Barcelona is simply an amazing and absolutely unique city. After more than 3 years of living in the in Barcelona, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world. And still, I have the feeling that I haven’t seen it all yet. The capital of Catalonia is full of surprises.
But what if you only have 5 days in Barcelona to discover all of its beautiful attractions?
Below, we put together an ideal Barcelona Itinerary 5 days to cover all the city’s highlights. Of course, you will also find some helpful travel tips that will make your time in Barcelona easier, cheaper and even more memorable.
What to find out in this post
- 1 From the airport (El Prat) to the City Center
- 2 How to get around Barcelona
- 3 Best Time to visit Barcelona
- 4 Your Ultimate 5 Days in Barcelona Itinerary
- 5 Barcelona Itinerary 5 Days – Day 1
- 6 Plaça Catalunya
- 7 Las Ramblas
- 8 Mercat de la Boqueria
- 9 Plaça Reial
- 10 Columbus Statue
- 11 Harbor – Port Vell
- 12 Montjuïc
- 13 Plaça d’Espanya
- 14 The Magic Fountains
- 15 Barcelona in 5 Days – Day 2
- 16 Park Güell
- 17 Bunkers del Carmel
- 18 Sant Pau
- 19 Sagrada Família
- 20 Gràcia
- 21 What to see in Barcelona in 5 Days – Day 3
- 22 Passeig de Gràcia
- 23 Casa Battló
- 24 La Pedrera – Casa Milà
- 25 El Gòtic (Barrio Gótico)
- 26 Born
- 27 Day 4 – Day Trip from Barcelona
- 28 Barcelona 5 Day Itinerary – Day 5
- 29 Arc de Triomf
- 30 Ciutadella Park
- 31 Barceloneta
- 32 Day Trips from Barcelona
- 33 Accommodation in Barcelona
- 34 Where to next?
From the airport (El Prat) to the City Center
There are several ways on how to get from the airport El Prat (Barcelona’s main airport) to the city center.
The cheapest option is to go by train. The train usually operates twice an hour. Unfortunately only from Terminal 2. However, many airlines (such as Vueling) usually fly to Terminal 1. However, between terminals 1 and 2 runs a free shuttle bus, which takes about 10 – 15 minutes. The price for a single train ride is € 2.40. With a T-Casual ticket, which you can use all over Barcelona, the trip costs only half of that (1,35 € per trip). (as of January 2020)
Depending on the traffic, the fastest option is arguably the bus. The Aerobus runs from both terminals to the city center several times an hour. It takes about 35 minutes to get to the city (depending on the traffic). The price for a ride is 5.90 € (10.20 round trip).
Another option is the metro. You can use the metro from both terminals. A billet aeroport costs € 4.60 each way. (Please note that you can not use the T-Casual ticket by metro to or from the airport.)
In addition, you can, of course, also go by taxi, which costs about € 25 – € 40 to the city center. If you arrive at night, you should expect a night surcharge. Please note that Uber has been banned in Barcelona for several months now (As by November 2019)
How to get around Barcelona
Depending on how long you stay in the Catalan capital, it is worth buying a T-Casual ticket (10 trips) for € 11.35. (It’s already worth it for 6 or more trips!) If you take the train to/from the airport, there are already 2 trips used.
Update 2020: You cannot use the T-Casual for more than one person at a time.
You can use it in the metro, tram, buses, and trains in Barcelona. The T-Casual ticket can be bought at the airport and in any train or subway station (metro) at the ticket machine (the machine can be used in English).
There are also day passes that can be useful if you don’t have much time to walk from one place to another or you don’t feel like walking. You can purchase them online here or at the ticket machines at the airport or Metro Station.
Another way to reach all the important places to see in Barcelona in 5 days is the hop-on-hop-off bus. More information about this tour, prices, and tickets can be found here.
