BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN BARCELONA
Are you planning your Barcelona itinerary and are wondering about the most beautiful places in Barcelona? This post can help you find out how much you can actually do in Barcelona in 3 days – what is realistic and what is not? Also, you will find travel tips.
Barcelona has it all. Great beaches, awesome bars, stunning architecture, and so many things to do and see. The city is a hive of beauty, activity, and action.
There is a reason why Barcelona has made it onto so many “favorite cities“ lists (including mine) – actually, there are many reasons. Here you´ll find out why Barcelona is so freaking awesome, which places to see, and what are the best things to do there in three days.
The weather is fantastically warm (okay, sometimes too hot for my taste), making it the perfect place for a getaway to escape the grind. The paved streets and majestic buildings are ideal for getting lost and finding yourself.
However, arriving in a big city can be a bit daunting, so I have made a list of things to do soon after landing.
P.S. I did not visit Barcelona solo, but with my sister. This is not a solo-female guide to Barcelona, but I would feel comfortable doing all the Barcelona activities by myself.
TIPS FOR VISITING BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN BARCELONA
Also, this is not the typical 3-day itinerary because it was extremely hot at the time of our visit. As it is common in Spain‘s summer months, we enjoyed the siesta, which meant we headed back to our hotel during lunchtime and slept.
So, we did not walk around all day (as I normally do), and thus, we were less “efficient.“ On the other hand, we spent more than three days in the city, so I compiled a list of places to visit in three days in Barcelona, even though it is not the typical Barcelona itinerary.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
Here are some important travel tips for Barcelona.
How to Get Around Barcelona
Walking: We mostly walked. Staying in a central hotel made it easy to get around on foot most of the time. It is easy and safe to walk to many Barcelona sights, as they are close to one another.
Bike: We rented a bike for a couple of hours, and Barcelona made it easy to explore the city this way.
We did not cycle around the busiest hot spots, like La Sagrada Family or La Ramblas, but cycling is great for exploring the city.
Public Transportation: We did not use public transportation often, but several of the below-mentioned places of interest in Barcelona are offsite, so using the metro/bus/tram is a good idea. They are cheap (around 2€ for a single ticket), fast, and run frequently.
I normally love using Hop-on and Hop-off buses – I did not use them in Barcelona, though, but I think they are often super helpful if you are short on time and like a good overview of a city. Check out tickets for Hop-on and Hop-off sightseeing buses in Barcelona.
Barcelona bike tours are a good way to discover this gorgeous city. With the heat, we were challenged, but it was one of the highlights of the Barcelona trip.
There are a few different options. An easy option is one where you glide around the city at a slow pace, taking in all the beautiful sights and sounds Barcelona offers (we mostly calyces around the harbor area).
The more difficult option is to cycle around and up to Montjuic Hill (which I definitely did not do).
Language / People
Nowadays, the political situation dominates the news. Barcelona is the capital of the autonomous region Catalonia, with its own culture and language.
While it is debated whether Catalonia will become independent or not, at the moment, it is part of Spain and the European Union (and has the € as currency).
Spanish and Catalan are the official languages, but we had to use English since we did not speak either of these. Many spoke some basic English, but longer conversations were rare.
I recommend downloading an offline translating app – just in case.
Safety in Barcelona
Though I did not visit Barcelona as a solo traveler, I would feel comfortable doing all of the mentioned recommendations by myself.
I am proud to say that I have never been pickpocketed (so far), and though Barcelona is known for pickpockets and theft, you can stay safe when you watch your purse closely and exercise common sense.
Particularly at busy places like La Rambla or in the metro, you need to be super attentive and be more cautious than normal.
It is all About Gaudi in Barcelona
Barcelona is – almost – all about Gaudi. Gaudi was an important Catalan architect (1852-1926) and played a crucial role in Barcelona. Some of the top tourist attractions in Barcelona were designed by Gaudi.
It doesn’t matter if you visit Barcelona for one day or one week, his work will always be present, so don’t be surprised to hear his name often connected to the city.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
As you can imagine, accommodation in Barcelona is not a bargain. However, you find luxury hotels as well as hostels and more budget-friendly places to stay in Barcelona.
- Luxury Hotels in Barcelona – Find the best rates for your stay in Barcelona – here are some great luxury hotels
- Mid-Range Hotels in Barcelona – There are also some great mid-range hotels in Barcelona. If you can try to book your accommodation near the main tourist attractions. Click here for more information on mid-range hotels in Barcelona.
