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Our itinerary and Barcelona travel guide will show you the best of this awesome city in 24 hours.
Are you traveling to Spain for the first time?
Get the low-down on visiting Spain, with tips about packing, travel, money, staying safe and lots of great city itineraries for your trip.
Barcelona airport (properly known as Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat airport) is an international airport which lies 12km from the city center. The second largest and second busiest airport in Spain, and the sixth busiest in Europe, this airport has great connections across the world.
You have several options to get into Barcelona city centre from the airport;
- Transfer – the quickest and most convenient option, you can book in advance with Intui Travel.
- Taxi – grab a cab, which will cost you around €20-€30 and take about 20-30 minutes, depending on which terminal you arrive at.
- Bus – the Aerobus runs every 15 minutes from 5.37am to 11pm daily from both airport terminals into the city center, stopping at Placa d’Espanya, Gran Via and Placa de Catalunya (La Rambla). A single ticket costs €5.90 and a return €10.20.
- Metro – get the L9 Metro south from both terminals and change at Torassa for the L1 line which will take you to Placa de Catalunya. Tickets cost €4.60.
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Just a ten minute walk from Placa Catalunya is Casa Bonay. In the trendy district of Eixample, this Barcelona hotel is just around the corner from Passeig de Sant Joan, with its chic lunch joints and cosy bars. Casa Bonay’s rooms and public spaces welcome and intrigue with simple but effective design and the laid-back vibe and informal service make this is a great choice for one night in Barcelona.
See & Do
Barcelona is packed full of interest and we have picked the most iconic and important sights that you should see during your Barcelona trip. This travel guide and itinerary covers around 11km, so you may decide to use the extensive public transport service to get around – a T-dia card allows you to make unlimited journeys around Barcelona in a day for €10.50. Another option is the Barcelona hop-on hop-off bus, although this is does not offer the value for money that the public transport system does.
La Sagrada FamÍlia
Gaudi carried the Art Nouveau style far beyond its usual application as a form of decoration, into the structural design of the building itself.
In case you’re wondering, La Sagrada Familia is no longer a cathedral. When construction first began, it was understood to be a simple Roman Catholic church. Later on, it was designated as a cathedral, and then in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI declared it a basilica.
You may also hear the street being called Las Ramblas, this refers to the five original and distinct streets, which joined together form Las Ramblas.
Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona Opera Theatre), one of the most popular opera houses in Europe.
The Gothic Quarter
The best way to get to Montjuic is to walk up from Placa d’Espanya. Head through the dual towers of Torres Venecianes, past the magic fountain and onto the Placa de les Cascades, a huge series of waterfalls, to the grand and ornate Palacio Nacional, site of the 1929 International Exhibition. From here you can easily walk to all the main attractions of Montjuic.
For the best views of the city, take theTeleferico del Puerto (Port Cable Car) from Miramar on Montjuic down to the old port and beaches. Expect to queue in summer, you cannot pre-book tickets.
Alongside the attractions of Montjuic Castle, the botanical gardens, Joan Miro Foundation, the Mies van der Rohe El Pabellón (The BarcelonaPavilion) and the beautiful magic fountain with its nightly light and music displays, Montjuïc itself could be a 24 hour destination.
Learn How to Cook Paella
Paella is the national dish of Spain and learning to cook this dish, with market-fresh ingredients and a local Spanish chef is a great way to spend an evening in Barcelona. Learn all the secrets and source local ingredients from Boqueria market to create paella whilst enjoying tapas and sangria, another Spanish favourite!
Sangria is a drink typically made by Spaniards at home, by mixing red wine in a large pitcher with carbonated lemonade or soda water, fruit (any fruit will do, our Spanish friends even use bananas!) and lots of ice. Sangria is not a drink any self-respecting Spanish person would order in a bar or restaurant, but something to be enjoyed on a hot afternoon or evening at home.
La Pedrera Night Experience
Casa Mila (also known as La Pedrera) is one of the best examples in Barcelona of Gaudi’s famous architecture and visiting at night is the perfect way to experience the intriguing interior and roof-terrace at it’s best. Visit the house during the evening, for a semi-guided night tour of the casa, followed by a unique audiovisual light show and glass of cava on the mansion’s famous roof terrace, an experience about as surreal as Antoni GaudÍ himself. This is a clever way to see the casa, which you may well have visited anyway, with lots of extras for only a few euros more than a regular ticket.
Mercado de La Boqueria
El Chigre 1769
Top Five Barcelona Tips
- Don’t buy a Barcelona City Pass if you’re planning in seeing Barcelona in one day. The cost of €80 is much more than you will spend following our Barcelona 1 day itinerary.
- Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain and sadly attracts thieves and pickpockets. Keep your belongings close, don’t leave your phone hanging out of your back pocket and carry your bag on your front. Leave your passport and any other valuables in the hotel safe and make sure you have good travel insurance – we recommend World Nomads.
- For incredible city skyline views, head for Bunkers del Carmel. It’s one of the best places to get those panoramic images of Barcelona that you see all over Instagram. Take a blanket and enjoy the moment.
- Churros y chocolate are a staple breakfast in northern Spain. You’ll find them served in cafes and on street corners around the city. The churros are long doughnuts (you may also see porros which are bigger) and freshly fried, then covered with sugar. Dip them into the seriously gloopy, thick chocolate and you’ll be in breakfast heaven.
- Don’t spend too long on Las Ramblas – it’s probably the worst representation of Barcelona you can find in the city.
Do you have just a little longer to spend in Barcelona?
If you have another half a day in Barcelona or are looking for a Barcelona 2 day itinerary, check out these attractions;
- If you enjoyed the Gaudi villas, head out to the unique Park Guell for full-on Gaudi immersion in this fascinating park with amazing views.
- Head for a stroll in Parc de la Ciutadella, a tranquil green space with ancient trees and interesting sculptures in the centre of Barcelona. Enjoy a row on the lake and see the Arco de Triunfo, built as the main entrance to the Universal Exhibition held here in 1888.
Hit the beach! Barcelona’s beachfront boardwalk stretches for miles and it will take at least an hour to walk north from La Barceloneta to Diagonal Mar. Sant Sebastia beach is busy but is backed by Barceloneta’s tangle of cool shops and bars, making this a great destination. If you prefer a more peaceful setting, head north of Port Olimpic for beaches frequented by locals.
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