My wife and I will be in Barcelona for two solid days, middle of this coming June. We fly in from Zürich the night before, I have two solid days, then fly to Rome the next day. We are both retired, but quite active. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!
Any help you can give us about what you are interested in?
Barcelona is a large city with a lot to do, you can go the traditional touristy route, or go to more off the beaten path places.
Thank you for the quick reply. I guess whole days sounds better than solid days. I know my wife is very interested in Gaudi or however, you say it. I think she would like to do at least one or two of those tours. The trip could be a mix of a couple of the more popular type/tourist things, and some quaint, not so tourist.
Buy your entrance to the Sagrada Familia now online or beforehand:
Pick the earliest entry time possible to avoid crowds.
If possible get a guided tour of the city instead of DIY. Your accomodations can set that up.
If Gaudi sites interest you…you need to decide ASAP for next month. Most of these places require you to purchase timed tickets. They are very popular and reserved months ahead. You need to check with their websites. Hopefully you can still find some available options….
Ok, so only two full days and wanting to mix in more well known and lesser known places with some modernist sites. I'd recommend seeing on the first day la Sagrada Familia, Hospital de Sant Pau, and explore/dinner in the Vila de Gracia neighborhood. Day two you can check out National Art Museum of Catalonia, Montjuïc Castle for the views, explore Sant Antoni market, and tapas in el Poble Sec neighborhood. Stay in the Eixample, avoid Barrio Gotico/Las Ramblas.
If you are in Barcelona on an evening when there is a concert at the Palau de la
Musica, go. Get there early to wander around and take in the decor and architecture.
And make sure your concert is in the concert hall, not the Petit Palau.
They also do tours, but if your day is filled with other activities, then you can take in
this attraction in the evening. And then go to dinner afterwards.
La Sagrada Familia is a must. A masterpiece! We loved Palau Guell, also by Gaudi. Both require timed tickets. Skip Casa Mila. It’s overcrowded, time-consuming, and you don’t see much. The Palace of Music is spectacular. If you can’t see a performance, they offer an English-speaking tour. The week of 5/07/23, it was at 3:00pm. Watch Jose Andres’ episode in Barcelona on Netflix.
Roaming Parc Güell - we went early morning, but it got very crowded by noon as we were leaving.
A day trip to the Montserrat monastery. However, given you have only two days, this might take too much of your time?
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc at sunset.
Las Ramblas was not interesting to us.
Unknowingly, we were in Barcelona during the summer solstice (June 21 this year) and discovered it is a big party night for locals on the beach near where we were staying. Good family fun it seemed.
Overall, Barcelona was one of our favorite trips.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc looks like closed for drought.
We just returned from a week in Barcelona and can recommend visiting the Gaudi houses in the Eixample neighborhood (exteriors if interior tours are not available) and the Sagrada Familia, of course. The neighborhood is also filled with some very beautiful and unique mixes of Moderisme buildings, which we really enjoyed seeing.
Also, strolling through the Gothic and Raval quarters, visiting some of the old churches, sitting out at the cafes, visiting the Picasso and Catalunya Museums, all part of the fun.
We did a Gaudi sites tour with the company that bought out walks of Italy. I think that they are a sister company to devour. It might be city experiences. We started at the block of discord. Went inside the famous building there. Went to another Gaudi building that I don’t remember the name of right now. It was a short distance from the first set of buildings. Then to the park which was my least favorite. Finally to the Gaudi cathedral that I can’t spell right now. That was so beautiful. Especially the sun coming through the colored windows. The first day we went to the medieval art museum. I can’t think of its name but Rick recommended it in his book. We walked down the ramblas and ate at a side walk cafe. That took up 2 days.
*** 2 days is barely enough to get a taste of Barcelona, so think of it as a "taste" of a city you'll be returning in the future.
*** with all respect, Rick's city-specific travel plans are always a bit too "march or die" for my taste, so I'd pare it down
That said, you HAVE TO visit Sagrada Famila. We really liked going later in the day when the crowds waned. Beyond that, choose stuff that you aren post interested in to fill your time;
- Walking tour of Modermista buildings (you can search for a google maps link and combine it with Rick's walking tour)
- Evening rooftop concert/tour of one of the the Gaudi homes/performance at the Palau de la Musica is IMO a great splurge
- Civil War walking tours led by Nick Lloyd are fascinating and IMO important contextually to understand the city and its people
- La Boqueria is overpriced and jam-pack during that peak lunch/late time but I loved it. It's got a totally different vibe early in the morning for coffee and pastries as vendors set up. (prime picture taking time)
- The metro is safe and fairly efficient, but I thought the wayfinding signage sucked until you got your bearings.
The Sagrada Familia and Palau Musica were the highlights for us. We also enjoyed Park Guell, Casa Mila and other modernists sights.
Aside from Sagrada Familia our favorite place in Barcelona was Recinte Modernista de San Pau . Gorgeous and untouristed. Highly recommend. Just go.