3 Days in Barcelona: The Ultimate Weekend Itinerary

3 Days in Barcelona: The Ultimate Weekend Itinerary

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Barcelona is one of Europe’s top destinations for tourism and it’s not too hard to see why. This city has it all! From the amazing architecture of Anton Gaudi to bustling markets and UNESCO world heritage sites. Knowing that there’s so much to do means you need to make a decision on what to do with 3 days in Barcelona.

This post will detail a recommended Barcelona itinerary and will dive into how to get the most out of this large but exciting city! There’s are so many things to do in Barcelona – so let’s get started.

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Since there is so much to do in Barcelona, we recommend considering the purchase of one of the discount cards that allow you to pay one price for free/reduced admission to attractions and public transit for a period of time. The Barcelona City Pass is regularly 170 EUR for 3 days (but look online, as we routinely find sales or discounts), and includes over 20 attractions and access to a hop-on/hop-off bus. The Barcelona Card is cheaper (41 EUR for three days), and offers a 10% discount plus access to public transit. Compare these options to your planned itinerary and see what works best for you.

After grabbing some breakfast get yourself ready for a day full of architecture and history. Likely no person has influenced the look of Barcelona more than Antoni Gaudí, His Modernisme style was a response to classical design that expressed architecture as art and embraced the natural world not just for materials but for inspiration. Our first day will take you through some of his most remarkable works that are uniquely Barcelona. 

Casa Batllo

3 days in barcelona casa batllo 2
3 days in barcelona casa batllo 1

After grabbing some breakfast get yourself ready for a day full of architecture and history. Likely no person has influenced the look of Barcelona more than Antoni Gaudí, His Modernisme style was a response to classical design that expressed architecture as art and embraced the natural world not just for materials but for inspiration. Our first day will take you through some of his most remarkable works that are uniquely Barcelona. 

Casa Mila

3 days in Barcelona casa mila

A short walk from Casa Batllo is another one of Gaudi’s famous buildings, Casa Mila. This was the last piece of Gaudi’s major civil works and again another chance for you to use your Barcelona Pass.

The building has non-load bearing walls built from limestone which earned it the nickname ‘La Padera’ which translates to ‘the quarry’.  These walls and their odd character are what sets this building apart from the rest of the street.

Inside you’ll find lots of amazing wrought iron works, wall paintings, courtyards and informational areas to explore.

Afternoon One of 3 days in Barcelona

Park Guel

In the north of the city, you’ll find more of Gaudi’s work. But this time it’s different. Originally this area was planned to be an upper-class housing development offering views of the city below.

Tickets for the park are on specified time slots so it’s important to make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment in busier times.

The area in fact became a large park with only 2 of the houses ever being completed. There are a number of different areas to explore and visit. Public spaces, mosaic benches, and paths through columns and archways are some of the highlights you can expect to see.

Gaudi’s home for the last 20 years of his life can be found inside the park. It has a separate entry fee to the rest of the park but offers an insight into how he lived his life if this is something that interests you.

Recinte Modernista Sant Pau

3 days in Barcelona Recinte Modernista Sant Pau

One of the more modern attractions in Barcelona and well worth a visit is the Recinte Modernista Sant Pau. Originally built as a hospital this set of buildings showcases some fo the finest architecture in Europe.

A number of the buildings are open to exploring inside but they are equally as beautiful from the outside.

Admission is free for Barcelona pass holders and discounted for Cardholders.

Evening One of 3 days in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

barcelona holiday destinations spain
3 days in Barcelona sagrada familia 2

What better way to end your first day in Barcelona other than admiring the amazing Sagrada Familia. Gaudi’s finest masterpiece (which is still under construction to this day) was started in 1882. The giant Cathedral is mostly open to the public despite its continued construction. 

Visiting later in the day will mean lower entrance fees, however, you will not be able to have a guided audio tour. If this is something you would like then maybe consider reshuffling this part of your trip with the walk around Park Guell instead!

Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the delicious Spanish cuisine available in Barcelona. Favorite dishes like Paella, Bombas and Berenjenas Rellenas are must-try dishes when you visit Spain.

Morning Two of 3 days in Barcelona

For the second day, we will step out of the city center and explore around Barcelona’s waterfront and heights. 

