A weekend in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of those famous cities that nearly everyone has on their “must see” list. And it really is awesome. I’ve been to Barcelona a few times now and every time I go I seem to find another part of the city to explore.

There is so many fun things to do in Barcelona that planning your time can feel a little overwhelming and some of the main sights are quite far from each other.

I have put together my perfect 2-day itinerary for visiting Barcelona. Covering all the main sights within the time-frame of a weekend break. It’s perfect for first-time visitors or anyone who feels a little daunted by all the city has to offer. Yes, it will be a pretty jam-packed tour but I promise the route will be easy to follow.

A weekend in Barcelona

Barcelona two day city itinerary

I don’t like to tell you exactly what to do and when, so start this self-guided tour of Barcelona whenever suits you (I like a lie in when I’m on holiday). Deviate from the route if you wish or stay longer at a place you love, whatever suits you best. Oh, and there are plenty of opportunities to stop for tapas or a glass of sangria along the way.

Here’s a rough map to give you an idea of which direction to go on each of the two day routes (stops are marked with a red star). Grab a city map or use google maps to make sure you don’t get too lost 🙂 and enjoy your weekend exploring Barcelona!

*RELATED: For practical information about Barcelona read this guide – What you need to know before visiting Barcelona

Barcelona map - A weekend in Barcelona

Day 1 itinerary:

La Rambla 

The most well-known street in Barcelona. A pedestrianized avenue of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and stalls. Walk with fellow tourists along the tree lined path, admiring street performers and caricature artists. Buy a Sagrada Familia fridge magnet or a Gaudi inspired mosaic phone cover.

Tip: The ice-cream stalls are good but be aware that food and drinks will cost more here.

A weekend in Barcelona - La Rambla

Port Vell 

At the end of La Rambla you’ll see the “Colom” statue, monument of Christopher Columbus. Cross the street to see the views of Barcelona boat marina “Port Vell”. Where you will find a mass of fancy sail boats and yachts on one side and the active shipping and cruise dock on the other. Cross the bridge and do a bit of shopping in the Maginarium or spend some time in the aquarium.

Tip: The main tourist information office is under the Colon. You can also take short boat trips from here.

A weekend in Barcelona - Port Vell

La Barceloneta beach 

One of the highlights of a trip to Barcelona for me is a walk on the beach. Follow the marina side along the impressive yachts and round to Barceloneta. It’s a lovely golden sand beach with a wide wooden decked boardwalk. Perfect for cycling, walking, jogging or skating beside the sea. In the summer it gets very busy with sunbathers, swimmers and surfers.

Tip: To get away from the crowds just keep walking, down past the next port the beach becomes much quieter.

*RELATED article: To find out more about Spain’s beaches read – The 10 most beautiful beaches in Spain

A weekend in Barcelona - Barceloneta beach

Montjuïc 

Take the cable car “Transorbador” one-way from the beach, up and over the marina and port area. Soak up the amazing views over Barcelona city as you climb high into the mountain Montjuïc. The cable car ride ends at Torre de Miramar in the lovely garden area. Wander around the park or take photos from the awesome view-point over the city rooftops.

Tip: If heights aren’t your thing, you can walk up Montjuic but it’s quite a walk.

A weekend in Barcelona - Montjuic

Font Magica

Head towards the museums and take a wander around the beautiful Palau Nacional.  Take the stairs in front of the building towards the fountain and head towards Plaça Espanya. To enjoy the fabulous water and light display of La Font Magica time your arrival for evening show.

Tip: Check the website to make sure you arrive for the start of the show and be aware that at certain times in the winter the fountain is off.

A weekend in Barcelona - Font Magica

Day two itinerary:

Gothic quarter 

The perfect area of Barcelona to wander aimlessly, admiring the architecture and get lost. Be sure to take some photos of Barcelona Cathedral, Muralla Romana, Torres Romanes and Plaça Reial.

Tip: There are lots of little cafes in this area perfect for a coffee and croissant stop.

