How to Make the Most of Your Barcelona Visit in 2020
Are you planing to visit Barcelona soon?
Some people are lucky enough to have a whole week holiday and others may only have a long weekend. Whatever your case may be, you want to make the most of your time in Barcelona. The itinerary below will help you to organise your trip around the city, saving time and money.
Why is this itinerary different than the rest online?
You don’t need to think what activity comes next. This itinerary is designed by locals to help you save time, from visiting one place to another. Check out the information for each landmark or attraction to make sure you have a good grasp of it before going there. No worries, no boring information, just a little bit of context and few tips and recommendations.
Day By Day Itinerary - The Best Things to See & Do In Barcelona
First Day Itinerary ( or 24h Barcelona trip)
Make the most of your trip from day one. Here are the top landmarks you shouldn’t miss when visiting Barcelona:
The best time to visit the Parc Guell is in the morning or during the sunset. However, by going early morning you will be more likely to find fewer tourists and having better views of the landscape.
Parc Guell is one of the most popular attractions, make sure you buy your ticket to the monumental area in advance online. As an alternative, if you miss the chance of buying an early spot, you could access the area for free before the opening time (07:30 h).
La Sagrada Familia is one of the most popular landmarks in Spain. It’s a gorgeous church designed by Gaudi in the middle of the city. It’s strongly recommended to buy your ticket in advance if you are thinking to visit the inside. Tickets can be bought from the official Sagrada Familia site or from other reliable sites, such as the Official Barcelona Tourism website.
The best time to visit La Sagrada Familia is during daylight hours to properly enjoy the inside of the church with natural light. If you have missed the chance to buy your ticket you could still access a little part of the church for free by attending one of the mass.
Plan your journey with extra time in case something comes up. Your tickets won’t be valid if you are late, that’s why it’s recommended getting there half an hour before the time on your ticket. The outside of Sagrada Familia is beautiful so you won’t be losing your time by being there earlier.
How to plan your first day morning?
Let’s say you bought a ticket for the Park Guell monumental area at 9:30 a.m. and your visit to La Sagrada Familia is at 13:00. Try to get to the Parc Guell earlier to enjoy the free park area first (around 8:30 a.m.) and get ready to move to the Sagrada Familia around 12:00 a.m. The transport links from Park Guell are not really great. Prepare some food to eat on the way in case you don’t have the time to get served in a restaurant (everything depends on how much gap you are leaving between each attraction).
If you are planning to stay in Barcelona for longer, we highly recommend splitting the Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia visits into two different days to enjoy them properly. There are plenty of things to do around these attractions, see our recommendations.
How to go from Parc Guell to Sagrada Familia:
- Walking ~25-30 minutes
- By bus (~30 minutes): Take the bus V19 from Ctra del Carmel – Ramiro de Maeztu and get off after 8 stops at Pg. de Sant Joan – Rosselló. Walk around 10 minutes.
- By tube (~30 minutes): Walk around 10-15 minutes to take the L3 line (gree line) at Vallcarca tube stop. Get off at Diagonal (3 stops) and change to the L5 line (blue line) until Sagrada Familia (2 stops).
- Taxi: (~10 minutes) It’s the quickest way.
Both buildings were designed by Gaudi as a private residence for wealthy catalan families. They are both a must see for those who want to discover Gaudí’s work. Casa Batllo was reformed between 1904 and 1906, while Casa Mila (La Pedrera) was built between 1906 and 1912.
A lot of people wonder which of the buildings is worthier to visit. It’s a very difficult decision to take. They are both truly remarkable. Casa Batllo is an excellent example of Gaudi’s work and the inside is just stunning. If you are passionate about art and architecture, this is a must-do for you. Casa Mila is also breathtaking, if you are a fun-loving person, don’t miss the night shows on the roof terrace during summer time.
Viewing the buildings from outside may also help you to decide weather to visit them or not, although it’s always better to buy the tickets in advance to ensure your viewing. Remember than buying them online it’s cheaper than paying at the entrance.
Running out of time or budget?
Each visit will take you around 1 to 2 hours. We highly recommend to extend your trip one more day to visit them. If you got only one day in Barcelona, you may prefer to keep walking and explore the city. However, stopping in front of the buildings is a must-do. Gaudi’s work can be enjoyed from the outside – the facades have plenty of personality and symbolisation.
Carry on walking down the Passeig de Gracia until Plaça Catalunya. This is the most popular square in Barcelona, and it marks the center of the city.
From there, take Las Ramblas street (don’t get confused with the ‘Rambla de Catalunya’ street, they are both quite closed but they are completely different ).
I am pretty sure you have heard about Las Ramblas before. It’s the most touristic street in Barcelona. Check out what to see when strolling the street in our Las Ramblas street guide. The end of the street gets to the Port, where you can relax, enjoy a drink and have some typical food. A perfect end of the day!
