Barcelona is a very popular destination in Europe for a short weekend city break. But even for a longer beach holiday this is a favorite vacation city for many people. What makes Barcelona so popular? The climate, the architecture, the landmarks, the squares, the history and last but not least its perfect location. Barcelona is one of the few cities in the world that is not just an amazing city to stroll through but also has a proper beach. This is your perfect guide for visiting Barcelona for a weekend. With things to do, places to see, restaurants and transportation tips.
How to get around in Barcelona
Barcelona has a very well organized subway system. I have visited many cities where they have an underground, but I consider the Barcelona subway as one of the better ones I’ve seen. They are fast, reliable, clean and efficient!
Flying to Barcelona? Click here to find a guide for buying a Spain sim card at Barcelona Airport. If you want to wait till you are in the city then my guide for the best sim card for Spain in 2023 will come in handy.
How to get from Barcelona Airport to the city
The easiest way is to get the Hola BCN Card. A 48 hour card cost you only about €15. The advantages of this card? Unlimited travels with Barcelona’s public transport. Also included is transportation from and to El Prat Airport (BCN), and the Montjuïc funicular. You can buy the card at the airport or any subway or train station. This is definitely a winner if you are spending a weekend in Barcelona. You can also get 24 hour cards which are even cheaper. A one-way ticket from Barcelona Airport to the city costs approximately €5.
More Spain city break ideas? Holidays in Alicante are highly recommended. I totally loved my trip there and cheap flights from all over Europe.
What to do in Barcelona for a weekend
Gaudi was a famous Spanish architect from Catalonia and designed some remarkable buildings and objects, mainly in Barcelona. Definitely a must thing to do is visit the Gaudi tourist attractions around the city.
1. Sagrada Familia
Probably the most famous structure in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia. The basilica was designed by architect Gaudi and they have been building this structure ever since 1882. It’s hard getting a picture without cranes, but it is definitely worth a visit.
Secret Barcelona tip: on the backside of the basilica there is a small pond from where you can take quite some amazing photos. An popular instagram photo spot in Barcelona.
2. Casa Batllo
Another famous structure by Gaudi is Casa Batllo. Located not far from Las Ramblas, you’ll find this special building at the Passeig de Gracia. It was built in 1877. If you fancy visiting this building and wanting to see the inside too, make sure you purchase tickets in advance, it is a popular tourist attraction in Barcelona and can get quite busy, especially in high season.
Fun Fact: the current owner of Casa Batllo is the Bernat family, known from the Chupa Chups lollipop. Another Gaudi master piece is the above La Pedrera.
3. Park Guell
Located just outside the city centre, but very well accessible by public transport, is Park Guell, a city park. Gaudi is also the man behind Park Guell. Most parts of the park are free accessible. Parts where you can see the best Gaudi structures can be visited after paying entrance fee. Costs are about €7 per person.
One of those amazing places to visit in Barcelona is the Nature Square from where you get some amazing views over the city, really worth going.
Park Guell, Casa Batllo and Gaudi’s work to the Sagrada Familia are all on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
4. Las Ramblas
Some travelers love it, others avoid the place, whatever your choice is, fact is that Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist spots. With a length of over 1200 meters, this is a bustling boulevard and shopping district that leads to the beach.
Especially during the summer months, Las Ramblas is a popular place for many street artists. Las Ramblas runs from Placa de Catalunya to Port Vell, which is the oldest part of Barcelona’s harbour and where the Columbus monument can be found. This place is also infamous for pickpocketing, so be aware, but it is one of those things you have to do on your Barcelona trip.
And of course don’t forget to sample all the delicious Spanish food in one of the cozy restaurants.
5. Mercat de la Boqueria
Personally this is my favourite place in Barcelona! I have to admit, it is a very crowded Barcelona attraction. Tourists love this place too much, but for a reason of course. If you can accept the crowds for once, Spain’s largest fresh market is a real gem. Fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, it is all being offered here. I would suggest trying a small tray with Spanish meats, go local it is one of the most fun things to do in Barcelona.
6. Parc Montjuïc
The Funicular de Montjuïc is a fun way and the best way to get you here. This cable car departs from subway station Paral.lel (L2 & L3) and if you have read my Barcelona tips you know that it is included in the Hola BCN Card.
On top you’ll find the Montjuïc Castle, an 18th century military fortress. Many locations of the 1992 Olympics can also be found around here, amongst them the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Pool. The main tourist attraction in this area are the magic fountains, Font Magica. Mainly running during the summer months, but consider it a must do in Barcelona.
7. Wine & dine at Plaza Real
One of the best places to visit in Barcelona is Plaza Real almost at the end of Las Ramblas. This little square just off this main tourists attraction in Barcelona is like a big courtyard filled with restaurants and bars. The many outside terraces are very tempting to sit down and relax after wandering down Las Ramblas. The restaurants are very moderately priced and the food is delicious. Try typical Spanish food and order a bottle of wine. You won’t pay more than €15 per person!
8. FC Barcelona & Camp Nou
The best and one of the most famous football clubs in the world: FC Barcelona. World stars such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez give away a football show here every week. This was my main reason for visiting Barcelona just recently, seeing these football stars in action in real life. In fact, buying tickets is pretty easy. Usually you can buy tickets about two to three weeks ahead via the FC Barcelona website. There is a huge run on tickets, so be quick or be patience. Because there are always new tickets available, just refresh your browser! 😉
Camp Nou is FC Barcelona’s home, this is where they shine every week. The stadium can be visited for tours as well. If you’re a football freak, this is a must do in Barcelona! You get to see every corner of the stadium, including some special attributes such as five Champions Leagues won by the club and all five Ballon d’Ors won by Lionel Messi. Surely the most fun thing to do in Barcelona if you like sport events.
Mostly the weather is good, the people are very friendly, the food is delicious and affordable and there are plenty things to do in Barcelona. Are you convinced? Start booking! Looking for a cool place to stay in Barcelona?
Check out this hotel with a great rooftop pool overlooking the city: SB Glow on Booking or SB Glow on Agoda.
This blog was created with the help of travel writer Ashley, a valuable member of the Traveltomtom team.
Barcelona was the place I embarked on my first cruise ever. Read here how it was to cruise on the Mediterranean. Looking for some more travel inspiration? Check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom and my road to travel to every country in the world.
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Enjoy your trip to Barcelona!