3 Days Barcelona Itinerary and Things to Do
Are you going to Barcelona for 3 days ?
To help you organize your trip, I have prepared an itinerary for you to visit Barcelona in 3 days.
I will first give you my best advice to avoid queuing at the most visited tourist sites like the Sagrada Familia.
I then continue with a detailed program of visits to do for each day accompanied by a map to help you find your way around.
And at the end of the article, I have selected the best hotels in Barcelona as well as ideas for activities for a family stay in Barcelona.
So where to go and what to do in Barcelona in 3 days?
Our advice to avoid queuing in Barcelona
This is the first image that comes to mind when we think of Barcelona: the Sagrada Familia. Of course, it is impossible not to discover it during your visit to Barcelona in 3 days!
And I’m not teaching you anything if I tell you that you will certainly not be alone in having the same idea. Just like the Colosseum in Rome or the Duomo in Milan, other iconic monuments in Europe, you often have to wait hours before you can enter!
However, there are several very simple ways to avoid this inconvenience and waste time during your 3-day trip to Barcelona.
I give you here my 2 best solutions to avoid queuing in front of the main tourist attractions in Barcelona!
1. Barcelona City Pass
First solution to visit the maximum of things during your 3-day tour in Barcelona: buy the Barcelona City Pass.
Like all major tourist cities, Barcelona offers a City Pass to avoid queues in front of the most famous sites while saving money.
But with one difference, the Barcelona City Pass has no time limit. It doesn’t have to be used within 24 or 48 hours from the first use, as is the case with most other passes, which is really very practical!
As an added bonus, all skip-the-line attraction tickets are emailed to you directly. You don’t even have to go to an office to pick them up.
This pass is the most complete and practical for visiting Barcelona in 3 days.
Here’s everything included in the Barcelona City Pass:
- A skip-the-line ticket for the Sagrada Familia. When purchasing the City Pass, you will be asked for the desired date and time of visit as everything is organized by time slots.
- A skip-the-line ticket to Park Güell. Here too, you will have to give the desired date and time.
- A ticket for the hop-on hop-off tourist bus
- An audio guide to discover more than 100 places of interest in the city
- Discounts on museums and attractions including Casa Batlló, Casa Milà and flamenco shows. You will receive your 10% discount code once you have ordered the Barcelona City Pass. You will then have to book your visits on the same site to benefit from the promo code.
2. Skip-the-line tickets for tourist attractions in Barcelona
Second solution to benefit from rapid access to all the major tourist sites: buy a skip-the-line ticket for each museum or monument , depending on your visit program.
You will be spoiled for choice, there are a multitude of them and for almost all the attractions not to be missed or the activities to do in Barcelona during these 3 days.
3. At Barcelona Card
There is another card to discover the city: the Barcelona Card.
But I do not recommend it for this stay because it will not be useful to you.
The Barcelona Card mainly allows you to visit Barcelona in 3 days while benefiting from free public transport. As you will hardly have to take public transport for our program, the cost of the card will not be amortized.
In terms of benefits and discounts offered by the Barcelona Card, it is more centered on museums and not necessarily on the main attractions. So, not necessarily useful for a first stay in Barcelona where you prefer to focus on the essentials.
I recommend it more if you have already been to Barcelona and want to deepen your discovery by visiting the museums.
At that time, you can reserve it by clicking here.
Visit Barcelona in 3 days: the best itinerary
Here is now my 72h itinerary in Barcelona, organized with a visit route and a map for each day.
I’m assuming you’re going for 3 full days in Barcelona and that you’ve purchased your Barcelona City Pass or skip-the-line tickets in advance, so you don’t waste time.
If you still have questions after reading this article or if you need help organizing your vacation, do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the section dedicated to comments, at the very end of the article.
So what to visit in Barcelona in 3 days?
Day 1: The historic center
The visits of day 1:
A. The Cathédrale Sainte-Croix and the gothic quarter
B. The Rambla
C. Marché de la Boqueria
D. The Casa Batlló
E. The Casa Milà,
F. Flamenco show
A. Sainte-Croix Cathedral and the Gothic Quarter
I suggest you start your 3-day stay in Barcelona by discovering the Barrio Gòtico, one of the most emblematic districts of the city.
