Barcelona Itinerary: 5 days in Gaudí’s Metropole (with day trips)

> May 25, 2023
Barcelona Itinerary: 5 days in Gaudí’s Metropole (with day trips)

Barcelona—the vibrant city of sunshine, culture, and cava. This city is an affair of my heart, and I will always treasure it. But who am I to keep its secrets and wonders just for yourself?

This article could be also called Barcelona 3-day itinerary with two extra day trips—because that's literally what it is. I've put the best to see in Barcelona in three days, so be ready—it can get a bit intense. But everything is strategically planned, complete with beach stops and almost a full rest day (while on a day trip—you didn’t expect actual rest from me, did you?).

Here is my list of places to visit in Barcelona:

Day 1: Cathedral of Barcelona, La Rambla, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà
Day 2: Sagrada Familia, Parc de la Ciutadella, Park Güell, Gaudí House Museum, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau
Day 3: Montjuïc Hill, The Joan Miró Foundation, Barceloneta Beach 
Day 4: Sitges and San Sebastian Beach
Day 5: Montserrat hike

Day 1 of Barcelona itinerary

Map of day 1 Barcelona itinerary

See today's route on Google Maps

Main sites visited on day 1: Cathedral of Barcelona, La Rambla, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà
Restaurant tipsRefresc House | Rias do Miño Restaurant | ABaC Restaurant | Raó Restaurant
Hotel recommendations: Radisson Blu 1882 Hotel
Further reading: A walk through Barcelona | 2 weeks Spain itinerary | 14 Things to Know About Spain

Day 1—Barcelona—stop 1: Cathedral of Barcelona

Cathedral of Barcelona—Day 1 of the Barcelona itinerary

Cathedral of Barcelona

Time spent here: 1 hour

Where else to begin than at the Cathedral of Barcelona, a textbook Gothic masterpiece. Incredible ornate façade? Check. Intricate carvings? Check. Soaring spires crawling up to the skies? Check. And I haven't even started about the inside of the Cathedral. But also all over spooky? Check!

Visit the cathedral and take a look around, and don’t forget to take a peek into the courtyard and count the geese who live there! (Spoiler alert: there are 13 of them!)

The interior of the Barcelona Cathedral in Spain

Like I said—A Gothic masterpiece

But the main draw of the cathedral is the roof. When you climb up the (what felt like) infinite number of stairs (or you can take the elevator, you lazy bastard), you get incredibly breathtaking views of the city on silver platter. You'll see all destinations that are ahead of you on the first day of this Barcelona itinerary.

  • Barcelona Cathedral official website
  • Google Maps link
  • Open weekdays 9:30 am–6:30 pm (no entrance after 5:45 pm), Saturdays 10:30 am–5:15 pm (no entrance after 4:30 pm), Sundays 2 pm–5 pm (no entrance after 4:30 pm)
  • Tickets cost EUR 9 and include rooftop access

Day 1—Barcelona—stop 2: La Rambla

La Rambla in Barcelona—Barcelona itinerary

The opposite of a hidden gem: La Rambla street

Distance from previous stop: 700 m/0.4 miles, 10 min walk
Time spent here: 1 hour to depends on your shopping mood

La Rambla is a bustling long street in the Gothic Quarter full of street performers, crowds of tourists, and stands with overpriced fridge magnets or disgusting coffee (because finding a good cup of coffee is impossible in Spain). But La Rambla in some sense represents the city of Barcelona itself. It’s equal parts tourist trap and a fun, lively vibe.

Even if La Rambla isn’t a place you’d yearn to visit, you'll have to anyways as our next stop, Plaça de Catalunya, is at its end. But apart from many, many shops on every inch, you can stumble across charming little hidden niches, which is my favorite thing to do. Tuck into the side streets to avoid the biggest crowds, and make sure to tuck into Sant Felip Neri Square, which I was especially proud of finding.

La Rambla in Barcelona—Barcelona itinerary

La Rambla

It’s also home to the vibrant public market, Mercado de La Boqueria. Even if you just browse, I find visiting a market is a great way to get a feel for a city. Before continuing your walk, grab a cheese and meat cone or a fruit salad from one of the many vendors, the market is a real foodie's paradise. 

