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One day in Barcelona itinerary: Visit Barcelona in a day

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Wondering if exploring Barcelona in a day is worth it? If you are pressed for time, you can surely visit some of the prime attractions in one day in Barcelona itinerary that we will share below. You will find 2 suggested itineraries to make the most of your visit!

Girl at Bunkers in Barcelona in 1 day
Views of Barcelona

Barcelona revels in its role as the capital of Catalonia and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The cosmopolitan flair and vibe have made it the most visited destination in Spain for millions of tourists who flock here from all parts of the world each year.

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, so needless to say, visiting large cities is exciting. If you’re planning a short trip to Barcelona, being street-smart, and planning ahead will help you get the most out of your time here.

One day in Barcelona itinerary: Visit Barcelona in a day

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Barcelona one day itinerary: Highlights of the day

1 day Barcelona itinerary: With guided tours

More time in Barcelona? Here is a 2 day Barcelona itinerary and a Barcelona 3 day itinerary

Planning a trip to Barcelona: Barcelona Travel Tips

Barcelona is located in the northeast of Spain on the Mediterranean coast. The city is well known for its art, architecture, and culture. 

Barcelona is a major tourist destination, and gets millions of visitors per year – and hence planning is key.

Sagrada Familia is a popular Barcelona tourist attraction
Beautiful Sagrada Familia Barcelona

The first thing is Spain is an EU member, and if you need a tourist visa then ensure you get your Schengen Visa prior to your visit. Passport holders from the USA and Canada can travel visa-free for 90 days. 

When preparing for your Barcelona trip, do not forget to protect yourself with travel insurance. Get one that is designed for adventurous travelers, and which takes care of medical emergencies, baggage loss, evacuation, and others. 

We never go on any trip without it and it is a must! Barcelona is notorious for pickpocketing, and other theft issues – do get insurance before you travel. You can get free insurance quotes here

Next, you need to plan where to stay for twenty-four hours in Barcelona. The city is huge and so is the accommodation inventory, but getting a room and bed to rest your head on is surprisingly easy, as the best hotels to stay in are located within the city center. 

The Eixample district (or the Extension district) has a wide range of accommodation options and is close to some of the famous Gaudi buildings. 

If you want to stay near the beach, the central neighborhood of Barceloneta right next to the beach has some top attractions within walking distance of each other. 

Location-wise, however, the best district to stay in is in the Gothic Quarter or La Ramblas, with plenty of tourist sites nearby. Now, these are touristy areas, and when you only have a day in Barcelona – you got to be in the heart of where the action is to cover more ground!

Here are some hotel suggestions:

  • El Palace Barcelona: For those looking for five-star comforts, the El Palace Barcelona is a superb choice. You will get charmed in an instant by the neoclassical facade, elegant rooms, and the top-class Mayan-styled rooftop pool and spa. Book your stay here
  • Boutique Hotel H10 Montcada: Located in the heart of Old Town, this is an outstanding hotel near the Gothic Quarter, very close to the Picasso Museum and La Rambla. Check out rooms and availability
  • Hotel Garbi Millenni: This is an affordable hotel featuring simple but clean rooms that offer excellent value both for money and location. There is a nice rooftop bar, and La Ramblas is just a 10-minute walk away! Book your stay here

There are some popular homes and apartments also available in Barcelona. Some of the good ones are Renaissance Barcelona Hotel and The One Barcelona.

Barcelona one day itinerary: Sample 1 

Barcelona is known for its well-preserved culture and unique vibe not to be found anywhere else in the country. From Gaudi architecture to fine arts, iconic nature parks, and museums, there is much to see in this beautiful city.

For a short trip, we recommend getting a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing pass to get to various attractions with ease. Opt for the blue line tour to access iconic spots such as the La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and more. Click to book your ticket here

Girl at the Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia Gaudi creations

In this travel guide, we will be sharing with you all the important information which will make your one day Barcelona itinerary sail through in a breeze, without any hiccups. So without any further ado, let’s get started!

Start as soon as you have checked in to your hotel, with the attraction which is furthermost on your bucket list, and then wind your way back. 

This is because, by the time your one day Barcelona trip comes to an end, you will be dead tired and would be longing to return to your hotel room for a much-needed rest.

