What not to miss in the Catalan capital!
” The haunting of history is ever present in Barcelona. I see cities as organisms, as living creatures. To me, Madrid is a man and Barcelona is a woman. And it’s a woman who’s extremely vain. “Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A beautiful and true quote from the famous Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Barcelona is not only the Capital of Catalonia but also the tourist Capital of Spain having over 9 million visitors per year.
The Catalonian city is not one of the most typical Spanish places in the country, but that’s what makes it more unique. The impressive buildings are charming for not only the architecture lovers but for everyone who likes city-breaks.
Regarding the weather, city trips during winter in Spain are just as perfect as it can be in the rest of the year. The mornings are chilly, but it’s sunny all day long. Perfect for long walks on the historic streets.
The public transport is really good in the city, however we didn’t use it too much as the best way to feel the magical city’s atmosphere is clearly to walk around in it. We chose an airbnb accommodation near to the Sagrada Família for 50€/night.
I became so delighted by the loads of sunshine arriving from the cloudy Ireland. We had a little disappointing experience because of the lack of hospitality from some people we met. We noticed not everyone likes speaking English or even Spanish, they prefer Catalonian. Despite of this, we loved the city, and we would happily go back for another citybreak. 🙂
Enough talking, let’s get to the point and see how to spend three busy days in Barcelona by visiting the unmissable spots of the city.
3-Day Itinerary for Barcelona
- Park Güell
- Torre Glóries
- Camp Nou
- Casa Milá & Casa Batlló
- Cathedral of Barcelona
- Triumphal Arch
- Ciudadela Park
- Gaudí Park
- Sagrada Família
- Tipuana Tipu Tree
- La Rambla
- Boqueria Market
- Botero’s Cat
- Chocolatería La Nena
- Bike Tour
- Montjuïc Cable Car
- Magic Fountain
- National Museum of Catalan Art
- Barcelona Olympic Park
Park Güell and Above
A well-known famous park designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. Entering the park is like you step in a fairy tale, so peaceful atmosphere with extraordinary buildings and a stunning view of the city. They give a guide with recommended routes to walk around the park without missing any of it. They also have guided tours. Check out the Park Güell’s official website for more info about it.
We walked up to the park from the Sagrada Família and at the end we exit the it on the top side. There is a path over the park to go up to the hill – Turó de les Tres Creus – which I highly recommend as there are less people, and you can have a more gorgeous look of whole Barcelona. Just be careful, once you leave the park, you can’t enter again!
The rest of the afternoon we spent going down to Barcelona’s most famous main street the La Rambla and went to see – by metro – the modern skyscraper, Torre Glóries (formerly known Torre Agbar). The bullet shaped 38-story tower stands 142 metres tall and is lighten up during the night, sometimes even showing images on it’s illuminating outside.
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Day 2 – In walking order
Camp Nou – Barcelona Football Stadium
Certainly one of the most visited places in Barcelona is the stadium of the famous football club Barça. It offers a great interactive experience not only for the football fans but for those as well who are not keen on this sport — like me. They also have more kinds of tours and cheapr options paying online, just check out their official website. It took us around 1,5 hour to accomplish the tour.
After the stadium visit we headed for some delicious churros to Xurreria Trebol and started our long walk down to the beach from there. The sights where we stopped on the way:
Casa Milá, Casa Batlló – Gaudí Architecture
We couldn’t go in to these ingenious buildings of the most famous architect of Barcelona, although they are open for public! They were both outstanding even outside amongst the other houses.
More useful information can be found on the official websites:
Catedral de Barcelona – Cathedral of Barcelona
Located in the historical old town of Barcelona in the heart of the city. Because of the lack of time we didn’t enter the cathedral, but it is enthralling just to walk around the Gothic district and see the famous bishop bridge, look into the patio of the old houses. All this together with the narrow alleys show the history of Barcelona since 133 B.C.
If you wish to visit the Cathedral, check the official website: Catedral de Barcelona.
There is a nice little plaza close to the Cathedral with the Tipuana tipu tree, what we made it in our third day.
Arc de Triomf – Triumphal Arch
Since 1888 it is one of the most iconic landmark of the Catalonian city. It was built to offer a gateway to the Universal Exhibition which was held in the Ciudadela Park in that year. Small attractions charming the visitors to the plaza like marionette puppet dance. 😀
Parc de la Ciutadella – Ciudadela Park
The biggest park of Barcelona was peaceful and happy in the middle of January as well. Some people sell handcrafts and some of them just walking around. A few artist were playing on guitars and even acrobats were practicing on the sun-drenched field. I loved the green little birds chirping all around the park. Little boats can be rented on the lake inside but not all year round –of course not when we were there. The parliament of Catalan and the Zoo of Barcelona are also located in the Ciudadela Park.
La Playa – The Beach
We couldn’t wait to finally look over the sea lying on the beach! It was so quite in January of course. A few people were playing volleyball on the sand! It looked creepy for me in the middle of January as I’m not used to see this but it was awesome! We settle down on the La Barceloneta beach. It is mainly covered by sand but closer to the sea – which was freeeezing – it becomes shingly. Some people were bold enough to even swim in the Mediterranean sea! We stayed until sunset to see the captivating colourful sky on the beach.
