6:30 pm – Plaça de Catalunya (1)
If you get to the city centre by bus from the airport, you can get off at the last stop at Plaça de Catalunya, a bustling square surrounded by shops and restaurants.
7:00 pm – Mercado de La Boqueria (2)
Mercado de La Boqueria is the most famous market in Barcelona. There you can find fresh fruit, veggies, tapas bars, snacks, meat and seafood. One tip for you: come around the closing time at 8pm to get better deals. The market closes every Sunday.
8:00 pm – La Rambla (3)
Strolling in La Rambla is truly entertaining. La Rambla is a walking path full of flower stores, souvenir shops, and restaurants. The atmosphere of the place is superb – it is relaxing and cozy.
Dinner – Viana Barcelona (4)
Spanish people eat dinner very late. That is, around 9-10 pm. Even after 11pm, the streets of Barcelona are often still full of life.
If you stay near the Gothic Quarter, check out Viana Barcelona, a hidden gem tapas restaurant. Try the dish carpaccio, which means raw meat, and it is the best way to enjoy the flavourful presa. Presa is a shoulder cut of Iberico pigs – these free-range acorn fed pigs are the specialty of Spain.
Breakfast – El Quim de la Boquería
El Quim de la Boquería is a tapas restaurant situated inside the Mercado de La Boqueria. It opens at 7am every day, except for Sundays. I did not have breakfast here though because I was in Barcelona on a Sunday.
After that, stop by Palau Güell (5) to admire its surreal facade.
9:00 am – The Gothic Quarter
Wandering in the Gothic Quarter early in the morning is a delight. Do not miss Catedral de Barcelona (6).
10:30 am – Casa Batlló (7)
This masterpiece by the architect Antoni Gaudí is definitely a must see. Book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues. The audio guide accompanied by virtual reality reconstructs in detail the decorative interior of the building. The colourful light effect inside the Art Nouveau building makes it feel like a fantasy.
Lunch – Cerveseria Catalana (8)
If you can only eat out once in Barcelona, make sure you choose Cerveseria Catalana, which is about a 10-min walk from Casa Batlló. Try their tortilla (Spanish omelette with potatoes).
After lunch, walk to Casa Milà (9) to admire the exterior of yet another gem of Barcelona’s modern architecture. Then take the bus 24 from a nearby bus stop to get to Park Güell.
1:30 pm – Park Güell (10)
Built between 1900 and 1914, Park Güell became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. It is a fun place to be and a fine example of Anthoni Gaudí’s works.
Reserve your tickets in advance for this park. Bring some sunscreen and/or wear a hat.
4:15 pm – La Sagrada Família (11)
La Sagrada Família is the most magnificent basilica that I have been to. It is truly a modern masterpiece of religious architecture and an example of the great things that humans are capable of doing. Looking at the basilica, I felt like I was in a different planet although I knew it was the people on earth who made it happen. I was totally overwhelmed!
Booking your tickets in advance for this cathedral is a must. The audio guide is very interesting so do not forget to get one. The documentary about Antoni Gaudí and his lifetime achievement is insightful and inspiring. Find the documentary in the museum of the basilica.
After your visit, check out vivid artworks by local artists from pop-up stalls near the basilica because an artwork is always a unique souvenir.
6:00 pm – Xurreria Sagrada Família (12)
If you visit Barcelona during winter time like me, you will feel pretty chilly coming out of La Sagrada Familia in a late afternoon. To get back to reality after a surreal visit, get some freshly made churros served with hot chocolate from Xurreria Sagrada Família. It will be the best decision you have made all day.
6:30 pm – Picasso Museum (13) or ham shopping at Jamón Experience (14)
My initial plan was to visit Picasso Museum but by that time I was exhausted after long walks. I decided to save the museum for another time because it is never a good idea to see art when you are tired.
Instead of enjoying art, I indulged myself in Spanish ham, the best in the world in my opinion. Visit Jamón Experience to learn more about ham and taste excellent samples. The staff is very friendly and helpful there.
My short stay in Spain left me great impressions of the country, especially with their tasty food and friendly people. The architecture of Barcelona in particular is mesmerising. To me, Barcelona is like a wonderland for grown-ups.
I hope to come back to Spain really soon because writing this post make me crave for the Spanish tapas dishes a lot!
And let me know if you want to see more master plans like this for destinations in Europe such as Florence and Athens.
Food to try
- Jamón Ibérico
- Gambas al ajillo
- Tostas de tomate
- … and any other tapas dishes.