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A Day in Barcelona

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Barcelona is an incredible city and anyone that is visiting Spain should spend at least a day in Barcelona. It is an incredible city with plenty things to do so it is well worth visiting Barcelona.

There are a lot of different things to choose from when you’re planning your day in Barcelona. As there is so much choice,  we’ve created an itinerary for you to follow based on the things we feel that you cannot miss in Barcelona when you only have 1 day to spend there.

We have also created a list of other things to do in case you want to swap out some of these items to do other things instead. The 1 day Barcelona itinerary that we have created is very flexible and can swap out for things that interest you.

In this guide, you will also find some of the best places to stay whilst you’re spending 1 night in Barcelona too. No matter what type of traveller you are, this itinerary will have something that caterers to everyone!

Quick 1 Day in Barcelona Itinerary

08:00 Arrive in Barcelona and enjoy breakfast at Cafe Citizen

09:00 Casa Batllo

10:30 Take the subway for a free walking tour

11:00 – 13:30 Free walking tour of Barcelona

14:00 Enjoy tapas at a restaurant of your choice in the Gothic Quarter

15:00 Wander around Gaudi’s buildings and then choose to either head to the Carmel Bunkers or the Christopher Columbus Viewpoint

17:00 Flamenco show with dinner

19:00 Enjoy some drinks in Barcelona. Particularly enjoy the viewpoint from the Sky Bar at the Iberostar.

Amy & Liam enjoying some drinks on the rooftop of the Iberostar, it is the perfect way to end your 1 day in Barcelona.

Where to Stay in Barcelona for 1 Night

St. Christopher’s Hostel

For any budget or solo travellers, you may want to consider staying at a hostel whilst you’re in Barcelona. St. Christopher’s is one of the best hostels in Barcelona and somewhere that we recommend staying.

In this hostel, you will find that there are plenty of different activities that they run so that you can get to know Spanish culture better.

St. Christopher’s Hostel has paella making and cocktail making classes so they are a really fun way to learn more about Barcelona and make new friends.

Another perk of staying at this hostel is that they run free walking tours of Barcelona so this is another opportunity to meet new people too.

In general, it is a really clean hostel and a great place to stay in Barcelona for budget travellers.

Burger at St. Christopher Hostel

Praktik Essens

Based in the Eixample district, Praktik Essens is a great hotel for exploring Barcelona. Whilst Barcelona can be an expensive destination to visit, this hotel is quite affordable for you to stay in despite this, especially considering the location.

ME Barcelona

This is the ultimate luxury place to stay in Barcelona and is a perfect spot for any couples looking for a romantic European getaway.

ME Barcelona is a 5 star hotel that has stunning views of the city from the terrace and has an incredible rooftop pool. This hotel truly is one of the best in the city and you are guaranteed to have the best stay whilst you’re there.

As this hotel is also in a very good location, you won’t have to go far for some of the main attractions in Barcelona. This hotel is on our personal bucket list for Barcelona and one that we hope to achieve the next time we visit this incredible city.

Browse All Barcelona Accommodation Here!

Things to do for 1 Day in Barcelona

There are a lot of different things to do in Barcelona that there is no way you will be able to do even a small amount of them within 1 day. However, you will still be able to see some of the main sights within Barcelona.

Below we have shared some of the 10 best things to do within the city so that you can make the most of your day in Barcelona.

1. See Gaudi’s Buildings from the Outside

Barcelona is Gaudi’s playground and there are many of his different pieces of work to see whilst you’re exploring Barcelona. Before you leave Barcelona, you need to be able to at least see La Sagrada Familia in all its beauty.

Other popular pieces of Gaudi’s work include Parc Guella, La Pedrera, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. If you’re interested in architecture then you will want to wander and see these buildings in all their glory.

La Sagrada Familia up close

Before you take a trip to Barcelona, make sure that you research the building and decide which ones you want to visit.

If you’re only spending 1 day in Barcelona then you may not want to enter the Gaudi buildings as the queues are often very long and they can be really busy.

You may want to go inside at least one of the buildings but if you choose to do this then we recommend going really early in the morning and considering purchasing skip-the-line tickets.

We’ve popped some details for the different skip-the-line tickets for Gaudi’s buildings that you may be interested in. If you’re visiting Barcelona solely to see Gaudi’s work then you will also find a tour that will take you around all the buildings below too.


2. Carmel Bunkers

One of the best things we did whilst we were visiting Barcelona was take a trip to the Bunkers del Carmel. This is one of the ultimate romantic spots in Barcelona so if you’re travelling as a couple this is something that you can’t miss.

To make it extra special, take a picnic to the top of the viewpoint so that you can enjoy some delicious food whilst admiring the view.

We recommend going to the Bunkers del Carmel either for sunrise or sunset to make it an even better experience. If you are visiting for sunrise or sunset then you need to be aware that it can get very busy so it’s best to get there even earlier so that you can get a good spot.

Liam standing at the Carmel Bunkers viewpoint.

3. Food Tour

One of the main reasons to visit Barcelona is to sample some of the incredible Spanish cuisine. Before you leave Barcelona, you absolutely need to try some tapas and paella.

