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72 Hours in Barcelona

You've been dreaming about visiting Barcelona forever and now the moment has come to visit. But you only have a few days. Here's a short and sweet itinerary for an amazing weekend trip to Barcelona.


Photo of me in a brown peacoat looking at the Sagrada Familia

Waking up in Barcelona is a special experience. You open your windows in one of the popular centers of the city and can’t help but have your breath taken away by the amazing view of old Gothic architecture and a busy city street below.


Barcelona was one of those cities in Europe that I had always wanted to visit but needed to find the right time. I found the time and did not regret it. However, I didn't have weeks to spend in Barcelona. If you're like me and you’re on a tight travel schedule, here is your handy itinerary of things to do in Barcelona in just 72 hours.


This 3-day itinerary in Barcelona will cover:

  • Where to stay (our hotel and neighborhood recommendations)

  • What to do each day (day-to-day activities we enjoyed)

  • The best ways to get to and around Barcelona

  • Restaurant and entertainment recommendations

  • Frequently asked questions about safety and budget

  • An actionable guide that you can take on your upcoming Barcelona trip



Photo of a red train in Barcelona. Photo credit: Introducing Barcelona


Getting to Barcelona


Fly or Train

If you’re coming from another country in Europe like Italy, France, or Portugal, depending on where you are, taking a train into Barcelona might be a wonderful option. When I visited Barcelona, I took a train from Toulouse, France and it took about 3 hrs and cost about €40 one way. 


If you’re coming from a country much further away, flying is highly recommended. Barcelona Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is the best airport to fly in and out of with direct flights from many international destinations.


Where to stay in Barcelona


Best neighborhoods for tourists

If you’re staying in Barcelona, you’ll want to be where the action is. I recommend staying in one of these two neighborhoods for their access to top tourist attractions, restaurants, and shopping: The Gothic Quarter or La Ribera





The Gothic Quarter

One of the most popular areas in Barcelona. With a history dating back 2,000 years, this area is full of charm and old European-style architecture like churches, homes, and palaces. These days, you’ll find incredible artisan shops, restaurants, and art. It’s also home to Las Ramblas, the world-renowned party street of Barcelona.


La Ribera

This neighborhood is one of the oldest quarters in Barcelona, right next to the Gothic Quarter. This area used to be a place for artisans, merchants, and fishermen to trade. Today, it’s still a haven for artists, tradesmen, and others with charming shops and places to grab one-of-a-kind Spanish-made goods. Grabbing a delicious coffee or a one-of-a-kind art piece was easy in this area.



Image of the rooftop of H10 Montcada hotel. Photo credit: Tripadvisor


Stay at H10 Hotels Montcada

There are tons of great places to stay in Barcelona, but we can’t help but recommend H10 Hotels Montcada. Not only was it fairly priced at around €120 per night, but it was also centrally located between the Gothic Quarter and La Ribera. Essentially, we got the best of both worlds!


The hotel is close to coffee shops and restaurants, artisan shops, and even the Picasso Museum! The facilities are top-notch and modern with a wonderful view of the city center. The rooms are quiet and comfortable. Plus, most of the activities recommended in this article will be easy to access from this hotel.


Image of Barcelona. Photo credit: USA Today


3-Day Barcelona Itinerary


Day 1


Morning

The first thing to do is arrive in Barcelona. Whether you’re coming by plane or train, find your way to your hotel. 


Pro tip: Skip the rental car in Barcelona, especially if you’re staying in the city center. Parking is hard to come by, traffic is abundant, and construction can cause detours and delays. We highly recommend getting an Uber, taxi, or taking the train. 

  • If you’re getting an Uber or taxi, car rides from the airport can take ~30 min and costs between €27 and €35.

  • If you're taking public transportation, you'll have two connections from the airport to the H10 Montcada hotel. First, take the A2 bus going from Catalunya to Fontanella. Then, take the L3 train heading towards Trinitat Nova.  




