I know the internet is full of Barcelona guides as it seems to become a more and more popular place to visit, but here is my view to an great weekend in Barcelona. This guide is a mix of the standard Barcelona touristy places to go to, like Parc Guell and the Sagrada Famillia, and a couple more 'secret' attractions like Refugi 307 and the Bunquers del Carmel.
09.00-10.00: Breakfast at Blai 9
On the way from the metro station (Parallel) to Monjuic Castle is a lovely little restaurant to stop for breakfast. Blai 9 is a great little place that sells tapas dishes as well as pintxos. Pintxos can be seen as the more complicated brother of tapas, they are little artworks spiked on skrewer, but the difference largely depends on the location in Spain. Many people believe that they are just a tapa with a toothpick through them, but don’t say that when in northern Spain!
You can pick up the pinxtos from the bar, they are between €1-€1,50 and all taste great! So pick as many as you can eat because there is so much variety!
10.00-11.00: Refugi 307
On the way to Montjuic castle as well, you will find Refugi 307. It is number 307 of more than a thousand shelters that were built by the citizens of Barcelona during the civil war. Refugi 307 consists of 400 metres of tunnel measuring 1.6 metres wide and 2 metres high. You can see the different rooms, including the toilets, a nursery and an infirmary.
If you want to learn a bit about Barelona's history and do something different than the the usual Parc Guell and Sangrada de Famillia, go and see this Refugi.
11.00-13.00: Montjuic Castle
From the Refugi, walk up the hill to Monjuic Castle. The panoramic views of Barcelona during this walk, already make this hill worth climbing. We stopped at a bar halfway through the walk for a drink called 'Miramar'. The bar itself wasn't anything special but the views were amazing, so a great stop for a cold Coke.
The castle itself was used as a military prison, where political prisoners were kept, tortured and shot until 1960 when it was given back to the city and used as an army base.
13.00-14.00: Olympic Stadion and the National Palace
Walk down the hill via the other side towards metro station Espanya. Along the way you will encounter the Olympic stadion and the National Palace.
14.00-15.30: Parc Guell
Park guell is one of the most famous attractions of Barcelona, designed by Gaudi. Unfortunately you cannot acces the park for free anymore and especcially in the summer, the tickets that they do sell, sell out very quickly. So I recommend, that if you really want to go here, to book your tickets online in advance.
15.30-16.30: Bunquers del Carmel
Another 'secret' place to visit in Barcelona with great views over the town and at walking distance to Parc Guell. It is quite a hike, but completely worth it though. The views all the way up are spectacular but from the very top it was breathtaking. At the same time, you get to experience the history of Barcelona's role in the Spanish Civil War.
16.30-17.00: Churros time at Churreria laiertana
After a long day of walking it is time to treat yourself to the best churros is town! This place is ranked number one on Tripadvisor in the category Deserts and that's not for nothing! This small family restaurant doesn't look like anything special from the outside and if I wouldn't have found it via Tripadvisor I probably would have walked straight past. But I am soo happy I didn't because their churros are delicious and super fresh, they make them in front of your eyes. Soo much better than the microwaved ones that you get in loads of other churros places in town.
17.00-19.00: Time to relax!
After a long day of walking, it's time to relax, enjoy the sun, and put those feet up! Take the metro to 'Arc De Triomp' and spend your time in one of the parks. Walk from the Arc de Triomf towards Cituadelle Park, which is a great place to sit in the grass, enjoy all the different streetartists, or if you still got some energy left, rent a little rowing boat. They are just 5 euros for 1 hour and soo much fun, a little cheesy, but who cares!
1900-20.30: Time for wine and Food!
From Ciutadelle Parc it's only a short walk to the old town centre, where you will finds lots of different little restaurants and bars. It will be crowded with people in the summer, which brings everything alive and creates a great atmosphere. So Enjoy and have some great tapas, pinxtos, paella or whatever else you fancy. If you are going for sangria, take the "Sangria de Cava", the lesser known (more glamorous and local) version of the traditional Spanish Sangria.
20.30-22.00: Watch the Magic Fountain show
By this time a couple things could have happened, you were enjoying your drinks so much that you forgot the time and by now it's already ten o'clock and the fountain show is over. In that case, take another drink and try again tomorrow. If on the other hand, the alcohol gave you some extra energy to do one more last thing, take the metro to Pl. Espanya and enjoy the fountain show. As the name gives aways, it is magical and totally free as well!
09.00-10.00: Sleep in!
You have had a long day yesterday with lots of walking so give yourself a well deserved sleep 🙂
11.00-12.00 Hospital de Sant Pau
Take the metro to 'Guinardo, Hospital de Sant Pau' . Walk around the building to get to the main entrance. It was built as a hospital in the 1800's and then became an Art Nouveau site in 2009. There are about 10 buildings, some of which you cannot enter because refurbisment work is still ongoing. Of the buildings that are accessible there are about 6 or 7.
This place is wonderful, if you are interested in architecture and historical buildings, then you must visit Sant Pau. It costs about 13€ to enter, but it is worth it.
12.00-13.30: La Sagrada Familia
From the 'Hospital' you look straight onto the Sagrada Familia, so walk along Av. Gaudi to get to the Sagrada Familia. Getting closer to the church expect all the prices to go up, the number of local people to go down and the number of tourists with shiny cameras to go up. The Sagrada itself is an absolute masterpiece, no doubt about that. But I decided not to go in the church, to be honest I think Barcelona is a bit too thirsty for the tourists money. It costs 30 euros, so you can make your own decision on that. I am sure that it is wonderfull once you are in there, but for me it's just a little bit too much..
Take the metro to Barceloneta, get some chorizo or other cured meat at one of the little market stands along the boulevard an head towards the beaches. Get your towel out and relax...
18.00- 20.00: Food and Las Ramblas
Time for some food again and if you don't mind loads of people, go to Las Ramblas, the main street, with lots of bars and restaurants. But be prepared to pay a lot for you food and drinks here. Better go to one of the little streets attached to Las Ramblas to look for a restaurant with better food and better prices. Later in the evening you can always go to Las Ramblas for some Sangria if you fancy.
20:30-22:00: Magic Fountain??
If you haven’t already the first day, go to the magic fountain today, you won't regret it, I promise!
That brings me to the end of my 'weekend trip to Barcelona' post. I think this is a really good guideline for firsttimers, who want to explore Barcelona with all it's famous and not so famous attractions. As you read Barcelona is a very versatile city, it has got great beaches, beautiful architecture and a cosy old town centre where you can have great wine and spanish food. Something for everyone! So I would definitely recommend a citytrip here!