For Amy, she would recommend in particular trying some of the seafood paella or the paella negra which is made with squid ink. Both are very popular delicacies to try. If you’re looking for tapas dishes then you’ll find patatas bravas, croquetas and bombas.

Delicious tapas in Barcelona

All of these dishes are absolutely incredible and will make your mouth water for more. There are a lot of different food tours that will take you around some of the best tapas restaurants to try some of these dishes.

You’ll also find that there are also some paella cooking classes so that you can recreate it at home too. One of the best things about going on these tours is that you will be with a local who will give you the best recommendations of where to eat during your stay in Barcelona.

We’ve popped some recommendations below for different food tours in Barcelona so that you can really dive into the Spanish cuisine.


4. Free Walking Tour

For us, one of the best ways to get to know a city when you first arrive is by going on a walking tour with a local guide. We often try to go on a free walking tour on the first day of our trip so that we can get our bearings and also learn more about the destination we’re visiting.

Amy standing in front of Casa Batllo

Barcelona is no different in this respect and there are two different free walking tours on offer so that you can choose between them. If you’ve been to Barcelona before then you may already be quite familiar with the city so the Gaudi & Modernism free walking tour may be better suited.

However, if this is your first time and you’ve only got a day in Barcelona then you will want to go on the standard Barcelona free walking tour. This will take you around the highlights of the city with a local guide.

In 2 and a half hours, you will get to know Barcelona very well which is a great way to see some of the main sights when you’re limited on time.

5. Explore Barcelona’s Street Art

With Barcelona being such a cultural hubspot, the city is filled with incredible sites that celebrate art & the beauty of the city. There are a lot of different murals, street art and graffiti across the city that you could spend days viewing it all.

As you only have a day in Barcelona, it is worth spending some time exploring the street art scene in Barcelona. This is especially true if you’re looking for some Instagrammable spots in the city too.

Some of the beautiful street art in Barcelona on the side of a building, It shows different residents standing on the balconies. This street art is clever as the actual building doesn't have any windows.

There are so many different street art spots in Barcelona that you can either keep an eye out whilst you’re exploring other sights in Barcelona. Alternatively, you can go on a self-guided tour of the street art and get to see more of Barcelona whilst you’re at it.

6. Explore the Gothic Quarter

The gothic quarter is one of the most beautiful spots to visit in Barcelona and if you only have 1 day in the city then this is one of the places you need to explore.

If you’re only spending 1 day in Barcelona then you will want to wander around the beautiful architecture in the gothic quarter and admire the mix in pace from the rest of the city.

Gothic Quarter

In particular, you will want to visit Barcelona Cathedral in the gothic quarter as it is truly a sight to behold. If you’re interested in the gothic architecture then you may want to consider a walking tour of the gothic quarter itself to get to know more.

7. Parc de la Ciutadella

No matter what time of year you’re visiting Barcelona, it is always worth visiting Parc de la Ciutadella. This is a stunning park where locals and tourists come to visit to enjoy some relaxation and the glorious rays of the Barcelona sun.

Whilst you’re walking around the park, you will sometimes find performers practicing their acrobatics in the park so it’s worth taking a seat and enjoying watching people as they go about their day to day lives.

Parc de la ciutadella

Walking around Parc de la Ciutadella, you will want to go and see the castle of the three dragons and the many other sculptures around the park.

If you’re travelling to Barcelona as a couple then we recommend taking a picnic to the park and considering renting a boat for an ultimate romantic day in Barcelona.

8. See a Flamenco Show

To really get to know Spanish culture, you can’t leave Barcelona until you’ve seen a Flamenco show. There are lots of different shows to go to across the city but one of the most famous is the Gran Gala Flamenco.

However, there are lots of other shows that are smaller and more intimate. Both are equally good but we would personally recommend going to a smaller show for a more authentic experience.

Flamenco show in Barcelona

Whilst you’re at the show, why not order some tapas and sangria to really make your experience in Barcelona. Most of the shows are in the evening so if you’re planning to stay in Barcelona until at least 8pm then this will work the best for you.


9. Telerific Montjuic

This is up there as one of our favourite things to do in Barcelona especially if you’re looking for beautiful viewpoints. You will get to Montjuic and take the Telerific Montjuic cable car to the top of the mountain where you will find Montjuic castle complete with stunning views of the city.

On the way back down in the cable car, you will have the opportunity to stop at a different viewpoint that gives you great views of Barcelona’s marina.

The telerific Montjuic cable cars going past the trees

If you’re spending only a day in Barcelona and it’s your first time visiting then you may want to skip this activity. It can take a while to get to Montjuic and take the cable car to the top of the mountain and come back down again.

However, if you have visited Barcelona before and not had the chance to go on the Montjuic cable car then this is a great way to spend your day.

For anyone that has seen a lot of the main sights and highlights of Barcelona, you could easily spend most of the day up the top of Montjuic mountain. Wander around the area and enter the castle to learn more about the importance of Montjuic and the castle itself.