Best Time to visit Barcelona
High Season in Barcelona
June – August
- Warm Weather
- Crowded – Many Tourists
- More Expensive
Off-Peak Season in Barcelona
April + May; September – November
- Fewer Tourists
- Several Festivals (Sant Jordi, Merce…)
- Weather might not be suitable for a beach day
Winter Season in Barcelona
December – March
- Way Fewer Tourists
- Cheaper Accommodations
- It’s colder
- Might be cloudy or rainy
Your Ultimate 5 Days in Barcelona Itinerary
Barcelona Itinerary 5 Days – Day 1
Plaça Catalunya is considered to be the center of Barcelona as it links the old town with the New Town (Eixample). If you have checked on tours or what to see in Barcelona in 5 days, I am sure you have come across this square already. Plaça Catalunya is famous for its fountains and as a starting point for many Barcelona holidays. Around Plaça Catalunya there are many shopping opportunities.
Las Ramblas is also known as Les Rambles (Catalan) and La Rambla (Spanish). The start of this 1,2 km long promenade in the center of Barcelona is right next to Plaça Catalunya and connects it to the old port of the city (Port Vell). It is a nice walk along Las Ramblas, past several bars and restaurants (beware tourist trap – you should not order anything here!), Souvenir and flower shops. But be careful: In Las Ramblas, there is usually a bunch of pickpockets around this area.
Mercat de la Boqueria
Opening Times: 06.00 am – 08.00 pm (Mondays-Saturdays); Closed on Sundays
Entrance fee: free of charge
Our first stop as you stroll along Las Ramblas is the city’s most famous market: Mercat de la Boqueria. This popular market is one of the oldest markets in Barcelona, with food available as early as the 13th century. Nowadays you can still find many fresh foods here, such as fruits, meat, and fish. In addition, all kinds of sweets are being sold. My favorite, however, is definitely the freshly squeezed fruit juices, which you can buy for as few as € 1 – € 1.50. Try some of my favorite flavors: mango-strawberry or pineapple-coconut or whatever fruit is in season at the moment. At the back of the market, you can also find stalls with food for a quick snack or even whole meals.
Opening Time: Public Place
Entrance Fee: free
If you continue walking along Las Ramblas, you will pass Plaza Real (Catalan: Plaça Reial). This square is considered one of the most beautiful in the city. Here you can relax for a little while, or have a small refreshment in one of the many bars, restaurants or cafés. On warm summer nights, there is also often live music or street performers who show their skills.
Opening Times: 08.30 am – 08.30 pm
Entrance Fee: 8€
If you follow Las Ramblas to the end, you will find yourself at the great Columbus statue near the old port. If you like, you can climb up the statue and enjoy the view over the harbor with a glass of sparkling wine or wine.
But even from below, the statue is impressive. The arm of Columbus points in the direction of Mallorca since he once set off in this direction and discovered the new world. Incidentally, the bronze Columbus holds a nautical chart on the other hand.
Harbor – Port Vell
How to get there: Bus V17
The port of Barcelona is divided into two parts by the beach. Port Vell is on one side and Port Olímpic on the other. Port Vell is also called the old port (which is basically the translation of its name).
Port Vell offers not only the Maremagnum shopping mall, the city’s aquarium, and various restaurants, but also the opportunity for nice a walk. And if you are lucky, you can see how the bridge opens in order to let boats pass through.
Opening Times Montjuïc: 01.11. – 31.03.: 10.00 am – 06.00 pm & 01.04. – 31.10.: 10.00 am – 08.00 pm
Entrance Fee Montjuïc: 3 € (for people under 30 years) and 5 € (Adults from 30 years)
Free Entrance Montjuïc: First Sunday of the months & Sundays after 3.00 pm
How to get there: Bus 150 to Castell or by cable car from the harbor
Tickets: Find your tickets for the cable car ride here.
Montjuïc is one of three mountains in Barcelona. At its top, you can find a beautiful old fortress that you are able to visit.
The entrance is worth it because from the castle you will have a wonderful view of Barcelona and on the port of the city. You can also learn a lot about the history of Barcelona.
The castle of Montjuïc was once built to protect the port of Barcelona. Since then, it belonged to different dominions and is now in the possession of the Catalan Government since 2007.
The amazing view you can enjoy from here is not accidental but has strategic reasons because you can see enemies approaching from the sea already from afar.
The mountain can be reached either by bus, on foot or by gondola from the harbor Port Vell. The cable car might be the most expensive, but probably the most entertaining way to reach Montjuïc.
