Police in Barcelona say experts found no explosives after searching a suspicious van near the Sagrada Familia church and that concern about a possible extremist attack that prompted evacuations was a false alarm.

On Twitter, police said: "It is a false alarm. Situation has normalized in Sagrada Familia."

A spokesperson with the Mossos d'Esquadra regional police said two occupants being spotted in the van near the church had raised the alarm on Tuesday evening but a bomb squad didn't find any explosives.

The spokesperson declined to be identified by name, following the force's protocol.

Barcelona, a tourism hub in northeast Spain's Catalonia region, and a nearby coastal town were targets of extremist attacks that killed 16 people last month.

Spain has kept its anti-terrorism security warning one level below the maximum since mid-2015.

With files from CBC News