Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which we may make commission from. As always, we only recommend places and products we love!
A Complete Guide to Spending 2 Days in Barcelona
After moving to Arkansas we thought we might never find cheap flight deals again (cue the sad violin music). However, living in Walmart nation does have its perks, and we quickly found that our new home airport has a number of great flight deals. Cue our trip to Spain and Portugal, when we managed to snag a flight to Barcelona for under $600 per person!
After spending hours researching, we decided to spend 2 days in Barcelona exploring as many Gaudi attractions as we could and stuffing ourselves with fantastic tapas and wine. In this guide to 2 days in Barcelona, we will cover the history of Barcelona, where to stay, transportation, places to eat in Barcelona, and of course, many things to do in Barcelona. Let’s get going!
Where is Barcelona?
Barcelona is a city located on the northeastern side of Spain by the Balearic Sea. It is known for its art and architecture including the well-known Sagrada Família Church and other modern architecture by Antoni Gaudí.
How to Get to Barcelona
Flying to Barcelona
Since we are based in the USA, we initially flew from our home airport (XNA) to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) then to Barcelona International Airport (BCN). The flight from Chicago to Barcelona was about 8 hours and 30 minutes which wasn’t too bad considering some of our other international flights have been 16+ hours, YIKES.
There are also a number of short “domestic” flights you can take for reasonable prices from other locations in Europe. During this trip, we flew from Barcelona to Lisbon, Portugal and returned to Madrid on our way back to Spain. It was only around $60 for a one-way ticket because we booked a last-minute, however, I’ve seen some flights for only $25 one-way.
Traveling to Barcelona by Train
If you are heading to Barcelona from another city in Spain or another city in Europe, train travel can be very convenient. Barcelona has direct railway links to a number of cities in France, including Paris and there is a high-speed train that travels from Madrid to Barcelona.
Driving to Barcelona
Based on the traffic we saw while in Barcelona, I wouldn’t recommend driving in the city proper. But renting a car for a road trip around Spain is something we are aching to do now! If you happen to be doing a Spanish road trip and are ending in Barcelona, traveling to Barcelona by car is also another convenient way to get there.
Traveling to Barcelona by Boat
Because Barcelona is by a waterfront, many cruise ships dock in Barcelona for a short period of time. If you are wanting to see a few European cities, traveling on a cruise that includes Barcelona is a great way to spend some time in this famous city.
When to Visit Barcelona
Barcelona in the Spring & Summer
Average Temperatures in Barcelona During the Spring & Summer: 16 °C (61 °F) – 29 °C (84 °F) depending on the month.
Spring in Barcelona is typically pretty short and has more mild temperatures. We visited in early May and found the weather to be warm, but not overly hot.
Summertime is the high season in Barcelona and typically lasts almost 6 months. With that, it brings more crowds and hotter temperatures. August is especially so, due to it being a popular vacation month in Europe so visiting Barcelona in August can be more expensive and crowded. On the plus side, since temperatures are warmer, beaches are at their prime visiting time and the sun stays out later.
Barcelona in the Fall & Winter
Average Temperatures in Barcelona During the Fall & Winter: 10 °C (50 °F) – 16 °C (61 °F)
December through February are typically the coldest months in Barcelona but the weather is still fairly mild. The winter months also bring much less traffic and tourists which would make this 2 day Barcelona itinerary even more manageable.
Barcelona also only averages about 55 rainy days per year, meaning that each month might have a rainy day, but it isn’t very common. Regardless, we still usually bring a rain jacket or pocket umbrella just in case!
In summary, I think the best time to visit Barcelona is early summer (May and June) for more moderate temperatures or late summer (September or October) when the weather is cooling off and crowds are starting to die down too. Winter months are also a great time to visit because the crowds are significantly less.
