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Barcelona in a day

A Guide to ‘Barcelona in a Day’ for Travelers

by Christian Petzold - updated January 12, 2022

From bustling shopping districts to historic landmarks like Casa Batlló, this itinerary for Barcelona in a day is perfect if you’re on a tight schedule. It includes advice on making sure you maximize your time when exploring the city, plus information on transportation systems and how to get around Barcelona.

City Center

Given that one day is not enough to see and do everything in Barcelona, this knowledgeable guide will only highlight the best activities for those with limited time. Without further ado, here is all you need to know about spending a single day in Barcelona.

When to Go to Barcelona

If you’re wondering the best time to visit the Catalan capital, I highly recommend staying late April to June or September to October. Temperatures are enjoyable, and sunny days are long-lasting. If you take a stroll at night or even late afternoon, you’ll find yourself amid an atmosphere of local life and socializing. This is the time of year where many people take their holidays, and all shops and restaurants are open!

The number of tourists drops down significantly during the winter months (November – March), so if you don’t want to share your photos with people on Instagram with everyone else in the background, this might be the best time for you to visit Barcelona.

See what Barcelona has to offer during the best months to visit:

How to Get Around Barcelona in a Day

There are several ways to get from one place to another in Barcelona. The metro, the most popular way to get around the city, also known as light rail, has several stops throughout the city.

In addition to this, many regular buses run around Barcelona. You can also rent out bikes or scooters for leisure if you’d rather not walk long distances, especially when spending only one day in Barcelona.

Check out our 7 most recommended Barcelona Bike Tours.

Daily Budget

Traveling in Barcelona, on average, will cost you more than traveling to other countries. You may anticipate spending between 45 and 65 USD/day each person on meals, lodging, and transportation.

Please remember that this is only a proposed daily budget based on my travel style, which is more on budget. To stay under this budget, expect sleeping in dormitories, eating out a few times, and being content with taking the cheapest mode of transportation, which is typically walking.

Where to Stay in Barcelona?

If you’re using this itinerary, the best option is to stay near Plaça Catalunya. I like the 4-star Iberostar Selection, and it’s on the square itself. You might also enjoy Hotel Jazz, which is also nearby.

Barcelona in a Day – Best Itinerary

1. Placa de Catalunya

Plaza De Catalunya 1

Located in the heart of Barcelona, the Placa de Catalunya makes for a perfect setting to begin your day. You can find the main Barcelona Tourism office here, and you may prepare your travels by stocking up on maps, pamphlets, and other helpful information.

When you’re ready, it’s time to go and take the journey to:

2. Casa Batlló

Transportation: Casa Batlló is 10 minutes walk from Placa de Catalunya

Casa Batllo Barcelona 3

When you visit Barcelona, you will undoubtedly come across some of the masterpieces that Antoni Gaudi left behind in various locations across the city. One example is Casa Batlló, Gaudi’s most famous works and considered one of the best examples of modernism in Barcelona. It’s also entirely open for public viewing.

Like some of the tourist attractions in Barcelona, Casa Batlló has an admission fee of 18 euros, and it’s well worth it. They will provide you with an audio tour that will lead you around the rooms and explain all the building’s features and the history behind its creation. This is the first stop on the trip since it is a trendy location that can only handle a limited number of people at a time. Casa Batlló is an amazing place to visit when spending one day in Barcelona!

3. Sagrada Familia

Transportation 1 (from Casa Batlló): 20 minute walk to Carrer d’Aragó then turn left to Carrer d’Aragó onto Carrer d’Aragó.

Transportation 2 (from Casa Batlló): Walk to Placa de Catalunya, take the metro line L2, and then hop off at Sagrada Familia stop.

Placa De La Sagrada Familia 1

When it comes to the Sagrada Familia, everyone has different opinions regarding it. But for me, Barcelona’s most famous attraction is the world-renowned Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. If you’ve never seen it before, you’ve undoubtedly heard of it. The project was started over 130+ years ago and is still not completed. The detail on this building is truly incredible!

At roughly €20, admission is a little pricey, but the good news is that your money is going to help support the development of this spectacular structure. It’s a popular place, and it’s for a very good reason. Also, you won’t notice the crowd anyway, as you’ll be busy gazing upwards at a forest of coral trees.

