During a few week trip around northern Europe earlier this year, I decided on a whim to take a quick weekend trip to Barcelona to get a feel for the well-known town. If you jam-pack your three days in the lively spanish town, you’ll have no problem seeing the most important destinations. To prevent the loss of precious time by criss crossing unnecessarily through the city, i’ve organized the days to contain places which are in approximately the same area.
A perfect introduction to this energetic city is strolling through the narrow side streets to the stunning Cathedral of Barcelona.
Stare up at the jaw-dropping structure in all it’s glory, and fill free to take a peek inside for no charge. Simply admiring the craftsmanship of the building from 1298 transports you back in time.
After you’ve soaked up the ancient architecture, head east on a few minute walk to the shore. Lounge on the sand wherever you find space and relax to the sound of crashing waves. If you’re sporty, there’s always a game of beach volleyball going on that you can join. You can spend hours reclining in the sand or cooling off from the hot weather in the crystal clear water.
Instead of taking the main route to the Placa de Catalunya, i’d advise taking the side streets to get a feel for the cute shops which are hidden away. Once in the square, you are in the center of Barcelona with views of popular stores and important buildings. Tons of authentic restaurants lie in this area as well as perfectly located hostels. If you’re looking for nice and inexpensive place to stay, head over to St. Christopher’s Barcelona Hostel, a one minute walks from the square, which offers free sangria at night with a bar, free breakfast, and tons of activities.
You can’t explore the bubbly Barcelona without spending some time in the Parc Guell. If you’re walking from the city center, it isn’t too far, but the streets get pretty steep and will leave you out of breathe. You must pay to get inside and see the rooms, but the 7 euros is worth the stunning view of the city you are offered from the top.
Give yourself around 2 hours to enjoy the park, especially if this crazy architecture is something you’re interested in.
For more Gaudi style building, head to the La Pedrera. The insane chimneys, crazy arched windows, and all-around astonishing architecture will leave you wishing you could live there. The gaudi buildings are a staple to any catalonian trip.
Along with the Gaudi style buildings, a must-do is strolling down the tree-lined avenue of Las ramblas. While on the street, don’t miss out on the Mercat de la Boqueria, as it’s the largest food market in Europe. Stop by to pick up a piece of fresh produce to snack on, as Spain has some of the best fruits and veggies in the whole continent.
Now that you’ve had time to get used to the spaniard culture, it’s a perfect time to delve into their tasty traditional dish of Paella. Usually, paella consists of the rice, veggies, spices, and meat, but if you don’t eat meat, you can find a vegetable-only plate. I got a delicious dish of vegetable Paella at Ramblas de Canaletes, it was high quality and didn’t break the bank.
Often overlooked, but the most beautiful part of the entire region, is the nature on the outskirts of the city. If you can rent a car or hitch a ride to the mountains of Montserrat, you’ll be in for a real treat, as trails wind through the region in various difficulties. The road up to the trails is daunting, as it is thin and exposed to life-threatening falls, and the adventure will definitely give you an adrenaline rush. I spent around five hours climbing the mountain Elefant, which requires endurance but no technical equipment. As we rose higher in elevation, we began to see tons of rock climbers enjoying the winter weather and making progress on their routes.
There are tiny cabins which offer a place for mountain climbers to rest if the weather outside is too rough, all that is required is a simple exchange of a few euros and you’ll have a sheltered place to lay down a sleeping bag. Once you have finished your hike, you can head towards the huge church and cafes, which you wouldn’t expect in the middle of the mountains. This region is one of the most beautiful hiking areas i’ve ever been to, so take advantage of how close it is to the city and venture into the wilderness.
Seeing the key points that Barcelona has to offer is easy in three days. There’s no need to pencil in a seven day stop if you only desire to see the main destinations. Follow this guide and you’re guaranteed to have a fabulous, quick trip to this sea-side city.