The historic center of Barcelona is a very beautiful medieval district in which you can admire the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Considered one of the key monuments of the Catalan capital, it is particularly imposing.
I advise you not to be content to admire it from the outside but also to visit the interior.
For €7, you have access to the cloister, the terraces, the choir, the various chapels and a small painting museum. Linger a bit on the terraces, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of Barcelona.
After visiting the cathedral, do not hesitate to stroll through the surrounding streets and stroll quietly through the Gothic Quarter to discover:
- Sant Jaume Square
- The King’s Square (Place du Roi)
- Barcelona History Museum
- New Square
- The Pine Square
Depending on the location of your hotel, you can walk to the Gothic Quarter or take the metro to the Jaume I stop.
B. Walk on the Ramblas Avenue
Less than 10 minutes walk from the historic center is the avenue of the Ramblas, also known as “La Rambla”. Impossible to miss during your 3 day itinerary in Barcelona!
This pedestrian avenue, the busiest promenade in the city, is another must-see tourist spot. It connects the port of Barcelona to Plaça de Catalunya (Catalonia Square) for about 2 km.
To reach it on foot from the Gothic Quarter, go through Plaça del Pi, continue on Carrer del Cardenal Casanas to Plaça de la Boqueria.
From there you can go down to the port to see:
- The Grand Théâtre du Liceu, the oldest theater in the city, which you can discover during a guided tour
- The Joan Miro mosaic
- The Royal Square
- Guell Palace
And then go up to Plaça Catalunya discovering on the way:
- The Fontaine des Canaletes
- The Palau de la Virreina and its temporary exhibitions
All along the Rambla you will also find many shops, bars and restaurants as well as street artists: musicians, magicians, living statues.
C. The Boqueria market
Along the Rambla, you will also come across the Boqueria market.
You will find it easily since the entrance is marked by a large gate in the Art Nouveau style which is difficult to miss (on your left when you go up the avenue in the direction of Plaça Catalunya).
La Boqueria is Barcelona’s oldest market and one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Suffice to say that there are always crowds (smaller in the morning between 8 and 10 a.m.), but that’s part of the folklore.
I recommend that you take advantage of your walk between the stalls to taste the warm atmosphere of the place but also treat yourself to tapas, fresh fruit and other typical Catalan products.
For cooking fans, it is also possible to take a special guided tour in the company of a chef who selects the best products on the market with you and then prepares several tapas and a paella for you to taste.
D. Casa Batlló
To continue this day, I now suggest you head to Casa Batlló, one of the symbols of Barcelona and masterpiece of the emblematic architect, Antoni Gaudi.
Located on Passeig de Gracia, it takes around 20 minutes to walk from the market. You can also get there by metro, from the Liceu stop to the Passeig de Gracia stop (line 3).
This villa with surreal architecture inspired by the aquatic world is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You will immediately notice the very special curves, the incredible details and colors of its façade, characteristic of Gaudi’s work. You will also notice its many small skull-shaped balconies, which have earned it the nickname Casa del Ossos (the house of bones).
Impressive from the outside, Gaudi’s villa is even more interesting on the inside, so I highly recommend that you take the time to visit it during your 3 day trip to Barcelona. The visit lasts approximately 1 hour.
E. The Milan House
Still on Passeig de Gracia, going north (5 minutes walk from Casa Battlo), you will come across the second villa designed by Gaudi: Casa Milà, which the people of Barcelona call La Pedrera (“quarry” in French). reference to the cliffs which would have inspired Gaudi for his design).
This villa (built between 1906 and 1910) is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is recognizable by its white facade with the wavy lines typical of the work of Antoni Gaudi.
Very beautiful from the outside, Casa Milà can also be visited from the inside where you can discover on 5 floors all the genius of its architect. Do not miss during the visit the exceptional view of Barcelona from the roof terrace of the villa.
For an unusual visit to Casa Milà, you can choose a night entrance ticket. At 9 p.m. you can attend audiovisual projections in several parts of the monument and on the roof, with the added bonus of a free glass of Champagne.
F. Attend a flamenco show
Impossible to spend 3 days in Barcelona without going to see a flamenco show!