A weekend in Barcelona - Gothic Quarter

Shopping 

All the major Spanish high street brands have shops along Avinguda del Portal de l’Angel and the surrounding streets. Treat yourself to a spot of retail therapy here or pick up some gifts to take home. Check out the Corte Ingles department store or Centre Commercial El Triangle both located at Plaça de Catalunya.

Tip: If you’re looking for more high-end shopping head for Passeig de Gràcia. Along this avenue you will find the likes of Burberry, Chanel, Rolex and Gucci.

A weekend in Barcelona - Shopping

La Boqueria Market 

No trip to Barcelona is complete without stopping at Mercado La Boqueria. It’s located just of La Rambla and is a wonderful place to enjoy the sights and smells of Barcelona cuisine. You can taste the local delights of fresh fruit juices, oysters or Spanish jamon as you wander from stall to stall.

Tip: Sit at one of the bars to enjoy a beer or coffee and people watch but be sure to keep your belongings close.

A weekend in Barcelona - La Boqueria

Sagrada Familia 

From La Rambla hop on the metro or take a taxi to the famous unfinished Gaudi designed cathedral La Sagrada Familia. Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi took over the design of the building in 1883 and worked on it until his death. The temple is unique in its style and the fact that it is still in construction. Architects today are following the original designs set out by Gaudi, it is due to be complete in 2028.

Tip: If you want to go inside buy tickets online to avoid queues. Prices are based on whether you want an audio tour, guided tour, access to Gaudi’s House or access to the towers.

A weekend in Barcelona - Sagrada Famillia

Park Guell 

Continue on by taxi or take a walk (approximately 30 mins up hill) to see more of Gaudi’s work in the Park Guell. Access to the Gaudi Experience and to see all the mosaic work up close costs €9. But you can access the outer park area and enjoy views down onto the wall and over Barcelona city for free.

Tip: Take a picnic with you and some water, there is not much to eat or drink inside the park but is nice to spend some time there.

A weekend in Barcelona - Park Guell

Barcelona isn’t for everyone, its a very busy city with lots of people all wanting to see the tourist attractions. I must admit that waiting in long queues and making your way through crowds for a glimpse of the must see attractions can be tiring.

For more information about accessing the Sagrada Familia and seeing Gaudi’s work up close (plus some honest insights) check out this post by Kasia Writes travel blog – Barcelona Finding Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia.

If you are spending longer then 2 days in Barcelona and would like to get out and explore further afield, there are some great day trips within easy reach of the city. This list covers the best day trips from Barcelona:

Have you been to Barcelona? What’s your favourite city sight? I’d love to hear about your Barcelona experiences in the comment box below 🙂

If you are a planning a trip to Spain you might be interested in these other guides by Seeking the Spanish Sun…

The most delicious seafood in Spain

The best cities to visit in Spain

Exploring the city of Girona

A Weekend in Madrid

Do you need a guide book to take with you? Check out these awesome books from Amazon…

I just wanted to let you know that this page contains Amazon affiliate links. If you decide to buy something using one of these links, I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry that’s at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

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34 Comments

  1. Michelle
    8th May 2018 / 4:02 pm

    Your article is very useful to all persons, who are interesting in travel destinations. I was looking for some articles to read about today when I stumbled on your self-guided walking tour. Anyway, I went to the trip over Europe a few months ago and I found free city tours Generation tours. It was amazing memories, sew incredible sights, and i’m totally going to do this one more time!

    • 8th May 2018 / 4:24 pm

      Thanks Michelle, glad you enjoyed my article and you had a great time during your trip through Europe!

  2. 14th March 2018 / 8:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. My wife and I just spent a weekend in Barcelona, what an amazing city

  3. 17th February 2018 / 11:48 am

    I remember going to the beach on my first trip to Barcelona and eating at a restaurant along there thinking “what is my life right now?!? I’m eating at a restaurant on the beach in Barcelona!” I have been to Barcelona several times now. The Sagrada Familia is a must but in my opinion, it’s overpriced. I have always avoided the Rambla because it’s super touristy. Parque Guell has some of the most beautiful views!

