So you have 48 hours in Barcelona?
So little time, and so much to do, Our easy seasonal itineraries will help you make the most of your time in the city. Take in the views, the history, the culture, the architecture, the food and more! We have included a good selection of museums, restaurants, attractions and more to keep your weekend in Barcelona jam packed with all the city has to offer.
- morning – get up early, grab a coffee and croissant from one of the myriad cafes in the city. Head down to a market, we recommend La Mercado de la Boqueria on Las Ramblas. It’s the most emblematic of the markets in Barcelona, colourful and chaotic, but also the most expensive. Wander around and pick up a snack and a fresh juice. *Hint, forage deeper into the market for better prices. Don’t forget to sample something from one of the tapas bars in the market, and pick up some cheese and dried meats and bread for a snack later on. If you prefer to visit another market that is not as crowded with tourists, go to the Santa Caterina market in El Born. Don’t miss looking up at it’s beautifully designed roof. After your morning market experience, wander down Las Ramblas and stop in at Plaza Reial. You can have another coffee or tea at the lovely Ocaña, and enjoy a spot of people watching under the palm trees. If there is time after your tea, get lost in the alley ways of the Gothic quarter, take a peek at the Gothic Cathedral and spend a moment in silence in Plaza Felip Neri. Are you hungry? Grab a spot at a restaurant for a Spanish lunch. Find a place serving a menu del dia or eat tapas in a plaza. Try patatas bravas, and pan con tomate, pimientos del padron and boquerones! We recommend La Plata.
- afternoon – walk to the beach, explore the port and Barceloneta along the way. If you didn’t get tapas for lunch try one of the restaurants on the seaside. All the chiringuitos will be open, or you could enjoy some seafood at Barraca or Gallito. Enjoy a siesta on San Sebastian beach, and a dip in the med. You can while the afternoon away and enjoy drinks at Salt (just below the W Hotel) with perfect views of the strand or shower and head back into town for a bit of late afternoon shopping or window shopping along Passeig de Gracia. Stop off for a photograph outside La Pedrera and Casa Batllo. Buy a souvenir at Vinçon, a large home & decor store with unusual products. Inside they have an exhibition space, and upstairs in the old building some beautifully laid out rooms.
- evening – start your evening off in a plaza in Gracia, try a vermut at La Vermu, before heading to one of the many restaurants nearby. You could have pizza at La Gavina, or pasta at Da Greco, or if you have euros to spare, try some of the best Barcelona has to offer at Somodo or Con Gracia. After dinner, you can get a drink al fresco in one of the lovely plazas in Gracia, try Villa de Gracia, Plaza del Sol or Plaza Virreina. If drinking in a plaza is not your thing, you could catch a late night movie at the art house cinema Cines Verdi, where they show original soundtrack movies. If you enjoy clubbing, there is always plenty on offer, try Razzmatazz or for an open air party you could head to Montjuic for dancing at La Terrrazza. *Take note that clubs really only get going at about 2am!
- morning – wake up late, enjoy a brunch at Granja Petibo, and then take a leisurely stroll down along Passeig de Sant Joan to the Arc de Triomf, pass under it’s petit arch built from lovely russet red bricks, and continue along to Parc Citudella. Explore and find the giant mammoth, rent a paddle boat on the little lake, take in the gardens, and fountains. If you have kids, you could visit the zoo. If you get hungry, break out that sausage and cheese you picked up at the market yesterday. Or head into El Born for some snacks. Patisserie Hofmann has wonderful croissants, and the Mercat Princesa will provide some bite size nibbles. You can get a good espresso at Satans Coffee Corner to keep you going.
- afternoon – a trip to Barcelona cannot exclude a visit to the Sagrada Familia. Although it’s quite pricey, of all of gaudi’s architecural works, it’s not to be missed. If you are on a budget, you won’t go amiss with a walk around the exterior, taking in the pirouetting spires, and fantastic carvings in the nativity facade. If you have tickets, you can easily spend 3 hours on the audio tour, and clambering in the towers, which offer superb views of the city, and close up looks at all of the details on the cathedral. Grab some churros at a stand or shop nearby and walk up to the Hospital Sant Pau. The hospital itself is a beautiful ode to modernista and the views back down the avenue towards the Sagrada Familia are not to be missed. Catch a cab up to Park Guell and wander around the Mediterranean park. the views over the city are fantastic, and flocks of parrots and pigeons sweep by in flocks in front of the vistas of the sea. You can explore a fair amount of the park without paying the timed 7 euros entrance fee to the more famous parts of the park. If you have an entrance ticket, you can enjoy the mosaics and stairway down to the main entrance of the park, wondering at all of Gaudi’s work.
