The capital of Catalunya is one of the most visited cities in the world and it is so full of activities that you could easily spend a month touring it without repeating attractions. However, if you have only a few days available, in this post you will find exactly what to see in Barcelona in 3 days.
Barcelona is one of the favorite destinations for many travelers and it is not surprising because it really has EVERYTHING a city needs to have to enjoy it: beaches, modernist architecture, history and amazing gastronomy. It is completely possible to visit Barcelona in 3 days, the only risk is that you will want to stay more.
I’m now a Barcelona local after moving from Buenos Aires and I have planned this 3 day itinerary for Barcelona so you can enjoy the city as I do. The days are organized so that you can see as many attractions as possible, but I always like to leave some free time so that there is room for improvisation and each traveler can modify the itinerary based on their likes.
How to save money in activities in Barcelona
A great option to save money on the city attractions is to use Go City, which offers a sightseeing pass which will give you access to more than 20 attractions and activities in Barcelona. You can buy the pass to use it for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 days. Click here for more information about Go City.
What to see in Barcelona in 3 days – Complete itinerary
DAY 1: Barcelona city center
Plaza Cataluya – Gothic Quarter – El Born neighborhood – La Boquería Market – Casa Batlló – Paseo de Gracia
- Plaza Cataluña
On this first day in Barcelona, you will move around the city’s most popular neighborhoods: the Gothic Quarter and Eixample. Start your day at Plaza Catalunya, the most famous plaza in the city. This will be your staring point.
- The gothic quarter
From Plaza Cataluña walk into the Gothic Quarter. This is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. It is the oldest part of Barcelona that still preserves part of the Roman wall built in times of the empire. Some of the main spots of the Gothic Quarter that you can’t miss are: the Cathedral of Barcelona, Plaça Reial, the Plaza de Sant Jaume and the Bishop’s Bridge. The best way to explore this neighborhood is to let yourself go and get lost in the labyrinth of streets.
- El Born neighborhood
Originally a medieval neighborhood, El Born is nowadays one of the coolest areas in the city known for its cafes, restaurants, shops and nightlife. It is a very picturesque neighborhood that also has some attractions that are worth visiting such as the El Born Cultural Center, the Santa María del Mar Basilica and the Picasso Museum.
- La Boquería Market
After El Born you can head to the Boquería Market, a huge market with more than 300 stalls that offer all kinds of products. Here you can have a quick lunch and recharge your batteries to continue touring Barcelona.
- Casa Batlló
One of the things that makes Barcelona so famous is the architecture of Gaudí. For the afternoon of this first day, I suggest you visit Casa Batlló, one of his best-known masterpieces, located on Avenida Paseo de Gracia. You should buy your ticket in advance to avoid lines (especially if you travel during summer).
- Paseo de Gracia
To end the first day in Barcelona, you can stroll along Paseo de Gracia where the shops of all the most famous brands are located. You will also see some of the most beautiful modernist buildings in the city.
OPTION B: If you choose not to visit Casa Batlló, you can go see the sunset at La Barceloneta beach.
DAY 2: meet Gaudí
Sagrada Familia – Park Güel – Gracia District – Casa Vicens – Plaza España – Montjuïc
- Sagrada Familia
Start this second day in Barcelona visiting Barcelona’s most famous landmark, one of the best things to do in Barcelona. The Sagrada Familia is Gaudí’s masterpiece whose construction began in 1882 and still continues. It is the culmination of Gaudí’s work and in its design you can see his naturist style exposed. La Sagrada Familia is visited by thousands of tourists every day so it is necessary to book your ticket in advance because the capacity is limited.
- Park Güell
After visiting Gaudí’s most famous building, continue learning about his work by visiting Park Güell. This public park of more than 17 hectares was designed by Gaudí and reflects his naturist period. In the park you will find furniture, paths and sculptures designed by the architect. It is truly a unique park and a must see in the city. Buy tickets for Park Güell here.
- Gracia district
After visiting Park Güell, I recommend that you walk around the neighborhood where it is located, the district of Gracia. This neighborhood is one of the most picturesque in Barcelona and here you can find another Gaudi building: Casa Vicens, the first house designed by the architect. Even if you don’t have time to enter, you can go through the door and admire it from the outside. I’m sure it will call your attention.
You can have some tapas for lunch in one of the many restaurants and bars located in the Gracia district.
To end your second day in Barcelona, take the metro to Plaza España. From there walk until you reach the Magic Fountain of Montjuic in the Carles Buïgas square where there is a show of lights, water and music. More information about the show here.
Right in front of the fountain is the National Palace, a beautiful building that houses the National Museum of Art of Catalonia. On the Montjuïc mountain there are also gardens, viewpoints, the Joan Miró Foundation, and the Montjuïc Castle, although this will remain pending for another visit since you won’t have enough time to visit it.
DAY 3: architecture and beach
La Pedrera – Palau de la Música Catalana – Arco de Triunfo – Parc de la Ciutadella – La Barceloneta
- Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Start the last day in Barcelona on Avenida Paseo de Gracia to visit La Pedrera by Gaudí. This building has an accessible rooftop that is a must visit! La Pedrera was built in 1912 and is one of the most visited places in the city so it is best if you book your tickets in advance.
- Palau de la Música Catalana
After La Pedrera, you can walk to the Palau de la Música Catalana, another of the most recognized modernist buildings in Barcelona. It is a music auditorium built in 1908 and designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. If you are not interestet in the guided tour, I still recommend that you go and see the outside of the building because it is beautiful. You can also choose to attend a music show at the palace.
- The Arc de Triomf
After seeing the Palau, head over to the triumphal arch. This monument was designed as the main entrance to the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona in 1888. It is a great spot to take photos and rest for a while.
- Parc de la Ciudatella
If you walk from the Arc de Triomphe in a straight line you will arrive at the entrance of the Parc de la Ciutadella, a huge green area in the middle of the city. The park is ideal for walking and breathing a bit of tranquility. It has gardens, rest spaces, some incredible buildings, lakes, museums, sculptures and fountains!
- La Barceloneta
To end your trip to Barcelona head to Barceloneta beach to watch the sunset. You will find many restaurants and bars in this area to have some dinner and say goodbye to Barcelona.
You can also take the train to other amazing places in Catalunya like Sitges, Tarragona or Girona.
Where to stay in Barcelona
Accommodation can be really expensive in Barcelona, specially during summer. I recommend you book your stay in advance to get better prices. These are some hotels I suggest checking out:
- $ – Generator Hostel Barcelona: a hostel chain I always recommend because they have the most beautiful hostels in all of Europe. Generator Barcelona is located in Gracia neighborhood, close to many tourist sites in the city. Click here to see prices for Generator Barcelona.
- $$ – Boutique Hotel H10: a beautiful boutique hotel located in Plaza Catalunya. It has a great location so you can easily get anywhere in the city, which is really useful when stay for only a few days. Click here to see prices for Boutique Hotel H10.
- $$$ – W Barcelona: the most famous hotel in the city, located almost over the sea. Great views, rooms and an excellent service. Click here to see prices for W Barcelona.
If you want more info about the best areas to stay in Barcelona check out this post: Where to stay in Barcelona
I hope this itinerary will help you see Barcelona in 3 days. You can also download this map with the itinerary and all the attractions pinned:
More tips for your trip to Barcelona:
Find cheap accommodation here.
Best tours in Barcelona:
Other useful posts about Barcelona:
- Where to stay in Barcelona
- Things to do in Barcelona
- Visiting La Pedrera by Gaudí
- Visiting Casa Amatller in Barcelona
- The best beaches in Costa Brava
- Tips for planning your first trip to Europe
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