Park Guell (09:00 am)

An early morning stroll in the iconic Park Guell is highly recommended. Not only is the weather cool, but there are also fewer people around. 

Girl at Park Guell Barcelona
Park Guell – Protected monument area

There are several walking paths here, so expect to spend at least a couple of hours traversing them. 

There is an admission fee of €10 to the park for the general public and €7 for seniors and children six and above, though most of the hiking trails are free. 

Be sure to get your tickets online as there are capacity limits. Each ticket will have a time slot, and you have 30 minutes after the time marked on your ticket to enter the site. 

The general admission includes entry into Monument Core which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can take photos of Gaudi’s homes from the Monumental Area.

If you wish to visit the Gaudi Museum,  you will have to pay an additional admission fee.

Keep in mind, that there are access points regulated here at the Park Guell. The early morning time bands (7:00 to 9:30 am) and the evening ones (8:00 to 10:00 pm) are reserved for citizens. 

Park Guell and Gaudi Museum
Park Guell and Gaudi Museum Barcelona Itinerary one day

Between 9:30 and 7:30 pm, access is shared between citizens and visitors. 

We recommend arriving there by 09:00 am so that you can get your tickets validated, and enjoy a short walk before entering the Monumental Area. 

You can book your entry tickets here.

Or book combined tickets for Sagrada Familia and Park Guell

There is always some line-up at the monument area, so it is best checked off in the morning as soon as it opens if the Park Guell is on your Barcelona Spain bucket list.

Brunch at Bar Delicias (10:15 am)

Spanish people adore eating, so much so that a typical Spaniard consumes more food in a day than his counterpart in the United States. That said, food times are spread over the day and must include a walk or two between meals.

As you will have only one free morning in Barcelona, head to Bar Delicias, a walking distance from Park Guell, to enjoy a traditional local meal. 

The locals start the morning with just a cup of coffee and have their first major meal only by 10:00 am, so you may find the restaurant crowded. 

You just cannot go wrong with anything you order here, be it their popular Galician dishes or the tasty Swiss potatoes.

Casa Mila (11:00 am)

On your way back from Park Guell, head south for two blocks on the main road, where you will come across another Gaudi architectural masterpiece, Casa Mila or La Pedrera, ‘The Stone Quarry’. 

Casa Mila Barcelona
Casa Mila

You need to pay for admission, but it is worth the money spent. 

Admiring the design and stunning interiors of the Casa is a treat, even if you are not an architecture fan. The wrought ironwork shows the ingenious use of the metal by the innovative architect. 

Gaudi had anticipated the need for a garage for cars and coaches and built one in the basement, the first of its kind in a residential building in Barcelona. 

Ticket prices start at  € 27 for 13 and above (adults). You can book your tickets online on GetYourGuide, they have a generous cancellation policy should your plans change. 

Casa Batllo (11:30 am)

Located just around the corner from Casa Mila is another famous work of Gaudi, known as Casa Batlló. 

Casa Batllo in Barcelona
Casa Batllo

The building has colorful shifting dragon scales on the rooftops, while the exterior is in different shapes, one that cannot be found in any other part of Europe. 

Don’t forget to admire the stained glass windows at the Casa Batllo!

Like other attractions in Barcelona, there is an entry fee from €35 onwards, depending on the time you enter. You should book your tickets online to save time.

An audio guide will take you around the rooms to highlight the history of the place and the reasons behind its construction. This UNESCO World Heritage site has been thrown open to the public since 1995. 

To explore this odd-ball masterpiece without wasting precious time, opt for the Casa Batllo skip-the-line entrance ticket. 

You can also book a combined ticket for Park Guell, Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo

Palau de la Musica Catalana (12:30 pm)

It will be mid-day after admiring the works of Gaudi, so it will be good to explore something different that Barcelona has to offer in the architectural scene. 

Head to Place Catalunya, Plaça de Catalunya is a large plaza in Barcelona’s historic center that is regarded as both the city’s core and the meeting point for the old city and Eixample 19th century development.

Five minutes walk from the Placa Catalunya is the Palau de la Música Catalana, a 1997 World Heritage site, which is just the place to marvel at the Modernista style of construction. 

