Heading to Spain and need a quick 3 day Barcelona itinerary?
I feel ya. Like most Americans, I used to get MAYBE two weeks off, per year. Therefore, when I finally did travel to Spain, I wanted to make the most-of my visit, and explore several different cities, like Madrid and Valencia.
When I planned to do some solo travel in Barcelona, I could only spend 3 days there since I needed to visit two other cities.
So the real question is:
Was 3 days in Barcelona enough time there?
Nope, not really, especially since there are so many amazing things to do in Barcelona that will completely enchant you and make you never want-to leave, I know, we’re gettin’ DEEP here at Girl with the Passport.
Between La Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and, Casa Milà, there are so many top Barcelona attractions that it’s almost impossible to experience all that Barcelona has to offer in just 3 days.
This 3 day Barcelona travel guide will make it possible and help you figure out how to spend a weekend in Barcelona. In this post, you’ll find Barcelona travel tips that will explain how you can quickly and easily explore all the top attractions in Barcelona.
You never know. There could be a few Barcelona hidden gems tucked away in here. Maybe some secret spots that you’ve never heard of. So read on and find out where to go in Barcelona, what to see in Barcelona, and where to eat in Barcelona.
And yes, the last question is CLEARLY the most important. LOL.
How I feel whenever I’m about to visit Barcelona, Spain.
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3 Days in Barcelona Itinerary: Day 1
To understand this magical city, the best place to start is in the middle, where you can see some of the most fascinating things to do in Barcelona, Spain.
But, We’ll Get to the Sightseeing in Barcelona Later.
First, it’s time for breakfast at Patisseria Hofmann, a Barcelona bakery run by a local culinary school!
I’ve heard they have the BEST pure butter croissants in all of Barcelona. However, I don’t know that for a fact. What I do know is that they make a fabulous mascarpone cheese stuffed croissant that is a quick and inexpensive way to start your day.
After You’ve Licked Your Fingers Clean:
Board the L4 at Jaume I and get off at Passeig de Gràcia for one of my favorite places to start sightseeing in Barcelona, Spain, Casa Batllo.
This residential building was created by Antoni Gaudi, one of the most famous Spanish architects in the entire world. He used Catalan Modernism to create some of the most unique buildings in the entire world (most of which are in Barcelona).
It’s no surprise that Casa Batlló stands out against the entire street since the building facade mimics an almost trippy, aquatic hallucination (Who spiked the punch?) with its powerful explosions of blue, mauve and green tile.
Wave-like window frames and balconies compliment this ocean motif as the entire structure almost undulates up to an uneven, blue-tiled roof.
This building feels more like a living creature than an immobile, urban edifice; a motif that is reinforced as you walk through the building.
You’ll see light stream through the windows and shimmer as it hits tiles that are a deep sea blue color.
Gaudí loathed the straight line:
Therefore, even the staircase winds you up, and around, and onto the main floor, where the salon overlooks the streets below. Swirls of blue and green mesmerize you as everything twists into a sunlike lamp; an aesthetic that makes it feel like the entire room is being sucked into one, enormous ball of light.
No Shocker Here:
Casa Batlló is one of the major Barcelona attractions and gets so crowded that you feel like you’re cow getting herded from one room to the next (along with fifty other cows who have no idea what’s going on).
So Save Yourself Some Time and Hassle:
And buy your tickets ahead of time. Also visit early in the morning, or late at night, since that’s when crowds are at their lightest and you feel less like a Sardine and more like a human.
Time for Lunch Already?
Crazy but true! So after you’re finished perusing the architectural awesomeness here, hop on the metro at Pl. Catalunya and get off at Sarrià.
Yes, El Canalla is out of the way but totally worth it since it is one of the best restaurants in Barcelona.
Here, chefs expertly fuse Catalan and Northern Spanish cuisine to create divine dishes that are packed with heaps of flavor.
A dish with burrata cheese and that is topped by tomato marmalade, arugula pesto, honey, and lemon. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my mouth.
Yes, you should make reservations and no, they don’t start serving lunch until 1 pm.
Once you’ve had your fill of gastronomic delights, Casa Mila will be easy to find since you literally go back the way you came (so if you want to eat later you can always visit Casa Mila and then go for lunch).
You’ll see this dual office building and apartment complex emerge among a sea of urban normalcy since this building resembles a series of waves that are lapping up against the shore (save yourself time and book your tickets in advance).
Just another one of Gaudi’s many optical illusions (Gaudi you trickster you!).
Named for the Buisnessman who commissioned the Building:
Casa Mila is now known as La Pedrera, since the rippling, grey, stone facade of the building resembles a rock quarry more than it does a fancy smancy office building.
The top-floor apartment, attic, and roof, are all open to visitors. Start in the roof, which is an awe-inspiring, must-see feature of this building, with its chimney stacks that resemble medieval knights that are ready to vanquish a worthy foe.
Descend one floor and enter a museum dedicated to Gaudi’s work. Here, you’ll see his affinity for parabolic arches since they are literally EVERYWHERE (but they’re beautiful so it’s okay).
