Best Itinerary for One Day in Barcelona – See the best of Barcelona in a day like a local

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Wondering how to maximize one day in Barcelona? We’ve got you covered. This quick guide provides a time-efficient itinerary featuring the city’s must-see spots, plus insider tips to make your 24-hour stay unforgettable.

In this article, you’ll find a streamlined Barcelona 1-day itinerary that showcases the city’s highlights and helps you optimize your time. This way, you’ll hit all the key attractions in Barcelona and get valuable travel tips to make your brief stay unforgettable.

This Itinerary is ideal for you whether you come to Barcelona for a city break, as part of a cruise, on a day trip, or on a more extensive trip to Spain.

One Day in Barcelona Itinerary – An Overview

  • 08.30 am: Enjoy a Spanish breakfast
  • 09.30 – 10.30 am: Visits to the Sagrada Familia
  • 10.45 am: Plaça Catalunya
  • 11 am – 12.30 pm: Las Ramblas & surroundings
  • 12.30 – 02 pm: Gothic Quarter
  • 02.30 – 03.00 pm: Optional lunch
  • 03.30 – 05.00 pm: Park Güell
  • 05.30 – 07.30 pm: Optional activity
  • 08.00 pm: Dinner
  • From 09 pm: Explore the Catalan nightlife

Is a day in Barcelona worth it?

A trip to Barcelona is always worth it, even if you’ve got just one day to spare. A single day is plenty to experience the city’s Mediterranean vibe, sample its Catalan cuisine, and see the major sights.

Author’s note: Barcelona in a day may be enough to see the main attractions. If you have more time, I recommend spending at least 3 days in Barcelona to discover the city with more tranquility and to immerse yourself in the Catalan culture and food scene. The perfect itinerary for 3 days or more can be found in our comprehensive three-day itinerary for Barcelona.


Where to stay in Barcelona: Hotel Santa Marta (Great hotel in the center near attractions & beach) or W Barcelona (Luxury option directly at the beach)

The most popular activities & tours in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia Ticket – Skip the Line

Camp Nou – Barça Museum und Tour

Barcelona Card – More than 25 Attractions

Park Güell – Skip the Line

La Pedrera – Skip the Line

Getting there: Make sure to check for the best flight deals on Flight comparisons like Skyscanner

Transport: T-Casual Ticket (10-trips-Ticket for € 12.15) or Hola BCN Day Ticket

Want to rent a car? You can find great deals on RentalCars. It gets cheaper from El Prat Airport.

Barcelona Must-Have: Practical Spanish Travel Dictionary or Catalan Travel Dictionary and Barcelona-Guide

Barcelona in a Day: Itinerary, Sights, & Tips

The map of Barcelona shows the sightseeing attractions we will visit during our 24 hours there.

After you have enjoyed breakfast ( tostadas and café are typical Spanish), we can start right away. Consider taking advantage of your one full day in Barcelona by getting up early.

Important: Be sure to purchase your tickets ideally several days in advance. This way, you avoid long lines and sold-out tickets.

The Sagrada Família

sagrada familia in barcelona during one day in barcelona
The arguably most famous building in the city: La Sagrada Família

Opening Hours Sagrada Familia: 09.00 am – 06/07/08 pm (depending on the season)

Entrance Fee Sagrada Familia: from 30 €

Tickets: You may want to book your ticket online in advance to avoid sold-out tickets on the spot and hours of waiting in line. You can find tickets and tours online here.

Metro-Stop: Sagrada Familia (L5 or L2)

The Sagrada Família is the landmark of Barcelona and a must-see for every visitor. Hundreds of visitors come every day to marvel at Gaudí’s masterpiece. Arguably, no trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the Sagrada Familia.

Let’s start our Barcelona walking tour here. The earlier you start in the morning, the fewer tourists you will find.

Inside of the sagrada Familia, Basilica in Barcelona, colums
Inside of the famous Sagrada Família

Morning is the best time of day for me to visit this masterpiece of architecture. When the light falls through the colorful windows, it bathes the interior in a unique – almost magical – atmosphere. Therefore, each time of day offers a different frequency of light.

The construction of this very popular basilica began as early as 1882, but to this day, the structure has not been completed. That is why it is sometimes called the Eternal Construction Site.

While the construction in modern times initially progressed rather sluggishly, it is now again in full swing. It is almost impossible to see the Sagrada Família without cranes and construction workers. According to the plan, however, the famous basilica will finally be completed in 2026, on the 100th anniversary of the death of its architect.

