Barcelona is one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations in Europe, and with good reason. This beautiful city has everything you could want for a fantastic weekend of experiences and sightseeing.
Not only does going to Barcelona allow you to enjoy the amazing Spanish weather, but the city itself was also designed by the famous architect Gaudi, so you can marvel at his beautiful buildings as you soak up the sun.
The only downside to spending a weekend in Barcelona is that there is a lot to do and see on a limited time frame. To help you get the most out of your time in the city, here is our guide to spending a weekend in Barcelona.
Taking in the Architecture
Barcelona is full of architectural marvels for you to visit. The city is full of some of Gaudi’s finest work. Visiting them all in one weekend might be a stretch, so here are some “can’t miss” examples of Gaudi’s work that you can fit into a few days.
Easily the most recognizable building in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia has been under construction since its inception in 1882. This, unfortunately, means it’s a little difficult to get a good picture of the place without there being a mass of cranes in the way. However, if you find your way around the back of the basilica, there is a quiet reflection pool where you can get some truly stunning photos.
Located on the Passeig de Gracia, the Casa Batllo is another of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks. Built in 1877, the giant mansion is considered to be one of Gaudi’s greatest masterpieces. The mansion is popular with tourists, so if you do want to visit it is best to buy tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Fun fact about the Casa Batllo: it is currently owned by the Bernat family, owners of the famous Chupa Chups lollipop brand.
Another fantastic example of Gaudi’s work, the Casa Milà, was commissioned in 1906 by Pere Milà and Roser Segimon as their new family home. The house is known as La Pedrera because of its resemblance to local stone quarries, and features a number of artefactual innovations, both inside and outside, in addition to its beautiful naturalistic appearance. Casa Milà is an excellent example of combining function and art.
Spending Time in a Green Space
Barcelona is a bustling modern metropolis, but that doesn’t mean its entirely a concrete jungle. The largest park in Barcelona is located just outside of the city center. Park Guell is, perhaps unsurprisingly, filled with architecture created by Gaudi.
This beautiful green park, smack in the center of the city, is mostly freely accessible, although you will need to pay a small fee to see some of the more extravagant Gaudi structures.
Outside the city is Parc Montjuïc. The park is accessible in a number of ways, but the most fun is quite possibly the Funicular de Montjuïc cable car. Once you get there, you’ll find the Olympic Stadium and Olympic Pool left over from the 1992 Olympics, a set of magic fountains called the Font Magica, and an 18th-century military installation grandly called Montjuïc Castle.
Shopping and Eating
One of Barcelona’s most enduring tourist destinations is Las Ramblas, 1200 meters of retail therapy ending in a beautiful sun-kissed beach. Las Ramblas is also one of the best places to find street acts in the city.
If you’re looking for some of that famous fresh Spanish produce, the Mercat de la Boqueria is the place to be. You’ll find it all here. Fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and the vendors are always happy for you to sample their wares.
If all the shopping has made you hungry, then head down to the Plaza Real, located at the end of Las Ramblas. This spacious local plaza is filled with little restaurants and coffee shops that are sure to have something to tickle your fancy.
Once dinner is done you might feel like sampling the city’s nightlife. Barcelona has an amazing array of clubs, bars, and even their own Casino, where, if you’re there at the right time, you can cheer on the pros as they take part in the European Poker Tour.
What we’ve suggested here is just a small sampling of the delights that Barcelona has to offer, but they do represent an easy-to-see a microcosm of what makes the city so amazing. And, if you don’t get to see everything the first time you visit, it’s an excellent excuse to book your next weekend in Barcelona.