48 Hours in Barcelona, Spain

barcelona-travel-park-guell

Have you ever planned a trip to a new city and had absolutely no expectations, figuring you would just see what the city had to offer once you got there? That’s exactly how I felt about Barcelona. After spending several weeks cruising around the Mediterranean, Barcelona was the last stop on our itinerary. Before leaving for Europe, I was most excited to visit Mykonos and Santorini. I spent countless hours daydreaming about the Greek islands that Barcelona became an afterthought. All of that changed however the minute I stepped foot on Barcelona soil. The beachside city and capital of Catalonia has so much to offer and can easily rival magnificent cities like New York, Paris and Tokyo. I fell head over heels in love with Barcelona and would definitely plan a return visit. Here are the highlights of Barcelona:

Explore the City With a Bus Tour

Barcelona is a major international city with a lot to see and do. The public transportation system is extensive with the subway, trams and buses traversing the city. If you’re limited on time however, a city bus tour is a great option. We purchased a two-day pass with the Barcelona City Tour which was money well spent. The bus tour has two routes: the east route includes stops at major attractions like Plaça Catalunya, Sagrada Família, Port Vell and Tibidabo. The west route includes stops at El Born, Montjüic and Camp Nou stadium (for all the soccer fans).

Barcelona Port Vell Travel Marina Boats

Port Vell in Barcelona

Visit Gaudí’s Masterpieces

Whether you’re an architecture buff or not, it’s undeniable that Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces are unique. Gaudí was a Spanish Catalan architect and his modernist structures can be found all over the city and include Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Casa Battló and La Pedrera. We spent part of our first day in Barcelona at Sagrada Família. The church – begun in 1882 and not yet completed – is quite possibly Gaudí’s most widely beloved works of art. The main chapel is simply beautiful. If you’re planning to visit Sagrada Família, be sure to book tickets online in advance.

Sagrada Família
Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona
+34 932 080 414

barcelona-travel-purple-church

Gaudí’s magnificent Sagrada Família

Spain Gaudi Church Travel

Inside view of Sagrada Família

We spent part of our last day in Barcelona at Park Güell. The park was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. Park Güell is perched on Carmel Hill and offers stunning views of the city down below. You’ll also find a mind-blowing array of foliage, Gaudí’s unique and beautiful structures, colors and shapes. Tickets should be booked online in advance.

Park Güell
Carrer d’Olot, 08024 Barcelona
+34 934 091 831

barcelona-travel-park-guell-angelique-view

Taking in the city views from Park Güell

Head to La Boqueria and Pinotxo for Breakfast

Touted as the best market in the world, La Boqueria is a feast for the senses. The market has an incredible selection of produce. Get to the market early for an incredible breakfast selection at Pinotxo Bar. Don’t bother ask for a menu because there isn’t one. Instead, just ask for a recommendation. We opted to try the traditional Spanish egg and potato omelette with pan con tomate (tomato on toast). Hearty and delicious! We also sampled the xuxos de crema which is a cream filled pastry, deep-fried and then rolled in sugar. Pair the xuxos de crema with a café con leche for a sweet take on a breakfast meal. If you’re still hungry after feasting at Pinotxo Bar, wander around the market for fresh fruit cups, juices, cheeses and chocolates.

Mercado de La Boqueria
La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona
+34 933 18 25 84

barcelona-travel-pinoxto-bar

Pinotxo Bar located in La Boqueria

barcelona-travel-boqueria

Fresh fruit cups at La Boqueria

Stroll Las Ramblas

Barcelona’s most famous street is just under a mile long and stretches from Port Vell (near the cruise port terminal) at the southern end with Plaça Catalunya at the northern end. Las Ramblas is a broad pedestrian boulevard set between narrow traffic lanes. The boulevard is crowded with tourists, locals and souvenir stalls at all hours of the day. There are many famous neighborhoods worth exploring located off Las Ramblas including El Raval and Barri Gòtic.

barcelona-travel-las-ramblas

Don’t leave Barcelona without strolling Las Ramblas!

Take a Dip in the Mediterranean

If you need a break from city sightseeing, head down to one of Barcelona’s many beaches. The city has more than two miles of beaches where you can spend the day soaking up the sun rays. There are also many restaurants lining Barcelona’s waterfront that offer killer views and the freshest seafood. We spent one afternoon at Marina Bay by Moncho’s feasting on the seafood paella and sangria. The restaurant offers panoramic views of Port Olímpic and the sea.

Marina Bay by Moncho’s
Carrer de la Marina, 19-21, 08005 Barcelona
+34 932 21 15 14

barcelona-travel-marina-bay-restaurant

Head to Marina Bay for paella and sangria. Delish!

barcelona-travel-marina-bay-chairs

Pull up a chair for a delicious meal and ocean views at Marina Bay

Best Time to Visit Barcelona

Like most other European cities, summer constitutes the high tourist season when temperatures, humidity and prices are also at their highest. If you’re looking to save money, consider the spring shoulder season when temperatures are milder and the crowds are thinner. Just be sure to pack a light jacket. Regardless of when you opt to travel to this stunningly beautiful city by the sea, Barcelona is definitely a destination worth visiting.

barcelona-travel-park-guell-city-view

23 Comments

  1. October 9, 2016 / 11:14 am

    Fantastic! What a perfect itinerary for a short amount of time. Ive been dying to get to Spain and Barcelona is now definitely on the list.