Transportation in Barcelona
Getting to Barcelona from the Barcelona International Airport (BCN)
After getting your luggage you’ll take the free shuttle bus from Terminal 1 (T1) to Terminal 2 (T2). The shuttles leave every 5 minutes and take about 12 minutes to get from T1 to T2. From there, you’ll buy a T10 ticket with airport transfer (or pick up your Hola Barcelona Travel Card prior) and wait for the R2N train (we recommend using Google Maps to help you determine how many stops you’ll have and verify which platform to be at). The R2N train leaves BCN every 30 minutes from T2.
T10 Transportation Card
If you are only planning to have 2 days in Barcelona we suggest getting a T10 card for transportation zone 1. It is only €10.20 and is mainly purchased by tourists but it gives you a total of 10 journeys on the metro, trams, and buses in the city center.
The T10 card does not include airport transfers, so we also purchased an additional fare for €4.20 that would get us from the airport to our hotel.
T10 transport card at the Barcelona Airport (BCN) entrance to the RENFE airport train from terminal 2B.
One of the things we loved about the T10 Card was the ability to use the same card for both of us. I could easily swipe the card, go through the ticket gate, pass the card back to Logan, and have him swipe and go through the gate as well. During our time in Barcelona, we only purchased one T10 Card.
The Hola Barcelona Card (which we’ll cover below) requires each person to have their own card.
T10 Card Prices
- One T10 Card: €10.20 (airport transfer not covered)
- Airport Transfer (one-way): €4.20
Hola Barcelona Travel Card
Another way to get around Barcelona is by using the Hola Barcelona Travel Card. The Hola Barcelona Travel Card offers unlimited rides on public transportation in Barcelona for consecutive time periods (Example: 48 hours) from the time you validate your card.
The routes covered on the Hola Barcelona Travel Card include all metro, TMB buses, urban railway (FGC, Zone 1), Montjuïc Funicular, tram, and regional railway (Rodalies de Catalunya, Zone 1).
Unlike the T10 Card where you have to purchase a separate airport transfer ticket, the Hola Barcelona Travel Card covers transportation between BCN Airport and the city center. However, another major difference to note between the Hola Barcelona Travel Card and the T10 Card is that each person is required to have their own Hola Barcelona Travel Card whereas multiple people can use the same T10 Card. Depending on your needs, a T10 card might still be the most cost-efficient option for travel in Barcelona.
You can order the Hola Barcelona Travel Card in advance to get a 10% discount and pick it up at any metro station in Barcelona or the Barcelona Turisme information center at the Barcelona Airport in either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2B.
Hola Barcelona Travel Card Prices
|2 days/48 hours||€15.20|
|3 days/72 hours||€22.20|
|4 days/96 hours||€28.80|
|5 days/120 hours||€35.40|
Another popular mode of transportation in Barcelona is by cab/rideshare. Cabify is an app that can be downloaded to your cell phone to order a rideshare/cab similar to Uber or Lyft. We utilized Cabify when leaving Barcelona to head to the airport for Lisbon because the lines for the train were extremely long. The cab fare to/from Barcelona Airport is about €30.
Where to Stay for 2 Days in Barcelona
During our 2 days in Barcelona, we stayed at the Barceló Sants Hotel. It is a little further from the city center but we chose this location because we were flying out early from Barcelona to Lisbon and wanted something close to the main attractions in Barcelona but also close to the airport for ease of transportation.
Other places to stay in Barcelona
BUDGET HOTELS IN BARCELONA
MID-RANGE HOTELS IN BARCELONA
LUXURY HOTELS IN BARCELONA
Currency in Barcelona
Spain uses the Euro (€) as its form of currency. Instead of exchanging money ahead of time in the United States, we used our Charles Schwab bank card at a local ATM to take out cash upon arriving in Barcelona. We like the Charles Schwab bank card because it doesn’t have any foreign transaction or ATM fees, which is nice so you can draw out smaller amounts at a time. However, we also found that credit cards are widely accepted at most places in Barcelona.
Safety in Barcelona
Before we visited Barcelona we had heard about a GREAT deal about pickpocketing and scams. Thankfully while we were in Barcelona we did not encounter any of these issues and felt very safe walking around in Barcelona. However, just because we didn’t have it happen to us, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Here are some things to know about safety in Barcelona and tips to deter pickpockets.
