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que ver en barcelona en un dia

A complete Barcelona in 1 day itinerary

Barcelona is one of the cities that I consider home. Living there for a year was a great experience. It is an impressive city that exudes beauty in abundance and in which you can discover a lot. Doing a post about what to see in Barcelona in one day is a challenge because there is so much to see and do in Barcelona that one day is too short, but as I always say, better something than nothing.

Whenever I can, I go back, and I make sure that no two years go by without going to Barcelona. No matter how much I go, there is always something new to see, visit, or rediscover. You can look at Barcelona with different eyes, and it will offer you a different city. Its culture, its history, its development, and something that I love, its personality, have made it a unique city. If you are in Spain, Barcelona is definitely a must-see that you can't, or shouldn't, miss.

If you are on a fleeting route through the city and you will only spend a day there, this itinerary can be very useful for you not to miss the essentials. Enjoy Barcelona to the fullest because I am convinced that before you leave, you will already be thinking about when to come back.

Table of contents

Where to stay in Barcelona

The World Comes To Life With Each Kiss
Kiss mural

Barcelona has a very wide and diverse offer of accommodations. There is something for all tastes, travel styles, and budgets. You can also choose from different areas and neighborhoods depending on your plan and route for your trip.

Some of the most recommended ones in the center (where we have been on this route of what to see in Barcelona in one day) are:

If you want to find out more about the hotels in the city, this post will help you get more information about where to stay in Barcelona.

What to see in Barcelona in one day

As I mentioned at the beginning, discovering Barcelona in a single day may seem like a real challenge, but with careful planning and a well-designed route, it is possible to capture the essence of this vibrant Mediterranean city. From Gaudi’s modernist architecture to the narrow alleys of the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona offers a unique blend of history, art, gastronomy, and culture that will leave you captivated and totally enamored.

In this itinerary, we will take you on a tour of Barcelona’s most emblematic places. We have designed it to make the most of every moment, and at least you will take with you a good compilation of the most emblematic places of the city. From the bustle of Las Ramblas to the majesty of the Sagrada Familia, we will immerse ourselves in the richness and diversity of this fascinating Catalan city.

Summary of the tour of Barcelona in one day:

  • La Boqueria.
  • Las Ramblas.
  • Port Vell / Rambla de Mar.
  • Gothic Quarter: Sant Jaume Square, Barcelona Cathedral.
  • Catalunya Square.
  • Paseo de Gracia: Casa Batlló and La Pedrera.
  • Park Güell.
  • Sagrada Familia.
  • El Born: Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar.

At the end of the post you will find a personalized map with all the places mentioned below marked according to the order of visit.

🎟️ Before you start visiting the city on your own, it is a very good idea to book a free tour of the city center. You will get to know the most emblematic places and hear the history from a guide before going on the tour on your own. You will visit the Gothic Quarter and El Born, two of the main neighborhoods to see in Barcelona in 1 day.

1. Breakfast at La Boqueria

what to see in barcelona in 1 day
La Boquería

A great day has to start with a good breakfast. In Barcelona, it is very typical to have a coffee for breakfast (with or without juice) and a good toast with tomato and ham. There are many places to enjoy it, and it is delicious, but I recommend you go to the Boqueria Market to start the day.

The most iconic stall for breakfast (and lunch) is El Quim de la Boqueria. I was there years ago, and it is exquisite. Yes, you will sit on a stool at the bar, crammed in with other early risers, but that is the essence of La Boqueria.

Not only will you be able to have breakfast at one of the stalls (with daily produce), but you will also see one of the most interesting places in the city. The market has a life of its own, and its movement will immerse you in the culture of the city.

The origin of the market dates back to the 13th century, when street vendors began to set up shop near the city gates to sell their products. Over time, this street market was formalized and became the market we know today. La Boqueria has undergone several transformations over the centuries but has always maintained its characteristic charm.

In addition to being a place where locals can buy high-quality fresh produce, La Boqueria is also a popular destination for tourists who want to enjoy a unique culinary experience. With an impressive variety of fruits, fresh vegetables, meats, fish, cheeses, sausages, and sweets, this market is a feast for the senses and a reflection of the rich gastronomy in Catalonia.