The exteriors of this concert hall which came up in 1905 may not look impressive, but don’t let that fool you, because the insides are simply breathtaking, both in creativity and imagination. 

Even if you can’t get a ticket to a flamenco performance, snap a few photos of the famous musicians Beethoven and Bach, resting on top of the intricate mosaic pillars. 

Tickets for adults start at €15, for self-guided tours. Book your tickets here

With a guide, it is about €19+. If you book two weeks in advance you get a discounted rate of €14.40.

There is a nice cafe in the lobby of the Palau which has an excellent daily menu for €17, between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. 

There is also a good restaurant called La Mirador inside the concert hall, which serves excellent Catalan and French cuisine in a space decorated with photos and illustrations of notable Catalan composers. 

The restaurant is open from 12:30 pm from Friday to Sunday and at 6:00 pm on other days of the week. They have two terraces and a fine place to enjoy a tapa with a cocktail in the afternoon, before continuing to the next leg of your one day Barcelona tour.

Gothic Quarter Walking Tour with a guide (2:00 pm)

Join the walking tour of the Gothic Quarter, the oldest part of Barcelona, to gain an in-depth knowledge of the history, culture, and traditions of the city. 

Gothic Quarter

An experienced guide will pick you up from Placa Catalunya and guide you along the narrow streets of this place. 

On the way, you will be entertained with tales of over 2000 years old Catalan history, including the first century Roman fort and how the 1992 summer Olympics left its stamp on modern Barcelona. 

On this two-hour walking tour you will get to explore, La Ramblas, Jewish Quarter, the imposing gothic cathedral La Seu and sample some excellent churros in the city center. 

La Boqueria Market (04:30 pm)

The oldest market in Barcelona located in La Rambla has been in operation since 1217 and still attracts visitors from far and wide who come to taste local delicacies sold across over 200 food stalls. 

La Boqueria Market

From Catalan sausage to olives, seafood, fruits, and meats: the choices are endless. The most sought-after dish here is Eggplant omelet and garbanzo beans with blood sausage. The deeper you venture inside, the better the value. 

There are a number of shops in the vicinity of the market selling books, clothes, art materials, and also artisanal oils, along with some bars and restaurants.

La Sagrada Familia (5:30/6:00 pm)

There are some spectacular churches in the world but La Sagrada Familia is streets ahead of any other in terms of beauty and architecture. 

Sagrada Views in one week in Spain Itinerary
Sagrada Familia

Another creation of the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi, the design of the building is bizarre but extremely eye-catching, unlike anything seen elsewhere. 

The church has been designed to bring in natural light so it is important to visit during daytime hours. We found time before sunset the best, as the sun rays are at the perfect angle to illuminate the breathtaking interiors. 

Inside Sagrada Familia

What is still more fascinating is that though the constitution of La Sagrada Familia began in 1882, it is still incomplete, and projected to be finished by 2030. Earlier it was forecasted for 2026). 

Entry is not cheap, but it is free with the Barcelona City Pass and Go Barcelona Pass. All the funds collected from entrance fees go into the ongoing construction work.

Due to its popularity and need for security, entry to the church is timed, so book your preferred time slot online in advance. 

Alternately, take the Sagrada Familia skip-the-line guided tour to save a lot of time and hassle. 

This is what we booked on our second visit to Barcelona. And it was 1000% worth it. You can also climb the towers for some amazing city views in Barcelona. The church entry is open until 08:00 pm in the evening. 

Magic fountain (08:30 pm)

Every evening, between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm (check timings before you go), a sound and light show synchronized with the rising and falling waters of the Montjuic Magic Fountain which mesmerizes onlookers in the Montjuïc neighborhood – Plaça de les Cascades. 

This is a free event with amazing choreography of light and water, and in the backdrop of an iconic landmark is a thrilling visual experience. 

In case you arrive early, worry not, as you can check out the Cascades till you wait for the fountain to spout.

Dinner at Casa de Tapes Canota

After your enjoyable Magic Fountain experience, pamper yourself in the Galicia-inspired seafood outlet nearby. Not only is the menu elaborate, but so is the laid-back setting, just perfect for a good-bye celebratory meal. 

The Canota serves traditional fare of fried fish, Galician octopus, patatas bravas, and draught beer and wine.

