I’ve fallen in love IN Barcelona and I’ve fallen in love WITH Barcelona. It’s definitely one of my favorite European cities (of course Madrid is up there too).
I could never get tired of this city. It is so hard to fit all the things to do in just a four day itinerary of Barcelona; I have a running list with loads of places that didn’t make it on this list, so if you want anymore suggestions on eats and drinks (as you can tell, I love a good rooftop and cocktail) just contact us and ask.
I tried to narrow down the to-do’s to just a 4-day Barcelona Itinerary with activities that are worthy, but these four days are pretty jam-packed. It feels like Day 3 could really be split into two days, so just make sure you’re planning that day ahead of time. In my opinion, you really need 5 days in Barcelona so I’ve added some extras at the bottom of this itinerary for those staying 5 or even 6 days in the area.
*Pro-tip: My go-to is to save all of “the spots” into Google Maps with a label of the city I’m traveling before I leave and make a type of itinerary directly on Google Maps so I know where I am going in real time once I get there.
So let’s jump right on into this 4-day Barcelona Itinerary:
- Boutique Hostals/Pensions:
- *Hostal Girona – the double room with balcony is amazing
- La Casa de Antonio Boutique Rooms
Arrive in BCN
- drop your things, freshen up and get out to explore
- Get lost in the Gothic Quarter (try not to go past Via Laietana today unless you have a bit more time to go across to Palau de Musica, but stop there for today because there’s too much to see in El Born neighborhood-that’s for another day!)
- Cathedral (best photo of the Gothic Cathedral is from the Hotel Colon’s street and the hotel rooftop terrace)
- Roman City Walls
- The Kiss of Freedom (just beside the BEST Vietnamese Restaurant Bun Bo Vietnam)
- El Pont del Bisbe
- MUHBA Temple d’August (built 1st Century BC)
- Barcelona History Museum MUHBA (local history museum with a medieval setting of Roman streets and buildings)
- Plaça de Sant Jaume
- Plaça Milans
- Plaça Reial
- Monument a Colom (to start the walk up La Rambla)
- La Rambla (watch your bag!)
- Mercat de La Boqueria
- Plaça Catalunya
Eats and Drinks!
- Hotel Colon (great views of the cathedral from the rooftop bar)
- Bún Bò Viêtnam (Bun Bo Barcelona is a chill Vietnamese restaurant beside The Kiss of Freedom)
- Ohla Hotel Rooftop Bar (super trendy rooftop bar with views and glass pool)
- Bo de B (counter-service cafe for famous bocadillos, sandwiches and salads)
- Bodega Biarritz 1881 Tapas Bar
- Boadas Cocktails
- El Jardí (hidden away spot for tapas, coffee & cocktails in the gardens of a medieval complex)
- Two Schmucks on a Terrace (#11 cocktail bar in the world in 2021. Try the Mozzarella Cantaloupe and Black Pepper Cocktail)
*UPDATE end of 2022: the small business owners of Two Schmucks were pushed out by a large investment company after seeking support during the COIVD Pandemic. The Two Schmucks business as we knew it is now just a normal, low-quality chain
**TRY Caribbean Club instead of Two Schmucks
- El Quim de la Boqueria (INSIDE Mercat de La Boqueria)
Go back to hotel to freshen up
- Dinner at Cerveceria Catalana (if the wait is too long, this restaurant has a sister restaurant called Flautas II that’s just as delicious)
You can walk pretty much everywhere this day
Wake up Early
- Brunch & Cake by the Sea (there are multiple of these, all are so cute but the one by the sea is closer to all the things for today!)
- or The Benedict Barcelona
- El Born Centre de Cultura i Memoria (if interested in ancient ruins- it’s free and you can see Barcelona’s preserved marketplace and city ruins from 1700’s)
- Parc de la Ciutadella
- Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella
- Arc de Triomf
- *If you didn’t go the first day, walk across to Palau de La Musica (book in advance and go inside)
- Mercat de Santa Caterina
- Picasso Museum (it’s a lot of his work from when he was younger but totally worth it!). Free Admission on Thursdays from 5pm onwards, first Sunday of each month (English guided tour at 11am; book in advance), 12 February (santa Eulàlia), 18 May (the International day of Museums) and 24 September (Day of La Mercè) free entrance for everybody. Limited capacity; book online in advance.
- Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
Eats and Drinks!
- Elsa y Fred (Near Arc de Triomf)
- Restaurant Club Bananas (such a cool space; inspired by and styled with Miami touch)
- Paradiso (#3 cocktail bar in the world in 2021, hidden behind faux freezer in a Pastrami shop. There’s usually a line so it’s best to go in afternoon when they open; the bar opens 4pm Sat & Sun and 5/6pm Mon-Fri.)
- Can Paixano/ La Xampanyeria (Believe us on this one. There’s usually a line, but it’s so awesome!)
- Dr. Stravinsky (another cocktail bar that’s been on the World’s Best List)
- RUBI Gin Bar (I went to this bar back in 2014 and spent forever trying to find it again. Now it’s a well-known cocktail bar and one you don’t want to miss.)
- Story (beautifully displayed and delicious food and drinks, live jazz and cool setting; great for dinner)
- Can Cisa/Bar Brutal (see photo below)
- Eldiset (If you’ve stayed in this area up to dinnertime, this is a great restaurant for dinner with classic and creative Catalan tapas.)
