A city of Pablo Picasso, of Sagrada Familia and Antoni Gaudi, of paellas and sangria, of Roman temples and urban culture, of La Rambla and Barceloneta — yes, Barcelona is truly one of the most amazing cities in the world. If you are a traveler, we can only imagine your excitement if Barcelona is your next destination.
Why You Should Visit Barcelona
There are numerous reasons to visit this old Mediterranean city that successfully combines long traditions with a cool contemporary vibe, here are just a few.
- Unique architecture - Everyone knows that European architecture is amazing but believe us when we say that Barcelona is home to more than a few architectural gems like you have never seen before.
- History and museums - The city was founded by the Romans, thrived during the Gothic period and was one of the favorite meeting spots of prominent fin-de-siècle artists. Learn more about its interesting history in Barcelona’s many museums.
- A mix of business and pleasure - Famous companies like Amazon and Deloitte have branches in Barcelona. The city also has breathtakingly beautiful sandy beaches, some of them in close proximity to those towering glass buildings.
- The culture of tapas - Tapas is not a specific dish but a style of serving. In the beginning, tapas were just small pieces of bread or meat used to cover the drinks to keep flies out. Today, they represent both simple and sophisticated snacks served in almost every bar in Barcelona.
- Sangria and siesta - You should maximize your time spent in Barcelona and visit all of the most important sites. But in true Spanish spirit, take an afternoon break and just chill for at least an hour while sipping on your refreshing sangria.
5-day Itinerary for Barcelona
Barcelona itinerary for 5 days will give you a basic plan of how to spend each day during your visit. The list contains all of the most important and popular sites in Barcelona (and a few underrated ones worth the visit). Go see and do as much as possible — but also remember to relax, enjoy and take in the beauty of the city!
Day 1 - Gaudi Tour: Explore His Masterpieces
A genius Modernist architect Antoni Gaudi created some of the most amazing buildings in Barcelona — some would say in the whole world. That is why your itinerary for 5 days in Barcelona should definitely include a walking tour of his best work. Gaudi's whimsical houses are hard to miss — but to spend your time in Barcelona wisely, it is best to have your day planned beforehand.
Maybe it will surprise you that Gaudi's most famous work is not even finished yet! The breathtaking neo-Gothic church Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882 — and there is still not an end in sight. This World Heritage Site is a must-see but keep in mind that you should get your tickets way before visiting the city. This is one of the most popular tourist sites and getting a ticket on the day of the visit is close to impossible.
After browsing Sagrada's tall columns and shiny stained-glass windows, visit Park Guell, a place where Gaudi's creations blend perfectly with natural surroundings. The majority of the park is free but you will need to get tickets for the Monumental Zone. Even though this part takes only about 5% of the park, we recommend you to pay for the tickets and see Gaudi's magical work up close.
Also known as La Pedrera, Casa Mila is one more extraordinary example of Gaudi's imagination. Many visitors agree that the best part of the house is the wavy fairytale rooftop terrace, a structure so special that it almost outshines the surrounding views of Barcelona.
One of the best ways of seeing the most important sites is embarking on a free tour. The Free Tour Gaudí and Modernisme is one of the most highly-rated ones. Be on time, get some comfy shoes and get ready to learn all about the Modernist movement in Barcelona.
PARK GUELL, PICTURE BY MARIAMICHELLE ON PIXABAY.COM
Day 2 - Barri Gotic Tour
Did you know that Barcelona was founded 2,000 years ago by the Romans? You can go visit the Temple d'August, one of the city's last remaining Roman relics, which is nestled in the Gothic Quarter (or Barri Gotic). The oldest neighborhood in Barcelona bears witness to the city's beginnings but also encapsulates one of the city's most fruitful periods, the Gothic times, which lasted from the 13th to the 15th century.
La Rambla is Barcelona's most famous street, which you will probably frequently pass during your visit to the city. In the 15th century this became an important axis for transport, public gatherings and festivities. And today, well, it is still equally important! There you will find everything from shops like Zara and H&M to famous food and coffee chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks. While browsing through this pedestrian-friendly street, explore the nearby artsy bars and cafes and enjoy their irresistible hip vibe.
Restaurants and cafes in Barri Gotic
- Els Quatre Gats - This cerveseria (beer bar) is a true institution. It dates back to the 1890s and it held one of Picasso's first exhibitions.
- El Bosc de les Fades - The name of this sangria-serving bar means "fairy forest" and it looks just like one. Get ready for fake trees, illusory mirrors and simulated rainstorms.
- Art i sa - Grab a quick bite, drink a coffee made with expertise or get delicious pistachio ice cream while listening to jazz.
The ancient Cathedral with a neo-Gothic facade is an unmissable spot in Barcelona. The locals refer to it as La Seu because of the Catalan word for "seat", seu. The church got this nickname because it is the seat of the diocese of Barcelona.