2nd Day Barcelona Itinerary
Pretty intense itinerary yesterday! Today we propose a more relaxing (less waking) route without leaving the city center.
If you want to visit the inside of the Casa Mila (La Pedrera) or the Casa Batllo today, better buy early morning tickets to have the rest of the day to explore the city. Once you finish with the visit, get ready to carry on with today’s itinerary:
The center of Barcelona has plenty of landmarks to discover and many attractions to visit. It’s also the perfect place to do some shopping and chill out in a cool terrace.
Plaça de Catalunya is considered the most central point of Barcelona city centre. It’s one of the largest squares in Spain and it connects with the most popular districts.
The Gothic and the Born districts are the old city areas of Barcelona. The streets are quite narrow and the atmosphere will take you back to the medieval period. There are few beautiful examples of the gothic catalan architecture you can’t miss out, such as the Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia) and Santa Maria del Mar church.
[+info Gothic Distric]
Whenever you are ready to move on, walk to the Barcelona Cathedral. Contrary to popular belief, this church is not related to La Sagrada Familia. The Barcelona Cathedral is a Gothic church and La Sagrada Familia is one of the most influential modernist designs – completely different style! Find out more about the Barcelona cathedral here. Give yourself at least one hour to visit the inside (don’t forget to buy the tickets in advance to save money and time).
Close to the Barcelona Cathedral there are two popular squares to visit, the Plaça del Rei and the Plaça de Sant Jaume squares. If you are passionated about history and archaeology we recommend you to stop at the MUHBA museum, next to Plaça del Rei. The standard ticket costs 7 €, but it’s free on Sundays afternoon after 3 p.m!
Ready to discover El Born?
This is one of the most trendiest districts in Barcelona, with plenty of places to chill out and many independent boutiques. We recommend you to walk towards the Basílica de Santa María del Mar (also known as, La Catedral del Mar). This church is another great example of the Gothic architecture in Barcelona- it’s much nicer from inside than from outside- The General tour is 10,00€, but you can get in for free after 5 p.m.
[+info El Born]
Done for today? What about taking a dip in the sea?
The Barceloneta beach is just 20 minutes walking from El Born. The beach has plenty of bars alongside, which local people call ‘chiringuitos’. Perfect place to relax, enjoy a drink and have dinner.
3rd Day Barcelona Itinerary
Not a big football fan? No worries, Barcelona has plenty of things to do! If it’s summer, relax by the beach, take a dip in the sea or book a water-based activity. If it’s winter, carry on visiting the city or book a local experience, such as a cookery course to learn how to make paella! Barcelona is also a very good city for shopping, just remember that shops are closed on Sunday (except the Maremagnum shopping centre by the Port).
Espanya square is the biggest square in Barcelona but what makes it super popular is the beautiful view of Barcelona from the top of the Montjuic hill, in front of the National Museum of Catalan art. It will take you 10 minutes to get up the heel, but the walk is completely worth it.
Visiting this place during the daylight hours is a must-do, not only for the amazing views, but for the rest of things you can do around.
Next to the square, there is an old bullfighting stadium reformed into a modern shopping center, which keeps the original architectural shapes. Keep in mind that shops will be closed Sunday, but gates will still be opened to access the restaurants on the roof top.
Are you into Spanish culture? Then you shouldn’t miss El poble espanyol. It’s an open-space, 10 minutes walking from the NMC museum that shows the cultural diversity of different regions in Spain. Heads–up! check few reviews before buying tickets. El poble espanyol it’s a very tourist attraction.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is a must-do in Barcelona. The fountain is located at the head of Avinguda Maria Cristina street, in the Sants-Montjuïc neighborhood of Barcelona (closest tube stop: Plaça d’Espanya).
It’s a wonderful show with water, light and music. A spectacular display of dancing fountains choreographed to a combination of classical and popular music.
The show lasts about 20 minutes and it’s completely free. Make sure you get there earlier (30 minutes before it starts) to get a good viewing spot. Be careful getting very close to the fountain, the front might get a bit wet!
Shows days: Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays.
The operation hours of the foutain varies depending on the time of the year:
>From the 7th of January to the 4th of March there is no show due to annual maintenance tasks.
>From the 5th of March to the 31st of March:
Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The shows start at 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
>From the 1st of April to the 31st of May:
Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The shows start at 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
>From the 1st of June to the 30thSeptember (except September 21, 22 and 23 for the special shows for the Mercè Festival):
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
The shows start at 9:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
>From the 1st of October to the 31st of October:
Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The shows start at 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
>From the 1st of November to the 5th of January:
Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The shows start at 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, December 28, no light and color show for the preparations for the New Year’s Eve show.
December 31: special operating day from 9:30 p.m.
It’s a free show, however many tours include this activity on their guide since it’s a must-do activity in Barcelona. Check out the best Tripadvisors rated tours and make sure to don’t miss this show.
