3 Days in Barcelona Itinerary – Top places to visit in 3-4 days
Hello and welcome to our 3 days in Barcelona itinerary. Every time we visit Barcelona, we always spend at least 3 or 4 days here. It’s the perfect amount of time to see all of the top sites and get a good feel to what city life is all about. Barcelona is a bustling city offering great nightlife, delicious local cuisine, a stunning beach and some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. It’s full of colour and culture!
Read our guide for a list of the best places to visit in 3 or 4 days. Our itinerary gives you a step-by-step plan or what to see each day, from morning to evening. It includes must-see attractions such as Barceloneta Beach and the Sagrada Familia, but also unique viewpoints such as Mount Tibidabo, and a couple of local markets. Our itinerary is easy to follow and complete, and whilst you’ll see a lot in a short amount of time, it isn’t too busy. You’ll have time for relaxation too! If you have any questions about anything in our guide, be sure to send us a message or leave a comment.
Starting off our 3 days in Barcelona itinerary is the busy street of Las Ramblas in central Barcelona. It’s a long street full of bars, cafes, restaurants and shops, all featuring the unique gothic style of this old area of the city. It’s by far the busiest area in Barcelona! There’s no doubt Las Ramblas is touristic. However, it’s worth visiting at least once during your stay to soak in the vibrant atmosphere. Visit both day and night for a completely different experience and be sure to check out the Las Ramblas street-performers. They’re very talented! Being the main tourist hub of Barcelona, this area is a great place to start your trip.
La Boqueria Market
The next place you’ll want to check out on your first day in Barcelona is the famous La Boqueria Market. Located near the bottom of Las Ramblas, La Boqueria is a bustling place to visit from morning until late afternoon. It’s also where you can sample some of the city’s most delicious tapas and grab a sweet treat as you walk around. Inside the market you’ll find meat stalls, cheese stalls, small open-air tapas bars, bakeries and much more. One of the most popular things to do here is to buy a fresh juice and drink it as you browse the market. La Boqueria has a lot of history and you can’t miss it off your 3-day Barcelona itinerary.
Top tip: If you head towards the back of the market, away from the main entrance, you’ll find stalls selling juices, foods and souvenirs for cheaper prices.
Travel time: Walk 5-minutes from La Boqueria Market to the Gothic Quarter.
Barcelona is known for its iconic buildings and streets, and the Gothic quarter neighbourhood is where you’ll want to head next. It’s full of old, medieval buildings, with some of them dating back to Roman Times. Here you can visit Barcelona cathedral, the town hall, wander around the cobbled old streets and stop off for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. You can either explore the area yourself or opt for a guided walking tour to understand more about the Gothic Quarter’s history. We recommend visiting during the day, but also on an evening if you can. The area is completely different when the sun goes down and has an excellent nightlife scene.
Spend a couple of hours wandering around the Gothic Quarter and grab a spot of lunch.
Travel time: Walk 10-minutes from the Gothic Quarter to Plaça de Catalunya.
Plaça de Catalunya (Catalunya Square)
After lunch, we recommend heading north of Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter to Plaça de Catalunya. It’s a popular meeting point for locals and is great for a spot of shopping. You’ll find flagship stores for popular Spanish high street stores such as Mango and Zara, a large shopping mall, and plenty of cafes and restaurant. This bustling area is a great place to enjoy a post-lunch coffee.
Travel time: Walk 5-minutes from Plaça de Catalunya to Passeig de Gràcia.
Passeig de Gràcia
Right next to Passeig de Gràcia, you’ll find Barcelona’s premier shopping street, Passeig de Gràcia. This exclusive area of the city is where you’ll find some of Antonio Gaudi’s most impressive buildings. It’s also a top place to shop, with an endless number of high street stores and designer boutiques. No matter what time of the year you’ll visit, Passeig de Gràcia is a bustling and cosmopolitan centre with a lot to see. Spend time wandering around the shops, marvel at the grand buildings on either side of the street or take a break on a park bench. Passeig de Gràcia has shops for all budgets, ranging from flagship Nike, Mango and Desigual stores, to high end Gucci, Rolex and Prada.
Travel time: Casa Batlló is located on Passeig de Gràcia. There’s no need to use any public transport.
