It’s one of the most popular cities in Europe and it’s easy to see why. With its mix of stunning architecture and historic buildings, along with a reputation of fine cuisine and tapas like nowhere else in the world, Barcelona is a city that offers visitors so much to see and do. It will be hard for you to see and do everything during a short trip to Barcelona, but if you are planning on a weekend break to the city, here are just some of the great things you must fit in, in 48 hours.
Seeing Barcelona in 48 Hours
The Gothic Quarter
If you only have a short stay in Barcelona then be sure to visit the popular Gothic Quarter of the city. These Medieval area is the oldest part of the city and is simply magical. The Gothic Quarter is part of the old city of Barcelona and it’s ancient buildings and avenues are a must see. As well as being home to the City Hall, it is also the location of many spectacular churches and cathedrals. The best way to get the most from the Gothic Quarter is to simply go exploring. You will find some hidden gems down the many alleys and squares of the Gothic Quarter including some wonderful boutique shops and tapas bars. If you are visiting over the weekend you will notice a real festival atmosphere as many locals and tourist congregate around the many bars in the Gothic Quarter to enjoy a glass of sangria or a pint of the local beer – Estrella.
A Trip down Las Ramblas
It’s the busiest street in Barcelona, and stretching over 1km long, you’ll need plenty of energy to stroll along the street on a busy day. It’s not just the main street on Las Ramblas, but the many avenues that branch of it that are worth exploring. This area of the city is home to many craft stalls selling anything from food and drink to paintings and bespoke gift ideas – plenty of souvenirs for you to bring home. You will also find many street performers along Las Ramblas throughout the day although do be careful when watching some of these performances as the area is famous for pick pockets. Always keep your possessions somewhere safe so that no one can get them from you. Don’t let this put you off a trip down Las Ramblas though, and if you don’t fancy the long walk then simply get the metro at Placa de Catalunya as it runs from the top of the street to the bottom at Christopher Columbus Monument, just a short walk from the Port area.
The Port and Beach
One of the great things about Barcelona is that if the hustle and bustle of the city centre is too much for you, simply take a short walk to the port area were you will be met by miles of golden sand and an endless amount of seafood restaurants and bars. The Port area is also the stop off area for many cruise ships visiting the city throughout the year. If you’re stopping of in Barcelona as part of a cruise, then the Port is within walking distance of the Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas, and for lovers of art, you can always visit the popular Picasso Museum.
The Magical Fountains
The Montjüic area of the city is another must see area that offers unrivalled views of the city. Take a cable journey up into the hills to Montjüic Castle and enjoy the spectacular views of the Barcelona skyline. A short walk around this area will also introduce you to many of the venues used for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, including the Olympic Stadium. Perhaps the most stunning of all attractions in the Montjüic area is the Magic Fountains, an iconic symbol of Barcelona with regular music and light shows providing a spectacle like no other for visitors – a must see!
Food and drink
From seeing the sights of Montjüic and the Gothic Quarter to checking out the many shops the city has to offer, Barcelona can certainly take it out of even the best of us. With so much to take in you’ll need some time to relax and enjoy some of the fine local cuisine on offer. You’ll never be short of a good restaurant in Barcelona and the city is a mecca for fine dining with over 20 Michelin Star restaurants and countless tapas bars – get ready to enjoy a Mediterranean foodie heaven! From local Catalan dishes to Asian and European influences, there is something for every taste bud. The Barceloneta, Eixample and Ciutat Vella areas are particular popular, but you can find quality food just about anywhere. One place worth visiting is the 2 Michelin Star Moments Restaurant located at the Mandarin Hotel in the city. Opened in 2010 by the supremely talented Carme Ruscalleda, Moments has quickly earned a reputation for being one of Barcelona’s top culinary hotspots. Booking in advance is advised.
City Bus Tour
Finally, if you want to cram as much in as possible in 48 hours, then hop on one of the city’s popular bus tours. With two daily routes and a night tour, these buses will drop you off at some of the must see tourist attractions in Barcelona including Gaudi’s stunning Sagrada Familia, the UNESCO Heritage Site of Park Guell (another Gaudi masterpiece), Tibidabo Mountains and Camp Nou, home to Barcelona Football Club. You can book your city bus tour tickets in advance here.
So with so much to see and do, you’ll certainly need every minute of your 48 hours to take in everything that Barcelona has to offer. While you’ll not get to see everything in 2 days, try to visit the areas we have recommended and leave the rest of your exploring until your next visit – and trust me, there will be a next visit as anyone who visits Barcelona, leaves with a little bit of the city in their heart.
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