Plaça Catalunya

Placa Catalunya in Barcelona, center of Barcelona, tree, one day in Barcelona

How to get to Plaça Catalunya from Sagrada Família: The fastest connection is usually the metro: Line L5 (blue) to Diagonal & from Diagonal Metro line L3 (green) to Pl. Catalunya or line L2 (purple) to Passeig de Gràcia – from there, it is a 400 m walk.

Plaça Catalunya is considered the center of Barcelona, as it connects the old town with the new town (Eixample). Plaça Catalunya is full of pigeons waiting to be fed (although this is not officially allowed).

Bars, restaurants, and shopping opportunities surround this popular square. After looking around, you can just cross the street to get to the famous Las Ramblas.

Las Ramblas

Columbus Statue on Las Ramblas, Barcelona port, Barcelona in a day

Opening hours Las Ramblas: 24 hrs

Entrance fee Las Ramblas: free of charge

Getting there: Metro Catalunya (L1 or L3), Drassanes (L3), Liceu (L3)

Las Ramblas is also known as Les Rambles (Catalan) and La Rambla (Spanish). The 1,2 km long promenade in the center of Barcelona connects Plaça Catalunya with the old port of the city (Port Vell). It is considered one of Barcelona’s tourist hotspots and is always well-visited.

Although there are many restaurants and bars, we strongly advise against visiting them (Tourist trap ahead!).

But if you feel like having a snack or a tasty fresh juice, just pay a visit to the Mercat de la Boqueria along your way.

Mercat de la Boqueria

Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona, Las Ramblas, fruits

Opening hours Mercado Boqueria: 08.00 am – 08.30 pm

Entrance fee Mercado Boqueria: free of charge

Getting there: Metro Liceu (L3) or Catalunya (Rambla Exit – L3)

If you are in Las Ramblas, you shouldn’t miss visiting the Mercat de la Boqueria – if you are looking for a snack or not. This market is one of the best and oldest and definitely the most visited in the city.

Here, you will find everything from fresh meat, seafood, fish, and all kinds of candies to fresh fruit, tapas, and delicious dishes.

I never leave this market without a delicious juice of fresh fruit.

Plaça Reial

Placa Reial, Plaza Real, Barcelona, Barrio Gotico, Barcelona itinerary

Opening hours Plaça Reial: 08.00 am – 08.30 pm

Entrance fee Plaça Reial: free of charge

Getting there: Metro Liceu (L3) or Catalunya (Rambla Exit – L3)

If you continue to follow the Las Ramblas promenade, you will eventually pass a small turn-off that leads you to the Plaza Real. Plaza Real (Catalan: Plaça Reial) invites you to take a short break just a few meters outside the tourist crowds of Les Rambles. Here, you will also find plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Alternatively, you can just enjoy your fresh fruit or juice from the Mercat de la Boqueria, which we visited earlier while resting a bit by the fountain.

Have a look around, as Plaza Real is one of the most beautiful squares Barcelona has to offer.

Barcelona travel tip: Generally, when reaching a new spot during your day of sightseeing, try just to take a minute to simply look around. It’s one of the best things to do in Barcelona to explore all the unique corners of the city.

Optional: Lunchtime

Maybe you have already had a snack or two in the Mercat de la Boqueria or are still well-satiated from your breakfast. But if you get hungry, now or after visiting the Gothic Quarter is a good time for a delicious lunch.

How about a delicious paella at La Fonda or some tapas at Bar Cañete?

El Gòtic (Barrio Gótico) – Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

Katedrale Barcelona, Barrio Gotico
Barcelona’s beautiful Cathedral in the heart of the Gothic Quarter

Getting there: Metro Liceu (L3) or Bus V15 to Via Laietana – Correus

If you leave the Plaza Real through one of its small exits, you are already in Barrio Gòtico. The Gothic Quarter (also called Barri Gòtic or El Gòtic in Catalan) is the oldest part of Barcelona.

Take a 10-minute walk to the Cathedral of Barcelona (La Catedral) to discover its narrow streets and Gothic-styled neighborhood.

Plaza San Felipe Neri, Barrio Gotico, Touristen, Barcelona

However, my personal highlight in El Gòtic is Plaza de San Felipe Neri (Catalan: Plaça de Sant Felip Neri). Located on a little side street, just a short walk from Barcelona’s cathedral (right before passing the popular Pont del Bisbe), the historic square is worth a quick visit.

Apart from its dark history (the holes in the buildings date back to a bombing during the Civil War), one usually finds a few quiet minutes to relax briefly.