Afternoon

Once you find your way to your hotel, ditch your bags, and go for a stroll through La Ribera or the Gothic Quarter. There’s so much to see in these neighborhoods. The Cathedral of Barcelona is beautiful and quite a sight to see. Stop in a square and sip on some tea or coffee, and people-watch. Shopping for a souvenir or a piece of art can also be a wonderful way to spend the afternoon on day 1. No matter what you do, get lost, get acquainted, and observe the Barcelona way of life. 


Night 

By nightfall, you’re probably working up a bit of hunger. There are a ton of hidden gems in La Ribera or the Gothic Quarter. When we went, the first thing we wanted was a paella and a glass of Spanish red wine. 



Image of a table full of tapas. Photo credit: Taller De Tapas

So, we wandered the streets and found Taller de Tapas - Argentina. A delicious tapas and paella spot with an outdoor patio. We ate our hearts out then walked back to our hotel, crossed the street and stumbled upon the cutest Italian-owned gelato shop called Elisa Gelateria Pastisseria Cafe. We indulged in the most delicious gelatos and called it a night.


Day 2


Morning

By day two, we had become acquainted with the city and were ready to start exploring the city’s hot spots. But first, coffee. We enjoyed delicious french-style pastries at La Colmena, which is conveniently located across the street from H10 Montcada. From there, we made our way to a coffee shop and roastery called Torradors Bon Mercat Llibreteria for delicious coffee. After our minds and bodies were fulfilled, we had the energy to head to one of the biggest must-sees spots in Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia. 





In the late morning, walk to the Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO world heritage site and the largest unfinished church in the world. Its taken 140 years to get this far and it’s still not done! Walk around the perimeter of this marvelous church or go inside. 


Pro tip: Buy tickets ahead of time for the Sagrada Familia. Buying tickets the day of can result in lengthy lines! 



Image of me outside of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Afternoon

After the tour of the Sagrada Familia, we worked up a hunger. So, we scoured the area for a tasty lunch spot. But, we didn’t want to get trapped with tourist prices, so we walked a bit further out and spotted a Lebanese spot called Aladdin Restaurante. The name was fitting. As soon as you walk in, we felt like we were transported to the Middle East with its authentic decor, delicious food, and warm servers. 


Image of people eating in the Aladdin Restaurante in Barcelona

Evening 

By Saturday evening, we walked our hearts out and needed a bit of relaxation to balance out our full afternoon. If you’re staying at H10 Montcada, you’ll enjoy access to a gorgeous rooftop with a bar and a hot tub. 





By the evening, we were sipping on Aperol Spritzes before slipping into the hot tub. The view was spectacular gifting us a scenic look of nearby rooftops and even a view of the Sagrada Familia. A must-do before a delicious dinner out. 


Night 

After the hot tub, we cleaned up and went to one of the best Italian restaurants in town. Cecconi’s. This upscale Italian restaurant is perfect for two and has the ambiance you’d expect from a high-end Barcelona restaurant. Expect to be wined and dined like royalty while you enjoy your thin-crust pizza or expertly crafted risotto. 


Image of Cecconi's in Barcelona. Photo credit: Cecconi's.

Late Night 

It’s Saturday night, and we were located in one of the best party cities in the world, so why not spend the night at a nightclub. There are a lot of nightclubs to choose from, but the fan favorites seem to be Moog and M7 Club Barcelona. Both spots are pretty far from H10 Montcada hotel, so a taxi or Uber is recommended. 


Pro tip: Take a nap before going out. Most nightclubs in Barcelona don’t get full until after midnight and can having you going into the wee hours of the morning. Getting a good nap before your nightclub experience can ensure you can hang until 3 or 4am. 


Day 3


Morning

After coming home at 4am from the club, we slept in until 11am. We woke up and found brunch somewhere nearby. La Colmena for pastries or Torradors Bon Mercat Llibreteri for coffee were great choices that were a short walk away. 


