Only in Barcelona for a few days? Then here is my 3 days in Barcelona itinerary with some of the best things to see and do in the city!
3 days in Barcelona is the perfect amount of time to really immerse yourself in the city and see some of the top sites and attractions.
You could keep on coming back to time and time again and still not completely see all the city has to offer, but 3 days in Barcelona is a great place to start, especially if it is your first time here.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just come across a new tapas bar or walked in on a street parade with beautiful fireworks going off, there are always so many new things to discover in the city.
Don’t believe me? Then here are some of top things to do in Barcelona, Spain.
Even though this was my third time to the city, everything felt new and exciting like I was seeing things for the first time. There aren’t many cities around the world where each time you visit gives you nerves of excitement, but Barcelona is certainly one of those places.
From walking around local markets to visiting Gaudi’s cathedral to strolling along the beach at Barcelonta, there really is something for everyone here.
Barcelona was my third destination for KLM’s ‘101 Reasons to Travel’, a campaign all about finding those unique reasons to travel (it’s all in the name really).
There’s are so many reasons why Barcelona is one of KLM’s most popular destinations to fly to, and I couldn’t wait to showcase what makes this city perfect for tourists.
So, if you’re looking for some inspiration on what to do while the city, here is my 3 days in Barcelona itinerary. I hope you find it useful!
The Sagrada Familia is almost the calling card for Barcelona.
Designed by Spain’s most famous architect Antoni Gaudi, the Sagrada Famaila first started construction in 1882. Fast forward 136 years and the church is still being built today. Apparently the completion date isn’t until 2026 so still a long way to go before it’s finished!
What I love about the Sagrada Familia is the detail. You could spend all day looking at the fine details of the church, only to come back the next and discover something new.
Even though the church is spectacular from the outside, for me it is even more beautiful on the inside.
Everything is lit up in yellows, oranges and blues from all the stained-glass windows. Also, it is a photographer’s dream with sharp angles and leading lines of symmetry.
The queues here are pretty long but it really is worth visiting on any trip to Barcelona.
Another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, Parc Guell is a kaleidoscope of colours.
It’s almost as if Gaudi’s mind exploded on the hilltops of Barcelona and what was leftover was Parc Guell.
If push came to shove, I would probably say I prefer Parc Guell over the Sagrada Familia. This is because not only do you get the same wonderful lines of symmetry with the crypt below Parc Guell, but you also get some magnificent views of the city.
Parc Guell closes at 21:30 so the best time to come is for sunset when it’s a little cooler and quieter too. This really is one of the best things to do in Barcelona.
Parc Guell really highlights modernism in Barcelona (and here are 15 other must-see Catalan modernism buildings to see in Barcelona).
Eating tapas and pinchos
One of the reasons why I love Barcelona so much is it’s a foodie’s paradise. In fact, the best meal I’ve ever had was at Disfrutar Barcelona a couple of years ago and it still hasn’t been beaten.
It doesn’t matter if you’re paying for high-end fine-dining or stumbling into a tapas bar late at night, the food is just sublime in Barcelona.
Tapas, small sharing plates of food, are what the city is all about. My recommendation is to walk the streets around the Gothic Quarter and try a few different tapas and pinchos bars. One of my favs is El Pintxo de Petritxol, so if all else fails head for that one.
Still, my advice is to find a pinchos bar that’s busy, sit yourself at the counter and try a few dishes before moving onto the next place. Grab yourself a glass of rojca or a vinos tinto and you’ve got the makings for a perfect night out.
Barcelona isn’t just a city destination, it is a proper beach destination too.
Barceloneta, the main beach at Barcelona, is the place if you want some relaxing beach time.
Either grab your towel and a patch of sand or park yourself in a beach club for the afternoon. I’ve done both and it’s hard to choose one over the other.
Like most beach destinations, there’s an array of water sports to choose from. But be warned, the beach is exceedingly busy during peak summer and over the weekends.
A bit like with Parc Guell, Barceloneta is an amazing place for sunset. Just grab yourself a sangria and watch the world go by.