Morning walking tour
If you want help with navigating through the streets of Barri Gotic, join a guided walking tour. Get acquainted with medieval buildings and Plaza de Catalunya, a lively square which many refer to as the heart of Barcelona.
Day 3 - Visit Montserrat
Montserrat, which translates to "saw mountain" in Catalan, is located only 45 km (28 miles) from Barcelona. It makes for a great day trip as it is easy to get there, it offers magnificent views of the city and lets you get acquainted with the Spanish countryside.
The peach-colored building represents the cornerstone of the Catalan culture. Inside the Benedictine Monastery, you can find the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat, one of the few black madonnas in Europe. This is why the Montserrat mountain is one of the most popular religious retreats.
MONTSERRAT MONASTERY, PICTURE BY ANOTNIO CASANO ON PIXABAY.COM
Even if you are not religious, you will not regret spending your day 1,236 meters (4,055 feet) above ground and enjoying some seriously unforgettable views. Many tourists make an overnight hike to the peak, then wake up to one of the most beautiful sunrises in the world.
Private Montserrat Tours
If you want to have a first-class experience, embark on one of the private tours. This Half-Day Tour with Tapas and Gourmet Wines includes the tour of the Monastery, as well as a visit to Oller del Mas, a castle from the 10th century now turned into a winery. Of course, a day will not pass without trying out delicious tapas and wines.
Day 4 - Visit Barcelona's Famous Museums
Among many things on the Barcelona 5 days itinerary, visiting Barcelona's impressive art collections is a must. See the works from Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Diego Velazquez, famous Spanish artists and the initiators of "isms" (Cubism, Impressionism and Modernism).
Pablo Picasso Museum
The museum houses more than 4,000 Picasso's pieces and includes works from his formative years, as well as his later creations. During high season, waiting in line can take up to 1,5h of your time. It is free for visits on the first Sunday of each month and on Thursday afternoons, but those days attract the biggest crowds. If you want to see Picasso's masterpieces without waiting, purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance.
MACBA: Museu d'Art Contemporani
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art holds the city's biggest collection of contemporary art, which, in this case, means that it houses art from the second half of the 20th century to the present day. It also houses a few selected works from the avant-garde of the 1920s. Watch out for the skateboarders who made the square in front of the building their second home. Get your tickets or visit it for free on a Saturday afternoon.
- Where to eat: Dona Rosa - Make a stop at Dona Rosa and try some of their local dishes. Guests praise their pita (the best in Barcelona!) but also a great atmosphere and friendly staff.
Museo de la Xocolata
If the chocolate bar given to you instead of the ticket won't blow your mind, the chocolate sculptures will! They have everything from the chocolate statue of Sagrada Familia and Sydney Opera House to chocolate Messi and Asterix and Obelix. You can also buy delicious souvenirs! The museum is often overlooked so you probably won't have to stand in line to enter. Still, it is recommended to purchase your tickets in advance.
Day 5 - Explore the Montjuic
Montjuic is a hill that overlooks a part of the city and its port. Start by walking up dozens of stairs to the top of Montjuic — as a reward you will get to enjoy the views of the bustling city below. There is plenty to do and see, adding some quite interesting places to your "seeing Barcelona in 5 days" itinerary.
Besides the stunning view of the city, the 17th-century castle offers well-kept gardens and a small museum with artifacts from Barcelona's history.
MNAC: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
The museum displays an extensive art collection, beginning with the medieval era (11th century) and magnificent frescoes from Catalonia's churches. Other highlights include paintings by Spanish artists like El Greco, Diego Velazquez, Antoni Gaudi, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso.
Fundacio Joan Miro
The museum is housed in a sleek building in the Parc de Montjuic and dedicated to the world-famous Surrealist-Abstract artist. Explore more than 5,000 creations of Miro's imagination, as well as temporary exhibitions from 20th- and 21st-century artists.
The Parc de Montjuic also houses the Olympic Stadium of Barcelona used for the 1992 Summer Olympics. The home of the city's second football team, Espanyol, is open year-round to its visitors.
Magic Fountain of Montjuic
The spectacular Magic Fountain is a very popular tourist attraction built in the 1920s by Carles Buigas for the International Expo. Today it can produce around 7 billion light-and-water combinations and is recognized as an emblem of the city. The light and music shows are held Thursday through Sunday during the summer months and Friday and Saturday during winter (closed early January through mid-February).
- Where to eat: Taps - Just 0.6 km (0.4 miles) from Plaza d'Espanya, you can find this charming restaurant offering classic European, Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine, an amazing collection of craft beers and a wide selection of regional wines.
