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There’s never a bad time to visit Barcelona, and between a mix of modern and classic architecture, world-class drinking and dining, and kaleidoscopic cultural scene, there are plenty of things for every traveler to do.

Though for those who only have 24 hours there’s no need to despair; you can easily cram the best of Barcelona into one day. Think breathtaking churches, museums, restaurants and parks, with a dip in the Med at the end, and the chance to eat dinner under the stars too! What to do in Barcelona

Pro Tip: The best way to explore the city in a day is by bike. Rentals are available across town, or you can rent one in advance and have it delivered to your hotel.

Go To Church

Start your morning by heading to church. Designed by Antoni Gaudí, Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous churches in Spain, an unfinished masterpiece which began construction in 1882 and is scheduled to finish in 2026. What to see and do in Barcelona in a day

What is interesting about the church is that there are so many differences in design – many architects having worked on it throughout history all of whom has very different ideas. How to spend 24 hours in barcelona

It is a Gothic church with an otherworldly appearance – honeycomb spires and towers with colourful Venetian mosaics and stories from the Bible etched into the facade. Inside are fantastical stone columns, stunning stained glass windows, and ornamented cloisters and doors. One Day barcelona

Pro Tip: You must dress appropriately to gain entrance to the church. The dress code requires no bare shoulders, and no shorts or skirts above the knee. This is fairly typical of any church in Europe, and visitors may be denied entry otherwise.

Pre-book your entrance tickets online in advance at least a day before you arrive – the queues to get in can stretch right around the block!

Gaze at More Gaudi

Gaze at more of Gaudi’s amazing architecture as you make your way along Passeig de Gràcia. One of the major avenues in Barcelona, this is one of the most expensive shopping streets in Spain, and also the location of Casa Batlló, a Gaudi masterpiece covered in “tiny mosaic tiles and mask-shaped balconies and topped with a shimmering roof of lizard-like scales.”

There are quite a number of notable buildings and celebrated pieces of architecture here, so keep an eye out for Casa Milá (La Pedrera), also completed by Gaudi, Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and Casa Lleó Morera by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Barcelona in a day

Park Güell, is a little out of the way, though well worth it if you have the time. A 25 minute drive from Casa Batlló, this is a strange and enchanting place; a colorful mosaic garden created by Eusebi Güell where Gaudí created 3km of roads and walks, stairways, pavilions, a main square and two gatehouses, all uniquely shaped and colored which makes it feel as though you’re walking through a dream. As with Sagrada Familia, pre book your tickets in advance.

This is a great public park where you can enjoy a green space surrounded by modernist art. The highest point in the part offers wonderful panoramic views over Barcelona. Best things to do in Barcelona only have one day

Hike on From Plaça de Catalunya

Just down from Passeig de Gràcia is Plaça de Catalunya – this is a large square considered to the be city center, and where some of the city’s most important streets and avenues meet. Barcelona in 24 hours

The pedestrian friendly boulevard of the Ramblas is the most famous street in central Barcelona, and this is the perfect location for sight-seeing, shopping, or taking a break for some coffee or tapas at a local cafe.

The street is dotted with human statues and amateur artists, as well as kiosks which sell food, art and souvenirs. Things to do in Barcelona in a day

A local favorite for coffee and cake and is Café d El´Opera, a café in the middle of La Rambla with history dating back to the 18th century. The hectic La Boquería market is another local favorite, where you can find fresh fruit, fish, vegetables and other local foods. See all of Barcelona in 24 hours

This is one of the largest and freshest public markets in Barcelona. If you’re feeling a picnic by the harbor for lunch, head in and pick up some cheese and meat before wandering down to the sea. 24 hours in barcelona

Take note however that the crowds can get pretty large around noon. Pinotxo bar is at the entrance, and is also a great choice for lunch with some impressive options from gazpacho and mussels to lamb stew and ratatouille.

Pro Tip: The area is very safe, though Ramblas is a very busy street, so keep your wallet in your front pocket and be aware of pickpockets.

Picture Picasso

Visit the Picasso museum, though wander past the great Gothic Cathedral on your way. You’ll get lost in the tangle of medieval streets around it, though you’re not alone! This is part of the charm the charm of the Barri Gòtic. I only have one day in barcelona what to see

The Picasso Museum is a really popular museum in Barcelona, and for a good reason. Picasso had a love affair with Barcelona until his death in 1973, so naturally this museum houses the largest collection of Pablo Picasso in the world (4,000+ works). What to see in barcelona

For Football Fans

If you’re a football fan, the Barcelona football stadium is the 3rd largest football stadium in the World (after Sao Paulo, Brazil and Mexico City). Barcelona Camp Nou has a capacity of 110,000 people and on every match practically every seat is taken -such is the passion for football shared by the Catalan people.

