I have to confess that, when Demetris was invited to a marketing conference in Barcelona and I decided to join him, I did not expect that in the capital of Catalonia, there are so many interesting things to see and attractions to visit, to which not even a whole week can not be enough! We had only four nights and 3 days in Barcelona at our disposal, so I prepared in advance a 3 days Βarcelona itinerary in order to see as much as possible.
From Athens to Barcelona, we booked a flight with Vueling Airlines (check my review) and after three hours without delay, we arrived at El Prat airport in Barcelona.
How to get from Barcelona airport to the city center
There are several options on how to get from Barcelona Airport to the city center. We decided to take the express bus Aerobus. These buses depart every ten minutes from terminal 1 or terminal 2. You can get a ticket in a machine near the bus stop using a credit card, but be prepared for a long queue that moves very slowly. If you have cash, then it is best to pay right as soon as you get on the bus, to the driver. Keep in mind that drivers do not accept a banknote of more than 20 euros.
The price for a one-way ticket is 5,90 euro and round trip – 11 euro.
You can also book your ticket online, making it easy to get the bus.
The most economical option is to get the TMB city bus Ν46 during the daytime and at night buses Ν16 and Ν17. The one-way ticket will cost you only 2,20 euros.
Another option is by train. The train R2 Nord leaves from Barcelona Airport twice in an hour. It is especially convenient for tourists traveling far on a train. The train goes only from and to, terminal 2, however, to get to terminal 1 you need to get a special shuttle. The price of a one-way ticket is 4.20 euros, and with the Barcelona card, it’s free.
By metro. Metro line L9 connects Barcelona Airport with the city center. There are two stops on this line at Barcelona Airport: Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2. The metro line to the airport operates on the same schedule as the city metro. A one-way ticket costs 4.60 euros.
By private or semi-private transfer and by taxi. The cost of a taxi to the city center is about 30 – 35 euros, a private transfer will be a little more expensive, about 45 euros and a semi-private transfer will cost you about 15 euros per person.
The best part is that we reached the city center by express bus in about only 20 minutes. By the way, we missed our stop because there was incorrect information on the screen, so be attentive.
For our stay, we booked the hotel Tryp Apollo Barcelona 4* with an excellent and quiet location, from where it was very convenient to get to know the city.
Are you looking for what to do and see for 3 days in Barcelona? Be sure to read this post, you will find the ultimate Barcelona itinerary with a useful bonus from me – what to see in Barcelona if you have more than 3 days.
3 days in Barcelona – DAY 1
For our first 3 days in Barcelona, I decided to start from the real symbol of the city and modernism, the most recognizable building in the photographs – the Basílica de la Sagrada Família.
La Sagrada Familia
The Basilica La Sagrada Familia is the most famous Gaudi building in Barcelona and is visible from almost every part of Barcelona, and around it, you will always find crowds of tourists. Therefore, all visits are scheduled in time and it is better to book your ticket in advance.
For our visit, I booked in advance skip-the-line tickets with an audio guide to explore the Basilica better and learn more.
I guarantee you, you simply cannot imagine the greatness of the Sagrada Familia, but the real magic happens when you turn on the audio guide. The sounds of a bustling city fade away and the only things left are yourself, a pleasant voice of the audio guide and the building of the Basilica which resembles a living organism.
The Sagrada Familia is still under reconstruction and its completion is scheduled for 2026, on the centenary of the death of its creator, the great Antonio Gaudi.
You can get also to the top of the building by elevator and visit one of several towers (must be booked in advance). Inside there is also an interesting museum that you can visit.
La Rambla street
Then we went for a walk along the most famous tourist street – La Rambla. We passed this boulevard more than once since it is located in the very center of the Old Town. The central part is a wide pedestrian zone, full of plane trees and starting from Plaza Catalunya to the monument of Christopher Columbus.
