As one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, the seaside city of Barcelona is the city you’re definitely going to fall in love easily. Spending only one day in Barcelona, especially if visiting for the first time, surely won’t be enough time to experience everything this pearl of the Mediterranean has to offer. On the other hand, if you maximize your time, even if spending just one day in Barcelona city, you can explore much, get the real vibe of the city and try some of the best world’s cuisines. And yes, you will definitely want to come back again.
What’s the best time to visit Barcelona?
Anytime. There are events and activities to do and sights to see at any time of the year. Still, due to the nice Mediterranean climate it’s recommended to visit it off the peak season (March-May or September-November) so you can avoid some huge crowds and still enjoy some nice weather.
What’s good to know about Barcelona?
The capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain was founded as a Roman city. Today this mesmerizing Mediterranean seaside city is bursting with culture, mind blowing cuisine and magnificent architecture that include the unique and distinctive work of Antoni Gaudí.
One Day in Barcelona Itinerary
Top things to do in Barcelona, Spain
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Barcelona.
Spend a morning with Gaudí
Start your day as eary as possible and visit one of the most impressive, yet unfinished, architectural masterpieces – Sagrada Familia. It’s a work of Antoni Gaudí that has been undergoing extensive construction for more than a hundred years. If you want to visit the towers and the interior, book the tickets online to skip the huge lines.
Casa Milà and Casa Batlló
Your next stop is Passeig de Gràcia avenue. It’s known as one of the most important shopping and business areas, but most of all – it’s the avenue where both of the most famous Gaudí residential projects are located – Casa Milà and Casa Batlló. The both of them are really impressive, even when just looking at the facade from the outside. If you’re really into visiting the interior of one of the houses – book your ticket online, otherwise you’re going to spend half of the day waiting in the line (and you don’t want that).
Walk Plaça de Catalunya and La Rambla
Just 10 minutes walking distance from the former two sights are Plaça de Catalunya and La Rambla street. La Rambla street, lined with cafes and souvenir stalls, is a bustling touristic place, but with the atmosphere you just don’t want to miss. If you’re into buying souvenirs – this street has it all.
Breakfast at Mercat de la Boqueria
Mercat de la Boqueria is the most famous Barcelona food market and an ultimate place for all the food lovers. It has everything – from fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and smoked ham, pastries, sweets, and even some very delicious street food meals. You should ask for the prices before paying to avoid any kind of misunderstanding. Keep in mind it’s closed on Sundays.
Grab a coffee at Plaça Reial
The coffee price would definitely go high at this place, but it’s one of the most beautiful Mediterranean squares due to the impressive architecture and loads of tall palm trees. It’s a great place to relax after a morning walk.
Barri Gotic and the Cathedral
Barri Gotic or the Gothic Quarter know as the Old City dates back to Roman times, but most of the buildings date from Medieval times. The area is filled with tiny narrow streets and lovely squares and plazas. It’s the perfect place to wander and get lost, to check out some unique shops and art galleries and museum, as well as some cozy bars and restaurants. Check out the Cathedral for some impressive Gothic architecture (the entrance to the Cathedral is free at some hours).
The afternoon on the beach
You surely don’t want to spend the whole day on the beach, especially if you have just one day in Barcelona, but still, the trip to Barcelona is incomplete without a visit to Barceloneta, a famous beach and the waterfront promenade. It’s also a great place to grab some snacks or to have some cocktail on the beach. If you decide to take a swim, don’t leave your belongings unattended.
Take a harbor Cable Car ride to the Montjuïc hill
The 1450-meter long cable car ride connects the Barceloneta beach and the Montjuïc hill. The ride starts near the beach, and at being up at 78 meters it gives you a great panoramic view of the city and the hill. The hill itself has a load of sights, museums and activities that can be seen and done, but even just a nice walk through the gardens down to the Plaça d’Espanya is a great thing to move away from the crowds and noise and to fill up your lungs with some fresh air.
Magic Fountain Show and Plaça d’Espanya
A Magic Fountain show is held few times a week at night, down the Montjuïc hill, very close to Plaça d’Espanya. Find your seat at the grand staircase down the hill and enjoy this impressive light, sound and water show in the magical atmosphere.
Tapas dinner at the Gràcia quarter
You’re probably super hungry by now and the best way to end up your one day in Barcelona is to try some traditional cuisine. Luckily, the Spanish cuisine is all about serving a food in small portions, called tapas, so you can enjoy many different dishes and tastes at once. Choose some of the many nice Tapas bars in the Gràcia quarter, around Plaça de la Virreina. It’s also a nice place to enjoy some drinks (try sangria!) at night.
Where to stay in Barcelona?
Ayre Hotel Rosellón
Ayre Hotel Rosellón is a modern and stylish hotel very close to Barcelona’s famous Sagrada Familia. This designer hotel offers a rooftop terrace with a bar with panoramic views of Gaudí’s masterpiece and other incredible city views.
Petit Palace Boqueria Garden
The Petit Palace Boqueria Garden is a small 19th-century palace with the private courtyard and a garden with centenaries threes – all listed as a architectural heritage of Barcelona. It’s located in the Gothic Quarter, next to famous La Rambla street and La Boqueria Market. It doesn’t get more central than that.
Hotel Brummell is a Mediterranean boutique hotel located just next to the lush parks of the Montjuic hill. The hotel offers free yoga classes and features an outdoor pool and a sauna. The rooms boast modern furniture and artwork in the Nordic style.
EXTRA TIPS FOR VISITING Barcelona
– Watch your wallet! Pickpocketing, especially around tourist attractions, is very common so you better keep your cash, credit cards, phone and other valuables concealed.
– Book all of the ticket of the attractions you want to visit online. It’s the only way you can be time efficient and enjoy your day to the fullest.
– Make your trip to Barcelona even more exciting! Check out Tripadvisor for all the activities and organized tours in Barcelona or around the area. Make sure to purchase your tickets to all the attractions right away to skip the queues.
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