Coming to a city that is full of so many different opportunities like Barcelona but only having the weekend to explore everything can be a quite tough challenge. It CAN. It doesn’t necessarily have to be.
Thanks to this ultimate Barcelona itinerary that shows you what to do on your 3-day weekend in Barcelona and what to do/see you will leave this beautiful city with a head and a camera roll full of great experiences. You will also find tons of travel tips and tricks that will allow you to have a much better experience.
- Discover the Heart of Catalonia: A Weekend in Barcelona
15 Tips for the Perfect Weekend in Barcelona
- 1. Get a first overview of the city
- 2. Eat tapas or learn to cook your own Paella
- 3. End your first day with Magic Fountains Montjuic and Plaza Espanya
- 4. Join a street festival
- 5. Get the best pictures of sunset/sunrise
- 6. Go by bike
- 7. Refuel your batteries at La Boqueria
- 8. Explore at least 2 Gaudi buildings in Barcelona
- 9. Have a break in Ciutadella Park
- 10. Make great memories with new friends from all over the planet
- 11. Get lost in the small streets in the Gothic Quarter
- 12. Visit the Camp Nou
- 13. Enjoy the view
- 14. Visit a museum for free
- 15. Unlock the City with Public Transport
- 16. Elevate Your Experience with Panoramic Views
- 17. Sagrada Família – A Weekend Trip Essential
- 18. Delve Deeper into the City Center
- 19. The Perfect City Break at the Beach
- 20. Nightlife and Dining – A Coastal Treat
- 21. End your trip at Plaça Reial
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Discover the Heart of Catalonia: A Weekend in Barcelona
Barcelona, a city where the vibrant culture and rich history of Spain converge, offers a myriad of experiences that make a weekend in Barcelona an unforgettable adventure. From the bustling streets of La Rambla to the serene beaches of Costa Brava, every corner of Barcelona is a treasure waiting to be explored.
Embrace the Charm of La Rambla and El Born
Begin your Barcelona weekend by strolling down La Rambla, a lively street brimming with performers, local artists, and quaint cafes. As you meander, don’t miss the chance to diverge into the adjacent El Born area. This historic neighborhood, with its narrow alleys and hidden squares, is a hub for local artisans and boasts an eclectic mix of boutiques and eateries.
Architectural Wonders: Gaudí’s Masterpieces
Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona’s most famous son, has left an indelible mark on the city. His unique approach to Modernist architecture is evident in masterpieces like Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, and the iconic Casa Battlo. These buildings are not just structures; they are a testament to Gaudí’s genius, each a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right. A guided tour of these sites will enrich your understanding of Gaudí’s vision and the cultural context of Barcelona.
Coastal Escapes and Artistic Explorations
For those seeking a day trip from the city’s hustle, Costa Brava offers stunning Mediterranean landscapes just a short journey away. Alternatively, embrace the city’s love for the arts by visiting the Fundació Joan Miró or exploring the works of Pablo Picasso. These spaces celebrate contemporary art and offer a glimpse into the minds of some of the world’s most renowned artists.
Navigating Barcelona with Ease
Efficiently navigating the city is key to a fulfilling weekend. Utilize the Barcelona Card for unlimited public transport, including access from Barcelona Airport to the heart of the city. The card also offers discounts at various attractions, making it a valuable companion for any traveler. Barcelona Sants, the main railway station, is a central point for those arriving by train, while Plaça Catalunya connects many parts of the city, making it a convenient starting point for exploration.
A Culinary Journey in Poble Sec
Barcelona is not just about sights; it’s a culinary journey, too. The Poble Sec neighborhood is renowned for its tapas bars and vibrant food scene. Here, you can savor traditional Catalan dishes and indulge in innovative cuisine that showcases the best of local ingredients.
15 Tips for the Perfect Weekend in Barcelona
1. Get a first overview of the city
Once you step off the plane you will most likely want to get a first overview of the city to know what’s waiting for you your weekend in Barcelona.
A good option to do so is to go on a bus tour that has many stops all over the city and lets you go off and on the buses as often as you’d like to during the whole day. A one-day ticket for an adult for the bus touristic bus is 27€.
Another option to get to know the city is to join a walking tour.