The next floor down features an apartment with the furnishings of a well-to-do, Spanish family of the 20th century.
Meander through the apartment and allow yourself to go back in time, to a world that is an exquisite fusing of the past and future, with Gaudi’s sensuously curved rooms.
Once You’re Finished:
Ramble on over to La Rambla. Lol, okay, a horrible pun I know but I had to do it. Anyway, you can take a leisurely stroll to La Rambla, which is probably the most famous street in all of Barcelona.
This famous pedestrian thoroughfare is a bit touristy for my liking but does have some vibrant Miro murals, cool shopping, and delicious food at the legendary La Boqueria market.
(if you’re a dessert lover like me, swing by Pastisseria Bubó Born. This cake shop reminds me that dreams really do come true! The display case here is lined with vibrantly colored mini cakes and macarons that make a girl go weak in the knees. So GOOD!).
Just Be Careful!
This place is tourist central so pickpockets swarm around like sharks looking for chum. So heed one of my Barcelona top tips and always be aware of your surroundings.
You’ll know you’ve hit the end of La Rambla when you see el Mirador de Colom, a 60-meter tall statue of Columbus that is probably worth a photo or two.
What you do next is entirely up to you.
If you have the Barcelona Pass, you can do the Las Golondrinas boat cruise ( a nine-mile boat tour of Barcelona embarks from El Mirador de Colom and takes you past some of the most iconic sites in Barcelona) since it’s included in the pass.
Or, if You’re More of a Land Lubbering Old Lady like Me:
This is about as hip as I got. Actually no, I wasn’t this hip.
You can go home and binge watch a movie or two.
Or, if you’re way cooler than me:
You can sit down for some dinner (and optional wine) at Bar Brutal, a restaurant that fuses Italian and Catalan cuisine while offering guests an array of tapas that include grilled octopus, smoked sardines with apple relish, ricotta with beets and plums, and more.
Make reservations because this restaurant is considered one of the best places to hang out and overall things to do in Barcelona at night!
What to do in Barcelona for 3 Days: Day 2
Looking for a cozy cafe where you can relax and enjoy a cheese omelet? Then Cachitos is where it’s at. Not only is the food delicious, but the prices are great (cough, cash only), and it’s super close to Sagrada Familia, our first stop of the day.
Probably the most iconic place in all of Barcelona, no trip to Barcelone would be complete without a stop here.
And for good reason since this is one of my favorite churches on the planet!
But I didn’t feel that way when I first set eyes on this architectural masterpiece. Instead, I was thinking, “Really? THIS is what everyone was raving about? (This thought was dripping with sarcasm by the way)”
Later on, I would find out that the cranes, and other unattractive instruments of construction, were actually there because, after more than 130 years, the building is still unfinished.
Yeah, it’s all about the money, which dried up like a prune.
Anyway, while the outside is magnificent in scale and stature, I feel the real beauty of this church is inside, where you can experience the pure awesomeness of Gaudi’s genius.
Everywhere you turn:
There are colorful facades that depict a multitude of religious events. Throw in some swirling lines and bulging towers and you’ll find absolutely nothing “traditional” about this building.
Even if you hate churches, you’ll love this one for its vibrant colors and the modern design.
Do Yourself a Favor:
Go early and book tickets in advance since, shocking to no one, Sagrada Familia fills up with rambunctious tourists fast. And spring for the audioguide/guided tour so that you can get a better understanding of what you’re looking at.
Out next site is one I have NOT been to. But, it’s only a 12-minute walk from Sagrada Familia, looks super cool, and is something I am SO doing the next time that I’m in Barcelona, Spain.
This site? None other than Recinte Modernista Sant Pau!
Aren’t you super excited to visit a former hospital? No? LoL, I get it ,but hear me out before you think that I’ve gone completely insane.
As you walk through one of the oldest hospitals in all of Europe:
You’ll be captivated by a facility that is home to one of the world’s largest sites for Art Nouveau style architecture.
I’ve seen the pictures and it is crazy cool!
Once You’ve had your foodie fill:
Walk over (you can also take bus 24) to another awesome site of Gaudi architecture, Park Güell.
This park, like most anything Gaudi creates, is a wondrous place that enchants the mind and intrigues the senses.
You’ll feel Gaudi’s passion for nature as he almost transforms the artificial into something more natural than anything nature can create.
The park, while mostly wooded, does have pathways that will connect you to a multitude of buildings and museums that are worth a look.
For the best views:
Head to the main entrance at Turó del Calvari, on Carrer d’Olot, where the park’s Centre d’Interpretaciò is located; a curvaceous, porter’s house that has an exhibition on Gaudí and the history of the park.
Other park highlights include Sala Hipóstila or the Doric Temple, the Banc de Trencadís, Casa-Museu Gaudí, and more.
This park is massive and dripping with amazing architecture. Therefore, you could easily spend a day here so plan accordingly (if you’re on a budget this is an excellent place for a picnic).
Very crowded, yadda, yadda, yadda. Get tickets in advance, yadda, yadda, yadda. Yeah, you know the drill.
