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Getting ready for a trip to Barcelona? This travel guide covers how to spend four days in Barcelona, to soak in all the culture and history!
Barcelona was the last stop on our 3-week trip to Spain and Portugal.
I thought by the time we got to Barcelona, we’d be all vacation-ed out, but there is so much to do in the city! Whether you are looking for culture, history, food, nightlife, or nature, Barcelona has it!
Although Seville was my favourite city in Spain, I found that Barcelona had a lot to offer, and would definitely adding it as a stop anyone planning a trip to Spain!
Getting into Barcelona
We took the train from Madrid to Barcelona. It took about 2 hours 30 minutes! I would advise that you need to book this train as early as possible. The other routes take a bit longer to travel.
Where to Stay
We stayed in the Eixample neighbourhood, which is close to Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia.
It was a quieter neighbourhood. But there were lots of great places to eat nearby, and it did not feel as touristy, or as busy as staying in the Gothic Quarter or near Las Ramblas.
Getting around Barcelona
We stayed in the Eixample neighbourhood, and our hotel was maybe a 3 minute walk to the closest metro station.
Living in North America, I’m always amazed when a city has great public transit infrastructure. Much like many cities in Europe, Barcelona has a phenomenal and inexpensive public transit system. The metro and busses easily connect to popular attractions.
Between walking around the area, and taking the metro or the bus, it was extremely easy to get around the city.
We also explored many areas by foot, like Las Ramblas, and the Gothic Quarter. It was the best way to soak in the city’s vibes!
How many days do you need in Barcelona?
We spent a total of four days, and five nights in Barcelona, which gave us plenty of time to explore the different areas!
It helped that we spent a few weekdays in Barcelona, and explored many of the popular attractions, like Las Ramblas, and the la Bouqueria on the weekdays, rather than the weekend to beat the crowds.
Highlights of Barcelona
With four full days, we were able to comfortably explore much of the city.
There are a ton of things to do in Barcelona, depending on what you enjoy. We didn’t spend a lot of time at the beaches, because it was fairly chilly in October.
But there is so much to do, that even the four days were on the go! If you only have a short window of time in Barcelona, these are the attractions I would recommend
Watch a football match at Camp Nou
In Barcelona (and much of Spain) football is like a religion. One of the best experiences we had was watching a football match at Camp Nou, watching Messi score a goal at home.
That might not mean much to you if you don’t follow football, but I guarantee you that the insane atmosphere alone at Camp Nou is worth this experience.
Bask in the wonder that is Sagrada Familia
If you only had one day in Barcelona, this is hands down something you HAVE to see! It is grand, gorgeous, even though it’s unfinished! I’d highly recommend getting a tour, even if it’s just the audio guide. There are so many little details that you cannot get just by looking at the facades!
Get lost in the Gothic quarter
Schedule ample time to just walk around and just enjoy the Gothic quarter. Allow yourself to get lost in the history, and architecture – you won’t be disappointed.
While you’re in the Gothic Quarter, be sure to check out the view atop the Barcelona Cathedral!
Indulge at Mercat de la Bouqueria
I love food markets and the food in Spain in phenomenal. If you’re like me, be sure to spend lots of time exploring the vendors in La Bouqeria. There are a ton of olives, seafood, and fresh produce vendors.
Be sure to get there early, to get the full experience. If you’re curious, I have an entire guide on the foods you have to try when you’re in Spain!
Shop on Passeig de Gràcia
Passeig de Gràcia is a long street along which many high-end stores, which makes it ideal for shopping if you’re into that!
Explore Casa Batlo
Located on Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Batlo was a private house designed by Antoni Gaudi, which has now been turned into a landmark attraction. Many of the landmarks in Barcelona are influenced or designed by Gaudi.
Be sure to check out their special events. While we were there, they had evening tours ending with a cocktail on the rooftop at Casa Batlo. However they were sold out for the nights we were there!
Stroll along Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is possibly the most iconic destination in Barcelona. It is a shaded, pedestrian friendly street lined with cafes, and vendors.
Started walking either at Plaça de Catalunya and walk down to Port Vell, or vice versa. There are a lot of things to explore along the way!
Tip: Beware of pick pockets, especially in this area, because of how crowded it can get.
Where to eat
Barcelona has a thriving food scene. We found that the offerings were a bit different than Southern Spain, as Barcelona is location in the Catalyunan region.
