72 Hours in Barcelona

A Visitor's City Guide

By Joan Cane

The Sights

The sights to discover in Barcelona are infinite, and you could spend weeks just wandering around the spots in this wonderful city, but a three-day visit is already a nice approach to this gem in Southern Europe. Barcelona is an attractive city to explore next to the Mediterranean Sea, properly served by a major airport close to downtown. 

 

With this “72-hour visitor's guide” you will get a glimpse to everything the Catalan capital offers to millions of visitors every year: pleasant climate, all kinds of architecture, infinite shopping opportunities, delectable cuisine and diverse cultural opportunities. Barcelona is the place to immerse in “tapas” and “paella” in authentic restaurants, walk in Gaudi’s organical-inspired architecture, visit the Football Club Barcelona stadium … and maybe even watch a soccer game by the local world-famous team (but this might depend on the season).

 

You begin your exploration of Barcelona in Park Guell (Carrer d’Olot; Lesseps L3; taxi recommended; http://www.parkguell.cat/en/prepare-the-visit/opening-times-and-rates/). 

 

Park Guell

Park Guell

This iconic green public park, designed by famous local architect Antoni Gaudi, is filled with nature-influenced constructions such as the sinuous benches made of mosaic artwork; don’t miss the dragon fountain at the entrance stairs! You can spend some morning time watching a glorious view of the city and the Mediterranean coast. From the viewing platform in the park, our next destination can be seen. 

 

Gaudi's masterpiece Sagrada Família is a Catholic cathedral with dynamic shapes, beautiful ceilings and modern sculptures; construction began in 1882 and it is still ongoing ... and for many more years! Basic tips: A long line of visitors can be expected, so it is better to book the entrance ticket online; add the extra ticket to the tower by elevator for panoramic views. You can easily spend a couple of hours in the temple. 

(Carrer de Mallorca, 401; Sagrada Familia L5; http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/sf-eng/?lang=0). 

Sagrada Familia

Casa Batlló

Not far away in the city center, you will come to Diagonai in the Eixample district for a downhill stroll of Passeig de Gracia, one of the main avenues in Barcelona. Both sides are filled with multiple shopping and dining options, from major global companies to local unique experiences, with clothing shops of all budgets, expensive jewelry and trendy design shop Vinçon. Keep an eye on the buildings, as the Eixample district has some interesting modernist architecture. You can visit two other interesting Gaudi buildings: Casa Batlló, with a dragon-shaped roof like an explosion of colors, and La Pedrera,

a World-Heritage modernist building with curvy stone façade—the visit inside the building includes a visit to a typical flat, the view of the amazing courtyard of colors and an astonishing roof-top walk. Both buildings are innovative in shape (like the undulating facade) and construction techniques.TOP LEFT: Casa Batlló; Passeig de Gràcia 43; Passeig de Gracia L3; http://www.casabatllo.es/en/RIGHT: La Pedrera; Provença, 261; Passeig de Gracia L3 ; https://www.lapedrera.com On the second day, you can see every corner of Barcelona’s old town, a maze of alleys and plazas. Begin walking the picturesque pedestrian street Les Rambles to visit the most famous market inthe city, La Boqueria (La Boqueria; La Rambla 91; Liceu L3; http://www.boqueria.info/).On the west side of the Ramblas, you can visit MACBA, a contemporary art museum in a white building that makes a huge contrast to the old neighborhood with a diverse mix of population (Macba; Plaça dels Àngels 1; Catalunya L3; http://www.macba.cat/)

You can walk for hours in this friendly area, visiting hundreds of shops with both local and international brands, bookstores, cafes, restaurants, while going downhill to Plaça Catalunya, the center of the city, where you can rest on Cafe Zurich terrace—the best place for people watching.

