Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. And for good reason. But with the unique Gaudi architecture, urban beaches, world class cuisine and everything in between, it can be tricky to work out how many days in Barcelona is enough.
Much of it depends on what kind of trip you want while you explore Barcelona.
If you’re happy with a jam packed itinerary of the best sights in Barcelona.
Or if you prefer to factor in some chill time on the beaches and maybe a day trip to another part of Catalonia.
So let’s dig in and run through how much of Barcelona you will be able to experience in the time you have, so that you can decide how many days in Barcelona is right for you.
And whatever you decide on how many days to visit Barcelona, we’ll also give you some cracking Barcelona itinerary guides for 3, 4 and 5 days.
How Many Days In Barcelona
Okay first of all, I’ll tell you straight up that only spending 1 or 2 days in Barcelona is not worthwhile.
You just won’t get to experience the uniqueness and character of the place.
And while I would usually say that it’s best to leave somewhere wanting more, giving yourself such a short time to explore Barcelona will probably just leave you exhausted and frustrated.
Of course if that really is all the time you have, I’m not saying don’t go.
But really you should try and carve out a minimum of 3 days when considering how many days in Barcelona.
Is 3 Days In Barcelona Enough?
With a well thought out trip and some proper planning you can definitely get a basic taste of Barcelona.
However just bear in mind that in order to do so you need to be prepared to put in long days.
If you are just hopping between the big attractions on the metro, sure you’ll get to see the big hitters.
But what you’re also likely going to experience is a whole lot of crowds. And not a whole lot of authentic Barcelona.
Although it has excellent public transport connections, it’s not a huge city, so without a doubt the best way to explore Barcelona is by foot. You will just get to see so much more.
For those reasons, if you do only have 3 days to explore Barcelona you shouldn’t try and see everything. Instead it’s best to focus on what you will enjoy the most.
So with your question of how many days to see Barcelona in mind and a combination of our detailed knowledge, we’ve put together a practical 3 day Barcelona itinerary with plenty of alternative options that you can miss and match to your tastes.
Is 4 Days In Barcelona Enough?
With 4 days in Barcelona you will have enough time to see the main sights and build in some more authentic experiences of the city.
You will also have some time to just chill on the beach or in the parks.
If you are just planning a short trip, I think a long weekend of 4 days in Barcelona is a really good amount of time. With that little bit more time to get to know the city you won’t feel as rushed.
You will also have opportunity to see some of the less touristy parts of the city and get up into the surrounding hills for some epic Barcelona views.
Plus if you want a lie in one morning, you will have enough flexibility in your Barcelona itinerary to do that.
Is 5 Days In Barcelona Enough?
Still not sure how many days in Barcelona is enough? How about 5 days? If you have the time, this is an even better option.
Because with 5 days in Barcelona you can not only explore Barcelona but also take a day trip somewhere.
There are a couple that are only around an hour away which I would highly recommend. The first one is a day trip to Tarragona.
It’s a beautiful ride on the train too because it runs right down the side of the coast.
And despite being so close by, Tarragona has a completely different feel to it.
It’s probably the ancient city walls & amphitheatre ruins, but it just feels much older than Barcelona and more traditional in many respects.
Or your other option if you’re the more active kind of traveller is to take a day trip to Montserrat mountain and monastery.
You don’t have to be that active actually, because you can take a cable car or rack railway up there.
But if you fancy more of a challenge, I definitely recommend hiking Montserrat from the bottom like we did.
The main part with Montserrat Monastery is about ¾ the way up, but then you can also hike all the way to the summit.
More Tips For Exploring Barcelona
Regardless of how many days in Barcelona you choose, here’s some more information on visiting Barcelona that you will find useful.
Best Time To Visit Barcelona
The best time to visit Barcelona really depends on your budget and what you want to get out of the trip.
If you are all about beach days and as much sun as possible, summer is for you.
If you like it a little less humid for sightseeing with shorter queues and cheaper accomodation prices, Spring or Autumn are good options.
Peak season is May to September. Which means hot weather, more tourists and the highest accomodation prices. But there are advantages too.
Summer days are long as the sun sticks around until after 9pm. And if you’re hoping to catch a festival in Spain, peak season is your time.
The weather is fine all year round so even a winter trip would still be comfortable weather wise.
And if you’re a football fan wanting to catch an FC Barcelona game. Football season is from late August – late May with a winter break over Christmas.
Looking for Somewhere to Stay in Barcelona?
Its long, narrow streets are lined with trees and there are lots of cool squares to chill out in.
It neighbours the El Carmel district where the bunkers are and is totally possible to walk to them from.
It’s also where you’ll find Park Guell, is close to La Sagrada Familia, and just a short metro ride or 20-30 minute walk from the centre of town.
In our opinion it’s by far the best area to stay in Barcelona.
Bear in mind that the best budget accommodation in Barcelona gets booked up well in advance. So to avoid disappointment get your reservations made ASAP.
Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Gracia:
Affordable Luxury: Hotel Barcelona 1882 is just a stone’s throw from the Sagrada Familia. And from its roof terrace you’ll get stunning views of this beautiful building. There’s also an incredible rooftop pool and bar up there for relaxing in the evenings.
The spacious rooms are soundproof and come equipped with flat screen TVs, air con, and everything else you’d expect from a 4* hotel. Rooms come with large windows meaning they’re extremely bright and sunny, with some even boasting panoramic vies of the city.
Midrange: Hotel BestPrice Gracia‘s name sums it up nicely. You won’t find a better priced, more comfortable hotel in the area, particularly not when you consider how nice it is.
Simply and tastefully decorated, rooms here come with everything you need to relax after a day of sightseeing. Air con, flat screen TVs with satellite, private bathrooms with free toiletries and hairdryers come as standard.
Cheap & Cheerful: Sant Jordi Gracia is a modern, stylish hostel with a trendy vibe. Dorms are air conditioned and everywhere is impeccably clean.
There are also lots of cool areas to hang out and meet fellow travellers. These include a rooftop terrace, the shared kitchen and a big common room.
Get To/From Barcelona Airport
Now you’ve decided how many days in Barcelona is right for you, plan ahead for your trip and get yourself a Hola Barcelona Travel Card.
Not only does it cover you for unlimited travel on the metro, buses, trams and trains, it also includes a return airport journey.
And you won’t be wasting precious time figuring out how to sort out a travel card when you get there.
Barcelona Safety Tips
Barcelona is busy, there are crowds and unfortunately with this comes opportunistic petty thefts.
I’d like to say it’s uncommon but we witnessed a fair few. The majority of which could have been avoided.
But thieves will always go for the easy option so just apply some common sense.
Don’t leave your stuff unattended on the beach, don’t have valuables in your back pockets and don’t put your bag on the back of your chair or under the table in restaurants.
And when in busy places such as the metro or watching a street performance on the metro, put your hands in your front pockets and keep your bag securely closed at your front in busy places.
Don’t Forget Your Insurance
Always make make sure you have quality travel insurance in place for you trip. Our go to travel insurance provider is World Nomads.
They have a no bullshit approach to policy wording & are perfect for adventurous travellers like us. Get a no obligation quote here:
You should also check out these awesome Barcelona travel hacks before your trip. They’ll help save you money, time, and keep you safe during your stay.
And if you need any further help in deciding how many days in Barcelona is the best option for you, drop us a message in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you plan your trip.
Handy Books on Barcelona
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.