The mix of Art Nouveau architecture, Catalan culture, sparkling sea, and a thrumming nightlife make Barcelona one of Europe’s most irresistible cities. You could easily spend weeks and still not see everything the city has to offer. But, if you only have a single day, here’s how to make the most of the time you have.
Morning: Works of Gaudí
There’s one landmark you must see when in Barcelona: the Sagrada Familia. Save time with skip-the-line tickets booked ahead of your trip, get an early start, and take in views of the Catalan capital with a tour of the cathedral’s towers. Then, head to nearby Park Güell, another Gaudí masterpiece, for more city views and quirky, colorful tile work. It’s possible to pack in even more of the architect’s work with a Gaudí-themed tour that includes entrance to both Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, plus a walk down Passeig de Gracia to see Casa Batlló and La Pedrera from the outside.
Afternoon: Barcelona’s Old City
After lunch, head into the labyrinthine old city to soak up the atmosphere that keeps travelers coming back. If you want to be sure not to miss anything, opt for a walking, cycling, or Segway tour through the Gothic Quarter, El Born, and Raval neighborhoods. Another option that’ll help you see more in less time is to board a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Grab an outdoor seat and tour the city with audio commentary about what you’re seeing.
Night: Tapas Tastings
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without treating your taste buds to some Spanish cuisine. As a first-time visitor, it can be hard to tell the good stuff from the bad, so enlist a local’s help during an evening tapas tour through the old city to taste some of the best bites around La Rambla, La Boqueria market, and the Gothic Quarter. Those interested in the Spanish art of flamenco can grab a table at the legendary Tablao Cordobes for a paella dinner and an evening of dancing, singing, and Spanish guitar.