Barcelona itinerary

What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days – Perfect Guide For Your First Time

Our first time in Barcelona was an absolute blast!

We spent 5 days there on our trip so it was a good amount of time to be able to check out the major attractions and sights and even more!

You can still see and do a lot in Barcelona even on a 3 day itinerary. If you have 4 days to spend in the city, even better! 

We wanted to share our guide and itinerary with those who are planning a holiday or vacation in Spain and want to take the guesswork out of what to do and see in Barcelona.

Of course, you just want to make sure you don’t miss places like Basilica De La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló.

If you plan it right, you can enjoy even more in three or four days.

Cool Things To Do In Barcelona If It’s Your First Visit

Barcelona Guide and Tips - Teleferic views

Just to simplify, here’s the breakdown of the top things you want to make sure to have in your Barcelona itinerary:

  1. Basilica De La Sagrada Familia
  2. La Pedrera
  3. Park Güell
  4. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
  5. Las Ramblas And La Boqueria Market
  6. Casa Batlló
  7. Gothic Quarter And Barcelona Cathedral
  8. Barceloneta And The Beaches
  9. Plaça de Catalunya

Now, let’s get into the timing of everything in the above list. It’s also important to know how and when to book tickets for some of these places.

Though, there are some cool things you can check out that are absolutely free!

There’s also the issue of where to eat and where you should stay.

If it’s your first time in any city, it can be hard figuring out the basics and if you happen to make the wrong decision, things can go south quickly!

Don’t worry, we got you covered there, too!

How To Plan Out Your 3 Day Trip

first time in Barcelona - Bus Turistic

My best tip to travelers will always be to get on a tourist bus if you’re staying 3 or more days anywhere.

If the city you are visiting a city, riding around on the tourist bus is a great way to get an overview of what is available to you.

Not only will you, typically, get a glimpse of the most popular places around the town but you’ll get it fairly quickly.

And quick also means less tiring!

We got on the Bus Turistic as soon as we dropped our bags off at our Airbnb.

cool things to do in Barcelona

The routes available give you a great overview of Barcelona. You get to see so many different sides of the city, each with their own unique vibe.

This will tell you exactly what your choices are based on your personal preference of what you want out of your trip.

I was able to note, right away, what I wanted to go back to and see more in depth. It also gave me an idea of how far away things were compared to where we were staying.

Needless to say, we just rode around on the bus until we got back to the starting point.

Also, there’s free wifi on the bus!

On your first day in Barcelona, grab your ticket for the Bus Turistic. You can purchase them through the official Barcelona tourism website.

We were given press passes that allowed us to utilize the Bus Turistic as a way to experience Barcelona and be able to tell our readers about it.

We loved it and highly recommend it as a way to get around and learn a bit as you go!

1. Day One In Barcelona – La Pedrera (Casa Mila)

Barcelona itinerary 3 days - La Pedrera, Gaudi

With your Bus Turistic tickets in hand, hop on the Red Route and get off at the Passeig de Gracia (this is their first stop or the 3rd stop on the Blue Route) stop for Casa Mila.

Sometimes referred to as La Pedrera (meaning quarry or stone mine), not-so-lovingly labeled due to it’s resemblance to a “pile of rocks.”

Though now, fittingly, Antoni Gaudi’s architectural and artistic designs have gained more respect and appreciation.

Want to save a HUGE amount of time waiting in line? You’ll want to purchase your tickets for Casa Mila in advance so you don’t risk not being able to get in on the day you want.

This place gets busy!

Barcelona for 3 days - Casa Milà

The audio tour walks you through everything from the “alien landscape” looking rooftop to the actual rooms of the apartments as well as the attic and courtyard.

It’s really amazing to see the details in the designs and how the way things looked actually served a practical purpose as well.

2. Day One In Barcelona – La Rambla And La Boqueria Market

first time in Barcelona - La Rambla

La Rambla is a pedestrian avenue that starts near the Plaça de Catalunya and finishes off at Mirador de Colom near the port.

You can walk the length of it in one direction in about 15 to 20 minutes.

However, I’d plan on a bit longer than that because there’s a lot along the way that can distract/stop you as you make your way down.

first time in Barcelona - La boqueria in La Rambla

I can tell you that I had to stop at the very beginning and get some gelato. You know, just to get some energy for the walk. Wink, wink…

Anyway, you’ll find a bunch of souvenir and snack booths on either side of this wide walkway along with restaurants, shops, tobacco shops, even a grocery store.

first time in Barcelona - La Boqueria

As you walk down towards the water, keep an eye out for the covered market on your right. The market is called La boqueria and is a must visit for foodies!

Eat your way around the market as they provide a plethora of snacks and drinks.

first time in Barcelona - La boqueria jamon

Pro-Traveler Tip: Grab some ‘jamon’ (cured ham) to take home for souvenirs. Oh, and the olives are divine as well!

3. Day One In Barcelona – Gothic Quarter And Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona itinerary - Barrio Gotico

As you make your way down La Rambla, somewhere around the halfway point before you get to the port, make a left to get into the Gothic Quarter.

You can simply meander through the narrow alleys of this ‘Barrio Gotico’ neighborhood and get transported back in history.

The Gothic architecture is drastically different here compared with the rest of Barcelona, as the name of the area describes.

We stumbled into this neighborhood almost by accident just to get away from the “touristy” area.

There are still plenty of touristy-type eateries and shops here but if you explore enough you can run into some hidden gems.

Pro-Traveler Tip: Look for the plaque in the sidewalk at the entrances of some establishments that have been given special preservation status due to their history.

