3 Days In Barcelona: My Itinerary To Discover The City

barcelona in 3 days

Are you planning to visit Barcelona and spend 3 days exploring the city? You have made a list of all the monuments of the city you want to discover but don’t know where to start?

The good news is that I’ve put together a great 3-day Barcelona itinerary just for you. 3 days in Barcelona go by very quickly under the Mediterranean sun. There are so many things to see in this city! I’ve been living here for more than 20 years and I still make new discoveries every day.

3 Days in Barcelona: My Complete Itinerary

visit barcelona in 3 days

If we assume that you are visiting Barcelona for the first time, you should plan to visit the most important monuments in Barcelona. Here is a spreadsheet that summarizes this 3-day Barcelona itinerary. I hope you will find it useful.

Day 1Day 2Day 3
Casa MilàParc de la CiutadellaMontjuïc Hill
Casa BatllóEl BornMNAC
Gothic Quarter/Las Ramblas/RavalSagrada FamiliaPoble Sec
Statue of Columbus/Port of BarcelonaPark GüellBarceloneta Beach
Flamenco showSpanish guitar showOlympic Port

Day 1 of my Barcelona itinerary: Gaudí’s houses, historical centre, and flamenco

You have just arrived in the Catalan capital. Welcome to Barcelona! Beware, you’ll be amazed during this first day. Follow me.

Casa Milà and/or Casa Batlló

casa mila vs casa batllo

See you at the Passeig de Gràcia, in front of the last house built between 1906 and 1912 by Gaudí, the genius architect who revolutionized Barcelona. Casa Milà, also known as Pedrera, is incredibly original.

The assets of the Pedrera or Casa Milà

casa mila pedrera barcelona
  • Its magnificent undulating façade and its wonderful wrought iron balconies
  • Its roof terrace where mysterious knights stand guard and its panoramic views of the city
  • Its attic, which looks like the entrails of a sea animal, where an exhibition of models and objects retraces Gaudí’s artistic itinerary (an excellent introduction to the artist’s creative universe)
  • His apartment very well reconstructed with antique furniture
  • The photogenic beauty of its inner courtyards and stairways

Then, walk half way down the beautiful avenue of Passeig de Gràcia, on the right-hand side walk, towards Plaça Catalunya; you will discover a house that appears to be straight out of a fairy tale.

This is the Casa Batlló, a building of great beauty, another product of Gaudí’s fertile imagination. Fully restored between 2017 and 2019, it is resplendent and has many surprises in store for its visitors.

casa batllo barcelona in 3 days

The assets of Casa Batlló

  • Its colourful façade, amazing balconies, and dragon-shaped roof
  • The incredible energy that inhabits this house
  • The fact that this house is unlike any other in the world
  • The beauty of the noble floor (former home of the Batlló family)
  • The extreme research of all its elements (stairwell, door handles, woodwork, chandeliers, fireplace …)
  • The impression of luminous lightness that emanates from its attic
  • Its beautiful terrace from which you can touch the back of the dragon

You must choose between the two?

It’s a tough choice because these two houses are incredible and look nothing alike.

The Casa Batlló is as magical as it is watery. A strange description? I’ll give you that, but only when you visit it will you understand better what I mean.

The Casa Milà is undulating, less colourful, a little more “sober” but just as impressive. Its new audio guide will give you more information about Gaudí’s art in general and his various masterpieces.

The entrance fee for Casa Batlló is higher. This can tip the balance in favour of Casa Milà. That said, if you have the budget, don’t hold back and visit both. Discovering these two unique houses in the world will surely be part of your unforgettable travel memories.

Las Ramblas, Gothic Quarter, Raval

barcelona in 3 days historical centre

After admiring the Casa Amatller, next door to the Casa Batlló (you can even take a break in its pretty cafeteria to enjoy a nice hot chocolate), continue your stroll along Passeig de Gràcia towards Plaça de Catalunya and cross this large sunny square in the heart of the city.

Then, go along the famous Ramblas, the promenade that separates two areas of the historic centre: the Raval and the Gothic Quarter, and that leads to the statue of Christopher Columbus and the sea.

