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What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days

What to do in Barcelona for 3 days? It’s going to be a jam packed itinerary if you want to see the best of this beautiful city.

Yet it’s still possible to see all the main attractions, and a few more unique ones, with a Barcelona long weekend.

There’s a crazy amount of things that you could put into a 3 days in Barcelona itinerary.

But we’ve saved you the hassle and hand picked the very best Barcelona experiences so you can both see the top sights and have a bit of chill time too.

What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days

We’ve put each day’s Barcelona activities in a logistically practical order, but feel free to mix and match the days up if you fancy doing day three first for example. Okay let’s get into it.

Here’s your perfect 3 day Barcelona itinerary.

3 Days in Barcelona Day One: The Gaudi Experience

Sagrada Familia

Love it or hate it, you simply cannot miss the mighty Basilica of the Sagrada Familia off your list of what to do in Barcelona for 3 days.

It’s our first stop of the day for architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces.

Construction started in 1882 and incredibly it’s still being built. When Gaudi died in 1926 it was only 20% complete.

The expected completion date is 2026, although this has shifted a few times.

Sagrada Familia 3 Days in Barcelona

You can buy tickets at the kiosks just outside, but expect to queue for well over a hour at busy times and that’s only to get your entrance time slot, which could be hours later.

Buying tickets online before your Barcelona long weekend is way less hassle and also cheaper. And even better, you get to skip the queues.

Passeig de Gracia

Okay next we’re onto more of Gaudi’s otherworldly architecture with a trip into the Barcelona neighbourhood of Eixample.

Along Passeig de Gracia you’ll find not only the city’s most prestigious designer stores, but also these show stopping modernisme style facades.

If you’re a serious architecture fan you may want to go inside one or more of these buildings.

It’s better to be organised and get your tickets online in advance. The links below are to the tickets we recommend purchasing which allow you to skip the lines, saving you some much needed time.

There’s Casa Batlló designed by Gaudi in 1900 and next door Casa Amatller designed by Puig I Cadafalch in 1898.

On the same street you’ll also find Casa Mila another of Gaudi’s works which was commissioned in 1906.

Passeig de Gracia Facades
Casa Mila What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days

With just 3 days in Barcelona you probably want to choose just one of these to visit because we’ve got lots more places to see in Barcelona in 3 days.

It’s probably knocking on for lunch time and if you’re here on a weekday you’ll be able to nab yourself a very affordable 3 course lunch.

There are plenty of fab restaurants in Eixample with a fixed price menu del dia.

Park Guell

Next up on the first day of your 3 days in Barcelona itinerary is the magnificent Park Guell.

It’s best to purchase your tickets online in advance to avoid queues, but also because they regularly sell out.

We highly recommend getting these fast track tickets that allow you to skip the line.

It’s probably a little inconvenient for just three days in Barcelona, but if you do want to save yourself a few quid it’s possible to visit Park Guell for free before and after the official opening times.

You can find more details and lots more money saving tips in our guide to Barcelona hacks.

Parc Güell Sunrise 3 Days In Barcelona

Gracia Barrio

Rounding up the first day of your 3 days in Barcelona, we’re going to explore the leafy neighbourhood of Gracia.

It will feel a lot different to the touristy areas you’ve been to so far. It’s all about cool boutique shops, trendy cafes and pretty squares around here.

Placa del sol Gracia Barcelona

Plaça del Sol and Plaça Virreina are great places to start and we’d recommend partaking in a pre dinner appetizer of Vermouth.

There are lots of great places to eat in Gracia. And if you fancy carrying on into the evening there are loads of awesome local bars in Gracia too.

Still trying to choose your backpack? Look no further! The Osprey Farpoint 70 Travel Backpack is perfect for big trips. It’s lightweight but durable, incredibly comfortable, super spacious and even has a detachable daypack.

3 Days in Barcelona Day Two: Culture and Foodie Trail

Las Ramblas

Okay we’re kicking off your day 2 itinerary of what to do in Barcelona for 3 days with another big favourite, a stroll down Las Ramblas.

This is the most famous street in Barcelona and although it gets incredibly busy, it’s a must when you visit Barcelona in 3 days.

A wide boulevard lined with street performers and souvenir sellers, it will take you a while to work your way down and take in the atmosphere.

You can start off at the top in Plaça de Catalunya and walk all the way down.

La Boqueria

When you get to the huge foodie market, La Boqueria you’re going to want to follow the crowds and head in there.

From grilled seafood platters to the best Iberico ham you’ll ever taste, you won’t be leaving here with an empty stomach.

Boqueria Market Barcelona in 3 days

This place is huge but with around 40,000 visitors a day it gets packed, so your best bet is to head there early if you want a shot at getting a seat at one of the tiny tapas bars.

If you are planning a Barcelona long weekend, just beware the market is closed on Sundays.

Gothic Quarter

Next up for what to do in Barcelona for 3 days, it’s time to get lost in the tiny alleys of the Gothic Quarter.

Of course there are a few highlights that you should check out such as the Cathedral of Barcelona on Pla de la Seu and Plaça Reial.

But the best way to explore this area is to just dive right in there and figure it out as you go.

Gothic Quarter Barcelona Long Weekend
Cathedral of Barcelona

There’s a cracking restaurant around here called Restaurant El Pintor that serves great food in a gorgeous setting.

Or if you’re not so hungry and fancy something a little different than sitting in one of the squares for a drink, check out the hidden fairy garden at Bosc de les Fades café.

Poble Sec Barrio

Before our evening entertainment on day 2 of 3 perfect days in Barcelona, we’re first going to go for dinner in another neighbourhood.

If you’ve never tried Pinchos before, they are about to become your new favourite when you get to Poble Sec.

Barcelona hacks pintxos bar

Head to the pedestrianised Carrer de Blai and you’ll be spoilt for choice for delicious Pinchos joints.

Our favourite bar is called Pinchos J and is at number 26. Be sure to get here fairly early if you want a seat outside and to avoid a wait.

The Magic Fountain Show

To round off day 2 of your 3 day trip to Barcelona, we’re heading to Barcelona’s Magic Fountain Show.

This impressive performance draws serious crowds so depending on what time you get here you may need to wangle your way in to get a prime viewing spot. You can check the show times here.

Magic Fountain Barcelona

If you have any energy left from your day exploring we recommended climbing right up to the Palau Nacional at the top for the best views of the city.

Everyone will enjoy this Barcelona activity but it’s especially a must if you have kids with you. Our nephew loved it.

3 Days in Barcelona Day Three: Barcelona From Above

Montjuic Cable Car

It’s your last day in Barcelona but don’t worry, we’ve saved some of the best things to do in Barcelona until last.

But you’re going to need an early start because there’s a lot to pack in.

There are lots of hillside vantage points around Barcelona and we’re going to start the day by venturing up one of the best.

Taking the metro up Montjuic, you’ll join the funicular, a mountain side railway that will take you up the rest of the steep slope.

From here, if you want to visit the very top, it’s a short but steep walk up or you can take a cable car. There’s a lovely castle at the top.

Barcelona from above port cable car

The star of the show though is another cable car ride called Transbordador Aeri del Port.

It cruises over Barcelona’s skyline and takes you all the way down to Barceloneta port.

This doesn’t go from the top and is a short walk over to the other side of the hill from where you get off the funicular. Don’t get the two cable cars mixed up.

Playa Marbella

If you take the Port Cable Car you’ll drop down more or less right onto the most popular beach in Barcelona, Playa Barceloneta.

Being the most central beach, during summer months this stretch of sand is rammed.

So if you want a slightly more relaxed affair we’d recommend jumping on the metro and heading down a few miles to Playa Marbella.

Marbella beach Barcelona hacks

Just at the back of the beach is the neighbourhood of Poblenou. If you make your way to the main street, Rambla Poblenou, there’s plenty of fantastic restaurants to grab a bite to eat.

After a wee chill on the beach while your lunch digests – not for too long mind, there’s plenty more to see on your last day – it’s time for our next stop on your 3 days in Barcelona itinerary.

Arc de Triomf & Ciutadella Park

These beauties are two of our favourite places to see in Barcelona in 3 days.

Jump off at the Arc de Triomf metro station and wander through the Arc de Triomf and down the Passeig de Lluís Companys.

Arc de Triomf Barcelona hacks

Cross the road at the bottom and you’ll enter straight into Ciutadella Park.

You could wander around here for a whole day, though we don’t have time while in Barcelona for 3 days. But be sure not to miss the fabulous Cascada Monumental.

Bunkers del Carmel

Okay now we really have saved the best for last. It’s time to head up another of Barcelona’s hill for the best sunset view in the entire city.

It takes a little effort to get there so make sure you allow yourself enough time and follow this guide to how to get to the Barcelona bunkers.

Grab some beers and some snacks to take up with you and trust us, this will be one of your best memories of your 3 nights in Barcelona.

James sitting on wall of Bunkers Barcelona

Bonus 3 Day Barcelona Itinerary

If you are a serious footy fan you may want to switch something out of this guide on what to do in Barcelona for 3 days and schedule in a trip to Camp Nou.

Or if you have kids with you, you may wish to spend an afternoon hitting up Tibidabo amusement park.

There are also a couple of other really cool neighbourhoods to explore that would be a perfect addition to your 3 day trip to Barcelona if you find you have some extra time.

Trendy El Born, which is close to the Gothic Quarter, and slightly grittier El Ravel, which is nestled at the bottom of Montjuic on the opposite side of La Rambla.

Where To Stay In Barcelona

Most first time visitors to Barcelona, choose to stay as close to the most popular part of the city as possible, Las Ramblas.

But when you are searching for accommodation for your Barcelona 3 day trip you’ll get more for your money if you branch out a little.

The neighbourhood of Gracia is our top suggestion. Simply because you’re close enough to all the action but also able to enjoy a more authentic side to the city aside from the obvious tourist hotspots.

It’s full of independent bars, restaurants, and designer boutiques, and feels like a separate village within the city.

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.

Getting Around Barcelona

Plan ahead before your 3 day trip to Barcelona and nab yourself a Hola Barcelona Travel Card.

This covers you for unlimited travel on the metro, buses, trams and trains. Plus a return journey to the airport.

It’s a must if you want to get in and around the city with ease and saves a tonne of money compared to buying individual tickets.

Essential Barcelona Tips

To help you plan your 3 perfect days in Barcelona, here’s a few essential Barcelona tips and travel practicalities to consider before you arrive.

Barcelona Lobster

Barcelona Safety Tips

Exactly the same as most major cities, Barcelona is busy. And with this comes opportunistic petty crime which we saw quite a bit of in our time in Barcelona.

But there’s no need to be overly concerned because it can be quite simply avoided by being careful with your stuff.

Petty thieves will always choose the easy options so just make sure your bags are always securely attached to you and never left unattended under tables or on the back of chairs.

Don’t put anything in your back pockets and if you have stuff in the front ones, make sure you put your hands into them when in crowded areas such as the metro or while your attention maybe be distracted watching a street performance.

Barcelona Power Sockets

The mains voltage in Barcelona is the same as the rest of Europe, 220 volts with 2 pin plug sockets.

If you are visiting from the UK or US you will need an adaptor and US travellers should check their appliance supports 220 volts.

A travel adaptor that works anywhere in the world? Yes please. It’s one of the most useful things we own & an absolute essential for your trip. This one’s lightweight, durable & also has 1 USB-C port and 2 standard USBs. Get one in your bag.

Barcelona Currency

The currency in Barcelona is Euros. There are plenty of ATM’s and currency exchanges all around the city.

Debit and credit cards are also accepted in the vast majority of restaurants, bars and shops.

Barcelona Internet

If you’re travelling from the UK, you can now just use your regular mobile data as roaming fees have been dispelled with.

Travellers from the US and elsewhere in the world can pick local SIMs from at the airport. But in reality, you probably won’t need one because pretty much every bar, cafe and restaurant has it in abundance.

Barcelona Water

The water in Barcelona is perfectly safe to drink. There are water fountains all over the city and a really useful location app that you can use to always find the nearest one to you.