- evening – visit a hotel rooftop terrace for sundowners before heading out to dinner. A number of hotels offer spectacular views of the city and are popular during summer. Take your pick of the over 2000 restaurants in Barcelona for dinner and then if you enjoy going out, you have to try one of Barcelona’s famous Gins. Plenty of bars mix a great gin and tonic, and the refreshing beverage can be deceptively strong. Try an unusual bar like El Ciclista or Sor Rita, or the famous El Xampanyet for cava, and if you want to make the most of your evening finish off at a club like Moog or Apollo.
- morning – wake up and go and find breakfast at a market, Mercado de la Boqueria on Las Ramblas offers all sorts of mouth watering treats, and is a tourist right-of-passage. Enjoy fresh fruits or tapas ath their world famous market stalls and then head out and get a hot chocolate to warm up at chocolatier Chok, they have delicious churros, and a vast array of donuts! With loads of sugar energy, now’s the time to check out a museum – the CCCB and the MACBA are close by in Raval. Lunch on hearty Catalan fare or eat Mediterranean at Bar Lobo or Teresa Carles, then wander around the neighborhood, stop in at book shop La Central , the Camper shoe store, or Fantastik for some fun souvenirs. If you prefer something different, try lunch at Dos Palillos, they serve Asian tapas, and their delicacies are served up with flare in El Bulli style by chef Albert Raurich, deserving of their Michelin star, you decide!
- afternoon – Sagrada Familia is surely on any Barcelona itinerary, summer or winter. The views may be wind swept, but the vista is still wondrous. Afterwards stroll up tree lined Passeig de Sant Joan (often in winter they have Christmas markets on this street) and into Gracia get a coffee at Onna Cafe or hit up Bar Pietro for a beer or cava.
- evening – take in the panoramic views of Barcelona, but stay indoors where it’s warm, try dinner on Montjuic at the Miramar Restaurant or the Torre Alta Mar. Late night activities could include clubbing or visit a theater show or the Palau de la Musica. Be sure to check the current listings online for events and shows. Time out Barcelona, Le cool Barcelona and the Barcelona Metropolitan will have current listings.
- morning – brunch at Federal cafe, then walk to Barcelona Maritime Museum, where you can learn about Catalan history and clamber inside a life size galley from the 16th Century. If boats and seafaring pirates are not your thing, check out our list of bad weather activities and pick your own. Merienda or snack in the Gothic quarter, cross over Las Ramblas and into Plaza Reial, walk up Ferran to Plaza St Jaume and then on to explore the alleyways around the Gothic Cathedral. Look out for the unicorns, go to Cafe de E’stiu in the Patio Museu Frederic Marèsm if the weather is nice, but there will be plenty to choose from on your ramble in the barrio.
- afternoon – walk to El Borne, and wander around the neighborhood, stop for coffee at Cafes Magnifico or Nomad(if it’s a week day), then wind down your weekend and enjoy a hot steam bath and massage at the Aire de Barcelona in the roman spa.
- evening – you could enjoy the most authentic flamenco at Robadors 23 in their tiny little bar, and feel as if you have been transported to a cave in Granada. Afterwards why not enjoy a dinner at El Nacional in one of their restaurants, all designed by Lazaro Rosa Violan in an old parking garage on Passeig de Gracia. A more budget friendly option would be to eat at La Paradeta, which is always a fun seafood experience. To close the evening take a walk up Passeig de Gracia and enjoy all the Christmas lights, you may find the stores open late for shopping, and sales often happen during winter, especially after Christmas. Make sure to stop for a minute outside La Pedrera and Casa Batllo and admire the beautiful architecture on the “block of discord”, where competing architects have constructed some of the most famous buildings in Barcelona.
You can mix and match these itineraries to suit your day, or interests. Be sure to check out our other posts for more ideas of what to do, see and eat in Barcelona.