For dinner, let’s switch it up and dare to be different.
Instead of Spanish food, let’s try a little ramen shall we? And what better place to do so than at Fan-Shoronpo Japonese Ramen!
It’s cheap, delicious, and easy to visit since you just have to hop on bus 24 and go back the way you came.
You should go for the duh, ramen here. But, I’ve heard they also serve fantastic soup dumplings made of pork. Yup, the perfect antidote to all the potato and cheese that you’ve consumed while in Barcelona.
How you’ll feel crawling into bed after day 2.
Day 3 of the Barcelona Itinerary that Never Ends
Any day that DOESN’t start with coffee is not a good day. That’s why I think we should begin with a nice cup of fancy coffee from Nømad Coffee Lab & Shop.
They have all these different varieties and nitro brews that show you just how seriously they take coffee here.
I had no idea what they were talking about so I asked a super nice barista for help. Just a great place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee before a busy day in Barcelona.
Whatever you do Though:
Do NOT ask for sugar. They are coffee purists who don’t use sugar since they believe that coffee is perfect just as it is.
Also not much in the way of food so definitely grab a nice pastry elsewhere.
You could also just wait until we enter the uber awesome chocolate museum! I mean, who doesn’t want chocolate for breakfast? And it’s only a 7-minute walk from the coffee shop so you don’t have to wait too long for food!
Is Museu de la Xocolata the best museum I’ve ever been to?
No. But it’s chocolate so whatever. It’s a fun little place to stop and eat chocolate since calories obviously don;t count on vacation.
Not only can you try chocolate making, but you can also see chocolate models of famous Barcelona attractions like Sagrada Familia (butter sculptures eat your heart out).
You’ll learn where chocolate came from, how it arrived in Europe and some of the myths associated with this popular food item. Probably the one museum that you won’t be able to get your kids out of.
After “learning about” (aka eating) all this chocolate:
Take a leisurely stroll through the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) since well, this is a vacation after all. Plus, this neighborhood has a charming, old world feel that is brought out in the surrounding Gothic architecture and cobblestone streets.
Neighborhood highlights include La Catedral (a traditional church that is Barcelona’s central place of worship), Palau de la Música Catalana (Catalan music hall with amazing Modernist architecture), Museu d’Història de Barcelona (A museum that walks you through the history of Barcelona and demonstrates what life in medieval Barcelona was really like), etc.
There is a ton to see in this neighborhood, so do anything that appeals to you until you’re starvin’ like Marvin.
At this Point:
You can mosey on over to Quimet & Quimet, a tapas restaurant that has been around since the ye olde year of 1914.
This place is bangin’.
This place is so bangin’ that it’s always packed. Oh yeah, it’s also tiny so prepare to feel a bit claustrophobic.
But it’s worth it.
This bar has an antique feel and serves some amazing cheese tapas on crispy bread (they also have tapas with canned seafood, cured meats, and fish).
They also have a great house-made beer that pairs with their tapas but alas, I’m not a drinker so I don’t know that for a fact.
A Picasso Museum, or Museu Picasso in Spanish! And I mean, how bad could a museum of Picasso paintings be? Exactly!
Girl with the Passport travel fail number 3,265 is that I tried to visit this museum on a Monday when, doh, the museum is closed.
Heed this very important Barcelona travel tip and visit this museum on any day other than Monday! Also, keep your eyes open for proper signage since I had a hard time finding this museum.
You’ll see some of Picasso’s best work from his formative years, (So don’t be disappointed when you don’t see his later, more famous works) so that you can better under his true artistic versatility and genius.
If nothing else:
You’ll leave the museum feeling a bit more appreciative of Picasso’s unique style and his never-ending search for innovative forms of artistic, self-expression.
After you say adios to Picasso:
This magnificent cultural center sits adjacent to the city’s Plaza Mayor and has many things for visitors to explore like restaurants, cafes, bars, craft shops, artisan workshops, and museums.
Just gaze up at this hill’s famous fountains, ascend the stairs, and meander through the park, from Andalucía to the Balearic Islands.
***Enter the park from Avila, beneath the towered medieval gate, and bare right. Montjuic’s information office is here and has free maps that can help you navigate this enormous place.***
Try to take a cable car to the top of Montjuic, or explore the Fundació Fran Daurel, which contains an assortment of unique works of modern art, from masters like Picasso, Miró, and Miquel Barceló.
Don’t leave before the sun sets because this is when the fountains come alive! L0L. Kidding, this isn’t Night at the Museum.
If you look at the Montjuic fountains, from the National Museum of Catalan Art as the music comes on, you’ll see vibrantly colored lights strobing through the air as they move in time with these massive fountains of water that seem to dance across the night sky.
The perfect way to end a fantastic 3 days in Barcelona.
***If you’re looking for a great final meal then visit Restaurant Martinez. Located on the outer edge of Montjuïc, this restaurant is easy to get to and gives you an amazing view of the surrounding city and port. They also serve delicious seafood Paella, lobster rice, and have an amazing oyster bar. But if seafood isn’t your thing, they also serve traditional tapas as well. ***