Barcelona hacks for water

If for whatever reason you don’t want to drink the tap water in Barcelona, save adding to the world’s plastic pollution and get yourself a filter water bottle before you head off on your 3 day trip to Barcelona.

We always travel with a filter water bottle. Not only does it stop us getting ill, but it means we’re not killing the planet or wasting money on plastic bottles. The GRAYL Geopress is hands down the best on the market & makes water from virtually any source safe to drink.

Barcelona Language

Barcelona is in the Catalonia region of Spain and therefore the language is Catalan. It’s kind of cross between Spanish and French so you may recognise some words however, it’s very different to Spanish.

Everyone does however speak Spanish and most restaurants have menus in both Catalan and Spanish as well as English usually. Many people will also speak English, but don’t expect it so much outside of the main tourist hubs.

Barcelona Travel Insurance

As with any trip abroad, make sure you have a good quality travel insurance in place.

Heading overseas without insurance is never worth the risk. And while Barcelona is generally safe, it does suffer from a lot of petty crime.

Getting yourself and your belongings covered in case of accidents or the unexpected should still be a definite.

World Nomads is our preferred choice for great cover and a no bullshit approach, grab yourself a quick, free quote below:

Hit us up in the comments if we can be of any further assistance in helping you plan what to do in Barcelona for 3 days. And come back and tell us how your trip went and what your favourite bits were too!

Handy Books on Barcelona

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Arc de Triomf with text overlay Three Perfect Days In Barcelona
Pretty architecture with text overlay Three Day Itinerary for Barcelona

Nicole

Monday 26th of November 2018

Hi there, Very good article on Barcelona, trying to fit all the attractions in 3 days is kinda a challenge!! I am a local from Barcelona and totally agree on the main attractions that you've mentioned.. My favorite might be the Gothic Quarter because of its special atmosphere, tiny streets and all the art that there is! Thanks for all the info of your articles!

They are great!

Sarah McAlister

Tuesday 11th of December 2018

Oh wow! So great to have approval on the itinerary from a local. Thanks for reading & commenting Nicole!

Ami Bhat

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

There seems to be plenty to do here and something for everyone. I can see how happy the foodies would be with all those yummy things. For me, I would be happy with the cultural and heritage trail. The Gothic Quarter does seem amazing and the best place to start

James McAlister

Thursday 25th of October 2018

Hey Ami, Barcelona is definitely a foodie paradise! But you're right so much culture to explore as well, truly something for everyone here.

Natascha

Tuesday 16th of October 2018

Barcelona is always worth a few days and your itinerary is quite useful for first time visitors. I went in winter what was perfect. It was not too cold - and there were not so many tourist. Even no need to buy the Sagrada tickets beforehand.

James McAlister

Thursday 25th of October 2018

Hey Natascha, we've never been in winter but imagine it's a totally different experience so would love to give it a go.

Juliette

Tuesday 16th of October 2018

So much incredible architecutre in Barcelona! I would struggle to get everywhere in three days - but a great itinerary you have suggested here. I think the beach would be horrendous in the middle of summer because of the people - even though it is beautiful - but I think spring or autumn would be perfect - still warm, but less crowded. Good idea to head up the cable car to take in some views of the city!

James McAlister

Thursday 25th of October 2018

Hi Juliette, you're right three days is a squeeze but many visitors only come for a long weekend or short stopover so we wanted to try help those people to experience as much possible. But we'd highly recommend staying much longer! Spring and autumn are definitely great times to visit, less people, slightly cooler but still plenty of sun, and cheaper prices. Win win win.

Hannah

Monday 15th of October 2018

This is a great round-up for those visiting Barcelona for a short time. I didn't realise Parc Guell had a charge now, many years ago when I visited it was free. But I suppose it has to charge with the popularity! I hope to one day see Sagrada Familia finished - glad it will (hopefully) be in my lifetime!

James McAlister

Thursday 25th of October 2018

Thanks Hannah. Yeah Park Guell introduced the entrance fee relatively recently and I think part of that was to limit visitor numbers as it gets more popular. Who knows when the Sagrada is going to be finished though, that date just keeps getting pushed back!