In the Barrio Gótico, you will find plenty of bars and restaurants. Treat yourself to some delicious tapas, churros con chocolate, or a typical Spanish Menú del Día, available everywhere. After enjoying Barcelona’s fantastic cuisine, we can continue our tour.

Park Güell

Park Guell, Barcelona, Catalonia, barcelona in a day itinerary
View from the stunning Park Güell

Opening hours Park Güell: 09.30 am – 07.30 pm

Entrance fee Park Güell: from 10 €; rest of the park: free of charge

Tickets: You should definitely reserve your ticket in advance to avoid long queues. Tickets and tours for Park Güell online can be found here.

Getting there: Metro Lesseps (L3) or bus 24 (direction El Carmel) to Trav de Dalt.

Getting there from Barrio Gótico: Metro from Lieceu to Lesseps (L3 – Green) or Metro from Jaume I (L4 – Yellow) to Alfons X and there from the bus stop Guinardó – Parc de les Aigües: Bus H6 to Trav de Dalt

Besides Sagrada Família, Park Güell (read: Park Gu-ey) is arguably the main attraction of Barcelona. Both sights were designed by the same architect: Antoni Gaudí. He created the Park Güell (Spanish: Parque Güell) from 1900 to 1914 after the model of English gardens.

park Güell von Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Pflanzen, Palmen

In addition to a stunning park, you’ll also get a fantastic city view from here. Take a leisurely stroll through the park to admire Spain’s native plants.

And don’t miss the crown jewel of the park: Gaudí’s iconic mosaic benches and designs. Make sure to check them out before you leave.

Different Options

For the last sight of the day, I would like to present you with different options. So you can experience Barcelona for a day even more individually.

Option 1: Bunkers del Carmel

Bunkers del Carmel, viewpoint for your barcelona itinerary 1 day
The panoramic view over Barcelona from the Bunkers del Carmel

Opening hours Bunkers: Summer: 09 am – 7.30 pm; Winter: 09 am – 5.30 pm

Entrance fee Bunkers: free of charge

Getting there: Bus 119 to Marià Lavèrnia

As your time in the capital of Catalonia is approaching its end, here is your chance to get an overall impression of the city: Los Bunkers del Carmel. One of my absolute favorite places in Barcelona.

The Bunkers are located far above the rooftops of Barcelona, so from here, you have an incredible 360-degree panoramic view of the entire city. But it’s best to take a look for yourself…

During the Spanish Civil War in 1937, an air raid shelter was built here. It was the perfect location for the bunker because, from here, attackers from all directions could be seen quickly and early. Today, you can visit this bunker and what’s left of it free of charge.

Until a few years ago, the bunkers were still one of the few alternative things to do in Barcelona. Unfortunately, today, they are no longer a secret, and you will probably find many people.

Option 2: Casa Batlló

casa batlló exterior facade in Barcelona, building by Gaudí

Opening Hours Casa Battló: 09.00 am – 06.30 pm; Noches mágicas: 06.30 pm – 08 pm

Entrance Fee Casa Batlló: 35 € Standard // 49 € Noches Mágicas

Tickets Casa Batlló: Book your ticket online here.

Metro-Stop: Passeig de Gràca (L2, L3 or L4)

Getting there from Park Güell: Metro from Lesseps (L3 – Green) to Passeig de Gràcia or Bus 24 from Trav. de Dalt – Verdi to Pg. de Gràcia – Consell de Cent.

If I had to choose a favorite building in Barcelona, my choice would undoubtedly be Casa Batlló. The “underwater style” interior and the unique exterior design, which couldn’t be more fitting for the Catalan capital, simply enchant me every time I visit.

Although the building was constructed as early as 1877, it was remodeled between 1904 and 1906 by Antoni Gaudí for Josep Batlló i Casanovas. Since then, it has become another impressive modernist building, so typical of Gaudí. Famous sculptors were also involved in its construction.

The building represents the story of the patron saint of Catalonia, St. George, here called Sant Jordi. Since 2005, the building has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Option 3: La Pedrera – Casa Milà

la pedrera in Barcelona, casa milà, sights to visit in barcelona in 24 hours

Opening Hours: 09 am – 06.30 pm; Night tour: 08.40 pm – 10 pm

Entrance Fee: from 24 €

Tickets: Check tickets and tours on GetYourGuide here

Metro-Stop: Diagonal (L3 or L5)

Getting there from Park Güell: Metro from Lesseps (L3 – Green) to Diagonal or Bus 24 from Trav. de Dalt – Verdi to Pg. de Gràcia – Rosselló

Casa Milà is another fantastic building designed by the lover of extravagant art, Antoni Gaudí. The commission was given by the Milà family (hence the name). Construction was carried out between 1906 and 1910.

