Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities to see and visit in Spain, although we could expand it to Europe and the rest of the world. Located on the Mediterranean coast, it is the capital of the province and autonomous community (Catalonia) and the second most populous locality in the country.
We can find practically everything in the city, from the beach to the city and mountains, with different styles and ways of living. We are talking about one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the south of the European continent that welcomes millions of travelers throughout the year thanks to its good climate.
If you already know which areas are the best to stay in Barcelona, it is time to plan your visit to Barcelona.
TOP INFORMATION ABOUT BARCELONA
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- Best things to do and see in Barcelona in 3 days
- Day 1 – See and visit essential places in the center of Barcelona
- Day 2 – Modernism and the Gaudí footprint in Barcelona
- Day 3 – The most hidden Barcelona
- How to get around in Barcelona?
Best things to do and see in Barcelona in 3 days
If in your case you are looking for what to see and do in Barcelona in 2 or 3 days, we have some ideas that can come in handy and that you should add to your travel guide. It is possible that you take advantage of a getaway to travel to this city on a bridge, or you simply want to take advantage of a weekend, in any case, it is possible to visit Barcelona and take a good cultural background in 2 or 3 days of tourism.
Day 1 – See and visit essential places in the center of Barcelona
Day 1 will be the beginning of your three days discovering and visiting Barcelona, so it is important that you start on the right foot. For this, we recommend a series of essential places to see that are relatively close (you can see it on the map, before day 2) so that you organize as you see fit.
The center of Barcelona is a must on a trip through the Catalan capital, both for its architecture and its history. You have to take note of all the places to visit on the next trip to the city center.
Catalonian square (Plaça de Catalunya)
The Plaza de Cataluña or Plaça de Catalunya has a huge area of 30,000 square meters. It is one of the largest and best located squares in the country. The square is located in the old town, very close to Paseo de Gracia and Las Ramblas. The square divides the Ciutat Vella, the oldest part of the city and the Eixample.
Catalonia Square is one of the key meeting and meeting points in the capital. It is one of the most lively and lively squares in Barcelona, since it contains all kinds of shops and restaurants. This is also where very good exhibitions and great shows are frequently presented. As well as fairs, markets and much more.
The square houses two fountains, a terrace and sculptures created by renowned artists, mostly Catalan, such as Pablo Gargallo or Josep Llimona, among others. The most advisable thing is to take a walk through the square and sit down for a drink on any of its terraces or on the roof of El Corte Inglés.
One of the most important and charming streets of the center of Barcelona is Las Ramblas. It is a street with a length of 1.3 kilometers, which connects the old port of the city with the Plaza de Cataluña. Do not miss the source of the gutters, located at the top, where the titles of the FCB are also held.
On the walk through Las Ramblas you can find everything from flower kiosks and magazines, to makeup artists, pampering, street performers or street vendors. It is a street with a lot of life and very cheerful at any time of the day, either in the morning, at noon, or late at night.
Las Ramblas is divided into several areas, starting with the Rambla de Canaletes, which is one of the busiest and is located in the highest part of the street, right next to the Plaza de Cataluña. On the other hand, there is the Rambla de los Estudios, named for the old location of the University in 1533. This rambla is also known as the Rambla de los Pájaros, because in its vicinity you could find the old Bird Market.
Then there is the Rambla de las Flores, which is full of multicolored flower stands. And it is one of the most cheerful areas of Las Ramblas. Next to it is the Boqueria Market, another essential place to visit. We continue with the Rambla de los Capuchinos or the Rambla del Centro, where the Güell Palace, the Gran Liceo Theater, or the Plaza Real are located. And we finish on the Rambla de Santa Mònica, which opens to the port. It is one of the liveliest areas, full of restaurants and bars. Do not lose sight of the Mirador de Colón, located at the end of the street.
The Mercado de San José, better known as the Mercado de la Boquería, is located on Las Ramblas, in the area of the Rambla de las Flores is this Mercado de la Boquería. One of the most famous markets in the world.
The history of the market dates back to the thirteenth century, when all street vendors gathered to sell their products in a convent square. Years later, in 1840 the permits were given to sell in a more organized way, becoming the first municipal market in the city.
The market measures more than 2,500 square meters, and has about 300 stalls. In it you can buy all kinds of products, from sausages, eggs, fish or meat, to freshly cut fruit and juices. It is probably one of the best assorted markets in the country.
