Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region on the north-east corner of Spain. Found in a prime position on the scenic Spanish coast, it’s home to 1.6 million residents. The beach-side urban city is best known for its colourful, creative and vibrant culture.
Barcelona is one of those amazing cities that ticks all the boxes, which is why it’s also incredibly popular with tourists. Not only does it have perfect sunny weather, there’s also incredible food, sandy beaches and a thriving cultural scene to discover.
Barcelona also carries a lot of history and the strong Catalan culture runs hot through the city’s veins. You’ll notice Catalan flags all over the city and even the main language in Barcelona is Catalan. It’s spoken with great pride as the primary language in this region of Spain.
All this and more makes Barcelona an incredible city to visit. With so much to see, do and experience, you’ll have no trouble filling an itinerary for 2 days in Barcelona. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss.
INSIDR RECOMMENDATION HIGHLIGHTS ON OUR INTERACTIVE MAP
What you shouldn’t miss if you spend two days in Barcelona
Discover world famous architect Antoni Gaudi in his home city of Barcelona. You’ll find his modernist work dotted all over Barcelona, bringing creativity, flair and colour to the city. There are many opportunities to admire his incredible work. From world renowned La Sagrada Familia, to Park Guell, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. You can even visit his house, now turned museum, to see how he once lived. If you weren’t a Gaudi fan before you arrived, you certainly will be once you leave.
Let’s go to the beach!
It’s not all urban jungle in Barcelona, this city also has an amazing seaside. One of the first stops for beach-lovers is the buzzing Barceloneta area. This super central beach spot has a 4.5km stretch of sand to enjoy. Take a dip in the Mediterranean waters or visit one of the many restaurants, cafés, bars and shops in the area. Those who want to be a little more active can rent a bike and ride along the seaside. If you get hungry, try one of the paella restaurants with sweeping views over the sea.
Enjoy the art
Barcelona has a long history with art. Over the years it’s been home to some of the world’s most famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Antoni Gaudi and Salvador Dali. As a result, the city is now home to many wonderful museums, showing off its artistic roots. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) has the most varied collection of Catalan art in the world. Or there’s Museu Picasso, which has one of the largest Picasso collections in the world. Sports fans will also enjoy discovering 100 years of Barcelona FC history at the Museu Futbol Club Barcelona.
Day one in Barcelona
Recommended things to do and see on your first day in Barcelona
Head straight towards Park Guell in the morning to avoid the crowds. This park is truly one of the most unique parks in the world. You’ll love strolling around and finding one Gaudi masterpiece after another to marvel at. You’ll also get some spectacular views of Barcelona so have your camera ready! Get a photo with the famous dragon fountain at the entrance, walk through the wave-like Portico tunnel and enjoy the garden surrounding the Monumental area. Don’t forget to buy tickets in advance.
La Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudi’s biggest masterpiece and just a short journey from Park Guell. This incredible basilica has been under construction for over a century! Despite an estimated completion date of 2026, La Sagrada Familia is still open to visitors. This is a place that’s truly like no other in the world and Gaudi’s genius will take your breath away. While you can wander around and enjoy the facade from the outside for free, it’s the spectacular interiors that’ll really make your jaw drop in awe.
In the evening, make your way over to Casa Mila to finish off a full day of Gaudi. This is another of Gaudi’s masterpieces, completed in 1912. This is a particularly spectacular option for the evening as you can get the lift to the stunning rooftop to see Barcelona by night. In summer, you can also buy tickets to a jazz evening on the rooftop. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Finish the night with a late dinner, Spanish-style, in the buzzing Gracia area.
Where to stay at your first night in Barcelona
What to eat on your first day in Barcelona
Recommended activities for your first day in Barcelona
Day two in Barcelona
Recommended things to do and see on your second day in Barcelona
Start your morning in the oldest part of Barcelona – the Gothic Quarter. Grab a coffee from Satan’s Coffee and wander the narrow, winding streets to discover your favourite parts of this historic area. Stop by Museu Picasso to see one of the largest Picasso collections in the world. Then head towards the undercover market – Santa Caterina. Here you’ll find an enormous range of fresh food of incredible quality. Stock up on meats and cheeses, or grab lunch at one of the restaurants.
After lunch, make your way to the famous Las Ramblas. While it’s a bit of a tourist trap, it’s still fun to see and experience the atmosphere. Just don’t linger too long! Walk towards the beach where you can either grab a towel and enjoy the sunshine, or pull up a chair at a local cafe for a spot of people watching. If you’re feeling a little more energetic, rent a bicycle and ride along the promenade.
Once the sun sets, it’s time for the most important meal of the day! You’ll be spoilt for choice with all the restaurants in the Barceloneta area. Start off like the locals with the traditional aperitif vermut. Follow it up with a fantastic seafood meal at Arenal Restaurant, or go for something meatier at El Vaso de Oro. After dinner, enjoy the best of what Barcelona’s nightlife has to offer with some good old fashioned bar hopping.