In the area of the “Rambla of flowers” is located the most famous central market of Boqueria, which we also visited. Be sure to try natural juice (tropical flavors) in a small glass for 1 euro and a paper horn filled with various appetizers consisting of sausages, jamon, and Spanish cheese from 3,5 euros. There are also several snack bars where you can have a tasty lunch and get delicious souvenirs (sausages, cheeses, jamon serrano) at affordable prices.
Although there are many cafes and restaurants on the Rambla, locals do not recommend visiting them because of the poor quality of food and high prices. Be careful with your personal items, there are a lot of thieves, and in the evening, even illegal drugs are sold there.
Our next stop was the Gothic Quarter, where you can walk for hours through the tangled and narrow streets. The Gothic Quarter lies in the heart of the Old Town, between Rambla Street, Columbus Avenue, Laietana Street, and Plaza Catalunya.
In the center of the square is the Cathedral of Barcelona and the market square, where the flea market is located.
The Сathedral is a monumental building in the Gothic style, crowned by a dome with an 80-meter spire. This place hosts organ music concerts every month. In the courtyard around the fountain is a palm garden with 13 white geese.
Entrance to the Cathedral from 08:30 to 12:30 and from 17:45 to 19:30 is free; at other time, a small amount has to be paid.
The central square of the Gothic quarter, Sant Jaume, is located on the site of the Roman Forum and the intersection of the main roads. Today, it is decorated with the buildings of the City Hall in a neoclassical style and the Renaissance Palace of the Government of Catalonia with a cozy orange courtyard.
The Bishop’s Bridge is the visiting card of the district, and it is most often seen on postcards with the signature “Gothic Quarter”. The bridge was built in the 20s of the 20th century by architect Jean Rubio. The bridge connects the residence of the President of Catalonia and the Palace of Government. The bridge is located on Bisbe Street, next to the Cathedral.
The 14th-century Santa Maria del Pi Basilica is a national cultural heritage of Catalonia. A literal translation of the name of the Сatherdal means “the Church of Our Lady of the Pine.” There are often different fairs in this area.
The remains of the Roman wall suddenly appear in various places, diluting the cityscape. Quite large plots are located on Avenida Catedral, Plaza Nova, and Correu Vell. Most residents of the city don’t even know exactly where these structures are located and are surprised by accidentally bumping into them during a walk.
The church of Sants Martirs Just I Pastor is famous for the fact that references to it are stored in documents dating back to the 9th century. The last time it was reconstructed in the 14-15 centuries, and since then its appearance has remained unchanged.
The square Plaza Reial is an aristocratic classicism: slender arches, elegant fountains and large spaces. Here you can find the first work of Gaudi – two huge red lanterns.
In the 13th century, the Jewish community of Barcelona was considered the richest, but after 200 years, the sons of Moses were expelled from the city. Today, the streets of the small Jewish Quarter, lost in the labyrinths of the Gothic quarter, are living evidence of their former prosperity. There is still a medieval atmosphere, street musicians and antique shops work here.
Not far from the Сathedral is the famous photo-mosaic – “the Kiss of Freedom“. Each piece of the mosaic is small photos of the happy moments from the life of the locals that were presented to the artist during the work on the wall.
There are several interesting museums in the Gothic Quarter such as the Museum of the History of Barcelona, the Museum of Frederic Mares and the Gallery Villa del Arte.
Arc de Triomf
The Arc de Triomphe is a grandiose building at the entrance to the Ciutadella Park, which was erected in honor of the opening of the 1888 World Exhibition and as a symbol of scientific and cultural cooperation between different countries of the world.
The frieze of the main facade decorated with a sculptural group of “Barcelona welcomes the nation”. In the upper part, there is a bas-relief depicting the coat of arms of Barcelona, on the facades, there are 49 coats of arms of the provinces of Spain.
For almost 150 years, the park Ciutadella has been a citadel, built by Philip V to pacify the inhabitants of Barcelona. After its destruction, an English park was founded out here.
Now the park is a huge recreation area with magnificent plants, artificial ponds, fountains, castles and a complex system of alleys and paths.