The show is currently suspended due to covid-19. Check the Barcelona City Council website to be the first one to know when it’s back!
4th Day Barcelona Itinerary
One of the best experiences in Barcelona is to see the city from the air.
There are two cable cars in Barcelona: the Port cable car, and the Montjuïc cable car.
Each cable car is run by a different entity so tickets need to be bought separated.
Which cable car line is the best? They are both great ways to see the city from above. Barcelona’s Port Cable is an aerial tramway that takes you from la Barceloneta beach to the middle of the Montjuïc mountain, and the Montjuïc Cable Car is a gondola lift, that takes you to the top of the hill to see the Montjuïc’s Castle and the outlook Mirador. Keep reading to understand a bit more the difference between both:
The Port cable car will take you from Barceloneta beach to Miramar station (in the middle of the Montjuic mountain). The trip lasts 8 minutes and is perfect to take pictures of some of the most emblematic buildings of barcelona from the sky, such as La Sagrada Familia.
Apart from the ride and the lovely view, there isn’t much more to do at the Miramar station. You can either decide to go back to the Barceloneta beach (cheaper if you buy a return ticket) or talk a long walk (around 30 minutes) and visit the Montjuic Castle. As alternative to the 30 minutes walk, you can only walk 15 minutes to take the Telefèric de Montjuïc (Montjuic cable car) which will take you up the mountain to the castle.
The Port cable car costs 11€ (16,50€ round trip) and is located fifteen minutes walking from the tube station ‘Barceloneta’. The best way to buy the tickets is from the ticket office (tickets can’t be bought online).
The second aspect to keep in mind is to go early since the cable car can get quite packed. Try to get the first ride at 10:30 a.m to make sure you have space to move and to take pictures from various points.
Keep an eye on the official Teleferic Port website to be aware of any changes.
The Montjuïc cable car is located on the Montjuic mountain itself and it takes you to the Castle of Montjuic where you can enjoy a great view of Barcelona. The entrance to the castle is 5€, but you can get in for free Sundays after 3pm, and every first Sunday of the month.
This cable car has a second stop at the Montjuïc Mirador (Montjuïc lookout point), one of the best viewpoints of the Barcelona city.
The trip lasts approximately 7 minutes and the return ticket is 12,70€. Tickets can be bought at the ticket office there or online. The entire journey will take you much longer- allow yourself extra time to visit the Castle and to enjoy the views!
How to get to the Montjuïc cable car main entrance?
> Around 15 minutes walk from the Miramar station (where the Port Cable Car stops).
> From the city centre, the easiest way is to take the Montjuic Funicular (at Paral·lel tube station). This train will take you in just 2 minutes to the Montjuic cable car entrance. The funicular is part of the public transport (you can use your regular tube ticket).
5th Day Barcelona Itinerary
Have you noticed a building that looks like a castle at the top of the Barcelona mountain?
Well, it’s not a castle, it’s a church! Its name is ‘Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), and it’s located at the highest point of the mountain of Tibidabo.
Next to this temple there is a small local theme park for kids, called Tibidabo. There are few speed attractions which can be a lot of fun for adults, however the park has been mainly designed for kids.
How to get to Tibidabo?
The quickest way from the city centre is to get the T2A Bus (called Tibibus). A shuttle from Plaça Catalunya that will take you to El Tibidabo in 40 minutes and it costs 3 each way.
If you are planning to visit the theme park, there is a free shuttle bus next to the Vall d’Hebron Metro station. The entrance ticket to the park is 28.50€ , but if you only want to have access to the panoramic area is 12.70€ (free for kids <120 cm).
Check all the options at the official tibidabo.cat website.
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Then you may prefer to visit PortAventura, the biggest Spanish theme park, located in Tarragona (outside Barcelona), ideal for kids and adults. Find the best offers at the official website portaventuraworld.com or in others trustworthy websites, such as BarcelonaTurisme.
Barcelona Unique Experiences
Want to complete your trip with an unique experience? Check the activities below:
> A taste of Sailing in Barcelona from 40,00 € (one-hour tour along the Barcelona coast with a snack and drink)
> Sailing and Paddle Surt Trip from 65,00 € (two-hour sailing trip)
> Sailing trip and vermouth from 65,00 € (enjoy a pre-lunch snack with a glass of vermouth)
> Barcelona sail adventure from 55,00 € (enjoy the experience of sailing and take part in the manoeuvres while you find out about the history of the city)
> Barcelona Port Tour, Sailing excursions from 332,50 € (up to to 11 people + the skipper)
> Barcelona cooking classes and Boqueria from 65,00 € (prepare a menu of Spanish or Catalan dishes)
> Cookery workshop in an art nouveau building from 63,00 € (prepare a full Spanish menu with a glass of wine, right in the city centre)
> Create your own cava from 65,00 € (trip to the wine-growing region of El Penedés + make your own bottle)