A very popular Andalusian dance in the Catalan capital, flamenco is honored all year round in Barcelona’s tablaos, establishments where you can have a drink, taste tapas and local dishes while attending musical performances.
I advise you to spend the evening at Los Tarantos, one of the oldest and most famous tablaos in the city, located in Plaça Reial a few meters from the Rambla.
You can get there on foot from Casa Milà by going back through Casa Catalunya and then back down the Rambla. It will take you about 30 minutes.
If you don’t want to go all the way back, take metro line 3 from Diagonal station (a 2-minute walk on Passeig de Gracia north of Casa Milà) towards Zona Universitària and get off at the Liceu stop. You will then have a 3 minute walk to Plaça Reial.
Day 2: What to do and see?
The visits of day 2:
A. Park Güell
B. Bunkers del Carmel
C. Modernista Precinct of Sant Pau
D. Sagrada Familia
E. Quartier du Born
A. Parc Güell
For the second day of your 3-day stay in Barcelona, I suggest you start with a visit to Parc Güell, built between 1900 and 1914.
This park was created to house gardens and about sixty houses, but due to a lack of budget, only 4 houses were built there. It is nonetheless a little gem of modernist and Art Nouveau architecture.
It is located in the north of the city and is accessible via metro line 3 at the Vallcarca stop.
The park is divided into two parts, one paying and the other free. It is in the paying area (“Monumental”) that you can admire the famous undulating bench covered with mosaics, the salamander and the columns resembling tree trunks.
Exploring the park will take you several hours, so I advise you to go early in the morning.
Be sure to climb up to the Mirador de Virolai which offers a superb view of the most beautiful sites in Barcelona.
If you don’t have the Barcelona City Pass, you can also get your skip-the-line ticket directly by clicking here.
B. Carmel Bunkers
If you were wondering what to do in three days in Barcelona, now I suggest you head to one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the city: the Bunkers del Carmel.
Located on the Turo de la Rovira on a former anti-aircraft base which served to defend the city during the Spanish Civil War , it offers an incredible 360° view.
The Bunkers del Carmel are not really bunkers but a former stronghold for anti-aircraft guns which have now disappeared (but of which you will be able to see traces).
Access to the Bunkers del Carmel is free and completely free, you just have to take the trouble to go up there. But I assure you, it is rather quite easy and accessible to all.
From Park Güell, you can get there in 20 minutes on foot via Contrada del Carmel, Carrer de Mühlberg and then Carrer del Turo de la Rovira. You can also get there by bus (line 24 or 86) or by taxi.
C. The Modernist Complex of Sant Pau
Then head to the Recinta Modernista de Sant Pau which is right on the way between the Bunkers del Carmel and the next visit of the day, the Sagrada Familia.
It takes about 30 minutes to walk to Recinta from the bunkers.
This former public hospital now hosts exhibitions. You can also visit the various buildings that retrace the history of the place, but if you are in a hurry, you can just pass by to admire its architecture.
D. The Sagrada Familia
It is now time to continue this second day of your 72-hour stay in Barcelona with the emblematic monument: the Sagrada Familia.
From the Recinta Modernista you can reach the Sagrada Familia in just 10 minutes on foot.
A major work of Gaudi, this impressive UNESCO World Heritage -listed basilica is the most visited monument in Spain . With a unique architectural style, mixing Gothic and Art Nouveau, the Sagrada Familia is truly spectacular both from the outside and from the inside.
Priority entry is included in the Barcelona City Pass. For that alone, it would be a shame not to buy it. This will allow you to avoid queuing and to visit the basilica at the time scheduled when you made your reservation.
If you only want to buy a skip-the-line ticket to the Sagrada without the full City Pass, just click here.
If you prefer to opt for a guided tour in French of the Sagrada with an official guide, simply click here to book!
E. El Born neighborhood
We conclude this day with a walk in the El Born district, a small historic village integrated into the city.
It forms, together with the Barrio Gotico, the old town of Barcelona. This authentic medieval district with a slightly strange atmosphere is also one of the trendiest.
Old shops, tapas bars, gothic churches, trendy restaurants, Picasso museum, Palais de la Musique (one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world)… everything is there to spend an excellent end to the day.
Also to be seen in the Born, the park of the citadel and the triumphal arch.
