Barcelona, the capital of the province of Catalonia in northeastern Spain, is a city full of wonders best discovered slowly. Its delicious cuisine, laidback lifestyle, long history, and passionate and friendly people continue to delight returning travelers again and again. No matter how many times you visit Barcelona, there’s always something to do and experience.
If you’re planning to visit the city for the first time, the following is a suggested itinerary for three days in this beautiful city.
Day 1 – Have a Look at Barcelona’s Storied Past
With only a short visit in Barcelona, at least for your first time there, it’s best to start your holiday with a walking tour. Buy the Barcelona Tourist Card first thing, and you get a free walking tour to the city’s Gothic Quarter, free public transport (including the train trip back to the airport, metro and city buses, city and suburban trains, trams, among others), free admission to museums, and discounts to over 70 establishments and activities.
The walk through the Barcelona Barri Gòtic, the historic city center, will show you the city’s splendid past, with its cobblestone streets, charming old buildings, and landmark structures that take you to the medieval times. It’s a two-hour tour of the city’s impressive Gothic legacy, including the Plaça de Sant Jaume, the Plaça del Rei, the Roman walls, and of course, the cathedral.
After the tour, use your card to gain free (or discounted entrance) to any of the museums in the area. If you’d like to know more about the history of the city, go to the Barcelona History Museum. Highlights include the 4,000 square meters of Roman ruins beneath the museum. If you’re more into art, however, Picasso has a museum in the area, too. Over 3,000 pieces of his work is on display.
Day 2 – Enjoy a Gaudi Day
No visit to Barcelona is ever complete without visiting any of Antoni Gaudi’s work, specifically the Sagrada Familia. Gaudi is the father of the modernist architecture and one of the most famous architects in the world.
Wake up early on day 2 and head to the La Sagrada Familia first. You want to be early to avoid the usually long queue to enter the church. It is Gaudi’s masterpiece and is still under construction. This distinctive structure is best seen than described; suffice to say that it would be hard not to feel anything after seeing the Sagrada Familia’s unique and unusual character in person.
Head to Casa Batllò afterwards, another of Gaudi’s masterpieces. Called the “House of Bones” for its façade that resembles skulls (the balconies) and bones (the pillars), it was designed by Gaudi for aristocrat Josep Batlló who initially wanted to have the house torn down.
Aside from Casa Batllò, however, there is another Gaudi masterpiece in the same street that is also a must-visit: La Pedrera. People actually overlook Casa Batllò in favor of La Pedrera, the last residential building Gaudi ever designed. Also known as Casa Mila, it’s his second most popular work after La Sagrada Familia. It’s architecturally innovative, constructed mainly in natural stones and without any color and design. The rooftop features surrealistic-looking chimneys that are individually different.
Finally, buy some food and wine, and spend the rest of the day in Park Güell, the magical place designed by Gaudi.
Day 3 – Go on a Food Trip and Enjoy the Beach
On your third day in Barcelona, there’s nothing better to do than enjoy the highly-famed Catalan cuisine. There are food tours you can take that will guide you around the best eats in Barri Gòtic as well as the food markets there.
You can also forgo the tour and just go back to Barri Gòtic. Once you’re there, head to La Boqueria, the famous food market in the city and certainly the best place for you to have a meal. Depending on the season, there can be a huge crowd there, but it’s definitely worth it.
Once you’re full, head to the Barceloneta beach. There’s nothing like having a nice mojito on the beach and a siesta after a food trip. It also gives you a nice ending to a long weekend in Barcelona.
Given all these things to do in a short time, you must remember to choose your hotel well. You don’t want to be in a place that’s far from where the action is, as the commute will only eat up your travel time and drain your energy. We recommend the HCC Taber Hotel in Aragó, Barcelona. It’s smack dab in the center of the city and can get you to Casa Batlló and other attractions in just a few minutes.
Is this all you can do in the city? Not by a long shot. After your first few days in Barcelona, you’ll be wanting to go back for more. From medieval streets and surreal buildings, art museums and delicious cuisine, Barcelona has plenty of wonders to offer visitors that keep them going back again and again to this beautiful city.