2. Stroll along Las Ramblas, start of the route through Barcelona in a day

las ramblas
Las Ramblas

As you leave La Boqueria, you will find yourself on Las Ramblas, the famous avenue full of life, street artists, and interesting stores. It is one of the main arteries of the city and the one that gives a unique personality to this area.

The emblematic avenue that connects Plaza de Catalunya with the Columbus Monument is a true reflection of Barcelona’s life and culture. During your stroll along this bustling street, don’t miss places like the Boqueria Market, which we have already mentioned, or the Liceu Theater, an architectural masterpiece that houses a rich operatic history and internationally renowned concerts.

In addition to these highlights, Las Ramblas is dotted with old-fashioned cafes, tapas restaurants, souvenir stores, and street performers that add life and color to every corner. This avenue is for strolling and stopping at anything that makes sparks your curiosity.

3. Columbus Monument and Port Vell (Rambla de Mar)

At the end of Las Ramblas, you will find the Columbus Monument. From here, you can contemplate the majestic views of the port and the sea, while the statue of Christopher Columbus points to new horizons. It’s the perfect time to stroll along the Rambla de Mar and enjoy this relaxing Mediterranean atmosphere.

Port Vell was my home for a year, as I worked there for a restaurant group. In fact, I recommend you eat in one of them that, in addition to being very exquisite and offering delicious Catalonian food, has an impressive terrace near the promenade over the port. The restaurant is called Cal Pintxo Palau de Mar. Be sure to try the cod fritters and good rice, or fideuá.

4. Plaza de Sant Jaume, enter the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

Gothic Quarter of Barcelona
Gothic Quarter
things to do in Barcelona in 1 day
City Hall

It’s time to go to one of the highlights of this Barcelona in 1 day itinerary. Continue walking towards the fascinating Gothic Quarter, and once there, stroll through this charming neighborhood until you reach the Plaza de Sant Jaume. Here you will find the City Hall and the Palace of the Generalitat, two buildings of great historical and architectural importance in Barcelona.

This historic space is the epicenter of the political and administrative power of the city, housing two buildings that have witnessed the evolution and the most significant events of Barcelona.

On the west side of the square is the Barcelona City Hall, a neoclassical building dating from the fourteenth century that has been remodeled and expanded over the centuries. Its main façade, decorated with doric columns and sculptural reliefs, is a magnificent example of the civil architecture of the period.

On the opposite side of the square stands the Palace of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the seat of the autonomous government of Catalonia. This impressive Gothic-style building was built in the 15th century and has been the scene of important historical and political events over the centuries.

The square is a place of meeting and celebration, where events, cultural parades, and local festivities are held, reflecting the vibrant and diverse spirit of the city.

A visit to Plaza de Sant Jaume is essential to understand the historical and architectural richness of Barcelona. Also to appreciate the crucial role it has played in the political and social life of the city over the centuries.

5. The Cathedral, a must-see in Barcelona in 1 day

Barcelona Cathedral

The Cathedral of Barcelona is located near Plaza de Sant Jaume, known as La Seu (Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia). This majestic masterpiece of Gothic architecture is much more than a place of worship; it is a symbol of the city’s history and identity.

Although everyone wants to see and go to the Sagrada Familia, I have a special affection for La Catedral. I love to walk around the neighborhood and sit in front of it on one of its benches. Watching life go by from that point of view is a treat. Sometimes I do it with a cup of tea or while I draw, but I always have a different perception of the same scenery.

As you approach the cathedral, I am sure you will be impressed by its imposing facade, adorned with intricate sculptures and ornamental details that tell biblical and religious stories. Upon entering, you will be greeted by an atmosphere of serenity and solemnity, where light filters through beautiful stained glass windows and bathes the space with warm, colorful tones.

Its high vaulted ceilings, the elegant columns that soar skyward, and the impressive golden altarpieces that adorn the main altar are majestic. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the side chapels, where you will find sacred relics, works of sacred art, and mausoleums of historical figures.