Lunch tip: If your stomach is not all packed from the delicious finger food and fresh fruit from Boqueria, head out to RAO Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Spain we've been to and definitely the bast tapas bar in Barcelona.

Day 1—Barcelona—stop 3: Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló in Barcelona—Barcelona itinerary

One of my fave Gaudí buildings, Casa Batlló

Distance from previous stop: 1 km/0.6 miles, 15 min
Time spent here: 1.5 hours

Once you get to Plaça de Catalunya at the end of La Rambla, everything is suddenly bigger and newer and more perpendicular. But your final destination is just a few steps further, the fashionable Passeig de Gràcia street.

It's one of the most schizophrenic streets in Barcelona, and that's a good thing! The street is lined with fantastic modern buildings mixed with historical ones, and it is where you’ll finally be able to try to comprehend Gaudí’s architecture.

Also notice the lamp posts that were designed by architect Pere Falqués i Urpí.

Facade details on Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain

Casa Batlló, detail of the balconies that look like they’re looking at you

But now back to the gem that brought us here, Casa Batlló, where you will want to hang out for a while. The locals call it house of bones and you'll immediately know why. It's very skeleton-ish and the roof is a dragon's back. I can express how cool this place is! I felt like I arrived at a fairy-tale—one directed by Tim Burton.

Take a self-guided tour through the even more schizophrenic rooms, and don't skip the multimedia installations, they make the experience even more breathtaking. After all the hype I've just given, you know the place gets crowdy. Buy your time-stamped tickets in advance, so you don't miss out on spending a while in Gaudí’s mind.

Day 1—Barcelona—stop 4: Casa Milà

  Casa Milà in Barcelona—5 days Barcelona itinerary

Casa Milà

Distance from previous stop: 500 m/0.3 miles, 10 min
Time spent here: 1.5 hours

The stores get more and more high-end as you continue walking up Passeig de Gràcia. You pass Cartier, Prada, Versace, but we’re not here for a new designer bag, okay? Continue a little further and suddenly you’re standing in front of another Gaudí masterpiece, the Casa Milà (aka La Pedrera).

I know, it's another of Gaudí's houses, yet it is completely different. Don't you dare skip it, it's a must-see even if you only have time to swing by.

But the real deal is again the inside of the house, where you find Gaudí interpretation center—which is basically a museum about Gaudí's work and inspiration. It’s a superb museum and I go whenever I am in Barcelona. I’m especially fond of the attic—you’ll feel like you’re inside a whale!

You can take a guided tour if you want, but there is no problem with visiting the house by yourself with an audio guide—which I strongly recommend. The basic tour will take you through the interior, the courtyards, and the roof. Taking the evening tour is something special, as the house is beautifully illuminated.

Day 2 of Barcelona itinerary

Map of day 2 Barcelona itinerary

See today's route on Google Maps

Main sites visited on day 2: Parc de la Ciutadella, Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Gaudí House Museum Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau
Restaurant tipsRefresc House | Rias do Miño Restaurant | ABaC Restaurant | Raó Restaurant
Hotel recommendations: Radisson Blu 1882 Hotel
Further reading: 16 Best Beaches in Spain | All You Need to Know About Tapas | 10 Best Museums in Spain

Day 2—Barcelona—stop 1: Parc de la Ciutadella

Alt text: Parc de La Ciutadella in Barcelona, Spain

The Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella

Time spent here: As long as you want, probably about 1 hour

If you suffer from a serious case of (real) nature withdrawal, let's cure this one right away. Head to Ciutadella Park, a green oasis in the heart of Barcelona to find a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Parc de la Ciutadella is also home to the Barcelona Zoo, the Catalan Parliament building, and the Museum of Natural Sciences. But my favorite spots must be the Arch welcoming you as you enter the park and the fancy fountain The Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella.

The fountain is a work of Josep Fontsére, but some contributions were made by Gaudí during his student years. Apparently, there’s no place in Barcelona that this fella hasn't laid his fingers on!

Speaking of the devil, let's move to our next stop.

Day 2—Barcelona—stop 2: Sagrada Familia

Barcelona, Sagrada Familia—5 days Barcelona itinerary

The unbelievable architecture of Sagrada Familia

Distance from previous stop: 1.9 km/11.8 miles, 25 min
Time spent here: 1 hour

We ended with Gaudí yesterday, and we'll continue with him today at what is probably the most famous church in the world—if you don’t count the one that burst into flames—that doesn't need a long introduction, Sagrada Familia.

