Are you visiting Barcelona for the first time and only have 48 hours to discover it? We will not deny that the challenge before you is not easy, since the incentives of the Catalan capital are practically countless. In any case, what is there to lose? When it comes to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, any traveler’s duty is to enjoy it to the fullest.This is why we want to give you a hand, in explaining what to see in 2 days in Barcelona.
Of course: if you want to have a weekend getaway in Barcelona, rest assured that a couple of very busy days await in front of you. However, the number of places you will visit is directly proportional to the amount of emotions that this vibrant city on the shores of the Mediterranean will offer you . Ready for the adventure? Let’s go!
What to visit on your first day in Barcelona
When planning what to see in 2 days in Barcelona, every minute counts. That’s why we encourage you to wake up early. If you have booked a rental apartment on the beach with Lugaris, you can start the day with a good breakfast on your own balcony or terrace, which will allow you to save time (and get up and running immediately), although you can also choose the best places for brunch in Poblenou if you prefer a lie-in.
1.Take a bus tour for modernist highlights
If you want to get the most out of your time, we recommend you use the Blue Route of the Tourist Bus, which will take you from Plaça de Catalunya to the FC Barcelona stadium, passing through the Passeig de Gràcia (where Casa Batlló and Casa Milà are located, known popularly as La Pedrera), the Sagrada Familia, the neighborhood of Gràcia, Park Güell, Tibidabo and the exclusive Pedralbes district, where the Güell Pavilions and the beautiful monastery of the same name are located.
Our advice is to book your bus ticket in advance to avoid queues (you can buy it online at www.barcelonabusturistic.cat). The same could be said of the entrances to two architectural gems that you should visit during the bus tour: the Sagrada Familia (www.sagradafamilia.org) and the Park Güell (www.parkguell.cat), declared World Heritage by UNESCO and considered as two of the main sites to see Gaudí art in Barcelona.
2. Discover the Gothic Quarter
At the end of the tour, get off the bus at Plaça Catalunya and take the avenue of Portal de l’Àngel, one of the main commercial arteries of the city. This will take you directly to the entrance of the Gothic Quarter neighborhood, where a pleasant walk through some of the most beautiful monuments of Barcelona and medieval buildings await.
Amongst the most interesting, we would like to highlight the vestiges of the old Roman wall, the cathedral of Barcelona, the Ardiaca House, the idyllic Plaça del Rei, the columns of the old temple of Augusto (in the street of the Paradís, 19), the square of Sant Jaume, where the Palau de la Generalitat and the Barcelona City Council are located; the Jewish district or Call, which has one of the oldest synagogues in Europe; the church of Santa María del Pi, which offers beautiful views over Barcelona from its tower … And since we are talking about this magnificent Gothic building, it is worth remembering that next to it, in the nearby street of Petritxol, you have different chocolate shops in which to regain strength with an irresistible chocolate with churros in one of the best places in Barcelona.
3. Spend your evening in el Born
At night, you will be invited to cross the Via Laietana, walk to the Palau de la Música and, walk back taking the street of Argenteria to get closer to the imposing basilica of Santa María del Mar, a landmark of Catalan Gothic and the scene of the acclaimed novel The cathedral of the sea, by Ildefonso Falcones. At the end of the Paseo del Born, you will find the remains of the old Ribera district, one of the best preserved archaeological sites of the 18th century in Europe, as well as restaurants and pubs in which to add the finishing touch to an unforgettable day.
What to visit on your second day in Barcelona
Day 1 in Barcelona completed! Are you ready for your second (and last) challenge? Today you will discover downtown Barcelona and learn a little bit more about Catalan culture. Let’s get started with your day.
4. Les Rambles
We recommend you get to Plaça de Catalunya once more and walk down Les Rambles, the most emblematic street of the city. There are places full of charm, like its flower stalls, the La Boqueria market, embellished with a spectacular modernist entrance; the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Plaça Reial, the indescribable café of El Bosc de les Fades, located next to the Wax Museum … At the end of the walk you will find the monument dedicated to Columbus and the Drassanes, the old shipyards of the port of Barcelona.
5. The mountain of Montjuïc
This is the place where you must take a Tourist Bus on the Red Route. This proposal will allow you to know places like Port Vell, Ciutadella Park, Plaza de Espanya and Montjuïc mountain, stopping if you wish in the Mies Van der Rohe pavilion, the Poble Espanyol – an area that gathers examples of typical architecture from all around Spain-, the Olympic Ring, the Joan Miró Foundation and the gardens of Costa i Llobera. This route covers most of the areas known for having changed the face of the city during the 92 Olympics, so it’s a must if you’re wondering what to see in 2 days in Barcelona.
6. Wander around El Raval
At the end of this circular route, and back to the port, enter the multicultural Raval neighborhood. Located next to the Rambles, this is the old Chinese neighborhood and one of the symbols of the profound transformation that Barcelona experienced as a result of the 1992 Olympic Games. There you can visit the Palau Güell, another of Gaudí’s wonders that should not to be missed. The always lively Rambla del Raval, the birthplace of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, on Carrer de la Botella, and the impressive monastery of Sant Pau del Camp, the most important Romanesque building in Barcelona are also the most important stops.
7. Taste the best of Catalan cuisine
From there, you can easily access the Paral·lel avenue, full of theaters and located next to the Poble-sec district, dotted with bars and restaurants where you can dine at a good price, and where you’ll be able to say goodbye to your step for the Catalan capital. In this neighborhood, you will even find six of Albert Adrià‘s restaurants. This Michelin star chef will definitely surprise you with his take on tapas!
This list lacks some important landmarks that fairly away from the circuit described, such as the modernist complex of the Hospital of Santa Creu i Sant Pau, the Casa Vicens, the taverns of the Barceloneta neighborhood or the Picasso Museum, which opens its doors on Montcada street . This is why, if you’re more interested in any of the suggestions made over this line instead of the basic circuit we have suggested, do not hesitate to swap them over, they are also worth visiting.
This is one of the many reasons why you should come back to Barcelona for a longer period of time, there is so much to be explored!
Do you have any other unmissables you think we may have left out? Let us know!