Opening Times: Public Square
Entrance Fee: Free of charge
Plaça d’Espanya is one of the most important squares in Barcelona. It was built for the International Exhibition that took place in the Montjüic-Sants area in 1929. From here you have access to important museums and exhibitions of the city. The most visited of these museums is the Palau Nacional, the Museum of Catalan Art.
Near Plaça d’Espanya, you can also find the former bullfighting stadium Las Arenas (the big round building, which you can see on the right (in the background) in the picture above). Fortunately, bullfighting in Catalonia has been banned for some time now (the last bullfight in that stadium took place in 1977).
The Magic Fountains
Opening Times: Depending on the season. Check here for current Opening Hours.
Entrance Fee: free
How to get there: Metro Pl. Espanya (L1)
One of Barcelona’s most impressive attractions, the Magic Fountains fascinate thousands of visitors each week. This show is so unique because it combines water and light in an enchanting way to one stunning event. This magical light show takes place near Plaça d’Espanya. If possible, try to arrive before the show starts to get a spot near the fountain.
Food Recommendation near Plaça Espanya: Tapas of Poble Sec
This area is full of tapas restaurants, one of which is better than the next. Here so-called Pinchos are served. Although the tradition of Pinchos actually comes from the Spanish Basque Country, it has now anchored itself in the kitchens of the whole country.
Barcelona in 5 Days – Day 2
Opening Times: 08.30 am – 06.30 pm & April – August: 08.00 am – 08.30 pm
Entrance Fee: 7.50 € Online & 8.50 € on-site; rest of the park: free of charge
Barcelona Top Tip: You should definitely buy your ticket online in advance to skip the lines and be sure to get a ticket before they are sold out. You can find tickets online e.g. here.
How to get there: Metro Lesseps (L3) or Bus 24 (Direction El Carmel) to Trav de Dalt
Although many have never heard the name of this park, almost everyone has already seen a picture of its colorful facilities: Park Güell (pronounced Park Gu-ey) is one of the main attractions of Barcelona. Like the Sagrada Família and many other popular attractions of the city, Park Güell was created by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. He designed the Park Güell (Spanish: Parque Güell) in the years 1900 to 1914 after the model of English gardens.
And he succeeded well. Apart from the grandiose structures that can be found in this park, its location is simply perfectly chosen. In addition to the beautiful green grounds, you will find an incomparable view of the city.
Bunkers del Carmel
Opening Times: Public place, can be visited anytime
Entrance Fee: free
How to get there: Bus 119 to Marià Lavèrnia OR take a walk from Sant Pau
This attraction is located not too far from Park Güell: The Bunkers del Carmel offer one of the most beautiful vantage points over the city.
During the Spanish Civil War in 1937, an air raid shelter was built. The location of the bunkers was not chosen by accident: from here you had a great 360-degree view over the entire city. As a result, attackers could already be seen from afar and the residents could prepare for the attack. Although there are no more attackers to be spotted today, you can use this viewpoint to get a breathtaking view of Barcelona and take some great photos.
Until a few years ago, the bunkers were still one of the few rather unique things to do in Barcelona. Today, unfortunately, it’s quite different: Only very rarely can you find the bunker without tourist groups.
Opening Times: 09.30 am – 06.30 pm (November – March: 09.30 am – 04.30 pm) & Sundays: 09.00 am – 02.00 pm
Entrance Fee: ca. 14€
Free Entrance: 12.02., 23.04., 24.09. & first Sunday of the month
Tickets: You can find tickets and tours here.
How to get there: Metro Sant Pau I Dos de Maig (L5)
One always hopes that he does not have to visit a hospital while on vacation (or any other day). But the Sant Pau Hospital of Barcelona is visited really frequently by completely healthy tourists from all over the world. Here the visitors queue up, at least in the antique part of this hospital. The building is nowadays no longer used as a hospital but as a museum instead. Sant Pau or Hospital de la Sant Creu i Sant Pau is much more than boring hospital corridors. It seems more like a very small town with a beautiful garden full of trees and flowers in the middle, connecting the nearly 30 buildings of the hospital.
The architecture of this complex is overwhelming and even if the entrance fee is not particularly cheap, a visit worthwhile in any case.