There is no shortage of great food options in Barcelona. From few that we tried, these were our favorite meals in Barcelona:
Paella at Gaudim
Located near Passeig de Garcia, we found this place of course on trusty Trip Advisor. The Paella was incredible, and made for a special meal on our last night in Barcelona.
They encourage reservations, but do reserve a few spots for walk-ins by the door.
Mercat de la Bouqueria
I’ve already highlighted Mercat de la Bouqeria, located near Las Ramblaas. Make sure to come hungry, there are a lot of things to sample. This is also a great place to purchase souvenirs and gifts to take home!
Tapas at La Pepita
This tapas bar was close to our hotel and was recommended by the concierge. While we were in Southern Spain, we pretty much ate tapas every night. Surprisingly, by the time we got to Barcelona, we still wanted more! La Pepita had a great selection of tapas and drinks. Would highly recommend visiting if you’re in the area!
A Guide to four days in Barcelona
We followed this itinerary, mostly because we had to plan around when were able to visit attractions like Sagrada Familia and watch the match at Camp Nou.
There are also a ton of things to do in Barcelona, these were the ones we chose based on what we like!
Stroll down Las Ramblas. Honestly, we started on one end at Plaça de Catalunya and walked down to Port Vell. There is a lot of things to explore along the way!
Mercat de la Bouqueria
While strolling down Las Ramblas, we took a break to explore la Bouqueria. It was perfect since we of course hungry after walking!
Make sure to sample from the different vendors, that have a huge selection of olives, seafood, meats, cheeses and nuts!
Breakfast: Croissants & Coffee at Baluard Barceloneta
This little cafe is actually part of the hotel. They bake fresh breads, croissants and pastries, that smell and taste incredible. Maybe the best pastries we had on our trip!
Passieg de Gracia
We started the day just strolling from our hotel to Passieg de Gracia, perfect for a stroll.
You can visit the inside, but we only looked at it from the outside. Still a highly recommended site!
Casa Batlo designed by Gaudi, was a private house. The audio guide was thorough in explaining all the design elements, both inside and outside of the house!
The park has a free portion, and then a paid entrance. These tickets also sell out pretty fast, so book them in advance. We weren’t able to get tickets, so we only explored the free portion of the park, but it looks cool from the photos!
Mirador de Joan Sales
This viewpoint is only a short hike from Parc Guell, and has one of the best views of Barcelona! It wasn’t originally on our list, but we just followed a crowd of people exploring the area!
These were a cool experience, but they don’t match up to fountains at Bellagio in Las Vegas, or in Dubai. The crowds weren’t really worth the trouble, but if you have kids they might enjoy this more!
Dinner: Tapas at La Pepita
Explore Gothic Quarter
I would highly suggest sketching out a path before you get there to make sure that you don’t miss any of the landmarks!
Visit the Barcelona Catedral
The view of Barcelona from the top was worth it! You can buy the tickets for this online, in advance, and skip the line!
Cava and Cakery
If you know me at all, you know I have an obsession will all things sugar, and pink. This super cute little bakery does Cava pairings with their cupcakes!
Dinner: at Gaudim
We had to have Paella at least one last time, before we left Spain. We ordered the seafood paella, and croquettas at Gaudim. Both dishes were delicious, and satisfied our paella cravings!
Brunch: at Citizen Cafe
Honestly, brunch isn’t really a Spanish concept. But we had a slow morning, and were missing a big breakfast, so we opted for brunch at
Visit Sagrada Familia in the afternoon
These was the first thing we booked once we knew the dates, we’d be in Barcelona, yet this was the only time slot available!
Football Match at Camp Nou
This was such an experience. We had basically planned our entire itinerary around making this match, since my husband is a football fanatic! Despite my lack of interest in sports, I thought this experience was one of the highlights of this trip. Don’t miss this if you have a chance!
- Book attractions early & online: Tickets to attractions like Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Casa Batlo often sell out early! The good thing is that it is possible to book most of these online. Make sure to get your tickets as soon as you know your schedule.
- Explore on foot and public transit: Public transit in Barcelona was inexpensive, and well designed.
- Beware of pick pockets: We were warned by several friends to keep our belongings safe, especially in Barcelona, so we had no incidents. But we were on high alert the whole time.