In addition to its architectural beauty, Barcelona Cathedral is home to a rich history dating back more than 1,000 years. From its humble origins as a Romanesque church to its transformation into a majestic Gothic cathedral, this monument has witnessed centuries of historical and religious events that have left an indelible mark on its structure and the soul of the city.

General admission to the Cathedral of Barcelona is priced at €14 and includes entrance to the choir, access to the roof, Chapter House, a virtual audio guide, the Diocesan Museum of Barcelona, and virtual reality. Visiting hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m..

6. Plaza de Catalunya (Catalunya Square)

things to do in Barcelona in 1 day
Plaza de Catalunya

At the top of Las Ramblas, you will find Plaza de Catalunya, one of the city’s nerve centers, and El Triangle (a small urban shopping mall with a lot of class), where we recommend walking once you have finished exploring the Gothic Quarter.

The Plaza de Catalunya is another of Barcelona’s key points. Here, the bustle of the city converges with the beauty of its spaces. It is surrounded by majestic buildings and flanked by emblematic fountains. Also, from there, you can go to other points, such as the Portal del Angel avenue.

7. Passeig de Gràcia: Casa Batlló and La Pedrera

casa batllo
Casa Batllo

Once you have strolled along Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter, it’s time to continue walking inland, passing first through Plaça de Catalunya and then entering Paseo de Gracia, one of the most emblematic streets of the city. On this street, you will find two of Gaudí’s most representative works: Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (La Pedrera).

Casa Batlló, built between 1904 and 1906, is an impressive building characterized by its undulating and colorful facade. Gaudí transformed a conventional building into a surreal masterpiece full of curves and fascinating details, with a roof that simulates the scales of a dragon and a façade decorated with colorful ceramic tiles.

barcelona in 1 day
La Pedrera

On the other hand, Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, is another icon of Catalan modernism. Built between 1906 and 1912, this architectural masterpiece also stands out for its façade, which appears to be sculpted from natural stone. Gaudí designed this building as a total work of art, integrating architectural, sculptural, and ornamental elements into an organic and fluid whole.

You can purchase a ticket to La Pedrera here in advance.

8. Park Güell

Park Güell
Parque Güell

In Park Güell, once again, Antoni Gaudí’s creativity is evident and blends harmoniously with the natural beauty of the surroundings. This park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is a dream place that offers spectacular panoramic views of the city and an atmosphere that will captivate you.

Güell will greet you with its iconic sculptures and brightly colored mosaic benches that adorn its winding paths and sunny squares. As you enter the park, you’ll be amazed by Gaudí’s whimsical and playful architecture, which blends seamlessly with the lush vegetation and natural rock formations.

General admission is €13 and it is open to tourists from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.

9. The Sagrada Familia, a must see in Barcelona in 1 day

barcelona in 1 day
Sagrada Familia

Take the afternoon to visit Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks.

This incomparable masterpiece fuses the visionary creativity of Antoni Gaudí with the religious devotion and technical skill of generations of architects and craftsmen. It is an iconic monument that began construction in 1882 and is still under construction. It is a unique manifestation of Gaudí’s creative genius and an enduring symbol of Barcelona’s identity.

As you approach the Sagrada Familia, you will be mesmerized by its ornate facade, where detailed sculptures and carved reliefs evoke the spirituality and grandeur of faith. As you enter the interior of the basilica, you’ll be immersed in a world of light and color, where columns mimic trees soaring skyward and stained glass windows bathe the space in warm, vibrant hues.

When you explore every corner of the Sagrada Familia, from the central nave to the side chapels, you will be struck by the attention to detail and passion that are reflected in every aspect of its design.

What is most representative of the Sagrada Familia and why it is unfinished is that it is a project driven by and for the people.

Sagrada Familia opening hours and prices

The general entrance to the Sagrada Familia has a cost of €26. If you want to take a guided tour, the entrance fee is 30 euros. On the other hand, if you want to go up to the towers, the entrance fee is €36 or €40 if you want to include a guided tour. You will find the best prices on the official website.