- Keep expensive items, extra cash, and credit cards in your hotel safe. Never carry all of your cards or cash on you at one time that way, if you are a victim of theft you’ll have back-ups in your hotel safe.
- Never keep your wallet, phone, or other important items in your back pocket. Yes, skilled pickpockets have been known for taking items out of front pockets too, but back pockets make for an easier target.
- Consider carrying items in a PacSafe backpack or purse. I personally carry a smaller PacSafe backpack everywhere I travel because unlike many other bags, they have a number of anti-theft features. Some of the features on my PacSafe backpack include mesh woven throughout the fabric (making it slash proof), extra security zippers and locks, a strap that unhooks to go around a pole, chair, or other items in public spaces.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially at prime tourist attractions (like the Sagrada Familia which we’ll be covering in this post) and public transportation. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when traveling, but looking lost or being engrossed by the fabulous churro you’re eating can cause you to let your guard down. No, I’m not telling you to expect the worst from everyone around you, but make sure you have situational awareness. 🙂
- Make a copy of your passport and IDs BEFORE you leave for your trip and store them on Google Drive or another cloud-based server. Most countries typically want you to keep your passport on your person at all times while traveling, so having a copy of your passport is important in case it is stolen or lost.
- Make sure you have an up-to-date phone backup and activate Find My iPhone/Laptop/Etc in case your device is lost or stolen so you can clear data or potentially get it back with the assistance of law enforcement. This is a good practice to have in general, not just when you’re traveling!
Key Things to Know When Visiting Barcelona
- 2 days in Barcelona isn’t actually enough time. Go figure, I mean… Barcelona is a very big city so having only 2 days is just enough time to see the highlights and main attractions in Barcelona but not enough time to do it all.
- Buy all of your tickets to Barcelona attractions far in advance. Barcelona is a VERY popular place to visit therefore if you wait until the last minute, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to enjoy the attractions we have listed in this 2 day Barcelona itinerary. Don’t fret, we’ve included links to purchase tickets below each Barcelona attraction!
- Dining times might be different than what you’re used to. Lunch is typically the main meal of the day and is usually between 1:30pm-3:30pm and dinner is a lighter meal no earlier than 8:30pm or 9:30pm. But, that’s not to say you can’t find food before or after those times.
- There are multiple languages spoken in Spain. Primary languages are Spanish and Catalan. It’s also important to know that Catalonia is not Spain. Read more about the history of Catalonia here.
- Tipping is not expected, but it is still accepted. If you receive exceptional service tipping anywhere from 5-10 percent is appreciated.
- There are free WiFi spots all around the city. No need to buy a SIM card because there are hundreds of WiFi access spots. But, if you want to be sure you have internet access at all times, we opted to pay the $10 a day international plan on Logan’s cell phone provider since he has unlimited data and I just mooched off him. 😉
- A lot of businesses are closed on Sundays. One of the days that we were in Barcelona happened to be a Sunday so we didn’t get the chance to visit a few of the popular places, so if we could redo our time, we would have avoided being there on a Sunday for our 2 days in Barcelona.
- You will most likely pay for water. Much like other parts of Europe, in Barcelona, you will be charged for water when ordering at restaurants.
Essential Things to Pack for Your 2 Day Barcelona Itinerary
During our 2 days in Barcelona, we noticed that most people dressed up a little more than typical Americans and mostly wore neutral colors. For men, a nice pair of jeans with a plain t-shirt or a button-up shirt with sneakers is an easy outfit choice. In the summer, shorts are also common! If wanting to dress even more casually, street fashion is a popular choice such as joggers, sneakers, and hoodies or t-shirts.
For women, dresses and sandals or boots are popular options as well as, nice jeans and tops. Be aware that when visiting places of worship, women are required to dress modestly with minimal cleavage, shoulders covered, and dresses, shorts, or skirts at an appropriate length.