We still had a long walk ahead of us as we had to go back ot our accomodation, and we wanted to see the cityt at night as well! It is suprisingly busy, and of course beautiful.
Plaça de Gaudí – Gaudí Park
The little park just in front of the main entrance of the Sagrada Família offering great photoshooting spots and a beautifil view of Antoni Gaudí’s most famouse work. It also has a friendly atmosphere, kids having fun on the playground while a lot of elderly locals play cards and bocce there.
Must visit and enter! I’ve been in Barcelona once before our trip when I didn’t have the chance to go in to the amusing temple. We didn’t regret to buy a tour this time! I highly recommend! It’s just sooooo amaazing! This guy was clearly a genious, if you didn’t believed it before, you will by entering the Sagrada Família. I think I just can’t write down how amazing it is. The tour guide starts outside and going in, then leaving the church on its other side.
From here going inside again a little museum gives insight of the design and construction of the edifice.
There is also a small school – designed by Gaudí of course – which has no corners at all!
There are more kinds of entrance tickets that visitors can choose from, we bought the Bilingual Guided Tour for 25€ but it is important to book the starting time in advance! Check out the ticket types for Sagrada Família here.
Tipuana tipu Tree
A little walk again in the city centre, we loved the old town 😛 This small plaza was so lovely, it was good stop by here.
Barcelona’s most famous shopping street is full of boutiqes, souvenir shops, restaurants and designer shops. It’s not a suprise that it’s always busy. The famous San Juan market opens from the street as well. The street stretches from the Plaza de Catalunya until the Mirador de Colom on the seaside.
Mercat de San Josep / Mercat de la Boqureia – Boqueria Market
A traditional Spanish adn Catalan market in the heart of the city, easely accessible by metro too. Besides the fresh fruits, juices, vegetables you can also try the local cold cuts and ham varieties. Special street food stalls are offering freshly made local food and tapas.
El Gat de Botero – Botero’s Cat
This chubby cat became one of the famous landmarks of Barcelona. The bronze sculpture was made by Fernando Botero, a Colombian artist from Medellín. The funny looking artistic cat can be seen on the Rambla del Raval, near to the city centre. It’s in the middle of a quiet area and easely accessible from the La Rambla. We like visiting places which is less touristic and this part of the city was one of them.
After saying goodbye to the Cat we took a bus and went to the beach again for a little time to collect as much sun as we could before we were flying back to the rainy Ireland.
Chocolatería La Nena
We didn’t want to leave Barcelona without eating the delicious churros once again, so for the last stop we headed to a famous Chocolatería called La Nena. They not only have churros but other delicious things as well, although we stayed with the chocolate con churros, simply because I love chocholate. 😛 The place is really family friendly and perfectly suitable for kids as they have smaller sized chairs and tables sorrunded by a lot of toys have fun.
We stopped by a little shop while we wre rushing back to the apartment to buy a churros maker! It was actually hard to find one and they took it from the back of the shelf. But we bought one, and we made – an unexpected abundant amount of – churros at home! Yummmi!
What we missed
Learnt from Madrid, a city tour on bike is really useful and enjoyable mainly if you are on a short trip only. We walked so much in this trip, we actually got home more tired. Search for bike tours in Barcelona to explore the city with another perspective more efficiently.
Telefèric de Montjuïc – The Montjuïc Cable Car
We couldn’t make it this time, although I would have loved to try out the cable car over the beautiful Barcelona! It would have been amazing. It is definitely stays on our list if we ever visit again the Catalan city! If you go on a bike tour and finish the city center trip faster, it can be feasible in a short trip to get a lift from or to the top of the mountain. More info about the cable car on the official website!
There are of course more attractions on the Montjuic like the castle, the Olympic ring and museums. Click for more info!
Font Magico – Magic Fountain
Well, sadly the magic fountain only has shows during the summer months so we didn’t have a chance to watch one of them. However, I’ve seen once before and it’s pretty nice, they even put Disney songs and the colorful fountain moves to the melody!
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – National Museum of Catalan Art
This stunning building is the home of so many artworks created since the Romanesque period. Their exhibition shows masterpieces from even Picasso and Gaudí . It is at the feet of the Montjuic and just over the Magic Fountain.
Barcelona Olympic Park
The park gained it’s bigger fame after the 1992 summer Olympic games held in Barcelona. The main building was originally built in 1929. Nowadays it is giving home to the most popular music acts. The Olympic and Sports Museum, Palau Sant Jordi and the unique Telecommunications Tower are also located in the park.
If you like exploring the cities on foot , skip the crowded tourist buses and try to experience more closer as local. Even though it’s tiring and can make you exhausted it worth the walking! Barcelona is a treasure of Spain and proudly Catalan. Hence it is different than other parts of the country and worthy to visit with an itinerary to get the most of it! Use our itinerary as a base of your trip to Barcelona!
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