Barcelona is one of our favourite cities in the world. A laid-back place with delicious food, great nightlife and 4.2km of city beaches, Barcelona is ideal for both relaxation and sightseeing. If you’re new to the city and want to make the most of out your short trip, use our recommended Barcelona 3 day itinerary below as a base for your own plans. Everyone’s experience of the city will be different but there are certain things that are must see for any first time visitor.
3 days of sun, sangria and sightseeing
Day 1 – Morning:
- Las Ramblas – Kick off your Barcelona 3 day itinerary with a morning walk and ice cream on Las Ramblas. It’s the busiest and most touristic street in the city but a must see due to the buzzing atmosphere and famous character performers
- Palau Guell (Guell Palace) – A trip to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without seeing the impressive architecture of Antoni Gaudi. The first sight on the agenda is Palau Guell, located just off Las Ramblas. Take a tour around this unique mansion, one of Gaudi’s most famous pieces of work
- La Boqueria market – Next stop is the famous Boqueria market near the bottom of Las Ramlas. From fresh meats and bakery goods to pop-up tapas stalls, this market is the ideal place to grab lunch. Take this opportunity to try some local dishes and sweet treats or buy gifts for those back at home. We recommend the fresh juices at €2 each!
- Placa de Catalunya – A short walk to the north is Placa de Catalunya square, the main tourist centre of the city. Enjoy a hot or cold drink in an outside café and spend a moment relaxing. There are also a range of popular high street shops in this area to browse.
- Camp Nou / Park Guell – For football fans, a Camp Nou stadium tour is a must, even better if you can catch a match! Hop on the Barcelona Metro to the stadium and spend a few hours’ touring the legendary Camp Nou. There’s an on-site shop if you wish to buy some souvenirs or memorabilia. If you’d prefer visiting a different attraction, Park Guell to the North of the city is the obvious choice. Also accessible by the Metro system, this mountain-side garden features the home of Gaudi and provides amazing views of the city
- Magic fountain – We’re sure you’d agree it’s been a busy first today. We recommend returning to your hotel to refresh and relax before heading out for dinner. After/before dinner, make your way to the Magic Fountain to see a show spectacle of fountain sprays moving to music
- Bari Gothic (The Gothic Quarter) – Go to Ziryab Fusion restaurant and try some delicious Arab/Spanish fusion food for dinner. Read more about this top eating spot in our restaurant guide here.
Day 2 – Morning:
- Mount Tibidabo – One of the most famous sites on our Barcelona 3 day itinerary is Mount Tibidabo. It’s a towering mountain location tucked away to the North West of the city offering stunning views of the city. The best way to get there is by bus, which takes you to the very top and saves a very long walk (unless you feel up to the challenge). Once at the top of the mountain you’ll find the beautiful Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, winding garden walkways and the best views of the cityscape. There’s even a mini theme park. Once you’ve finished your morning of mountain top exploration, take the funicular transport down the site of the mountain to the nearest Metro station
- El Born – If you’re a foodie, you can’t leave the city without trying a local speciality in the El Born district. This tightly knit area alleyways, boutique shops, restaurants and bars make an ideal spot for lunch. We highly recommend El Xampanyet, a restaurant with delicious tapas and a bustling atmosphere
- Barceloneta Beach – We’re sure you agree that a spot of down-time is in order. It would be wrong not to enjoy the Spanish sunshine in Barcelona’s very own strip of beaches after all of the sightseeing. The beach front is a short walk away from the El Born district and offers a well-earned afternoon of relaxation. If you’d rather do something more active, rent a bike and cycle from the beach strip to the marina
- L’Exiample night out – The district of E’xiample is filled with corner restaurants and trendy bars, ideal for soaking up the local nightlife. Whatever your age, this area has something to offer and is the perfect way to spend your evening. Go to Espit Chupitos and have the bar staff create a bespoke concoction for you, or try one of their crazy shots. Alternatively, return to the beach front of Barceloneta for a selection of fine dining, nightclub and beach bar options
Day 3 – Morning:
- Casa Batllo – Start the final day of your Barcelona 3 day itinerary with one of the best forms of architecture in Spain. Casa Batllo is the remodel of a previously built house and another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces. We recommend booking all of the Gaudi architecture tours in advance to guarantee a space and skip the long queues.
- Sagrada Familia – The other must see attraction (which is number one on our list) is the world famous Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic Church build on a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the work of Antoni Gaudi. This decade long construction is nothing short of amazing. Take pictures of the towering turrets from the outside and explore the white marble interior.
- Port Vell marina and shopping – Barcelona is a popular cruise destination and has a port filled with ships big and small. It’s an ideal place for an afternoon stroll in the sun with an ice cream and only a short walk from Las Ramblas. If you’re feeling a spot of last day shopping, Maremagnum shopping centre is located at the port and offers a variety of high street and local shops. Alternatively, the Diagonal area north of Placa Catalunya offers top designer shops and high street favourites such as Desigual, Zara and Mango.
- Flamenca show – Spend your last night enjoying a spectacle of Spanish tradition in the form of a Flamenca show. There are numerous Flamenca venues in the city where you can sit back and enjoy this cultural dance with a few drinks. It’s a great way to say goodbye to the city.
Top Tips for visiting Barcelona
- Getting around is easy and the main attractions are relatively compact. We recommend using the city Metro system. It’s cheap, fast and easy and you can get 10 trips for €10.
- Barcelona can get very busy in the summer months and other peak periods. Book all of your attraction tickets online ahead of the trip. It’ll save you time and money
- Compared to other European city destinations, hotels in Barcelona can be pretty cheap. Location is key for a short stay and we advise getting a hotel in one of the more central districts
- There’s definitely a laid bake vibe to the city. Late night eating and even later partying are common place. Live like a local and explore the tucked away eateries and bars before visiting one of the main beach clubs - don’t even bother going to dinner until at least 9pm if you want to see any locals out!
The best Barcelona restaurants:
Other top attractions to visit if you’re in Barcelona for longer:
- Park de la Cuitadella
- Barcelona Zoo
- Magic Fountain show
- Montserrat tour