Opening Times: 09.00 am – 06.00/ 07.00/ 08.00 pm (depending on the month)
Entrance Fee: 15 € (Standard-ticket); 29 € (Ticket + Tower + Audioguide)
Barcelona Top Tip: You should definitely buy your ticket online in advance to skip the lines and be sure to get a ticket before they are sold out. You can find tickets online here.
Obviously, this Barcelona attraction can’t be called an insider tip by any means. Millions of visitors come here every year to see the famous basilica designed by Gaudí with their own eyes. Inside and out, the Sagrada Família (the Holy Family) is simply unique and absolutely impressive.
The construction of this popular basilica began in 1882 and has still not ended yet. While the construction in the modern era firstly was progressing very slowly, it is now in full swing again. So expect to see the Sagrada Família surrounded by construction cranes during your visit. On the 100th anniversary of his architect’s death this probably most famous construction site in the world is finally to be completed. Incidentally, that would be in the year 2026.
Amazing Food around Sagrada Família: El Felino – Italian Restaurant
The pizza there is highly recommended!
Address: Carrer de la Marina, 269, 08025 Barcelona
Metro Station: Sagrada Familia (L2)
How to get there: Metro Lesseps (L3) or Fontana (L3)
Gràcia is the trendy district of Barcelona and is considered one of the quietest and most modern neighborhoods. Many artists and authors live here and get carried away by the creative atmosphere of Gràcia. There are many quiet cafes and restaurants, where you can comfortably drink a coffee, wine or a beer or work in case you look for a place to work remotely from.
Gràcia is very different from the rest of the city because it was an independent town for a long time until it became part of Barcelona in the 19th century.
A visit here is particularly worthwhile in August when the neighborhood festival of Gràcia takes place. Every part of Gràcia builds its own decoration on a specific theme. In the end, a winning team is chosen by visitors. There are no limits to creativity.
What to see in Barcelona in 5 Days – Day 3
Passeig de Gràcia
Passeig de Gràcia is one of Barcelona’s main streets, stretching for 1.5 km through the city center. Here you will find everything the shopping heart desires, with well-known brands and luxury boutiques as well as small shops that have been owned by Catalan families for years or even generations.
But even if you don’t necessarily want to go shopping, you should definitely take a look at this street. Because there are also two important buildings of the Barcelona designer Gaudí, which you should have seen during his stay in Barcelona. But other uniquely designed buildings can also be spotted along Passeig de Gràcia.
Opening Times: 09.00 am – 09.00 pm
Entrance Fee: 24,50€
How to get here: Metro Passeig de Gràca (L2, L3 or L4)
Tickets: Check for tickets online here.
Built in 1877, this building was redesigned by Antoni Gaudí for Josep Battló i Casanovas between 1904 and 1906, adding it to the list of Gaudí attractions that define Barcelona. Some modern sculptors of that time were also involved in the constructions to make the Casa Batlló even more impressive. The building is supposed to depict the history of the patron saint of Catalonia: Saint George or as they call him in Catalonia: Sant Jordi. With reference to the legend of Sant Jordi, which is well known in Catalonia, the roof of this majestic building is shaped like the back of a dragon. With a little imagination, you can even recognize the lance of Sant Jordi. Unfortunately, it is hardly possible to see this unique roof from the street. Incidentally, since 2005 Casa Battló has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
La Pedrera – Casa Milà
Opening Times: March – November: 09.00 am -08.30 pm; 09.00 pm – 22.00 pm; November – March: 09.00 am – 06.30 pm; 07.00 pm – 09.00 pm
Entrance Fee (Daytime): 22€
Tickets: You can find tickets and tours here.
This important building, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, was designed by renowned designer and architect Antoni Gaudí. The construction was commissioned by the Milà family and construction took place between 1906 and 1910. On the top floor is a museum dedicated to the works of Gaudí. You can visit this unique building either during the day or at night with live music and a drink.
Especially if you’ve read the novel Origin by Dan Brown (if not, I’d recommend it to you), this building is probably on your must-see list.
