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 itinerary that shows you what to do on your 3 day weekend trip to the catalonian capital city and what to do/see you will leave this beautiful city with a head and a camera roll full of great experiences.
- 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 Parc de la Ciutadella
- 10. Make great memories with new friends from all over the planet
- 11. Get lost in the small streets in the Gothic Quarter
- 12. See Lionel Messi and the Camp Nou
- 13. Enjoy the view
- 14. Visit a museum for free
- 15. End your trip at Placa Reial
1. Get a first overview of the city
Once you stepped out of the plane and got to Barcelona you will most likely want to get a first overview of the city to know what’s waiting for you that weekend.
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 turistic 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 barrio gotico, gourmet tours or for the art/architecture lovers of you a picasso tour.
There are walking tours for around 12 to 20€ depending on the tour and last for around 4 hours depending on what tour you decide to go.
2. Eat tapas or learn to cook your own Paella
After you got a first overview of the city it’s time for food!
Thinking about Spain, one of the most common things that pop 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 con Tomate 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 their dinner a paella cooking class with your friends is a great option.
Those cooking classes often include the 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 of 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 7pm to 9pm and during the summer time (from the 31st March to 25th October) from 9pm to 11.30pm.
The fountains are close to Plaza Espanya which is an amazing place by night because of the great view you have from top of the hill from the National Art Museum of Catalonia to Plaza Espanya and Las Arenas, a former bull fight arena that was converted to a shopping center.
4. Join a street festival
If you still have 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 a 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 just at the beach.
Also a great option for the earlybirds of you 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 walking 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 locals 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 market La Boqueria 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 Plaza 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?
8. Explore at least 2 Gaudi buildings in Barcelona
In general you could say the city of Barcelona is influenced by Gaudi so when visiting Barcelona you should make sure to spend some time on really seeing the buildings he created.
Whether it’s the famous Sagrada Familia, the Park Guell (GREAT VIEW) or La Pedrera – especially during high season there’s a great risk of not being able to enter the places when coming there and wanting to buy tickets spontaneously.
Smart as you are you got your tickets 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 Gaudi started building in 1882 and that is still in the making (will be finished in 2020).
9. Have a break in Parc de la Ciutadella
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 are the women who come by and offer homemade food such as empanadas and bocadillos.
By visiting this Park you can also tick off half of number 8) because of the Gaudi fountain that is also located in that park so what are you waiting for? 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 parc or a 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 with bBrcelona 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 build 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 actually you’re right in the middle of a big metropolitan city.
Why don’t you get an 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 Cathedral.
In front of the Cathedral that 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 Cathedral the opening hours are from 8am 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 5.15pm to 8pm).
12. See Lionel Messi and the Camp Nou
The next thing on your agenda is now to take the metro or the bus from Plaza Catalunya and get off at Les Corts.
The FC Barcelona is one of the best soccer teams in the world and by coming to Barcelona you have the great possibility to visit their home stadium now.
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 this football club you can start thinking about whether to enter the big FC Barcelona Store to take some FC Barcelona vibes 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 evening in Barcelona:
13. Enjoy the view
There are plenty of options when it comes to having a nice afternoon in the city and 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 and in case you’re one of those people you should really consider turning that dream into a plan 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 there are some museums that 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 safe your money:
-MNAC Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (from 3pm + 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 3pm + all day every 1st sunday of the month
-Centre de Cultura Contemporánia de Barcelona (from 3pm to 8pm)
15. End your trip at Placa Reial
To end your weekend in Barcelona Placa 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 about the rest of you 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!
That’s it from our side, now it’s your turn!
- How was your Barcelona experience?
- Is there maybe anything missing in this guide?
- Do you have open questions?
We love to get your feedback and help you out to tie up open ends. So go ahead and fire away, there are no wrong comments!
Christian Petzold es un exitoso empresario turístico, emprendedor y mochilero alrededor del mundo. Tiene un título académico en gestión turística.
Su experiencia turística se ha cubierto en radio, periódicos y televisión.