Barcelona is big and with an eye-popping architecture. I had 3 days of an unplanned trip in this city, where I’ve allowed myself to get lost and walk A LOT (as usual). I was in Portugal and found really cheap tickets with Ryanair (less than 10 euros), so why not?
Public transportation in Barcelona works pretty well. Everything is connected. You can buy a one-day integrated ticket for around 8 euros and easily explore the city, or you can just walk through this very pedestrian-friendly city. Here’s a guide of how you can enjoy this city having just a few days:
Day 1: Explore the Beaches
I started with the beaches. Blue and warm water, soft sand and lots of gravels, Barcelona beaches are usually crowded – but I went on weekdays in September and it wasn’t crowded at all.
Wandering through the Ronda Litoral, you can visit the Mar Bella Beach, Bogatell, Nova Icaria and finish at the famous Barceloneta Beach.
Barceloneta is the most touristy sand area. Monuments and modern architecture take over the view. I’ve found a great restaurant that happens to also offer services like Paddle Surf and other exercises at the beach. The restaurant is Barcelona Surf House and you can find them here.
Nova Icaria Beach was calm and nice for swimming. Clear, warm and calm water to enjoy. It is close to the Bogatell Beach and between each beach, you can find viewpoints.
You can easily arrive at the Ronda Litoral by public transportation at Barceloneta Station.
Day 2: Get lost at the Passeig de Gràcia and Diagonal Avenue
The Passeig de Gràcia is a large avenue that starts at Plaça de Catalunya and ends in the neighbourhood of Gràcia, a pleasant walk to be explored on foot. It is in the neighbourhood of Dreta de l’Eixample, where the richest families of the Catalan bourgeoisie began to build their houses, competing among themselves to see who had the most spectacular house. The most stunning highlight are the modernist houses. With a special brilliance are two jewels of Antoni Gaudí, La Pedrera (Casa Milà) and Casa Batlló, the house of Puig i Cadafalch, Casa Amatller, and the house of Domènech i Montaner, Casa Lleó Morera.
The Avenida Diagonal is the biggest and maybe the most important avenue in Barcelona, extending by 11 km and cutting diagonally the city – that’s the reason of the name. A nice and long walk while enjoying Barcelona’s architecture, with lots of cafes and restaurants. I’ve found a cute coffee place that will make you feel like you’ve entered a Harry Potter book: Pudding Coffee Shop is a “Eat + Play + Think” space, perfect for kids, book lovers and curious people.
You can find the coffee place address here.
The cross streets have also a lot to offer and the Sagrada Familia church is close to the avenue as well. If you want to visit the inside, I highly recommend you to buy the entrance as soon as you buy the airplane tickets: extremely crowded and not an attraction for a last minute trip.
Day 3: Enjoy everything the City Centre and Park Güell has to offer
El Gòtic, also known as Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter – see on map), is one of the four districts that forms the Ciutat Vella neighbourhood (Old City). The “Gothic” name refers to its architecture. Photogenic alleys and the large La Rambla walkway are a must see, and if you’re interested in seeing the local and most varied food, sweets, drinks, spices and also some popular culture gathered at one place, go see the La Boqueria Markt (see address). You can arrive at the “heart” of La Rambla by subway, at Liceu Station.
Plaça de Catalunya is basically the lungs of Barcelona: everything connects here and its a place full of restaurants, bars, cafes, stores and public events. Surrounded by imposing buildings, an easy way to go up and appreciate the view is at the La Plaça Gourmet Café, at the top of El Corte Inglés.
Park Güell was recognized as an artistic monument in 1969 and was declared World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1984. One of the most important of Gaudi’s works, this large urban park is rich in architectural elements, located in the district of Gràcia and facing the Mediterranean Sea of Mount Carmel.
Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to plan a house complex for a wealthy family in this area. In the absence of buyers, the works were abandoned in 1914. Only two of the 60 planned houses had been built. The park became a large private garden, which Güell opened for public events. Güell died in his house at the Park in 1918 and his heirs offered the park to the City Council, who agreed to purchase it in 1922.
The Park consists of 2 distinct areas: The Monumental Axis, which requires the purchase of an entrance, and the free access area that is open to all visitors. I highly recommend an early purchase of your ticket, so you can better plan your day.
At the free part, you can enjoy the view at Mirador de Joan Sales, an amazing viewpoint to appreciate Barecelona’s beauty on a sunny day.
Helping you to plan your trip: