Are you going to spend a weekend in Barcelona? Do you know what are the must-see places and what local specialities you should try? Barcelona is one of my favourite destinations for a city break. You will be amazed by Antoni Gaudi’s unique works, the Gothic Quarter full of narrow streets and delicious dining options! In this blog post, you will find a list of places that I really enjoyed during my weekend in Barcelona.
What is the best time to spend a weekend in Barcelona? It depends what temperatures do you prefer. Summer in Barcelona may be quite hot, around 30°C – 35°C. For me it’s too much so this is why I decided to visit Barcelona in autumn, in October to be exact. Flights to Barcelona are cheaper around that time and the weather is perfect to explore the city. Didn’t find a cheap flight? What about a weekend in Athens?
Medieval buildings and narrow, twisting streets that create a labyrinth. That’s nothing else than the Gothic Quarter (spa. Barri Gòtic) located in the heart of Barcelona old city. I instantly fell in love with this place and spent here the entire day. It’s definitely a must-see place during a weekend in Barcelona and personally, my favourite bit of the city! Just have a look at the below photos and architecture from the 13th – 15th century. Impressive, right? Make sure to visit insanely beautiful Bishop’s Bridge and Cathedral of Barcelona.
It’s worth to visit the Gothic Quarter during the day to capture the details of medieval buildings. It’s also worth to visit at night when the place is beautifully illuminated. Nightlife doesn’t disappoint here either!
Tasting local food always ranks high on my to-do’s list when I go travelling. Make sure to add this one to your itinerary for a weekend in Barcelona because food is an integral element of Spanish culture.
Nearby the Gothic Quarter, there is a tapas bar, Celta Pulperia. It’s one of those authentic, Spanish places where waiters are constantly in a rush, salsa music in on and you can hear dishes crackling in the kitchen. I tried here a couple of things from the menu. My favourite ones are fresh seafood (prawns), pimientos de padrón (fried green peppers, sprinkled with the flaked sea salt) and pan con tomate (bread with a juicy, ripe tomato, homemade version is never as good as the Spanish one). Absolutely fantastic!
This one is for real foodies! Located not too far from the Gothic Quarter, Pastisseria Hofmann is another place worth a visit. It’s definitely not Spanish but you can’t miss it. This place is famous for the award-winning mascarpone croissant. Trust me. It’s heaven on earth. I also tied the one with mango filling and it didn’t disappoint either. These croissants are delicious and addictive. I’m sure you will be back for more!
If it comes to travelling and food, I follow a simple rule. I always get my hands-on the local specialities. So make sure to dine in restaurants where you can see and hear Spanish people. It’s undoubtedly the best way to experience the local cuisine and by doing so, you will definitely get a real taste of Catalonia. Enjoy!
What Barcelona would be without Antoni Gaudi’s works? This Spanish architect is recognized by unique style and highly individualistic designs. Park Güell was meant to serve as an estate for well-off families with 60 triangular plots, a network of paths and viaducts. This project has never been finished by Gaudi, but it remains one of his most famous works. Park Güell was eventually taken over by Barcelona City Council.
The main point of the park is the terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. This bench is tiled with broken, ceramic tiles forming beautiful patterns that shine bright in the sun. Gaudi’s multicolored mosaics are a part of his unique and extraoridinary style. Don’t miss out the 2,5-metres salamander, located at the main entrance. It’s a symbol of the park and quintessential Gaudi’s style.
Park Güell is a highly touristic place so you need to be prepared for crowds of people all year round. To make things a bit better, I would recommend you to visit the place in the early morning, shortly after its opening. You can also book tickets online and choose the time of entry. The ticket costs €10 (for an adult) and your reservation will be held for 30 minutes after the chosen time of entry. Make the most of it!
MERCAT DE LA BOQUERIA
Let’s talk about food again! Mercat de la Boqueria is a worldwide famous market that offers a very diverse selection of goods, including seafood (fresh oysters!), meat, fish, veggies, fruit and sweets. There are also small bars and restaurants that serve dishes prepared of products available on the market. It’s another place worth a visit is you wish to taste or purchase local products. Are you going to grab some goodies?
Mercat de la Boqueria is closed on Sundays. Keep that in mind while planning your weekend in Barcelona. If you enjoy seafood, make sure to try some fresh oysters. They were delicious. You won’t be disappointed!
