Wondering what you should do, see, and eat in a Barcelona in 3 days? You’ve come to the right place! Read on for my tips to help you plan that perfect trip to Barcelona.
With its reputation for being a city full of amazing architecture and amazing food, Barcelona had been on my list for a *long* time. So, when I stumbled upon a $250 flight there from San Francisco, I jumped on it. I was limited on vacation days, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so I decided to take a super quick, whirlwind trip and did Barcelona in 3 days.
I absolutely loved the city and being surrounded by Gaudi’s magical works, the laid-back beach town vibes, and consuming all the delicious tapas and sangrias I could handle. Needless to say, I had an amazing time during my 3 days in Barcelona.
I loved it so much that when I decided to go back to Spain a few years later, I had to revisit it and include it as a stop on my itinerary.
Here are all the things you should do, see, and eat in a perfect trip to Barcelona in 3 days!
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When to Spend 3 Days in Barcelona
A mild Mediterranean climate means that the weather in Barcelona is relatively pleasant year-round, making any time a good time to visit. Barcelona’s peak tourist season is in the summer months (particularly June and July). This is when crowds are at its highest, and temperatures at its highest. I have heard that the crowds are absolutely miserable during these months, and that you must book tickets to the city’s most popular attractions weeks in advance.
A better time to go is during shoulder season – that is during the spring or fall. I spent my 3 days in Barcelona in mid-October. Temperatures were still warm (with highs in the 70s F/20s C), but crowds had thinned out significantly at that point. I bought tickets to the main sighs only a few days before I went (and booked Casa Batllo only the night before I went). It was the perfect time to go!
How to get to Barcelona
Most flights arrive at Barcelona’s main international airport, El Prat, which is served by many international carriers that connect it to major cities both in Europe and around the world. Barcelona is served by low-cost carriers such as Norwegian and Level, which offers transatlantic flights at an affordable price point. It is also a hub for airlines such as Iberia and Europa, which offer connections to many destinations around Europe.
El Prat is located about 17km (~10.5 miles) outside of Barcelona. An easy and economical way to get to city center is by taking the Aerobus, which takes passengers to Placa de la Catalunya, where you can easily find connections into other parts of the city. The journey takes about 30-40 minutes (depending on traffic), and also makes stops at Place d’Espanaya, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, and Placa de la Universitat.
Aerobus A1 serves Terminal 1, and runs every 5-10 minutes. Buses depart from El Prat between 6am and 1am, and run from Placa Catalunya between 6am and 12:30am. Aerobus A2 serves Terminal 2 (A, B, and C) and runs every 10 minutes from 6am to 1am.
The fare is €5.90 one-way, or €10.20 return. You can purchase a ticket on the bus or from an agent at the airport. There are also self-service ticket machines, which accept credit cards.
Another option is to fly into Gironia, which is 90km away from Barcelona, and is served by Ryanair. If you have extra time, an option is to do Barcelona in 3 days, and then have a day trip in Girona. You can get to central Barcelona via bus or train.
Train service may be a good option when coming from other major cities in Spain, such as Madrid and Valencia. It is not recommended for coming from other European destinations, as flights on budget airlines are much faster and tend to be cheaper.
High-speed train service by Tren de Alta Velocidad Española connect Barcelona to other Spanish destinations. They depart and arrive from Estacio Sants, about 2km from Las Ramblas.
Long-distance bus service is also offered to many destinations throughout Europe, as well as Morocco. Barcelona is also connected via ferry to the Balearic Islands and Italy. You can also drive into the city – the A-7 is the main toll road from France, and the A-2 is the major toll-free road.
How to Get Around During Your 3 Days in Barcelona
Many of Barcelona’s main tourist tourist attractions are clustered fairly close together, and it is easy to walk to get to them. Grab a pair of comfortable walking shoes – walking was my main method of getting around while exploring Barcelona in 3 days. Wandering through the quaint streets of the city to get around was among one of my favorite activities there.
Barcelona also has lots of designated bike lanes, so renting a bike to explore the city is also a good option. For bike rental options, see here.
For those times when you are too far or too tired to walk, Barcelona has a fairly extensive public transportation system to help you get around. The Metro is fast, easy, safe, and clean, and gets you around to mostly where you need to go.
The metro serves most of the city on 8 underground color-coded lines. Stations are marked with a red diamond with an “M.” The Metro runs from approximately 5am to midnight on weekdays, until 2am on Friday nights, and all night on Saturdays.
