Barcelona's most visited site is expected to be finished by 2026. Entry allows you to wander through the interior of the church, with its novel tree-like columns. You can also see the museum, which explains the history of the basilica and architect Antoni Gaudí's creative process.
The last secular building designed by Gaudí, the 1912 Casa Milà (popularly known as La Pedrera, 'the stone quarry') is the culmination of the architect's experimental attempts to re-create natural forms with bricks and mortar (not to mention ceramis and even smashed-up cava bottles).
Gaudí designed Park Güell to emulate the English garden cities admired by his patron Eusebi Güell, and it was to be a self-contained suburb for the wealthy. The idea never took off – perhaps because it was too far from the city, perhaps because it was too radical – and the Güell family gave the park to the city in 1922. Gaudí's imagination is once more on display – as are panoramic views of the city.
The three stories of the Museum of the History of Barcelona documnet the city's Roman roots. Stretching from Plaça del Rei to the Cathedral are some 4,000 square metres (43,000 square feet) of subterranean Roman excavations, all discovered by accident in the late 1920s when part of the Gothic Quarter was dug up to build Via Laietana.
Get a lengthy overview of Catalonia, from the Lower Paleolithic era to Jordi Pujol's proclamation as President of the Generalitat in 1980. There are two floors of text, film, animated models and reproductions of everything from a medieval shoemaker's shop to a 1960s bar. Excellent temporary exhibitions typically examine recent aspects of regional politics and history while the huge rooftop café terrace has unbeatable views over the city and marina.
The old Born market has reopened as a cultural centre with a focus on life in the city before and after the siege of 1713-14. Inside the market, which was built in 1876, are archaeological remains from 1700. You can walk around and visit the 'De les pedres a les persones' ('From Stones to People') exhibition and archaeological sites (by reservation only).
Design & fashion
This new focus for design in Barcelona opened its doors in December 2014. It houses a huge range of design objects including ceramics, textiles, graphical works and clothing, as well as an extensive archive with around 22,000 documents.
With winter and summer editions that each run for five days, 080 gives the Barcelona fashion scene a biannual shot in the arm with the support of the Generalitat. It mainly showcases local designers, from skilled arteliers such as Natalie Capell and Miriam Ponsa to big-hitters like Desigual, Custo and Mango.
It's more than a kilometre of sand an sea within walking distance of the city centre. The most southwesterly part, at the foot of the W Hotel, has a view of the entire Barcelona coastline, from the three chimneys to the huge solar panel in the Fòrum grounds, plus the Olympic Port and Barceloneta Beach in between.
The coastal renewal process that began with the 1992 Olympic Games breathed new life into this beach, which combines two very different areas: a nudist beach at one end and a children's playground at the other. You'll also find groups playing football and volleyball.
The Barcelona Marathon is a popular classic on the world marathon calendar. Begun in 1977, it follows a flat and scenic route through the city.
Length: 42 km (26.17 miles)
When: March 12, 2017
The Firefighters' Race, organised by city firefighters and sponsored by Nike, began as a protest against working conditions for Barcelona firefighters. The 2015 edition saw it take place at night, as an attempt to widen its appeal.
Length: 10 km (6 miles)
When: October 30, 2016
This race through the city, which has its starting point and finish line at El Corte Inglés in Plaça Catalunya, is the second largest in the world (64,656 runners in 2016). That might have something to do with the fact that it's free to take part.
Length: 10.766 km (6.1 miles)
When: April 2017