Fun Fact: While Casa Milà attracts the attention of many travelers nowadays, the actual clients, the couple Milà, was not really convinced of the building result. Since they refused to pay the architect’s final bill, the case ended up in court. In the end, Gaudí won the case and the bill was finally settled.
El Gòtic (Barrio Gótico)
How to get there: Metro Liceu (L3) or Bus V15 to Via Laietana – Correus
Barrio Gótico (also called Barri Gòtic or El Gòtic in Catalan) is the oldest district in Barcelona.
With its narrow Gothic streets, this district is not only the oldest but also one of the most beautiful in the city.
Opening Hours La Catedral: Mostly: 8.30 am – 7.45 pm (Check the exact opening times here)
Entrance Fee La Catedral: 7 € (5 € if you are part of a group)/ 3 € just roof access
Tickets: We recommend to visit La Catedral either early in the morning or in the late afternoon as the line is the shortest at this time
Probably the most famous place in the Barrio Gótico is the Cathedral of Barcelona. This cathedral, known as La Catedral de la Santa Creu in Santa Eulàlia, or La Catedral for short, is located in Barrio Gótico, in the heart of Barcelona. Although La Catedral is usually overshadowed by its famous sister, the Sagrada Família, it’s still definitely worth a visit – for some, it is even considered the prettier of the two.
Visitors are especially excited about the roof of the cathedral, which you can climb up to. From there you can enjoy a wonderful view of the surrounding Barrio Gótico.
Many years ago at this spot there used to be a Roman temple, which was replaced by a church in the 6th century and inaugurated in Romanesque style in the 11th century.
The construction of the cathedral, as we know it today, began in the 13th century and lasted until 1448. In the 16th century, a bell tower was added. However, the extraordinary façade based on the original plans of the cathedral was not built until the 19th century. Later, a middle tower was added.
La Catedral attracts hundreds of tourists every day. Especially on Sundays during the summer, this is a popular meeting place, as on the square in front of the cathedral traditional Catalan dances or similar performances take place. But even in winter, a visit is worthwhile, because there are some stables built into a kind of Christmas market, where you can buy mainly traditional Christmas decorations and craft goods.
In addition to the cathedral, opera singers in training often show their skills at the corner of La Catedral. And the echo of the stone walls enhances the sound of their powerful voices even more.
Santa Maria del Mar
Opening Hours Santa Maria del Mar: Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 1 pm, 5 pm – 8 pm; Sunday: 10 am – 2 pm, 5 pm – 8 pm
Entrance Fee Santa Maria del Mar: free of charge
This church is a particularly successful example of a Gothic church. Surrounded by the narrow streets of the La Ribera district, it can be difficult to admire this beautiful church in its entirety.
A look inside is also worthwhile. The high roof and the colorfully decorated windows are simply impressive.
Walking through Barrio Gótico
After paying a visit to the Cathedral of Barcelona, you can simply wander through the Barrio Gótico. Make sure to also explore the hidden side streets.
However, my personal highlight in El Gòtic is Plaza de San Felipe Neri (Catalan: Plaça de Sant Felip Neri). Apart from its dark history, you can usually find a few quiet minutes here. During the civil war, bombs were thrown across this square and some people, especially children, fell victim to it. The effects of these explosions can still be seen on the walls of the square.
Another highlight is Placa de Sant Jaume. On this square, you will not only find the Palace of the Generalitat de Catalunya, but also the Town Hall of the city. It is hardly surprising that there is always something going on here, especially on the weekends.
El Born district is perfect for getting to know Barcelona’s nightlife. You can as well find very good tapas restaurants, which are also visited by locals. If you have time, you should not miss this district.
Take a stroll along the Passeig del Born, filled with many local restaurants, bars, and small shops, and end up at the Born market. Besides some Roman ruins, you can find different events taking places in the former market hall. With its medieval atmosphere and modern bars, it is simply one of the best places to spend the night in the city.
Best Tapas en El Born – Celtas La Pulperia
If you are looking for traditional Spanish tapas, this is the place to be. Our recommendations are the chocos, the bombas, and the pimientos de padrón.
Adresse: Carrer de Simó Oller, 3, 08002 Barcelona
Bus Station: Via Laietana – Correus (V15)
Day 4 – Day Trip from Barcelona
Not only Barcelona itself, but also the surroundings are really worth seeing. In Catalonia, there are so many great destinations that it can be hard to choose one.
