four days in barcelona
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Barcelona in 4 Days | A City Guide

Interested in visiting Barcelona? This post will give you the best things to do in Barcelona all in a four-day itinerary. Get tips on which landmarks to visit, such as Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, and the Gothic Quarter of the city. Get tips on where to go shopping, how to see the beach, and which restaurants to eat at in this amazing city. See mount Tibidabo, Passeig De Gracia, and more! This guide comes complete with a city map, so you won't get lost on your visit! #barcelonatravelguide
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Now, it’s very hard for to pick one city in the world as my ultimate favorite, but Barcelona definitely tops that list. From spending time in the mountains to soaking up the sun at the beach, there is so much that you can do in this city.

This travel guide will give you an itinerary for seeing Barcelona in 4 days. I hope that you’ll begin to fall in love with the city as much as I have by the end of this post!

Brief City History | Barcelona

Little is known about the original inhabitants of Barcelona, but it was inhabited for several thousand years before the arrival of the Romans. The Romans came at around 15 BC and was known as Faventia. Although the Visigoths overtook the city in the 5th century AD, you can still find evidence of the city plans laid by the Romans and ruins scattered throughout the city.

It was ruled very shortly by the Arabs in the 700s, before being conquered by Charlemagne’s son Louis. By the 1100’s Barcelona was the seat of the Crown of Aragon, which likely sounds familiar to you as this is the same line as Ferdinand II of Aragon. The latter’s marriage to Isabella I of Castille united all of Spain under one rule. However, this couple is probably most famous for sending Christopher Columbus to “discover” America.

Barcelona has always been a center for Catalonian pride, with many residents considering themselves Catalonian first before Spanish. Despite suppression of the Catalan language during the Franco period in the early 1900s, this language as well as the cultural identify survived and continue to thrive today.

In recent times, Barcelona has had a period of resurgence, which began with the Olympics in 1992. The city made many efforts to improve the city to prepare for the games, including CREATING a beach from scratch. (Yes, they literally imported the sand and the trees!) This made the city the Barcelona we all know today.

RELATED: Spanish for Travel

Know Before You Go | Barcelona 

Getting There: Barcelona is one of the top tourist destinations in Spain, so it is pretty easy to find a direct flight here from many major cities all over the world. If you’re leaving from the U.S., it’s about a 7-hour flight from the east coast and about an 10-11 hour flight from the west coast.

If you are already in Europe, it is easy to find cheap flights for under $200 by booking through RyanAir or EasyJet. Keep in mind that the RyanAir or EasyJet have strict baggage restrictions, so it’s always a good idea to evaluate prices against other airlines. I like to use kayak.com, momundo, or google flights to compare ticket costs.

Where to Stay: Barcelona is a huge city that is broken up into several different neighborhoods. I recommend picking a neighborhood based on where you’d like to spend the most time.

If you’d like to be in the heart of the city, check out El Born. This neighborhood is near the Gothic Quarter and Barceloneta (the beach), and also connects to most of the city via metro.

Stay in Barceloneta if you’d like to spend a lot of time near the beach and get a real feel for the Cataluña way of life.

The Eixample neighborhood is a great neighborhood if you are looking for something a bit more cheap, residential, and quiet. This neighborhood is close to the Passeig de Gracia, where you can find a lot of great restaurants and shopping. It is also close to La Sagrada Familia, one of Barcelona’s top attractions.

Barcelona street view
The view from our Airbnb in Barcelona

To get a more “local” experience, I recommend staying in an AirBnb. We stayed at an adorable spot in the Passeig de Gracia on my last visit to the city, but unfortunately it is no longer available. But, click here for another lovely recommendation close by that you might want to check out!

Lovely Airbnb near Passieg de Gracia and La Sagrada Familia

*If you are a first time Airbnb user, use my link to get $40 off your first stay!*

Getting Around: Barcelona has a great public transportation system, with many metro lines and bus routes. Check out this website for details on the transit system, including information on how to purchase tourist packages. Taxis are also quite easy to find, especially in the more touristy areas.

Currency Situation: Like most places in Europe, Spain uses the euro. At the time that this article was posted, the exchange rate was ‚ €1.00 = $1.15. This means that prices are a bit higher in general in Barcelona, but thankfully this rate has held steady for the past several years. Click here for the latest exchange rates.