BUNKERS DEL CARMEL
Bunkers del Carmel remains one of the most popular viewpoints in Barcelona. It offers an incredible bird’s-eye-view of the city. A few years ago, this place was mainly known by local people. Nowadays, Bunkers del Carmel is not only visited by lots of Spanish but also by tourists. It’s a cool place to have a wine and enjoy yourself in the last rays of setting sun. Do you fancy coming here during your weekend in Barcelona?
The path to Bunkers del Carmel is not marked, but I didn’t have any problems with finding the way up. This place is very popular and I’m sure you will see other people going in the same direction. Fun fact, on the top of the hill, there was a guy selling alcohol. If you run out of your personal supplies too quickly, you may be lucky to buy a beer or wine on top of the hill too. I’m not sure if the guy is there every night though!
Some people are not keen to visit churches and cathedrals. Some people don’t even consider those to be a part of their itinerary. Without a doubt, Sagrada Família is a symbol of Barcelona and the most notorious work of Antoni Gaudi. This project is truly exceptional. So unique that it has not been finished since 1882. According to Gaudi’s vision, none of the details can be identical, so they are precisely and individually sculptured. Every inch of the temple is a miracle of architecture. It’s even hard to notice all its details.
The abundance of exterior and interior details of Sagrada Família is overwhelming. Is it worth it to go inside? I think that you should definitely give it a go and buy yourself a ticket to visit the temple. The columns and façades are particularly interesting, as well as the Gaudi’s use of light. The temple has large stained-glass windows which put colors on the naves. It’s planned to finish the construction of Sagrada Familia in 2026. I’m curious if this time the work will be accomplished on time. We shall see!
The cheapest ticket to Sagrada Familia costs €17 (for an adult, no entry to towers). As this is the most famous landmark of Barcelona, it’s worth to purchase a ticket online. During the high season the tickets may be sold out well in advance. If you buy your ticket online, you can only enter the temple at the time specified on your ticket. You won’t be allowed to get in earlier. 1 hour inside the temple should be enough.
Tibidabo is the Europe’s third oldest amusement park. Can you believe that? I can, based on the technical condition of its constructions. Most of the original rides, some of which date to the turn of the 20th century, are still in use. It’s not a big deal unless you want to hop on the carousels. I visited this place due to splendid views over the city. Tibidabo amusement park is located on the highest Barcelona hill at 512 metres. There is also the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Quite uncommon combination, right?
The most affordable way to get to Tibidabo is to use public transport (subway and bus) and get to the old cable car station called Estacio Inferior (get off at Pl Doctor Andre bus stop). From this point, you can walk up the hill. Use google maps at the beginning. The app will show you the way up exactly from Estacio Inferior station. After a couple of minutes, there will be some signs to follow. It takes 50 minutes to walk up the hill. The place is interesting enough to check it out during a weekend in Barcelona.
You can enter Tibidao amusement park with no ticket, completely free of charge. However, if you want to ride on carousels, you need to prepare yourself for an expense of €28,50. This is the price for a ticket for an adult that entitles to jump on carousels in Tibidao amusement park. Are you keen to try any of those?
PARK DE LA CIUTADELLA
If you are looking for some green space in Barcelona, I would definitely recommend you to visit Park de la Ciutadella. This is a very nice spot to rest a bit in shade, have a picnic or go for a walk. Spanish parks are majestic and absolutely beautiful. Make sure to visit this spot during your weekend in Barcelona.
If you are a sea lover, don’t miss the opportunity to go to the beach during your weekend in Barcelona. There are two beaches located close to Park de la Ciutadella: Playa de Barceloneta and Playa de Bogatell.
CASA BATLLÓ & CASA MILÁ
Even if you are not coming to Barcelona to follow the Antoni Gaudi’s footsteps, you will most likely come across his works anyway. Casa Batlló and Casa Milà are another famous projects of this Spanish artist. Both buildings are located at the same street, Passeig de Gracia. Most tourists view these houses from the street and don’t go inside. This time I was one of them, mainly due to the relatively high entry fees.
The cheapest ticket to Casa Batlló costs €25 and €24 to Casa Milà (for an adult). You can also buy a ticket online. A huge advantage of doing so, is skipping the line at the entrance and a slightly lower ticket price.
These are the must-see places for a weekend in Barcelona. Which place is your favourite so far? Let me know by leaving a comment below.