The Raval neighborhood is located in the district of Ciutat Vella, runs from Sant Pau street to Hospital street. It is one of the nerve points of the city’s immigrant communities.
It is one of the most active visiting points of the city. There you can find a wide variety of businesses, such as modern bars, or designer boutique stores. Throughout the year there are art exhibitions at the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona. If you are interested in the marine environment, it is best to visit the Maritime Museum, which has boats in medieval shipyards.
The Raval is part of the “golden triangle”: Borne, Raval, Gothic. It is a step away from the Rambla, Plaza Universidad and Plaza Catalunya, so communication with the rest of the city is excellent. It is a neighborhood that is full of life, both day and night. Things are always happening in its narrow streets. So there are no limits to take a few photos and get carried away by this halo of vitality.
It is a popular avenue, formerly called Portal dels Orbs (of the blind). Actually, it is located in one of the entrance doors to the walls that were built during the thirteenth century to fortify and guard the ancient city.
Portal de l’Àngel has a lot of history, since it runs through the center of the medieval city. It is one of the busiest avenues in the capital. Because it also has a large number of shops, and is the entrance to the Gothic quarter from the Plaza de Catalunya. In its highest part there is a market of artisans, there you can find exclusive unique pieces and decorative items.
It is worth looking up to see the stately buildings in the neighborhood. Above all, identify what was the historical headquarters of Gas Natural. It is a modernist building from the last years of the 19th century. A building built by the architect Domènech i Estapà. On its facade you will find a sculpture of an angel, which guards the portal.
Gothic Quarter of Barcelona
Finally, to finish the first of the 3 days in Barcelona you can take a walk through the Gothic quarter, also located in the city center. There is the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, known as the Seu, the Cathedral of Barcelona. It is a building of Catalan Gothic architecture built in the fourteenth century.
In the neighborhood you can also visit the Plaza de Sant Jaume, where the Generalitat and the Town Hall are located. As well as one of the most interesting museums in the city to know in depth the history of Barcelona is the Museu d’Història, located in the Plaza del Rey. Not forgetting another essential place in the neighborhood, La Plaça del Pi and its Gothic church that deserves to be visited. On weekends you can enjoy a market that is placed right in the square.
The most advisable and interesting is to get lost in its small streets of medieval style, which transport anyone who travels through them. You can dine in one of its Catalan cuisine restaurants, to taste the typical food of the region. And if at the end of the day you feel like a party, the Gothic Quarter has trendy bars and discos.
Eye, to complete this day, one of the best free tours in Barcelona is highly recommended, which is focused on the Gothic quarter. You will know the secrets of one of the most beautiful areas of the city, corners that in the eyes of the average tourist, are hidden.
Map with places to see and visit in Barcelona on day 1
These are the locations of the essential places that we recommend visiting for day 1 in Barcelona. You can create your own route taking this map as a base or making one to suit you.
Day 2 – Modernism and the Gaudí footprint in Barcelona
On the second day of the 3 days in Barcelona, we recommend a more thematic route focused on Modernism that Gaudí leads in Barcelona. It is worth visiting calmly the essential places that we recommend because they have a lot of crumb.
To fully understand the entire movement of Modernism and the influence that Gaudí has had on him, as well as in the city, this free tour focused on this theme is highly recommended. Beyond knowing the history of the most representative buildings and works, you will understand the cultural context in which these jewels that now shine in Barcelona were created.
Paseig de Gracia
One of the most representative streets of Barcelona is the Paseo de Gracia, for its modernist architecture and its artistic and cultural offer. In it is La Pedrera de Gaudí, as well as Casa Batlló, Casa Lleó i Morera and Casa Ametller. Its origins really date back to the early Roman era, as it was the way of the Via Augusta.
The street was designed to serve as the city’s main avenue. However, today, it has become one of the most elegant and distinguished avenues in Barcelona. In it you can find the best national and international firms and brands.
On the Paseo de Gracia it is essential to stop to visit La Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera. It is a building built by Antoni Gaudí, the Spanish architect, commissioned by Roser Segimon and Pere Milà. Its name comes at the rate of being the residence of the Milà family, once its construction is finished. However, it is known as La Pedrera because of its resemblance to a quarry.
This building should not miss its facade, made of undulating limestone, wrought iron balconies and large windows. On its roof you can see imposing chimneys, it is decorated with a marble mosaic and broken tiles.
