Barcelona. The city of Gaudi architecture, sangria-soaked evenings, and sandy beaches. It's a place that always feels alive, no matter what time of year you visit. From the beautiful buildings and tasty food to fascinating history and lively nightlife, there's something for everyone in this vibrant metropolis. Highlights of any Barcelona itinerary include world-class attractions like la Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona Cathedral, Las Ramblas, and many UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Before you head out on your Barcelona adventure, you'll need somewhere to store your bags. Once they've been taken care of, it will be easy to use the Barcelona Metro or take advantage of a free walking tour.
Barcelona is one of those cities that you can never see enough of. Planning a trip to Spain's most popular city? You'll have no trouble filling your 3 days in Barcelona, that's for sure. With so much to do and see, it's the perfect place for a quick city break. If you're looking to explore all that Barcelona has to offer, here's a comprehensive guide on how to spend 3 days in Barcelona. ¡Buen viaje! (Have a good trip!)
Barcelona itinerary - Day 1
Before you start your sightseeing and exploration, you'll need some energy. Head to Audrey Brunch & Coffee for a quick bite. It's a five-minute walk from Casa Milà where we recommend you start your first day in Barcelona by getting a taste of the city's world-renowned architecture. Casa Milà, better known as La Pedrera, is a unique building designed by Antoni Gaudí and is one of his most famous works. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site - one of nine in Barcelona. Take a tour of the inside to learn about the design and see some of the original furnishings. Then, head to the roof for incredible views of the city.
Next, make your way to Park Güell, another one of Gaudí's masterpieces, and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It will take you about 30 minutes to walk from Casa Mila to Park Guell, as it's one of the more outlying Barcelona attractions. It's ideal to do this one on the first day when you're fresh. This public park is full of colorful mosaics, whimsical sculptures, and impressive architecture. Stroll through the grounds, taking in the sights and enjoying the fresh air. When you're ready for a break, grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink at one of the park's cafes. The Gaudí House Museum is also found at Park Güell and will offer extra insights into the life and works of the famous Catalan architect. If you're traveling with kids, the Parc d'Atraccions Tibidabo, an amusement park, is a little further away from central Barcelona, but easily reached if you have a car.
Depending on how long you visit Park Güell, you may have time to squeeze in another activity before the evening rolls in. Generally, tourists spend about two hours at Park Guell, so if you have more time, head back toward Casa Mila and La Rambla. On the way, you can stop in for tapas or just keep going until you hit the stunning Gaudi block of apartments called Casa Batlló. Casa Batlló was built between 1904 and 1906 and has a truly unique skeletal quality that photographs extremely well.
As the sun starts to set, head to La Rambla, Barcelona's most famous street. Stroll down the pedestrian walkway, taking in the buskers, performers, and street vendors. Make your way to the end of the street, where you'll find the Christopher Columbus Monument. Depending on your tastes and budget, you can opt to stop on Las Ramblas for dinner and cocktails. Something with a tapas menu won't be hard to find and will round out your first of 3 days in Barcelona nicely. Need a recommendation? Try the Mediterranean fare from 128 La Rambla Restaurant.
If you prefer to dine away from the chaos and popularity of Las Ramblas, once you've toured the iconic street a little bit, wander down to the waterfront to watch the boats come in and enjoy the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea. There are tons of restaurants, lounges, and cafes along the way that will have more reasonable prices.
If you have any energy left, end your first day enjoying some of the best things to do at night in Barcelona. Karma is a particular favorite just off Las Ramblas that features rock music from the 1960s to the present day.
Barcelona itinerary - Day 2
After a good night's sleep, start your second day refreshed and ready to explore more of Barcelona. Start with a visit to the Gothic Quarter, the city's old town, which you will have had a taste of the previous evening when you strolled along Las Ramblas.
Wander through the winding streets, admiring the architecture and stopping in at any shops or cafés that catch your eye. A highlight in the Gothic Quarter that can't be missed is the Barcelona Cathedral. The cathedral was built between 1298 and 1450, with a Gothic design that is unique in its kind. The exterior façade is decorated with 92 gargoyles and over 300 statues. The interior of the cathedral is even more impressive, with its large nave and stained glass windows.
The center of the Gothic Quarter is Plaça Sant Jaume, which is also worth a look when you visit Barcelona. Don't leave the Gothic Quarter without seeing the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar or the Barcelona History Museum which recounts the city's history since Roman times.
