barri Gòtic and El Born impresses through narrow streets, lovely balconies, small shops, churches with amazing inner courtyards with orange trees – little oases to find yourself daydreaming in.

You should definitely put the Catedral de Barcelona from the 11th century on your city tour. It’s not just lovely old but also there are unexpected palm trees and geese insight the church. For a nice contrast you find some street art in the steets nearby.

For a little break from the tourist masses – go to Rambla del Ravel. I read the district had a disreputable past – but I saw nothing of that. At weekends there is a small market at the long drawn place. Explore some great street art around and a unusual big cat statue.

The bigger sights involve some planning

You will soon experience that Barcelona is popular with loads of tourists  – therefore most of the bigger attractions are quite expensive and have crowds (!) waiting in front of them. It’s best you get up early and buy tickets online upfront – note that sometimes you even have to book your ticket for a certain time (like at Parc Güell, La Sagrada Familia).

My favorite place was Parc Güell! It is very impressive (also to see the selfi madness). Even if you don’t pay for the costly park section. Go there anyway. Much of the park is free and also wonderful! Palms, parrots and photo motives around every corner. Already the way to the park is very interesting with all the outside escalators up the hill.

For great city views take the cable car up to Castell de Montjuïc – with a fantastic view (great for timelapse) of the harbor. Observe ship containers moving around, starting airplanes and ships sailing.

Secret tips

My off the beaten track recommendation would be the Caixa Forum with quite an interesting architecture mix from modern to old. White stairs are a great motive to play with! Also, the skate hotspot near MACBA is perfect for street and architecture shots.

Skate park MACBA


Set your priorities

There are some touristy sights I consciously omitted to have more time to stroll around. Although I think you can find great photo opportunities everywhere – some city parts make it harder than others to inspire a good shot. Part of this was the beach. For my taste it was not very impressive from a nature perspective – in particular, because I visited a small spanish beachtown beforehand. But if you up for some Martin Parr shots this might be the place to be.

If you are really short on time would also skip the main pedestrian mile – La Rambla Barcelona and also the area around Casa Batlló. In my view the atmosphere of the city gets lost there with the crowds of people/ tourists bustling around.

City view over Barcelona
City view over Barcelona – Parc Güell

General Links for Barcelona