3 Days in Barcelona – the Ultimate Itinerary!
I want to get straight to the point here, no fluffing around. And that point is, that Barcelona is overly touristy. There’s no point even denying it, it’s literally a tourist favourite, but it’s honestly not hard to see why. With that being said, I still ADORE Barcelona.
Seriously, I love it there, and after 3 days in Barcelona, you will see why. Moving past all the overly crowded areas and hotspots, and the increased prices in such areas, it’s still easy to love. The vibe is just good there. You just feel happy walking down the street and taking it in.
There’s incredible architecture, beaches and good food. There’s museums, parks and endless Sangria. There’s nightlife, cute coffee shops and endless photo opportunities. Can you say that I love Barcelona?
It would be easy to spend a week in Barcelona, but if you are staying in touristy areas, it can get a little tiring. So, 3 days in Barcelona? The perfect amount of time to stop by in this wonderful Spanish city and get a feel for everything it has to offer. In 3 days, you can laze on the beach, get stunning mountain top views, check out incredible architecture and museums, go crazy for sport and of course, drink lots of sangria and eat lots of paella. What more could you want?
If you are travelling on a budget and looking to cut costs, I highly recommend checking out this article on free things to do in Barcelona, because who doesn’t like saving money? If you are wondering what to pack for Europe, you aren’t alone?
Of course, Spain has so much more to offer than just Barcelona, and I highly recommend spending atleast a couple of weeks in the country to make sure you see all the great things that Spain has to offer. Visiting the capital city, Madrid, is a must, and I also recommend spending 2 days in Granada, as well as visiting Seville and Valencia.
What to do in Barcelona for 3 days?
Barcelona itinerary: Day 1
Sagrada Familia and the Arc de Triomf
So, it’s day 1 in Barcelona and that means we are going to start out with some must see sights (prepare for the tourists!).
Hop on the metro and hop off at the Sagrada Familia stop, to visit, you guessed it, the La Sagrada Familia. Easily one of Barcelona’s most famous sights, The Sagrada Familia is some of Gaudi’s most impressive work.
Work began on the impressive cathedral in 1882, and it is still under construction today. You can choose to just admire the beauty from the outside, or head in for a tour of the inside if you have the time and it fits in your budget. If you plan on touring the inside, book your tickets online in advance to avoid huge queues on the day!
Next stop is the Arc de Triomf, an impressive victory arch located just a view metro stops from the Sagrada Familia. Looming over one of Barcelona’s prettiest walk-ways, you can follow the path all the way to Parc de Citudella for a little bit of serenity, with lush greenery and ponds.
Las Ramblas, Mercardo de La Boqueria, Casa Batlo and Casa Mila
Head to Las Ramblas next, Barcelona’s most famous and busiest street, which might seem off-putting, but it’s truly the heart of Barcelona. Just a quick ride on the metro from the Arc de Triomf, Las Ramblas is lined with shops, cafes, bars and hotels, there’s endless street performers, coffee spots and souvenir shops.
Stop off at Mercardo de La Boqueria for lunch. This local market serves up delicious and fresh food and drinks, and it’s the perfect place to stop for some traditional tapas, or just about anything else you fancy. Plus, you get to experience an authentic Spanish market at the same time! If you fancy something more relaxed, there are plenty of cafes along Las Ramblas to choose from.
Continue exploring Las Ramblas and its surrounds after lunch, being sure to stop at Placa Reial, a gorgeous courtyard characterised by colourful buildings and palm trees (and the perfect spot for an afternoon Sangria!), and the Gothic Quarter, the streets just off the bustling Las Ramblas that are filled with cute cafes, boutique style stores and gothic style architecture.
Wander back up Las Ramblas and cross the busy intersection to admire some more of Gaudi’s architecture. Casa Batlo and Casa Mila are two of Gaudi’s impressively designed pieces, with the later actually built as a private residence initially. They are both close together, so it’s easy to walk between the two. You can buy tickets in advance to avoid lines on the day if you plan on heading inside the buildings.