Women’s Spring & Summer Specific Packing Items for Barcelona
- Cover-up for swimsuit
- Tennis Shoes
- Lightweight cotton dresses, blouses, skirts
- Shorts (for the beach only)
- Lightweight jacket like leather or denim (If traveling in early summer months)
- Lightweight kimono-style cover-up (for covering shoulders when visiting religious establishments)
Men’s Spring & Summer Specific Packing Items for Barcelona
- T-shirts or lightweight button-up shirts
- A lightweight jacket like leather or denim (If traveling in early summer months)
Women’s Fall & Winter Specific Packing Items for Barcelona
- Knit sweater
- Warm jacket or coat
- Blue jeans or black jeans
- Long sleeve tops
- Tights (for dresses)
- Heavier dresses
Men’s Fall & Winter Specific Packing Items for Barcelona
- Knit sweater
- Warm jacket or coat
- Boots or dress shoes
- Tennis shoes
- Blue jeans, black jeans, or dress pants
- Long-sleeve t-shirts
- Button-up shirts
Items to Pack Regardless of the Season
- Power Adaptor: Spain has a two-prong socket with round pins and 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes
- Scarf (lightweight or medium weight depending on the time of year)
- PacSafe Backpack: I swear by this! Or a money belt that has RFID blocking technology to help prevent theft and pickpocketing.
- Portable Battery Charger + Charging Cord: You’re in Barcelona. You’re going to take a ton of photos. Your phone battery IS going to drain quickly. We never travel anywhere without a portable battery charger any more.
- Tote Bag: If you plan to do some shopping you might want to bring a tote bag
- Coin Purse: So you’ll have a place to store your Euro coin currency. Coins go up to 2 Euros and bills start at 5 Euros.
- Pocket Umbrella: It doesn’t rain often in Barcelona, but it’s good to pack a lightweight, small umbrella at least as an option in case it rains.
Food and Drinks to Try While in Barcelona
Since we were only had 2 days in Barcelona we didn’t get to try nearly enough restaurants while we were there. My friend, Kristen has a fabulous Barcelona food guide to a number of places to eat in Barcelona that are favorites of hers. But here are a few Spanish dishes that you must try while in Barcelona.
- Patatas Bravas: Quartered, small potatoes lightly fried and served with a spicy red sauce.
- Bombas: A tennis ball-sized croquette made from potatoes and served with a white aioli sauce and salsa brava, spicy red sauce.
- Jamón Ibérico: Spain’s infamous cured ham that is often served solo, on bread, or with cheese.
- Calçots: Calçots are a large onion similar to a spring onion or leek. They are served as a winter seasonal dish that is cooked over a fire and dipped in a rich sauce.
- Paella: A rice dish that is often cooked with colorful vegetables, meat, and/or seafood.
- Fideuà: Fideuà is a dish that is similar to paella but with small noodles instead of rice.
- Churros con Chocolate: We ate these twice while in Barcelona because we couldn’t get enough. The rich chocolate was the perfect pairing with the piping hot, sweet churros.
- Crema Catalana: This popular dessert is similar to crème brûlée, but with more notes of orange.
2 Day Barcelona Itinerary
Day 1: Barcelona Itinerary
- El Born, Parc de la Ciutadella, Casa Milà (aka La Pedrera), Casa Batlló, Palau de la Música Catalana, Cathedral of Barcelona, and The Gothic Quarter
Walk Around El Born
We’re not usually the type to recommend just wandering around such and such streets to get lost. But the El Born (also known as La Ribera) area of Barcelona is very entrancing with romantic architecture, cocktail bars, and designer boutiques. When we first arrived in Barcelona we dropped off our luggage and immediately wanted to explore this area. But don’t shop for too long, there is more to explore! Later on in this 2 day Barcelona itinerary, we’ll cover some attractions in this popular district which will allow you to have a deeper appreciation for the history of Barcelona.