The Itinerary | Four Days in Barcelona

Day 1 | Getting to Know the City

As mentioned in many of my travel guides (like this one!), I recommend starting your trip with walking tour of the city. My family/friends and I took the SANDEman’s New Barcelona Free Walking Tour.

The tour was informative, but I recommend taking a tour with a company like Tour Barcelona, as it is not a Europe-wide chain and offers a more authentic experience. Many of these tours will take you around the Gothic Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods, but you can find other options as well.

After touring the city, you should head over to La Sagrada Familia, the cathedral designed by Guadí. This cathedral has been under construction since 1882. It is finally nearing completion and is simply breathtaking.

There is an incredible amount of work that has been put into every detail in this building. This includes multi-colored lighting in the interior of the cathedral and intricately carved sculptures on the buildings exterior. Pro tip: Purchase your tickets online to avoid long wait times!

La Sagrada Familia
The exterior of La Sagrada Familia

At the end of the day, head over the El Born neighborhood. Here you can visit the Textile or Picasso museums, and find a nice spot for a place to eat.

RELATED: Best Places to Visit in Spain

Day 2 | All Things Gaudí

Gaudí’s influence in Barcelona’s architecture is one of the things that makes it such a unique city. To see his handiwork up close, you should visit Park Güell. This park is full of whimsical and colorful sculptures and buildings, and another one of the city’s more recognizable landmarks.

Purchase tickets in advance online for cost savings and to avoid long wait times. Casa Museu Gaudí can be found on the property of the park as well. This house is worth a visit if you’d like to see how the famous architect lived back in his day.

Barcelona in 4 Days
The stairway to Park Guell

After spending the morning in the park, head down to the Passeig de Gracia to visit Casa Batlló. This house was the formerly the home of Spanish aristocrats, and has some of the coolest architecture I’ve ever seen.

All tickets come with a smart guide of the house to make the visit a truly interactive one. Like most attractions on this list, you should purchase tickets in advance to avoid long wait time!

Casa Batlló
Unique Exterior of Casa Batlló

Visit the Las Ramblas neighborhood in the evening to catch sights of street mimes and artists. You can also find numerous options for delicious tapas and drinks throughout the neighborhood.

Day 3 | Taking in the View from Above

Tibidabo Mountain is the highest point of the city, and offers expansive views of Barcelona and some of the nearby countryside. At the top of the mountain you’ll find an amusement park as well as the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor.

This church allows visitors to travel to the top of the building for the highest views. You can reach the top of the mountain by taking the metro L7 to Avinguda del Tibidabo. Once there, you’ll take the Tramvia Blau to the top of the mountain.

Barcelona in 4 Days
View of the city from above

In the afternoon, head down to the Passeig de Gracia for a stroll along the tree-lined street. Here you’ll find a lot of great options for shopping and/or grabbing lunch.

Barcelona in 4 days
Passieg de Gracia as seen from Casa Batlló

Visit the Gothic Quarter in the evening to experience the oldest part of the city at dusk. Move through the narrow passageways to get a feel for how people lived there in medieval times. Keep your eyes open for small boutique shops, and delicious gelaterias.

Day 4 | Beach Day

After several days of extensive sightseeing, take a day to relax on Barceloneta Beach. This is one of the most popular beaches in Barcelona, offering cool waters and relaxing views. It’s perfect for cooling off on a hot day or just relaxing to the sound of the waves on a cool day. If you are interested in a bit of spa time, the W Hotel at the end of the beach strip does have a Bliss Spa located inside.

barcelona in four days
Enjoying the Barceloneta coastline ๐Ÿ™‚

Walk over to Port Vell in the evening to take a walk along the boardwalk and find a place to eat. Port Vell is a very picturesque part of the city and offers nightlife, for those interested. It is a great spot to wrap up your visit to this amazing city.

Barcelona City Map

Map Key:

This map shows all the key landmarks mentioned in the post. Should be helpful as you navigate the city!

  1. Gothic Quarter
  2. El Born
  3. La Sagrada Familia
  4. Park Güell
  5. Casa Batlló
  6. Las Ramblas
  7. Mount Tibidabo
  8. Passieg de Gracia
  9. La Barceloneta

RELATED: Three Day Lisbon Itinerary

Final Thoughts | Barcelona in 4 Days

Let’s be honest – someone could spend over a month in Barcelona and still not cover all it has to offer. Despite this, I think that you can experience Barcelona in 4 days by hitting the highlights mentioned in this post. I hope this post has inspired you to travel to this amazing city!