There are a lot of different tours even theme-specific ones like ghost tours in the Gothic Quarter (or Barri gòtic in Catalan), gourmet tours, la Sagrada Familia, or for the art/architecture lovers, the Picasso Museum.
There are walking tours for around 12 to 20€ depending on the tour and they last for around 4 hours depending on what tour you decide to go on.
2. Eat tapas or learn to cook your own Paella
After you get a first overview of the city it’s time for food!
Thinking about Spain, one of the most common things that pops up in people’s minds is eating tapas and as this is a very typical thing and part of the Spanish lifestyle for a real Barcelona experience you should try it too.
What you could start with would be Pan Tomaquet which is basically bread with oil, salt, and tomato. You can find tapas bars everywhere in Barcelona and the small pinchos often start at 1€ per piece.
For those of you who would like to take an active part in making dinner, a paella cooking class with your friends is a great option.
Those cooking classes often include market shopping so that you see where the food you’ll eat comes from. As Barcelona is close to the sea the typical Paella in Barcelona is with seafood but there are also options with meat or vegetables.
3. End your first day with Magic Fountains Montjuic and Plaza Espanya
What could be a better end to your first day in Barcelona than watching a great fountain show with lights and music for free?
The fountain show takes place in winter (30th October to 30th March) on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 pm to 9 pm and during the summertime (from the 31st March to 25th October) from 9 pm to 11.30 pm.
The fountains are close to Plaza Espanya which is an amazing place by night because of the great view you have from the top of the hill from the National Art Museum of Catalonia to Plaza Espanya and Las Arenas, a former bullfight arena that was converted to a shopping center.
4. Join a street festival
If you still have the energy right now then it’s time to dive into the Spanish summer night adventure. Especially during the summer months, there are plenty of street parties in the small streets of the different districts of the city.
Let yourself be infected by the Spanish mentality and have a Cerveza or Sangria on the streets. Spanish people love to drink and dance, have some drinks and nice food, and just enjoy the evening with friends and family.
So what are you waiting for? Take your friends with you and explore the small streets!
5. Get the best pictures of sunset/sunrise
An alternative for those of you who would like to end their first day in the Catalan capital a bit more quiet and relaxed is to enjoy the sunset at the Bunkers del Carmel, the Tibidabo, or at Barceloneta beach.
Also, a great option for the early birds of yours is to see the sunrise there. No matter whether you go there for the sunset or the sunrise – it’s worth it. Besides a great view, the Tibidabo also offers you a small vintage amusement park and a Cathedral.
The Bunkers don’t serve for anything anymore but you have a nice view from up there and they are suitable for nice Insta pics.
Even though it takes you some time to walk by foot up the hill to the Bunkers it’s totally worth it and as soon as you get there you can restore your energy by having some snacks you brought with you while watching the sunrise or sunset.
6. Go by bike
Starting the next day either with the sunrise or a little later with a bike tour to explore the seaside or discover the non-touristic sites of Barcelona by joining a bike tour that makes you explore the city from a local perspective.
You can stop for some churros con chocolate or a horchata during your bike tour. Renting a bike starts at 9€ a day and the price for a guided non-touristic bike tour is 35€.
7. Refuel your batteries at La Boqueria
You successfully ended your bike tour and it’s time to treat yourself now!
The famous La Boqueria market is just around the corner and it’s the perfect location for that! Besides sweets, fruits, tapas, and small dishes there are also full meal food stands that offer you a nice lunch meal option for a small price.
La Boqueria is also directly by Las Ramblas, the big famous street that leads from Plaça de Catalunya directly down to the Columbus Monument at the port, so why not stop by after the bike tour and have your lunch break at the market?
On Las Ramblas, there are all kinds of artists showing their performances. It makes you think of a circus with performers selling flowers, newspapers, and even birds.
Las Ramblas is a picturesque street cutting through Barcelona’s Old City, marking the border between Barri Gòtic and El Raval. A popular tourist attraction in Barcelona, it’s particularly beautiful in spring when the flowering cherry trees are in bloom.
8. Explore at least 2 Gaudi buildings in Barcelona
In general, you could say Barcelona city is influenced by Gaudi so when visiting Barcelona you should make sure to spend some time seeing the buildings he created.
Whether it’s the famous Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, or La Pedrera (Casa Mila)- there’s a great risk of not being able to enter the places when coming there and wanting to buy tickets spontaneously, especially during high season.