The Casa Batlló is located on Paseo de Gràcia, in the famous Apple of Discord, next to other large buildings of the time. It is a built in 1875 by the architect Emilio Sala Cortés. However, when Josep Batlló bought the building, he requested its remodeling on request from Antoni Gaudí, who worked on it from 1904 to 1906.
This is another of the most representative works of the Catalan architect. A key piece of modernist architecture of the time in the city of Barcelona. His work is part of his naturalist stage, period in which the Catalan architect perfected his unique style that is distinguished by being inspired by organic forms, as if they were taken from nature.
The Casa Batlló has four entire floors, a loft, a roof terrace and a patio on the ground floor. It stands out for its original facade made of stone and shapes very similar to those of some bones. In it you can see a certain baroque style, with great structural wealth, both in its form and in the volumes that are forgotten of any kind of classical premise and rationalist rigidity.
The Holy Family (Sagrada Familia) is internationally known as the crown jewel. It is the masterpiece of the architect Antoni Gaudí. Its construction began in 1882 and is still unfinished. The basilica will have a total of 18 towers, and three different facades in which Jesus’ life is especially represented.
In the first facade you can really appreciate the birth of Christ, in the second one we see the Passion, that is, the Crucifixion of Jesus, and the facade of the last one, which is, is the most important of all, in which you can observe the death and the Last Judgment of Jesus Christ. As well as Glory and Hell, at its best.
The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is, without a doubt, the most visited monument in the city. Therefore, it should not be missing in any tour, as it is one of the essentials to see in 3 days in Barcelona.
The construction style of the basilica began being neo-Gothic. However, a year later, when Gaudí took over the project, he changed his design to a totally innovative one. Although unfortunately, the architect died before seeing it finished.
The Sagrada Familia has a naturalistic style, so all its details, ornaments and elements merge in complete harmony. Access to the top of La Sagrada Familia is possible. From above you can see some details up close
The Park Güell, in Catalan Parc Güell, is a public park located in the upper part of Barcelona. It is a park with gardens and architectural elements. The park is another of the works designed by Antoni Gaudí. It was built on Mount Carmel in Barcelona between 1900 and 1914 and was finally inaugurated in 1926.
In 1969 Güell Park was named a National Historic-Artistic Monument and in 1984 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It owes its name to a Catalan businessman named Eusebi Güell, who was a close friend and patron of Gaudí. He was a rich businessman, and part of the noble family of Barcelona. He was a man of great culture and multifaceted, as well as writer, painter and linguist.
The Park Güell was formed after the union of Can Muntaner de Dalt and Can Coll i Pujol, two estates known as Pelada Mountain, currently Monte Carmelo. The park offers interesting elements, one of them is the Masía. Which was built even before the park was formed. The architect Gaudí was in charge of carrying out some reforms between 1906 and 1922. He added a greenhouse and a porch. In addition, he designed the entrance arch of the chapel.
Every year the park receives millions of visits. Reason why for some time, the monumental part, where the buildings built by Gaudí are, has ceased to be free. So it is best to check out the ticket in advance.
The park has 17 hectares of land, so you can enjoy for free the rest of the facilities, such as the Fountain of San Salvador de Horta, the Mirador de Joan Sales or the remains of the Castle d’en Frey.
We can classify it as one of the essential places to see and visit in Barcelona without any doubt. If you are only going to be 1 day, include this point in your tour because the essence of one of the most important Barcelona artists is collected.
Map with the places to visit on day 2
Locate on this map of Barcelona all the essential places to visit on day 2. As you can see, it is completely complementary to day 1 and we would still have the last day of the guide.
The last day of the 3 days in Barcelona focuses more on the less known and prettier part of the city. Ideal to disconnect from the urban climate and be able to clear yourself with gardens and green areas without moving away from other important areas.
There are hundreds of things in Barcelona and choosing what to see in 3 days can be complicated. Therefore, it is best to visit essential places of the most hidden Barcelona, such as Montjuic.
This mountain, located in the center of the city, is the only elevation in Barcelona apart from Tibidabo. That is why it was used in the past as a military watch post. The area is surrounded by green areas and tourist attractions. You can spend half a day there, and it is best to do it at dusk since the Magic Fountain, located in the middle of the square, offers a water and light show that is worth seeing. Not for nothing has more than 80 years running, and still surprising its visitors.