Barcelona in a day itinerary: Sample 2

Here is an alternate Barcelona one day itinerary that intimately checks a few attractions allowing you to enjoy the city break comfortably. 

Start your morning with a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia - Barcelona Most beautiful places in Spain
Sagrada Familia – Time: 08:30 am

You can either book a fast track entry ticket or a 3 hour excursion with a local expert. We did the latter, and it was 1000% worth it to learn about the church’s history and of Gaudi.

Tours commence at 09:30 am, but we were at the complex an hour earlier for photos. 

Right outside the Sagrada Família, you can join a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing tour to check out some of the attractions that are located a bit further away from the city centre like Camp Nou, Fundació Joan Miró, the Olympic complex, and more. This will be the Classic Blue line tour. 

You can get down at your favorites or just enjoy the tourist bus ride. 

Gothic Cathedral in Barcelona
Gothic Cathedral in Barcelona

Stops like Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, Barcelona Cathedral, La Rambla, and Gothic Quarter will be on your way. We recommend picking 1-3 stops for the afternoon. These attractions will also have cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat. 

Plan to get down at Park Guell at 6:00 pm latest to enjoy the sun go down. Here is an entry ticket.

From here, walk to the Bunkers del Carmel. Bunkers del Carmel is the most popular lookout in Barcelona. And it is FREE. 

Views from Bunkers in Barcelona

The Bunkers del Carmel offer a stunning view of the city, and on a clear day, you can even see the Mediterranean Sea. Make sure to bring your camera, because this is definitely a spot you’ll want to remember!

The Bunkers on top of the hill of Turó de la Rovira were built as anti-aircraft fortifications in 1938, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. 

Remember to bring a packed snack (and drinks) and stay there until it is nighttime to soak in the illuminating lights of Barcelona city! 

Bunkers at night

Alternate trip suggestions for One day Barcelona itinerary

Here are some alternate attractions and other things to do in Barcelona to add to your itinerary, 

Hit the beach

You have done a bit of walking so if you want to relax, head to the long and wide Barceloneta beach, an incredibly busy spot around the year. 

The water is warm and excellent for swimming, plus there are a number of good restaurants on the boardwalk. 

If you want a bit of peace, walk further from the center to the quieter beaches of Somorrostro in the north and Sant Sebastia at the southern end.

Stroll down from La Rambla to Port Vell

This is a 1.2 km (.75 mile) crowded walkway in the centre of the city with many beautiful buildings on either side, like the city’s opera House the Gran Teatre del Liceu. 

Port Vell Barcelona
Port Vell Barcelona

Here you will find musicians and street performers throughout the day, and even though you have just a day, try and squeeze time out at least for one stroll. 

You can walk all the way to Port Vell and admire the Cristobal Monument as well as the waterfront area!

Visit the Picasso museum

Whether you are a fan of Picasso or not, the life and works of the great influential artist will rekindle some interest in you. 

Founded in 1963, the Picasso museum is home to over 4000 artifacts and is considered to have the most comprehensive collection of his works in the world. 

Apart from the paintings, the museum has ceramics, drawings, and engravings by the master painter. Grab the entry tickets here

Take a cable car ride

Connecting Montjuic Hill and Barceloneta, the 1450 m long harbor aerial cable car ropeway offers incredible views during its ten minutes long journey. You can see the city on one side and the sea on the other. 

When you alight at Barceloneta, you will find a good restaurant on top of the 78 m high San Sebastian tower, which can be accessed by the elevator.

Take a food tour + cooking class

Just like the whole of Spain, Barcelona is a foodie city, so a food tour is strongly recommended. Here you will gain an insight into Catalan cooking, made with fresh ingredients and using novel techniques.

Paella
Paella In Barcelona

The walks through the local markets and watching the locals prepare their own meals is a wonderful experience. You can even try your dish and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Barcelona Cooking organizes 4-hour cooking and market food tour. Check it out here

Another option is to book a Chef-Led Paella Cooking Workshop with lunch. Find more information here

Barcelona 1 day itinerary: Sightseeing Map

Day trips from Barcelona Spain

It is unfortunate that you just have one day to spare in Barcelona, as it is a great base for a nice bunch of day trips. 