Barcelona itinerary 3 days - Barcelona Cathedral

One of those major “gems” is undoubtedly the Barcelona Cathedral. It’s beauty can be admired from benches out front.

There is also a small outdoor market on that street and a general good vibe all around.

Barcelona itinerary 3 days - Gothic Quarter

I could probably spend an entire day just roaming and exploring the Barrio Gotica.

The architecture was my favorite part of walking around this place, but I also love visiting the Picasso Museum!

4. Day Two In Barcelona – Basilica De La Sagrada Familia

 Barcelona itinerary 3 days - Sagrada Sagrada Família interior

There’s no way you could miss a visit to Sagra Familia Basilica. If you’ve never heard of Antoni Gaudi, you’re bound to learn a lot about him when you visit Barcelona.

The city is oozing with his architectural masterpieces and this basilica is the dominant example of his work.

cool things to do in Barcelona - Sagrada Familia

The story of this temple goes back to 1883 when Gaudi took over the project and built the crypt. To the day, the project continues.

Seeing this “work in progress” is truly a magical experience. Walking around the building will take you through it’s history and you can even see it in the changing shades, differentiating the “older” and the “newer” parts.

It’s really magnificent.

What blew me away was the fine details and how they have changed and morphed along with the times.

Pro-Traveler Tip: Get here early in the day and make sure to purchase your tickets in advance. Our recommendations would be to grab the guided tour that includes access to one of the towers so you can see great views from the top!

5. Day Two In Barcelona – Park Güell

Barcelona itinerary 3 days - Park Guell

Alternatively, you can pay around 15-20 Euro for a taxi to get your there.

Again, you should REALLY get your tickets beforehand, but I don’t really think a guided tour is necessary here.

Just walk around the park and check out the creativity used by Gaudi in all of the structures to give a natural and artistic look while maintaining functionality.

what to do in Barcelona for 3 days - Park Guell Art

It’s too bad that the original plan for the park didn’t pan out as an area for people to build homes.

However, maybe that’s a good thing, as it led to it being preserved as a beautiful park with really colorful and interesting buildings and sculptures.

6. Day Two In Barcelona – Barceloneta And The Beaches

what to do in Barcelona for 3 days - Beach

This area has some of the best al fresco restaurants by the water serving seafood and tapas that are a must try!

Pro-Traveler Tip: If you want to find a less crowded beach head a bit father down. We enjoyed the Nova Icaria beach the most.

cool things to do in Barcelona - Montjuic Teleferic

It’s not cheap at 11 Euros a person, but you’ll get some cool views as you make your way down.

cool things to do in Barcelona - teleferic ride

Pro-Traveler Tip: Most people wouldn’t think anything of the post office, but the one in Barcelona is worth going into. The interior ceiling has some frescoes that are great to check out.

4 days in Barcelona - post office

7. Day Three In Barcelona – Casa Batlló

what to do in Barcelona for 3 days - Casa Batlló

This is another one of Gaudi’s works and, natural, a “must see” when in Barcelona.

Check out how the balcony railing looks like the eye portion of the human skull and do you see the bone-like structures at the windows?

8. Day Three In Barcelona – Plaça de Catalunya

4 days in Barcelona - Placa de Catalunya

The city center and major hub of pretty much everything, Plaça de Catalunya, is always bustling with people and cars and buses.

You’ll find the metro here for getting around town as well as the Bus Turistic stop and the Tourist information center.

Here is a quick Barcelona hack: purchase a T-10 metro ticket and save about 50% on 10 trips!

If you’re in the shopping mood, this is probably a good place to start. As I mentioned before, it’s pretty much at the start of La Rambla and a great area to stay in.

9. Day Three In Barcelona – Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

4 days in Barcelona - Magic Fountain night show

On our last night, we got a nice “finale” with the Magic Fountain show at Monjuic. It’s a pretty crowded even, so you do want to get there early and find a good spot.

Don’t worry if you don’t, though, you can see it from across the street of the pedestrian bridges as well.

Travel Tips For Your First Time In Barcelona

Barcelona travel tips - where to stay

Where To Stay: Our top recommendations would be near Placa Catalunya and Gothic Quarter. This is a great location and where most of the “action” is.

Barcelona travel tips - where to eat breakfast

Where to Eat:

  • We had two favorite breakfast spots in Barcelona. One is La Esqiona on Carrer de Bergara and the other is Citizen Café on Plaça d’Urquinaona.
  • For other amazing tapas spots here are some we tried and loved: Cañota, Euskal Etxea, and Telefèric Restaurant.
  • For fun and unique cocktails in a chill atmosphere, head over to Bar Sauvage.
Barcelona travel tips - where to eat tapas

Pro-Traveler Tip: Learn how to make delicious paella at The Paella Club. It was one of the most tasty dishes we had on our trip and we made it ourselves!

cool things to do in Barcelona - paella cooking class

The fun in Barcelona can be seemingly endless. There’s something for everyone in this city and just about any traveler is bound to have a great time on their visit.

If your vacation includes a few days in Bercelona, we hope that you’ll use our guide to make the best of your holiday!

If we can help with your trip planning or answer any questions for you, please let us know in the comments section below!

Want to see more of Spain?

Interested in Other European Destinations?

The Ultimate Barcelona Itinerary Of What To Do In 3 Days

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Rob and Taiss

Hi! We’re Rob and Taiss. We set off to live a life in as many places as possible. To actually live in locations around the world long enough to get to know the locals, the culture, and the food, not just a taste of it.