BTW, Gaudí's biggest project is still unfinished. It's supposed to be completed in 2026, 100 years after Gaudí’s death. Fingers crossed (there’s no way they’ll make it in time)! But until then you have to be okay with the pictures being photobombed by cranes and all the construction mess.

Exterior detail of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

A bit of exterior detail

So, after you're done being overwhelmed outside, go be overwhelmed inside. You can say hi to your pal Gaudí yourself. Well, almost. He's buried in the crypt inside the basilica. I would say RIP, but I'm not sure how much of the P you are getting there my friend with all the construction all these years.

Interior of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

At first glance, the interior of the Sagrada Familia perfectly emulates nature

One hour inside should be enough.

Before you go to La Sagrada Família buy tickets online in advance.

Important: You need to download the official app to manage your tickets. I didn’t do it my first time visiting Barcelona and was denied access to the church. So, save yourself the hassle and be ready, unlike me.

Day 2—Barcelona—stop 3: Park Güell

Park Güell in Barcelona—Barcelona itinerary

The colorful Park Güell!

Distance from previous stop: 3.9 km/2.4 miles, 55 mins
Time spent here: 2–3 hours

Are you ready for some more Gaudí? I told you, he's everywhere in Barcelona. And this place is probably even one of the most popular spots in the city, so be ready—it gets crowded.

Park Güell is a large, hilly, park area filled with stairways, buildings and hidden nooks and crannies, all in Gaudí’s typical style of millions of tiles, colors, and melting stuff that transport you into Wonderland.

I used to come here all the time when I worked in Barcelona (this is way back when there was no entry fee, haha). It’s the first of Gaudí’s creations I ever saw, and it mesmerized me. That's probably also why it's still my favorite park in the world.

Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain

Park Güell... I dare you to find a right angle

The park is huge, you should have at least 2–3 hours for proper exploration. As I hinted above, you have to buy a ticket now to enter the park. Do so online, because... You already know why you should buy your tickets online before, you've already spent a day in Barcelona.

Day 2—Barcelona—stop 4: Gaudí House Museum

Gaudí House Museum in Barcelona, Spain

Gaudí House Museum

Distance from previous stop: 160 m/0.09 miles, 2 mins
Time spent here: 1 hour

Now, don’t beat around the bush anymore... or beat around the Gaudí? Let's go pay the digs of the hombré of the hour a visit. When you are done walking in the park, hop over to the Gaudí House Museum.

The museum is housed in Gaudí's former home, which he designed and lived in. The house was later converted into a museum open to the public.

In the museum, you can explore the different rooms of Gaudí's home, which have been preserved and decorated just like during his lifetime. The museum also features a collection of Gaudí's personal belongings, including furniture, artwork, and various objects that he collected during his many travels around the world. Don't worry, it's way more exciting than the sugar packets your auntie collects.

Apart from the collection, I enjoyed the view from the building's astounding terrace or a stroll around the gardens.

Unfortunately, a ticket to Park Güell doesn’t include the museum, you have to buy it separately.

Day 2—Barcelona—stop 5: Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

Alt text: Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain

Recinte Modernista de Sandt Pau buildings

Distance from previous stop: 2.2 km/1.3 miles, 30 min
Time spent here: 1 hour

Last stop of the day, last architectonical jewel—have I mentioned I LOVE Barcelona? You couldn’t notice, I know.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is a stunning complex of modernist buildings. Originally, it was built as a hospital in the early 20th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a center for innovation in healthcare!

But you didn’t come for the scientific miracles that happen here, you came for the architecture—and because it's close to your hotel. Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is full of colorful mosaics, stained windows, and intricate sculptures. However, despite its beauty it's one of the lesser-known places in Barcelona, so you even might escape the crowds.

You can take a guided tour and learn about the history of the complex, or if you don't want to spend more time surrounded by tourists than necessary, take the audio guide. You’ll save yourself from many awkward jokes and uncomfortable silences afterward, thank me later. And buy tickets in advance, as you already know.

