If you’re heading to Spain and have 3 days in Barcelona, there are endless things to see, do and experience. The city is incredibly vibrant, colourful and creative. Not only does it have the perks of a bustling urban city, Barcelona is also a coastal one at that, making it the perfect holiday destination.
We’re not the only ones who think so. In 2016, Barcelona welcomed over 32 million tourists! It’s easy to see why, with perfect sunny weather all year round, incredible food, sandy beaches and a thriving cultural scene. What more could you ask for?
Over 3 days you can discover the wonderful Catalan culture that Barcelona is famous for. Taste the local delicacies, enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of the locals and, if you dare, experience the traditional Catalonian sport – human towers (Castelles). The sport is exactly what it sounds like. It involves a group of fearless competitors climbing on top of one another to build the tallest human tower possible. This Catalan tradition originated in the 18th century and you can still find teams practicing and competing in Barcelona today.
But wait, there’s more! Barcelona has also been home to some of the world’s most famous artists. It includes the likes of Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudi who both left a huge mark on the city with their modernist styles and creative genius. Over 3 days you’ll discover Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces dotted all over the Catalan capital, bringing awe and colour to the streets.
All of this makes Barcelona an incredible city to visit. With so much to see, do and experience, you’ll have no trouble filling an itinerary for 3 days in Barcelona. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss.
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What you should not miss if you spend 3 days in Barcelona
Marvel at Gaudi’s Architecture
Barcelona is home to one of the world’s most famous architects – Antoni Gaudi. His modernist work is found scattered all around Barcelona, bringing creativity and flair to the city. You’ll find many opportunities to admire his incredible work. Visit his biggest project ever at La Sagrada Familia, walk around the other-wordly Park Guell, see amazing views from the rooftop of Casa Mila and experience the magic of seeing Casa Batllo for the first time.
Head to the Beach!
Head towards the seaside and experience the buzzing atmosphere of Barceloneta. You can bathe in the Mediterranean waters, or just relax along the 4.5km stretch of sand that was once imported from Egypt! The seaside is also overflowing with restaurants, cafés, bars and shops. You can rent a bicycle or rollerblades and ride along the bike paths on the water’s edge. Alternatively, pull up a seat at one of the many restaurants and enjoy a traditional paella while looking over the sea.
Experience the Catalan Culture
Catalans are very proud of their culture and love sharing it with visitors. Starting with the food – head to a traditional Catalan restaurant to experience some of their delicious traditional dishes. Sit back in one of the many squares in the city with a cup of coffee and watch the local kids kicking around a football. If you’re really lucky, you may catch a glimpse of Catalonia’s traditional sport – human towers (Castelles). It involves a group of fearless competitors climbing on top of one another to build the tallest human tower possible. The most heart-stopping moment is seeing who climbs to the top – the youngest competitor who’s usually just 5 years old!
Day one in Barcelona
Recommended things to do and see on your first day in Barcelona
You have 3 days in Barcelona. Start your first morning getting lost in the romantic, winding streets of the Gothic Quarter. This is the oldest part of Barcelona and one of the most charming too. Here you’ll find some excellent food markets, including Santa Caterina Market and La Boqueria. You’ll also find some famous museums like Museu Picasso and the Museu Europeu d’Art Modern.
In the afternoon, make your way to the famous La Rambla and stroll down towards the beach. Along this pedestrian-only strip you’ll experience the buzzing atmosphere, see some market stalls and enjoy some fun street performances. La Rambla gets really busy so if you want to avoid crowds, duck into Plaça Reial and enjoy the traditional aperitif – vermouth on ice. Afterwards, head towards the beach to catch some afternoon sun.
Once you’ve soaked up enough sun, take a stroll around the bustling Barceloneta. This popular beach area is filled with bars, restaurants and cafés. There are loads of places to choose from when it comes to dinner – simply follow your nose! Finish the evening with some bar hopping at some of the fun venues in Barceloneta.
Where to stay on 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
Day two in Barcelona and it’s time to see some of the famous Gaudi masterpieces. Start the morning at Park Guell. This is truly one of the most unique parks in the world and you’ll get it all to yourself if you go early enough. Don’t forget some water, sunscreen and of course – your camera. The spectacular views you’ll get over Barcelona are second to none! Remember to buy tickets in advance.
In the afternoon, make your way over to La Sagrada Familia. If you’re feeling up to it, it’s a lovely downhill walk from Park Guell. This incredible basilica is a place like no other. Gaudi’s genius will take your breath away. While you can wander around and enjoy the facade for free, it’s the spectacular interiors that will really get your jaw dropping. If you’re not afraid of heights, be sure to see the towers too! Again, don’t forget to buy tickets in advance.
To complete your day of Gaudi, make your way over to Casa Mila. This is a particularly wonderful sight to see in the evening. Get the lift to the stunning rooftop for views of Barcelona by night. In summer you can also buy tickets to a rooftop jazz evening on weekends. Finish the night with dinner and drinks in the bustling Gracia area.
Where to stay on your second night in Barcelona
What to eat on your second day in Barcelona
Recommended activities for your second day in Barcelona
Day three in Barcelona
Recommended things to do and see on your third day in Barcelona
Home to FC Barcelona since 1957, the 99,000-seater Camp Nou stadium is found in the western Les Corts neighbourhood. Football fans will love touring this huge facility and learning about the history of Barcelona’s famous club. There’s a museum to explore, you can see the locker rooms and other memorabilia. Keep in mind that the stadium tour isn’t available on, or just before, match days.
In the afternoon, go to Paral·lel metro station where you can catch the cable car to the top of Montjuic and get some spectacular city and sea views along the way. At the top you’ll not only find Montjuic castle, but also the site of the 1992 Olympics. There’s also a few high-profile museums such as the National Museum of Catalan Art and the Museum of Archaeology.
In the evening, it’s time for a bit of magic! At the bottom of Montjuic you’ll find Font Màgica – a fountain that comes to life every night with a free water and light show accompanied by music. If you’re visiting during La Mercè in late September, you can also catch the “Piromusical” show too! It includes fireworks and lasers on top of the water, lights, and music.
What to eat on your third day in Barcelona
Recommended activities for your third day in Barcelona