Have a long stopover in Barcelona? This Spanish city is a popular stopover place for flights en route to Europe. If you are unsure on how many days to stay, three days in Barcelona should be enough if you want to explore a fair amount of the city.
Below is my itinerary for 3 days in Barcelona and an option to many different itineraries in case you want to increase or decrease your stay on your multi-city trip.
3 Days in Barcelona Itinerary
Barcelona is on the northeastern coast of Spain, and it is the capital of the autonomous Catalan community. Barcelona is famous for many reasons.
Mouthwatering Catalan cuisine and wine, architectural masterpieces of the renowned architect Antoni Gaudi and city's famous Soccer/Football club FC Barcelona are few of them.
If you are on a multi city tour, pick Barcelona as one of the stopovers to experience the uniqueness of the city.
Usually, many travelers visit the city from June to September. So, if you are planning to visit Barcelona during this season, make sure to book tickets in advance.
Day 1 in Barcelona: See the best sights in the city
There are many historical sites, museums and markets to visit during your Barcelona stayover. But your Barcelona tour is incomplete without paying a visit to the following places.
La Sagrada Familia
Start your first day of stopover at Sagrada Familia.
Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous churches in the world, and it is of the masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi. Its construction started in 1882 and even after 130 years later, the installations are still going.
What makes this church unique is its design. The gothic appearance on the exterior is entirely different from the colorful and bright interior.
A basic ticket for an adult cost around $19 and make sure to purchase tickets early as they sell out quickly.
Las Ramblas Street
From Sagrada Familiar, make your way to Las Ramblas Street. This street is a 1.5km street that runs down from Plaça de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus monument.
While walking down the road, you will find many market stalls, cafes, restaurants, street performers and many more. Both bloggers "Jonny melon" and "Earth Trekkers" said walking on Las Ramblas street a must in Barcelona stayover.
Walk towards Gothic Quarter from Las Ramblas. It is the oldest neighborhood in Barcelona established by the Romans over 2000 years ago.
You can find Tapas restaurants and boutiques while wandering on narrow cobblestoned streets of the Gothic Quarter. Barcelona Cathedral is another popular attraction of the area.
To end your first day in Barcelona, walk towards El Born which is only 600 meters away from Gothic Quarter. El born is a neighborhood for shopping with many designer boutiques.
Other than shopping, it is an excellent place to hang out at night with many cocktail bars and Samba. The cultural center of El Born, which is a restored ancient market in the 1700s, is also a massive attraction of the neighborhood.
Day 2 in Barcelona: Check out the best neighborhoods
Start your second day in Barcelona in El Raval. El Raval is another vibrant neighborhood, famous for shopping and museums. It has many restaurants and bars as well so try to grab a breakfast here.
La Boquería market, which is one of the largest markets of Barcelona, is also in this neighborhood. Museum of contemporary art and the maritime museum are two museums you can visit while in El Raval.
La Barceloneta Beach
Being a seaside city, Barcelona has few amazing beaches for beachgoers so don't forget to include swimming to your Barcelona stopover itinerary.
La Barceloneta beach is the most popular beach in Barcelona as it is the most conveniently located to the city center. There are plenty of seafood restaurants nearby, and you can rent surfboards to have some fun in the water.
Palau de la Música
After your trip to the beach, visit Palau de la Musica. The famous concert hall of Barcelona, Palau de la Música, is just outside the Gothic Quarter.
This UNESCO world heritage site hosts many musical performances. You can book a ticket to watch these fantastic performances or just visit the place to admire its architecture.
From Palau de la Musica, make your trip to Park Güell. Park Güell is the most popular public park in Barcelona.
This park is another architectural masterpiece with walls covered in mosaic designs, famous serpentine benches and buildings that resemble gingerbread houses will make you feel like you are walking through a fairytale.
Also, Park Güell offers an excellent viewpoint with a panoramic view of Barcelona.
Bunkers del Carmel
To end your second day of your 3 days stopover in Barcelona, make your way to the top of Bunkers del Carmel. They are former Spanish civil war bunkers currently offers one of the best panoramic view of the Barcelona city.
Since the place is not so popular with tourists, you can spend some time here to relax and watch the sunset.
Day 3 in Barcelona: Explore the off-the-beaten trails
Start your last day in Barcelona by visiting its architectural wonders. Head towards Casa Mila. This UNESCO world heritage site is also a design of Gaudi. The rooftop terrace has a unique yet bizarre design. You can view the building from the outside or buy tickets to visit the interior of the house.
From Casa Mila, walk towards Casa Batlló. It is only 500 meters away so you can easily reach it by foot. It is also one of Gaudi’s works. Oddly shaped balconies and windows make this building unique. Like Casa Mila, you need to have tickets to tour the inside of the building.
Santa Caterina Market
La Boquería market can be overcrowded most of the time. So, head over to the Santa Caterina market. The market hard to miss with its colorful roof. It is also easily accessible from Casa Batlló.
An alternative for your afternoon is the lovely Castelldefels. This beach is about 30 minutes away from the city center but it's worth the trip if you have an extra time on your 3-day itinerary in Barcelona.
La Barceloneta is often filled with visitors most of the time. Head south to Castelldefels beach to have a quiet beach day. Go to the beach in the evening to have a beautiful view of the sunset.
Other tips for your 2 days in 3 days in Barcelona
Barcelona is a dream destination for foodies. Typical Catalan food is a bit different from the other parts of Spain.
Since the city is on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, you can enjoy plenty of fresh and tasty seafood dishes here. Pinotxo Bar in La Boquería market is an excellent choice to have a lunch. "Mapping Megan" blog suggests that they have some impressive lunch options. El Nacional restaurant in Passeig de Gracia serves some of the best Tapas in Barcelona. "Earth Trekkers" blog says the many locals will recommend the place.
While you are in Barcelona, try some of these Spanish and Catalan dishes.
Photo by Jay Wennington / Unsplash – a traditional rice and seafood dish, Bombas – stuffed mas potato balls and Esqueixada – a conventional Catalan salad.
Itineraries for more than 3 days in Barcelona
A proper travel itinerary helps you in many ways to make the most out of your time during a stopover in any travel destination. Take a look at these alternative itineraries for Barcelona to help you choose what's best for your Barcelona stopover.
5 days in Barcelona
Five days will give you plenty of time to experience Barcelona. Elizabeth shares her backpack travel experiences in her blog, "Anchored Adventure Blog." Other than the necessary information, she shared several one-day trip plans to visit a few towns in Barcelona in her 5-day itinerary.
Read how Elizabeth spent 5 days in Barcelona here