Afternoon

By the afternoon, we were feeling ready for a walk in the park. But not your average park, we went to Park Güell. Park Güell is a private park full of gardens, gorgeous architecture, and the best view of Barcelona. We found our way to the park by foot (it’s about an hour walk from H10 Montcada hotel) but you can also grab a quick Uber if you're not feeling up to the walk. When we arrived, we were met with a ton of stairs. But it was worth it for the view. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes and bringing plenty of water and sun protection for the journey. 



Photo of me at the top of Park Guell in Barcelona

Pro tip: Buy your tickets to Park Güell ahead of time. There is a limited number of people who can enter the park each day and not having tickets ahead of time, may mean you get turned away. A general admission ticket is about €10.


After the park, you may be feeling like something more mellow and artistic. Make your way back to La Ribera, and stop by the Picasso Museum. Yes, the Picasso’s original artwork is found here and is a must-see for any art lover visiting Barcelona. A general admission ticket is about €15.


Evening

If you’re still feeling energized, right across the street from the Picasso Museum is a fantastic flamenco company, Theater Flamenco Barcelona. This was one of the highlights of our trip and we could not recommend it enough. 





Depending on the ticket you choose, you can be front and center at a live flamenco show with a complimentary glass of sangria in your hand. The show lasts an hour and is a heart-pounding, exciting experience. We were mesmerized and amazed by the show and walked out with a happy buzz. Prices for the show range between €28-61 euros.


You did it!

Three days in Barcelona and you did everything from drinking to dining to dancing. You had a taste of authentic paella, you sipped on sangria while watching a fabulous flamenco show, and you experienced the best view in Barcelona. With a budget of about €1000 euros for two people, you can spend 72 hours in Barcelona and have the weekend of your life.


Have questions about Barcelona’s safety, transportation, and budget? Look below for some frequently asked questions.


Image of a Barcelona street. Photo credit: Expedia

FAQ's

Q: Is Barcelona expensive?

A: For European standards, no. Barcelona is fairly affordable. But by global standards, Barcelona is on the more expensive side. For example, the average latte in Barcelona might cost you €2-4 euros while staying in a nice hotel in the Gothic Quarter or La Ribera might cost you €80-150 euros a night. With a budget of about €1000 for two people, you can spend 72 hours in Barcelona and have the weekend of your life.


Q: How do I get around Barcelona?

A: If you’re staying in the Gothic Quarter or La Ribera, you can walk to most places. Driving is not recommended as parking can be hard to find and traffic and construction can make commuting difficult. If you need to get to the other side of the city, try taking a train.


Q: Is Barcelona safe?

A: According to several indices, Barcelona is considered one of the safest cities in Europe. Most tourists can enjoy the city without experiencing too much concern about spontaneous violent crime. However, it is a pickpocketing hotspot so it’s recommended to not put your wallet or other valuables in easy-to-access spots in your clothing or bags.


Q: Are there pickpocketers in Barcelona?

A: Yes! Pickpocketing is abundant in Barcelona. It’s recommended not to have your valuables in easy-to-access pockets or parts of your bag. Public transport, busy areas of the city, and crowded tourist hubs are prime locations for pickpocketers. So be aware of your surroundings.


Q: Is Barcelona easy for English-speaking tourists?

A: English speakers can navigate Barcelona’s popular touristy areas easily as many of the restaurants, businesses, and shops speak good English. However, speaking or being able to read Spanish is a valuable skill as some servers and businesses speak less English and communication can feel strained otherwise.


Q: Is Barcelona safe for Black travelers?

A: Yes! As a black traveler, Barcelona felt extremely multicultural and comfortable for me. I saw nearly every ethnic group in the Gothic Quarter and La Ribera. The people working in the shops and restaurants treated me fairly and with kindness like any other customer. I felt safe and never experienced overt racism.


Have more questions about Barcelona? Leave a comment below!



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