If you have the chance to attend a football game on your day here, it’s an experience you will never forget. Try and buy your football tickets in advance to ensure you get to see the match. Ticket touts do sell Barcelona football tickets outside the main entrance but you will be paying a lot more than the cover price for these tickets. You can get hold of your Barcelona football top at uksoccershop. Barcelona things to do

There is a stadium tour for those who want to see the grounds though haven’t timed the trip right to catch a game. This is the most popular tour in Barcelona!

Dip in the Med & Dinner

Finish your day at the harbor where you can enjoy the afternoon at the beach with a gelato. Make sure you’ve packed your swimming gear for a dip in the Mediteranean sea to cool off after a full day of sightseeing.

For dinner, there are plenty of unique bars and tapas restaurants overlooking the beach. Barcelona itinerary 24 hours itinerary Barcelona

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits CC: Featured Image and both Pinterest Images by Moyan Brenn. Images have been cropped and remixed to add text. Sagrada Familia by Αλέξανδρος. Interior Sagrada Familia by Josep Ramis. Casa Batlló Day by Moyan Brenn. Casa Batlló Night by Kim. Noble Floor by Michele Ursino. Las Ramblas District by Moyan Brenn. Woman at La Boquería market by Juan Salmoral. Fruit by Roberto La Forgia

    20 Comments

  1. I loved bar Pintoxo. We stayed about 2 minutes away from here when we were in Barcelona earlier this year.The bar tender at Pintoxo was amazing an old style spanish man in his white shirt and bow tie made the most amazing cappuccinos.
    Cheers
    Mark

    • Glad you had a fabulous time Mark! I really love authentic dining experiences too – one of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in a city’s culture is through their food!

  2. Hi Megan, I highly recommend pre-booking the entrance to the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell online at least a day or so in advance – the queues to get in can stretch right around the block!
    Claire recently posted…Lake Titicaca: Crossing from Bolivia to PeruMy Profile

    • Thanks for the tip Claire! I’ll edit the post to add that in, because that’s a great point – especially if you’re short on time and want to see as much as possible, don’t want waiting in queues to end up being the only thing that you do!

  3. The best tip what I can give you is to travel with the hosteldeals card! It is way cheaper than without! Great blog thought!

    • Thanks for the tip Ardjette … I’ll have to remember that for the next time we’re there :)

    • Oooh nice, from what I hear there’s quite a large expat hub there so I’m sure you’ll love it :) We weren’t there for nearly enough time – quick layovers throughout Europe of less than a day!

      I’ve learned to take advantage of long layovers and combining that with the art of cramming as much as possible into a day 😀

  4. We just got back from 4 days in Barcelona. But of course, if one only has a day, they have to experience the essence of this vibrant city! These are good tips!

    • So glad you enjoyed your time Marlys! Thanks for reading :)

  5. Churches and the Picasso Museum are on my list of things to see and do in Barcelona. I wish I had a trip planned now since seeing your wonderful photos!
    Cheers,
    Priscilla

    • I hope you can manage to organize a trip soon :) Happy Holidays! X

  6. We spent two weeks in Barcelona and really enjoyed our time. There really is so much to see. I hope your readers heed your advice about pre-booking tickets. Unfortunately, we saw a mother break down in tears at Park Güell when she found out the next available entrance to the park was the following day at 5:30pm. It was the one place her kids really wanted to visit but they were flying out the next morning!
    Alana recently posted…Five Can’t Miss Activities in BarcelonaMy Profile

    • :( I hate seeing that happen, when someone’s traveled somewhere and had their heart set on a specific attraction only to lose out for not having pre-planned. It’s heartbreaking, especially when you’ve traveled half way across the world!

      I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Barcelona though! Hopefully when we get back to Europe we’ll have a few weeks to spend here too :)

  7. Great post Megan! I’m happy to say that I at least did a few of these things during my day in Barcelona. I loved Casa Battló and was fascinated by the beauty and otherworldliness of it. I do regret not making it to the Sagrada Familia (I know, it’s a travesty that I went to Barcelona and didn’t go there!) but now it’s a very good reason to go back :)
    Kristin recently posted…What’s It Like to Explore Scotland With Haggis Adventures?My Profile

    • Thanks Kristin :) And still having Sagrada Familia on your list is an excellent reason to plan a return trip 😀

      Happy to hear you enjoyed your first trip to Barcelona – maybe I’ll bump into you there in 2016!

  8. Something I loved in Barcelona was the cable car from Montjuic to the bottom of the Ramblas – amazing views! Oh, and also Gaudi’s streetlights in the arcade Plaza Real…

    • Glad you had a great time in Barcelona Angela – great tips on the able car and Gaudi’s streetlights!

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