Who’s ready to finally see more of Spain!? This Barcelona itinerary is a perfect way to see the beautiful city and tick another Spanish region off your bucket list.
Barcelona is home to one of the most visited cities in Europe as well all the world. Business insider marked it as city # 19 most visited city in the world in 2019 with over 9.09 million tourists.
Wow, that’s alot of people considering Barcelona only has about 1.6 million people that live there.
So what makes Barcelona so special after all? Some say it’s the combination of city and beach but Barcelona has a bit of everything. There’s beautiful modern architecture, food, rich history, beaches, and a relaxed artistic vibe.
In other words, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Today you’ll learn about:
- when to visit & how long to stay
- what to see
- where to stay
- how to get around
- and lots more.
This Barcelona itinerary is guaranteed to help you see the city with all of its charm. Not only will you know exactly what to visit after reading this, you’ll also get a realistic idea of how to get around, whats really worth your time, and more.
In other words, if you are preparing a visit to the city, you won’t need anything else than this Barcelona itinerary to plan your trip. Let’s get going!
When to visit Barcelona Spain
Barcelona is a city that has unfortunately been hit super hard with overtourism. If you are not a fan of crowds, definitely consider visiting outside of high season. High season in Barcelona is May all the way to September.
Interestingly enough, this covid pandemic has hit overtouristic cities such as Barcelona really hard.
What’s that mean? This year is an exception to normal high season.
If you visit during high season this year expect much less crowds in comparison to 2017-2019. Barcelona only reopened end of May so if you like the way that sounds make sure you pack your bags and book a trip there this summer!!
Not only will you avoid crowds, long waits, and limited availability, you’ll also save $ too. Things are much cheaper when it comes to accomodations and even (some) tourist attractions.
The insane humidity
What many people fail to talk about when it comes to visiting Barcelona, is the weather. BOYYYY is it hot. Like super duper hot.
Barcelona summer weather is very sticky and humid. This is a point to consider visiting Barcelona outside of summer if you don’t like the heat.
It’s almost unbearable to be walking around as a nonstop tourist end of June – all of July.
This year has been a bit cooler (and not as sunny) than previous years but even then you will still get really hot walking around, taking cabs, and taking metros mid June.
Interestingly enough the winter and the spring are amazing times to visit because of the cooler air and ease to move around.
As the seasons change, there is definitely a moment where you can visit Barcelona that will work for your travel and weather preference.
How many nights in Barcelona
To completely see this Barcelona itinerary, you will need atleast 3 nights and 4 days. You can definitely experience Barcelona full throttle for a 4 day weekend.
Any longer is great if you want to slowly enjoy the beach and try other restaurants too.
With a 4 day time frame you can see all of the monuments, walk all the precious streets, and even take a beach break too. If you don’t want to go to the beach than you’ll have even more time to enjoy the culture. WOO!
Where to stay in Barcelona?
Below you will find ideal options on where to stay in the city so you can organize your Barcelona itinerary perfectly. After all, isn’t location everything sometimes? 🙂
The best neighborhoods to stay in Barcelona
Gothic Quarter used to be Barcelona’s previous city center. It’s a perfect location if you want to be conveniently located to historic and tourist attractions.
In the gothic quarter is also the infamous La Rambla street although do keep in mind this area is super duper busy and can be hard to walk through. Think times square in NYC but worst in peak season considering there isn’t much walking space.
Next we have La Barceloneta. This area is right next to the beach named Barceloneta.
For all the ocean lovers, you’ll find the beach and all the beachside restaurants right next to it. This area is perfect if you are having a beach holiday and want to eat lots of seafood. It is also known to be very touristy so don’t expect to see many locals laying out at the beach. Majority don’t go to Barceloneta.
Eixample is another great neighborhood that is super close to the center and is also right next to a few Gaudi monuments. There are also lots of long streets in this area so you won’t feel too crammed walking around.
This area is also home to higher end things such as luxury hotels, fine dining, and Michelin starred restaurants.
El Born is home to the Picasso museum and the infamous chocolate musuem. The area is full of beautiful streets and has tons of tapa bars. It is part of Barcelona old city and is right near Gothic Quarter.
Lastly, for people who like peace and quiet, make sure you look into Gracia. Gracia is a small area within the city which is mainly residential with families. This area is quiet but doesn’t compromise with its aesthetic. You’ll find tons of hip bars and cafes. Gracia is also home to Parque Guell which can be ideal for the lowkey tourist.
How Hard is it to Get Around in Barcelona?
Conveniently enough, Barcelona isn’t that big of a city to begin with so even if you stay on one corner, it won’t be more than a 15-25 minute cab ride, or a 30 minute metro ride getting to majority of the important points in the city.
