In a city with infinite options it’s hard to narrow down the activities to fit into just one day. However if time is not on your side and you want to take in as much of Barcelona as you can in under 24 hours, there are definitely a few ‘must-sees’ to put on the to do list before calling it a day.
Here’s one way to spend A Day In Barcelona:
9am: Breakfast on the beach – Especially during summer, a wonderful way to start the day is with a cafe con leche or an Americano (espresso with hot water) at one of the many beach side huts lining Barcelona’s boardwalk. Most of them have excellent food and there’s nothing like waking up with a dip in the Mediterranean followed by a coffee and croissant and fresh orange juice.
11am: The Old City (Ciutat Vella) – After you’ve spent time strolling, swimming and tanning, head into the most historic area of the city. Wander through the medieval alleyways of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, explore its narrow cobblestone roads and niche courtyards while learning about the history and culture of one of the most interesting barrios in Barcelona. The Old City is made up of a few distinct neighborhoods each with its own flair and unique vibe. If you’re looking for designer stores, boutique shops and patios with delicious tapas, then check out the Born. If you want rustic and slightly seedy yet want to experience the true essence of Barcelona, check out the Raval; the Gotico is home to the famous Cathedral, intimate plazas and windy roads that are so easy to get lost in. A great way to delve into the Old City if you don’t want to do it on your own, is to take a walking tour with one of the many tour companies. There is so much to see in this area that it’s hard to cover it all and easy to miss the ‘hot spots’ and off the beaten path, lesser known areas, if you don’t know what to look for.
1:30pm: Depending on where you are grab a bite for lunch at one of the outdoor patios. Barcelona has excellent ‘Menu Del Dias’ all over the city where you can usually get a three-course meal for between 8-12 euros. If you’re still in the Old City go to Paseo Del Born in the Born neighborhood where there is a strip of excellent tapas restaurants and if it’s a nice day their patios are ideal (Javier Bardem has been spotted eating on one of these patios).
3pm: Once you’ve filled up on tapas, cava and sangria switch up the scene and head into the more ‘modern’ area of the city. This is home famous architect, Antonio Gaudi’s, incredible modernist buildings, including masterpieces such as Casa Batllo and La Pedrera amongst others. Whether or not you have an affinity for architecture these buildings are definitely worth a look, even just from the outside. Once you’ve checked out a few of the highlights on Paseo De Gracia, make your way towards Gaudi’s, Sagrada Familia, which is still under construction and not set to be completed until 2026. If you’re not up for it or don’t have a lot of time you don’t have to go inside (although it is quite something), the outside is breathtaking and will give you a glimpse into the magnificence of his work. To get to the Church, you can either take the metro from Paseo de Gracia (purple line to Sagrada Familia stop) or you can walk (about 25-30 minutes) or take a quick taxi ride.
6pm: If it’s nice out and you’re still up for sightseeing head to Park Guell, another one of Gaudi’s renowned works. The Park features the longest bench in the world and is a relaxing way to wind down at the end of the day and watch the sunset.
9pm: Time for an aperitif on a rooftop terrace or head to one of Gracia’s patios such as, Plaza Del Sol and Rius Taulet for a drink in a lively atmosphere before heading to dinner. Gracia is a young, hip neighborhood, with tons of trendy restaurants, wine bars and plenty of nightlife. It’s a fun neighborhood to walk around in and not as touristy as some of the others closer to the city center.
10:30pm: Dinner time in Barcelona! No matter what your preference there’s something for all tastes in this city. So decide where you want to go and be sure to make a reservation, especially if it’s between Thursday-Sunday.
1am and Beyond: Depending on what time you have to leave, you can bar/club hop all night until the sun comes up…or until you’ve realized that you’ve’ missed your flight and have yet one more day in the city!