Make your way to Plaça de Catalunya, the main square in the city, then continue on to La Boqueria, Barcelona's famous food market on Las Ramblas. you'll be getting hungry at this point and La Boqueria has some of the best street food in Barcelona.
In the afternoon, take a walk along Passeig de Gràcia, one of Barcelona's most beautiful streets. Known for excellent shopping and Gaudi architecture, there's so much to take in on this one street alone. If you did not get to Casa Batlló on day one of your 3 days in Barcelona itinerary, now's your chance. Pop into some of the upscale shops, then relax in one of the many parks or squares along the way. If you picked up some picnic supplies at La Boqueria, now is a good time to deploy them.
Head back toward the Plaça de Catalunya, the central square, for a good meal and a few drinks. La Lluna is a wonderful Mediterranean restaurant on Carrer de Santa Anna that boasts tasty Catalan cuisine with an international flair. After dinner, if you would like a leisurely walk, walk for about 20 minutes and you'll find yourself at the Parc de la Ciutadella. The Parc de la Ciutadella is one of the largest and most popular parks in Barcelona. The park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, as well as a number of historical and architectural landmarks. Stop by the grand Parliament of Catalonia building for a few photos, and continue through the park to the impressive waterfall and even the Barcelona Zoo.
Barcelona itinerary - Day 3
We may have saved the best for last when it comes to Barcelona's highlights. Ideally, on the last morning of your 3 days in Barcelona itinerary, you should visit Sagrada Familia. If you haven't heard of Sagrada Familia yet, it's a towering Catholic church whose construction began in 1882 and is still ongoing. Antoni Gaudi designed the church and he included many unique features in his design, such as spiral columns and mosaic patterns. The church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona and it alone gets more than four million visitors annually.
Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its unique construction is one of the main reasons for its popularity. But, since it's a truly iconic landmark in Barcelona, it can be difficult to get into. Make sure you book your tickets online in advance and accept whatever day and time they're able to give. The central location of Sagrada Familia means you can shift your Barcelona itinerary around to accommodate your time slot quite easily.
You won't want to plan anything else in the morning when you visit La Sagrada Familia. A minimum of two hours is recommended. In fact, you can easily spend an hour just admiring and photographing the outside. Inside Sagrada Familia, you'll find the nave, which is the central part of the church where mass is held. It has a tall ceiling and is supported by columns. The church also has an underground crypt that contains the tomb of Antoni Gaudi, which does seem fitting. To sum it up, when you visit Barcelona, you have to see La Sagrada Familia.
Once you've explored La Sagrada Familia, you'll probably be hungry. Barcelona is full of lovely restaurants that offer some of the tastiest Mediterranean-themed cuisine and tapas in all of Spain. You won't have to look very far to find something good, but near Sagrada Familia, consider a meal at Tuscania Food and Wine. If you prefer something quicker, there is a Five Guys burger joint steps from Sagrada Familia.
After your amazing morning exploring Sagrada Familia, it's time to add a little relaxation to your Barcelona itinerary. Barceloneta Beach is perfect for swimming and enjoying a few cocktails on the sand. The Barcelona Aquarium is not far from here for anyone who doesn't want to "waste" time sitting on the beach.
Another great activity in the afternoon and early evening is to head to the National Museum of Catalan Art. Surrounded by the Jardins de Joan Maragall, the building and gardens are almost as impressive as the museum's contents. Take a guided tour or go it alone and let the Catalan art do the talking.
Your last night in Barcelona is the ideal time to reflect on everything you've seen and done in such a short time. It's perfect for a quiet evening meal, perhaps with a view of the water. For football (soccer) fans, if your timing works out and you have the cash to spare, perhaps there's even an FC Barcelona game in town that you can attend. If there is and you can't get tickets, the next best thing is to sit at a bar among locals and watch the game on a big screen, which will definitely save money.
Anyone who isn't into football can simply opt to enjoy a nightcap in one of central Barcelona's many bars and lounges.
From the historic Gothic Quarter and whimsical buildings to the stunning Barcelona Cathedral and Park Güell, 3 days in Barcelona is a treat for lovers of history and architecture. The heavy influence of Gaudi is visible throughout the city center and beyond with sights like Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, and of course, La Sagrada Familia. Even the most seasoned travelers find it tricky to squeeze in nine different UNESCO World Heritage Sites into your 3 days in Barcelona itinerary.
A wander down Las Ramblas and a trip to La Boqueria are musts when you're visiting Barcelona. In truth, it's quite difficult to pack everything there is to do in this magical city into only three days, but you'll sure have fun and learn a lot while trying!