  4. 16th February 2018 / 11:55 pm

    Barcelona looks beautiful, but it seems so crowded! A weekend would probably be enough for me before I’m ready to escape the crowds.

    • 17th February 2018 / 8:18 am

      Barcelona is a great city! It does get busy in the summer as it’s Spain’s most visited city. If you don’t like crowds visit in the winter, that’s when I usually go and its lovely.

  5. 15th February 2018 / 6:52 pm

    The big cities like Barcelona have so much to see and experience, that it sometimes becomes a little overwhelming especially if you are on a shorter time duration, this 2-day itinerary looks perfect. The Sagrada and the beach are two places that would be on top of our must-see list though.

    • 15th February 2018 / 7:06 pm

      Thank you! It’s difficult to narrow so many sights down to two days but you’re right it can be overwhelming visiting an iconic city like Barcelona for the first time. I really wanted to offer a simple guide that covered all the must see places. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it and I hope you find it helpful on your next visit.

  6. 14th February 2018 / 7:40 pm

    The Gaudi buildings are amazing, I agree. They have made so much progress on the Sagrada Familia in the last few years, you can now go up into the towers!

  7. 14th February 2018 / 10:11 am

    I love Barcelona, and it looks like your itinerary hits all the main spots. I really think the Gaudi buildings are amazing, and when we go back, we’ll spend more time exploring them. How about that Sagrada Familia…amazing!

  8. 12th February 2018 / 9:19 pm

    Awww so cool! Barcelona – high on my bucket list – but until now I haven`t realized this travel goal. Thank you for this fantastic post and all the beautiful pics – I need to check flights now 😉

    • 13th February 2018 / 7:27 pm

      Thanks Martina! I hope you get the chance to visit Barcelona soon and you have a great time… I’m sure you will 🙂

  9. 12th February 2018 / 11:32 am

    I went to Barcelona for 2 days, 10 years ago, but I have to admit I haven’t seen all the sights you mentioned here. We loved the Gothic Quartier- there was a lovely little place called Buenas Migas, where we had some good food and drinks. I am so sorry we haven’t visited La Boqueria Market- if I went now, that would be a first place to go to!

    • 13th February 2018 / 7:25 pm

      Sounds like a good reason to go back to Barcelona and explore some more Anja 😉

  10. 12th February 2018 / 5:03 am

    Thanks for some great tips. I am especially intrigued by La Sagrada Familia and the Gothic Quarter (I guess I’m a softy for amazing architecture). Are there a lot of sites from the Summer Olympic Games still standing?

    • 13th February 2018 / 7:22 pm

      Thanks for reading this post Lance, I’m glad you enjoyed it! The architecture in the Gothic Quarter is amazing. Yes, I believe that most of the old Olympic Park is still open to visitors up on Montjuic. The tower and museum certainly are. I think the Stadium has the occasional special event and run guided tours.

  11. 11th February 2018 / 12:51 am

    I have some major world traveling friends who claim Barcelona is the BEST city in the world. I have always wondered why…. but your overview and pictures have painted a pretty good picture of why they love this city so much!

    • 11th February 2018 / 2:30 pm

      Barcelona is a fantastic city and its easy to see why its so popular. There is something for everyone to enjoy. You should come and check it out!

  12. Candy & Crystal
    10th February 2018 / 11:27 pm

    Wow, that’s a ton of people at Font Magica. I would love to go there as I like watching water and light displays. Great tip on checking the showtimes 🙂

    • 11th February 2018 / 1:56 pm

      It can get really busy at Font Magica but the display is pretty magical 😊

    • 11th February 2018 / 1:49 pm

      Thanks Aaron, Montjuïc is a lovely part of the city and the views from there are amazing!

  13. 10th February 2018 / 4:22 pm

    This place is high up on my list. Specifically for the food.

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