MAGIC FOUNTAIN OF MONTJUIC, PICTURE BY NOSOLOMARCAS ON PIXABAY.COM
Other Ideas You Could Add to Itinerary
The best thing about our "5 days in Barcelona" itinerary is that you can personalize it according to your wishes. Do you want to see another Gaudi house? Get in touch with a free-spirited side of Barcelona? Visit another nearby town instead of spending a day in museums? Check out our alternative suggestions!Casa Batllo (add to day 1)
Casa Batllo, popularly called Casa dels Ossos (House of Bones), was not built by Antoni Gaudi but the celebrated architect made it famous. Gaudi was asked by Joseph Batllo to redesign the home and make it stand out. The eye-catching building features a multi-colored fairytale facade and a roof composed of large scales which resemble a dragon's back. The inside of the house will not cease to amaze — the patio of lights distributes the air and light that enter through the main skylight and the loft creates a space that evokes the ribcage of an animal.Plaza de George Orwell (add to day 2)
When exploring the Gothic Quarter, make a stop at this little part of alternative Barcelona. It is named after George Orwell, the British writer who loved Catalonia, features a highly unusual sculpture by Leandre Cristofol in the middle and is a go-to place for Barcelona's Bohemian crowd. If you have time, get a drink at Oviso, a place with fun murals and a lively terrace, or Bahia, a bar decorated with odd maps and cool lighting.La Boqueria (add to day 2)
More than 200 stands offer their specialties in La Boqueria, a market near La Rambla operating since the 1830s. Enter through the giant arches and let the smell of the freshly cooked food seduce you. Some delicacies are made by third- or fourth-generation traders, some by food innovators — whichever you pick, you won't be disappointed! Try seafood platters, various tapas, huevos rotos (broken eggs) with squid, chickpeas and morcilla (blood sausage) or other mouth-watering dishes that will suit your taste best!Girona (instead of day 3)
Escape the busy streets of Barcelona (just for a day) and visit the Roman-walled town of Girona, where things move a little slower. The filming site of the Game of Thrones is a true Catalan gem, with cute cobblestone streets, a memorable Cathedral and plenty of room to enjoy food and drinks. The city is walkable, so you can explore its main sites within a day — do not miss the red Eiffel Bridge, Girona’s city walls and Rocambolesc, an ice creamery where you can find unusual treats, like the "Jaime Lannister hand" rosewater popsicle.Barceloneta (instead of day 4)
Once a fishing village, today a fantastic place to sunbathe and try the best seafood in the city! Discover numerous restaurants and bars hidden among Barceloneta’s historical streets or spend a day at one of the breathtaking beaches, a magnet for both tourists and locals. There are four beaches: Sant Miquel, Somorrostro, Sant Sebastià (offering spectacular views of the super stylish W Hotel, a popular backdrop of numerous Instagram photos) and the Barceloneta beach, perfect for those looking for fun sports activities.
BARCELONETA, PICTURE BY VALDEMARAS D. ON PEXEL.COM
Tips for Visiting Barcelona
Feel your best, pack everything you need, use your time wisely and learn how to save a bit of money — here are our Barcelona travel tips!Book tickets in advance for top sights
No matter how long you are staying in Barcelona, you will want to spend that time productively or, in other words, avoid standing in lines whenever possible. That is why booking tickets beforehand is one of the best pieces of advice you can get before visiting the city. Make a list of the museums and attractions you want to visit, follow your itinerary and get tickets for those days — future you will be grateful!Watch your belongings
Like many big European cities, Barcelona has a reputation for pickpocketing. You do not need to worry about your safety but it is important to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are near top attractions and in big crowds. Make sure you keep your phone, wallet and documents somewhere safe. One way of doing so is by getting an anti-theft backpack.Wear comfortable shoes
When you are in a city as marvelous as Barcelona, you will want to check out as many interesting sites and neighborhoods as possible. And sure, you can use taxis, but you will likely get around by metro and walking — lots of walking. So, resist showing off your fabulous new shoes and wear something comfy!Start your day early
Not only will you get to see more stuff if you start your day early, but you will also avoid crowds. A picture in front of Sagrada Familia is pretty, but even prettier if there are not hundreds of tourists between you and Sagrada's Gothic walls, right?Save money on sightseeing
Getting a sightseeing pass will absolutely save you money but only if you actually go see all of the included attractions! The Go City Barcelona pass is one of the most popular choices. You can choose from 2 to 7 attraction passes and save up to 40%. Pay attention to which sites are included — for example, this pass does not include Sagrada Familia and Park Guell.Pack all of the necessities
Do you always pack too many clothes and accidentally leave out something not as important, like a phone charger? Don't worry, it happens to all of us! Follow our packing list for Europe and become a packing pro. The list includes everything from important documents and clothes to gadgets, gear and tips on how to pack more lightly.Keep a travel journal
Your days spent in Barcelona will be more memorable if you keep a creative travel journal while you are there. You do not have to be super talented at writing — your journal can include details from your trip like tickets, photos or thoughts. Here are seven creative travel journal ideas to get inspired!
And there you have it — all of the tips and tricks to get the most out of your visit to this amazing Mediterranean city!