In the evening, we went to the enchanting show of magic “music fountain Montjuic”, which in October takes place only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and only at a certain time from 21:00 – 22:00.
The magic fountain is located near the Plaza de España and was created before the opening of the International Exhibition in 1929, and in 1992 it was reconstructed.
This 1-day itinerary in Barcelona will be definitely enough for your first day. Do not forget to leave free time to have lunch or dinner with famous tapas in the Old Town.
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3 days in Barcelona – DAY 2
The second day we started with a tour to the main avenue Passeig de Gracia of Barcelona, where fashionable brand stores and several Gaudi masterpieces are located.
Palau Musica Catalana
Our Barcelona itinerary ran through one of the most famous concert halls in the world – the Palace of Catalan music. The building was erected at the beginning of the twentieth century and reconstructed later. The multi-level facade is an organic combination of different architectural styles.
The concert hall is striking in its beauty, during the tour pay special attention to the dome and to the statues around the stage. If you book an excursion 21 days in advance, there are special discounts.
First, we went to the famous masterpiece of Gaudi – Casa Batlló. This eight-story building is visible from far and not only due to its fantastic architecture but also to the crowd of tourists around.
All the details of the building are distinguished by smooth lines and asymmetry, and if you look closer, you can see the finish with stone, decorative tiles, mosaics of multi-colored ceramics.
The balconies of this house reminded me of masks, although each person has different associations with this house. Here you can see even bones and skulls.
You can book a tour in La Casa Batlló and explore the fantastic interior, a chandelier that looks like a sun, a wave-like ceiling, and glasses expressed by ceramic. It is better to book your ticket in advance, as there are always many tourists.
Casa Mila (La Pedrera)
The next masterpiece that we visited was Casa Mila, it is located only 5 minutes walk from Casa Batlló. Casa Mila is a six-story residential building with a wave-like facade and a roof, decorated with bizarre-shaped chimneys. The balconies are decorated with curly railings in the form of interwoven algae from iron.
Be sure to book a tour with an audio guide to get to know this futuristic building closer. During the tour, you will have the opportunity to get to the roof of the house, explore one of the apartments and also get acquainted with the drawings and building plans of all of Gaudi’s creations.
Next, we went to visit Casa Vicens, one of Gaudi’s earliest creations, but no less impressive. The building harmoniously combines straight and curved lines and amazes with its decoration with bright red and turquoise tiles and decorative elements.
You can see a variety of creative approaches to using tiles on the example of Casa Vicens. There is a museum in the building dedicated to the work of Gaudi.
I read about another early creation by Gaudi, which is not so easy to get, but worth it, it’s the Torre (tower) Bellesguard. Therefore, we went there by metro, line L7 and got off at the last station and then another 20 minutes on foot.
Bellesguard is a tower in the Gothic style, built in the early twentieth century. The building is crowned with a peaked tower with a long spire. On the roof of the mansion, there is a terrace leading to spiral staircases.
The entrance to the mansion is possible from 10:00 to 15:00, every Monday is closed.
Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Since we were not far from Mount Tibidabo, where the famous Temple of the Sacred Heart is located, we headed there. At Pl. Kennedy, we found the T2S bus stop, from where the bus leaves every 30 minutes for the amusement park and the Temple of the Sacred Heart.
The Temple of the Sacred Heart was built over 60 years ago, and it has an elevator inside, on which you can get to the roof of the building. The figure of Jesus Christ on top looks really impressive, also do not forget to take a look inside the Τemple.
Be sure to take the opportunity to visit free attractions with panoramic views of all of Barcelona and the Temple of the Sacred Heart. The views are just breathtaking.
Αfter strolling there for several hours, we headed back to the hotel to have a rest before our evening visit to the icebar. I have always wanted to visit this unusual bar, and despite being tired, we went to the Barceloneta area, where it is located.
The icebar is located inside another beach bar. We were given jackets and gloves, modern music was playing inside and the bar itself was not big. The price included also one cocktail or beer.
Everything was simple, but the experience itself was worth it and we got cool pictures against the background of icy figures.
