In Barcelona, Spain
Guide to 3 days in “Barna”
Catalonia is an autonomous region in north-east Spain of which Barcelona is the capital. This city is enriched with warm climate, world-renowned cuisine, and a distinct culture and language. It is the second largest city in all of Spain only preceded by Madrid. Down to the language they speak, Barcelona is very different from Spain’s capital city of Madrid. Here, they not only speak Spanish but they also speak Catalan. To the naked ear Catalan sounds like a mix of french and spanish but it’s actually a language derived directly from Latin.
Perhaps the greatest question in Spain is whether you will identify with Madrid or Barcelona. I say visit both, and pick for yourself. Both these cities have their own versions of unparalleled beauty, and should be on your travel list!
Summary of Barcelona Itinerary:
- Airbnb Link: Barcelona Airbnb
- Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
- Lunch/Drinks: La Vinya del Senyor
- Gothic Quarter
- El Cap de Barcelona
- Port Vell
- Dinner: Palau de Mar: Espai Gastronòmic
- **If time permits I would visit Aquàrium Barcelona (the aquarium) here**
- Breakfast: Alsur Café Llúria
- La Sagrada Familia – from 26€ to 36€/pp
- Book your tickets here: Sagrada Familia Tour
- Park Güell – from 10€ to 22€/pp
- Book your tickets here: Park Güell Tickets
- Lunch: Mercado de La Boqueria
- Escultura Barcino
- Catedral de Barcelona
- Camp Nou Tour – starting at 28€/pp
- Book your tickets here: Camp Nou Experience
- Drinks/Views: Hotel W Skybar
- Breakfast: El Quim de la Boquería
- Las Ramblas
- Montjuïc Castle – 9€/pp to enter (grounds are free)
- Book tickets here if you want to go inside: Montjuïc Castle Visit
- Transbordador Aeri Del Port: we took it from the Mirador de Miramar (in Montjuïc) to Torre de Sebastia (on la Barceloneta Beach) – 11€/pp for a one-way ticket
- You can book directly at the station in Montjuïc or here: Transbordador Aeri Del Port Tickets
- La Barceloneta Beach
- Lunch: Moma Beach Bar
- Plaça de Catalunya
- Montjuïc National Palace
Details on the above Barcelona Itinerary:
We arrived In Barcelona after a 3 hour speed train ride directly from Madrid. The Renfe trains throughout Spain are both spacious and comfortable and I’ve always had a great experience with them (book here: Renfe Train). We took the metro from the train station straight to our Airbnb to drop off our luggage (Airbnb Link: Barcelona Apartment) and start exploring this new city. I will say, in comparison to Madrid and other cities in Spain I did find things more spaced out in Barcelona so we did take the public transportation often (metro, bus, trams). We started the afternoon at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. A beautiful example of the Catalan Gothic style that was built in Barcelona around the 14th century.
Once you exit the church you will see many tapas bars with seating outside right on the plaza of the church. These bars offer awesome views of the church as you enjoy a drink and snack. We did just that at La Vinya del Senyor.
After this we walked and explored the infamous gothic quarter of Barcelona. The narrow streets here make it easy to get lost in all the charm of this area.
After spending some time here, we headed down to the docks. We walked over to Port Vell and the sunset views were just immaculate here! We had dinner at a restaurant called Palau de Mar: Espai Gastronòmic right on the port and it was fantastic. Jeremy had black squid paella and I had croquetas (duh) and black squid pasta.
The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at Alsur Café Llúria before heading out to the most famous place in all of Barcelona.
After breakfast it was finally time for La Sagrada Familia! We booked skip the line and tower climb tickets here: Sagrada Familia Tour. I definitely recommend buying your tickets online beforehand, since this is a popular tourist attraction and the queues outside get very long. This is as you may well know, a must see place. No matter your religious beliefs this place will take your breath away. Designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who started his work on the building in 1883 is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete and is still unfinished today.
To continue exploring Gaudí’s work we headed to Park Güell. Again, like with La Sagrada Familia this is a major site and so I would buy tickets beforehand online here: Park Güell Tickets. Inaugurated in 1926, this playful urban park, features lush greens, winding paths, and many sculptures and mosaics designed by Gaudí himself. It is also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. FYI, it is quite a hike to find your way to the park since it is on Carmel Hill (if you’re up for it, at least you will get gorgeous views along the way). I would suggest taking a taxi or bus up here, that way you’re not tired when you finally arrive to explore the vast park.
Time for lunch! We headed to Mercado de La Boqueria, this popular market is often compared to Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel. Like the mercado in Madrid, here you will find a variety of food that will make sure to please everyone in your party. Unlike in Madrid, this market is more like a farmers market with fresh produce and seafood to purchase or for some of the in house cooks to make for you right inside the market.
After lunch we walked right out of La Boqueria and over to the Catedral de Barcelona and the Escultura Barcino. This area is a great place to relax and rest your legs all while listening to some live music and taking in the gorgeous architecture all around you.
After a small break here, we headed out to our reservation for the Camp Nou Tour. Football is a huge part of Spanish culture and I don’t think I had a full understanding of that until I was at a bar in Madrid one year after a championship game. Anyway, since we were not there for a live game Jeremy booked us on a tour of the stadium. I will admit, it was better than I initially imagined when Jeremy booked it.
From here we headed to La Barceloneta beach to dip our toes in the Mediterranean Sea. While on the beach, we spotted a rooftop bar at a distance. This was Barcelona’s W hotel which also marks the end of the Barceloneta beach. The property is absolutely stunning and has even more impressive views. We headed up to the rooftop bar for some drinks before bedtime.
On our last day in Barcelona we headed back to La Boqueria for breakfast at El Quim de la Boquería. Which was perfectly delicious! Conveniently, there’s an exit nearby to our next destination, Barcelona’s famous street; Las Ramblas. This busy street is lined with stores, bars, and restaurants. It’s your one stop shop for just about anything!
After Las Ramblas, we took a bus up the mountain to Montjuïc Castle. Another place not to be missed, but a busy one so I suggest booking your tickets online beforehand if you want to go inside (Montjuïc Castle Visit). Montjuïc Castle is an old military fortress, with roots dating back from 1640 although we did not enter the fortress we did enjoy exploring the stunning gardens.
Once you’re done exploring and taking in all the panoramic views of the city below you. Head to the Mirador de Miramar to take the Transbordador Aeri Del Port down to the Barceloneta Beach (Torre de Sebastia stop). This is not an experience for anyone who is scared of heights or claustrophobic. But if you are not any of the above then you will love this! It’s a quick ride down from the mountain to the beach while offering stunning panoramic views.
After our ride, it was time to explore the Barceloneta by day. The beach was bustling with tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately, the water was just too cold for this Miami girl.
We had lunch and drinks right on the beach at Moma Beach Bar. Very “touristy” and not somewhere I would normally stop to eat, but I was hungry and parched at this point. Surprisingly, I will say that overall the food and drinks were good.
We headed to Plaça de Catalunya to end our day in Barcelona. This plaza is huge and surrounded by so many beautiful historic monuments.
One place we did not have time to visit which we will definitely go back for is the Montserrat Monastery. It’s about a 1 hour drive outside of Barcelona and you need a full day at your disposal to visit but this place is absolutely remarkable from the photos I’ve seen. So, I undoubtedly believe if you can plan to do a 4 day itinerary in Barcelona that your last day should be at this monk mountain retreat.
Until next time Barcelona…