The Best of Barcelona in a Day (Experiences, Sightseeing & Excursions)

March 13, 2019

If you’re sitting with just 24 hours in Barcelona and you’re worried it’s not going to be enough time – we have just the right solution for you!

Having only 1 day in Barcelona may seem like too short of a time to fully experience the best of this fabulous city; but trust us when we say that, done right, a single day in Barcelona is all you need. Whether you’re popping into the city alone, as a group, or with the family, Barcelona has a day of fun ready and waiting.

Read on to find out how to make the best of your short time in the artistically designed, cosmopolitan city.


What to Do with One Day in Barcelona

By creating a Barcelona one day itinerary, you can ensure that you don’t miss any of the top tourist attractions around the city.

Churros for Breakfast

Churros, for those who don’t know, are a fried-dough pastry covered in sugar and cinnamon. Originating from Spain, these delicious inventions are eaten throughout the day here in Barcelona – while other parts of the world eat them as dessert.

Perhaps not the healthiest of breakfast foods, we believe that “when in Barcelona, do as the Barcelonans do”. And what they do is eat churros for breakfast! Find any one of the amazing bakeries around the city, and start your day off with one of these delectable pastries.

Walk Down La Ramblas

This boulevard is well-known and is home to an array of things to do and see. Usually teeming with people and activity, a walk down this boulevard will truly show you the best of Barcelona. From the adult-themed museum, Museu de l’Erotica, to the La Boqueria market – there is a seemingly endless list of sights, smells and sounds to be found here.


Explore the Gothic Quarter

For some truly medieval sights, take a walk through the Gothic square. Explore the many streets and pathways, filled with more than 2000 years’ worth of history. The buildings and bridges found here are ancient and stunning. This square is arguably one of the most visited spots in Barcelona – and for good reason!

Visit Sagrada Familia

An absolute must when in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia. Unfortunately, this is on almost every traveler’s list, and this means crowds and queues. It’s best if you book your tickets online, which are sold for specific time slots.

Good to know: Morning time-slot tickets are more expensive than tickets scheduled for after 2 pm.

What to See in Barcelona in One Day

Barcelona’s main fascination is its picturesque architecture. So, naturally, there are many places to go and things to see in the city. While you are sure to find a magnificent building around each corner throughout Barcelona, there are certain places and buildings which should not be missed. Find them below.


Top Things to See in Barcelona

There are so many amazing things to see in Barcelona that you may, sadly, not be able to fit them all into a 24-hour period. So, you need to prioritize. Here are some of the unmissable attractions in Barcelona.

Park Guell

One of Antoni Gaudi’s famous works, Park Guell is a splendid mix of natural and architectural beauty. Visit the park to view some majestic buildings, as well as experience over a hundred years’ of history. There are some amazing spots to sit and grab a bite to eat, and a gift shop for you to pick up a souvenir or two.

Montjuic Hill

This prominent hill overlooks Barcelona’s harbour, and is a striking landmark against the cityscape. While the hill is not quite a mountain – standing at just 230 m high – it is sometimes known as Montjuic Mountain.

The main attraction on this hill is the Montjuic Castle, which offers guided tours, as well as the chance to view Barcelona from up high. The castle also has many other attractions, such as the magic fountain.

Placa de Catalunya

This vibrant square, located in the heart of Barcelona is a central point for the city. It’s a great place to start any trip, as well as the perfect spot to meet a tour guide. If you have some time here, be sure to check out some of the impressive stores and sculptures. It’s also the ideal opportunity to do some shopping if you have the time.


Famous Sights in Barcelona

These sights are well-known throughout most of the world, and the majority are easily accessible. Great for taking memorable holiday snaps, or just simply to admire their striking beauty.

Gaudi Buildings

These are all the buildings designed by the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. His works are well-known as being unique, and seven of his buildings have been named as World UNESCO Heritage sites.

If you are not able to see all of his buildings during your short visit, be sure to at least visit Casa Mila and Casa Batllo.

Illa de la Discordia

This ‘block of discord’ came about as the result of three famous architects, namely Antoni Gaudi, Lluís Domènech I Montaner, and Josep Puig I Cadafalch. These three men had very contrasting styles, and all three buildings are signature pieces of each man.

This makes for an entertaining story told through the buildings. A story of the art, as well as of the rivalry between these three masters of Modernist architecture.

Mirador de Colom

Found in the lower streets of La Rambla, this 60 m tall monument was constructed to honour Christopher Columbus on his first journey to America. The pillar is quite a sight, standing tall above the rest of La Rambla.

Also known as the Columbus Monument, the pillar offers visitors a trip up to the top deck. Many believe that the view, however, is not as spectacular as most would hope, and the deck is quite small, leading to a crowded, sometimes frustrated feeling. This is worth a visit even if you choose to simply admire it from the bottom.


Best Places to See In Barcelona at Night

If your Barcelona trip extends into the nighttime, you are quite lucky. While there are amazing sights to behold during daylight hours, there is also a list of sights and attractions for you to explore and discover under the light of the moon.

El Born

Keep the magnificent exploring going with a walk down El Born streets after dark. This neighbourhood offers a view into the lives of Barcelona residents throughout the years.

The medieval backstreets and quaint shops and houses make for a sight not often seen elsewhere. There are also quite a few bars and clubs open, so once you’re done exploring you can stop off and meet a few new friends over a drink or two.

Fabra Observatory

Every Tuesday to Sunday night, from June to October, you can visit the Fabra Observatory and enjoy a delicious dinner under the stars. There are also guided tours at night through the observatory itself and, of course, a look into space is the ultimate after-dark activity no matter where you are.

Magic Fountain at Montjuic

This fountain, situated at the Montjuic Castle, truly does make for a magical sight at night. Best seen during the warmer months, visitors can find a comfy spot on the surrounding lawns and prepare to be amazed. The water is lit up using colourful lights and seems to dance to the beat of the accompanying music.

Good to Know: The show is only available on summer nights from 9 pm to 11 pm.


Book a Barcelona One Day Tour

If you’re wanting to make sure you tick off all of the Barcelona main attractions during your short stay, you could opt for an organized tour. Having a guide to help you make your way through the city can make things so much easier and more enjoyable.

Even better, having a local guide you through the city means you get inside info about all the best places to visit in Barcelona. Withlocals is a unique marketplace that connects travellers with locals and is a great way to experience Barcelona with the locals. You can choose from a variety of tours, and even choose your local tour guide!


Final Thoughts

Ready to make your way to Barcelona now? Hopefully, armed with this list and accompanied by a local tour guide, you’ll be able to experience a fabulous 24 hours in the city. We don’t want you to leave with any regrets, although if you do happen to miss anything, it’s the perfect opportunity to come back!

You may still feel like there are ‘so many things to see, so little time’, and you’re quite right! That’s where a tour guide comes in, and you can trust that they will guide you through the smartest, most worthwhile routes of the city.

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