Barcelona is one of my favorite cities. The history, the architecture, the nightlife, THE BEACH, make it a great destination for anyone and everyone. The only downside I found was the metro system, it was almost always easier and cheaper for us to take a cab! I could still have spent the rest of my life in Barcelona. But, here are all the things you need to see if you have just three days.
First check out the street of Las Ramblas, there are many places to eat, drink and shop. Get breakfast or lunch here and make sure you also get a jarra of sangria and feel like a local.
Next you need to see Castell de Monjuïc. You get awesome panoramic views of the capital city of Catalunya. The views are the reason the fortress was originally built, as the ultimate vantage point to protect the city. You can find detailed explanations of the castle’s history within its winding tunnels. You might be tempted to take the funicular down, or up (we definitely were), but it’s pretty pricey! But if you can make it, the castle is free Sundays after 3 p.m. Either way, you get the great views.
At night make sure you see the Montjuïc Magic Fountains. This water/light/music show is held Thursday-Sunday from 9:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. Right behind it you will see the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, which has it’s own beautiful fountains. Climb to the top for another awesome view (don’t worry there are escalators). There are also many places to eat and drink nearby.
This will have to be an early day. Go experience the beauty of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. This incredible work of architecture is a church that remains under construction and is not scheduled to be completed until 2026. This is one of the places I think getting the audioguide is really worth it. Gaudí included so many intricate details that can easily be missed. The audioguide explains in detail the significance of each facade, of the inside, of the towers, and you will also learn all about Gaudí’s life.
Next head to another Antoni Gaudí gem, Parque Güell. This is the one that you probably see in everyone’s abroad instagrams. There are two sections, the monument section is the area with all of the mosaics. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance or arrive early. Tickets to the monuments are restricted to a certain amount of people per hour and sell out quickly. Around the park is the other section, there are many neat trails which naturally, have pretty views of the city. You can see Sagrada familia and even see Tibidabo and Camp Nou in the distance.
At night you will want to experience the nightlife. And keep in mind, night life starts much later in Europe compared to in the U.S. A good place to start the night is at Ice Barcelona, located right on the beach. Buy your ticket in advance and get a complimentary ice themed drink. You are given a jacket and gloves to hang out in the bar, that is entirely made out of ice. The theme is always changing. When we went, it was Star Wars themed. It’s a fun experience and a good way to cool down, especially if you’re in Barcelona in the Summer. Many people bring their kids during the daytime just to check it out.
Next you need to head over to Opium, which happens to be right next to Ice Barcelona. Opium is famous for having popular DJs and expensive drinks. Make sure you get on the guest list through their Facebook page. You will feel like a boss skipping the line and getting through that red velvet rope without a problem! Plan on heading here between 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. Before 1:30 it is pretty much empty (unless you want to eat or smoke hookah on their patio). And after 2:00 a.m. is when they begin charging cover.
After likely staying out all night and maybe even seeing the sunrise on the beach (after leaving Opium at 6 a.m), you’re going to need an easy day! Sleep in just a little, there will be time for siestas.
Have a delicious breakfast at La Boqueria Market in El Raval. Here you can get fresh produce, meat, candy, basically anything you can think of. Many of the stands also sell deli sandwiches and pastries which I enjoyed for breakfast. And you can’t turn the corner without seeing a smoothie stand, which I also had to indulge in.
Also in El Raval is Botero’s Cat. It’s a large bronze sculpture of a cat created by Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The chubby cat is a well recognized symbol of the neighborhood.
Finally, the best part of Barcelona, imo, GO TO THE BEACH!! I may be bias because I could spend my life on a beach and be perfectly content. But still, Barcelona’s beaches are definitely in my top 10.
I went to Bogatell Beach which I would highly recommend. It was the perfect balance of locals and tourists. A lot of games and people to talk to, but you still get to have your own space.
Barceloneta is more popular, especially for tourists. But it is very dirty and crowded. Still, it is very entertaining and I can see the appeal if you can get over the touristy nature. There’s a lot music, dancing and performers, just keep an eye on your things!
And if you really want to be isolated and away from all the action, head to Caldetes, you will be virtually alone. It is a little farther out, but if you really can’t deal with people this is the spot for you. Wherever you do end up though, expect nudity.
At night head to Tibidabo if you’re up for it. It is quite a trek to get up there, but like every where else in Barcelona, it has great views. Especially at night time, the church is all lit up, the city is all lit up, and there is an old school amusement park.
And if you’re looking to go out again, there are plenty more clubs along the beach, Shoko is another very popular one. If you’re looking for something more low key try out Dow Jones Bar. It’s a really fun bar where, just like it sounds, the drink prices vary by demand at the time. Every so often there is a “stock market crash,” and every drink is super cheap for window of time.
So many places to eat were closed when I went either because the owner was on vacation or because we were off normal Spanish eating schedules thanks to sightseeing. So we ended up eating at a lot of touristy places that weren’t too great. I did really enjoy two restaurants though. Tucco Real Food, which was really low maintenance and inexpensive, but served the most delicious pasta plates. And La Rita, which was recommended by our cab driver. He said he always takes his family there because it looks really fancy and the food is great but it’s actually not that expensive, and he couldn’t have been more right! Let me know if you have any other food recommendations in Barcelona!
And if you’re curious, this was what actually happened since, we had a few mishaps. Also, find a video version of our trip here.
Haha, I think a lot of people feel that way!
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I didn’t make it to the Sagrada Familia while I was in Barcelona, but your photos are making me wish I had! It looks stunning.
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You’ll have to go back, it’s definitely something you have to experience in person!
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I went in the winter and missed out on the beaches–one more reason to go back!
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It’s always worth visiting again. Especially for the beach though!