Smart as you are you got your ticket in advance to make sure you can enter the places you want to. So simply head over to the amazing Sagrada Familia, get your audio guides, and learn about this special cathedral Antoni Gaudi started building in 1882 and that is still in the making (planned to be finished in 2026).
Architect Antoni Gaudi designed La Sagrada Familia to resemble a mountain rising up through the clouds, but looking like it was built on solid ground. Visitors can see some of the original sketches displayed inside of the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona, which is an important place for learning about Catalan design and culture.
Park Güell is a must-see for every tourist, with its curved chairs shaped like dinosaurs and walkways leading up to a viewpoint with a magnificent view of Barcelona.
Gaudi spent decades in his home in Park Güell, La Torre Rosa, during the latter part of his life. Tourists may explore the inside and view some of his original furniture designs.
Casa Batllo is an incredible house that appears to be more natural than artificial. Casa Batllo – locally known as cassa dels ossos (house of bones) – was built over a few years in the early 1900s by Gaudi, who was commissioned to design the building after meeting and becoming friends with Josep Batlló i Casanoves, a prominent textile industrialist. It is located in central Barcelona at number 43 on Passeig de Gràcia.
9. Have a break in Ciutadella Park
Now it’s time to relax before dinner so that your night out won’t have to end too early because you’re too tired. Grab a blanket and some friends and do some yoga, slacklining, or just watch the street performers dancing and singing.
Also, a big plus of this park is the women who come by and offer homemade food such as empanadas and bocadillos.
By visiting Ciutadella Park you can also tick off half of number 8) because of the Gaudi fountain that is also located in that park. Get some contrast to the big city atmosphere and head over to the park!
10. Make great memories with new friends from all over the planet
After some snacks in the park or dinner in a restaurant, it’s time to socialize! When it comes to meeting new people to go out for a drink or a night out, Barcelona is a perfect place for that.
The city is a melting pot of different cultures and people from all over the world come to this place either for vacations or for work.
There are plenty of options to get to know people to spend some nice days with:
Whether it’s joining a pub crawl, a volleyball match at the beach, the public room in your hostel, or a craft beer tour – there are LOTS of opportunities to connect with other people, and friendships can be built up easily by going on new adventures.
11. Get lost in the small streets in the Gothic Quarter
After your night out a nice walk in the famous Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is just the right thing to start your day with.
The Gothic Quarter is often used for beautiful pictures and is also a great quarter to feel like you’re in a really small town when you’re right in the middle of a big metropolitan city.
Why don’t you get ice cream or some churros from one of the small cafes while walking through the quarter?
While walking there you will get right to the big place where you can see the Barcelona Cathedral.
In front of the Barcelona Cathedral which is nice to look at – in and out – there is always a lot of stuff going on. For example, people who create huge soap bubbles or musicians who are happy to earn some money with their street performances.
In case you’re interested in entering the Barcelona Cathedral the opening hours are from 8 am to 8 pm and the price of 7€ including every area in the cathedral isn’t too high. You can even enter for free if you go on weekdays from 8 to 12.45 or 5.15 pm to 8 pm).
12. Visit the Camp Nou
The next thing on your Barcelona itinerary is to take the metro or the bus from Plaça de Catalunya and get off at Les Corts.
FC Barcelona is one of the best soccer teams in the world. When visiting Barcelona you have the great possibility to visit Camp Nou and experience this team’s home stadium and club.
Either by actually watching a game or just by going on the FC Barcelona Experience Tour for less money.
The tour is 29€ when you order the tickets online in advance which sounds not that cheap for a museum but is still cheaper than actually watching the team play.
While walking through the museum learning about the history and taking a look backstage at this football club you can start thinking about whether to enter the big FC Barcelona Store to take some of the vibes back home.
Please keep in mind that the museum might be closed or have shortened opening hours on home match days. For those of you who are absolutely no soccer fans at all, there’s of course another option to enjoy the weekend in Barcelona.
13. Enjoy the view
There are plenty of options when it comes to having a nice weekend in Barcelona. If you don’t like soccer why don’t you go for a drink at a rooftop bar, take the Teleferico at Montjuic, or take the elevator at Las Arenas at Plaza Espanya to enjoy the view?
