Avinguda Diagonal from above splitting Barcelona in two
Robert Heaney

2 Days in Barcelona

While exploring a city as large and culturally rich as Barcelona in a short span of time may seem an intimidating task, it’s actually perfectly doable once you put together a solid plan of everything you’re genuinely interested in seeing.

Whether you’re passing through for a couple days or looking to take a weekend city break, two days in Barcelona should be plenty of time to see a good portion of what the city has to offer. Covering everything from the city’s stunning architecture to its complex history, we’ve put together our own suggested itinerary to take you on a whirlwind tour of the beloved Catalan capital.

The itinerary below includes a mix of sightseeing, museums and shopping destinations. Feel free to take suggestions as inspiration and mix-and-match them with the attractions and activities that most interest you. Use the suggested visit timings to help decide how best to lay out your trip.

Day 1 - Sightseeing

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What better way to acquaint yourself with Barcelona than by packing your first day full of the city’s best sights? As a city famous for its mix of gothic and modernist architecture along with the unique labyrinthine design of its streets, it’s only fitting that you get a taste of these right away.

Park Güell – One of renowned modernist architect Antoni Gaudí’s most famous works, this park is most well-known for its central Monumental Zone. From the mosaic salamander at its entrance to the sea serpent bench encircling the main terrace, this eccentric space is a perfect place to start your day.

Recommended visit: 1h – 2h

Sagrada Familia – The Belle of Barcelona’s ball, this yet unfinished basilica is truly a sight to behold. Take some time to explore the rich architectural mastery of this UNESCO World Heritage Site on your own, or book onto a guided tour for a full insight into the site’s artistic, cultural and historic significance.

Recommended visit: 1h – 1h30

Avinguda Diagonal – One of Barcelona’s most popular and important streets, Avinguda Diagonal runs diagonally through the city, cutting it in two. A vast array of stores and restaurants are dotted throughout the length of the avenue.

Recommended visit: 45m

Casa Milà – Also known as La Pedrera (‘the stone quarry’), this modernist building was the final residence designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. As per its nickname, it’s most famous for its rough-hewn exterior façade, somewhat resembling an open stone quarry.

Recommended visit: 15m – 1h30

Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller and Casa Lleó i Morera – This trio of modernist buildings are widely considered the most important on Barcelona’s famous Illa de la Discòrdia, or ‘Block of Discord’. Showcasing the masterpieces of Barcelona’s prominent modernist architects Antoni Gaudi, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, these buildings are eccentric in design both inside and out.

Recommended visit: 15m – 2h

Plaça de Catalunya – Considered to be Barcelona’s city centre and the meeting point of both the old and modern city, this square is a favorite for social gatherings thanks to its wealth of shopping outlets and restaurants.

Recommended visit: 15m – 2h

La Rambla – Perhaps the city’s most famous street, La Rambla spans from Plaça de Catalunya all the way to the Columbus Monument on the seafront. You’ll find a vast array of streetside cafés and souvenir stands across the length of the street.

Recommended visit: 30m – 2h

Mercat de la Boqueria – Often considered one of the best markets in the world, this historical market houses all sorts of fresh, local produce along with stands to get yourself a hearty lunch while on the go.

Recommended visit: 45m

Plaça Reial – Particularly popular in the evening, this square is home to a whole host of bars, restaurants and some of Barcelona’s most famous nightclubs. Why not finish your day here with a fresh dish of Catalan cuisine and a glass or two of the local region’s renowned wines?

Recommended visit: As long as you want

Day 2 – Culture

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Your second day in Barcelona – should you choose to follow our itinerary – will take you on a cultural tour of the city and the local region. If art, music and history are up your alley, then the following are sure to give you a real kick.

Palau de la Musica Catalana – A true marvel of modernist architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has been host to a magnificent array of musical performances since 1908. Bask in its colorful exterior from outside, book onto a guided tour of the venue, or even attend one of its legendary musical performances for yourself.

Recommended visit: 1h – 3h

Gothic Quarter – Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter sits immediately north of La Rambla and houses some of the city’s best sights. It’s worth spending a decent period of time here to explore everything the historic streets have to offer.

Recommended visit: 2h

Barcelona Cathedral – Known officially as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, this immense structure is a case study in Gothic Revival architecture. It’s expertly-crafted neo-Gothic façade makes way to a somewhat more unassuming yet nevertheless still imposing interior common to traditional Catalan churches.

Recommended visit: 30m – 1h30

Museu d'Història de Barcelona – If you’re a history buff visiting Barcelona, this should be your trip’s Mecca. As the name might suggest, the MUHBA will take you on a tour of key points throughout the city’s history, from as recent as the Spanish Civil War to as far back as prehistory.

Recommended visit: 3h – 5h

Museu Picasso – Housing over 4,000 of Pablo Picasso’s works, this museum possesses one of the world’s most complete collections of the famous Spanish artist’s paintings.

Recommended visit: 2h

Carrer de Salomó ben Adret – At the heart of the Gothic quarter, this street is replete with charming bars, restaurants and cafés. A perfect rest stop to draw a close to your whirlwind trip.

Recommended visit: As long as you want

Getting Around

Our recommended attractions are listed in such an order to allow you to easily walk from one to the other, though most are also within short walking distance of transport hubs should you prefer to take public transport. Alternatively, a Bus Turístic will also allow you to hop on and off along a similar route while offering an audio commentary of the sights along the way.

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