Spending a day in Barcelona is more than enough time to see many of the top sights and attractions in the city. Not sure what to do while you’re here? Check out one of the best ways to spend a day in Barcelona.
Breakfast in the Gothic Quarter
One of the oldest sections of Barcelona is called the Gothic Quarter. The Gothic Quarter is a unique part of town where you’ll see the iconic narrow streets and old-style architecture. Wind through the seeming labyrinth of streets to discover the many cafes and restaurants hidden within them. The Gothic Quarter is a great place to start your morning. There are lots of tours here, taking you to some of the historical landmarks, including the Cathedral of Barcelona.
After you tour, grab a seat outdoors and enjoy a delicious pa amb tomàquet or Spanish omelet while people-watching and enjoying the ambiance of Barcelona.
Be sure to fill up as you have a long day ahead of you sightseeing and exploring all of the best parts of the city. Walking around the Gothic Quarter, you’ll also find a lot of unique boutique shops and places to pick up some great souvenirs. Stop by some of these local shops and chat with the shop owners for tips on fun things to do. They love meeting visitors from out of town!
Head to Plaza España
It’s easy to spend the entire day wandering throughout the Gothic Quarter, but there’s so much more to discover in Barcelona. Wave down one of the yellow-black colored taxis and tell the driver to take you to Plaza España, one of the central hubs of Barcelona.
As you pull up to the roundabout of Plaza España, make sure to have your camera ready as there are plenty of photo opportunities during this stop of your day trip. In the center of the plaza, you’ll see a picturesque monument worth spending a few moments to appreciate the decorative centerpiece.
You can’t visit Plaza España without stopping by the Arenas Shopping Center. The shopping center is reminiscent of coliseum arenas with a circular shape – it’s a modern mall with trendy shops on each floor. There is even an elevator that takes visitors up to the roof for an observation deck overlooking the entire plaza.
Views from the National Museum
One sight hard to miss while hanging around Plaza España is of the palace on top of the hill in the distance. The palace houses the National Museum and one of the must-visit tourist destinations.
You can easily walk to the museum from Plaza España, passing by the towering pillars and walking along the strip leading towards the ascent to the palace. There’s an escalator heading up to the top, or you can take the stairs if you have the energy for them.
A highlight of visiting the National Museum occurs even before walking inside. Be sure to turn around and take in the breath-taking views of Barcelona. The view from the museum is one of the best viewpoints in the entire city.
The museum features temporary and permanent exhibitions featuring notable artists from Spain and around the world. It showcases a variety of art from historic to contemporary works.
Shopping on La Rambla
After spending some time with the cultural side of Barcelona, it’s time to see experience why it’s a popular destination for shopping! Barcelona has lots of shops, from major department brands to local boutique shops full of the latest fashions. One of the best places to spend an afternoon is along La Rambla.
La Rambla is a famous avenue in Barcelona – a strip lined with shops, restaurants, cultural venues, libraries, and more. The pedestrian strip in the center of the avenue is always packed with tourists. You’ll see a lot of local vendors selling lots of locally-made handicrafts, flowers, snacks, and more.
Continue to walk down the plaza, and you’ll reach major shopping centers where you’ll find all of your favorite shopping stores.
Sagrada Familia is the most iconic building in Barcelona. It’s a massive Roman Catholic Church with towering spires visible from all around the city.
Take a short taxi ride from La Rambla to Sagrada Familia to experience one of the must-see buildings. Once you lay your eyes on the church, you’ll be amazing by the height of the building. Construction of it began in 1882, but there’s constant development for preservation and expansion of the church.
Walk around the outside of the church as it showcases beautiful architecture from any angle. Once you’ve got all of your pictures, hopefully, the line isn’t too long to enter the church.
The large church features colorful stained-glass displays and a giant organ.
While inside, you can ride the elevator to the observation deck at the top of the church. Even though the view isn’t as high as at the National Museum, it’s still one of the must-see viewpoints in Barcelona.
You’ll find lots of souvenir shops located around Sagrada Familia to pick up a few things before heading to the final destination of the day.
Tapas Near the Beach
Up until now, you’ve explored the city sights of Barcelona, but one of the biggest attractions for visitors is also the extensive coastline where you’ll find beautiful beaches. It’s a straight route from Sagrada Familia to reach the coast. Hop in a taxi to get to the beach in great timing for one of the best sights. You’ve saved the best for last and get to enjoy the beautiful Barcelona sunset while lounging on the beach. The beach boardwalk is a great place to have a nice outdoor dinner while enjoying the breeze from the sea. Barcelona is known for tapas, a wide selection of appetizers for the entire table. Order a few different options to give you an idea of the rich local flavors.
Once the night time arrives, you can continue to enjoy the Barça atmosphere by joining locals on outdoor patios to enjoy drinks and conversation or head back to your hotel to close out the day. 24 hours in Barcelona is plenty of time to experience the best parts of the city.
More info about Barcelona
Here are some great Barcelona travel guides to make the best out of your Barcelona trip.
Looking forward to your trip to Barcelona? Start your travel countdown with the Vacation Countdown App!