The usual visiting hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. or from 9:00 a.m. to 19:00 p.m. (depending on the time of year). Check out their special schedules on their website.

10. Stroll through El Born and Santa Maria del Mar

what to see in barcerlona in a day
Catedral del Mar

It’s time to go back to the center to continue our route. It’s non-stop, I know, but Barcelona has a lot to see, and we have to squeeze our day (you can always choose the places you want to go to make the day more or less intense).

The idea is to return to the Ciutat Vella neighborhood, in this case to one of the areas that I like the most, El Born. This small neighborhood will take you to the most medieval times of Barcelona. Everything will captivate you, especially its style, essence, and the locals you will find there.

It is perfect for strolling around and finding such impressive monuments as the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, a masterpiece of Catalan Gothic architecture. Built between the 13th and 14th centuries, this church is a symbol of Barcelona’s devotion and community, and its imposing presence dominates the neighborhood’s skyline.

In the neighborhood, you will also find other key points of interest, such as the Paseo del Born, the Picasso Museum, the Santa Caterina Market, or, just a few steps away, Ciutadella Park.

From this neighborhood, I love its specialty coffee shops, like Hidden Coffee Roasters. If you have a sweet tooth, in front of the Santa Maria del Mar Church, you will find Bubó. Try their authentic French-style macarons.

So much for our route through Barcelona in one day. Although we have visited many important places in the city, there are still others to discover. If you have more time, in this other post on what to see in Barcelona in 2 days, I show you more emblematic places of the city.

How to get to Barcelona and the city center

Barcelona is one of the most accessible cities in Spain. It is relatively easy to reach from anywhere on the peninsula or around the world. There are international airplane and high-speed train connections that reach the very heart of the city.

  • Arriving at the airport:

Barcelona-El Prat International Airport is the main entry point for international travelers, offering direct flights from various cities around the world. From the airport, you can choose to take the Aerobus, the train, or a cab to reach the city center.

The Aerobus is a convenient option that takes you directly from the airport to the center of Barcelona, with stops at strategic locations such as Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Espanya (the price of a single Aerobus ticket is 5.90€). On the other hand, the RENFE train also connects the airport with the Barcelona-Sants train station, from where you can take the metro or a cab to get to the center.

  • Arriving at the train station:

If you are traveling by train from other cities in Spain or Europe, the Barcelona-Sants train station is the point of arrival. From there, all you have to do is take the metro or a cab to get to your next destination.

Once in the city center, getting around is easy thanks to the extensive public transportation network that includes metros, buses, and streetcars. In addition, Barcelona is a perfect city for walking, allowing you to explore it on foot.

Remember that the best way to enjoy Barcelona is to immerse yourself in its streets and discover its charms at your own pace. At every step, you will discover something new, different, and even something you won’t find in the guidebooks and maps. Let yourself be surprised by the city!

Map of what to see in Barcelona in 1 day

So that you can get to everything and finding the places is not a problem or a waste of time, we have geolocated these points on this interactive map. Just open it in your browser and go point by point. This way, your experience in Barcelona will be much more enjoyable.

This concludes our Barcelona in 1 day itinerary. If you are going to visit other areas of the country, this complete Spain travel guide will help you and make your task easier. I will be happy to read your comments about your visit to Barcelona.

↠ Book free tours and guided visits on Civitatis or GetYourGuide. I always use these platforms to check what organized activities there are at my destination.

↠ To pay with card in foreign currency or withdraw money from ATMs, I always use this card (there are free and paid plans). It works the best!

↠ Traveling with travel insurance to a destination where you don’t have healthcare coverage is a must. Get your insurance 5% cheaper with this link.

↠ If you want to have cellphone data at your destination from the moment you land and don’t want to waste time, there is nothing like this eSIM. Use the code “comeamaviaja” for a 5% discount.

↠ Check out Booking’s offers, a platform I always use, as I always find very good options thanks to its search engine with filters.

↠ For destinations where I need to rent a car, I always check Discover Cars and Auto Europe search engines. I recommend them!

↠ If you still need to buy flights for your trip, there is no better search engine than Skyscanner (although I always recommend booking the flight on the company’s website).

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