3 Perfect Days in Barcelona: The Ultimate Itinerary

Barcelona is one of the most lively, fun, and culturally rich cities in the world. With so much to do, it is impossible to “see it all” in one weekend. However, with this optimized 3 day itinerary, you’ll be able to experience the best of Barcelona in just a few days-from Gaudi’s stunning architecture to the incredible Magic Fountain. So grab some metro tickets and a good pair of walking shoes and dive right into the heart of Catalan capital by the sea! If you are visiting on a budget, be sure to check out my ultimate budget guide to Barcelona for tips on keeping costs down.

Don’t forget to check out the color coded map at the end of this post for a day-by-day geographical breakdown! 

gaudi-mosaic-barcelona


Day 1: Go Gaga For Gaudi

Though I usually break my itineraries up to allow varied activities each day, if you are in Barcelona for just a few days, then I recommend tackling some of the most popular structures designed by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí all in one day.

Before you go: BUY TICKETS ONLINE FIRST. I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t buy your tickets in advance, you could wind up in extremely long lines, or not be able to enter at all. Tickets are sold for specific time slots, so book a few days in advance to properly structure your day.

Morning: Passeig de Gràcia

casa-battlo-gaudi=barcelonaStart the day off by taking a stroll along the elegant Passeig de Gràcia. This street is known for its high end shopping, and also has some incredible examples of Modernist architecture. You’ll have the opportunity to see Casa Amatller, Casa Batlló, and Casa Milà among other famed buildings along this street. Their gorgeous facades alone are worth seeing!

For those who are super into Gaudí or architecture, you may want to consider booking tickets to enter Casa Batlló and/or Casa Milà. During my recent visit, I toured Casa Batlló and really enjoyed getting an inside look at the home, and the interior is as spectacular as the colorful exterior. However, the ticket prices are a little steep (€22.50 for adults!) so you may just choose to admire the exterior.

Late Morning/Early Afternoon: Sagrada Familia

sagrada-familia-barcelonaIf you only have the time and money to visit one of Gaudí’s buildings, make it Sagrada Familia. This church is one of the most breathtaking ones I have ever been in, and is an absolute must see. You can choose from several ticket options (starting at around €15) and time slots on the Sagrada Familia website, and should plan on staying for at least 1.5-2 hours.

Afterwards, grab some lunch before heading to the metro to see more of Gaudí’s contributions to Barcelona.

Late Afternoon: Park Güell

Barcelona-parc-guell

A metro trip and a short walk will take you to the famous Park Güell, a beautiful park with stunning views of Barcelona. The park itself is free, but you will need a ticket (book here for €7 in advance!) to enter the Monumental Zone, which was designed by Gaudí. Spend an afternoon taking in nature, walking around the park, and exploring both the monumental and free areas.

Sunset: Bunkers del Carmel

barcelona-bunker-de-carmel

If you still have the energy to explore, take a bus or walk to the free Bunkers del Carmel, a viewpoint that offers an impressive panoramic view of the city. The best part? This site is totally free! Head up with some wine and snacks and make an evening of it!

Drinks:

bosc-de-les-fades-cafeBarcelona is famous for it’s nightlife! Whether you are planning on hitting the town or not, be sure to stop by the quirky Bosque de les Fades Cafe. The bar is a whimsical, forest-like hideaway, which had me feeling like I was in a fairytale, and I highly recommend seeing it for yourself! You’ll want to take the metro to get here, as it is quite far away from the earlier sights.


Day 2: Gothic Quarter & Landmarks

Early Morning: La Boqueria

la-boqueria-market-barcelona

Start your day off right with a yummy fresh fruit juice from the historic La Boqueria market. This market is a feast for both your eyes and your stomach-I ended up hear almost every day of my last visit! Be sure to check out the fresh fruit stalls, fish market, and street food stands inside.

Mid Morning: Las Ramblas

las-ramblas-barcelona-spainLas Ramblas is one of Barcelona’s most popular and tourist boulevards, and La Boqueria happens to be located on it. After grabbing a snack, walk around and take in the atmosphere of this lively, tree-lined street.

Lunch & Early Afternoon: Gothic Quarter & Cathedral

barcelona-cathedral-spain

Exploring Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter will have you feeling like you stepped back in time! The narrow, wining boulevards and historic architecture are fun to wander around, and there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes to stop by for lunch.

You won’t want to miss stopping in Barcelona’s Gothic Cathedral or the beautiful Plaça Reial.

Mid- Late Afternoon: Arc de Triomf & Ciutadella Park

arc-de-triomf-barcelonaFrom the Cathedral you can catch a Metro to the Arc de Triomf, an impressive red brick arch dating to 1888. Its pretty unique, and is worth taking a peek at before heading to Ciutadella Park.

ciutadella-park-barcelona-fountain

Bring a picnic along and wander around the impressive 70 acres for a break from the city, or simply go to see the reknown Cascada fountain located within. 