 

TOP LEFT: Casa Batlló; Passeig de Gràcia 43; Passeig de Gracia L3; http://www.casabatllo.es/en/
RIGHT: La Pedrera; Provença, 261; Passeig de Gracia L3 ; https://www.lapedrera.com 

La Pedrera

On the second day, you can see every corner of Barcelona’s old town, a maze of alleys and plazas. Begin walking the picturesque pedestrian street Les Rambles to visit the most famous market in the city, La Boqueria (La Boqueria; La Rambla 91; Liceu L3; http://www.boqueria.info/). On the west side of the Ramblas, you can visit MACBA, a contemporary art museum in a white building that makes a huge contrast to the old neighborhood with a diverse mix of population (Macba; Plaça dels Àngels 1; Catalunya L3; http://www.macba.cat/) .

MACBA Museum

On the east side of the Ramblas, you can stroll for hours on the streets of the Barri Gotic (Gothic quarter), the city center since Roman times, where history can be admired on every corner, as in the Neo-Gothic cathedral. 

The area is dense, but dotted with nice squares—each one with a different character: Plaça del Rei, Plaça reial, and Plaça Sant Jaume..

Picasso Museum in Medieval Courtyards 

Another interesting neighborhood is The Born, a trendy area where we can find the Picasso Museum, an overview of the artist's works in an amazing setting of old palaces with medieval courtyards

(Museu Picasso; Carrer Montcada 15; 
http://www.museupicasso.bcn.cat/).

You can approach the sea by crossing through the Barceloneta, an interesting old fishermen neighborhood that has become a showcase of cosmopolitan Barcelona. The coast has some sandy beaches with terraces to relax on next to the Mediterranean Sea, maybe with some beers or cocktails.

From Plaça Espanya you can begin your journey for a third day of explorations. The Montjuich hill has been hosting many major global events, such as International Exhibitions and the 1992 Olympic Games. Now, the naturefilled hill offers attractive activities for everyone—art, sports, nature—with wide views down to the city and the port.

The Joan Miró Foundation— honoring modern artist Joan Miró— a nd the MNAC— Ca talan National Museum of Art, covering hundreds of years of local art, with an outstanding collection of Romanesque church paintings —a re cultural lighthouses that should not be missed (Joan Miró Foundation; Parc de Montjuïc s/n;

http://www.fundaciomiro-bcn.org/) (MNAC; Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc s/n; http://www.museunacional.cat/en) .

The Olympic Stadium (built in 1929) and the Olympic museum are memories of those magic days in 1992 that transformed completely the city (Estadi olímpic; Passeig Olímpic 17-19).

The Olympic Stadium (built in 1929) and the Olympic museum are memories of those magic days in 1992 that transformed completely the city (Estadi olímpic; Passeig Olímpic 17-19).

Just a few hundred meters away grows the Botanical Garden of Barcelona, with a contemporary design and very few visitors, divided into different ecosystems from around the world with a similar Mediterranean climate: Australia, Chile, California, South Africa ... This is a great calm green escape for nature lovers (Jardí Botànic de Barcelona; Carrer del Doctor
Fort i Quer, 2).

And finally, maybe one evening of your three-day visit should be spent checking out the local favorite team, Football Club Barcelona.
Next to the stadium, its museum is really
interesting for football fans, and you should
get tickets if there is a game scheduled, so
you can feel the real vibe in Camp Nou Stadium
(Av.Arístides Maillol, s/n; Les Corts L3;
http://www.fcbarcelona.com/camp-nou).
Football Club Barcelona is considered to be
“més que un club ” , more than a club . It's a
universal football club with strong local
roots, somehow similar to Barcelona city: a
cosmopolitan place proud of its local
identity.

Catalan is the local language in Barcelona spoken by about seven million speakers (spread in some regions in North-Eastern Spain, the country of Andorra, part of the South of France and the Sardinian city of Alghero), a Romance language with similarities with Spanish, French and Italian. During your trip you can try to practice with some easy sentences such as:

 

– Hola (Hello);
– Em dic ___ (My name is ___);
– Sí (Yes);
– No (No);
– Si us plau (Please);
– Gràcies (Thank you);
– Una cervesa, si us plau (A pint, please);
– Una altra ronda, si us plau (Another round, please) and
– Adéu (Goodbye).

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