Day 3: Places to visit in Barcelona
The visits of day 3:
A. Plaça Espanya
C. Montjuic Park
D. Olympic facilities
E. Montjuic Castle
F. Plaça Espanya and the Magic Fountain
A. Spain Square
We are already on the last day of your 3-day itinerary in Barcelona.
I suggest you go for a walk on Plaça d’Espanya.
Built in 1929 for the Universal Exhibition according to the plans of the famous architect Puig y Cadafalch, this square is recognizable by its large sculpture installed on a huge roundabout. All around the roundabout, there are several buildings and conference rooms.
You will also find Las Arenas, former bullrings converted into a shopping mall. I highly recommend that you go to the roof terrace of the arenas to admire the amazing view.
Plaça Espanya is the starting point for many places of tourist interest that I suggest you discover throughout this last day.
The National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) is located directly in front of Plaça d’Espanya passing by the Magic Fountain (which I reserve for you for the end of the day). Allow about 15 minutes of walking to get there quietly.
This museum housed in a magnificent palace (built especially for the Universal Exhibition of 1929) is one of the most interesting in Barcelona and one of the largest in Spain. It notably houses the richest collection of Romanesque art in the world, just that!
Thanks to the Barcelona City Pass, you will be able to benefit from a reduction for your entrance to the MNAC, by clicking directly here.
If you intend to visit other museums during your weekend in Barcelona I recommend that you buy the Barcelona Museum Pass here which gives access to the 6 main museums of the city (skip the line tickets):
- National Art Museum of Catalonia
- Barcelona Picasso Museum
- Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
- Joan Miró Foundation
- Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center
- Antoni Tàpies Foundation.
C. Montjuïc Park
Impossible to spend 3 days in Barcelona without going through the unmissable Parc de Montjuic, the green lung of the city!
Bus line 150 takes you there in 20 minutes from the museum (Picornell-Museu Naçional Pools bus stop on Avinguda de l’Estadi street, 5 minutes walk from the MNAC).
You can also walk there in 30-40 minutes, but what I recommend is to take the Montjuic cable car (near the municipal swimming pools, the bus stops there).
The view from the top of the cable car is definitely worth a look. In that case, you can book your return cable car ticket here.
Parc de Montjuic is made up of several green spaces and gardens on the slopes of the Montjuic hill. There are also a few museums including the Urban Guard Museum, the Modern Art Museum, the Olympic Museum and the Joan Miro Foundation.
It is the favorite place for rest, walks and sporting activities for the people of Barcelona who come to relax here after work and on weekends.
You will have the opportunity to admire beautiful views of the sea and the city, to visit the botanical gardens, museums and historical monuments.
D. The Olympic facilities
Did you know that Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games in 1992?
The Olympic facilities are among the things to see during your 3 days in Barcelona. Direction now to the Olympic Park of Montjuic, on the hill of the park.
You can see there:
- The Olympic Stadium
- Palau Sant Jordi
- Calatrava’s Tower
- The Sports Palace of Barcelona
- The Pavilion of Industrial Spain
E. Montjuïc Castle
To end this afternoon in Montjuic, I suggest you visit the Castle of the park.
Built in 1640 to protect the city from Catalan rebels, the Castle of Montjuic was later converted into a prison and then into a military museum in 1960. It is now planned to be transformed into an international center for peace and a cultural centre.
During the visit (at the price of €5 per adult), it is possible to tour the ramparts, visit the military museum and, the highlight of the show, admire the magnificent panorama offered on the Barcelona coast.
The Château de Montjuic is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
F. Plaça Espanya and Fontaine Magique
Your 3-day trip to Barcelona is already coming to an end.
For this last evening, return to Plaça Espanya to enjoy tapas before going to enjoy the Magic Fountain show.
Located between the MNAC and the square, the Magic Fountain of Montjuic welcomes the public every evening from Wednesday to Sunday (from 8 p.m. from November to March, and from 9 p.m. from April to October) with light shows on musical background.
This unmissable show which lasts 1 hour attracts tourists as well as locals every evening. As there are often crowds, it is recommended to arrive early to get a good seat.
Accommodation in Barcelona
So now you know how to visit Barcelona in 3 days!
Now I suggest you think about another essential question: where are you going to sleep during your 3 nights in Barcelona?