Another attraction of Montjuic is its castle. It is an old military fortress, however, today it is used as a viewpoint. The Olympic Stadium of Montjuic is also located in that area, which was built in 1992 on the occasion of the Olympic Games. In addition, you can not miss the visit to the National Museum of Art of Catalonia to which you need to spend at least two hours. Although it would be best to dedicate a total part-time.
Another attraction in this area is the Spanish Village, a work that represents the most beautiful corners of Spain. A walk through the villages of the Spanish geography. On the other hand, in Montjuic there is also the National Museum of Art of Catalonia, and the Joan Miró Foundation. An This reference space of Miró’s work aims to promote knowledge and dissemination of current art.
Finally, for nature lovers, you can visit the Botanical Garden, which has more than 2,000 species. The garden is located in the old municipal landfill, which surprises with its great beauty.
It was the first public park designed specifically as such and was built at the end of the 19th century. It is a space in which both recreational and cultural activities coexist. It has more than one hundred plant species, many centenary trees and sculptural groups of great interest.
The Ciutadella Park has a great diversity of elements such as the monumental waterfall, 19th-century buildings now converted into museums, a lake for rowing boats, as well as numerous sculptures. This park shares space with the Barcelona Zoo.
Surely the most prominent elements of the park are its amazing waterfall composed of a huge monumental complex and the building of the Castle of the Three Dragons, which currently operates as a Zoology Museum. This park also has extensive landscaped areas, monuments, groves, a lake, a greenhouse and the Barcelona Zoo.
Located in the neighborhood of La Ribera, the Ciutadella Park boasts of being the largest public park in Barcelona. It is a leisure space very close to the city center and also the entrance is completely free.
Its name means strength in Spanish, since it is located on the former grounds of the Citadel of Barcelona, a military fortress built during the 18th century under the mandate of Felipe V to control the city after the War of Succession. 150 years later, during the 1868 Revolution it was demolished and on its foundations, in 1888, the Ciutadella Park, the first park in Barcelona, was built.
What to see and do in Ciutadella, Barcelona?
There are several spaces that must be seen in the Ciutadella. One of them is the Barcelona Zoo, whose facilities are located inside the park. The Monumental Waterfall is another of its most famous elements, it has a design inspired by the Trevi Fountain.
Throughout the park you can see a series of sculptures and monuments of illustrious Catalan artists. Good examples are the Monument to General Prim or the Mammoth sculpture of Miquel Dalmau. The Plaza de Armas and the Centennial Monument of the Exhibition, sculpture by Antoni Clavé, also deserve to be visited.
On the other hand, there are several buildings that are worth visiting such as the Castle of the Three Dragons, home of the Museum of Natural Sciences, as well as other structures such as the Hibernacle or the Umbracle. Finally, we can find the building of the Parliament of Catalonia, located in front of Joan Fiveller Square.
One of the most frequented spaces is the Lake because it offers boat rentals with rowing. The park has more than 100 different species of trees, with an area for cycling, running or walking. In addition, from time to time different activities are organized such as fairs or events for the enjoyment of locals and their visitors.
It is worth taking a tour to see his sculptures. There we can find works by Eusebi Arnau, Frederic Marès, Joaquim Vayreda, Manuel Fuxà, Víctor Balaguer, Pau Gargallo, Josep Clarà and Josep Llimona, among others. Two essentials to see in the park are La dama del paraigua, by sculptor Joan Roig Soler, and the famous stone mammoth, a unique life-size reproduction of the year 1907.
In the same park it is worth visiting the monumental waterfall designed by Josep Fontserè in 1875. It is said that Gaudí, as his assistant, had to do with the construction of the waterfall. It stands out for having sculptural elements of artists of the late nineteenth century, which were placed even after its inauguration.
There is a saying that says: “Roll the monon and turn the Born” (he goes around the world and returns to the Born). It is an expression that reflects the entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit of the people of Barcelona. El Born is always a meeting point for merchants and new businesses, so everyone who traveled to unknown lands ended up returning there to negotiate.
El Born has a lot of atmosphere throughout the day. It is one of the neighborhoods with more movement and they say that there are several of the best pizzerias in the whole city. In this neighborhood you can find many shops of all kinds and places of cultural interest such as the Picasso Museum, Church of Sant Pere, The Palau de la Música Catalana and Mercado de Santa Catalina.
