Travel Guides

24 Hours in Barcelona, Spain

May 18, 2017

Rooftop views in Barcelona, Spain I knew Barcelona would be unique based on what I knew of Anton Gaudí’s architecture, but I didn’t anticipate how much I would fall in love with it. The energy of the crowds, the winding streets of the old town, and the beautiful new and old buildings sprinkled throughout — it’s an unforgettable, vibrant city. Plus, with great shopping and culture, running out of things to do in Barcelona is nearly impossible! Here’s my take on what you simply can’t miss there…

Courtyards for lunch in old gothic quarter Barcelona, Spain

One of the many beautiful courtyards in Barcelona


Starting the day at Park Guell will get you in the right mood for Barcelona’s architectural scene. This park features some of the most expansive works of architect Anton Gaudí, and is a great place to wander around or find a bench to enjoy the gardens. Visiting in the morning also ensures fewer crowds.

Park Guell - Gaudi Architecture garden in Barcelona, Spain

Looking out over Barcelona from Park Guell

Park Guell - Gaudi Architecture garden in Barcelona, Spain

There’s so much to see when exploring one of Gaudí’s creations


With Gaudí fresh on the mind, make your way over to La Sagrada Familia. This church took my breath away — it’s truly incredible in person! The church has been under construction for over one hundred years, but don’t let that stop you from taking the walking tour so you can fully experience it. I suggest booking tickets in advance for both La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell.


Once you’ve had your morning fill of Gaudí, head to the Mercado de La Boqueria for lunch. There you’ll find a large indoor market hall with typical Spanish tapas and treats. My tip: grab a fresh juice from one of the stalls and taste your way through the market until you’re full. If you’re indecisive when it comes to meals (like me), this will be one of your favorite spots!

Mercado de la Boqueria for fresh juice and spanish tapas - Barcelona, Spain

Grabbing a fresh juice at Mercado de la Boqueria


After lunch I recommend taking a stroll down La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous walking street. Trendy boutiques can be found just off the main area. There are also plenty of cafés to choose from if you want to sit and enjoy the watching the foot traffic.

Shopping and eating at La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain

Strolling down the vibrant streets of La Rambla

Lunch on La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain

A spread of tapas, pizza and green peppers for lunch part two


Interested in more of Gaudí’s work? Consider touring the inside of one of his famous apartment buildings. There’s many to see around the city, but I really enjoyed La Pedrera. The rooftop features a panoramic view of the city, and the tour provides a history the building and Gaudi’s architectural influence.

La Pedrera Casa Mila by Anton Gaudi - Barcelona, Spain

Overlooking the streets of Barcelona from La Pedrera


One of the most scenic parts of Barcelona is the old gothic quarter, which features winding streets and a variety of shops that are bustling in the late afternoon. Getting lost here is worth it – you never know what you’ll find! Don’t miss the Pont del Bisbe, it’s located in one of the most beautiful parts of this old city. The gelato at Vioko is also delicious and great for an afternoon pick-me-up.

The best gelato and ice cream in Barcelona, Spain

Rose, mint chip, and stracciatella gelato from Vioko

Pont del Bisbe bridge in the Old Gothic Quarter - Barcelona, Spain

The famous Pont del Bisbe in Barcelona’s gothic quarter


The Spanish eat late, so take your time before heading straight to dinner. If you’re visiting the city in spring or summer, this is a great time to explore Barcelona’s harbor and the beach nearby during sunset.

Beachfront restaurants and cafes in Barcelona, Spain

Beachy restaurant vibes in Barcelona


Hungry for dinner? Restaurant 7 Portes is one of the oldest restaurants in the city and has played host to famous writers like Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway. They’re also well known for their paella — and their long wait times. Reservations are recommended!


The day’s not over if you don’t want it to be. The nightlife in Barcelona is world-renowned, so you won’t have trouble finding places to grab drinks. Try Marmalade or Boadas. The rooftop at Grand Hotel Central’s Skybar is also incredible — I’d recommend going pre-sunset though, for views over the city!

Rooftop views in Barcelona, Spain

Views from Skybar rooftop at Grand Hotel Central

Looking for more to do? If you have more time to spend in Barcelona, consider taking a day trip to Montserrat, which is an hour outside the city and features great views of the surrounding landscape. Madrid is also easy to get to by train – I’d highly recommend visiting both if you can!

Crystal Palace in Madrid Parque de El Retiro Spain

In front of the Crystal Palace in Madrid’s Parque de El Retiro

Barcelona is definitely on my list to return to. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Which European city is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
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  • Reply Dani May 19, 2017 at 1:56 am

    I was so excited for this post! I am traveling to Barcelona in July and wanted recommendations from bloggers who extend beyond the generic Tripadvisor tourist traps. I’m very much looking to immerse myself in the city culture rather than attractions, so am very excited to experience walking down to La Rambla. What is the weather like in Spain in summer?

    • Reply - Selena May 19, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Thanks Dani! The culture in Barcelona is incredible, and luckily it’s not hard to find. 🙂

      The weather in summer there is usually hot, especially in July (80 F +). It will drop some at night (mid 60’s), but you can probably get away with packing one warm sweater. The water temperature should also be pretty perfect if you’re visiting mid-summer! Enjoy!

  • Reply Kyle Studstill May 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    That first sunset shot is fantastic, great light! 🔮🙏

  • Reply Karen Farber May 27, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    This is such a great post!! I’m going to Barcelona in June and I’m adding all of these places to my list. You also inspired me to maybe take a little trip out to Madrid as well 🙌🏼 I only have 5 days total, but if you guys were able to do Barcelona in 24 hours I think I can fit in both cities 🙂

    • Reply - Selena May 30, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks Karen! Have an amazing time in Barcelona (and Madrid!). xx

  • Reply Michael @ Mile in My Glasses May 29, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    I have just stumbled across your blog and Bloglovin’ and.. wow! I’m definitely going to spend the next few hours reading all of your magnificent posts! Thanks for creating such a beautiful space on the internet. I hope you have a magnificent Monday!


    • Reply - Selena May 30, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Hi Michael- thanks for the love! That’s great to hear, hope you enjoy. 🙂 xx

  • Reply flashpackersporelmundo July 2, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Awwww our home! Next time tell us and we’ll show you around 😛
    You have such nice pictures! And also a lovely blog! <3

    P&P from Bcn 🙂

    • Reply - Selena July 4, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Thanks guys! Barcelona is incredible, you’re so lucky to live there. 🙂 Will keep in mind for next time. xx

  • Reply Claudia August 5, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Love this! Barcelona is one of my favorite places and you captured it perfectly! My favorite European city is Paris, but only in the fall when the crowds settle down! I just started my very own travel blog, so I’ll be returning in November to write about it 🙂

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