Because of the crowds, the Sagrada Familia has a timed admission system, so you’ll need to acquire a ticket beforehand. To ensure that you obtain the time slot you choose, we strongly advise that you book tickets in advance of your visit. The Sagrada Familia is a must when visiting Barcelona in a day!

4. Gothic quarter 

Transportation 1 (from Sagrada Familia): You can walk for about 30 minutes towards Carrer de Mallorca, and then turn left to Carre del Bruce and keep going until you’re in the narrow streets.

Transportation 2 (from Sagrada Familia): You can also use public transit. For around 400m, walk to Career de Provença. Ride to metro line L4 at Verdaguer and disembark at Urquinaona.

Gothic Quarter In Barcelona 2

If you’re following this itinerary, you’ll have three and a half hours in the gothic quarter. Does it sound like too much? Well, to me, this is where the best parts of Barcelona nestle, and worth spending time to venture. 

The gothic quarter is a perfect place to get a feel for the culture of Old Barcelona and make sure you don’t miss out on Palau de la Musica (UNESCO world heritage sites), gothic cathedral, and the Picasso Museum. You could spend days wandering in this maze — if only time permits.

5. Castell Montjuic and Grounds

Transportation 1 (from gothic quarter): Ride the public transportation for about 20-30 minutes. Take line L3 from Liceu and stop at Paral-lel. From here, you can ride the funicular, which will take you to the start of the cable car, and then ride the cable car up to the Castell Montjuic.

Beautiful Montjuic Castle 1

If there’s still time left in your day, we suggest going up above Montjuic Castle and finishing your trip with good city views. Then, head to the Magic fountain for a magical performance.

Castell Montjuic, positioned at an elevation of 180 meters above the city, provides a spectacular view of the setting sun. It’s open till very late, and admission is free.

After you’ve satisfied your desire to see the castle and the city, I highly recommend timing your trip so you may visit the magic fountain show and watch the sunset from the steps of the Palau National. It’s only a 20-minute walk from the Castell Montjuic or a 15-minute bus journey on the 193 bus. Not a bad way to end your one day in Barcelona!

Some Tips for Your One Day in Barcelona Trip

  • The itinerary above includes using the metro. Purchase a zone day pass at the start of your day, and you’ll be able to use public transportation in Barcelona for the remainder of your stay.
  • If navigating the subway or walking seems too much, the hop on hop off bus is an excellent alternative. You will be chauffeured between all of Barcelona’s major attractions, complete with commentary. If you take this option, I suggest the Barcelona City Pass, which provides admission to some of the city’s most popular attractions. 
  • Barcelona is well-known for its pickpockets. Secure and lock up your personal belongings. Take extra care, especially in crowded tourist locations and on public transportation.
  • Barcelona is located in Spain’s Catalan region, which has its own language in addition to Spanish. This explains the signs you’ll see that you’re not familiar with.
  • Food is cheap when compared to other European countries. Look for a weekday lunch deal, where you can get a 3-course meal, with drinks for under 10 euro.
  • Make sure to have a guide to Barcelona with you to enjoy the best out of your one day in Barcelona.

Author’s Note

The city is full of color, with so many different angles to take in. From the right angle, you can see the Sagrada Familia, a holy basilica designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. The Sagrada Familia is a building that has been under construction since 1882 and doesn’t seem to rush to completion!

It’s so complex – it looks like a giant brain from the outside. There are also attractions throughout Barcelona that are perfect for day trips from Barcelona itself: La Casa Batlló, The Gaudi House, and Las Ramblas, just to name a few. 

To see the city at its best, take a walk towards the sea. You’ll find intricate brick walls, beautiful architecture, and beautiful bridges that connect all of Barcelona’s districts together. The coastline is clean and peaceful, with plenty of bars to eat at along the way.

If you want to swim in the Mediterranean Sea, buy a cheap ticket to rent an umbrella or parasol from one of the many vendors throughout Barcelona since it tends to rain very often. Alternatively, you can also rent out a kayak or paddleboard if you want something more adventurous.

Please let me know what you enjoyed about your one day in Barcelona in the comments below! I look forward to hearing from you! Have a magical Barcelona day!

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