Boat Tour from the Harbor

3 days in Barcelona harbor

In the Harbour of Barcelona, you’ll find hundreds of boats and small vessels lining the marina. Some of these boats operate as tours.

Take in the shoreline and harbor on a relaxing boat ride whilst getting some coffee down for the long day ahead!

The tour routes vary in length and also in their routes so pick something that suits you best. 

Barcelona Aquarium

After your boat tour from the harbor, you’ll be able to head straight to the Barcelona aquarium. 

The aquarium is perfect for families especially with younger children to enjoy. Expect to see sharks, hundreds of fish and lots of water… all behind a pane of glass… gulp!

Entry is discounted with both the Barcelona City pass and Card.

Afternoon Two of 3 days in Barcelona

Montjuic Hill

Montjuic hill is an area of Barcelona with something for everyone. Depending on what you like best and who you’re traveling with will depend on what you chose.

Montjuic Castle – A large fortress that holds a lot of Barcelona’s history within its walls. It has had many uses over the years and was once used as a prison and execution center.

Poble Espanyol – a quick trip to this area will help you learn a lot about the different regions and subcultures of Spain. An architectural museum that showcases the different regions.

Joan Miro Foundation – Displaying a large number of the Barcelona-born Joan Miro’s work. This area also showcases works of local, young experimental artists.

Evening Two of 3 days in Barcelona

Parc de la Ciutadella

Looking for a lovely evening stroll around a city center park? look no further. Dating back to the 19th century this is one of the oldest green spaces in Barcelona.

Take some time out from exploring and enjoy a coffee on a bench or let the kids run wild!

Keep an eye out for the water feature in the park which is one of Gaudi’s earliest pieces of work in the city.

Morning Three of 3 days in Barcelona

After exploring Modernisme with Gaudí and seeing Barcelona from the sea and the heights, the third day will explore central Barcelona. We will stroll and people watch down Las Ramblas, step back in time in the Gothic Quarter, and bookend the day with museums dedicated to Gaudí and Picasso. 

Gaudi Exhibition Centre

Free entrance and a queue jump with the Barcelona Pass means this one is definitely on the cards! 

The exhibition center is the first museum dedicated to the work of Gaudi and is located right next to the cathedral. Take yourself on a journey to understanding how Gaudi lived and how his mind worked.

Arc De Triomf

3 days in Barcelona Arc De Triomf_

An icon of the city. The arc leads the way into the Cuitadella park. The freestanding building can’t be climbed like the once in Paris but makes for a beautiful photo!

The Arc was built in 1888 to welcome visitors to the Barcelona World Fair. Another beautiful piece of architecture in this wonderful city!

Afternoon Three of 3 days in Barcelona

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas is one of the busiest places in the city. A lot of what you hear might be negative however this is a must-visit place of Barcelona. 

In the Las Ramblas area, you’ll find beautiful fresh produce markets that make the city come to life. Make sure you grab some fresh fruit or a smoothie, perfect for refueling after a busy morning exploring the city.

There are plenty of other shops and monuments around this area of the city too so keep your eyes peeled for some great photo opportunities.

Gothic Quarter

The heart of the old city. Some of the best historic sights are here, not to mention some great little eateries and bars. 

Typically the best place to enjoy local food and drinks. Make sure to stay alert when exploring this area of the city and Las Ramblas as they’re notorious with pickpockets.

Evening Three of 3 days in Barcelona

Picasso Museum

Picasso, originally from Malaga, had a great love for Barcelona. Because of this, the city has the most extensive collection of work from the artist which is spread across 5 locations in the Ribera district. 

Viewing the works will give you a real feel for how the city looked over 600 years ago and how it has changed so much since then. 

You could spend a week exploring Barcelona, but we think this three-day itinerary gives you a good flavour of the city, focusing especially on the art and architecture that makes it such a unique city.

Day Trips from Barcelona

While there are plenty of things to do in Barcelona to keep you occupied – you can always explore the nearby cities, mountains and beaches. If your 3 days in Barcelona leaves you wanting more, think about adding a day trip to Andorra, Sitges or Montserrat. There’s so much to do in this region of Spain that you won’t be at a lack of options.

<<< CLICK HERE to learn about 12 PERFECT Day Trips From Barcelona

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