The building can be visited either during the day or at night with a drink and live music. If you follow this 1-day-in-Barcelona itinerary, you will reach this building around the evening.

If you don’t feel like visiting more places today, we recommend passing by anyway to marvel at its unique exterior facade.

Option 4: Plaça d’Espanya

Placa d'espanya, square, museums, barcelona

Opening Hours Plaça d’Espanya: 24 hrs

Entrance Fee Plaça d’Espanya: free of charge

Metro-Stop: Espanya (L1)

Getting there from Parc Güell: Metro from Lesseps (L3 – Green) to Pl. Espanya or Bus D40 from Trav. de Dalt – Verdi to Tarragona – Pl. Espanya

Plaça d’Espanya is one of the most historically essential squares in Barcelona, built during the International Exhibition of 1929 in the Montjüic-Sants area. From here, you can access important museums and exhibitions in the city.

Look around, visit the castle on Montjüic, or enjoy the view from Las Arenas shopping center on the opposite side.

The Magic Fountains

Magic Fountains, Monjuic, Barcelona, Light show

Opening Hours Magic Fountains: Depending on the season. Check here for current Opening Hours

Entrance Fee Magic Fountains: free of charge

Metro-Stop: Espanya (L1)

UPDATE 2024: The Magic Fountains are temporarily not taking place because of the water shortage in the region!

As one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona, thousands of visitors get here every week to admire the wonderfully romantic water show of the Magic Fountains.

This show is special as it combines the performance of water, music, and light. This magical light show takes place near the Plaça Espanya in the evening.

Restaurant Tip near Plaça Espanya: Tapas Bars of Poble Sec

Pinchos in Barcelona, Tapas Bar in Poble Sec

Just a quick walk from the Magic fountains, we reach Carrer Blai, where you can find one of the best tapas selections in Barcelona – something for every taste. For the most part, they serve so-called pinchos.

These are tapas for one person. The tradition of pinchos comes from the Basque Country, but trust me, they are also delicious in Barcelona. Different colored toothpicks stuck in the food mark the price of each pincho. And trust me, you just have to try any type of tapa when visiting Barcelona.

Option 5: Barcelona Beach Time

Barcelona Beach, Barcelona itinerary

Maybe you’ve already had enough sightseeing and would prefer to end your afternoon on the beach. The neighborhoods of La Barceloneta and Poblenou are practically located right next to the beach. They are also easily accessible by the city’s public transport.

Enjoy a long walk in the sun with a coast view and a refreshing drink by the sea. Depending on the season of your trip, you can also have a small swim in the cool water.

Enjoy the Nightlife of Barcelona

Still haven’t had enough and want to make the most of your day in Barcelona? You’re in luck because Barcelona is known worldwide for its fantastic nightlife. You can follow the typical recommendations and check out popular bars and clubs such as Catwalk, Opium, Razzmatazz, and others near the seafront of La Barceloneta. But keep in mind that you will meet primarily other tourists or expats here.

However, if you want to discover Catalan restaurants, local specialties, and bars, you might prefer to go where the locals go. To really experience the local nightlife, we recommend Carrer Ample.

Carrer Ample

Leche de la Pantera, Panther Milk, Barcelona, drink, carrer ample

In addition to numerous traditional Catalan restaurants and pubs, you will find one drink in particular here: the so-called Panthermilch (Leche de la Pantera). This drink, whose exact recipe is unknown, has been served in Barcelona since the 1970s and is now offered by more and more bars and restaurants.

This drink is usually served in transparent glass bottles, through which you can see the striking white or pink color of the milk. After pouring, a little cinnamon is added, and you can enjoy it.

This and, of course, many other drinks, snacks, bars, and restaurants can be found in the Carrer Ample (Wide Street) in the Gòtic district, popular with locals.

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.

Barcelona in 24 Hours – Transport Options

From the Airport (El Prat) to the City

There are several options to get from the airport in Barcelona to the city center.

My favorite option is the train. The price for a single trip is € 2.55, and you can even get it cheaper using the T-Casual-Ticket (10-ticket: € 1.22 per trip). The train usually leaves two times per hour.

The big drawback is that the train is only leaving from Terminal 2. There is a shuttle bus between Terminal 1 and 2, which you can use free of charge, but it might take around 15 – 20 minutes.