A single-ride ticket is €2.10. I would, however, suggest getting a T-10 ticket, which is good for 10 rides and only costs €10. If there are multiple people in your party, you can split the rides amongst everyone in your group. My only suggestion is to pay attention to which side of the turnstile you are swiping your card! I kept swiping my T-10 ticket over and over at the wrong swiper, and lost a few rides on my ticket, until someone pointed out that I was using the wrong one. DUHHHHH.
The city is also served by 80 bus lines. You can also get around via tram, cable car, and funicular (that takes you up to Tibidabo).
As of October 2017, Barcelona was not served by Uber. If you need to call a cab, I would suggest downloading the Mytaxi app, which can hail a taxi for you and tell the driver exactly where you need to go without any language barriers (and it tells you the exact fare as well).
Currency, Money, and Tipping in Barcelona
Like many European countries, Spain uses the Euro currency. Credit cards are widely accepted in Barcelona, although it is good to have some cash on hand for smaller establishments (cash especially comes in handy when buying something at the stalls at the La Boqueria market). It is best to get cash out of an ATM instead of at a currency exchange booth, as the rates are more favorable. You can find ATMs all over the city, or at the airport, train station – I took some out upon my arrival at the El Prat airport.
Like most of Europe, tipping is not expected in Barcelona, and sometimes gratuity is already bundled into your bill. If you feel like it, you can leave some extra coins or an extra 10% for great service.
Language in Barcelona
Barcelona is located in Catalonia, which is an autonomous region in Spain, with its own language and culture. This means that both Spanish and Catalan are the official languages of Barcelona. If you are looking for similarities between Spanish and Catalan, well, you won’t really find any – I found that they were completely different.
I found that my broken high school Spanish came in handy at times. While most people who work in establishments frequented by tourists speak at least some English, it’s not always great English, so I found that having a grasp on some basic Spanish came in useful in my 3 days in Barcelona.
Safety in Barcelona
I spent my stay in Barcelona in 3 days as a solo female traveler. I found it relatively safe to walk around the city by myself, even at night (although I definitely do not recommending staying out too late at night). You should avoid walking around El Raval and the southern end of La Rambla late at night – although, I would say that when you are solo traveling, you should avoid walking around by yourself late at night anywhere, regardless.
As with any other solo trip, please use caution and common sense while in Barcelona. As mentioned above, don’t walk around late at night. Don’t go anywhere with strangers. Don’t drink too much. Always watch your surroundings.
While violent crime is very rare in Barcelona, petty crime, such as pickpocketing is a major concern. This is especially true in tourist-heavy areas such as Las Ramblas and on the beach at Barceloneta, and on public transport. It is said that the pickpockets here are *very* sneaky so keep your guard up at all times! Always, always, always keep a close eye on your belongings! I generally keep all my important belongings in a cross body that has a metal chain (like this one or this one), that stays on my person at all times. A money belt may also be a good idea.
Also be aware that tourist scams are commons in areas such as Las Ramblas, so always keep your guard up!
On a side note: I spent my 3 days in Barcelona while the Catalan independence movement was going on. While the media portrayed chaos and made it seem like there were violent mass protests going on everywhere in the city (I almost cancelled my trip because of this), I was pleasantly surprised to find that the city was calm and quiet once I arrived. In fact, the only sign of the movement going on that I could see were the flags representing either side that people hung on their balconies.
My point – take what the media says with a grain of salt, and do your own research. Be an educated traveler!
What to Pack for Your 3 Days in Barcelona
- Power Adapter: Like the rest of Europe, Spain uses 230 V Type E power plugs. If you are coming from the United States, you will need an adapter. This is the adapter that I use in all of my international travels. It is compact, easy to use, has lots of ports for all my devices, and works pretty much everywhere!
- Power bank: You will want to stay connected as you see Barcelona in 3 days – for using maps to navigate your way through those narrow little streets, or to snap a bunch of photos of that beautiful architecture! I never leave home without this handy power bank, which is my favorite because it charges my devices fast, and has lots of juice (one charge of the power bank will last you about 5 full charges of your devices). Seriously a must for any trip!
- Reusable water bottle: You’ll want to make sure to stay hydrated as you walk around the city during your 3 days in Barcelona. Another thing to keep in mind is that in Europe, there is usually no free tap water at restaurants, and will have to pay for bottled water. In Barcelona, beer and wine are so cheap that the water costs almost as much, or even more than the booze! Carry your own water with you to avoid having to avoid paying for water when you eat out, and spend that money on a tasty glass of beer, wine, or sangria instead!