Down an alleyway in El Born is Pastisseria Hofmann, a wildly popular bakery and pastry shop in Barcelona. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to enjoy one of Pastisseria Hofmann’s infamous mascarpone croissants, which had been recommended by a number of people. But we did get a lemon tartlet that was delicious! If you want one of the mascarpone croissants at Pastisseria Hofmann we suggest you get there early to snag one!
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-2pm, 3:30pm-8pm, Friday & Saturday 9am-2pm, 3:30-8:30, Sunday 9am-2:30pm
Cost: Under €10
Address: Carrer dels Flassaders 44
Parc de la Ciutadella
After getting a croissant or other pastry, walk over to Parc de la Ciutadella. With a city as old and built up as Barcelona, you might be hard-pressed to think that there is any green space near the city center. However, Parc de la Ciutadella is a lovely park with several attractions including the Catalan Parliament, a zoo, and a number of museums. Be sure to stop by Cascada Monumental, a fountain in the park that is pretty to view, and Arc de Triomf, which was the main access gate for the Barcelona World Fair in 1888.
Hours: 10am-10:30pm daily
Address: Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003
Casa Milà (aka La Pedrera)
If you’ve been following this 2 day Barcelona itinerary so far, then you’ve probably had a pretty relaxing morning to get acquainted with the city. Now we’re going to get a little busy so hang tight!
One of the main reasons people are attracted to Barcelona is Antoni Gaudí’s architectural monuments. Casa Milà (aka La Pedrera) is one of those monuments and is known to be one of the finest examples of architectural creativity and innovation. Here you can explore the rooms, courtyards, and roof terrace as you learn more about Gaudi’s life and work.
In the early 1900s, Passeig de Gràcia was a very important street in Barcelona where the wealthiest built their homes. Thus, Pere Milà and Roser Segimon commissioned Gaudi to build their residence now known as Casa Mila. Previously the main floor was their home and they rented out apartments on other floors until it was left unoccupied in 1964.
After years of neglect, Casa Mila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. A few years after that, it was restored and opened to the public. Inside Casa Mila, you can see firsthand the ingenious design stages of this architectural masterpiece plus an apartment that showcases how a bourgeois family would have lived in Barcelona in the early 20th century. Before you leave be sure to head to the roof terrace for a nice view from above!
Though it’s a little more expensive we recommend getting the “anytime visit” ticket so you don’t have to be pressed for time. However, if you’d rather book a specific time, that option is available for a slightly less expensive price. Whichever way you plan to visit Casa Mila, make sure you get your tickets in advance!
Hours: 9am-6:30pm, 7pm-11pm daily (Hours can vary by season)
Recommended Amount of Time: 1.5 hours-2 hours
Cost: €22- €41 depending on the ticket choice
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008
Casa Batlló is another Gaudi architecture that is located in the center of Barcelona not far from Casa Milà. Unlike Casa Mila, Casa Batlló was originally created by another architect, when there was still no electricity in Barcelona. Initially, when Gaudi took on the project for remodeling, the plan was to demolish the building but Gaudi took another look and decided to keep the bones and run with a more modern, unique architectural approach. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
The outside of Casa Batlló is truly a spectacular wonder with great imagination. It sparkles in the sunshine and becomes more luminous towards the evening. On the inside of Casa Batlló, there are even more artistic features to view with an indoor garden, unique loft, and roof terrace.
Again, we recommend buying tickets online in advance to secure your spot!
Hours: 9am-9pm daily
Recommended Amount of Time: 1 hour-1.5 hours
Cost: €25-€35 online (€4 more at the box)
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007
LUNCH – Tosca Tapas y Vino
After visiting two Gaudi sites, consider getting lunch before your next spot! We decided to go to Tosca Tapas y Vino, as a last-minute choice for lunch because it was located right by the Palau de la Musica Catalana (the next spot on this 2 day Barcelona itinerary) and we were running short on time.
