Barcelona is such a great city for a girls weekend, romantic getaway or a family trip. The top attractions will have long lines, so the more planning you do ahead of time will allow you to relax and enjoy once you are there. Here are my favorite attractions that we covered in three days:
1. La Sagrada Familia-
La Sagrada Familia is the Taj Mahal of Barcelona. Designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudi, this colossal Roman Catholic basilica was his masterpiece. To visit La Sagrada Familia, book tickets online in advance. I would recommend the audio tour so you can learn about the history. It will give you direction and point out significant bits of architecture.
No picture can do the basilica justice. Gaudi designed the inside to look like a forest. There is a rainbow of colors streaming in through each stain glass window.
Construction of La Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and won’t be completed until 2026. Add it to your bucket list now so you can see it in all of its glory.
2. Walking tour of the Gothic Quarter
A stroll through the Gothic Quarter (called Barri Gotic) will make you feel as if you were transported back in time. Many hotels offer free walking tours of the Gothic quarter, which I would highly recommend. There are so many alleyways that it is easy to get turned around. Wandering the Gothic Quarter was my favorite thing to do in the city. I wrote a post on how to navigate the alleyways and provided a map so you don’t miss a thing. Click here to read it.
3. Park Guell
Don’t make the mistake I made- I took a taxi out to this park thinking I could just stroll through, only to find out that you have to purchase tickets in advance and they had sold out for the day. We came back the next morning, and had to wait an hour before we could enter. You can walk along the outskirts of the park for free, which is what we did to kill time. To reach the mosaic benches, the pretty city view of the city or the iconic lizard, you need a ticket. It is worth it, just buy tickets in advance. It is also a beautiful spot to watch the sunset over the city.
4. Gaudi Houses- Casa Batllo and La Pedrera
As you can see Gaudi really made his mark on this city and you don’t have to walk far to see the enchanting work of this beloved architect. My favorite of the Gaudi houses was Casa Batllo. It had an almost psychedelic appearance with shimmering scales made to look like a dragon. Just a few blocks away is the less impressive La Pedrera. This house is all about the roof, but I didn’t go in either as the lines were too long. If you plan to go inside, purchase tickets in advance.
5. Eat tapas & drink Sangria
Not to sound like a total booze hound, but there are so many adorable little cafes and bars in Barcelona, we would stop for a drink and then make it 10 feet before we saw another place that would draw us in. I loved the tapas and could easily spend a weekend doing nothing but eating, drinking and wandering this beautiful city. Sangria is served by the pitcher and the tiny tapas were small enough that you could try loads of different foods. My favorite was the patatas bravas.
6. Shop on La Rambla
La Rambla is a wide tree-lined street that is nice to walk and people watch. It is a more touristy part of town, but he shopping and restaurants are great. Don’t miss the rose shaped gelato cones at Amorino. They are almost too pretty to eat!
7. Wander the Mercat de la Boqueria
Located right on La Rambla, this food market is a really great place to wander day or night. You can pick up food for a picnic or eat right there on the spot. Everything from nuts and spices to chocolates and candies, it is a foodie paradise.
8. Day trip to Montserrat
Montserrat is a monastery perched on top of a mountain about 30 miles outside of the city. This was easily my favorite part of the trip. I wrote an entire post about this experience you can read by clicking here. You will need an entire day to do this, so be sure you have enough time to see Barcelona before adding this on. The train journey will give you a glimpse of the country side and is a nice escape from the city.
You will also want to put some thought into where you stay in the city. While Airbnb has some great options, we loved our stay at Hotel 1898. La Ramblas was a good home base for us because it allowed us to walk to most of the places we wanted to see and not spend our vacation sitting in a taxi.
Barcelona is such a beautiful place and there is so much to see. Give yourself a minimum of three days to take it all in. They Catalan people are some of the kindest people I have come across. Anytime we were lost, people approached us to offer help. We were invited to a party, but when we asked what time it started they said 1 am-4 am and we laughed out loud. We were snoozing by 10 like the little old ladies we are 🙂
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