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3 1/2 days in Barcelona - itinerary feedback

We are going to Barcelona for the first time & arrive June 10. We are a family of 4, and have 2 teen boys - 14 & 16. This is our boys 1st trip to Europe! (We will be starting our trip in London, then flying to BCN and driving around the Costa Brava/beach for a few days, and then driving back to Barcelona for 4 days until we fly home).

I would appreciate some feedback on the itinerary I'm thinking about -- both in terms of logistics and maybe input regarding if this is well thought out with respect to our 2 teens!

Day 1 - Saturday ( 1/2 day) We will arrive in Barcelona (by car) around noon. We can't check in to our flat until 3pm. Our flat is a 5 minute walk from Casa Batllo for reference. I was thinking of a Hop-on Hop off bus to give us an overview of the city. Then check-in to flat whenever where done, and then maybe Tapas/Flamenco show

Day 2: Sunday.

AM La Sagrada Familia
After lunch: Casa Vicnes

Late Afternoon: Park Guell

Day 3: Monday:
Plaza de Cataluna
Walk Las Ramblas
Mercat de la Boqueira
Barcelona Cathedral
Gothic Quarter

Day 4: Tuesday
AM : Casa Batllo -- Go inside
Walk by Casa Mila -- see outside only
Palaau de la Musica – Go inside
Walk around El Born

Day 5: Wed
Our flight departs BCN at 2:45pm. So I think we need to be at the airport by 11:45am. I (think) we will need to leave our flat by 11am. So I guess we have a little bit of time in the morning to do something maybe. We are staying a 5 minute walk from Casa Battlo

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
25625 posts

I'm nuts for modernista architecture, so I've seen a lot of it. I don't really recommend Casa Vincens for the general tourist. I thought the inside wasn't all that distinctive compared to the outside or to the interiors of places like Casa Mila (which I preferred to Casa Batllo). They may have done more work on the interior since my 2019 visit, but there just wasn't that much there, by comparison to your other options in Barcelona. I'd recommend the Sant Pau modernista site instead, but honestly, I don't think you need five such stops in 3-1/2 days, and Sant Pau is a lot larger than Casa Vicens. I don't have children so am not the best one to suggest what would appeal to your teens (also, I'm female), but this is a very architecture-focused itinerary.

The Ramblas is just a somewhat-pickpocket-infested street. You'll probably find yourself on it as you move around the city, but I don't see any reason to make a point of going there.

I also don't recommend the HO/HO bus. On the first of my two relatively recent trips to Barcelona (2016), I arrived at Placa de Catalunya on the airport bus. As I walked to my nearby hotel, I observed a very, very long line of people waiting at the HO/HO bus stop. There was no bus visible, and all those people were not going to fit on one bus. It didn't look like a good situation at all. I'd find a place to store the luggage and walk around instead.

The modernista sights in Barcelona are very popular. You should have tickets for La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, and Casa Batllo in your hands when you arrive at the sights; the ticket lines can be horrendous. I wouldn't anticipate a problem at Casa Vicens (or Sant Pau). The English tours at the Palau de la Musica Catalana sometime book up in advance, but there is the option of touring the building on our own with just an audio guide or a brochure, and I don't know whether there are any issues with just walking up to buy those types of tickets. The most popular cities in Europe are getting slammed this year, and I haven't been to Barcelona since 2019, so I'm not well informed about current conditions there.

Do be careful about your valuables in Barcelona, and warn the teens about the risk of phone theft. The pickpockets are truly gifted.

Posted by
70 posts

Hi, just for information, which may help you make decisions regarding your itinerary. You may not know but this year is the centenary of the death of Lluís Domènech i Montaner — the brilliant architect of both the Palau de la Música and the hospital Sant Pau, now known as the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau. Being such it is possible to now buy combined tickets to visit the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site (the former Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau), the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Cafè Vienès of Casa Fuster for 32€ and a also combined ticket which allows you to visit the two most emblematic heritage spaces of Lluís Domènech i Montaner: Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site (former Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau) and Palau de la Música Catalana for 24€

Here's a link with an excellent short video which is well worth a look at:

And here's a link (in English) to information about combined ticket 1:

And a link to combined ticket 2:

The combined tickets will save you a good chunk and save you some hassle.
Enjoy your visit.

