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
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.
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.
On the same street you’ll also find Casa Mila another of Gaudi’s works which was commissioned in 1906.
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.
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.
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.
Plaça del Sol and Plaça Virreina are great places to start and we’d recommend partaking in a pre dinner appetizer of Vermouth.
3 Days in Barcelona Day Two: Culture and Foodie Trail
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.