Evening: Dinner, Drinks & Dancing (optional ;))

sangria-barcelona-spain

Head out for some late night tapas, drinks and dancing! In a city that seems to still be wide awake at 4:00AM, it only seems right to start the night off at 10:PM, or later! For drinks, I recommend heading to Ovella Negra, a popular hangout with cheap prices, fun atmosphere, and yummy sangria. If you plan on continuing the night, head out to Barcelona’s most popular club, Opium, which is located right along the beach.


Day 3: Beach, Montjuïc, & The Magic Fountain

Morning: Barceloneta

Barceloneta-beach-spain-barcelona

After all that sightseeing, you deserve a break! Head to Barceloneta and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation at the beach. Check out the surf shops, or enjoy some fresh seafood with a view!

Afternoon: Montjuïc

montjuic-castle-barcelonaIf it happens to be winter, or you aren’t much of a beach goer, never fear! Hop on the metro and take a funicular to Montjuïc. There you can enjoy stunning views from the castle there, and visit the Fundació Joan Miró, Olympic stadium, & more!

Evening: Magic Fountain

magic-fountain-barcelona

Why not end your visit to Barcelona with a little magic? This magic comes in the form of a spectacular music, light, and water show at the Fonts de Montjuïc. Locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy the show, and it was one of my favorite experiences I had in Barcelona. Be sure to check the schedule (online here) when planning your visit, as it generally only runs on Friday & Saturday nights. You won’t want to miss this!


Map Key

  • Red=Day 1
  • Orange=Day 2
  • Yellow=Day 3
  • Blue=Optional points of interest

Download the printable itinerary for FREE and gain access to a library of helpful travel resources, subscribe!

JOIN THE ADVENTURE, SUBSCRIBE TODAY
Gain instant access to my FREE resource library-my best travel tips, itineraries, checklists & more exclusively for subscribers!
We respect your privacy


I hope this itinerary helps you have the trip of a lifetime in Barcelona! Let me know if you have any must-sees in the comments below!

Keep planning your Spain adventure with these posts:

Don’t forget to pin this post for later!

The Ultimate 3 day barcelona itinerary

9 Comments

  1. Jessica Dalliday on March 5, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Hey Catalina,

    My husband and I are visiting Spain in late April/early May this year and I am so happy I found your blog! I absolutely LOVE all of your posts and find them very helpful 🙂 You pictures are stunning! Thank you so much for posting all this useful information – I will definitely be using your recommendations when planning our itinerary!

    I just started following you on instagram and noticed you are currently in Jamaica!! I am sooo jealous we have wanted to go for some time now – Enjoy 😀

    Thank you again and all the best on your travels,

    Jessica

    • Catalina on March 6, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Jessica!

      I’m sure you will have an amazing trip, April/May is an excellent time to visit! I’m so glad you found my blog before going, thanks so much for stopping by and for following me! You’ll have to let me know how your trip goes-I’m so excited for your adventure! And Jamaica was lovely, I already am missing it!

      Thank you and happy travels! 🙂

      Catalina

    • Silvia on May 20, 2017 at 9:28 am

      Don’t miss t’he Catedral del Mar and Born àrea. They’re close to t’he Cathedral and t’he Old Quartier!

      • Catalina on May 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

        Great tips Silvia! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Natalia on May 23, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Nice!

  3. Alex Lodner on July 5, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I saved it before our recent trip to Italy and now I am using it for our next destination: Spain!

    • Catalina on July 6, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment, Alex! I am so happy that you have found my blog helpful in your trip planning and that you will be using it to help you plan your trip to Spain! I loved traveling around both Italy and Spain, and hope that you have an amazing time. Where in Spain are you thinking of going?

  4. Stephanie on July 6, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Hi! Stumbled upon your blog and it’s great. I wanted to ask you about suggestions. I arrive Monday July 24th at 8pm, do you think I can do any sight seeing the day I arrive? What’s open?

    Tuesday July 25: I have it open for suggestions. I was thinking doing most of the sight seeing that day. Is that doable?

    Wednesday July 26: I was going on a day trip to Montserrat. Have you been? Hopefully be back in Barcelona for some more Barcelona sightseeing.

    Thursday July 27: I had planned a beach day. And my flight leaves at 8:20 p.m.

    THANK YOU! It’s my first time traveling to Europe and planning has been overwhelming.

    • Catalina on July 6, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Stephanie! If you are arriving by plane you may not get settled in until 10 or 11. Museums and churches close at night, but Barcelona is a very lively city and there is much to do in terms of eating, drinking, and taking in the atmosphere of the city at night. I’d recommend heading to one of the bars I mentioned here for some sangria that night, or strolling around Las Ramblas. You probably can’t squeeze in all of the sightseeing you’d like in Barcelona on Tuesday-there is quite a bit to see. If you only have one day, then I’d suggest getting an early start, heading to La Boqueria, seeing Sagrada Familia, and then choosing to go to either Park Guell or see some of the other sites I mentioned in this post. I unfortunately have not been to Montserrat, but I have heard great things! I recommend leaving this day flexible in case you like Barcelona so much that you’d rather stay and sightsee! I hope this helps answer some of your questions and that you have an awesome first trip to Europe! Fell free to contact me via e-mail if any other questions pop up!

Leave a Comment