Restaurants located by main tourist attractions don’t always come through, but Tosca Tapas y Vino was surprisingly great. We also loved that they had a menu that denotes known allergens. We enjoyed some sangria and tapas (small plates) before walking over to Palau de la Music Catalana.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10am-1am, Friday & Saturday 10am-2am
Address: Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 8, 08003
Guided Tour of Palau de la Música Catalana
Palau de la Musica Catalana was one of our favorite tourist attractions in Barcelona because it was less crowded, being an organized small group tour and this fairytale music hall is absolutely stunning.
At the beginning of the tour, you’ll watch a short video that covers a brief history and the importance of Palau de la Musica Catalana. After, you’ll be able to visit the different parts of the concert hall and even hear the organ play (I have goosebumps just thinking about how beautiful it was!).
If you plan ahead of time, you can also consider booking tickets to a show at Palau de la Musica Catalana which happen weekly. Although we didn’t get to do this I know that any performance in this music hall would be fabulous!
Hours: 10am-3:30pm daily (Tours are held every 30 minutes)
Recommended Amount of Time: 1 hour
Cost: €20 (€16 if you purchase 21+ days in advance)
Address: C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003
Of course while in Spain we had to get some churros with chocolate. Xurreria Laietana is the spot to do so while in Barcelona. Although it is a bit touristy, they are made fresh and totally live up to the hype. Each order of churros has 6 pieces and with the rich, hot chocolate to dip in it’s the perfect treat to share!
Hours: 7am-1pm, 4:30pm-8:30pm daily, Closed Saturdays
Address: Via Laietana, 46, 08003
Cathedral of Barcelona
The Cathedral of Barcelona is a gothic cathedral that was constructed starting in the 13th century. It is a beautiful architectural building most known for its intricate exterior and statues of gargoyles and animals displayed on the roof.
When visiting, please keep in mind that this is a place of worship for many so keep a low tone of voice if speaking and cover shoulders prior to entering the cathedral.
Hours: Sunday 8am-1:45pm, 2pm-5pm, 5:15-8pm Monday-Friday 8am-12:45pm, 1pm-5:30pm, 5:45pm-7:30pm, Saturday 8am-12:45pm, 1pm-5pm, 5:15pm-8pm
Recommended Amount of Time: 30 minutes
Cost: Free to visit
Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002
If you’re in the mood for a quick drink before dinner, Hotel Colón next to the Cathedral of Barcelona has a rooftop bar with a great view of the cathedral, particularly around sunset or at dusk.
Address: Av. de la Catedral, 7, 08002
Dinner & Explore The Gothic Quarter
For our evening in Barcelona, we chose to continue to wander through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona which is stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana. Besides the Cathedral of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter has a number of hip bars and clubs to visit, Catalan restaurants, and artists selling handmade goods.
One place to explore in the Gothic Quarter is El Call, the Jewish Quarter. El Call a particularly important historical area of Barcelona that was once home to over 4,000 Jewish people during the 13th century. Many of the synagogues you’ll find in this area are quite small, and this was no mistake. At the time that this area was built, the Catholic King demanded that no Jewish synagogue be larger than a Christian church. If you happen to visit El Call be sure to stop by some of the museums including MUHBA El Call to learn more about this narrow, almost hidden area of Barcelona.
If you’re a fan of Picasso you might be interested to visit Els Quatre Gats, a colorful bar that once held one of Picasso’s first art exhibitions and dates back to the 1890s. If you’re a movie buff, you might also recognize this bar from the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
For dinner, we have a few places to suggest. First is, Can Culleretes, which is the oldest restaurant in Barcelona (and the second oldest restaurant in Spain!) dating back to 1786. We didn’t end up dining there because considering how well-known it is, it’s pretty popular and busy. But, they serve traditional Spanish and Catalan comfort dishes.
Another, less touristy restaurant in the Gothic Quarter to dine at is Tasca El Corral which was recommended to us by a friend. It has a number of Spanish tapas and wines to choose from. We also recommend ELDISET located in El Born which is a wine and tapas bar as well.
Day 2: Barcelona Itinerary
- Sagrada Família, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, Park Güell, Bunkers del Carmel, and La Barceloneta.