Day 3 of Barcelona itinerary

Map of day 3 Barcelona itinerary

See today's route on Google Maps

Main sites visited on day 3: Montjuïc Hill, The Joan Miró Foundation, Barceloneta Beach
Restaurant tipsRefresc House | Rias do Miño Restaurant | ABaC Restaurant | Raó Restaurant
Hotel recommendations: Radisson Blu 1882 Hotel
Further reading: Traditional Food | Top Restaurants | A walk through Barcelona

Day 3—Barcelona—stop 1: Montjuïc Hill

Montjuïc Hill in Barcelona, Spain

Views of Barcelona from behind a behind on Montjuïc Hill

Time spent here: 3 hours

You could spend a whole day on Montjuïc Hill. It's home to a number of museums, including the Joan Miró Foundation—that one I'll tell you more about later, the National Art Museum of Catalonia, and the Museum of Archaeology. But if you hit only the main spots, 3 hours should do the trick.

But let's be real here for a sec—the best reason you visit Montjuic Hill is the views. From the top of the hill, you can see all of Barcelona spread out before you like all the tapas and Spanish food you can't get enough of. It's enough to make you want to grab a glass of sangria and just sit there for hours, soaking in the sights. Then you realize it’s not even noon and the drinks wouldn’t be probably appropriate... So hit the road, Jack.

Alt text: The Magic Fountain in Barcelona, Spain

The Magic Fountain

The first on the list of sights would be the Magic Fountain which honestly impressed me a lot more when the kitschy light show wasn’t on during the day, but if you want to Disneyland-esque magic, head out after sunset and take in the colors. Expect crowds. There is no entrance fee.

As for the rest of Montjuïc Hill, there are many gardens and places with nice views, plus a fortress on top. Again, nice views from there.

What I’d do is walk up from the base of the cable car (that takes about 20 minutes) and from there walk to the other cable car stop on the hill. Then hop on and travel to your last stop of the day: the port and beach area. But hold on to your horses, there is one museum on Montjuïc Hill that you have to visit.

Day 3—Barcelona—stop 2: The Joan Miró Foundation

The Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona, Spain

The Joan Miró Foundation

Distance from previous stop: 290 m/0.6 miles, 5 min
Time spent here: 1.5 hour

Surprise, there are more famous artists from Barcelona than Gaudí! Spain has many famous artists in its history—meet Joan Miró.

Joan Miró was a painter, sculptor, and ceramicist, who was besties with Picasso when he lived in Paris (fyi, Picasso hated Gaudí). After that, he came back to Barcelona and came up with the idea of building the Miró Foundation. Great illustration of his self-awareness and humbleness. But jokes aside, he built himself something that has become one of the best museums in Barcelona. And that I madly respect.

Inside (and outside), you will find many of Miró’s works. There are thousands of them, so they are on rotation. You can also see the art of Peter Greenaway, Chillida, René Magritte, Rothko, and others. 

Oh, and a poisonous fountain, too! Alexander Calder’s “Mercury Fountain” has to be kept behind glass, since liquid mercury is toxic to humans. There is an interesting story behind it and is supposed to be a reminder of Spain’s troubled past and the brutalities of war. 

And now take the cable straight to the ultimate chill area aka Barceloneta Beach. Or take a walk and don’t be cool like we, the cable people, are.

Day 3—Barcelona—stop 3: Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona , Spain

Barceloneta Beach

Distance from previous stop: 3.9 km/2.4 miles, 50 min
Time spent here: 1.5 hour or till you just have enough

I know, I travel like a madman. This 3-day Barcelona itinerary is super exhausting. But you deserve some applause as you managed it with glamour. Now, there is the rest you deserve.

And what's better than ending your day at the beach? The atmosphere of the different music genres playing from the many beach clubs and bars, the sun setting, having a great drink, and okayish food—it's what memories are made of. 

Barceloneta Beach is a typical city beach, meaning it’s always filled with babes and dudes showing off their tan and freshly jacked six-packs straight out of the gym. But it’s not just any city beach, it’s probably my favorite city beach promenade ever. EVER! 

Day 4 of Barcelona itinerary: Sitges day trip

Map of day 4 Barcelona itinerary day trip to Sitges

See today's route on Google Maps

Main sites visited on day 4: San Sebastian Beach, La Punta
Restaurant tipsRefresc House | Rias do Miño Restaurant | ABaC Restaurant | Raó Restaurant
Hotel recommendations: Radisson Blu 1882 Hotel
Further reading: Nightlife in Spain16 Best Beaches in Spain | All You Need to Know About Tapas

Only 40 minutes south of Barcelona is this cute little town called Sitges. It's famous thanks to many things from organizing Film Festival and Carnival to being LGBTQ+ capital? As I saw how people there party, I can imagine Pride must be wild. But if you're visiting Sitges when there is no special event being held, spending one day would be plenty.

