Wondering what to do with just one day in Barcelona? Keep reading to find out the ultimate one day itinerary that will show you the best of Spain’s coastal gem.
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The heart of Catalonia, it has inspired some of history’s greatest art, literature, and music. 1.6 million people are lucky enough to call this Spanish paradise home. A further 9.12 million flock to its shores every year.
To fully experience the majesty of Barcelona, you must stay there for at least a couple of weeks. But let’s say you don’t have that much time to dedicate to your visit. Let’s imagine you only have one day in Barcelona to see and experience it all. With the right itinerary, you can still have a magical time. You’ll find that itinerary below.
Here is a comprehensive list of the top things to do with one day in Barcelona from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Each activity will help you squeeze the most out of your time in the city and ensure you enjoy an authentic Catalan experience.
Here is your ultimate guide for one day in Barcelona.
This is a guest post by Elliot from The Travel Kind
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One Day in Barcelona Itinerary
One Day in Barcelona: Morning
Start Your Day With Breakfast At La Pubilla
Barcelona has no shortage of great breakfast spots. Whether you’re looking for a full English breakfast or something as simple as a cup of coffee, there’s somewhere in the heart of the city that can cater to your needs.
La Pubilla is perhaps the most famous breakfast spot in all of Barcelona. It is just as popular among locals as it is with tourists. This is a testament to the quality of its traditional Spanish breakfast offerings.
For the authentic Catalonia experience, it is recommend to go with the esmorzar de forquilla. Translating literally to “fork breakfast”, esmorzar de forquilla comprises a variety of meals, ranging from stews to pork sausages. It’s the perfect fuel for a day of sightseeing.
Walk Along La Rambla
After breakfast, it is best to take a nice walk along La Rambla. The world-famous street can get pretty crowded in the evenings, with scammers and pickpockets aplenty. In the morning, however, it is relatively quiet. This makes morning the perfect time to experience La Rambla and enjoy the sights and sounds it has to offer.
One of the greatest things about La Rambla is its close proximity to popular Barcelona attractions. For example, the street will lead you to Mercat de la Boqueria. This is a traditional Catalan market, where you’ll find everything from handmade souvenirs to delicious Spanish fruits.
Visit Casa Batlló
The influence of Antoni Gaudí is impossible to escape in Barcelona. The legendary architect designed buildings throughout the city, each with its own unique flare. Mere minutes removed from La Rambla is one of them; Casa Batlló.
Casa Batlló is considered by many to be Gaudí’s masterpiece and it isn’t hard to see why. From the outside, the building cuts an intimidating figure. In fact, locals often refer to it as the “House of Bones”. The interior is equally memorable, from its breathtaking modernist entrance hall to its tiled indoor garden.
Casa Batlló is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is currently open to the public, so you can experience the majesty of Gaudí’s work firsthand. Admission begins at 10 a.m., making Casa Batlló the perfect way to end your morning in Barcelona.
One Day in Barcelona: Afternoon
Visit La Sagrada Familia
As long as you’re taking in the Gaudí masterpieces of Barcelona, you have to pay a visit to La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia is most famous for its ongoing construction. Building first began all the way back in 1882 and has continued virtually uninterrupted for more than a century.
But La Sagrada Familia is so much more than a construction anomaly. Its interior, though incomplete, is stunning. Its walls and ceiling are lined with stained glass windows of various sizes. When the light pours through these windows, it creates a visually stunning effect that will mesmerize even the most cynical of tourists.
There are multiple Barcelona tours available at La Sagrada Familia. You can also enter and explore the basilica as an independent tourist. However, it is recommended you purchase the guided tour with tower access.
Enjoy Paella For Lunch
Many tourists make the mistake of eating paella at dinner time. This is never done by locals, as it’s quite a heavy dish and not right for an evening meal. Spaniards consider this rice-based dish to be the perfect lunchtime food and it’s hard to disagree.
It isn’t a challenge to find paella in Barcelona. Almost every restaurant in the city serves it. Some, however, do a better job than others. Among the most popular paella restaurants in Barcelona are Cheriff, Can Solé, and Filigrana. Barcelona is not the birthplace of Paella, that title goes to the beautiful Valencia, Spain, but the influences from the south have made their way to Barcelona to make an amazing dish!