BREAKFAST – Citizen Cafe
On day two of our Barcelona, we decided to start the day with a heavier breakfast because we knew we had a pretty busy schedule. Citizen Cafe was the perfect place to do just that. It has the perfect, cozy and casual atmosphere where you can order a great cup of coffee or latte to go alongside one of their breakfast entrees. I ordered the avocado stack and Logan ordered the scrambled eggs bagel sandwich.
Hours: Sunday 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday 8am-11pm, Saturday 8am-11pm
Address: Plaça d’Urquinaona, 4, 08010
The moment you’ve probably been waiting for, Barcelona’s most iconic attraction, the Basílica de la Sagrada Família. Sagrada Família is probably Gaudí’s most well-known architectural masterpiece that was first started by another architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar in 1882. Upon his resignation, Gaudí took over the project until his tragic death in 1926 where he was then buried in the crypt at Sagrada Família. As of today, the project still remains unfinished but is expected to be completed by 2026, a century after Gaudi’s death.
Here’s the thing, no matter what time you visit Sagrada Família it’s going to be EXTREMELY busy. We heard that going in the morning or late afternoon is the best time to go, but if I’m being honest, I think it’s just going to be ultra-busy at any time of the day. We didn’t take many photos while we were visiting Sagrada Família. Mostly because of the crowds and the magnitude of the building itself, but I personally think taking the time to appreciate the architecture and your surroundings is what you should do at this Barcelona attraction.
One last thing about Sagrada Família, and perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. Like other religious sites, it’s important to follow the instructions that are on your ticket or guide. Visitors must not wear hats (with the exception of religious or health reasons), tops must cover shoulders, and skirts, dresses, or shorts must be at least mid-thigh.
Hours: 9am-7pm daily
Recommended Amount of Time: 1.5 hours-2 hours
Cost: €17-€32 (prices vary by type of ticket)
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013
Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau
A short walk away from Sagrada Família is one of the lesser-visited attractions in Barcelona, the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau. This Barcelona attraction is a historic hospital that operated from 1916 until 2009. But you might be wondering why I’m recommending an old hospital of places in this 2 day Barcelona itinerary. Well, not only is it historic, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Sant Pau Hospital initially started operating in 1401 but was redone in the early 1900s when the hospital became too small. In its time, it was a progressive hospital with open outdoor spaces and gardens to provide comfort for those who were admitted to the hospital. In 2009 it retired from its role in healthcare and became a museum dedicated to the history of the hospital and prominent Modernista architecture. It is also linked to United Nations and European Union programs working with sustainability, health, and education.
At Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau there are nine different areas to visit. My personal favorite was the gardens where I learned more about the importance of nature used in medicine. But one of the most unique places to visit is the underground tunnels. This network of underground passageways was a way to bring supplies quickly to other areas of the hospital.
Hours: 9:30am-7pm (times vary by season)
Recommended Amount of Time: 1 hour-1.5 hours
Address: Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167, 08025
Park Güell is one of the largest green spaces in Barcelona with roughly 45 acres and mosaic-covered structures, stunning views, and Gaudi museum. The park was envisioned by Eusebi Güell, an entrepreneur in Barcelona that had become a fan of Gaudi’s work. Güell commissioned Gaudi to design Park Güell and so began the story of their friendship.
The most popular part of the park is the main terrace where you can see panoramic views of the city. It also makes for a fabulous photo opportunity on the mosaic bench. But be sure to walk around the lower parts of Park Güell and the trails towards the top to escape the crowds a bit more.
How To Get To Park Güell:
Take the metro to Alfons X (L4) and follow the signs in the station to the Park Güell bus stop. Your tickets also cover round-trip transportation on the direct shuttle bus from Alfons X (Metro L4) to Park Güell which takes about 15 minutes.
