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!
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
Start 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
If 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
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
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!
Barcelona 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
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 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
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
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 ;))
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
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!
If 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
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!
- Red=Day 1
- Orange=Day 2
- Yellow=Day 3
- Blue=Optional points of interest
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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:
- The Ultimate Budget Guide To Barcelona (Plus 10 FREE Things To Do!)
- 15 Epic Things To Do In Barcelona
- Must Do Madrid: The Top 10 Things To Do In Spain’s Capital
- 15 Things You Absolutely Must Do In Seville, Spain
- Everything You Need To Know About Visiting The Alhambra
- Must Do Málaga: Discover The Top 10 Things To Do In Picasso’s Birthplace
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