What to explore on Las Ramblas

  • The Virreina Palace and its free photo exhibitions
  • The most famous and photogenic market in the city: Mercat de la Boqueria
  • The great Liceu theatre, a performance hall where you can applaud the greatest names in opera
  • The statue of Christopher Columbus, a monument inaugurated during the World’s Fair of 1888

What to explore in the Gothic Quarter

  • The Barcelona Cathedral, or Santa Eulàlia Cathedral, of magnificent Gothic style, built between the 13th and 15th centuries, is located in the heart of the city.
  • The Plaça del Pi district, with its basilica and its pretty little streets with historical charm
  • Plaça Reial: with its perfect proportions, arcades, street lamps, and palm trees
  • The pretty square of Sant Felip Neri with its small church and school. A commemorative plaque reminds us that it was bombed during the civil war.

What to explore in the Raval

  • The MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona) and its esplanade where Barcelona skaters meet
  • The CCCB (Civic and Cultural Centre of Barcelona) next to the Macba
  • La Rambla del Raval (its statue of Botero’s Cat, the Barceló Raval Hotel and its 360º terrace)
  • Gaudí’s Palau Güell (a mansion designed for the family of his patron Eusebi Güell)
  • The maritime museum and its impressive galley

The port and its boats

barcelona in 3 days boat harbour

Lost in the narrow streets of the historic centre, we tend to forget that the sea is nearby. And yet, behind the statue of Christopher Columbus, a short break near the port where the golondrinas or catamarans leave will allow you to admire the beautiful reflections of the sea between the boats or the charming red cable car of the port that goes back and forth over the water.

Here is a good plan: If you fancy a mini-cruise on a catamaran to watch the sunset over Barcelona to the sound of a jazz saxophone, I invite you to book your seats for this very pleasant and good value activity. I tried it with my family and greatly appreciated it!

Flamenco Evening

flamenco barcelona

Even if Catalonia is not the cradle of flamenco, it is possible to attend authentic and high quality shows in Barcelona.

By the way, our favorite tablao is located on Las Ramblas, so it’s perfect! But there are other interesting addresses in our article on flamenco in Barcelona that will give you all the information you need to have a great night out.

Day 2 of my Barcelona itinerary: Ciutadella Park, Born, Park Güell and Sagrada Familia

Ciutadella Park and Born

barcelona in 3 days ciutadella born

Start the second day of this Barcelona itinerary by heading to the Ciutadella Park to admire its waterfall, which dates back to the 1888 Universal Exhibition, its watering hole, and its tree-lined paths.

Cross it leisurely to reach the Born. This neighbourhood will seem familiar because its charm is reminiscent of the Gothic Quarter, but the atmosphere is different. It’s hard to explain why. It’s up to you to decide and tell us which one you prefer.

What to explore in the Born

  • The famous Picasso Museum
  • The Moco Museum (museum of contemporary art opened in October 2021)
  • The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
  • Santa Caterina Market
  • The sumptuous Palau de la Musica, a UNESCO world heritage site and performance hall designed by the architect Domènech i Montaner

Sagrada Familia and Park Güell: Gaudí’s greatest masterpieces

Sagrada Familia: the must-see visit!

visit barcelona sagrada familia

The highlight of the trip: the discovery of the Sagrada Familia!

Do not just discover the exterior of the Sagrada Familia. Even if its façades rich in symbols are astonishing and its towers impressive, it is the very unusual interior of this basilica that will certainly dazzle you.

Its light, its purity, its palm pillars that form a symbolic forest within this immense basilica, the reflections of its beautiful stained glass windows… all the details of this wonderful masterpiece form a breathtaking ensemble.

Tip: book your ticket in advance! “La Sagrada Familia” is the most visited monument in Barcelona. It would be a shame not to get to visit it.

Park Güell

monument barcelona park guell

Next, we go to Park Güell, one of the most important monuments of Gaudí, which you can discover in many ways.