Also for lots of people, a Helicopter Flight is a big dream. In case you’re one of those people, you should consider turning that dream into a plan for spending a nice weekend in Barcelona, as both the city and the coast are true beauties from above.
14. Visit a museum for free
Back on the ground, you can go ahead with exploring the cultural part of this beautiful city.
In Barcelona such as in many other cities, some museums are free on certain days, and aren’t we all off for free stuff?
We listed some museums that you can enter for free on Sunday to tick off the culture part from your bucket list and at the same time save your money:
- MNAC Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (from 3 pm + all day every 1st Sunday of the month)
- MUHBA Museu d’História de Barcelona (from 3pm+ all day every 1st Sunday of the month)
- Museu de la Música (from 3 pm + all day every 1st Sunday of the month
- Centre de Cultura Contemporánia de Barcelona (from 3 pm to 8 pm)
15. Unlock the City with Public Transport
A Weekend in Barcelona is never just about the well-trodden paths in the heart of the city. To truly understand the pulse of this vibrant city, it’s essential to roam like a local. With a robust public transport system comprising buses and metros, Barcelona’s lesser-known gems become easily accessible.
So, next time you’re considering a rickshaw or a cab, maybe give the metro a shot. Not only does it save time and money, but it also offers a genuine experience of daily life in the city.
16. Elevate Your Experience with Panoramic Views
When spending a Weekend in Barcelona, it’s impossible to resist the allure of the city’s panoramic vistas. A journey up the Montjuïc via cable car isn’t just about the destination, but the breathtaking aerial journey itself. As Barcelona unfolds beneath you, with its harbor gleaming in the sunlight, you realize the city’s true vastness. And for those who crave an alternate perspective, Carmel Hill waits patiently. This natural vantage point, often less crowded, gifts visitors with a sprawling view of the city, making it a must-visit.
17. Sagrada Família – A Weekend Trip Essential
Any Weekend in Barcelona is rendered incomplete without a visit to the iconic Sagrada Família. This architectural masterpiece, standing tall amidst the modern cityscape, is a testament to Gaudí’s genius. As sunlight filters through its intricate stained glass, the interiors come alive in a riot of colors, reflecting the very spirit of Barcelona – vibrant, lively, and endlessly fascinating.
18. Delve Deeper into the City Center
While modernity thrives in Barcelona, the city’s roots run deep in history. The Gothic Quarter, often referred to as the old city center, encapsulates this essence. Spending a Weekend in Barcelona without wandering its narrow alleys, where every stone and corner holds a story, is a missed opportunity. Each turn introduces you to quaint shops, historic buildings, and the echoes of ancient tales.
19. The Perfect City Break at the Beach
After the hustle of sightseeing, there’s nothing like the calm of Barcelona’s beautiful beaches. A Weekend in Barcelona is as much about its cultural treasures as it is about its coastal pleasures. Lined with palm trees, the golden sands invite visitors to relax, while the backdrop of the city offers a unique beach experience. Add to that the charm of nearby new-concept restaurants, and you have the perfect blend of relaxation and indulgence.
20. Nightlife and Dining – A Coastal Treat
As the hues of sunset drape Barcelona, the coastal area starts buzzing with a different kind of energy. No Weekend in Barcelona is complete without savoring the city’s nightlife. From new-concept restaurants that introduce you to Catalan culinary wonders to clubs that let you dance the night away, Barcelona’s coast guarantees an unforgettable end to your day.
21. End your trip at Plaça Reial
To end your weekend in Barcelona Plaça Reial is a great place.
During the day there are lots of street performers, restaurants, and sometimes even (flea) markets and by nighttime, this place with its bars and clubs turns into a vibrant place where every party animal can have a great time.
So while you enjoy a cold beer or a sangria you should start making plans for the rest of your last night in Barcelona. Are you guys heading to a club or are you staying in a bar drinking cocktails? It’s up to you!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
That’s it from our side, now it’s your turn!
- How was your weekend in Barcelona?
- Is there maybe anything missing in this guide?
- Do you have open questions?
We love to get your feedback and help you to tie up open ends. So go ahead and fire away, there are no wrong comments!
Christian Petzold is a successful touristic entrepreneur, experiential traveller and round-the-world backpacker. He holds an academic degree in tourism management.
His touristic expertise has been covered in radio, newspaper and television.