Making The Most Of 3 Days In Barcelona

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m getting pretty tired of this chilly January weather. How about a quick trip somewhere sunny?  Let me tell you about my favorite whirlwind 3 day trip in Barcelona!

With average temperatures around 50°F/10°C in the winter months, you’ll still get a touch of winter chill, but that Barcelona sun will be great for keeping your face warm. You’ll be beating the oppressive heat and humidity in the summer as well as the crowds of tourists who come through in the Spring. 

Without further ado, here’s how I made the most of my 3 day Barcelona itinerary!

amusement park in barcelona spain

Day 1: All Gaudi All The Time

If you’re coming in from Europe, you may find a train to Sants Station a bit cheaper than a flight. If you’re planning on using the métro and visiting museums frequently, consider buying a barcelona card, which offers free or reduced entry!

When you think of art in Barcelona, the first name to come to mind is of course Antoni Gaudi, the colorful, signature architect of the city. So my first stop was Park Güell.  A Unesco World Heritage Site, this park is a riot of color and loopy, organic architecture characteristic of Gaudi’s style. 

Park Guell  in barcelona spain
Park Guell

To prevent overcrowding, Parc Güell is divided into two zones: the free woodland area and the ticket-only monumental area. I snagged a ticket online in advance for 10 euros and opted to wander around by myself instead of taking a guided tour. 

After admiring the park, I decided to spend my whole first day on Gaudi, so I took a 30-minute walk through Eixample to reach the Sagrada Familia. It was lunchtime at this point, so I stopped at a restaurant called Méson A Veiga on the way for some lovely Spanish tapas.

All fueled up on chorizo and tortilla de patatas, I was ready to admire La Sagrada Familia in all her beauty. Whether or not you’re an avid churchgoer at home, this basilica is a must-see for its breathtaking design, inside and out.

Good news for all of you travel-hungry friends visiting Barcelona vicariously through this blog: there’s a virtual tour available on their website! 

Finally, to round up the last of my Gaudi-inspired activities, I walked about 20 minutes to Casa Batlló, sometimes called the Casa dels ossos (house of bones) for its outward, somewhat skeletal appearance. For any hardcore Gaudi fans, you can follow up this visit with a tour of Casa Mila, aka La Pedrera, right next door, the last private residence that Gaudi ever designed. 

Having had my culture fill, I figured I’d do a bit of shopping! Casa Batlló is right off the passeig de gràcia, a wide, sunny avenue full of clothing stores, hotels, and more. Cutting through the city center, it leads into the Plaça de Catalunya, where I collapsed in a pile of my own shopping bags!

After I found a nearby restaurant to feed my post-shopping-spree hunger, I went back and collapsed into bed. All that walking and exploring really took it out of me!

Day 2: Montjuic and a Magic Fountain

Waking up for day 2 in Barcelona, I was ready to eat. So I made a beeline for La Boqueria market, a huge produce market off La Rambla, where I admired piles of gorgeous fruit and vegetables and left with a refreshing fresh-pressed juice and a snack.

After a great breakfast, I headed out of the Gothic Quarter to the metro station Plaza de España, where I hopped on a bus up to the Montjuic hill! You can also simply walk along with the Palau Nacional and Magic Fountain up to the Museo Nacional de Arte de Catalunya, or take a cable car from Paral·el.

Once I got up there, I spent the afternoon exploring the Montjuic Castle and admiring the 380° view of the city below. Highly recommended!

My last stop for the day was the Picasso Museum in the El Born neighborhood after I made it back down the hill and grabbed lunch. After taking a sneak peek at some of the works on display, I knew I had to see them in person! So peaceful, to walk around a museum and listen to all the Catalan conversations happening around me. 

If you’re looking for a good show to finish up your day, visit the Magic Fountain light show before going to bed. Or explore some Barcelona nightlife–check out some of the evening street performers along Las Ramblas, crash a boat party off La Barceloneta,  visit some bars in the Gothic Quarter, and party the night away!

Day 3: Montserrat Views

montesserat in barcelona spain

For a final day in Barcelona, I opted for a nice day trip to Montserrat to visit a Benedictine Monastery and admire the best views of surrounding Catalonia. To get there, you take a one-hour train from the España Station and grab a funicular from the foot of the mountain that’ll take you right to the top.

Having packed a lunch using some leftover goodies from La Boqueria, I first took a tour of the monastery, then did a short and simple hike through the Montserrat Nature Park. My phone was full of aesthetic, Instagram-ready photos by the time I was done. Just what I needed after two packed days in the city!

Once my hiking and touring was over, it was well into the afternoon. I made it back for a quick nap in my airbnb, then had a huge paella dinner to balance out all that exercise!

And that’s how I wrapped up the last of my 3 days in Barcelona! I’d highly recommend giving this itinerary a try, or modify it to your liking.

Another good candidate for a day trip, if you have the time, is Girona, a medieval city in north-east Catalonia. It’s under an hour away by train, so if you’re not in the mood for a hike, this could be the spot for you! Also, Sports fans should check out the game schedule of FC Barcelona and see if they catch a match at Camp Nou. 

If you need any non-European travel inspiration, try my 7-day New Zealand South Island Itinerary, or 3 Days in San Francisco. There’s so much of the world to explore!

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