Bask In The Sun At Park Güell
In Barcelona, the sun can get pretty intense around noon. That’s why it’s suggested to fill your early afternoon with an indoor tour and a visit to a restaurant. In the late afternoon, the sun becomes a lot more pleasant, making it the perfect time to visit Park Güell.
Park Güell is another of Antoni Gaudí’s love letters to Barcelona. It combines the architect’s famous Catalan modernism with the natural beauty of the region. The result is truly spectacular and makes Park Güell feel like a world unto itself.
During your time in the park, you can tour Gaudi’s buildings, visit the gift shop, or just lounge in the sun. If you’re a fan of the beautiful game, you may even want to bring a football along as there’s always somebody looking for a kick about in the park!
One Day in Barcelona: Evening
Watch The Sunset
The sunsets in Barcelona are spectacular. No matter where you watch the sunset from, you can be certain of a magnificent visual experience that you won’t soon forget. That being said, there are a number of spots in the city that are particularly wonderful to watch the sunset from.
The Carmel Bunkers are a particularly popular sunset spot among locals. Tourists rarely visit them as they’re a little bit out of the city, but on a summer’s evening, you’ll have plenty of time to make the journey before the sun goes down. Promise it’s worth the extra effort!
For a more central sunset spot, pay a visit to Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya. Art aficionados will recognize this as Barcelona’s leading art museum, but that’s not all it is. Along with its 250,000 plus works of art, Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya features a terrace bar. This terrace bar provides the perfect space to watch the sunset while having a few drinks.
There are also a number of sunset cruises operating in Barcelona. These are always a lot of fun, but they can be a little pricey. Depending on the tour company you go with, you can expect to pay anywhere between €50 to €200. It’s also important to note that sunset cruises can last up to four hours, so you won’t have a whole lot of time for additional activities when you return to shore.
If you are looking to spend some more time outdoors you can also go on one of the many amazing hikes in Spain that offer beautiful nature views.
Enjoy A Tapas Dinner
You already had a big meal at lunchtime, so there’s no need to force yourself to eat another one when dinner rolls around. Instead, you should enjoy a traditional tapas Spanish dinner.
The term tapas does not refer to one particular dish. Rather, it denotes a particular style of dish. Typically, tapas dishes are light and savory, meaning they make for the perfect evening snacks.
Among the most popular tapas bars in Barcelona are Jai-Ca, Quimet y Quimet, and Cal Pep. All three of these bars offer an authentic tapas experience. Can’t decide which one is right for you? Consider going on a tapas tour! Tapas tours operate throughout Barcelona and will take you to a number of the top tapas bars in the city. Most also include a complimentary drink or two, so you can be certain you’ll get your money’s worth.
End The Day With Some Live Music
Barcelona has a vibrant arts scene. Nowhere is this more evident than in the city’s many live music venues. Whatever kind of music you’re in the mood for, you can be certain there’s a bar in Barcelona that will cater to your tastes.
One of our favourite live music bars is the Harlem Jazz Club. As its name suggests, the venue primarily features jazz performers, but the remarkable musicianship of the performers is sure to captivate you, even if you’re not necessarily a fan of the genre. Other live music venues you should consider visiting include Marula Café, Nevermind, and La Sonora de Garcia. All of these venues are guaranteed to keep you entertained while you relax with a drink and reflect on your day in Barcelona.
When to Visit Barcelona
Barcelona is a great place to visit year-round. Every season welcomes its own specialties. In the summer and shoulder months (April – October) you can enjoy the beach to its fullest extent, however, the streets are busier. In the winter, Barcelona is a great place to visit to get some winter sun plus there are fewer people and the prices for everything are much lower.
Where to stay in Barcelona
With only one day in Barcelona, it is best to stay in the city center so you can get around all the attractions and things to do with ease. Below are some great accommodation options!
With one day in Barcelona, you can see and do quite a bit. With more time in this magical city, you can see and do even more! For example, making a trip from Barcelona to Montserrat.
This is a guest post by Elliot from The Travel Kind
Writing for thetravelkind, we are a luxury blog that posts weekly content focusing on quality, higher-end travel destinations.
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