It’s a walkable day
Honestly, once you get in the El Born neighborhood, you’re not going to want to leave. So whichever day you choose to do this tour around, make sure you’re ready to walk a lot and stay a while. El Born is a great place to bar hop at night too!
Wake up early! and start in Plaça Catalunya (if you like to shop you might want to do this day backwards to go down Passeig de Gracia in the late afternoon to shop and grab cocktails. I actually might like this day better backwards for myself. )
- Flax & Kale for Brekkie (or if you loved Brunch & Cake there is another nearby OR just grab some coffee and a napolitana because today is jam-packed)
- Casa Batlló (you can purchase a ticket to tour the inside if time allows)
- Casa Mila (you can enter and visit the rooftop! If you’re tired of walking take the Blue line metro L5 straight to Sagrada from here or if you’ve experienced Sagrada first, take Blue line back here)
- Sagrada Familia (This is an absolute splendor and marvel of the world. Get skip the line tickets before…just do it. Even if you’ve been before, you want to go in again. They’ve constructed SO much of this awe-striking building in just the past two or three years)
- Explore around for photos
- Ayre Hotel Rosellón (rooftop bar with INCREDIBLE views of Sagrada. Make sure to book ahead, only available 7 days before!)
- *If time is looking good: Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (amazing Modernista hospital with tickets to enter and guided tours with great photo ops- again if you’re tired of walking just take the Blue line L5 from Sagrada to the Hospital)
- Parc Güell (whether you’re coming from Sagrada or the Hospital- just get a cab- it’s the only time I will ever say that. You can buy the ticket to go into the attractions OR just walk around the free portion of the park. While the free portion of the park provides amazing views of the city and some of the buildings, you won’t be able to see the main attractions within the free portion and must buy the ticket to enter the grounds below.)
*If you’re feeling adventurous and have time, you can walk up to Bunkers del Carmel from here; it has panoramic views of the city form Spanish Civil War bunkers (You could even start your early morning here at the bunkers as stated above and go down through the city to all of the Guadi highlights and end near Plaça Catalunya for shopping and cocktails)
Eats and Drinks!
- Bar Xapako (unassuming, quick and easy little modest tapas bar)
- Braseria La Selva Barcelona (*This will be a place to eat depending on your time and how many sites you actually plan to enter. La Selva is a chic, sit-down restaurant filled with plants in a beautiful interior with meat and seafood dishes between Sagrada and Hospital de la Santa Cruz)
- Ayre Hotel Rosellón (as stated above, you don’t want to miss this place. It has the best view of Sagrada Familia in all its glory)
- El Nacional (*Gastromarket with 4 restaurants and 4 bars just beside Azimuth Rooftop Bar. You could eat here then go for more cocktails with a view! A great and beautiful option.)
- Azimuth Rooftop Bar (part of the 5-star Almanac Hotel with grand views of the city)
- Takumi Ramen Barcelona
- Hemingway Gin and Cocktail (Hemingway-inspired cocktails)
- Bobby’s Free (A speakeasy cocktail bar hidden behind a barber shop serving sublime drinks in a unique prohibition-style atmosphere. Be careful and stay updated on the password as it changes every month!)
Blue Line L5 metro, Walking and Taxi
This is really a day to catch up on the things you might have missed during the previous days OR a day to walk around Montjuic and the Port with some added relaxation at the beach…because if you’re in BCN, you at least have to stick your toes in the Med!
As I’ve said, I really think you need 5 days in Barcelona…but I know that is tough when you also want to explore other areas of Spain. Just keep it moving if you want to experience all this amazing city has to offer in just a 4-day itinerary!
- Plaça Espanya
- Museo Nacional de Arte de Catalunya (for photos)
- Teleferic de Montjuic to Castell de Montjuic
- Walk around and explore everything
- Font Magica de Montjuic (Fountain Light Show in the evening. Stay up to date on the times of the show as they change depending on season. The 1st April to 31st May & 1st to 31st October: Thursday to Saturday, from 9pm to 10pm. The 1st June to 31st September: Wednesday to Sunday, from 9.30pm to 10.30pm. The 1st November to 31st March: Thursday to Saturday, from 8pm to 9pm.)
- Walk down Av. del Parallel (a main street heading down to the port) and Carrer de Blai (a pedestrian street with restaurants near Quimet & Quimet about half-way between Plaça de Espanya and the port)
- It’s your last day! Go chill at the Port and the Beach down on Platja de la Barceloneta! Recommendations below.
Eats and Drinks!
- Quimet & Quimet (historic bar with tapas and impressive wine cellar of over 500 bottles of wine)
- Perikete (cozy tapas bar)
- Oaxaca Cuina Mexicana (yum, Mezcal and Mexican food)
- 1881 per Sagardi (large rooftop terrace with views of the port)
Teleferic, Walking, Green Line L3 Metro
Extra Day Ideas:
- Take the train to Montserrat! You can take the train from the Plaça España rail station with Line R5 towards Manresa. From there you can decide to get off the train at the Aeri de Montserrat to take the cable car up to the top (which is so fun and beautiful), or a bit further down the track you can get off the train at Monistrol de Montserrat to take the Cremallera de Montserrat (Rack railway mountain train).
- Take the Tibidabo Funicular in the north of Barcelona to go up to Tibidabo Amusement Park… which is so fun, and a great view of the city!
**Please watch your bag in the touristic areas; I cannot stress that enough
Remember that Barcelona is in the Catalunya region. Even though it is a very international city in Spain and most people can speak Spanish and English, the people of Catalunya are proud to have their own language, traditions and culture distinctive to this region.