10. Columbus Monument Viewpoint

Columbus monument viewpoint

Another great viewpoint that you need to visit in Barcelona is the Columbus Monument. This is an attraction that most tourists don’t know about or seem to miss when visiting Barcelona.

You can choose to purchase tickets to the underground Columbus Monument museum as well as heading into the elevator to the top for some stunning views of the city.

It does cost for this viewpoint but in our opinion, it is worth a visit especially if you’ve been to Barcelona before and missed this attraction last time.

How to Save Money Sightseeing for 1 Day in Barcelona

If you’re like us and love travelling but you are often limited to a bit of a budget then this section is for you! Barcelona is certainly not one of the cheapest cities to visit but there are plenty of cheap things to do in Barcelona.

Exploring the free things that Barcelona has to offer is certainly one way to explore. However, there are most likely some tourist attractions in Barcelona that you want to see that cost money.

That is where the Go City Barcelona Passes come into play. We’ve used these sightseeing passes in a few different destinations now and we would use these everywhere we can now.

You can choose between the Go City Explorer or the Go City All-Inclusive pass. If you pick the explorer pass then you will be able to select how many attractions you want to visit which is usually at a highly discounted rate.

View of Barcelona marina.

In our opinion the All-Inclusive pass is much better value for money as you will be able to visit as many attractions as you want for a set period of time.

We’ve used the All-Inclusive pass in Barcelona before and we purchased these for a few days and really made the most of it. With plenty of planning, you will be able to squeeze in a lot of different activities.

If you’re visiting Barcelona for just a day then these passes are really worth the money as you will be able to save money on multiple attractions. Another perk of purchasing these passes is that some of the attractions also include skip-the-line tickets too so you’ll save time queuing as well.

Another way to save money when you’re visiting Barcelona for a day is by purchasing a Hola Barcelona Travel Card. We used these travel cards the last time we were in Barcelona and they really are lifesavers!

You will have unlimited public transport which will save you money and time. You’ll be surprised how large Barcelona really is, so you will save your feet and time for only 1 day in Barcelona.

In our opinion, this is one of the best tips for Barcelona and a great way to save money on public transport as well as making the most of the time that you have in the city as well.

Views of Barcelona

Full 1 Day Barcelona Itinerary


08:00 Arrive in Barcelona and get some breakfast at Cafe Citizen. This is one of our favourite places to eat because they have such a large range of breakfast items as well as delicious food.

09:00 Head to Casa Batllo for a tour of one of Gaudi’s most famous buildings within Barceona. Be warned that it can be very busy so try to arrive here just before 9am if you are able to. Entrance begins at 9am so there will already be a little bit of a queue. If you can purchase a skip-the-line ticket then this would be recommended to make the most of your time in Barcelona.

10:30 Take the subway from Passeig de Gracia to Jaume I which is the meeting point for the free Barcelona walking tour.

11:00 – 13:30 Take part in the free Barcelona walking tour so that you can see the highlights around the city.

One of the beautiful parks in Barcelona.


14:00 Enjoy some delicious tapas dishes at one of the many restaurants around the Gothic Quarter. There are a lot of different restaurants to try so the best thing to do is take a little wander and see which one catches your eye as well as is not too busy to save some time.

15:00 Wander around some of Gaudi’s other buildings such as La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila to see these from the outside before heading to the top of the Carmel Bunkers for some beautiful views.

If you’re wanting to visit the Carmel Bunkers then we recommend walking through some of Gaudi’s buildings before taking the metro the rest of the way to get to the bunkers.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to go out as far the bunkers then head up to the top of the Columbus Monument for spectacular views of the city.


17:00 Make your way to a Flamenco Show to finish off a perfect day in Barcelona. Often with these shows you can opt to have dinner so we would recommend choosing this option or grabbing a bite to eat after.

19:00 If you don’t need to leave Barcelona already then you may want to enjoy some drinks whilst enjoying some great views. One of our favourite spots is the Sky Bar on top of the Iberostar Hotel.

Barcelona coast

Spending 1 Day in Barcelona

Barcelona is a wonderful city with plenty of things to do that it would be truly impossible to do everything in one day. This itinerary will take you through some of the highlights of Barcelona. You may feel that it is a bit rushed but that is so that you can make the most of your time in Barcelona especially if it’s your first time in the city too.

As we mentioned, we would highly recommend considering purchasing a Go City Pass whether you’re following this itinerary or not. This will ensure that you can save money on the top attractions you’re visiting whilst you’re in Barcelona.

If you’re following this itinerary then you will want to take advantage of the Hola Barcelona passes so that you can get around easily and save time whilst you’re visiting.

Last but certainly not least, have fun in Barcelona! It truly is an incredible city with a lot to offer visitors. If you’re able to spend more than a day in Barcelona then absolutely take advantage of that because you cannot possibly do everything in one day. Matter of fact, you can’t possibly do everything in Barcelona even if you’re staying for a week in the city!

Liam enjoying the sights at Parc Guell

If you’re visiting Barcelona then you’ll also want to check out some of our other articles on Barcelona so that you can explore like a local.

Barcelona Travel Resources

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