Barcelona Cathedral and the Gothic Quarter
Barcelona Cathedral is another example of the amazing architecture in the city. Then again, there are so many buildings around the Gothic Quarter that are stunning too.
One of my favourite things to do in Barcelona is to get lost around the Gothic Quarter. It doesn’t matter which side street you walk down, you always find something new and exciting like a little local patisserie or an independent clothes shop.
One evening I was walking around looking for a place to eat and I stumbled into Salterio, a tiny little bar full with about 20 people in. It was such an amazing place serving wine and cheese and it’s now one of my favourite spots in the city.
That’s what I love about the Gothic Quarter. You always come across somewhere new. Check out this area of the city and you’ll see what I mean.
I feel that Barcelona owes a lot to Gaudi – there are so many of his houses and buildings dotted around the city for tourists to see! Casa Milà is another one of these.
Popularly known as La Pedrera or ‘the stone quarry’, Casa Milà was the last private residence designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi and was built between 1906 and 1912.
Even though the house is spectacular, the rooftop is just unbelievable. It’s hard to describe, but it really is like a stone quarry with rough rock statues and monolithic boulders everywhere. It’s another insight into Gaudi’s mind and the views are incredible. For me this really is one of the top things to do in Barcelona.
I think La Boqueria is one of my favourite places in Barcelona. Not only is it an amazing food market where you can pick up anything from fresh fruit to delicious Iberico ham, but there are a number of tapas restaurants dotted around the edge where you can eat too.
My advice for La Boqueria is just to dive in at the deep end. Wander around asking to try a few samples of cheese and ham, and if anything takes your fancy buy something to take home.
Obviously Spain is famous for Iberico ham, so I’d always recommend buying that. Also, and I speak from experience here, but the olives and antipasti are next level from La Boqueria!
Monument de Colom
If you’ve only got 3 days in Barcelona I’d really recommend visit the Monument de Colom.
When I was researching the best views in Barcelona, two places keep on coming up – at the top of Montjuïc and at Tibidabo, the highest point in the city.
One place no one really talks about is Monument de Colom. This is a statue standing 60m high at the bottom at Las Ramblas near the ocean.
It doesn’t look like it, but for 6 euros you can access the top of the monument for some stunning views of Barcelona.
The ride up is in a lift and there’s not much room at the top, but you do get amazing 360 degree panoramas of the city all around you.
Parc de la Ciutadella
The Parc de la Ciutadella is like an oasis in the middle of the city. Not only do you have gorgeous gardens where you can relax in the sun but there are also lots of ponds and water features dotted around the park.
My favourite part was the Cascada (the waterfall) which is located in the northern corner. This is a triumphal arch with golden horses atop, and it is just so ornate and beautiful.
One of the best things you can do here is have a picnic. If you head to La Boqueria or a local supermarket, then you can pick up some bread, cold meats and cheese. Find yourself a park bench or a spot in the shade and share the moment with friends. For me it’s the simple things in life!
La Mercè Festival
I was extremely lucky that my most recent trip to Barcelona coincided with La Mercè, Barcelona’s biggest festival.
This is an annual festival that first started in 1871, and even though the main festival day is on the 24th September, there are usually a number of parties and celebrations on the days beforehand.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the city, you’re bound to come across giant papier-mâché figures dancing around the streets.
The festival culminates in a musical firework display at Plaza de Espanya with Montjuïc fountain in the background.
This was a cacophony of fireworks and colours and I really can’t recommend it enough. If you plan your trip in September then make sure you plan it around La Mercè.
Tours in Barcelona
My trip to Barcelona was in association with KLM’s ‘#101ReasonsToTravel’ campaign promoting their top destinations in Europe. As always, views are entirely my own and without bias.
If you’re looking for some other inspiration, here is my first KLM trip which is a city guide to Copenhagen.
And here is my second KLM trip showing you the best things to do in Brussels in a day.
Also, check out Wanderlust Chloe’s amazing colourful guide to Barcelona to find the brightest spots in the city!
If you had 3 days in Barcelona, what are some of the things you’d like to do? Let me know in the comments below!
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