To help you a little, I have made a selection of the best hotels to stay in Barcelona:
- Hostel One Ramblas: Hostel located in the center of Barcelona. Dormitory bed from €33 with dinner included. Most: the atmosphere, the price.
- Hotel Grums Barcelona: Located next to Montjuic hill and 600 m from Las Ramblas. Elegant and bright rooms from €134. The pluses: the spa with jacuzzi and sauna, the design of the rooms, the geographical location. It is our favorite for price / performance ratio.
- Ohla Barcelona: Ideal location for this luxury hotel in Barcelona, between the Cathedral and Plaça Catalunya and 200 meters from the metro. This 5-star hotel offers contemporary and comfortable double rooms from €325 per night, breakfast included. The pluses: the beauty of the establishment, both exterior and interior, the swimming pool on the roof with a breathtaking view, the 3 gourmet restaurants. The best choice for a romantic stay in the heart of Barcelona.
- The W Barcelona: Mythical hotel in Barcelona located in the district of La Barceloneta. Luxurious and well-equipped double room from 363€. Most: the view, the 2 swimming pools, the facilities, the restaurants. Undoubtedly the most famous hotel in Barcelona!
- Hotel Arts Barcelona: 5 star hotel located in the Olympic Port area, 250 m from the beach and 300 m from Ciutadella Park. Designer and ultra-spacious double room from €670 per night, breakfast included. The pluses: the 2-star restaurant in the Michelin Guide, the outdoor swimming pool with a panoramic view, the design and the collection of contemporary art. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Barcelona.
Visit Barcelona in 3 days with the family
If you have planned to visit Barcelona with your children for 3 days and you are wondering if they will be able to enjoy their stay as much as you do, know that Barcelona is very suitable for family visits!
Among the activities to do with the family for 72 hours in Barcelona, here is the summary:
- The walk on the Rambla with all the street artists
- The Boqueria market for its colors and to introduce them to local specialities. The fresh fruit juices are delicious!
- Park Güell and its colorful mosaics
- La Sagrada Familia: young and old alike can only be impressed by its architecture
- Ciutadella Park: very nice with a very elaborate play area for children.
- The Magic Fountain show
- Tapas tastings (with your hands!)
- Flamenco shows
- Barcelona Zoo. Tickets on sale here!
And to save money during your stay in Barcelona with your family, I recommend 2 packs including the visit to the zoo (click on the links to book):
- The Barcelona Family Pass with: entrance to the zoo + one-hour cruise on the port + skip-the-line entrance to the wax museum
- The Zoo and Aquarium Pack with: entrance to the zoo + ticket for the aquarium + a trip in the cable car from the port of Barcelona.
You can also add:
- The visit to Poble Espanyol: a life-size reproduction of a village with all the types of Spanish houses that can be seen in the country.
Poble Espanyol pays homage to Spanish culture and comprises 117 houses representing 33 different Spanish regions. It is located very close to the Magic Fountain, less than 5 minutes walk.
It is a fun and educational place that is very popular with children. You can go there before or instead of visiting the MNAC for example.
- Mount Tibidabo amusement park: located on the outskirts of the city, this amusement park is set on the highest peak in Barcelona. It is designed for children from 6 years old and makes for a fun afternoon with the family.
- The Museu Blau: children love natural history museums and the one in Barcelona is free every Sunday from 3 p.m.
More things to do and see in Barcelona in 3 days
And here you have followed all our program of visits for 3 days in Barcelona!
If you still have time and are looking for other places to visit, I recommend that you read our complete guide to the city of Barcelona.
You will find even more ideas on things to do and see and will be able to conclude your 3 days of vacation in Barcelona having missed nothing of the essentials.
You just have to click on the following link to read it: What to do in Barcelona? The ultimate guide!
Map of your 3-day itinerary in Barcelona
To help you visualize your itineraries during these 3 days in Barcelona, I made you a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow. You will then be able to view the routes for each day.
Need help planning your 3 day Barcelona itinerary? Do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments.
Are you going to Spain? Read also:
Discover all our articles on Spain: all articles on Spain are listed here.
- Visit Barcelona in 2 days – The best route to visit the city in a weekend!
- Barcelona: Top things to do