In September last year, I travelled to the sunny Spanish city of Barcelona for a long weekend. I’d been to Barcelona a few times before but it was mainly to watch football or just passing visits. This visit was focused on enjoying what Barcelona had to offer aka being a tourist. I travelled with my girlfriend and another couple joined us for this one too. Our trip involved the standard ‘must see’, touristy things like Sagrada Familia but also featured some rowing boats!
I’d recommend having a good look on Airbnb before you go, we hired a lovely apartment close to Sagrada Familia that had an outside balcony and had everything on hand. It was also much cheaper than similar hotel options.
So what would we recommend doing in 72 hours in Barcelona? Book another flight to stay longer!
Saturday – Immerse yourself and relax
When you arrive in Barcelona and after dropping off bags at your apartment or hotel, get the metro to Catalunya. This stop is on the main touristy street of Las Ramblas. Its such an easy place to walk around in so take the time to wander and take in the sights. Take an hour or two to orientate yourself and enjoy the city.
Next up, I’d recommend going on a bus tour. I’ll admit, we do go on one in pretty much every city we go to just for a chance to chill and see what we want to do so I’m a bit biased but it’s such a good way to see the main attractions within the city. I’ll give one warning though, it takes a longggg time! It takes around 2.5 hours in total so it’s a long time and when we went there were definitely a couple of people having a short nap but it’s still a good way to see the city quickly.
One way to really get in to the Spanish culture is to go to see some dancing and clapping. We went to Palacio del Flamenco for some flamenco dancing and some sangria. It was something that I’d do once but it’s a nice way to spend your first evening in Barcelona. There are other packages featuring a three course meal with other venues.
Head to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc to round off the evening. The timing of the show changes throughout the year so check before you go. The surrounding area can get extremely busy so it can be a bit of a battle to get to a good viewing location. It’s something you only really need to do once but it’s a nice way to end your first evening in Barcelona.
Sunday – Row some boats!
One thing I’d definitely recommend is heading over to Parc de la Ciutadella. I would go down there relatively early and take a stroll through the park, there’s a lot to see and it’s a nice place to spend some time. The fountain within the park is definitely one for Instagram! The best bit of the park is the rowing boats on the lake though. The row boat was around 10€ for the four of us for about one hour. This isn’t something you can do in every city so it’s a pretty cool experience, try not to smash in to the others on the lake though!
One of the main tourist attractions within Barcelona is the unfinished building started by Antoni Gaudí in 1882, the Sagrada Familia. The attraction has it’s own metro station and is very easy to get to from pretty much anywhere in the city. Before we arrived in Barcelona we weren’t overly bothered about going inside for the tour but it’s something you can’t miss! The cost of the tour including a trip up one of the towers within the Sagrada Familia was around 30€ each but the views from the top are unmissable! Book tickets before you go to ensure you don’t wait in queues though.
Tapas has to be done in Barcelona. We went to Palosanto which is walkable from the Paral·lel metro station. This was a recommendation from a colleague and it didn’t disappoint. The food is fantastic and is reasonably priced too. We had a mixture of food ranging from vegetarian dishes to fresh prawns and coupled with local wine, it’s such a good place to eat. After the food, have a couple of drinks and relax in a nearby bar.
Monday – Eat and wander
The Camp Nou is one place you can’t miss if you’re a football fan. The Camp Nou is the home to one of the largest football clubs in Spain, Barcelona football club. The stadium itself holds around 90,000 spectators and to stand by the pitch and look around, it’s really something else. The tour costs around 25€ each and you get a chance to see the hundreds of trophies that Barcelona have won too along with many photo opportunities. There isn’t so much to do around the stadium but there are smaller fast food type restaurants within the grounds of the stadium.
Paella at a restaurant at Port Vell was another foodie recommendation I received before heading out. If you want to dream about owning a luxury yacht, it’s a nice place to do just that! One day I’ll be leaving my yacht there, I’m sure! There are many restaurants around here with fantastically fresh paella so spend some time relaxing here with some wine and some good food before catching the flight home!
We are from Edinburgh and we flew from Glasgow Prestwick, which is around 1.5 hours away, so avoid getting a flight back at around midnight before you have to drive home! Fortunately for me, my girlfriend drove but it’s one to avoid!
What did I miss in Barcelona? What would you recommend I do next time I visit?