Barcelona has a lot to offer. From culture to beach, food and party, there’s a treat for everyone. I put together a two day tour covering the top sights and lots of insider tips and will definitely help you get the real feeling of Barcelona!
The first day is going to be a bit more of a cultural experience, but with some nice breaks and a pleasant ending at the beach and the most important must-sees:
- Sagrada Familia
- Selfie time at the Bunkers del Carmel
- Lunch break
- Park Güell
- Sunset wine on the terrace of the Museu de l’Historia de Catalunya
- Seafood Tapas in Fishermen’s Quarter Barceloneta
- Nightlife at the Beach
Find the stops on the map here:
Most important things first. Therefore we start with Gaudí’s unfinished master piece, that was started in 1882 and remains unfinished until today. The long construction time did not seem to be problem for Gaudí, he is said to have commented “My client is not in a hurry.” when asked. When Gaudí died in 1926, the basilica was only between 15 and 25 percent complete.[source] After pausing construction during the Civil War, the Basílica is now projected to be finished by 2026.
You definitely need to book your ticket online a few days in advance, as tickets are booked out days in advance! Find fast track tickets from 15 € here.
From Sagrada Familia take the Metro L5 to “El Carmel”. From there you can either walk (ca. 10 min) or take the 119 Bus to “Marià Lavèrnia”. But if you decide to walk, keep in mind, the bunkers are such a great place because they are high up. But this also means you need to walk uphill to get there 🙂
Inside tip: Bunkers Guinardó
The Bunkers of Carmel also known as Baterias Antiaérias are a real inside tip and probably the best view on Barcelona you can get. As the name suggests, they were built in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War to be part of the anti aircraft defence of Barcelona. In the course of only 2 years Barcelona was bombed almost 200 times. For this reason the original plan of two cannons was amplified and a total of four cannons were placed here to protect the city.
Today the bunkers are a great spot to get a view over the city, for a romantic picnic or simply a selfie session for Instagram.
Hungry? Here are few suggestions for a quick lunch break on the way to the next location:
- El Mirador (11 min walking from the Bunkers)
Want to keep enjoying the view while eating? Then head to “El Mirador”, which means viewpoint. And if you are lucky to get a table on the terrace, you’ll enjoy a great view while having your tapas.
- El Jardí de l’Àpat (17 min walking from the Bunkers)
You need a proper lunch break? This is a very traditional place to eat, with a nice atmosphere and not too expensive. And the best part: It’s definitely not touristy.
- Bar Terra Mia (17 min walking from the Bunkers)
Nice place to stop for a few tapas on the way with a very cosy terrace and good prices.
After the break, we continue the walk to Park Güell, another one of the must-sees in Barcelona. What I like most about Park Güell is that every part has a completely different feeling and theme. You walk around for a few hundred meters and you are in another world.
Must sees in Park Güell
- 100 columns
- Platform for the iconic pictures (Only with ticket (7,50 €))
On the platform you can access the spot where to take one of the most iconic pictures of Barcelona. As of a few years ago, you will now need to pay a small entrance fee and I recommend to pre-book online to avoid queues. Find skip-the-line Tickets here.
If you are quick and full of energy, you can pass by any of these other amazing Gaudi sights before the next stop:
- Casa Pedrera (Skip the link tickets with audio guide here)
- Cata Batlló (Augmented reality guide with your ticket here)
- Palau Güell (Probably the least touristy of Gaudí sights)
After being charmed by Gaudí’s park find your way to metro station “Joanic” to take the metro to Barceloneta. (Either 15 – 20 min walking or take a bus. Google Maps can help). From “Barceloneta” Metro station walk about 350m to the Museu d’Historia de Catalunya.
Harbour Views Barceloneta
Enter and take the elevator to the Restaurant. Here on the terrace you have the perfect view over the Harbour and onto Montjuic and can enjoy the sunset with a nice glass of wine and some aperitivo.