You can’t visit Barcelona and not experience one of Antonio Gaudi’s iconic designs. The 19th century architect designed several buildings in the city and they’re all worth seeing in their own right. The first Gaudi building you’ll want to explore on our Barcelona 3-day itinerary is Casa Batlló. It’s an elaborate remodel of a house, featuring some of Gaudi’s most eccentric interior and exterior designs. To visit Casa Batlló, it’s best to book a time slot online before arrival. Tickets sell out fast and it often has large queues outside.
Casa Batlló is located on Passeig de Gràcia, the street we mentioned above. It makes the perfect final stop on the first day of your Barcelona itinerary.
To kick off day 2 of our 3 days in Barcelona itinerary, we recommend heading up to one of the best views of the city, the summit of Mount Tibidabo. Located in the north-west of Barcelona, this towering mountain range is the perfect place to escape the crowds of the city centre. It’s a popular spot for hikers and walkers, but also those that just want to see breath-taking views of Barcelona.
The best way to get to Mount Tibidabo is by taking the metro or bus to the base of the hill. You can then either walk up the steep hill path to the summit or catch the funicular. It’s a quick 2 – 3-minute trip up to the top and costs 10 euros per person.
At the top of Mount Tibidabo, there are several viewpoints, an amusement park and a handful of food stalls. You’ll also find a beautiful white church called the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Tibidabo is one of our favourite areas of the city and it cannot be missed!
Travel time: Catch the local bus from Mount Tibidabo to Park Güell. Alternatively, take a taxi.
Recognised as one of the most impressive parks in the world, Park Güell is another must-see attraction on our 3 days in Barcelona itinerary. Designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, Park Güell is a mountain-side garden featuring the artists’ home, several museum buildings, breath-taking views of the city, and of course, the famous serpentine bench. You’ll want to spend around 2 hours wandering around the park, admiring the architecture and organic design details that Gaudi is known for. If you don’t have much time, but still want to see the park, head over to the main entrance and take some pictures of the staircase. The entrance fee for Park Güell is 10 euros per person.
Travel time: Casa Vicens is located in the L’Eixample neighbourhood. There’s no need to use any public transport.
Can you really say that you’ve been to Barcelona without visiting the Sagrada Familia? It’s Roman Catholic church, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and possibly the most beautiful church on the planet! It’s another piece of fine work by Gaudi and is the number one attraction to see in Barcelona. The outside of the church features distinct turrets, intricate carvings and an almost sand-castle-like appearance. Inside, you’ll find towering marble columns, colourful stained glass windows and a beautifully designed ceiling.
We recommend spending at least an hour and a half here so you can really take in the beauty of this true masterpiece. Top tip: be sure to book tickets in advance. Tickets can’t be bought on the day and often sell out a week in advance.
Travel time: Walk 35-minutes or catch the metro to Casa Vicens.
The next place you’ll want to visit on our Barcelona 3-day itinerary is Gaudi’s first commissioned project in Barcelona, Casa Vicens. Being the first city project from the talented architect, it has a slightly different design to many of the other Gaudi buildings in the city. The unique house features rust-red walls, jagged balconies and yellow and aqua tiles. If you have time, you can pay to wander around the house, or simply walk past the house and take pictures from the outside. You can view the different tour options available on the official website:
Travel time: Casa Vicens is in the L’Eixample neighbourhood. There’s no need to use any public transport.
Let’s face it, Barcelona has a hip and trendy reputation. It has an excellent food scene, and some of the coolest bars in Europe. The neighbourhood of L’Eixample is known as the city’s most upmarket and exclusive area. It’s full of high-end shops and boutique hotels. It’s a great place to have lunch or dinner, with plenty of tapas bars, fine dining restaurants and eateries specialising in cuisine from around the world.
Spend time exploring the shops, bars and restaurants of this cool neighbourhood on foot. It’s a great place to start your evening.
Now that you’re on the final day of our Barcelona 3-day itinerary, you’ll want to wind down a little. Day 3 is all about Barcelona’s amazing beaches, parks and scenic coastline.
Start the day with a coffee and a walk around El Born, the trendy and hip neighbourhood right by Barcelona’s seafront. It’s known for its medieval street, markets and old buildings. During the day it’s quiet and a nice place to wander around. On an evening, it comes alive with its vibrant nightlife scene and many restaurants. Top things to do in El Born include the Picasso Museum, Santa Maria del Mar Church, Born Cultural Centre and Ciutadella Park, which we’ll talk about in the next point. There’s also Santa Catarina market, a local food market.
