One Day in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has so much to see and do, it would be impossible to see it all in one day.

However, you stumbled across this page for one reason or another and now you’re looking to spend one day in Barcelona, Spain.

The catalonian city offers so much opportunity for exploration, cuisine, culture, passion and relaxation. 

With its impressive architecture, historic museums, and an enviable beach scene, sun-drenched Barcelona really has it all.

To help you make the most of your one day in Barcelona, Spain, this itinerary will not only help you navigate the Catalan capital’s highlights, but also soak up its wonderful culture, from Gaudí’s Park GüellLa Sagrada Familia, to age-old food markets and a hilltop art gallery.

Day 1

Start your Morning at Park Güell

Start your first day early in the morning (before everybody else) by walking ten minutes from Vallcarca metro station to Park Güell. Designed by the face of Catalan Modernism, Antoni Gaudí, Park Güell is a series of public parks which opened in 1926 and were later named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

While exploring, make sure to hike up to its highest point (marked with a cross) for incredible views of Barcelona and the Balearic Sea, stopping by Casa Museu Gaudí to see where the famed architect lived.

Buy a ticket in advance to make sure that you have a ticket for the specific day you want to go.

Admire La Sagrada Família

You will want to admire La Sagrada Familia around mid-morning, around 11am to be exact. This is when the light is amazing inside this beautiful work of art!

Walk a mile or so from Park Güell through the Gracia neighborhood and you’ll be tempted along the way by mouthwatering bakeries, cool cafes, and interesting boutiques. Make a quick stop or grab coffee and a pastry to go, before carrying on to another of Gaudí’s masterpieces, La Sagrada Família, which dominates the city’s skyline. A vast Catholic basilica that’s slated to become the tallest building in Barcelona — and the tallest church in the world — its construction started back in 1882 and is yet to be finished, with an ever-changing completion date.

There is still plenty of its unique, quirky details to see and it gets crowded, so book a fast-track ticket to bypass the lines. Don’t miss the crypt, underneath the basilica’s colorful interior, to see where Gaudí himself is buried.

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Grab a Bite to Eat at La Boquería Market

For a classic lunchtime experience, go to La Boqueria, Barcelona’s oldest market, and spend time exploring every stall.

Seek out the locals’ favorite spots of El Quim — Anthony Bourdain was a fan — and Bar Pinotxo for a coffee or glass of cava.

Die-hard foodies should take a tour with a chef or also visit the more low-key Mercat de Santa Caterina in La Ribera. The best time to arrive at the latter is around 1:00 PM — come armed with cash and an empty stomach to try as many Catalan specialties as possible, like perfectly aged jamón ibérico and crispy croquettes.

On your way out, make sure to marvel at Palau de la Musica Catalana, a gorgeous concert hall that has also earned a UNESCO honor.

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Wander through the Gothic Quarter

Before you indulge in catalonian cuisine later tonight, roam Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) in the afternoon. It’s the oldest part of town and the most popular area to stay in.

Read more about the best neighborhoods in Barcelona.

The Gothic Quarter is my favorite area in Barcelona and pictured above is the Ponte del Bisbe. Home to the remains of the Roman wall, columns of the Temple of Augustus (built during the Roman Empire), and numerous medieval buildings, this is a beautiful and atmospheric area that’s easy to get lost in. 

Here, you’ll stumble across everything from independent boutiques and cute cafes to weekend art markets — and you can’t miss the impressive Barcelona Cathedral or the mosaiced “The World Begins With Every Kiss” mural as you stroll by. Make a pit stop in the artsy El Born district, where there are plenty of creative hotspots such as Chandel, Studiostore, and El Born Cultural Center, before continuing onto La Rambla.

Las Ramblas

Barcelona’s most famous street, it’s wonderful for people watching, although it can get a little touristy, so veer off into one of its side streets to find its hidden gems — a beer or vino might be in order. Want to see more of the city at a faster pace? Opt for a bike tour that will guide you to both the notable sites and hidden gems of these districts.


Traveler Tip: Try to avoid eating or staying on Las Ramblas, as it’s heavily overpriced and attracts the tourist crowds.

Stroll through Parc de la Ciutadella

the pond at Parc de la Ciutadella Barcelona during golden hour sunset

Parc de la Ciutadella, a vast green oasis right in the center of Barcelona. The park is roughly 18 hectares and will take about an hour to walk around slowly and enjoy its surroundings. The early evening is a great time (as well as the early morning) to take in this beautiful park.

On the grounds of Parc de la Ciutadella, there are several sights to see: the Barcelona zoo, the Catalan Parliament and the Meseu d’Art Modern inside the parliament building.

The Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella will surprise a lot of you — probably the city’s most elaborate fountain. The park is free to enter and wander around.

Sunset at Arc de Triomf

The Arc de Triomf was built as the gateway to the Universal Exhibition Fair in 1888 by architect Josep Vilaseca. The fair was held in Parc de la Ciutadella. It has since then become one of the cities iconic landmarks.

Vilaseca chose to build the arch from brick and decorate it with sculptural motifs evocative of the neo-Mudejar style that was very much in vogue in Spain at the time. The combination of red bricj with the series of friezes around the arch, make it a singularly beautiful landmark.

The best part is, is that it’s another free thing to do in Barcelona!

Evening Tapas Tour, Flamenco Show or Both!

Catch a Flamenco Show

Flamenco is a traditional Spanish music and dance that dates to the 18th century. It’s known for its intricate footwork and hand movements and is so culturally important that UNESCO designated the unique art form as a piece of intangible heritage to humanity. 

While flamenco originated in the southern region of Andalusia, there are many places to see these lively and expressive performances in Barcelona. 

If you’d like to try this traditional dance yourself, you can find classes in Barcelona as well, usually for 35-50 EUR.

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In Conclusion…

Barcelona is fun, lively, and has something on offer for every traveler and every budget. 

While its popularity means more visitors than ever, if you visit during the shoulder season, you’ll be able to appreciate this beautiful destination with fewer crowds. 

For more information, check out this super detailed Barcelona travel guide I wrote that includes more things to do, costs, safety tips, transportation advice, and ways to save money

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