Barcelona is the perfect city for a long weekend break!
Even if you’ve only got 4 days, it’s still possible to fit in all the best sights if you plan ahead and map out where you’re going.
For our first trip we were there for a whole week, which left plenty of room for getting lost, relaxing and taking things slow. Meanwhile on our most recent visit, we only had 3 whole days and two half ones, but we managed to fit in everything we wanted to do easily (leaving out the things we did last time but didn’t rate that much!).
Here’s how I’d recommend spending 72 hours (4 days with flights) in Barcelona:
Be sure to explore the surroundings around your hotel or apartment! Even if you’re staying in a lesser known area, it’s worth looking around to find your nearest supermarket, restaurants/cafes and shops – plus you might stumble upon a market (or three!).
Take the purple Line 2 or light blue Line 10 to Sagrada Familia to see Gaudi’s infamous cathedral (one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks!). The Sagrada itself is open until 8pm in the Summer, so grab yourself some tickets (online for the best deal!) and take a look at the incredible interior. You can even climb one of the towers for some incredible evening views for free!
Once you’ve looked around the Sagrada, head to La Paradeta (2 minute walk!) for dinner. The seafood restaurant is one of Barcelona’s most recommended on Tripadvisor, and is an experience you won’t forget! Non-Spanish speakers may find it slightly tricky to order, but the staff are really helpful and it’s totally worth it for the incredible fresh food.
One of my absolute ‘must-do’ recommendations to anyone going to Barcelona is to visit Tibidabo! It’s a small theme park at the top of the hills behind Barcelona city that you travel to on a Funicular (aka, a weird, vertical tram thing!). The rides aren’t anything to write home about, and admittedly the tickets can get a little pricey for what it is BUT the real attraction is the views of the city below!
Honestly I have never seen views like it in my life. I wish I’d had my wide angle lens when we went there on our first trip! Use up one of your ride tickets on the ferris wheel for some extra height…
After your exhilarating morning, grab some lunch and get the red Line 1 to Arc de Triomf. I realise it has nothing on the Paris Arc, but from here you can walk down to the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella. You can easily spend an afternoon here exploring the fountains or even renting a boat on the lake!
From Parc de la Ciutadella you can walk West towards Barrio Gotico (aka The Gothic Quarter). This famous area has beautiful, narrow, cobbled streets with black iron balconies everywhere. There are plenty of delicious places to eat here, but I’d highly recommend Les Quinze Nits in the pretty square, Placa Reial.
Take the yellow Line 4 or purple Line 2 to Passeig de Gracia. This is a large square with plenty of shopping opportunities around if that’s your thing, but you can also get to the top of La Rambla; the famous, central street in Barcelona that is lined with palm trees, restaurants and market stalls. It also hosts La Boqueria, one of the city’s most famous food markets – this is the perfect place to pick up some fresh, inexpensive brunch/lunch!
After lunch, you can walk to the bottom of La Rambla to Barcelona’s harbour. There are plenty of amazing yachts and boats to see here, as well as a brand new shopping centre in the centre of the harbour too!
From here it’s also very easy to walk to Barcelona’s most popular, central beach, La Barceloneta. If it’s a calm day at sea, cool off with a swim and a jug of Sangria in one of the many restaurants lining the bay!
If you’re visiting in Summer and happen to be in Barcelona on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you should definitely head to Montjuic for the evening! There are plenty of restaurants around to choose from, and a huge park and castle to explore in the cool air, but most importantly, the Font Magica (Magic Fountains) display happens during these evenings at 9:30pm, 10pm and 10:30pm!
It’s likely that you’ll be needing to check out of your apartment or hotel in the morning, so be aware that you’ll have luggage with you wherever you decide to go for your last few hours in Barcelona! My advice would be to find a good cafe nearby or at your favourite place you’ve found over the last few days.
If you haven’t yet fulfilled your shopping needs, you could head to Diagonal on the green Line 3 or the dark blue Line 5. There are plenty of up-market designer and boutique shops there, and also lots of posh cafes for your last meal!
Head to the airport in good time, and bear in mind that if you’re flying with Easyjet you have to walk to a crappy small terminal just for Easyjet once you arrive. It doesn’t take long to walk there, but it can be confusing, plus there’s only one cafe once you’ve past security and it’s SO EXPENSIVE! You’re better off waiting ’til you land in the UK or even getting something on the plane instead (yep, it’s that expensive!).