The fastest option is probably the bus. The Aerobus operates between both terminals and the city center several times an hour. It takes about 35 minutes to get to the city, and one trip costs € 6.75 (€ 11.65 for a Roundtrip).

Another fast option (depending on which part of the city you want to go to) is the Metro. You can take the Metro from both Terminals. A Billet Aeroport costs € 5.50 one-way. (Please note that you can’t use the T-Casual ticket to go to or from the airport by Metro.)

The last option is to go by taxi, which should cost you around € 30 – 40 going to the city center.

How to get around

Depending on how long you will stay and how many people you are, it might be worth it to buy a T-Casual Ticket (10-trip ticket) for € 12.15. (It’s already worth it starting from 6 trips!)

This ticket allows you to use the Metro, buses, and trains in Barcelona. You can buy the T-Casual Ticket at the airport and on any train- or Metro Station.

Since you are staying only one day in Barcelona and don’t have much time to walk everywhere, it might be helpful to purchase a day pass. You can buy them online here.

Another way to get to all the places to see in Barcelona in 1 day is the hop-on-hop-off bus. More information about this tour, prices, and tickets can be found here.

Day Trips from Barcelona

Barcelona and its surrounding Catalan towns are well worth a visit. We compiled the best 27-day trips from Barcelona, recommended by locals and professional travelers.

Where to stay in Barcelona

In the following, we want to recommend three 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.

Best Budget Accommodation in Barcelona

Sea Hostel Barcelona

This hostel (formerly Safestay Barcelona) is especially popular with backpackers. It is popularly booked for its excellent beachfront location and friendly staff.

Mid-range Accommodation in Barcelona

Hotel Santa Marta

The 2-star accommodation in the center of Barcelona (Born neighborhood) not only boasts a fantastic location but also receives particular praise for its cozy beds and outstanding cleanliness.

Luxury Accommodation in Barcelona

Ciutat de Barcelona

This popular 3-star hotel is great for those who want something special for their trip to Barcelona. The pool on the roof terrace combines beautiful views with a little refreshment. But guests also enjoy the location and friendly staff.

Need a Tour of Barcelona?

Check the best tours for your personal day in Barcelona on GetYourGuide here.

Traveling as a couple?

Read about the most romantic things to do in Barcelona for couples here.

Where to next?

Check the best Spanish cities to add to your Spain Bucket List here.


About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

More about us
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10 thoughts on Best Itinerary for One Day in Barcelona – See the best of Barcelona in a day like a local

  1. Wow! That’s quite a lot of things to do and see. I think you would need a good sleep at the end of your day. I also think I would like much more than one day in Barcelona. It looks like such a beautiful city. I can see that Guadi was a very popular designer. How nice that his touches are all about the city. I love that they count the sticks at Pinchos. I’m afraid my bill would be quite high because I would want to try it all. Great itinerary. Now I want to go.

    • Hi Kathleen,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Luckily the Pinchos are pretty filling, so your bill won’t probably be crazily high 🙂 I would totally recommend everyone to stay longer than just a day. There is sooo much to see

  2. Really amazing guide! Getting that ticket online for the Sagrada Familia ahead of time was one of the best tips. I saw an endless line of people waiting to get their ticket.

    • Hi Megan,

      Yes, when I visited Sagrada Família with a friend of mine that came to visit me, we were so happy to have bought our ticket in advance as it took us less than 10 minutes to enter.

  3. Ooo I love your local guide! I’ve been to Barcelona a couple of times but your info is awesome. Also, I really need to visit Park Guell the next time! For some reason I haven’t gotten there yet. Gorgeous photos!

    • Hi Nina,

      thanks a lot for your comment. Park Güell is wonderful. Try to get there as early as possible before the crowds are coming (Pssst… If you go before 8 am, you can even enter for free)

  4. Barcelona is one of my favourite places for a city break, I’ve actually been a couple of times just for the day and it’s so do-able but I love staying longer as there’s so much to see! xo

    • Hi Rachel,

      I agree. If you have been to Barcelona before, one day is nice. If it’s your first time I always recommend to stay longer 🙂

  5. Super helpful post. I’ve been living in Barcelona for 3 years and I have to say this is very well written and informed. Have you ever eaten a paella at Arume? to me it is by far the BEST. Both duck and seafood paella are to die for, honestly. I totally recommend it, especially considering how hard it is to find good paella in Barcelona.

    • Hi Ana,

      Thank you so much for this recommendation! I am sure to try one whenever I have the chance. 🙂 For me, the best Paella in town is surely the one my mother-in-law cooks haha


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