Travel time: Walk 5 – 10-minutes to Ciutadella Park.
After wandering through the cobbled streets of El Born, head over to Cuitadella Park for a leisurely walk, and even a picnic. It’s a large public park that features a zoo, lake, museum and a historic waterfall monument. It’s a great place to unwind and escape the busy streets of the city. In Ciutadella, you’ll find many locals spending time with friends, families getting together for a day in the sun, and many tourists taking pictures in front of the fountain. We rented a paddle boat on the lake and highly recommend it. It cost 6 euros for 30 minutes. It’s a fun activity for couples and groups of friends.
Travel time: Walk 5 – minutes to Arc de Triompf monument.
Arc de Triompf
The next thing you’ll want to do after wandering around Ciutadella Park is to visit one of the city’s iconic landmarks, Arc de Triompf. The monument was designed by architect, Josep Vilaseca for the XXX Barcelona World Fair and is an impressive site to see. It’s a great spot to go for a stroll along the promenade that leads to the arch, or if you’re feeling energetic, hire a bike and tour the park area.
Travel time: Walk 30-minutes or catch the local bus to Port Olímpic.
It’s now time to start the relaxation section of our 3 days in Barcelona itinerary! Head over to Barcelona’s premier yacht marina, Port Olímpic. Take a slow stroll around the harbour area, admire the boats and yachts, grab an ice cream or a refreshing drink, or even stop off at one of the many cafés and restaurants for a bite to eat. Port Olímpic has a laid-back atmosphere during the day. It’s a scenic spot to check out before walking along to the beaches.
Next, you’ll want to head to the famous Barceloneta Beach. After spending a few days walking miles upon miles, a spot of down-time is in order. Take a walk along the promenade or sink your feet deep into the golden sand. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can sunbathe and take a dip in the sea, or simply enjoy the view from a park bench. You’ll see many locals gathering together at the beach having food, playing volleyball, and just having a great time.
There are many restaurants and bars along the strip of beach, with options for every budget. If you don’t fancy relaxing on the beach, consider renting a bike and cycling down the long promenade. It stretches for miles!
The last place you’ll want to visit on our Barcelona 3 day itinerary is the beautifully scenic, Port Vell. Originally built as a waterfront urban renewal project for the Barcelona Olympics, it’s known today for its shopping centre, restaurants and bars, aquarium, and the many rows of boats docked up in the marina. It’s the perfect place to go for a long sunset stroll or a cocktail in one of the marina-facing bars. Port Vell will make you feel like you’re in a seaside resort in the south of Spain, not a bustling city.
Bonus Day 4 itinerary:
Our guide may be all about 3 days in Barcelona. However, if you have an extra morning, afternoon or even a full day before you depart, you should consider checking out the following attractions.
Montjuïc Hill and cable car ride
We’ve already mentioned one place where you can find amazing views of Barcelona, Mount Tibidabo. Montjuïc Hill is another spot where you can see the cityscape from above. This scenic hillside is right by the coastline and is easily accessible from the city centre. The best way to explore Montjuïc Hill is by cable car. This fun, scenic activity takes you up to the hill summit from the base, giving you panoramic views of Barcelona along the way. It’s a must-do activity to do in Barcelona if you have the time. The cable car ride costs €15 per person for a round trip.
Once you reach Montjuïc Hill, you can visit Montjuïc fortress and walk along its fortified walls. There’s also a number of walking trails, several scenic viewpoints and a botanical garden. Montjuïc Hill is the perfect place to go for a long, scenic walk. The atmosphere here is completely different to city centre below.
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
We’ve already told you the great things about Montjuïc Hill. However, there’s even more to do in the Montjuïc area. At the base of the hill, a 30-minute walk from the cable car station, you’ll find Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole city, featuring a grand dome at its centre and intricate contemporary 19th-century design.
Inside, it houses a series of 11th to 20th-century Catalan art, including a diverse Romanesque collection. It’s a must-see for those that like art galleries, but even if you don’t, you should stop by to see the building whilst exploring Montjuic.