What’s the Best Way to Get Around in Barcelona?
There are a few different ways to get around in Barcelona. First is walking.
Walking is the best way to see any city. If you like walking, considering doing a free walking tour. You’ll see all of the city important points within a few hours and you’ll know where everything is.
Next you have public transportation. The transportation in Barcelona runs well. You have a few options on how you want to do the public transportation.
1st, you can a get a T-Casual card that is for the metro, bus, tram, and the other operators in the fare system. It costs 11.35 euros for 10 trips and is a super cheap way to move around the city.
2nd, get the hola Barcelona travel card that lets you ride the public transporation system unlimited for a certain time frame. This card also includes the airport fee. You have the option of 2-5 days unlimited hola cards. 2 day card starts at 16.30 euro.
If you are far from local attractions and won’t be taking a cab to and from the airport, I’d advise to do the hola card because it’ll be most cost efficient.
If you won’t be really using the metro, then do the t-casual card. That’s what we did and we ended up having a few more swipes left since we were staying in Eixample. Pretty centralized.
Lastly is cabs. There isn’t uber in Barcelona. Instead you have free now and cabify which is the same exact concept just different companies. Cabs are priced by the meter. If you are leaving from the airport they charge you a supplement of a few euros.
How to Reach Barcelona for Your Trip?
If you are coming from Madrid you can take a bus, train, plane, or car. The quickest way is to fly but that isn’t always the cheapest. However, do look because flights are cheaper than usual right now.
For trains you have the budget/low cost Ouigo and the AVLO that is Renfe’s affordabe line. You can get from Madrid to Barcelona in less than 2.5 hours and prices start at 7 euros.
Do keep in mind though, these are super popular routes and you won’t find cheap tickets last minute. Try to book atleast 2+ months in advance and be flexible with your dates to get the best prices.
Is Barcelona safe?
Yes Barcelona is safe. The majority of crime that happens in the city of Barcelona is petty crime, aka pick pocketing.
This is what happens in major European cities too though. Let’s be realistic here cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Milan are full of pick pocketers.
Keep your belongings super close, always in the front pocket, purse zippers facing you. Don’t leave phones and wallets on the table even when you are eating at the table. Definitely do not leave your purse hanging on the chair, that is asking to have your bag snatched.
Better advice, don’t look like such a tourist. Ok what does that mean? Look like you’re paying attention and try to blend in. Don’t look lost waving a map in the air signaling to people you’re clearly not from there.
These are simple pointers but it’s easier said than done when your guard is down and you’re on vacation.
Local thieves are literally waiting around for tourists to slip up because they know they’re an easy target. Great mood, vacation vibes, what can go wrong? Nope! Pay attention. Don’t let yourself get robbed. You’ve been warned!
Overview of what you’ll see and do in Barcelona
We’ll be exploring:
- Gaudi monuments
- More epic art
- Authentic Catalan culture and history
- Food and more! Food such like tomato bread originates from the province of Catalunia and you definitely have to try it !!
Day 1 Barcelona itinerary: Exploring the City of Gaudi
Someone say Antonio Gaudi? You’ll hear this name all over the city and it is because he is a very famous Catalan architect.
Gaudi was wayyyy ahead of his time and it shows in all of his works. He was a pioneer of modern architecture and innovation.
Gaudi was born in Reus, the second biggest city of the Catalonia region. He then moved to Barcelona in 1869 to follow his passion and study architecture.
Rightfully famous, you’ll soon see and understand the hype once you visit his works and see them through out the city.
It is truly best (and highly advisable) to buy tickets to all of his monuments prior to arrival to ease entrance and to avoid long lines.
Ideally the earlier the better. Keep that in mind if you already know your dates you will be traveling.
As Barcelona is home to Gaudi, here are the most impressive works you should undoubtedly see your first day on the Barcelona itinerary:
Casa Vicens –
This is the first house Gaudi constructed in 1883-1885. It is an incredibly beautiful house considering the details and history it has. The colors and details will wow anyone.
The house has a basement, garden, main floor, first floor, second floor, and a beautiful rooftop. Learning more about this house is one of the best ways to understand his architecture and how Gaudi got started.
Viewing and touring all of Casa Vincens will take you around an hour to an hour and a half max. It cost 15 euros and you get an audio guide that talks about the history
Sagrada Familia –
This is another landmark to buy tickets to in advance. Sometimes it sells out way too fast so do not wait!! Sagrada Familia is the most epic temple that was constructed by Gaudi.