Hours: February-March: 8:30am-6pm, April: 8am-7:30pm, May-August: 7:30am-8:30pm, September-October: 8am-7:30pm, November-January: 8:30am-5:30pm (hours vary by season)
Recommended Amount of Time: 2 hours
Cost: €10 – If you plan to visit outside of the hours above, entrance to the regulated area is free.
Address: 08024 Barcelona
Bunkers del Carmel
If you’re wanting a bird’s eye view of Barcelona, Bunkers del Carmel offers one of the best and it’s free. This abandoned anti-aircraft defense bunker may seem a little run down, but you’re here for the view of the city after all. While the best time to visit is around sunset, this once lesser-known attraction is starting to get busy so get here a little early.
Hours: 24 hours
Cost: Free to visit
Address: Carrer de Marià Labèrnia, s/n, 08032
La Barceloneta & Dinner
At the end of the day stroll down to La Barceloneta to walk alongside the beach or enjoy dinner at one of the seafood restaurants in the area like Restaurante Paco Alcalde where we enjoyed some traditional Spanish seafood paella. If you happen to be in Barcelona on a Sunday, The W Barcelona Hotel has free entry to their rooftop bar for drinks.
READ MORE: One Day in Sintra
Other Things to do in Barcelona
Like I said before, two days in Barcelona isn’t enough time to see everything this expansive city has to offer, but here are some additional places you might want to include in your 2 days Barcelona itinerary. Feel free to swap some out for our recommendations above or add them in if you have more time in Barcelona.
La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria Market is a very popular food market to experience in Barcelona, but we didn’t get the chance to visit due to the timing of our visit. El Quim is one of the more popular food stalls that we’ve heard lives up to the hype and is well worth the wait.
Hours: 8am-8:30pm daily, closed Sundays
Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001
Santa Caterina Market
If you are wanting to visit a local market that isn’t bustling with as many tourists, Santa Caterina Market is a fresh food market that has a similar feel to La Boqueria Market.
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, & Saturday: 7:30am-3:30pm, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday: 7:30am-8:30pm, closed Sundays
Address: Av. de Francesc Cambó, 16, 08003
Visit The Montjuic Area
Montjuic is an area of Barcelona that requires its own time set aside. The Montjuic Cable Car has beautiful views of the city and Font Màgica de Montjuïc is a fountain that has scheduled light and water shows choreographed to music.
Montjuic Cable Car Information
Hours: January-February, November-December: 10am-6pm, March-May, October: 10am-7pm, June-September: 10am-9pm
Cost: €8.40 (single trip), €12.70 (round-trip)
Address: Avinguda Miramar, 30, 08038
Las Arenas de Barcelona
Las Arenas de Barcelona is a former bullring-turned-shopping mall that has a free 360-degree viewing platform that overlooks Plaça d’Espanya and provides a view of the city.
Hours: 9am-9pm daily, closed Sundays
Cost: Free to visit via escalator or €1 to take the elevator
Address: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 373 – 385, 08015
Tibidabo is one of the areas of Barcelona that I wish we had the time to visit. It’s a hill that overlooks the city of Barcelona and has an older amusement park with rides that offer has a gorgeous view of a nearby church.
Cost: Panoramic Area: Free, Amusement Park: €28.50
Address: Plaça del Tibidabo, 3, 4, 08035
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)
The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art contains a collection of over 5,000 works from the mid-20th century and onward.
Hours: Sunday: 10am-3pm, Monday-Friday: 11am-7:30pm, Saturday: 10am-8pm, Closed Tuesdays
Cost: €11 (Free from 4pm-8pm on Saturdays)
Address: Plaça dels Àngels, 1, 08001
There are a few Picasso museums in the world, but this Picasso Museum one has the most extensive collection of his art at roughly 4,251 pieces.
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday-Sunday: 9am-7pm, Thursday 9am-9:30pm, Closed Mondays
Cost: €12 (Free to visit 6pm-9:30pm on Thursdays and first Sunday of each month)
Address: Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003
We had the most amazing two days in Barcelona and can’t wait to go back so we can check out some of the highlights that we missed! Now go enjoy some tapas for us, please. 🙂