Top tip: You’ll gain free entry to the museum every Saturday from 3:00 pm, every first Sunday of the month and on open doors days. You’ll need to reserve a space on the museum’s website if you wish to visit during these hours.
Montjuïc Magic Fountain
Right in front of the Museum of National Art of Catalunya, you’ll find the famous Montjuïc Magic Fountain. The fountain is a spectacle of a Montjuïc attraction that has been entertaining visitors since 1929. On various evenings during the week the fountain comes alive as part of a colourful light show. Music, lights and water that seemingly dances to the music! Whether you see the Montjuïc Magic Fountain day or night, its grand design and cascading series of water jets are well worth seeing.
Finish your fourth and final day in Barcelona visiting the neighbourhood of Poble-Sec. Located at the base of Montjuïc Hill, it’s known for its creative and authentic tapas bars, alfresco dining and lively nightlife scene. We recommend visiting Poble-Sec for a dinner and a drink here after a day of sightseeing in Montjuïc. It’s an up and coming area of the city and has plenty of excellent, affordable tapas bars.
If you have more time in Barcelona or want to substitute an attraction on our 3 days in Barcelona itinerary, check out the following:
- Visit other Gaudi buildings in the city. Attractions we haven’t listed that are well worth visiting include Casa Milà, Palau Güell and Colegio Teresiano de Barcelona.
- Barcelona FC Camp Nou stadium tour
- Watch an evening Flamenco show
- Watch the Montjuic magic fountain show. You’ll need to check online to see when the show is next on.
- Visit Barcelona Zoo.
- Get the train to the beach town of Sitges for the day.
- Take a tour to the mountainous area of Monserrat.
Our top tips for visiting Barcelona
- Choose your hotel location wisely. Think about all of the places and attractions you want to visit and see how far you’ll need to walk/ travel to get there. Each central area of Barcelona has something unique to offer and the best area will depend on your interests and budget. Read our central and safe areas to stay in Barcelona guide for area and hotel recommendations.
- Book attraction tickets in advance. Even if you’re visiting during outside of the peak tourist season of June – August, you’ll save time (and sometimes money). Barcelona sees tourists all year round, so ensuring you book in advance will avoid disappointment (and long queues!)
- Head out first thing if you want to skip the crowds. Days often start later in Barcelona, around 11am. If you want to avoid the mass crowds of tourists at attractions, wake up and head out early.
- Barcelona is known as a hotspot for pickpockets. Be sure to wear a cross body bag or bum bag/fanny pack, and ensure you have no belongings in your back pockets.
- Check out reviews of restaurants on TripAdvisor. As with any city, you’ll find a share of great restaurants, but also mediocre eateries and the outright awful. Read reviews online before heading into a restaurant to avoid disappointment.
- Use the metro to get around. You can get great value multi-journey passes that can be used for one person, or shared between two. It’s an affordable way to get around and explore the city.
- Try to dine at restaurants slightly away from the main tourist trail. Areas such as L’Eixample and El Born have a great selection of restaurants! Try to avoid eating on or near Las Ramblas.
- Take advantage of the Aerobús to get to and from the airport. It’s fast and affordable.
- Check the opening times of restaurants before heading out to eat. Locals tend to eat lunch and dinner later in Barcelona. Most restaurants open from 7pm on an evening.
- Barcelona is great for a spot of shopping. Brands such as Zara, Mango and Pull & Bear are great (and cheaper in Spain!)
- Most places accept debit and credit card, but it’s always good to bring cash with you for any small incidentals.
- Ensure you wear a comfortable pair of trainers or shoes. You’ll be walking pretty much the entire day, so you’ll want to be comfortable.
Thanks for reading our complete 3 days in Barcelona itinerary. We hope you found it useful and can use it to help plan a trip. It’s a city that has a great variety of places to see and experience, and you could spend a full month here without seeing everything. 3 days is a great amount of time to sample Barcelona and you’ll no doubt want to return to see more next time.
If you have any questions about any of the places in our Barcelona itinerary, be sure to post a comment below.
BY SUSIEAuthor bio:
I’m a passionate traveller that loves a sunny beach holiday, but also appreciate the cultural side to a trip and checking out undiscovered destinations. I’m the go-to Toucan Traveller for great holiday stories, cool photos and foodie recommendations.