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.
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
Day 1 itinerary:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Day two itinerary:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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