Just 10 minutes away is the beach or it is also possible to approach the Ciutadella park, a very quiet place to relax. To know it, the ideal is to get lost in its streets and discover the magic of this peculiar neighborhood that will not leave anyone indifferent. In addition to historic buildings, El Born has plenty of organic food stores, vintage coffee shops, cuquis stores and cultural initiatives.
The Picasso Museum has 4,251 important works inside to discover the stage of the artist’s training and why Pablo Picasso is one of the most recognized painters in our history. As interesting fact. The collection was going to be exhibited in a museum in Malaga, however, the city authorities rejected the initiative, as it meant being on behalf of an artist with a long list of political differences with Franco. For that reason his friend and secretary Jaime Sabartés proposed to the city council of Barcelona to create a museum to house the work. Now it is a meeting point for artists, coolturetas, guiris and bohemians.
The construction of the Church of Sant Pere dates back to 945 A.D. And he has been a blind witness to all the historical events in Barcelona. Now, cross your restored door if it is a journey in time that is worth doing. After visiting the church, what better plan than having a beer on one of its terraces? At the time it was the scene of intrigues and conspiracies.
The Palau de la Música Catalana is impressive on the outside and inside. This architectural work of the early twentieth century is a top building of Catalan modernism. Its construction was financed by Catalan music lovers, industrialists and financiers, in 1997, it was declared a World Heritage Site. It is the temple of the eighth notes and color is a reference in the cultural life of Barcelona.
The Mercado de Santa Catalina is one of the most recent markets in the city and to which Barcelona go when they see that they do not fit in La Boquería. It has the name of a woman who, during the postwar period, distributed food among the neighborhoods of the city. Now, it is a passage zone for foodies and chefs.
Church of Santa María del Mar
This is a Church that is from the year 1383, is known for the TV series of the Cathedral of the Sea. It is said that the stones they used for their construction were brought loaded from the sea by fishermen, hence its name comes: Church of Santa María Del Mar.
Visiting it inside is really worth it because of the enormous height of its vaults. With the walls so high its acoustics are beastly. The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona, is known as the “Ribera Cathedral”, is one of the most perfect examples of Gothic architecture, thanks to the harmony in its proportions and the serenity offered by the whole.
Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona: it was built in just 55 years, from 1329 to 1384, it is the church of pure Catalan Gothic style. Its structure is 3 ships of almost the same height. The resulting impression is of spectacular elevation, breadth, and lightness, as if gravity had turned around and attracted the stones upwards. The stained glass windows of the church of Santa Maria del Mar play an important role in this regard.
The stained glass window of the Ascension, in the Chapel of Santa María, and the stained glass window of the Lavatory in that of San Rafael. Just as the great rose window is the most emblematic thing there is, which was destroyed during the earthquake that shook Barcelona in 1428, and rebuilt in the middle of the fifteenth century. On the floor, there are private graves and graves of brotherhoods of the Middle Ages in Barcelona. And it is that this Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, was the temple of the shipowners and merchants of the Gothic Barcelona at that time.
From the roofs of the basilica, you can enjoy Barcelona from a perspective that helps to understand the medieval urban interlacing and the structure of the city center. It is definitely a must.
Map with the sites to see on day 3
On the map we mark you where the essential places that you must see in Barcelona are located in the last of the 3 days of visit.
How to get around in Barcelona?
We have already talked about how to get to Barcelona, the next thing that will help you is to know the different ways you have to move around the city. Being one of the largest cities in the country, going from one place to another will not always be easy to get the route or the transport we use.
The most advisable thing is that you use public transport, which consists of subway, urban bus lines, trams, urban bicycles, taxi … When purchasing tickets, you can use the Hola Card that allows you unlimited access to public transport in Barcelona.
There are other more comfortable alternatives to get around the city that also allow you to see part of the city: the tourist bus in Barcelona. It is quite comfortable since it makes a tour centered in the historical center, being able to have an overview of the city in just a few hours.
If you are looking for something different and original, the bike tour to Barcelona still catches your attention, where you will tour the essential places by pedaling. If you want to expand your range, you can also tour the city by motorcycle while visiting.
In the case that you only went to Barcelona for 1 day, we recommend that you take the tour of the essential places that are listed on day 1, although if you are going to go 2 or 3 days, we advise you to visit the points of interest that you We describe why they are worth it.