Therefore, on our fourth day in the Catalan capital, we put a little time aside, so that you can do a day trip as well. Some of Barcelona’s most popular day trips include Montserrat, Sitges and the Costa Brava. Whether you prefer to experience a beach trip, a nature trip or rather one of the small towns or attractions of the area, is of course entirely up to you.
Barcelona 5 Day Itinerary – Day 5
Arc de Triomf
How to get there: Metro Arc de Triomf (L1)
Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf is located in the in-official Chinatown district near the South Bus Station. This approximately 30-meter-high arch was designed as the entrance to the World’s Fair, held in 1888 in Barcelona. While the impressive triumphal arch depicts the coat of arms of Barcelona in its center, it shows the coats of arms of all other Spanish provinces on its left and right and is therefore seen as a tribute to all the nations and provinces that participated in the World’s Fair. The arch was built in Moorish style, which was modern throughout Spain at the time. Thus, it stands in contrast to the Gothic style, which you can find throughout the streets of Barcelona. From Arc de Triomf, you can walk the along promenade directly to Ciutadella Park.
Opening Times: 10.00 am – Sunset
Entrance Fee: Park: Free of charge; Renting a boat: 6€ for 30min. for 2 people
How to get there: Metro Ciutadella I Vila Olímpica (L4)
Ciutadella is with 30 hectares next to the Park Güell, arguably the most beautiful and most popular park in Barcelona. In summer, activities such as yoga and gymnastics take place on every corner. Both locals and tourists come here to spend some time in the green area and escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. The most beautiful part of the park is probably the fountain, which you can see in the photo above. Its name is Cascada de Gaudí (Gaudí’s Waterfall), although the famous architect was only a helping hand in the design of this fountain when he was really young.
If you feel like it, you can also rent a small boat and row around the pond while enjoying the sun. The park also houses the entrance to the Barcelona Zoo, which has been a major highlight since September 1892, especially for Barcelona’s children and families.
Entrance Fee: free
How to get there: Metro Barceloneta (L4)
Vor den Olympischen Spielen 1992 wurde dieser Bereich Barcelonas noch von Touristen wegen seiner hohen Kriminalitätsrate gemieden. Das kann man sich heute nicht mehr vorstellen.
The beach of Barceloneta is considered one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Barceloneta offers a really nice place for walks and beach visits. Here you will find many street artists who create incredible constructions out of the sand and a large number of bars and restaurants that invite you to linger. Keep in mind, however, that a beach view drink or snack could be a little more expensive.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the sand on Barceloneta Beach was actually imported from Egypt?
Barceloneta Top Tip: You will most likely find people selling homemade mojitos and sangrias along the beach. Although I’ve never tried them myself, I have never seen anyone who actually finished his drink. So better save your money. Moreover, the source and hygiene of those beverages are highly questionable.
Great Food around Barceloneta: La Barca del Salamanca
Perfect for all seafood and fish lovers. You can find amazing Paella here. (Keep in mind, that the food is much better during high-season, though)
Address: Moll de Gregal, 17, 08005 Barcelona
Metro Station: Ciutadella I Vila Olìmpica (L4)
How about some non-touristy things to do in Barcelona?
Make sure to check our Ultimate Local Guide to the best unusual things to do in Barcelona.
Day Trips from Barcelona
Not only Barcelona but also its surrounding Catalan towns are well worth a visit. We collected the best 19-day trips from Barcelona recommended by locals and professional travelers.
Accommodation in Barcelona
In the following, we present you 3 popular accommodations in Barcelona for different Budgets. If you want to know which neighborhood is the best for you, make sure to check our comprehensive Barcelona Neighborhood and Accommodation Guide before booking.
Budget Accommodation in Barcelona
Mid-range Accommodation in Barcelona
Luxury Accommodation in Barcelona
Need a Tour for Barcelona?
There is a huge amount of tours offered in and from Barcelona. Have a look at the best tours here.
Traveling as a couple?
Where to next?
Make sure to check the best Spanish cities to add to your Spain Bucket List here.