Where to Stay in Barcelona
There is no shortage of accommodations in Barcelona, to suit any style and budget. There are countless hostels, stylish boutique hotels, and luxury accommodations throughout the city. Here are some of my picks:
Hostels: St. Christopher’s Inn, Generator Barcelona
Budget: Hotel Oasis, Chic & Basic Rambles, Retrome Barcelona
Mid-Range: Room Mate Pau, Leonardo Hotel, Hotel España
Splurge: Grand Hotel Central, Mercer Hotel, The Wittmore
The best and more central areas to to stay are near Las Ramblas, El Raval, Born, and the Gothic Quarter. This will help you make it easy to get around – you can easily walk to most of the major attractions from there, or be super close to transit. The hotels I list above are all in these areas.
On my trip to Barcelona in 3 days, I personally stayed at the St. Christopher’s Inn. This hostel was perfect for my Barcelona solo trip – it is clean, comfortable, and fun. Two of my friends also stayed there and recommended it. St. Christopher’s puts on lots of fun activities for socializing, which I meant to participate in, but I found that I was out and about most of the time and hardly spent time in the hostel. All I needed was a clean and comfortable place to sleep at night, and St. Christopher’s definitely fit that criteria. Breakfast is included.
The best part was the convenient location – it was literally a 3 minute walk from the Aerobus stop in Placa Catalunya, and there are 2 metro stops within 2 blocks in either direction. It was also a good starting point for walking to the major attractions.
Keep in mind that Airbnbs and other vacation rentals here are very much frowned upon, as they are often cited as a reason for driving up rents in the city. Many of the listed apartments are unlicensed and considered illegal. While there are still lots of spots available for booking on the site, keep in mind that it is not a preferred method of stay in Barcelona.
3 Days in Barcelona Itinerary: Day 1 (Gaudi’s Masterpieces)
Gaudi’s magical wonderland was originally created to be a private community for wealthy people. When the project failed because it went way over budget, it was given to the city of Barcelona and turned into a public park, and it became designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. It is now the second most visited attraction in Barcelona, and a definitely must-visit during your 3 days in Barcelona.
Gaudi takes inspiration from nature and organic forms in his creations here, which come alive in the greenery. While most of the park itself is free to explore, you will need to buy a ticket (which is fairly affordable at €8.50) to get into the Monumental Zone, which is where all of Gaudi’s main works are located.
Some of the highlights here are the entrance square, with the salamander fountain; the Hypostyle Hall, with its 6 meter tall Roman columns and mosaic ceiling; the corrugated mosaic bench; and the gingerbread-style houses out front, one of which Gaudi took up residence in his later years, and now serves as museums.
I bought a ticket for the first time slot of the day (8am) and was glad I did. There were already people in the park when I arrived 5 minutes before opening, and the crowds got thicker as time went on. There were a a bit of a crowd there by the time I went – I can only imagine how crowded it gets during the busy season.
The best part about being there so early, however, was that I also got to see the sun rise over Gaudi’s magical creations (and the city below) – one of the most beautiful sights not only during my 3 days in in Barcelona, but that I’ve ever seen.
Address: 08024 Barcelona
Hours: varies depending on season; see here
Admission: €10; buy skip-the-line tickets here
Probably the most famous of Gaudi’s works, the Sagrada Familia is also the most popular tourist site in Barcelona, attracting some 3 million visitors a year. Just one look at the structure and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular – it’s unlike any church you will ever see. Trust me, you just have to see it to believe it. The church has been under construction since 1882 (that’s 136 years as of present writing, guys), and isn’t slated to be completed until 2026, to coincide with the centennial of Gaudi’s passing.
You should definitely admire the cathedral from afar (a good place for a photo op is from the Placa de Gaudi park across the street), but you absolutely must see it from the inside as well. Even if you’re on a budget, if you pay for one thing in Barcelona, make the Sagrada Familia the one. It is absolutely worth every penny. Even after going to so many churches around Europe last year (most notably the Duomo in Florence and the Notre Dame in Paris), it was unlike anything I had every seen before.
You can purchase tickets for just entry into the cathedral (€20.50), or a combo ticket that also includes entry to the top of either the nativity or passion towers (€33).
I didn’t really see the advantage of paying an extra €13 to go up the towers, and no one really convinced me otherwise, so I just bought the entry into the church. However, I later found out that this is the best way to really appreciate all the intricate details in the facade, since you get so up close and personal to them…so now I’m kicking myself for not doing it.