- Budget-Friendly Hostels and Hostels in Barcelona – If you prefer staying in hostels or on a budget, check out the best rates, and your wallet will love you. Find the best deals here.
Siesta happens between 1 pm and 4 pm each day. At this time, most shops shut down, so it is a great time to take a well-deserved nap. We visited in summer, so it was quite hot, and we had to take breaks – just because sightseeing in the heat is more taxing. As a person who loves taking naps, this comes in handy, though it might be annoying when visiting a new destination.
But make the best of it and do as the locals do… take a siesta. After all, being a tourist and a woman of leisure is hard work.
WHERE TO GO IN BARCELONA IN 3 DAYS
This is not a typical Barcelona itinerary – however, you can do all the activities and tips in three days. It is a busy but not overly ambitious 3-day itinerary, and you can plan it according to your own travel speed.
La Sagrada Familia
Here we are, starting the first attraction by Gaudi. THE most popular place in Barcelona for visitors is La Sagrada Familia. This is a top Gaudi-designed Roman Catholic church, which is amazing – inside and out.
The work on the basilica started in 1882, but it is still not finished. This fact might make this building even more special, and once it is finished (probably in 2026), we will finally see how the construction turns out.
The nouveau, gothic art design is definitely something to marvel at – a typical Gaudi, I would say (though I really don’t know that much about architecture and art).
If you want to visit the church, you need to buy tickets in advance to skip the crazy long lines. Have I mentioned that this is the most popular tourist place in Barcelona, with more than three million annual visitors?
During high season, it is even recommended to book tickets weeks in advance. Barcelona is really busy most of the time, so skip-the-line tickets do make a lot of sense…to me! Plan in about 90 minutes for the tour itself.
- Click here to get the best prices and deals for a Sagrada Familia Skip-the-Line-Ticket.
- Click here to get a Skip-the-Line-Ticket plus a guided tour for Sagrada Familia.
HOW TO GET THERE: La Segrada Familia is located in the Eixample district of Barcelona on 401 Mallorca street.
You can take the metro (Stop: Sagrada Familia with L2, or L5) or take a bus from different places. Bus 50 from Plaza Catalunya or H10 from Sants railway station.
La Ramblas Street is downright fun.
The pedestrian street connects the Plaça de Catalunya in the north with Port Vell in the south. The 1,2-kilometer long street is probably the busiest tourist area and is lined with bars and restaurants. La Ramblas is bustling, and there is plenty to see and do. The street performers are perhaps the weirdest and most eclectic in the world, with some going to great lengths to entertain the crowd.
If you need a shopping fix, La Ramblas is the place to get it. But make sure you keep your purse safe. It has had a reputation in the past for pickpockets.
HOW TO GET THERE: There are three metro stations – in the south of the street, midway and in the northern end of the street. Near to Christopher Columbus memorial is the Drassanes metro stop (Green Line, L3)
Just outside the Liceu Theatre, you will find the metro stop Liceu (Green Line, L3).
And you will find the Catalunya metro stop (Green Line, L3) and (Red Line, L1). Here you can also get the Aerobus (express bus service to the airport) and Hop on Hop Off Tourist Buses.
FC Barcelona Museum & Camp Nou Stadium
Ok, I know what some of you might be thinking: Boring. A football stadium is the last place you want to go when visiting one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
But visiting Camp Nou should is one of the most interesting places in Barcelona. I admit that we did not go inside (we are just too broke to spend money on tour), but we made sure to visit at least and look at it from the outside.
The stadium is actually quite amazing, even if you’re not that big of a football fan (or even a Barca fan). It is one of the biggest (or actually the biggest) stadiums in Europe with a capacity of almost 100,000.
You can also learn about its history in the museum and buy souvenirs. And while I did not do the tour, I went to the souvenir shop. I still have my little Barca pencil case, one of the very few souvenirs I have ever bought. Click here to buy tickets for a Camp Nou stadion tour and avoid standing in line.
HOW TO GET THERE: Camp Nou Football Stadium, Aristides Maillol, 08028 Barcelona. Ideally, you get there by public transportation. Take the metro and get out at the metro stop: Collblanc (Blue Line, L5). You have to do a 10-minute walk to Camp Nou.
Barrio Gotico is the gothic quarter of Barcelona and is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods. You feel like you’re stepping back in time into some old movie.
The cobblestone alleyways and cute eateries really give the feeling that you’re in another era, where time has stopped, and dreams can come true. There are plenty of photo ops while you visit, feeling inspired by your surroundings. Cafes, shops, and beautiful buildings make it a great place to get lost.