  1. If you are on a tight budget, you can walk through the free section of the park. From there, you will have a great view of the city and the monumental part where the most famous elements of the park are located (the salamander, the wavy bench, the columns, the beautiful houses, the hypostyle hall…)
  2. You can also book your ticket for a visit to the monumental part on the official website of the park, which will allow you to discover the architectural wonders designed by Gaudí that make this park unique in the world.
  3. A third option is to book a guided tour in English that will give you interesting information about the creation of this park and the role of Eusebi Güell, Gaudí’s patron without whom the architect could not have realized all his masterpieces.
  4. José, a very nice official guide, offers a private guided tour Sagrada Familia + Park Güell, interesting especially if you are in a small group or family.
  5. Finally, a combined guided tour is available: Sagrada Familia + Park Güell which includes entrance fees to both monuments and a transfer by minibus between the two.

Spanish guitar concert in the Gothic Quarter

spanish guitar

In the evening, if you feel like doing another little cultural and artistic outing, I recommend you go back to Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter to attend a Spanish guitar concert and have a good time in an inspiring and serene setting.

Day 3 of our Barcelona itinerary: Montjuïc, Poble Sec, the beaches, and the Olympic port

For your last morning in Barcelona, we suggest you climb the hill of Montjuïc, this beautiful green area where you will enjoy walking.

Here, from the heights of the city, you can choose to discover parks, foundations, museums, sports facilities dating back to the 1992 Olympics, and a range of activities to make your half-day as diverse as possible.

barcelona in 3 days montjuic

What to explore on Montjuïc hill

Art and culture

  • The Miró Foundation: a beautiful contemporary building that recalls the artistic career of the Catalan painter-sculptor Joan Miró
  • The National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC): a magnificent museum displaying 1000 years of 12th century Catalan art.
  • CaixaForum: a superb cultural centre with quality temporary exhibitions
  • Poble Espanyol: the reproduction of a Spanish village that gathers the most emblematic places of each autonomous community of the country
  • Montjuïc Castle: a military fortress that dominates the hill.

Sport and relaxation

  • The Olympic Village: built for the 1992 Olympic Games, it consists of the Olympic ring, the Lluís Companys stadium, the Palau Sant Jordi, and the telecommunications tower.
  • The Olympic pool where the diving event took place in 1992.
  • The Olympic and Sports Museum: to know everything about sporting life and the role of sports in social integration.
  • The green spaces and the numerous gardens are ideal for walking and jogging.

Here is a good plan! A short break in the Bar Salts (Avinguda Miramar, 31) will allow you to rest and relax and enjoy a panoramic view of the Picornell swimming pool and the city at a reasonable cost.

bar salts montjuic
  • From this bar, the departure of the red cable car from the port is not far. If you prefer to shorten the program of this second day, you can overfly part of Barcelona and arrive directly at the port.

MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia)

mnac collage

This museum of Catalan art is truly impressive and if you are interested in art, don’t just contemplate it from afar.

Enter the magnificent palace that houses it. You will discover 1000 years of Catalan art through paintings, sculptures, and frescoes from the 11th to the 20th century. A beautiful journey through time awaits you!

Read more in our full article on the MNAC.

Poble Sec

tapas pinchos carrer blai

Poble Sec is a neighbourhood that is part of the Montjuïc district. I mention it here because I believe that embarking on a delightful tapas tour could be quite appealing.

In this case, I invite you to walk through its Blai street and go from bar to bar to try the different tapas exposed on each counter. Enjoy your meal!

Seaside, Barceloneta, and Olympic Port

barcelona in 3 days barceloneta harbour

How about enjoying the sea breeze to wrap up your 3 days in Barcelona? It’s impossible to leave the Catalan capital without taking a stroll by the sea!

Depending on the season and the weather, you can either take a dip in the Mediterranean, lounge on the beach, or take a walk along the Passeig Marítim and stretch your legs while contemplating the landscape.

You can even extend your stroll to the Olympic port. You will not see the time pass as the walk is so pleasant.

And finally, if you like the atmosphere of a fishing village, you’ll love a trip to the Barceloneta, a neighbourhood by the sea that has kept its authentic charm with its pretty little streets, its small squares, its clothes hanging in the windows and its typical bars.

And that’s it! Your 3 days in Barcelona are over. All that’s left to do is plan your next trip to Barcelona. The Catalan capital still has a lot of wonders for you to discover!

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