Are you looking for what to do in Barcelona for 3 days? Barcelona is a magical city perfect for an extended 3 day weekend.
The everyday tourist and long-term traveler both can find some fun with these must-see sights in Barcelona.
To be honest, I never thought about visiting Barcelona, it wasn’t on my bucket list (shame on me), however, when we booked a seven day Mediterranean Disney Cruise out of Barcelona, we opted to stay in this city for three days.
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Three Day Itinerary in Barcelona
There is so much to see, do, and eat while in Barcelona that three days really only gives you a small taste of this great city.
For a city that speaks both Catalan and Spanish, I didn’t have any trouble communicating with people with my elementary version of Spanish and my handy google translate.
In fact, one of our drivers who prides himself on having great conversation used Google translate so we could speak to each other!
Day 1 – Get yourself acquainted
1030 Check into your Hotel
After a day of travel, make sure to incorporate both rest and some leisure activities in your day. Our flight landed at 9 am so we had plenty of time to ensure we leisurely strolled the city.
Once you land (or arrive by train or car), check into your hotel, there is a high possibility that your room will be ready and you can refresh from your travel day.
We stayed outside of the city center at the Holiday Inn Barcelona City 22. There is nothing better than changing into a fresh pair of clothes and brushing your teeth after traveling.
1130 Drink coffee to wake up
After refreshing, grab yourself a coffee from a coffee shop. Having a latte in Spain is more of an experience than something to take on the go, so take this time to regroup and get ready for the day.
We ordered our coffee from El Fornet, which we didn’t realize was a chain – but it was right next to our hotel.
Three doughnuts and coffees later, we were ready to explore Barcelona.
Be ready for a sticker shock in a good way – I found all the prices of coffee to be quite reasonable.
12 – 5 Explore the Gothic Quarter and Food tour
For our first day, we knew that we needed to walk around, but didn’t want to plan anything too time-consuming or scheduled. We opted to take a virtual food tour.
After downloading the app and going over to the Gothic Quarter, we had the option to eat 5 bites.
This self-guided tour gave up the opportunity to explore different shops, vendors, and architecture around the Gothic Quarter.
Our BiteMojo Tour was through the Gothic Quarter, so we used this time to walk around and soak in everything the Gothic Quarter had to offer. We found five different food vendors over two days and enjoyed spending time walking around and soaking in the sites.
Sharing two tours with the three of us was a perfect amount of food because we had the flexibility to order additional food at any vendor we wanted.
Make sure to go bed early on this first night to help get a full night’s rest for a jam-packed two days in Barcelona.
Day 2 – Get your Gaudi On
9:00 La Pedrera and Casa Batllo
Knowing that there wasn’t much time to see everything I had to make a decision to go to La Pedrera (Casa Mila) or Casa Batllo. Knowing that it was only a matter of preference and that you couldn’t go wrong with any choice, our family opted to tour La Pedrera (Casa Mila) and view the outside of Casa Batllo.
Our reasoning? The price was lower, they had a handicap accessible tour, and a fully furnished apartment to tour.
10:30-2:00 Book a bus tour
I love taking Hop on Hop Off tours when I am in a new city because it is an easy way to see a lot of the town in a short amount of time. Also, most of the buses are wheelchair and walker accessible, so it really helps us with our style of travel.
There are two options for booking a bus tour in Barcelona, the first is the Tourism Buristic, the official hop on and off and the second is the City Sightseeing Tours.
2:30 Las Ramblas and Plaça de Catalunya
We took this time to wander around Las Ramblas and Plaça de Catalunya. There is a lot of shopping in this area including plenty of Zaras.
These two areas of town are known for pickpocketers and street vendors. No one really bothered us, but we made sure to walk quickly as to not be a target.
6:00 Gothic Cathedral
We opted to visit the Gothic Cathedral later in the evening because the tourism site said that it was free and less crowded.
When we got to the Cathedral, however, the policy changed and I had to pay 7 Euros (Mom and Ally were free because those who are disabled and their accomplice are complimentary).
This Cathedral took my breath away by its sheer beauty inside. Make sure to budget 1-2 hours to thoroughly enjoy everything.
The best way to enjoy an evening of sightseeing (and to ensure proper rest the next evening) is to dine on Tapas and Sangria!
After walking around for a while, we jumped into the first place that would take us. We ate at Tapa Tapa and Taller de Tapas while we were in town.
Day 3 – Exploring outside of the City Center
745 Park Guell
Much of Park Guell is free, but there is one section called the Monument Zone that does cost an extra few Euros to enter. If you get to the park before the barricades are up, you are allowed to enter the Monument Zone for free and walk around before it gets incredibly crowded.
Only 400 people are allowed in the Monument Zone at one time, to help preserve the integrity of the structures, so pre-order your tickets if you do not think you can get there before the 745 am call time.
If you are like us and missed out on seeing the Monument Zone the park is a beautiful area to walk around and enjoy being in nature.
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10 Gaudi House Museum
The Gaudi House Museum is an exciting area to visit. Pairing this with the Monument Zone Tour is the best way to spend your time in Park Guell.
The House is an extra cost, but for only a couple more euros with our La Sagrada Familia tickets, we had access to the house.
It took us about 45 minutes to enjoy the house, short film, and gardens.
1:30 La Boqueria
One of my favorite pastimes while traveling is finding a market and just eating. This was the first of many markets that we dined at while exploring Spain, Italy, and France.
Walking in you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of goods to purchase and all of the different sights and smells throughout the market.
Make sure you have some spare change on you, the bathroom costs .50 Euros!
330 La Sagrada Familia
One of the most magnificent cathedrals still under construction (for almost 100 years!) is La Sagrada Familia. At first, I didn’t want to visit this cathedral because I thought that visiting the Barcelona Cathedral was enough, but I’m glad we visited both cathedrals.
Visiting La Sagrada Familia was a bit overwhelming with all of the different tourist and travelers descending on this magnificent Cathedral. After some research, I thought that 330 would be the perfect time to enter the cathedral.
(We did get some excellent stained glass photos), but I would say to go closer to 530 pm to avoid some of the crowds. We purchased the basic audio guide visit, and it was well worth the additional cost.
Other activities to squeeze in
As with any other trip, I always over-plan and ensure we have a flexible schedule.
There are so many different activities to do in Barcelona including: visiting the Picasso Museum (free on Thursday evenings), Ride the Telefèric de Montjuïc Cable Car (we simply ran out of time), Catch the Magic Fountain Show, (again ran out of time), go to the beach (we saw some of the beaches while Hopping On and Off), and drink absinthe from the oldest bar (one of the activities I regret skipping the most).
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