It is also home to the Barcelona Cathedral, which is another good place to see and the Museu d’Història de Barcelona displaying remains of the Roman city.
Park Guell, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is another Gaudi-designed wonder and is used as a public park nowadays. While it looks unreal, it’s such a great place to spend a sunny day in Barcelona.
Its quirky architecture and a vast array of gardens are perfect for rejuvenating your heart and soul. Laden with bridges and pathways that you can go over or under, it is a whimsical place to chill and read a book or have a picnic – and the great views of the city should not go unmentioned!
Visiting the park is free, but if you want to enter the Monumental Zone with more great Gaudi pieces, like the Salamada Fountain, you need a ticket, which costs about 8€.
Again: Buy tickets in advance if you like to explore, and come early (ideally at 8 am), as it is one of the most visited places in Barcelona and the crowds will not stay away. Click here to buy tickets in advance and beat the crowds.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the metro line 3 and get out at either Lesseps stop or Vallcarca stop. You need to walk for about 20 minutes from both stops to the park.
You can also take a bus and get out at Travessera de Dalt (bus lines H6 and D40). From there, you need to walk for about 10 minutes.
Sightseeing buses also stop here.
You could also get here by car but it is highly recommended to book your parking space prior to your arrival.
Montjuic is one of the two prominent hills/mountains in Barcelona and a great place to go. It is 173 meters above sea level, and just slightly higher than any building constructed in the city.
Take the cable car to get to the top of the hill and the castle of Montjuic. These views are worth it! You could also take a regular bus (bus 150), but cable cars are so much more fun. Or you could walk up.
Montjuic Castle is a good starting point for exploring the area. We did not see the pools, but two of them had a view for those who would like to take a dip.
There is also an open-air museum, “Poble Espanyol,“ where you can find out Spanish culture and history. There are worse ways to study history than here! Find the best ticket prices for the Cable car ride up to Montjuic Hill here.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the metro lines 1 or 3 to Plaza España and then either walk up or take a bus to the top. If you want to take the cable car, take the metro line 3 to Parallel station and there change to the cable car (included in the metro ticket) up.
Admittedly, you might not be able to visit both of Barcelona´s mountains in three days. If you skip one attraction or another, you can manage it, though. Of course, you will be rewarded with great panoramic views. There is also an amusement park on the mountain, but unless you are with kids or a sucker for amusement parks, I suggest not spending your valuable time there.
Rather, enjoy some great (and free) views from the church on the mountain and see Barcelona above.
HOW TO GET THERE: There are several options to get to Tibidabo. Either hike. Or take the brown metro line (L7) from Placa Catalunya to Avenida Tibidabo. There, change to Tramvia Blau to Plaça Dr Andreu from where the Tibidabo funicular leaves.
Alternatively, you can use the Vallvidrera Funicular. From Placa Catalunya take S1 or S2 to Peu del Funicular, there change to Vallvidrera Funicular and afterwards continue on Bus 111.
Sightseeing buses also stop next to the splendid La Rotonda building at Avenida Tibidabo.
The beach in Barcelona is only a short bus ride from the town center. As far as I can remember, it was one of the very few times we used public transportation.It’s a great place to spend the day and get your tan on. The beaches have beautiful white sand and clear blue water. If you get hungry, there are plenty of places to eat and drink. It’s a great place for people-watching and resting after all those busy days in Barcelona.
Here is another masterpiece of Gaudi and another UNESCO World Heritage site: Casa Batllo. This weird, awkward-looking building is a must-see – and truly one of a kind.Built at the end of the 19th century, it has become a tourist magnet. Marveling at it from outside is free. If you want to see more of Gaudi´s work and enter the house, and go up to the rooftop terrace, you need to book a ticket (and as you can guess, it is recommended to buy a ticket in advance, so you do not waste your precious time in line). Click here to find out about prices and skip the line tickets.
More Things to do in Barcelona
Here are a few more ideas for things to do and see in Barcelona (that are still on my own Barcelona bucket list)
How about a day trip frBarcelonaona to Montserrat? Find out more here.
Have you heard about an ice bar? Probably. But there is an ice bar at the beach – in Barcelona. Check out more here.
Have you ever watched a Flamengo show? In Barcelona, you can… Find out more here.
So, as you can see, Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities globally, and there are so many fun things to do – for couples, families, friends, and solo (female) travelers. There is never a dull moment.
There are so many amazing places to get lost in and places to go out. I guess that’s why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.