What to see in the Catalan capital in 48 hours, from the Gothic old town to paella on the beach. Here’s our guide to how to make the most of two days in Barcelona.
This beautiful city is bursting with architectural gems, historical monuments, museums and lots of places to party all night long. You can see most of the highlights in two days walking the vibrant city streets and soaking up the atmosphere on a shady terrace or two. If you’re a FC Barcelona fan then add in a visit to the huge stadium at Camp Nou – if shopping is your thing then the best areas shops are on Passeig de Gracia or the boutiques in Gothic and Born.
Day 1: Architecture and the Old Town
Start at the city centre’s architectural sites in Gracia and end at the waterfront for a sunset drink.
Passeig de Gràcia
Start off on Passeig de Gràcia – a tree lined shopping street which is also home to several examples of famous architecture in Barcelona. The Quadrat d’Or (Golden Square) is known for works by architects including the famous Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch.
The first is Casa Mila(or La Pedrera) – a UNESCO house built in 1906 by Gaudí and famous for its art nouveau style and dreamlike chimneys on the surreal and curvy rooftop. Nearby is Casa Batlló– a modernist masterpiece by Gaudí built for the Batlló family with a balconied facade and modernist rooms inside. Don’t miss the colourful tiled chimneys on the roof terrace. If you buy tickets online you can skip the queues.
The Old Town
From Plaça Catalunya head south down the famous Las Ramblas – the main artery of Barcelona and the old town’s central avenue – stroll past artists, flower markets and street performers towards the port and statue of Christopher Columbus. On the right near the top you will pass the famous Boqueria food market – selling the freshest produce since the 20th century and encircled with restaurants. There are some great market stalls for grabbing tapas.
Head off Ramblas at Plaça Reial – a great place for lunch or a drink as the famous square is packed with terraces and has lively street performances. The Old town is comprised of the Gothic Quarter, El Born and La Ribera and Raval, each with a distinct neighbourhood vibe. Here you can find the old Roman Walls, narrow medieval streets (that are great to get lost in) and squares full of street entertainers and great tapas restaurants.
From the square head through the medieval streets, winding around the the oldest street El Cal and around the square and market surrounding the church of Santa Maria del Pi, along to the Cathedral in the Plaça Nova. This is the best area to get lost, with a wealth of museums, art galleries, boutique shops and cafes.
Cross over to this charming medieval neighbourhood which is home to the huge Gothic church Santa Maria del Mar, the famous Picasso Museumand many of Barcelona’s best boutiques, hippest bars and terraced restaurants.
Relax, Eat and Drink!
Rest up for some late night partying or grab dinner on a terrace. Grab some pinchos in Euskal Extea or Sagardi or enjoy the terraces on Passeig de Born. There are beach clubs on the beach front until sunrise, or try some of the local bars such as Etniko cocktail bar or one of the many side street wine bars.
Day 2: Sagrada Familia and Barcelonetta
Start off the day with a visit to the famous Sagrada Familia, then enjoy a visit to the park before heading along the port to the beach.
This unique and outstanding Basilica was begun by Gaudí in 1866 (he died while still working on the project and is buried in the crypt) and is expected to be finished in around 20 years. With five dizzying towers, a central cross of 170m still in construction and brightly coloured stained glass it really is an impressive structure. The exterior is most famous; the two facades are extremely intricate and stylistically different, however the interior is breathtaking for the use of light and colour. Queues are known to go around the block so book your ticket online and skip them!
If you’re really into Gaudí then from Sagrada Familia head north to Park Güell – famous for the multi-coloured dragon on the steps. The park is a little far to walk but easily accessible by metro or bus. The top half of the park is free and has great views, the lower portion with the poly-chrome waving seats, column forests and dragon you had to get a timed ticket.
If you skip Parc Güell then this 20th century park is worth visiting for its gardens and impressive golden fountain. There is always music, a picnic crowd and often festivals are held here. It’s also home to the zoo, Catalan Parliament building and a duck filled boating pond.
Lichtenstein Sculpture on Port Vell
The waterfront in Barcelona is a good place to stroll with an ice cream and watch the boats. There is also an islanded entertainment complex – with the aquarium, restaurants and Maremàgnumshopping centre.
This former fishing village is now a tourist hive of seafood restaurants and bars lining the waterfront along the port and beach. Go for a paddle on the sandy beach or stroll along the seafront. This is a great spot to enjoy some of Barcelona’s finest seafood or a sunset drink. Try cavamar or Can Solé for paella.
For the best place to grab a drink with a view, try Equity Point terrace!
Equity Point Barcelona
Sleep at Equity Point Hostels in Barcelona
Equity Point has three hostels in Barcelona, Centric in the heart of the shopping district, Gothic in the old town, and Searight opposite the sand. Each has their own advantages and maximum comfort. All our hostels are safe, fun and great value. Book your bed here