My 3-Day Trip to Barcelona: Culture and Cuisine
My trip to Barcelona was one of the best things I did this year. Its rich cultural heritage and exquisite cuisine attract millions of tourists every year. These were some of the reasons I had long wanted to visit the city, and – spoiler alert – it was even better than I expected.
Is A 3-Day Trip to Barcelona Enough?
Well, let me put it straight, you can get to know Barcelona in just two days, but that is not ideal. If you can add an extra day to your trip, you won’t regret it, or even a fourth, or fifth… the more, the merrier, right?
In this guide, I will share useful tips to avoid the mistakes I made during my Barcelona journey. Every single thing you’ll find here is based on my experience. Alright, let’s begin and make your 3-day stay in this city unforgettable!
Day 1: The Adventure Begins
A concern for many travelers is where to stay. And rightly so, it should not be taken lightly, as it can affect your future options. While being near the city center is pricier, you can save both money and time by having easy access to the main sites. Are you willing to waste your precious time in Barcelona commuting?
Stay at the Heart of the Action
The first thing I planned for my 3-day trip to Barcelona was to stay at the HCC St. Moritz hotel, located in the modern Eixample district. Undoubtedly, it was a wise decision, I was in awe of the majesty of this 19th-century building just by walking inside. A major perk was that it was a 10-minute walk away from many iconic landmarks.
Uncover Barcelona’s Hidden Gems
In just 10 minutes, I walked to Plaça de Catalunya, and its impressive modern and contemporary architecture eclipsed by far the images I had of it. Besides, it’s the perfect starting point for an endless journey in Barcelona. From there, you can easily walk to many other places like Passeig de Gràcia for shopping and cafes. Plus, you can reach other parts of the city via bus and metro lines from there.
Between Plaça de Catalunya and Port Vell is La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous street, often compared to Paris’s Champs Élysées. It’s a must-visit for anyone in the city, whether you are fond of entertainment or cultural events. While passing by, I bumped into plenty of street performers, artists, and musicians. I also saw the historic Gran Teatre del Liceu and the famous Boqueria Market. By the way, have you ever wondered why so many people were obsessed with this market? I now get it: it’s a food lover’s paradise with fresh local delicacies.
Be warned! La Rambla isn’t the best option to have dinner. Due to the heavy tourist traffic, it’s overpriced and the quality of the food is not up to Barcelona’s standards. Dare to venture a few blocks away to discover some other hidden dining gems.
Add Local Flavors to Your Journey
I went for dinner at Viana, it excelled in its food, service, and pricing. Despite the noisy streets nearby, the restaurant’s ambiance stayed relaxing. My hands-down favorite was the food, simply spectacular. We chose dishes from the à la carte menu, but the €40 tasting menu is the best value if you have a hearty appetite. Although we didn’t have a reservation, we were offered to sit on the chairs at the bar, which were comfortable. Thus, it’s advisable to book at least two days in advance. To sum it up, round out your 3-day trip with a taste of unique flavors.
Day 2: Discover Gaudi
What’s the buzz about the architect Gaudí? Why do guided visits always feature his famous works?
I hope I wasn’t the only one who may have missed out on this. As it happens, Gaudí, apart from being an architect, pioneered a unique architectural style called Catalan modernism. He was a true innovator who pushed the boundaries of his time, leaving a legacy of bold and original designs.
Hence, on my second day, I wanted to see for myself, how deserved its fame is. Here’s a snapshot of this part of my 3-day trip and my view.
La Sagrada Familia
In a nutshell: a powerful symbol of religion and culture in Spain. This masterpiece has intricate facades, tree-like columns, and an interior bathed in heavenly light from colorful stained-glass windows. Words can’t quite capture it. Additionally, I highly suggest exploring the interior and climbing the towers, not just taking pictures from outside. In the same way, the souvenir shop is fantastic, and don’t forget to bring headphones for the audio guide.
This one would be a discovery like no other, worth adding to your journey. I only saw the façade facing the avenue, and it was hypnotizing. It feels like stepping into a fairy tale, with magical shapes and colors. It’s a good idea to buy tickets in advance and visit early in the morning. Plus, you’ll find many famous houses designed by high-profile architects in the area, making it a great walk.
A must-visit place inspired by the sea with curved shapes and evocations of rocks and seaweed. It takes you back in time with its historic charm. Besides, it is the only exhibition space in Barcelona whose entire collection is made up of Gaudí’s work. Visitors can explore five floors of the building, including the breathtaking rooftop with impressive views. Seriously, do not miss the rooftop!
A Culinary Hidden Gem
For my second day, I chose to have dinner at a cozy and elegant restaurant, Pau Claris 190. There, the attention to detail was exceptional, and the seasonal specials, which included delightful desserts, were the best part. We savored dishes made with local ingredients like Figueres onions and Girona suckling lamb, with the turbot being the star. It was truly a memorable meal right in the middle of Barcelona.
Day 3: A Proper Farewell
On my last day, I made my way to the trendy quarter of El Born, which is known for its fancy boutiques and medieval streets. Some places of interest are the Santa Maria del Mar Basilica and the Picasso Museum.
Near that location, in the Gothic Quarter, you’ll see treasures like the Barcelona Cathedral and historical remains from the Roman Empire to the Civil War. By contrast, they coexist with vibrant artisan shops and unique culinary options.
The Picasso Museum
The Picasso Museum has many galleries for you to explore. It features several works from Picasso’s early style to his evolving techniques. While it can be a bit pricey, I believe it’s a must-visit. You may plan for a two-hour visit to enjoy the extensive collection of paintings, ceramics, and sculptures. Even as someone not well-versed in art, I found the exhibit design admirable. A unique chance to view the works donated by Picasso himself to the city of Barcelona. Do not doubt to include this in your itinerary during your 3-day trip to Barcelona!
Enjoy Tapas In a Casual Evening
To end on a high note, I treated myself to Tapeo, a place that lives up to its name, which means “to eat tapas.” Tapas are small dishes meant for sharing, often served with drinks. A heads-up: dinner in Spain is quite late, so try to enjoy some delicious tapas in the meantime. Near the Picasso Museum, Tapeo is highly popular for its tasty tapas. Among my favorites were the squid-ink pasta and the fried fish. It is worth noting that, there seemed to be a Japanese influence with dishes like soy-marinated beef rib and tempura asparagus. Overall, the service was friendly and competent, as they spoke perfect English. In addition, arriving early is advisable since the place gets quite crowded.
Essential Tips for a 3-Day Stay in Barcelona
Take note of these tips to avoid some newbie mistakes:
- Get your essential things before Sunday, most grocery shops in Spain are closed that day.
- Plan your trip to Barcelona just before or after peak season. For better prices, shorter lines, and enjoyable weather avoid May to September.
- Don’t rent a car or take taxis. Public transportation is cheap, reliable, and the best way to get around. Options include buses, metro, and bicycles.
- Carry some cash for small purchases. In Spain, many small stores don’t accept cards for amounts less than €10 or €15.
- Wear comfy shoes for exploring on foot. You’ll walk on bumpy roads and small paths for several days.
- Don’t forget to configure a Yoho Mobile eSIM, as seamless network connectivity will make your traveling easier.
Final Words about My Visit
If you have just three days, make an effort to visit some of these places and try local cuisine. For instance, Gaudí’s architectural wonders are truly fascinating. Keep in mind that well-located lodging will give you easy access to many places of interest.
In short, my 3-day trip to Barcelona was one of the best adventures of the year. Thus, I highly recommend it for an amazing fusion of cultural experiences and delicious cuisine.