There are so many amazing places to eat in Barcelona that I can’t just recommend one place for dinner. It’s easy to just wander and until you stumble upon a place that you fancy. If not, try Can Vilaro, Bodega Biarritz or Don Kilo Restaurant.
Barcelona itinerary: Day 2
Camp Nou Stadium
Even if you aren’t much of a sport fan, in my opinion Camp Nou is a must. Seriously, it’s a surreal experience. As a pretty big sports fan, I was so excited, and it didn’t disappoint. Head to the Collblanc Metro station, and the stadium is an easy 5 minute walk from there. The stadium is extremely impressive, and you can tour the stadium at your own pace.
Tickets are around 25 Euro, and you can buy online in advance. There’s also an impressive museum of memorabilia and a huge merchandise store. Of course, if you are in Barcelona when there is a game, try to go! Tickets usually sell out pretty far in advance, so make sure you plan your trip around this if you want to experience a game.
Allow a couple of hours here and stop for lunch at Tapas 24 after. Located just outside the stadium, Tapas 24 definitely has made a name for itself with its impressive range of unique and authentic tapas and it’s feel-good vibe.
Time to head to the beach after lunch! Barcelonetta Beach is Barcelona’s famous city side beach on the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll easily recognise the famous W Hotel in the background, and the beach is lined with endless bars, restaurants and ice-cream parlous.
It really makes for a perfect afternoon. So, pack your towel, swimmers and sunscreen, and hop on the metro to the Barcelonetta stop, from which it’s a 10-minute stroll down to the beach. You haven’t been to Barcelona if you haven’t been for a swim, so laze in the sun and swim until it’s time for a drink, and head up to one of the many restaurants for a Sangria!
I recommend heading back down to the beach for dinner tonight. The restaurants and bars on the beach offer the perfect view with that lovely sea breeze, and there are plenty of places to pick from!
Barcelona itinerary: Day 3
Visit Gaudi’s Park Guell
Start the morning of at Park Guell, Gaudi’s fabulously designed park. Located on the upper slopes of the city, the park features unique and colourful architecture, and some beautiful views of the city. Entrance to the park itself is free, however you will need to purchase tickets to go inside some of the main buildings and the museum.
Tickets are generally about 8 Euro, and it’s recommended to buy them online in advance to avoid waits. The park only allows 400 new visitors in to the park every 30 minutes, so buy online to avoid disappointment. To get to Park Guell, simply hop on the metro at your nearest stop and head to Lesseps Station (L3), from there you can follow the tourist signs to the entry.
Allow a couple of hours here to enjoy everything the park has to offer. Stop for lunch at one of the many restaurants before heading back towards the central city. Guell Away (delicious burgers!), and La Torreta del Parc Guell are both great options.
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Admire art at Museu Picasso
The Museu Picasso is famous for (yep, you guessed it), it’s hugely impressive collection of Pablo Picasso, featuring over 4000 artworks. To get there, simply get the metro to Jaume I stop (L4).
The Museum is closed on Mondays, and open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am-7pm, and until 9:30pm on Thursdays.
There’s plenty of other museums in Barcelona, so if Museu Picasso doesn’t sound too appealing, you can head to Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Museu Europeu d’Art Modern, or Museum of the history of Barcelona.
Rooftop dinner and drinks with a view
You have not truly experienced Barcelona until you visit a rooftop bar. Trust me on this one. Barcelona boasts some pretty impressive views, from just about any direction. Yurbban Trafalgar Rooftop features panoramic views of the city, and reasonably priced drinks (as far as rooftop bars in Barcelona go!).
Dip your feet in the pool if you need to cool off, and make sure to be there for the sunset! If you fancy admiring the Sagrada Familia some more with an Aperol Spritz in hand, head to Terraza Ayre at Ayre Rosellon Hotel for magnificent views with plenty of tapas and cocktail choices.
You could easily extend this 3 days in Barcelona into 4 or 5 days, even a week. Seriously you won’t run out of things to do. There’s plenty more to see and do in this gorgeous city, including the Tibidabo view point and theme park, the Catedral de la Seu, and plenty more museums.