Tapas in Barceloneta
Afterwards, get lost in the old Fishermens Quarter Barceloneta and check out one of these super traditional Tapas Bars with all sort of fish and seafood tapas:
Night Life at Barcelona Beach
If your night has just started, you can walk down a few hundred meters to the beach. Take a walk, have a drink or two in one of the many “chiringuitos” (beach bars) along the waterfront and end at the center of Barcelona party scene, with clubs like Pacha, Shoko, Opium or Catwalk, which are some of the most famous clubs. With the Barcelona Night Card you will get free entrance and skip-line-privileges in Pacha, Opium, Sutton and many more nightclubs for 10 €.
Day 2 of two day itinerary in Barcelona
- Las Ramblas
- Boqueria Market
- Plaza Reial
- Lunch break with Pintxos in Calle Blai
- Cable Car to Montjuic
- Montjuic Castle
Find the stops in the map:
We start our second day at Placa Catalunya, the central plaza of Barcelona. From here walk down the famous Ramblas, watching the people stroll down and lots of stands offering their souvenirs. You can find a Rambla in most Spanish cities. Actually even most neighbourhoods in Spain have their own Rambla. It’s traditionally a dry water bed where people used to go on Sundays to stroll and enjoy the sun.
The famous Rambla in Barcelona are called Las Ramblas in plural, because there are actually a row of small ramblas which all together form the avenue leading down to the beach. (You won’t notice where one stops and another one starts, so let’s just continue to call them Las Ramblas). Try to avoid the many bars and restaurants here, because most are tourist scams with bad food and exaggerated prices.
About half way we stop for the famous La Boqueria Market. Get blown away by the magic of the wealth and colours of the food laid out at the stands. If you want to buy a juice or snack, try to get in a bit deeper inside the market hall, as the front stands are normally more expensive than the more hidden ones.
Once you are done, keep walking down the Ramblas until to get to Plaza Reial on your left side. There are a lot of restaurants and bars on the square and its a popular meeting point for locals and tourists. It was designed in the 19th century by Francesc Daniel Molina. The lanterns were designed by Antoni Gaudí. Unfortunately the square is very touristy.
Towards the end of the Ramblas you will reach the Columbus Statue. A 60 m high monument depicting Christopher Columbus. There is a discussion whether he is pointing to the west to the “New World” or pointing east to his hometown Genoa. Neither is true. He is actually pointing to Constantine in Algeria. The most likely explanation is, that he just simply points to the sea to underscore the achievements in naval exploration.
If you didn’t get enough of the views yet, take trip up the Columbus Statue and have a look over the harbour. (Tickets 5,50 €)
If you are up for a coffee break in a nice atmosphere, head to the Museu Maritimo. The patio is a nice oasis of calm after the rumble of the Ramblas.
If you need more than just a coffee, continue to Avenue Parallel. If you are hungry, this would a good place for a small lunch break. In Blai Street you find lots restaurants with “Pintxos”, which are best described as tapas on a bread. They are originally from the Basque Country but found their way especially into this street of Barcelona.
This is a small detour, so if you skip the break, go straight to metro station Parallel.
Pintxos are about 1 € / each and make a great snack for lunch. Here are a few of my favourite places:
If you prefer proper tapas, here es a very traditional tapas bar:
After recharging batteries, head to metro station “Parallel” and find the “Funicular” up to Montjuïc. You can use the regular T10 metro card for the funicular as well. Get off at Park Montjuïc and Montjuïc Castle. Here you have a choice:
- If you are full of energy you can walk up to the Montjuïc Castle (ca. 18 min / 1 km walking uphill)
- You invest 12,70 € into the Cable Car (Roundticket), with the little perk of a great view. Tickets here.
There are also buses, but best check Google Maps.
Montjuïc Castle was built in 1640, but reached it’s sad fame 300 years later during the Spanish Civil War, when political prisoners were tortured and killed here. It is also one of the very rare fortresses that several times throughout its history was used to bomb the city rather than protect it. Read more about the exciting history here.
After the visit of the Castle if you still want to enjoy the views a bit longer, take a 15 min walk to La Caseta de Migdia for a beer with views over the industrial harbour. Finish the day off with a boat cruise through the harbour. Find your way back down to the Statue of Colón and find the starting point of the Golondrinas Boat Tour. Make sure to book in advance.
If you plan on visiting a lot of attractions and will me moving in public transportation, consider the Barcelona Card for 45 €. It will give you discount at lots of sights and free public transportation travels. More information here.
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Best tapas bars Barcelona