Gaudi is actually buried inside of it too, pretty cool! He had major goals for this church but unfortunately didn’t get to live to see it completed. As his death was unexpected, Gaudi was very committed to his temple the last 12 years of life. “He wanted to serve god through architecture” and even if you aren’t religious, this is a must stop in Barcelona.
The entrance costs 26 euros and gives you access to the app and audio guide. There are 16 different languages within the app.
Upon arrival, the employees will advise you to download what you need. Sagrada familia is a big monument, viewing it entirely will take you about an hour to an hour and a half. Potentially can take even 2 hours if you are moving slow and taking a lot of pictures.
Parque Güell –
Park Güell originally came from the private estate of Eusebi Güell. Güell gave Gaudi order to construct a big private estate for wealthy families. Once Güell died, close friends and family sold the park to the city and the city eventually purchased it.
The park used to be free but now it costs 10 euros unless you’re a local resident. It’s a beautiful park with really nice views and a must if you are in Barcelona.
Passeig De Garcia
This street is located in the neighborhood of Eixample and is a must to walk through. Here you’ll find designer stores and you’ll also find Gaudis other important houses all within walking distance.
You’ll find Gaudi’s houses, Casa Batlló which was built in 1900 and Casa Amatller that was built in 1898 by Puig I Cadafalch. Puig was another architect focused on modernism.
Lastly, you’ll find Casa Mila that is located a short distance down the same street. Casa Mila was made in 1906. If you like architecture, Casa Mila might be of interest. As mentioned before, don’t sleep on the tickets!
Night time drinks:
Get a beverage with a view! These 3 places are super cute and are worth adding into your Barcelona itinerary if you want a cocktail.
ALaire terrace is a rooftop terrace. This is part of the Hotel Condes in Barcelona and has an amazing view of the city. Definitely stop by for a drink if you are in the area. Cocktails are pricy but in my opinion you’re really paying for the awesome view. Worth it!
Yurbban Trafalgar Rooftop is another roof top but isn’t as pricy. Don’t fret, the views are still great. To top it all off, there are live music performances 7-9pm every Wednesday. This roof top is located in Ciutat Vella.
Ohla Chill out is quite luxurious but the views and the ambience make it so worth it. Located smack in the center, you’ll quickly forget you are in the hustle bustle of the city.
Day 2: Las Ramblas, La Boqueria, and Poble Sec
2nd day will be jam packed, hope you are ready! You can start the day off by walking Las Ramblas street and exploring the gothic quarter. Plaça de Catalunya is at the beginning and is a good starting point to work your way downwards.
This is obviously a very touristy area so make sure you go early am if you don’t like crowds and always keep your belongings super close. Lots of pick pocketers in Las Ramblas!
After walking around the infamous Ramblas area, once you are about midway, you’ll find La Boqueria market. This is a great place to have lunch and is highly recommeneded for a visit. There you can have a bunch of tapas. You literally have almost 500 stalls to choose from.
As this is a touristy area, don’t go expecting you’re going to get a table in the market. You’ll definitely be waiting a long time.
Go with a quick mindset, eat while you’re standing. If that isn’t ideal, have lunch super early and avoid the crowds. Pinoxto bar is a cult favorite and has delicious tapas.
There are tourist restrictions within this market as things have became so hectic with tourism over the years. If you are a big tourist group, they might turn you away. Keep that in mind. The market now gives privilege to locals.
Day 2 night Barcelona itinerary
For the night time go explore Poble Sec which is a beautiful neighborhood. Carrer de Blai has a ton of pincho options. Pinchos are basically a tapa on bread and make for an interesting meal of varied tapas.
After eating you can go to the beautiful fountain show at the magic fountain of Montjuic. It’s free and they have times listed available on there website so make sure to check if you’re in the area.
Arrive early to get a good spot for the show and head up to Palau Nacional for the most amazing view point.
Where to eat in Barcelona
Ofcourse we have to talk about food within our Barcelona itinerary. Below you’ll find a list of some of the best places in Barcelona along with some info.
Consider making a reservation in any place that interests you. That’s just the way Spaniards roll, reserva is always easier and more secure.
- Bodega Sant Antoni Gloriós – Located in Sant Antoni area, great prices, amazing tapas
- Brugarol Barcelona – Located right next to Barcelona Cathedral, great tapas and quality prices
- El Pintor – Located in gothic quarter, awesome Catalonian food
- La Fonda – Located next to Placa Reial, great food and even bigger servings
- Firebug – Great place for brunch, located right near Arc De Triomf
Day 3: Roaming around everywhere
Start the day off by embracing yourself into more Spanish culture and go to the Picasso Museum. Did you know Picasso was from Malaga Spain?