You can also opt to add an audio tour, and guided tours – of the cathedral itself, and also with the towers – are available.
Before you step into the cathedral, spend a bit of time walking around the perimeter of the church to admire all the details that are carved into the facade. One side portrays the nativity scene, and the other portrays a somewhat graphic rendition of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is absolutely spectacular.
I probably spent an hour inside the church, just admiring all the light, color, and details that are present inside. It is an absolute magical sight. The design is whimsical, almost like something out of Dr. Seuss, which makes it unique from all the other churches out there. I loved seeing the the play of shadow and light, and seeing the interior be bathed in a prism of colors from the colorful stained glass windows. Seriously mind-blowing. Definitely the highlight of my 3 days in Barcelona.
Afterwards, head across the street to the Placa de Gaudi Park, which is the best place to photograph the outside of the church in its entirety.
All in all, I probably spent about 2 hours to see the outside of the Sagrada Familia, to take in the inside, and to snap photos from the park.
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona
November – February: 9am-6pm
March and October: 9am-7pm
April – September: 9am-8pm
Inside only: €20.50, buy skip-the-line tickets here
With towers: €33, buy tickets here
Fast track access w/guided tour: €47, book tickets here
Fast track access w/guided tour and towers: €54, buy tickets here
Casa Batllo is one of Gaudi’s signature works, and absolutely a must-see on your 3 days in Barcelona. Gaudi was commissioned by the Batllo family, one of the most prominent families in Barcelona, to refurbish an existing building om Passeig de Gracia. What he transformed it to is an absolute architectural wonder. You can really see his creativity and genius come alive while walking through the rooms.
Originally, the building was set to be demolished and rebuilt, but was ruled out. Gaudi was given full creative freedom on the project, and he unleashed many of his most unique ideas and concepts on the house. Because of this, Casa Batllo is considered by many to be his signature work, and an architectural masterpiece.
The house eschews straight lines, draws inspiration from nature (particularly from marine life), and incorporates organic elements into its design. The house is also sometimes called the “house of bones,” which refers to the structural designs of its facade. The rooftop terrace also draws inspiration from the dragon of St. George’s legend. During the summer, Casa Batllo hosts various concerts and events on this very rooftop.
Your ticket comes with a unique guided audio/video tour that gives background on the ideas and inspiration behind each room in the house. It was so interesting to see how each of these concepts are reflected in the house’s architectural elements. Definitely a must-do on your 3 days in Barcelona.
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona
Hours: 9am-8pm, daily
€25 for general admission, buy tickets here (with skip-the-line privileges)
€39 for early access, buy tickets here
Arc di Triomf
You can’t miss the Arc di Triomf as you walk down Passeig de Sant Joan. It is one of the most iconic and recognizable monuments in Barcelona.
The giant brick arch was built in 1888, when Barcelona hosted the Universal Expedition. It serves as sort of a gateway for the modern Barcelona, and as an entrance to the neighboring Parc de la Ciutadella.
It is similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but what sets this one apart from other victory arches of its kind is that the Arc di Triomf is made of red brick.
Carved into one side of the arch are reliefs that symbolize agriculture and industry, and on the other, commerce and art. On top of the arch are the shields of the 49 Spanish provinces, presided over a coat of arms of the city of Barcelona.
There is usually a crowd of people gathered in front of the arch, and I only passed through it super quickly, so I missed snapping a photo. However, you can’t help but miss it as you walk down the street during your 3 days in Barcelona.
Address: Passeig de Lluís Companys, 08003 Barcelona
Parc de la Ciutadella
Once you pass through the Arc di Triomf, you will end up in the Parc de la Ciutadella. The beautiful 74 acre park is a green oasis in the middle of a bustling city, where you can find a sense of peace and calm after a busy first of 3 days in Barcelona.
The park has many attractions, including a boating lake, a collection of statues, a tropical greenhouse, and is also home to the Barcelona Zoo and the Catalan Parliament buildings.
However, the highlight here is the ornamental fountain, which was designed by Josep Fontsere, with the help of a young Antoni Gaudi! It is also one of the most photogenic places in the city, and the perfect place to end a busy day.
Address: Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona
3 Days in Barcelona Itinerary: Day 2 (El Born and Tibidabo)
Placa de Catalunya
Placa de Catalunya is often referred to as the heart of Barcelona. Two of Barcelona’s most famous streets start from here – La Rambla, a wide promenade in the old city; and Passeig de Gracia, which is lined with beautiful modernist buildings. Therefore, it is said to bridge the old and the new city.