Our second day in Barcelona was quite busy, but we still had a lot of interesting things to see the next day.
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3 days in Barcelona – DAY 3
The third day of exploring the main attractions in Barcelona began with a visit to probably one of the most unusual parks in the world – Park Guell.
We decided to go to Park Guell by metro (green line L3), which was just 2 minutes from our hotel. Be prepared that although the metro station is not far from the park, you will have to climb the hill on foot with many steps.
Park Guell is located in a huge park area, consisting of various houses and some infrastructure facilities, a hall with a gigantic colony, a terrace, a staircase, lined with fragments of broken dishes.
The multicolored mosaic salamander and two gingerbread houses have become the symbol of the park, which is impossible to resist as not to be photographed.
The territory of the park is a gigantic green zone, which you can visit for free and a monumental zone, which you can visit after buying a ticket.
On the territory of the park, you can visit also the house-museum in which the famous architect Gaudi used to live.
From the park, we got the metro to Plaza Espanya. The square really looks majestic with magnificent buildings and a huge fountain in the middle. On the square, there are two 47-meter Venetian towers that formed the original gate.
Pay attention to the round red brick building, this is a shopping center. In this building once there was a corrida. You can take the elevator to the roof and enjoy panoramic views with a cup of coffee.
Museu Nacional d’Árt
The National Museum of Art of Catalonia is located near Plaza de España. In front of the beautiful palace, there is a square with a fountain and four ionic columns. The palace itself represents the style of the Spanish Renaissance.
National Museums have a large number of exhibits worth visiting. The expositions are dedicated to Romanesque art, the Gothic period, the Renaissance and Baroque period, modern art, photography, and numismatics.
Spanish Village (Poble Espanyol)
Next, we headed to the Spanish village, which was not far from the Plaza Espanya. I booked tickets in advance and they are valid for the whole day, which is very convenient and on some days the village is open even until late at night.
The Spanish village is an open-air park museum, created in 1929 for the opening of the International Exhibition in Barcelona. Here you can admire copies of houses, palaces and famous sights from all regions of Spain.
In addition to the fact, that it’s a nice place to walk, master classes, educational programs, flamenco shows are held in the park, there are also cafes and restaurants, pastry shops on the territory of the park.
We decided to have a snack here in the tapas bar, although we didn’t really enjoy the food the pastry shops are worth your visit.
From the Spanish village, we decided on foot to get to the fortress of Montjuic. This powerful structure was erected around a watchtower in the second half of the 17th century.
Montjuic Castle is the main historical and architectural center; a military museum also operates on its territory.
Every Sunday after 15:00, visiting the castle is free.
You can get to the fortress of Montjuic by cable car, which is not only pretty fast but also nice by enjoying the most spectacular views. Namely, we used this type of transportation to get to the port.
How to leave Barcelona without some shopping therapy, so we went to the shopping center Maremagnum, which is located at the port.
Although the mall is not big, it is quite spacious. Be sure to visit one of the most famous Barcelona’s brands – Desigual. Clothes and bags of this brand are really distinguished by their stylish and slightly crazy design with excellent quality. We bought ourselves some stylish and chic staff.
Dining in Barcelona
This pretty busy day we ended in a traditional Spanish restaurant El Nacional. To be more precise, this is not just one restaurant but four under one roof with meat, fish, tapas, and Mediterranean cuisine. The place is quite expensive but very picturesque. Be sure to check out the history of the place, historical photographs that can be found almost everywhere in the restaurant.
On the day before our departure, we decided to just stroll around the old town and eat the famous churros with hot chocolate.
Our 3-day itinerary in Barcelona was completed and we happily went back home.
What to do in Barcelona if you have more days
But that’s not all, so if you have a few more days in Barcelona, be sure to enjoy city experiences and visit the following Barcelona sightseeing also:
Rent a bike, an electric scooter or a motor scooter
Barcelona has one of the most organized road traffic. There are special lines for bicycles and scooters everywhere, so exploring the city by yourself is not only convenient but also safe.