If you are planning to come again, here are some suggestions on how to set off from the city to explore some more parts of the stunning Catalonian coastline.

Montserrat 

There is so much to see and do in Montserrat, that it has become a top destination for day-trippers from Barcelona. 

Montserrat
Montserrat

Apart from the striking pink-colored conglomerate mountains, the place is also home to one of the few Black Madonnas in Europe, also referred to as la Moreneta, meaning ‘ the little dark-skinned one’.

There are a lot of hiking trails in the area. You can enjoy the view and the monastery without a strenuous hike as well – just use a cable car or a tour to get there, and walk! 

Girona

  • Distance 104 km (65 miles)
  • Travel time 40 minutes by train (fastest)
  • Tour: Book here

Whether you are a Game of Thrones fan or not, the Girona Cathedral, where season 6 of the popular film was shot, is a must-see on your day excursion from Barcelona. 

An integral part of the skyline of the city, its most important feature is the 23m Gothic nave, the widest of its kind in the world. 

Girona is relatively a small city and is a perfect day long road trip destination due to its proximity to Barcelona.

PortAventura, Salou

  • Distance 94 km (58 miles)
  • Travel time 1 hour 6 minutes by train

PortAventura is not only the most popular amusement park in the whole of Spain but the largest in Europe as well. 

Visitors can easily gain access to the park by train, bus, or car from Barcelona to Salou, where the theme park is situated. 

Once you are done with the park rides, there are some historically important monuments near the area to explore, such as the 16th century Torre Villa fortress and the stunning Maria del Mar church.

Read: One week in Spain itinerary | Spain and Portugal itinerary

More Travel Tips for Barcelona

If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, there are a few things you should know in advance. 

First, the city is large and spread out, so you’ll need to do some planning in order to make the most of your time there. 

Second, Barcelona is a very popular tourist destination, so expect large crowds and long lines at popular attractions. 

Sagrada Familia
View of Sagrada Familia Barcelona in a day

In high season, especially, the popular attractions get sold out as many as three weeks in advance.

During the low season from January to March, the hotels in the city give deep discounts to attract more customers because of the steep decline in tourist flow. This is probably the ideal time to visit Barcelona on a budget. Barcelona in September or fall is great for (free) events and festivities.

Third, the city is expensive, so be prepared to spend a lot of money on food, lodging, and activities.

Museums in Barcelona are the best places to learn about the history and culture of Spain. The admission fee of many of these institutions is waived off on the first Sunday of every month. So if you want to visit museums for free try and avail of this great opportunity.

If you have only a day in Barcelona, make sure you book your tickets for the attractions you want to visit, well in advance. Not only will you save €€€, but will save precious time by skipping the long lines. 

If you want to visit the main sights of the city on your own, consider taking a package deal that includes entry to several landmarks. One such offer is the Gaudi Bundle if you are interested in architecture or the Barcelona Pass which covers both public transport and other attractions.

Barcelona views

As far as budget goes, you will need to plan for €123 per day for your mid-range budget for one day in Barcelona. This includes €27 for meals, €15 for local transportation, and €75 for accommodation. 

If you are backpacking expect to spend €50 per day and if money is no object then a luxury stay will cost you €250 per day.

If you are on the first visit to Barcelona, no trip is deemed complete without trying their signature tapas offerings. These are light starters of seafood, meat, and all kinds of vegetables and can be found on every restaurant menu. 

It is a great way to sample Spanish food without ordering the whole portion.

As far as safety goes, whenever in Barcelona, be extremely vigilant about your valuables and money. Pickpockets throng the metro, Las Ramblas, and the winding streets of Old Town, especially the Gothic Quarter. 

La Ramblas
La Ramblas

The city, otherwise, is very safe, but not taking basic protection will make you a soft target for opportunistic thieves.

Was one day in Barcelona enough?

One day can never be enough to see what this mega-city has to offer, but there are ways and means to capture the brilliance of Barcelona in under 24 hours. The key to achieving the impossible will be to get to know about the city at first, its pulse, plan (book in advance), and target just two to three of the most important places you would like to visit. 

This Barcelona one day itinerary is perfect if you are enjoying road trips in and around the country.

Pin: Complete guide to spending one day in Barcelona

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