Pablo Picasso was an awesome artist and the museum in Barcelona has an extensive collection of his works.We’re talking over 4000+ works of art. Book tickets in advance if you know you are going to want to go.
Tickets are 12 euros and they have free visiting hours too. Free times are Thursdays 5-8pm, 1st sunday of the month, and the following dates 2/12, 5/18, and 9/24.
In addition to that they have discounted rates of 7 euros for people under the age of 25, Barcelona library card holders, accredited university students, seniors 65+, and for the unemployed.
Enjoying the beach and Barcelona Port in Barcelona
Next it’s time to go to the beach. If you are looking for a moment to take a beach break, now is the time. Even if you aren’t going in the water, a nice stroll here could be pleasant.
The best beaches in the city of Barcelona are Playa Marbella, San Sebastià, and Somorrostro.
The worst and most crowded beach is Barceloneta. Many locals don’t go there, they avoid that beach due to it being a tourist hot spot.
It’s also not a realistic place to relax. There’s not much room to lay out and there’s alot of vendors on the beach. In other words, expect loud noises and people trying to sell you things.
After the beach, make sure you go walk by the Barcelona port. This is one of the most important ports in all of Spain and is very busy.
Experience epic views of Barcelona
Once you are done going to the port, it’s time to go on the Teleferic de Montjuic cable car. This is an awesome way to see the city and the journey starts in the Parc de Montjuïc, where the cable car travels straight to Castell de Montjuc without stopping.
To get to the cable car, the address is Avinguda de Miramar, 30. You have to take the funicular from the Paral.lel metro stop thats off of the L2 or L3 subway line. The funicular comes with your metro ticket.
A single ticket for the Teleferic is 8.90 euros and a return trip is 13.50 euros. This is such a fun thing to do, so make sure you include it in your Barcelona itinerary. The views of the city are ones you probably won’t get anywhere else.
Upon returning, the cable car makes a stop at Mirador de l’Alcalde on the way back. The stop isn’t mandatory, although relaxing at the Miramar Costa I Llobera, Cinto Verdaguer, and Joan Brossa with epic views of Barcelona is strongly recommended!!
Try to get off and enjoy the views if you are not in a rush. Going back, the trip ends back in the Parc de Montjuïc.
Day 4: Gothic Quarter, Bike Riding, Arc De Triomf, and Bunkers Del Camel
For the last day in Barcelona you can ride a bike around the city. It’s truly a city of bikes so if you like them, you’re at home there!
There are a ton of different ways to do this. You can go to a bike rental company thats more for the tourists, or if you feel like subscribing to a plan use Bicing. Bicing is an app and theres bikes all over the city. You sign up, log in, pick up the bike at the nearest point and then return the bike at a drop off point after.
If you want to be social, you can also do a bike tour although I’m not sure where that’s at with covid right now.
You can also rent a scooter too. Lynx is one of the best in the city. Adding this type of transportation is the perfect way to see the city in a different way. After all this Barcelona itinerary is meant to be the most epic of them all!
Gothic Quarter and El Born
Head to the Gothic Quarter to check out the historic area. The buildings are rather medieval and are pretty to glance at. While you are in the area make sure you see the Barcelona Cathedral and bishops bridge (Pont Del Bisbe for maps).
Check out the Plaza Real there too. It’s a pretty plaza with shops and eateries all around.
Next, go to El Born. This is an equally as impressive neighbord as gothic quarter but is much more modern and hip. In El Born you’ll find trendy bars in Passieg Del Born and elegant boutiques.
For some of the best trendy bars in El Born, make sure you consider any of these 3: Bar El Born, Creps Al born, and No Sé.
Bunkers Del Camel
Finally, finish off your day by getting more epic views in at Bunkers Del Camel. This used to be a Spanish civil war bunker and where war equipment was previously setup and stored.
It’s a local spot to get panaramic views of the city while and catch a sunset. Definitely bring food and drinks. Alcoholic or not.
Heads up, I won’t let you go in blindly. It’s quite a work out to get up there but don’t worry. The best views are after the hardest climb…right ?! 🙂 Right! Trust me you won’t regret it!
Conclusion: The perfect Barcelona itinerary for an unforgettable trip
There you have it my friends! A jam packed unforgettable time to enjoy a perfect Barcelona itinerary to guide you along the way. Not only will you see everything that is important, you’ll even get to see some free attractions like the magic fountain show.
Now when you go to Barcelona, you’ll know about the best neighborhoods, the best things to do, where to eat, and you’ll even be prepared because you’ll buy your tickets in advance. Right?! Have you been to Barcelona before? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy Barcelona traveling!