Posted by
12 posts

This a good, reasonable itinerary. Recently used a similar one for a March visit to Barcelona. A few tips: Plaza de Cataluna and Las Ramblas are really just place you walk through on your way to somewhere else -- not really sites in themselves. Casa Mila is a must-see, even your teenagers will enjoy it. If you have to choose one, we enjoyed it much more than Casa Batilo. The historic sites in your Monday schedule are excellent, especially the Mercat. On this pickpocket stuff: This forum is full of warnings of rampant thievery in Barcelona. We did not find this to be a problem at all. If you pay attention to your surroundings and avoid shoulder purses and other obvious temptations, you'll be fine. Have fun!

Posted by
61 posts

I was in Barcelona the first week of April. I took the hop on, hop off bus from Placa de Catalunya. It gave me a great overview of the City, without having to add a lot more walking to the trip. There are several routes available (you can do all of them within the 24 hour period, if you want). I did the red route, which included the harbor, Parc Montjuic (elevated park with great views of the City), the stadium for FC Barcelona and several Modernista buildings in the Eixample. The blue route stop got you close to Park Guell, which still meant an uphill walk. for more information. Well worth the fare. The busses run frequently, so the lines move quickly. Sit on the upper level and consider a sweater, dependent on the weather. The red route took about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete.

Posted by
123 posts

I loved our visit to Barcelona in 2019 and we did many of the things you’ve listed. Our travel group included 4 kids. May I suggest a few non-Modernista sites as possible ways to break it up:

Picasso Museum - the collection is only a portion of his work but it is fantastic and the building and surrounding area is nice

Beach and/or seaside promenade - sure it’s a man made beach and can get crowded but the ocean is always nice and that area of the city is nice for sea food and casual beach scene

FC Barcelona - season might be over in June but check to see if there are any exhibition matches for the men’s or women’s teams; can be a great place for culture watching (and soccer)

Monserrat - yes, this is a side trip. I know your time is short but this was one of family’s favorite things; our kids still talk about it

Food tour - no explanation needed

I would have also recommended the Font Magica but I read that it is temporarily closed as a water saving measure.

I think your itinerary is fine but a few of these might give you a bit more variation. My dad is an architect and so I love the Modernista aspects to Barcelona. I think these are some other options to consider so you’re seeing other things as well.


Posted by
284 posts

We did our Barcelona trip in 2011. Yes--Sagrada Familia is phenomenal of course. I don't remember waiting long to get in, and we didn't have reservations beforehand, but this didn't seem to be an issue back then. The Mercat, Plaza, Cathedral, Born, Gothic, were all good places to see and walk through. Be sure to check out the resident geese at the Cathedral ( I think we learned about from RS). Guell was impressive from a Gaudi standpoint, but a bit too crowded for me, at least on the day that we were there. As others have said, Ramblas is more a way of getting to other places vs a destination in itself. We didn't have any thief issues, though with all the walking amidst the crowd on the Ramblas, I could see how it would be an issue. We also really enjoyed going up the hill to the Montjuic Park area. We took the tram up, and it was nice to be above the city walking around in the park setting. They have the Castle, Joan Miro Foundation, and the Olympic Stadium. We actually had the stadium all to ourselves for a while, which was nice solitude though a bit eerie. We spent some time walking along the beach one day, and had drinks at the top of the W Hotel there at the end of the beach. Also really enjoyed walking around Cuitadella Park--a big central green space. For a day trip we took the train to Sitges.

We just returned from Barcelona. La Sagrada Familia is a must-see. It requires timed tickets - get them in advance. Check on Sunday tours, though. Our guide mentioned they hold Mass there on Sunday mornings.
We thought Casa Mila was a waste of time, too crowded and not much to see inside. We loved Palau Guell, also by Gaudi. You really see his genius and creativity there. The Futbol game, if possible, is a good idea. If you have access to Netflix, watch chef Jose Andres trip to Barcelona with his teenage daughters. The patisserie, Escribe, was as good as he said. Take the subway to the tram up the hill to visit the Olympic Park, if that interests you. You’ll get a spectacular view of the city, too. Please note, everyplace is already crowded.