How to get to Sitges from Barcelona is not complicated at all. You know I always travel by car almost everywhere, because public transport mainly sucks, and nothing beats the comfort of being in charge of your own time. And the condition of Spanish highways was surprisingly good. But if you don't want/need to rent a car, take a train—it will take about the same time as going by car and the train leaves every 20 minutes.'

Sitges—a city close in Barcelona, Spain

The coastal city of Sitges

But to be honest, there is not much to do than take a stroll through the picturesque city or visit an art museum Palau de Marciel. Don't forget to stop by La Punta—the city's iconic landmark. It's known also as Church of Sant Bartolomeu i Santa Tecla (I will stick to La Punta for this one).

The main reason you should visit Sitges is its kick-ass beach and chill vibes. San Sebastian Beach is right in the center of town, nestled between the rocky coast on one end and the historical buildings standing just centimeters from the sea on the other. They make for nice views. The water at the beach is shallow and clean.

After your batteries are recharged and you're extra handsome with the new tan, you can find a hotel in Sitges and party with locals. But I'm too old for that crap and will head back to Barcelona for the night.

Day 5 of Barcelona itinerary: Montserrat hike

Alt: Map of day 5 Barcelona itinerary day trip to Montserrat

See today's route on Google Maps

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 9.3 km (5.7 miles)
  • Elevation gain: 603 meters (1978 feet)

Montserrat hike is ideal as a day trip from Barcelona. I think there's not enough adventurous things to do in Barcelona, so the inner explorer in me needed this after a few days in the city. Montserrat is a mountain range located just a short ride away from the city, and it's home to some of the most stunning landscapes and sacred sites in Catalonia. And after all the laziness yesterday, you should move those muscles a bit again.

The trail is very popular amongst both locals and tourists, so I would recommend you get there as soon as possible in the morning. Parking is paid there at €7 a day per car. Or park at this parking lot for free and take a rack railway or cable car to the monastery.

The hike starts near the Montserrat Monastery. It's a loop-style hike, that takes you through the forests to the Montserrat peak and then amongst rocky tops back to where you started.

Alt text: Montserrat Monastery in Spain

Montserrat Monastery

I wouldn’t consider the hike extra challenging. Even if you sweat a bit on the way up as the road gets very steep, you'll be rewarded with the views. The scenery of the Monastery being planted into the rocks is simply breathtaking.

So, even with an occasional stop to take a perfect picture (it won't be just occasional, trust me), you'll need about 4 hours max to complete it.

For me, it was one of the most incredible views I've experienced so far. The whole adventure was very positive, I truly enjoyed it from the start until the very end. Just don't get lost in the charm of it and get back down on time to head back to Barcelona before it gets dark.

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About me

About me

Hi! I’m Jan. I live in Prague, Czech Republic. I try to experience the best the world has to offer, and I don’t cease to be impressed. But if I’m not, I’m sure going to tell you! You can count on my full honesty and real opinions here. No bullcrap. I own and run several companies, which gives me great (but not unlimited) freedom to roam the world.  

I was first inspired to start this blog by my own experience of researching for upcoming trips—I often struggle with a lack of good information, accuracy, and authenticity of resources. You wouldn’t believe how many “travel bloggers” don’t even visit the destinations they write about! 

My goal with this blog is to provide you with complex and practical information so that you can plan your own vacation, complete with insights you’d only get if you visited the place. I also put together itineraries that are fully planned out trip guides.

Another aspect that drives this platform is my curiosity about the history, geography, politics, and economy of each country I visit, so I try to include this information in my articles, too. It’s always great to get the bigger picture, right? 

And just to be clear, I am not trying to compete with backpacking blogs or provide hacks for an economical and affordable experience. My vacations follow the standard pattern of traveling by plane, staying in good hotels, and renting a car on the spot to get around. I’m also always up for a fantastic meal, though I don’t shy away from local delicacies and street food, either.  

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