You will most likely cross through the Placa de Catalunya multiple times during your 3 days in Barcelona. The bustling square is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and monuments, and hosts many festivals and concerts. It is a popular meeting point for both tourists and locals alike.
The plaza was opened in 1927 by King Alfonso XIII. The large square covers an area of 5 hectares, and is home to numerous sculptures, monuments, and fountains. Many of these were built by various well-known Catalonian artists, including Josep Clara, Josep Subirachs and Eusebi Arnau.
Address: Plaça de Catalunya, 08002 Barcelona
Barcelona is a city famous for its remarkable architecture, and the Palau is one of the highlights. It is a shining example of the Catalan Art Noveau style of architecture, which was popularized by Gaudi, but this is not a Gaudi building. The Palau designed by Lluis Domenich i Montaner, who is a contemporary of Gaudi.
It is the only concert hall listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and it is easy to see why. The details on the facade, in the terrace, and throughout its halls is absolutely breathtaking. Many world-class orchestras, choirs, composers, singers, and recording artists have performed on its stage since the venue opened in 1908.
You must book a tour or buy tickets to a performance in order to see the Palau. The tour is about a hour and gives you an insight into the background of the Catalan Art Noveau style.
However, the main draw of the tour is the fact that you get to see the inside of the Palau, which is hands-down one of the most Instagrammable places in Barcelona. It was absolutely worth it to see the inside of the Palau, since it is such a stunning place, and definitely worth doing during your 3 days in Barcelona.
Address: C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003
Hours: tours take place from 9am-3pm
Admission: €20; book tour here
After your tour at the Palau, be sure to set aside a few hours to wander through the surrounding El Born neighborhood. It is hard not to get lost in the maze of narrow medieval streets, adorned with funky street art, colorful pennants, and intricate balconies.
The neighborhood is full of trendy designer boutiques, hip cafes, restaurants, and bars to check out. It is home to some of the oldest buildings in the city and is full of history, but is also one of the most liveliest areas in the city.
Address: 08003 Barcelona
End your day with a little adventure to the highest point in the city! Tibidabo is a bit of a trek from the city center, but getting there is half the fun and definitely worth doing even while trying to see in Barcelona in 3 days.
At over 500 meters tall, Tibidabo is the highest mountain in Barcelona and offers sweeping panoramic view of the city, the hills, and the Mediterranean Sea. It is also home of an amusement park, a communications tower, and a fairy-tale like church (when viewed from the hills).
To get the best view of the church, apparently you should head for the hills…or go on a sketchy ride in the amusement park.
You can choose to spend the day here and hang out at the amusement park, or you can just come for the views, like I did. You can pay to take in the views from the observation deck that is at the top of the amusement park, but the better view in my opinion (that is also free), is from the base of the church.
From here, you truly get a sense of how expansive Barcelona is – you can see everything in the city (my favorite part of the view was the towers of the Sagrada Familia sticking out in the skyline). For even more epic views, you can choose to go up the church’s towers.
Tibidabo can be a bit of a trek to get to, especially when trying to see Barcelona in 3 days, but the trek itself is a fun adventure. To get to Tibidabo, you must take a RENFRE train (line L7) to the Avenida Tibidabo stop.
From here, the journey gets a little bit fun – you get on the Tibidabo tram, and then transfer to the funicular. There are some excellent views from this part of the trek, so just take it all in.
Address: Plaça del Tibidabo, 3, 4, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: varies depending on season, see here
Admission: free for panoramic area, €28.50 for amusement park, €3 for church towers
3 Days in Barcelona Itinerary: Day 3 (Barcelona Highlights)
Start your day 3 of this 3 days in Barcelona itinerary by walking down the bustling Las Ramblas, arguably the most famous street in the city.
The tree-lined promenade spans 1.2 kilometers, and connects Placa de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. It is home to many hotels, shops, restaurants, attractions, and monuments. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, and one that many people identify with the city.
It is albeit very, VERY touristy – but you can’t spend 3 days in Barcelona and NOT at least pass through Las Ramblas. I did spend very little time on the streets though, often preferring to take smaller streets instead. It is very busy and very crowded and pretty much all hours in the day.
A word of caution here – because it is such a tourist spot, Las Ramblas is notorious for pickpockets. Keep a VERY close watch on your belongings here and never let your guard down!