There’s also plenty of cool day trips you can take from Barcelona, such as Girona, which is an awesome day tour from Barcelona! A hop on hop off tour is also a great way to see more of the city in a small amount of time! So, if you have the time, don’t be afraid to stay a little longer!
How to Spend a Perfect 3 Days in Barcelona
Where to stay in Barcelona
- Sercotel Amister Art Hotel: Located just a 5-minute walk from the nearest Metro stop, this boutique hotel features impressively designed rooms, with each floor inspired by a different artist. It also has a rooftop bar with a (small) pool, and the breakfast is delicious, making it the perfect choice for a mid-range budget.
- H10 Madison: If you are looking for some luxury during your stay in Barcelona, look no further than H10 Madison. With a rooftop pool area with views of the Sagrada Familia, I probably don’t even need to say more. The rooms are amazing, the breakfast is good, and the bar serves up delicious cocktails.
- Casa Gracia Hostel: This is a hostel with a little bit of luxury. With gorgeous rooms and lots of common areas, it’s also located right in the middle of the action. Plus, it has a library!
Getting around Barcelona
Barcelona is extremely easy to get around, thanks to it’s AMAZING metro system. Seriously, I was amazed at how easy the metro made it to get around Barcelona. Running very frequently, with stops near just about every major attraction, you simply can’t go wrong with the metro.
It’s also super affordable, and you can buy tourist passes which makes it even cheaper if you are staying a few days and planning to use the metro as your main form of transport. You can get HOLA BCN for anywhere between 2 and 5 days. A 3-day ticket will set you back 23.70 euros, and allows unlimited travel.
Getting to Barcelona
Depending on where you are coming from, getting to Barcelona is pretty easy. From most major cities in Spain you can get one of the fast trains, and you can fly in direct from most major cities in Europe. Check flights on Skyscanner to find the best deals!
Best time to visit Barcelona
You can visit Barcelona any time of year and not be disappointed. But, there is a couple of things to consider.
Barcelona’s high season is May-September, which is when most tourists flock to the city and the weather is warm and sunny, and the sun staying out until late. Visiting in the months before and after this period (April and October), will still give you pleasant temperatures, but less tourists. The low season runs from November till March, and the weather can get very cold, which means no beach weather, but less tourists.
The currency in Spain is the Euro. Card is accepted at most major hotels, retailers and restaurants, but always carry cash for smaller purchases and boutique style businesses. ATM’s are readily available, although may charge a small fee.
Siesta Time in Barcelona
It’s worth considering that some businesses in Spain and Barcelona still use Siesta time, which is a lunch time closure and down time between 2pm and 5pm. Although most major places will remain open, always check beforehand.
Barcelona also runs on a much later time schedule than what most of us are used too. Eating lunch at 12 or 1pm? Unheard of. Dinner at 7pm? Nope. It’s not uncommon for some restaurants not to open until 8 or 9pm for dinner, so prepare to start eating a little later!
Travel Planning Resources
Planning a trip? Check out some of my favourite travel booking & planning sites:
- Skyscanner: My go-to for booking flights. Skyscanner scans the internet to find the best deals on your selected route.
- Booking.com: The only place to book hotels! Find endless properties with verified reviews on booking.com, and keep all of your accommodation bookings in one place.
- Get your guide: Find day tours, walking tours and skip the line tickets on Get your Guide!
- TourRadar: Are group tours more your thing? TourRadar searches all the best tour operators to find you a tour that suits your needs.
- TripAdvisor: Find reviews for just about anything – resturants, hotels, activities and more!
Once you get to Barcelona, you won’t want to leave. There’s just something about the feel-good vibe there that makes you feel so content. You won’t even be bothered by the tourists and crowds anymore, you’ll just want to keep doing you. Admiring architecture, lounging on the beach and sipping sangria. As for me, I’ll definitely be back!
Why not extend your stay? Theres endless beautiful places to visit in Spain. Head to the capital city, Madrid for more art, nightlife and good for, or why not head to Portugal or Germany?