You could easily spend weeks in a place as magical as Barcelona however if you are restrained to a weekend, here is how to get as much as you can out of your time in this city –
Barcelona is extremely walkable; I have put together a Google map of the loops I completed each day to give you an idea of how to plan out your journey according to location. Keep in mind that if you find the distance too long the metro system in Barcelona is very easy to use and is only €2,15 per trip (if you plan to take the Metro more than 5 times the T10 ticket is more economical). Remember to validate your tickets!
Arc De Triomf
The Arc De Triomf was right near my accommodation making it my central point of call. During the day there were street performers near the arches and in front of the structure are gardens where locals were relaxing in the sun. I took my breaky here first day, so if the weather permits it is a perfect picnic spot.
The Torre Agbar reminded me of a mini Gherkin Building (in London) but with the added bonus of a colourful exterior. I walked past this structure on my way to La Familia.
As I was short for time and the line was ridiculously long I did not go inside La Familia but the outside of it was stunning. Keep in mind that La Familia is constantly being improved and added too so do expect to see cranes and construction.
Probably the best view of Barcelona, Park Güell was a definite highlight.
Unfortunately I managed to get lost on my way walking here (as it was a lot further than I expected) but I have researched the most effective way to get there from La Familia via public transport and would recommend you consider this option as well.
El Borne (and nightlife)
This area felt like a movie set – it was so quaint and had buckets of character. The narrow ally ways, balconies, boutique shops, hidden bars and friendly cafes were charming to say the least and are a great way to end your first day.
During my second day in Barcelona I was able to walk to each attraction. The only attraction that you might consider catching public transport to would be the Magic Fountains.
Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and Casa Lleo Morea
These buildings are in very close proximity to each other and offer some of the most unique architecture in Barcelona. They have colourful mosaics and striking shapes and layouts. I was lucky that the weather was great on the day I visited as the tiles glisten spectacularly under the sun! The streets you go down walking from one building to another make up the shopping district if that is something you would also like to check out.
Cathedral of Barcelona
This cathedral is an amazing exhibit of the Gothic style buildings you will see around this area. It is free entry (but you can make a voluntary donation if you wish, and it costs 3 euro to go up on the roof).
El Barra Gothic (Gothic Quarter)
There is no specific attraction within this suburb, it is more one of those places that you just wander about, window shop and drool over the little cafes scattered within the maze of streets.
Visiting the beach in April meant it was off season and winter yet the beaches were still gorgeous (but too cold to swim!). There was plenty food options along the boardwalk and I ended up stopping for some Spanish pya at a restaurant with a great view of the docks.
Magic Fountains (Font Magica de Montjuic)
The Magic Fountains are an amazing light/music water display. It was such a fun thing to go and watch and is great for your budget as it is free! This was a last minute decision but it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the trip 🙂
After the Magic Fountains, tapas for dinner is a must. After originally planning to go to Quimet & Quimet as it was the most popular on Trip Advisor and arriving to find it packed we were stoked to realise the whole area was filled with just as amazing tapas options. The place we ended up was called La Tasqueta de Blai and had tapas for 1 euro each. The system was – you choose your tapas and they collect and count the sticks at the end, Estella beer was also just 2 euro. You cannot go to Spain without having tapas!
Back to Beach for nightlife
To date one of my biggest weekends was in Barcelona (I think I would have got 6 hours sleep max all up?!?). The hostel I was staying at had an amazing atmosphere and a great group of people so we started off our night in El Borne (at a place called The Limehouse which had the strongest and most delicious mojitos for 3 euro, it was very chill and had a great vibe) and then caught the metro to to the beach for the clubs along the coast. We went to two places – Jagerbombs and Opium (both quite touristy but we had a crazy night)!
Barcelona was by far one my favourite weekend trips I did during my first semester of exchange. The nightlife in particular is one of a kind, be prepared for some sleepless nights! If you have any further questions feel free to comment below and I will answer to the best of my knowledge 🙂
**Random side note that I have to add. If like me you are an avid sushi addict there is an ‘all you can eat’ sushi train called ‘Kaitensushi He’ for 13 euros that I ended up going to on the first night. Without a doubt tapas in Spain is your best option, but if you get a random craving this place hit the spot haha!
Suitcase And I was not sponsored during this trip to Barcelona and as always, the opinions in my review are my own.