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (or just La Boqueria) is not only one of Barcelona’s top tourist attractions, it is also known as one of the best markets in all of Europe and in the world. The giant market is said to have been around since 1217. Walking up and down the rows of stalls is like a feast for the senses – it is a harmony of sights, sounds, smells, and flavors.
There are an endless array of vendors selling everything from fruits, vegetables, meats, spices, nuts, confections, and more. Several people told me that the candy vendors here are they best, but they seemed to all be closed when I was there (on a Monday). The best things here are the fruit and juices here – they are all fresh, flavorful, and cheap!
You can spend hours wandering here and snacking on the vendors’ offerings. You can also have lunch here – there are several restaurant stalls in the market. The best meal I had in my 3 days in Barcelona was here at El Quim de la Boqueria – see the what to eat section for more on this.
Keep in mind that La Boqueria is closed on Sundays, so plan accordingly (I was not aware and showed up to find everything shuttered on my first attempt. Oops).
For a fun experience, take a tour through the market – which also comes with a paella cooking class at the end!
Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8am-8:30pm, closed Sundays
Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter dates back over 2000 years and was the heart of the city during its Roman and medieval times. Even though I came to find out later that much of the current buildings here were built in the 19th and 20th century, you can see some of the remnants of these times here (like the Roman and medieval walls and the remains of the Roman temple), and its labyrinth windy, narrow cobblestone streets and ornate architectural details definitely take you back in time.
It is also the city’s main tourist hub, so at times it can be crowded AF and unpleasant. I suggest wandering the streets early in the morning to enjoy some peace and quiet so you can really be transported back into time and wonder what life was like back then.
Be sure to set some time to wander through the Gothic Quarter during your 3 days in Barcelona. Some of the highlights here include the Pont de Bisbe, a Flamboyant-style bridge which connect two buildings on Carrer Bisbe; Placa de Reial; and the Aguilar Palace, which is now the Picasso Museum.
While you explore the Gothic Quarter, be sure to make a stop to check out the stunning Barcelona Cathedral. It is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, and the focal point of the Gothic Quarter.
The cathedral is formally known as Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, named after Saint Eulalia, its co-patron saint, along with Saint La Mercèbut . However, locals refer to it as “La Seu,” which means “the seat.” It is the city’s main Catholic church, the seat of the diocese of Barcelona.
The enormous church is 93 meters (305 feet) long and 40 meters (131 feet) wide, and towers more than 50 meters (164 feet) high. It has mind-blowing Gothic details on its facade and in the interior, with its pointed archways, the ribbed vaults, and the many gargoyles, which can be seen on the roof. It’s not quite as massive as the Cathedral in Seville, but it’s still HUGE!
The cathedral dates back to the Roman Empire, and a basilica has stood in this very site since 343 AD. The cathedral in its present form started construction in 1298, and took over 600 years to complete – the main building was completed in 1460, the Gothic facade in 1889, and finally, the central spire in 1913.
While the inside of the cathedral is similar to many others in Europe, this one also has a rooftop, which is a unique experience that is specific to the Barcelona Cathedral.From here, you can get up close to its spires, and enjoy a beautiful view of the city.
Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona
Hours: Monday-Friday 12:30pm-7:45pm (last entry 7:15pm); Saturday 12:30pm-5:30pm (last entry 4:45pm); Sundays 2pm-5:30pm (last entry 4:45pm)
It may be one of the most touristy places in the city, but you can’t spend 3 days in Barcelona and NOT go to Barceloneta.
Ok, so Barceloneta is a man-made beach that was created for the 1992 Olympics, and is not exactly a beautiful white-sand beach. So why is it something you should see in Barcelona in 3 days?
The beach, palm trees, and the emblematic skyline makes it one of the most iconic sights in Barcelona. Passeig Martim is the main street here that goes down the beachfront, and a stroll down the path is a must. At the end of the path is the W Hotel, one of the most iconic buildings in the city.
It is a also great place to hang out at one of the beach-side bars, people-watching with a fruity cocktail in hand. It is the perfect place to relax when your feet inevitably give out and you just want to sit and chill. I definitely enjoyed sitting here, watching the sunset on my last day, with sangria in hand.
Other Things to see in Barcelona in 3 Days
If you want to see more of Barcelona in 3 days, check some of these places out:
Casa Mila – La Pedrera
I went up to the front of Casa Mila, Gaudi’s other famous building, found it rather plain in comparison to his other works, and opted to not go inside. I am kicking myself now for not going inside during my 3 days in Barcelona. While unassuming from the outside, this is known as one of Gaudi’s most creative works, and is renowned for its functional and constructional innovations.
