72 hours in Barcelona makes for a whirlwind of adventure! In a city bustling with tourists and locals alike, there’s not a minute that passes where there isn’t something going on. You can leisurely stroll the streets gawking at the architecture by Gaudí, sit at a cafe eating tapas, drinking sangria, and people watching. Or spend your time on the beach soaking in the Spanish sun. There’s so much to do and see in Barcelona, three days is hardly enough to see it all.
Start out your trip to Barcelona by seeing it through Gaudí’s eyes and visiting one of the most famous Barcelona attractions, Parc Güell. Parc Güell is a staple to Barcelona, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and houses the longest bench in the world. It’s a colorful and vibrant park built atop Carmel Hill, overlooking all of Barcelona. On a clear day the views allow you to see clear down to the Balearic Sea. To enter Parc Güell you must purchase a ticket beforehand, and enter at your allotted time. An individual ticket will set you back approximately $10, and although there is a free part of the park, the ticket will allow you access to the bench and buildings that Gaudí constructed.
While you can move through the park quickly, I encourage you to take your time and awe at the amount of detail that went into making it what it is. You could spend hours tracing the colorful tiles and walking through the museums. Once you’ve had enough make your way back towards the center of town to indulge in the traditional Spanish meal – tapas! With loads of restaurants selling these small plates, you truly can’t go wrong. But for an incredible experience head to Vinitus where all of the mouth-watering tapas are laid out along the bar, a feast for your eyes. And if you have it in you to get dessert? Head to the hole in the wall dessert bar – Chök.
With tons of tours going in and around Barcelona, its best to see Barcelona on bike. Fat Tires offers a tour of Barcelona via Montjuïc, a perfect way to spend the afternoon learning about the history of this city. Hop on your electric bike and you’ll weave through the city, while making your way to Montjuïc where you will climb the highest point in Barcelona. Unlike the views at Parc Güell, Montjuïc places you higher, allowing you to see more of the city.
After finishing the bike ride, head for dinner at Bar del Pla. A cozy and intimate restaurant with top-notch tapas. Ranking as my favorite dinner spot in Barcelona. *Seating is limited so I’d recommend making a reservation.*
On day two, explore Las Ramblas Street, the most famous street in Barcelona. Back in the day it used to be a river and has since dried up to become one of the busiest streets in Barcelona. There are tons of shops and restaurants along Las Ramblas, you could spend hours moving slowly down the street popping in and out of souvenir shops and cafes.
Continue to make your way down Las Ramblas, until you eventually come to Barceloneta Beach. While packed with tourists, Barceloneta offers gorgeous soft sand beaches and bars and restaurants to sit at and people watch. Keep in mind that this is a nude beach and while not everyone chooses to be nude, some people do.
If you’re up for the trek, continue to walk the beach towards the end where you’ll come to the W Hotel. Here you’ll find Eclipse, a bar located on the 26th floor of the hotel. With floor to ceiling windows you get unparalleled views of the ocean on your right and the city on your left.
On your last day in Barcelona, sightsee your way through the city. Start by visiting one of the most famous churches in the world, La Sagrada Familia; a magnificent and ornate church built by GaudÍ. For guaranteed entrance into this extravagant church, buy your tickets in advance. The amount of detail that went into Gaudí’s work is absolutely mindblowing; the inside and outside of the building leaving you speechless. The church itself tells the story of Jesus Christ, from birth to death. I urge everyone to get the audio guide in order to hear how much thought Gaudí put into every little piece of the church. And how much the architecture reflects the story of Jesus.
When you purchase a ticket to gain access, you are helping to finish Gaudí’s work. La Sagrada Familia is not yet finished, and isn’t expected to be finished by 2026 at the earliest. When Gaudí began constructing the church he knew he wouldn’t be able to see it through to completion so he mapped out incredibly detailed plans to allow others to finish it long after he passed. If the church gets completed in 2026, it will total 150 years in the making and make for the tallest man-made building in Barcelona. It will be just short of the tallest God-made point… Montjuïc, on purpose. Gaudí stated, “The work of man should never rise above that of God”… so he intentionally built the church to be lower than the mountain top.
For the rest of your day spend time eating and drinking through the Gothic Quarter. Gorge on more delicious tapas at Lonja de Tapas, slowly walk the streets of Gothic Quarter, and eventually make your way to Mercado de Boqueria. Here you’ll find rows and rows of brightly colored food decorating the street stalls. If you’d rather something other than candy, or you’d like to sit down there are restaurants with tables inside the market. One of my favorites was Joel’s Oyster Bar, the oysters coming from the best oyster farm in the world as voted on in 2016.
Please be aware that there is a LOT of pickpocketing going on in the market. Hold your belongings close and move your valuables to your front pockets.
And with that, 72 hours were spent in Spain’s vibrant city that is Barcelona. Adios!
Want more on Barcelona? Make sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Barcelona