The Picasso Museum is a museum complex that occupies five Gothic-style mansions with the Old Town. The expositions feature more than 3,500 paintings and drawings by Picasso, ceramics, personal items, print media.
Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar
This Basilica is one of the most beautiful sights of the Gothic quarter. The majestic gray stone structure was erected in the 14th century when the Catalan sailors captured the important sea trade routes.
Pay attention to the entrance to the Basilica, where the rose window is located. The entrance to the Temple is free.
Aquarium de Barcelona
The aquarium of Barcelona is located in the Old Port area and is divided into several sections and many small aquariums, which contain more than 11 thousand representatives of marine fauna.
Hospital de la Sant Pau
The hospital is a huge architectural ensemble in the Art Nouveau style. The main building of the hospital with a tower in the central part of the facade features large arched windows and many decorative elements.
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the most unusual sights of Barcelona, located in three buildings. The museums feature a huge number of paintings by Catalan and Spanish masters of painting, from different directions.
Labyrinth Horta is a large park area, the main part of which is a maze. From the exit of the maze, there is a staircase to the second terrace with pavilions in the style of the Italian Renaissance. At the stairs to the third level is a statue of Dionysus. On the upper terrace, there is a pavilion filled with water from a natural spring.
Barcelona Zoo will be interesting not only for children but also for adults. On the territory, there are hundreds of spacious enclosures in which conditions are close to the natural. The zoo features more than 7.5 thousand species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and reptiles.
Barceloneta, one of the oldest quarters of the historical center, is located between the port and the Olympic Village. The quarter was built in the 18th century for residents of the demolished quarter. Today, Barceloneta is famous for its wonderful fish restaurants and a sandy beach.
Camp Nou Stadium is one of Barcelona’s most significant attractions for fans of football. The stadium was commissioned in 1957 and the tribunes accommodate up to 100 thousand spectators. An interesting museum of the football club operates in the stadium, and watching alive the game of the famous football club is an unforgettable experience.
Palau Reial Major
The Grand Royal Palace is located in the center of the Gothic Quarter and is a complex of structures, which includes: the Royal Palace, Salo del Tinnel Palace, Santa Agata Chapel, the watchtower, Lloquentent Palace, Clarian Padellas Palace.
Museum of the History of Barcelona
The historical museum includes above-ground and underground expositions preserving more than 35 thousand unique expositions. In the underground part, you can see the ruins of Roman and Visigothic structures, in the upper part, the remains of the Roman Necropolis, a house museum, the ruins of ancient palaces, wineries and workshops are found.
Monastery of Pedralbes
The women’s monastery was founded in the 14th century and today it is a grand historical and architectural complex, which includes: a square three-story building, a courtyard with a garden of orange trees and palm trees, a Gothic-style church, the chapel of St. Michael, the abbess’s residence.
Joan Miró Foundation
The Joan Miró Foundation, a museum of modern art, was opened in 1975. The expositions of the fund present about 14 thousand works of Miro, an outstanding representative of the Spanish avant-garde and surrealism.
Be sure to visit the museum’s terrace with breathtaking views of Barcelona
The modern Agbar Tower is located in the business center of Barcelona. The tower is a modern 38-story building with a height of 145 meters. The facade is covered with steel panels, in which several thousand LEDs are mounted. The tower looks especially impressive in the evenings.
Virreina’s Palace is located on the Rambla. The facade is made in the Baroque style with elements of Classicism and Rococo, decorated with bas-reliefs and balconies with patterned iron gratings. Luxurious halls host exhibitions, festivals and special occasions. The entrance to the Palace is free.
Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey
Montserrat Monastery is located in the National Park of Catalonia, 725 meters above sea level and 50 km from Barcelona. The monastery complex consists of many buildings of different periods: the Cathedral of Virgin Mary, buildings with monks’ cells, a museum, chapels, caves, a library, a hotel for pilgrims, workshops, wineries and pastry shops.
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