The rooftop features some impressive looking chimneys, which are constructed to look like soldiers guarding the house – this is definitely something I wish I had seen. You can book entry and audio tour here.
In the evenings, a spectacular audiovisual show takes place on the terrace. Casa Mila’s rooftop terrace and stairwells are illuminated with multiple projections that are set to music – sooo cool! You can enjoy this performance with a glass of cava in hand, which comes with your ticket.
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 92
Hours: 9am-6:30pm, 7-9pm; daily
General admission: €24, buy tickets here (with skip-the-line privileges)
Night experience: €34, buy tickets here
If you are into art museums, this would be the one you should definitely check out during your 3 days in BarcelonaThe museum features one of the most extensive collection of Picasso’s works in the world, and gives an insight into the artist’s formative years. The museums also has a gorgeous terrace!
I had intended to go during my while seeing Barcelona in 3 days, but my feet ended up giving out on the last day, and I headed out to Barceloneta to relax instead.
Address: Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona
Admission: €12, buy tickets here
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday, Friday-Sunday: 9am to 7pm; Thursdays 9am to 9:30pm
El Bunkers del Carmel
This one is a local favorite, and is also supposed to have an amazing view of the city. This one was another one that I just ran out of energy to go to. Once a site for anti-aircraft guns, the bunkers now one of the most scenic viewpoints in the city.
Both tourists and locals gather here, bring picnics, and enjoy the view – especially on warm summer evenings. It is a bit of a trek from the city center, but if you have extra time during your 3 days in Barcelona, it is supposed to be absolutely worth it! (I opted to go to Tibidabo instead and ran out of time).
Address: Carrer de Marià Labèrnia, s/n, 08032 Barcelona
Where to Eat in Barcelona in 3 Days
El Quim de la Boqueria
El Quim was a top recommendation from one of my best friends (who also happens to be the biggest foodie I know), and my orthodontist (hey Dr. I, if you’re reading this), and they were both spot on because this was the best meal I had in my 3 days in Barcelona. El Quim is a tiny little stand located in La Boqueria, and sources fresh ingredients from the market to make their traditional Spanish dishes.
It gets crowded super quick – you will always find a crowd of people surrounding the stand just waiting for a spot to open up – so go early! El Quim opens at 7:30am most days, but I went on a Monday, when it opens at noon (also keep in mind it is closed on Sunday because the market is closed). I showed up 10 minutes before opening and literally grabbed the last spot there.
Their house specialty is the baby squid and eggs, which is what I had and it was phenomenal. The squid is so juicy, and the eggs soak it up so perfectly. They will also give you a loaf of bread to help you soak up the remnant juices after you’ve demolished the rest of the dish. So, so, soooooo good.
Address: Mercado de La Boqueria, La Rambla, 91, 08002 Barcelona
Hours: Monday and Wednesday: 12pm-4pm; Tuesday and Thursday: 8am-4pm; Friday and Saturday: 8am-5pm; closed Sundays
As it turns out, paella isn’t really a specialty in Catalonia… but this was my first time in Spain, so I really wanted to eat some paella while I was there. That doesn’t mean that paella isn’t hard to find in Barcelona – just walk through the Gothic Quarter, and you will see a ton of restaurants advertising it.
One problem: I was traveling myself, and paella isn’t really a meal for one. In fact, many restaurants won’t even serve it to you, unless you have at least 2 people in your party
Enter L’arros. Located on a busy, kinda touristy strip in La Barceloneta, L’arros not only serves up single portions of paella, but it has a ton of variety.My guess is that the places that multiple-person portions are probably better, but I had the seafood paella here and it was solid, and I happily devoured it.
I went for dinner, but L’arros has a lunch special that is a great deal.
Address: de, Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 12, 08003 Barcelona
Irati Taverna Basca
This one is a recommendation from Kristen of Travels and Treats. Irati Tavera Basca specializes in Basque-style tapas. You are correct that Barcelona is in fact, not in Basque, so why am I recommending Basque-style tapas? At the bar section in the front of the restaurants, there is a large buffet with a seemingly endless variety of little tapas that are served on toothpicks.
There is a good selection here, and everything I had was very tasty. They add up how many toothpicks are on your plate at the end, and charge you accordingly. This was a fun little spot to stop in for a little snack and a glass of cava to give me a little bit of sustenance while exploring the city.
