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2 Day itinerary in Barcelona / Sagrada Família etc..

Hello, we're a couple travelling on Oct. only 2 full days in Barcelona. I was wondering is this itinerary doable?
We'll be staying at Sunotel Club Central. Can you please give suggestions on how to go about this - also we love to walk.
Day 1: Sagrada Família , Park Güell , Arc de triomfe, casa mila or Casa Batlló
Day 2 la Rambla, La boqueria market, Picasso Museum, Palau de la musica catalanya & Placa de Catalunya


Posted by
2207 posts

Hi, I think your itinerary is doable albeit rushed, but that is understandable as you have only two days :)

As for substance, you hit all the typical Barcelona tourist destinations, which is ok with some travelers, although I would recommend you switch out some of the more overrated "touristy" sites on your list, with lesser known and frankly more interesting places, for example:

  • Switch out Park Güell with Hospital de Sant Pau Modernist Site (closer to SF and less crowded)

  • Switch out Las Ramblas with a stroll through the narrow streets of Vila de Gràcia (the real Barcelona)

  • Switch out Picasso Museum with Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (artistic history of Catalonia)

Posted by
18869 posts

The thing about the Picasso Museum is that it can be incredibly, unbelievably, crowded. It was like that in 2016 and I can only assume it has not improved. It is possible to enjoy architecture in crowded conditions (e.g., Casa Batllo or Casa Mila) because much of what you're looking at is above people's heads. That is not true at the Picasso Museum. I was really frustrated at having to push through a mob of people to get close enough to read the labels posted beside the artworks. It's not that there was a crowd of people in front of one or two iconic paintings (that's common if a museum has a few well known works); the entire museum was packed with people except for the room containing the ceramics. So unless you're a big fan of Picasso, I urge you to skip that museum and go somewhere that is easier to enjoy.

I, too, am a fan of the MNAC. In addition to the paintings and sculptures it has magnificent frescoes rescued from churches in the Pyrenees and an interesting modernism collection that focuses on decorative arts, furniture and jewelry.

I agree with Carlos's other recommendations as well, though Parc Guell and Sant Pau are quite different experiences, and I didn't think the (admittedly crowded) conditions at Parc Guell degraded the experience terribly. Face it: Barcelona gets somewhere between 20 million and 32 million visitors a year (I've seen different numbers), so you will be among thousands of fellow visitors in Barcelona. At least don't waste any unnecessary time in line. You'll still probably have to queue up briefly even with a pre-purchased ticket.

Note that you'll need to pre-purchase tickets for any of the sites listed below that make the final cut because ticket lines can be more than an hour long, and sell-outs are distinctly possible. I recommend making one of the problem sites your first stop each morning, because the tickets will all be timed, and it is not so easy to figure out how long you'll want to spend at Site A or how long it will take to travel from there to Site B. At least you won't have such problems at the first site each day.

La Sagrada Familia
Parc Guell (tickets not sold on site at all)
Casa Mila
Casa Batllo
Picasso Museum
Palau de la Musica Catalana (English tours may sell out)

Because your visit is so short, you really cannot wait until you arrive to try to score tickets. The scattered tickets that might be available would perhaps not fit into a coherent sightseeing plan (overlapping times, etc.) First-time-slot tickets are usually especially popular because--as noted above--they somewhat simplify a tourist's schedule.

Posted by
252 posts

To the discussion of the Picasso museum I would add that if you are a fan, double check what's actually on display for the date(s) you are there. Last fall, we went only to find that about 80% of his work was on loan to other museums around the world. They substituted the Picasso works with those of other artists that were not particularly interesting. I would second the museum of Catalonian art--it was fascinating, not too expensive, not too crowded and easy to get to. We also enjoyed the Music Palace, but do book in advance, as the English tours usually sell out quickly.

Posted by
4866 posts

We used Barcelona Day Tours for a great tour of Barcelona that included most of what you have for both days (not Picasso or Palau...)

Park Guell is away from the city center the other places are all in the city.

Be sure to see the inside of Sagrada Familia.

Watch for pickpockets, wear a money belt.

Posted by
18869 posts

Honestly, I'm not clear on the value of a tour that takes you inside multiple modernista sites. They are expensive to begin with. It seems to me the tour would just add another layer of costs. All of the major ones except Sant Pau are massively crowded unless you have first-time-slot tickets, and they all have (in my experience) good audio guides. Although a tour guide might add some additional info, it would be a major disadvantage to me to have to keep pace with the group rather than choosing for myself how much time to spend in each area. If a sight offers its own tours, that's a bit different, because when the tour is over you should be able to keep wandering around, rather than being forced to move on with a tour group to another sight.

And if I wanted to go inside those sights and had only two days in the city, I wouldn't want to spend a chunk of my time walking past them, only to have to return later to see their interiors. Therefore, I'd be reluctant to sign up for any tour of the Eixample. I did very much enjoy the walking tour of the Barri Gotic offered by the tourist office, but it would probably be a challenge to fit that into the schedule on a 2-day visit. The more time-specific activities you have, the harder it is to organize your day.