Planning a trip to Barcelona? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
Spain’s second largest city, and a favourite destination for many visitors, Barcelona benefits from its location on the Mediterranean and its intense cultural activity, offering a way of life that is both active and very pleasant. With astonishing buildings designed by Gaudi, a historic old town, the huge urban park and the harbour, Barcelona has many facets that make up its unique identity.
Begin your exploration with La Rambla, the city’s most iconic avenue, which connects Plaça de Catalunya with the Old Port. Set off from the Plaça de Catalunya, the most central and largest square in the city. It divides Barcelona in two. On one side you will find the old town, which lies to the east, facing the sea, and has, like most old cities in Europe, a warren of small winding streets. On the another side lies the Eixample, a planned urban district distinguished by its modern architecture and its sensible rectilinear avenues.
If you follow La Rambla to the end, you will come to the Old Port on which stands the statue of Christopher Columbus. Climbing to the summit, you can enjoy an exceptional view of the city, especially the two neighbourhoods adjacent to the Old Port: the Barri Gotic, the oldest district of Barcelona, and also Barceloneta, a fishing district characterised by its Mediterranean seaside charm.
After lunch of pan con tomate, tomatoes on bread, or boutiffarre, a typical sausage, you will be ready to attack the Barri Gotic, or Gothic Quarter. Enjoy getting lost in its maze of streets and alleys before finding your way to the city’s Roman remains, including the Temple of Augustus. This area is also where you will find the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, which dates from the fourteenth century and is a particularly successful example of Gothic architecture.
In the evening, head to Romesco, a restaurant near La Rambla which offers reasonably priced traditional dishes, in a friendly atmosphere.
The next day, make your way towards Eixample to visit the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona's most famous landmark, a masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí. This cathedral, a truly unique design is one of the most successful works of Catalan architecture, and is a Unesco World Heritage monument. The construction of the cathedral was not completed during the architect’s lifetime. Works continue now, and completion is set for 2026. Gaudí’s tomb is housed in the cathedral.
Upon leaving, you could enjoy a picnic in the Park Güell, another Gaudí work which is listed as Unesco heritage of humanity. From here you can admire a beautiful view over the city. At this point, you will begin to realise the extent of Gaudi’s imprint on Barcelona.
In the afternoon, take the bus or subway to get to the Miro Foundation, which has the largest collection of works by Joan Miro in the world, donated by the painter himself. Next door, you can visit the Castle of Montjuic, situated on the hill of the same name which houses a military museum, or the Botanical Garden of Barcelona, depending on whether you prefer weapons or flowers.
In the evening, at Jaica, a restaurant located on the seafront in the district of Barceloneta, take the chance to savour the flavours of the Mediterranean, as you enjoy the excellent tapas.
For your third day, make your way along the Passeig de Gràcia, the other main avenue of the city, which, like La Rambla, starts at Plaça de Catalunya, but heads in the opposite direction. As its name suggests, this avenue leads towards the trendy district of Gràcia, passing from one side of Eixample to the other. On this avenue you will find fashionable shops and boutiques, as well as some of the most emblematic of Catalan modernist buildings, such as Casa Amatller, Gaudí’s Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, and Casa Lleo Morera.
In the afternoon, the modern and contemporary trend continues with a visit to the Hangar in the Gràcia district, a former industrial building taken over by contemporary artists who will wow you with their originality and inspiration. El Raval district is also worth a visit: explore this bohemian neighbourhood of artists and galleries and you will find plenty of interesting shops such as Dead Moon Records, one of the most renowned record stores in the Catalan capital.
For your last night, it's time to taste the heat of Barcelona nightlife. Head to the Heliogàbal if you really want to experience one of the typical nights out for which the city is famous. To kick off the evening, the buzzing El Raval district is a good place to start, you will have no difficulty in finding a bar that suits you.
In Barcelona, almost every building is a monument, and three days is barely enough to scratch the surface. However, your stay will allow you to see the most important places, those that have contributed to Barcelona’s reputation, and also to soak up a bit of the relaxing atmosphere in this corner of the Mediterranean. If you have the opportunity to spend more time here, don’t miss the city’s other museums, such as the Catalonia History Museum, or the Maritime Museum, and – of course – leave some time to enjoy the beach!