48 Hours in Barcelona Itinerary: The Best Bits and More
The Spanish capital, Barcelona is such a classic and 48 hours is way too short to explore the beauty of this city. Nevertheless, you can see a lot in two days in Barcelona if you plan well and follow our guide. I recommend you to stay close to whatever it is you want to see, so you won’t spend precious hours trying to get from A to B.
Here’s our recommended itinerary for 2 days in Barcelona.
Morning – Barceloneta Beach and Village
To start your awesome two days in Barcelona walk along the famous Barceloneta beach towards The Barceloneta village. Barceloneta Beach is Barcelona’s oldest and it’s a lovely stretch of sand. There’s also a volleyball court, training court and lots of other activities to do. Along the beach there are many restaurants and crepe/ice cream stalls, so you will not go hungry on your walk in the Barcelona sun.
I would recommend a guided Segway tour – as you’re spending two days in Barcelona it’s a good way to cover lots of ground, it’s a lot of fun and you will learn plenty of history and fun facts from your guide. Spending a few hours walking (or traversing the Barcelona streets in a segway) will definitely wake your appetite. Spain is known for tapas and seafood and Barceloneta village has many places to eat. This classic neighbourhood by the sea is where the people of Barcelona love to come and eat fish, seafood dishes and “tapas”. If you are not yet ready for lunch, try a crepe with Nutella and fruits from the many stalls along the beach.
After Barceloneta, you should continue your two days in Barcelona to Parc de la Ciutadella. This beautiful green park contains an artificial lake with a beautiful fountain, The Museu d’Art Modern, Barcelona Zoo, the castle of three dragons and much more. At the end of the park, you will find Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf. While in the park, you will notice many people lounging on the grass having a picnic and if you want to join them, buy some ham, cheese and fresh bread and you are all set! This is a real local thing to do during for two days in Barcelona.
If you are on a guided tour you won’t have the opportunity to take your siesta in the park. When you are done with the tour just take a seat at a restaurant with locals and you won’t be disappointed. Have some cava or beer and light tapas or fish and watch local life go by.
Afternoon – Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)
Barri Gothic is one of the most famous neighbourhoods in Barcelona – the original centre of Roman and medieval Barcelona. This neighbourhood is filled with history, narrow streets, and stunning architecture. Here you will find the magnificent Barcelona Cathedral, Basilica Santa Maria del Pi and city hall, among other two days in Barcelona highlights. Just wander around the area and get “lost” in these narrow streets.
There are many small quirky shops and many good restaurants in Barri Gotic and I would recommend having dinner at Bodega Biarritz. They have a super cool tapas concept in the style of a tapas buffet. You decide on the number of dishes and then choose from the buffet display. You get served what you picked at the table. They don’t accept reservations as they only have room for approximately 20 people, and you can’t stay after dinner for drinks as there is a queue outside of many others who want to get in. In that’s popular so definitely check it out as a place to eat during your 48 hours in Barcelona.
Morning – Gaudi Masterpieces and La Rambla
Begin your 2 days in Barcelona by making your way on foot to the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s most famous piece of work. By walking there you get to see more of Barcelona’s beautiful architecture and feel the city’s awesome vibe. If you are going inside the Basilica I recommend pre-booking your tickets, as entrance queues are long and that’s not something you want to be doing with just two days in Barcelona. If you are not going inside the Basilica, take a stroll around from outside, it’s huge and there are several nice spots to take some great pictures. The Basilica’s history is captivating – and Gaudi really was a crazy genius.
When you walk back I recommend walking towards Avinguda Diagonal. Just off this avenue, you will find several of Gaudi’s masterpieces such as Casa Batllo and Casa Milo. If you want to go inside, get your tickets beforehand to avoid long queuing times. Continue towards Placa Catalunya at the top of La Rambla.
La Rambla is Barcelona’s main street and where you’ll find the highest concentration of tourists. It is a broad avenue with luxury shops in beautiful buildings. On La Rambla, you will find a few museums and an opera house. This is were you will find Barcelona’s famous food court, which is huge and overcrowded, but still a lot of fun. If you haven’t had your lunch yet, you can buy it at the food court and take it with you outside. Find a bench, have your lunch and people-watch at the same time. I would recommend doing this rather than having lunch at any of the touristy restaurants along La Rambla. La Rambla is also filled with street artists, singers, and other performers and although touristy, is still a Barcelona highlight worth checking out. But beware of pickpockets in this area.
Afternoon – More Barcelona Highlights
Take a cab or a tram and walk up to Park Guell. You should get your tickets online, as they allow entrance only at specific times – every 15 or 30 minutes and if it’s full you won’t get in. The park is not that big – 1 hour would be enough. You get a beautiful view of Barcelona, probably the best you’ll see during your two days in Barcelona, and there are also some more nice works of Gaudi.
Next, visit Barcelona Cathedral and see the walls of the old city. The Gothic architecture is amazing so make sure to take plenty of photos.
Take a walk to Placa Reial off the La Rambla. You won’t get a gourmet meal here, but this square is super charming, filled with performers and restaurants, and is a great place to stay for the rest of the afternoon to chill and get entertained.
Evening in Barcelona
If you want to experience nightlife in Barcelona be prepared to stay up late, actually so late that you can see sun go up again. Of course, if you’re spending a weekend in Barcelona then you’ll see the best of Barcelona nightlife.
La Ramblas is a good starting point – it has plenty of bars and clubs. But if you want to experience more authentic nightlife in Barcelona and party with locals head over to the Gothic Quarter. In Barri Gotic, you will find hidden little spots but also more famous clubs. Some of the bars feature Beer Pong Tournament and Ladies Friday Nights. Backpackers tend to love this area too.
For more sophisticated nightlife in Barcelona check out El Born district – it is, as already mentioned, more classy and less touristy than the Gothic Quarter. If you find “sophisticated” equals “boring” then I recommend checking out the edgier Raval on the other side of La Ramblas. This is where you will find the hip, the rebellious and the glamorous.
If you are looking for something specific try some of Barcelona’s cocktail bars. Head to Torre Rosa in the old quarter of Els Indians for best the Mojito in Barcelona. And if you want to get a feeling of Havana get out on the terrace and do a bit of moon gazing.
Spain is known for its wine production and what could be better than ending your 48 hours in one of the best wine bars in Barcelona. Try Els Sortidors del Parlament, which specializes in Catalonian wine and one of the top wine bars in Barcelona for tapas. And if you travel with a beer lover, they offer six different servezas on tap.
Barcelona is such a cool city and 48 hours is not enough to experience it at its fullest. There are so many more things to see and do. For other tips on Barcelona visit Barcelona Tourism official site or book a local private guide in Barcelona when you arrive.
Other useful Barcelona resources:
Check out our top 5 tips for a romantic stay in Barcelona.
How about a trip to Madrid? It can be easily visited as a day trip from Barcelona or spend a couple of days there with our 48 hours in Madrid itinerary.
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About the Author
I am Lena from Norway. I am married with two teenagers and work full time. We either travel all together or just me and my husband. We love short getaways and never spend more than 3 weeks abroad at a time. My blog is all about where to go and how to get the most out of our vacation days. You can follow me on IG @travelletters, Pinterest – travelletters or my blog https://travelletters.net