Have you visited Barcelona before? What are your top recommendations for the city? Comment below!

My Barca Traveling Party ๐Ÿ™‚

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Interested in visiting Barcelona? This post will give you the best things to do in Barcelona all in a four-day itinerary. Get tips on which landmarks to visit, such as Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, and the Gothic Quarter of the city. Get tips on where to go shopping, how to see the beach, and which restaurants to eat at in this amazing city. See mount Tibidabo, Passeig De Gracia, and more! This guide comes complete with a city map, so you won't get lost on your visit! #barcelonatravelguide
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20 Comments

  1. Hi Christen, The information you gave on this really great post is so useful. I have always wanted to visit Barcelona as my Mother went there a number of years ago and in those days there was no such thing as blogging but she wrote travel articles for many magazines and newspaper supplements and I know she wrote about visiting Barcelona. She and my Dad had a great time there.
    I have posted this onto my social media platform as it might inspire more people to visit and experience the beauty you described so well.
    It is cold here so I am feeling very drawn to spending time on the lovely beaches there and walking around Barcelona.

    1. Hi Jill – It’s so cool that your mom spent time as a travel writer :). Thanks for sharing the post! Glad to hear that you found the post inspiring.

  2. This is so fun! I wish I had seen this before I went to Barcelona! I would have had to modify it a little bit because I had 7 month old at the time but still such amazing tips! Itโ€™s so hard because you want to get the most out of a city when you visit and itโ€™s great to have a plan ready to go!

    1. Thanks Karissa! Glad that you found the post useful :). I agree that it’s especially hard to get the most out of a city without planning – especially one with as much to do as Barcelona!

  3. Hi,
    I don’t have a lot of experience of commenting on posts but like everyone else I know what I like. You made me wish to pack my bag and say “sign me up”.

    Your post is clean with an organised presentation. It was both convincing and helpful. I loved the idea of providing an itinerary of a best things to do during a trip to Barcelona.

    I can’t think of anything I felt was missing – not in information, clarity, or appearance. Great Job.
    Betty

  4. Almost everyone I know who’s been, loves Barcelona. Personally I love the architecture, could spend endless days wandering around & taking photos in Park Guell and all the other Gaudi buildings. Shopping was pretty good too.. Zara, Mango, Pull and Bear.. all the interesting Spanish brands! I also stayed in an airbnb that had its own little balcony, it was so pretty – that’s probably a requirement for a true European accomodation experience for me.
    The locals are really friendly too, we actually made friends with some of the locals who took us bar hopping around one night, so I can’t remember where we went!

    1. Hi Sherise – Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on the city too! I agree that the shopping there is great – I went to the best Zara I’ve ever visited while there.

  5. I lived in Barcelona for over 3 years and 4 days is definitely not enough time to see everything! You covered almost all the main tourist attractions though.

  6. Hi, Christen,

    I’ve never been to Barcelona, but it is indeed on my bucket list with traveling destinations:) Agree with you, Barcelona is a huge city, full of so many things to do and places to see.

    Thank you very much for highlighting the most important attractions, and routing a plan, so that I can cover must-see places in 4 days!

    What is your top choice, if you are to mention one thing from Barcelona?

    Thank you

    1. Happy to see you found the post helpful, Tony! If I could only choose one place Iโ€™d head over to Park Gรผell – Iโ€™m a sucker for art and beautiful views ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Iโ€™ve never been to Barcelona before but have always wanted to! It looks stunning! And your guide was incredible! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I loved, loved, loved Barcelona but I havenโ€™t been for years and would love to go back! There really is so much to see! Sounds like I should use your guide as a starting point for my plans! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Agree that this is an awesome city!! And one could probably spend weeks here and still have more to see. Glad to see the itinerary being out to good use ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I love how personalized this city guide is! It is informative without being hard to process – way too many guides try to fill ALL kinds of information into one post and it’s quite a turn off (rather than being inspiring which yours is!).

    I’m gonna be lowkey stalking your blog from now on ๐Ÿ™‚

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