Address: Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 17, 08002 Barcelona
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: noon-midnight; Friday-Saturday: noon-1am
Gelaati Di Marco
This one was a a recommendation from Kati of Untold Morsels. Gelaati Di Marco has a TON of flavors, including some really fun and unique ones, such as mojito and avocado+lime. It is tucked into the Gothic Quarter, so it makes for a perfect little treats as you wander those little streets and explore the neighborhood.
Address: Carrer de la Llibreteria, 7, 08002 Barcelona
Hours: 10am-midnight, daily
This bustling tapas spot is always busy, and for good reason. Jai Ca is affordable and tasty, and super traditional. They have an extensive menu full of traditional tapas. The fried seafood here is excellent (especially the squid).
I enjoyed sitting at the bar and watching the flurry of activity here, while enjoying my tapas and sangria. The vibe here is a super classic Spanish diner style, with marbled tables, checkered floors, and vintage posters all over the wall.
The original location has been around since 1955, but they recently opened up a second location down the street to alleviate the crowd. The menu is the same. This was the perfect place to enjoy some tapas for lunch!
Address: Carrer de Ginebra, 13, 08003 Barcelona
Hours: 9am-11:30pm, daily
Also check out: Barcelona Tapas Tour
Tucked into a quiet street in a corner of Barceloneta, I walked into Bitacora, was handed a menu that was only in Spanish and Catalan, and I knew I would be in for a treat. It seemed to be mostly locals in here – I didn’t hear a word of English around me all night (although reviews that I had read prior to coming also mentioned a good mix of tourists).
These were probably the best tapas that I had in Barcelona in 3 days – everything I had was absolutely delicious! Also be aware that the portions are huge – my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach here.
I loved the patatas bravas here, as well as the bombas, which are a local favorite. They also had fiduea (kinda like a Catalan take on paella, made with rice noodles) on the specials that night that was super tasty. Be sure to save some room for dessert – the lemon pie here is divine. The sangrias are also cheap, tasty, and plentiful (€3 for 1/2 liter).
Address: Carrer de Balboa, 1, 08003 Barcelona
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 9am-midnight; Friday-Saturday: 10am-1am
Xurreria del Banys Nous
Tucked into a quiet corner right off the bustling Las Ramblas is the tiny hole-in-the-wall Xurreria Banys Nous, where you will be in for a treat. This family-owned spot has been there for years, and they make a damn fine churros and chocolate. Keep in mind that there isn’t really a place to sit and enjoy your treats – I kinda sat on a random spot on the floor to eat mine. Worth it.
Address: Carrer dels Banys Nous, 8, 08002 Barcelona
I made a stop to Artisa every night during my 3 days in Barcelona for a sweet treat on the way back to the hostel. Artisa is located right off Las Ramblas and is open late, so I just had to stop in for some churros and chocolate every night. So tasty and a perfect way to end the night. They also have coffee, gelato, and other pastries.
Address: Carrer de Colom, 2, 08002 Barcelona
Hours: 9am-midnight, daily
Other Suggestions for Where to Eat in Barcelona in 3 Days
These places came highly recommended to me from friends, but I ran out of time to make it over to them:
Quimet & Quimet – is one of the oldest tapas bars in the city! Quimet & Quimet has been around since 1914 and is kind of off the main part of Barcelona (which is why I ended up never making it there), but people flock there anyway because apparently it is always super packed. Their specialty is the montaditos, aka two-bite tapas on crispy bread. Definitely on my list for next time.
La Paradeta – This is a super popular seafood spot. You order by weight, and they cook it right in front of you. Came highly recommended, and I’m still sad I ran out of time to go (definitely couldn’t eat all the food I wanted in Barcelona in 3 days)!
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Saturday 29th of February 2020
Just as gorgeous as I remember it back from 25 years ago! I neeeeeeed to go back!
Tuesday 25th of February 2020
Barcelona was one of those cities that I didn't immediately love but your blog post is making me want to give it another try.
Monday 24th of February 2020
Aww you make me wanna go back there! I’ve been several time already but it’s such a beautiful city! Thank you for this amazing guide, ill be sure to take it with me when I go
Sunday 23rd of February 2020
I may go this year. This is so helpful.
Sunday 23rd of February 2020
Amazing guide! I'm traveling to Barcelona next month for my birthday. This filled up the gaps in my plans. Thanks xx