  2. October 9, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    I think I would also put Barcelona as an afterthought if I were doing Santorini and Mykonos in the same trip! I’ve been dying to get over to Greece and Spain! I’ll definitely have to check out your Greece posts as well. What was your favourite activity during your time in Barcelona? When would you say the best time to visit, if you’re hoping to skip the crowds?

    • October 9, 2016 / 3:38 pm

      Hey Deni! If you decide to plan a trip to Barcelona, you must visit Park Güell. This was definitely my favorite activity during my time in Barcelona. Plan to spend several hours wandering the grounds which are absolutely stunning. I would also recommend planning a visit during the shoulder seasons…early spring or fall.

  3. October 9, 2016 / 5:26 pm

    I have wanted to visit Barcelona for many many years – the architecture looks incredible! I love the glass windows of Sagrada Família. And I’d definitely have to visit some beaches!

  4. October 9, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    I have been to Barcelona twice and I agree it is definitely worth a visit. You just need to be careful of the pick pockets! I can understand how you would have been looking forward to the Greek islands I love it there

  5. October 9, 2016 / 6:00 pm

    Ahhhh. Barcelona. My honeymoon spot! Great stops you made for the time you had. I have returned 3 times and have had always had a great time. Do return in September for La Merce’ it’s a great tome to be in BCN.

  6. October 9, 2016 / 6:24 pm

    Spain has always been on my list and especially Barcelona! I love it when you have no expectations for a new place and end up falling in love. Your photos are spectacular!! I can’t wait to experience this in person!

  7. October 9, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    Although I’ve spent 6 months in Madrid, I’ve not been to Barcelona! So much regret! We’re definitely going on our next trip to Europe!

  8. October 9, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    What an exciting travel post! Barcelona has always been in my travel list! The architecture looks so amazing!! I love it

  9. October 9, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    Barcelona added to my bucket list. Thanks for the info.

  10. October 9, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    Nice. I’ve been to Barcelona and it is a great place for citi sightseeing, indeed you can easily do a week there
    Your suggested itinerary is great..helpful for sure.

  11. October 10, 2016 / 3:55 am

    Lovely ideas. I love Barcelona and there is so much to do. Of course, it is a lot about Gaudi but I love Las Ramblas as well.

  12. October 10, 2016 / 5:17 am

    Wow! Spain is just so amazing..and I’m just looking at pictures..what more in real life? You have a handful of list any travel bug would really love to visit. This is very helpful. 🙂

  13. October 12, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    This is definitely the travel experience I would want.
    I love bus tours as I can checkout the entire city while travelling from one place to another. The buses are cheaper and convenient. Being a foodie, I loved the fact that you have shared restaurant details in your post.  I am gonna save this one as a reference for planning Barcelona trip

  14. October 12, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    Visited Barcelona many many many years ago, and I’m thinking now that I should go back soon!!

  15. October 12, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    Loved reliving my Barcelona trip through this post! I went there on my first ever solo trip at the beginning of September and absolutely loved it. I’m happy to say I can tick most of these off the list, and agree with your thoughts! Did you try a juice at La Boqueria?
    Lily Kate x
    jolihouse.com

    • October 20, 2016 / 2:11 pm

      The fresh juice at La Boqueria was so good! Kudos to you for traveling there solo. Such a great city!

  16. October 12, 2016 / 3:11 pm

    Perfect article as I’m visiting the city in February! 🙂

  17. October 12, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    I’ve been to Barcelona once and I’ve checked ALL of these off! I’d also add climbing the near-by mountains for an incredible view over Barcelona and getting free food during tapas hour! (Free dinner!) I loved getting lost in the tangled streets!

  18. October 12, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    La Sagrada Famiglia is really incredible. I personally like the interior design much better than the exterior design, even though it is more famous for its exterior design. Unfortunately I didn’t get to visit Park Guell on my last trip there, so that will be top of my list for when I return to Barcelona. Great photos!

  19. October 13, 2016 / 7:41 am

    What an awesome itinerary, I plan on visiting Spain in April and I absolutely want to see Barcelona. Never really think of doing a bus tour but that’s a great option if you are pressed for time. Thanks so much for sharing! I look forward to reading your other posts!

    – Brit
    StayCuriousDarling

    • October 20, 2016 / 2:10 pm

      Thanks Brittany. Hope you have a wonderful time in Spain in April!

  20. October 13, 2016 / 8:29 am

    We were teenagers last time we visited Barcelona, we need to go back because it looks like everything has improved over the years, thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *