After various other holidays in Spain, I finally discovered Barcelona on a short break in 2014 and I totally fell in love with the city the moment I arrived; the laid back lifestyle, architecture, the best of city and beach all in one place and, of course, the food!
Like travellers on any short break in Europe, time was of the essence and we wanted to cram as much in as we could before the dreaded flight home. So if you’re looking to maximise your time in Barcelona, follow my tried and tested Best of Barcelona in 24 hours itinerary, complete with insider and tips, and kick start your short break abroad.
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9:00 – 10:00 am
Good morning Gaudi
A good start to the day is visiting Gaudi’s audacious buildings, which are integral to the character of Barcelona. First on the list is La Sagrada Familia – the morning light will give you the best photo op, plus you’ll beat the sleeping tourists if you go early doors!
Top tip: Buy your tickets in advance to avoid the long queues.
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10:00 am -12:00 pm
Gaze at Güell
Park Güell is the place where Gaudi turned his hand to landscape gardening – and your second stop of the morning. The park is enormous and set on a hillside, so ditch the heals for a pair of trainers that aren’t going to kill your feet. Don’t forget to visit the Gaudi house museum; it’s well worth the entrance fee as you get to tour around the house where the architect and his family once lived.
Top tip: Try one of the hop on, hop off bus tours. I know it’s a little too touristy for some, but when you only have a few hours, you can really see so much more of the city and hear about the history at a reasonable price. Alternatively, use the green line on the metro to get to the park.
12:00 – 14:00 pm
Gucci and Gaudi
Once back in the centre of Barcelona, admire the amazing architecture along Passeig de Gràcia, which also happens to be the major shopping street in Barcelona, so if you can afford some shopping you’ll find the likes of Gucci, Tiffany and Prada all in one place. Or like me, take a picture of your favourite shop and dream of one day being able to afford that handbag…
[responsive-image id=’1867′ align=’left’ caption=’Mercat de La Boqueriea’] 14:00 – 15:00 pm
Mooch around Mercat de La Boqueriea
Grab yourself some gorgeous fresh food for lunch in Barcelona’s most central produce market: Mercat de La Boqueriea. Jostled over by tourists and locals alike, La Boqueria is dotted with a handful of unassuming places to eat and is well worth tying some of the local specialities such as the finest Jabugo ham, cheeses and sea food (or even pigs trotters for those who want to try something a bit different!).
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15:00 – 16:00 pm
Roam down La Rambla
Head out of Mercat de la Boqueriea after lunch and stroll down La Rambla, Barcelona’s principle boulevard and wonder at the local street performers, buskers and pavement artists along the way, not forgetting to look out for Joan Miro’s signed circular mosaic embedded in the ground near the Gran Teatre del Liceu.
Top tip: If you drink from the Canaletes Fountain in La Rambla, legend has it you will return to Barcelona more than once.
[responsive-image id=’1864′ align=’center’ caption=’Barcelona Harbour’]16:00 – 17:00 pm
Once you’ve reached the end of La Rambla, walk along the harbour with an ice cream in hand and bask in the afternoon sun on one of the benches or take a dip if you’ve brought your swimwear along. You’ll find lovely views of the water, boats and yachts and it’s a great spot to take photos of the Columbus Monument.
Top tip: There are no public toilets in Barcelona, but big food chains like McDonalds are generally happy for you to use the loo without buying something first.
17:00 – 19:00 pm
Lose yourself in the labyrinth of the Barri Gothic
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Also known as the Gothic Quarter, you can meander around the maze and winding cobbled streets to do some shopping in the variety of interesting boutiques, soaking up the feeling of old Barcelona after your siesta. The gothic cathedral that dominates Barri Gothic showcases the stunning architecture beautifully, so make sure you check it out during your visit – if you can prise yourself away from the variety of cafes and delightful terraces (they do fantastic Churros!).
19:00 – 21:00 pm
Time for Tapas
A stone’s throw from the Picasso Museum and still within the Gothic Quarter is Tast-Ller, which is an ideal place for sharing tapas such as Patatas Bravas, Chipirones and Pan con Tomate with your family and friends. It’s great value for money, the food is divine and the service is very personal… you can’t ask for any more!
Top Tip: Make sure you make a booking in advance
21:00 – 23:30 pm
Magic Fountain of Montjuic at night
Head to the Magic Fountain after dinner to see one of the most amazing spectacles in Barcelona: a fantastic display of colour, light, water and music. It’s something soothing in the mad rush of a busy city… plus, it’s free of charge!
[responsive-image id=’1870′ align=’left’ caption=’Sangria’]23:30 – 6:30am
Sip on a sangria until the sun comes up
The bars are lined up next to each other down by the harbour and beach – the perfect place to party all night long until the morning.
There are plenty of places to stay in the centre of Barcelona but if you fancy both the hustle and bustle of city life as well as something slightly more relaxing then stay at Vilanova parc; just 30 minutes train journey away.
Have I missed any other must-sees? Share your Barcelona recommendations in the comments below!