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There is so much to explore in Barcelona that ideally you’d want to spend several days here but if you only have one day to spend in this fantastic city, here is a detailed itinerary on things you should do.
6:30 AM - GOTHIC QUARTER AND BORN
I always like to start exploring first thing in the morning no matter where I go before the crowds start swarming the streets. It’s the only time you can relax and marvel at the city without all the tourists in every corner.
Gothic Quarter and Born are probably my favorite parts of Barcelona. I loved the tall, beautiful, historical buildings and walking through the little alleys. Every corner I turned had some kind of charm to it and I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Here, you’ll find the magnificent Gothic Cathedral from the 13th to 15th centuries and the El Pont del Bisbe (Bishop’s Bridge).
8:30 AM - LA SAGRADA FAMILIA
You can’t leave Barcelona without seeing Gaudí's most famous work and the most visited site in Barcelona. La Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic church, began construction in 1892 and is planning on completing construction in 2026. So they’ve been working on this church for over 100 years! Isn’t that crazy?
La Sagrada Familia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and the fascinating thing about this church is all the details and symbolism behind every single design and sculpture. Just about everything you see has a meaning.
I recommend buying your tickets early online, a few weeks in advance or earlier. Also keep in mind that since this is a church, visitors have to dress appropriately, for example, covering your shoulders or shorts and skirts coming down to at least mid-thigh.
11:00 AM - CASA BATLLO
Casa Batlló was my favorite Gaudí site out of the four I visited. The audio guide described it as a “house made to be touched” and I totally agree. Every room I entered and every corner I turned, I just wanted to touch everything because I was so intrigued with it’s unique and organic shapes. Each room, hallway, door, window, flooring, light fixture, wall… basically every inch of this building was given so much attention to detail that it was astounding.
12:30 PM - CIUDAD CONDAL
Nearby, about a 4 minute walk from Casa Battlo, is a fabulous tapas restaurant called Ciudad Condal recommended by locals and tourists. I tried several dishes like the Beef Tenderloin, Chicken Salad, and Cabreaos Eggs Style . I also noticed everyone getting orange juice, so I had to try it for myself. The bartenders made the orange juice fresh from the oranges right in front of me and it was so refreshing. Out of all the tapas I ordered, the Beef Tenderloin was by far my favorite dish. I loved it so much that ordered it twice.
Interested in more Barcelona restaurants? Check out What To Eat and What Restaurants To Try in Barcelona!
1:30 PM - LA PEDRERA
You probably won’t have time (or energy) to visit inside the building but it is worth stopping by to view the facade of La Pedrera, which means "the stone quarry". It’s another Antoni Gaudi UNESCO building from 1906.
2:00 PM - LAS RAMBLAS
This pretty street goes on for miles and it's a bustling area full of artisan shops, major brands and restaurants. I bought myself a few jewelry pieces from a couple of locals and if I had more room in my suitcase, I probably would have bought more.
6:00 PM - BAR DEL PLA
My tour guide from the 3-Country Tour recommended this restaurant as it is popular with the locals and tourists. It’s a tiny restaurant, so you should definitely make a reservation or visit at off-peak times. Try the Mushroom Salad and Pa amb Tomàquet, which is bread rubbed with tomato.
8:00 PM - MAGIC FOUNTAIN
This event is free and usually begins the show around 9pm from Thursday to Saturday. It depends on what season you're visiting Barcelona, so make sure you check out their website to see the current showtimes. If you want a good spot, you’ll have to go early. The best spots would be more elevated areas like the overpass or the steps in front of Palau Nacional (National Palace). The colors changing and the fountain dancing to the music with the crowd cheering is an unforgettable experience.
10:00 PM - BAR HOPPING
If you still have energy, I would definitely check out some bars or clubs. I’m not a late night person but if you are, you’re in luck because Barcelona has a thriving night life. People often party until the wee hours of the morning. When I had to take a taxi to the airport at 4 in the morning, Las Ramblas was bustling with the late night crowd.
WHERE TO STAY
If you want to stay in the middle of the action but still have some peace and quiet, this Airbnb near Las Ramblas is perfect. If you’re more budget conscious, hotels like Ayre Hotel Caspe have great deals and it’s still close to the city centre (about a 15-minute walk).
**UPDATE** It seems that the Airbnb I stayed in is no longer available. The host has taken down the listing for now, but hopefully she’ll put it back up soon! Here are some alternatives that I was looking at that have 5-star reviews: Barcelona Airbnb 1 and Barcelona Airbnb 2. Hope that helps!