I’ve put together a little guide on what to do, see, eat and drink in Barcelona in 72 hours!
I’m picking this post up a few months late which makes me sad, but you know when time totally slips away from you? Barcelona was such a great weekend city break and I’m longing to visit there again soon.
The second city break of the year saw me visiting Barcelona for a long weekend with my boyfriend James. The trip was originally planned around seeing The 1975, but as they cancelled their entire European tour (sob) we were left wondering what to do. We managed to pack loads into the weekend trip however during our 72 hour stay though, so I can’t complain!
We stayed at Acta Mimic in Barcelona for the duration of our stay, which was a charming hotel incorporated into an old theatre. The breakfast was delicious, the beds super comfy and the room was contemporary and airy. The staff were great and it was located just by the harbour and Las Ramblas – so a perfect location for anyone looking for a touristy spot that isn’t too noisy!
Here’s a breakdown of what we did in Barcelona, including day trips and tourist attractions I’d definitely recommend visiting. I wrote a seperate post on what to eat and drink in Barcelona, so take a read of that for some tips on the best cocktail, tapas and seafood bars!
We arrived at Barcelona around lunch time and headed to our hotel Acta Mimic for a quick nap. We woke up feeling much fresher and decided to head out and explore the Gothic Quarter to find somewhere to have dinner.
We headed down the Gothic Quarter and found The Grill Room, where James and I enjoyed a 3 course meal of sweet chilli vegetable pasta, a fresh fish and pork dish, and a lemon sorbet.
On our way back to our hotel Acta Mimic, we stumbled on Margarita Blue, a late night tex-mex and cocktail bar with a chilled out atmosphere. The cocktails are pretty cheaply priced, too!
We went back to Acta Mimic and enjoyed fresh mojitos at the bar, ready for a cosy night and to get some rest for a weekend of exploring!
Big Bus Barcelona Tour
Suitably full with an english and continental breakfast, we got ready to explore Barcelona for the day. Before we left the UK, I bought 2-day tickets for the Big Bus Barcelona as it’s the best way to explore a city. The ticket price includes a 2-day unlimited hop-on-hop-off useage, free walking tours and headphones to listen to the onboard commentary of the history of Barcelona.
There are two different routes, the East Route and the West Route.
The East route takes you to: Placa Catalunya, Catedral-Barri Gotic, Port Vell, Museu d’Historia de Catalunya, Barceloneta, Port Olimpic, Bogatell Beach, Nova Mar Bella Beach, Forum, Glories-Torre Agbar, La Sagrada Familia, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Park Guell, Tibidabo, La Pedrera/Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and Teatre Nacional-Auditori.
The West route takes you to: Placa Catalunya, Ciutadella-Zoo, Passeig Colomb, World Trade Center, Jardins de Miramar, Fundacio Joan Miro, Anella Olimpica, MNAC Museo Nacional de Catalunya, Poble Espanyol (Spanish Town), Caixa Forum, Placa d’Espanya, Estacio de Sants, Camp Nou, Placa Pius XII, L’illa Diagonal, Avinguda Diagonal, La Pedrera/Casa Mila and Casa Batllo.
On the first day we did the West route, and got off at a few stops that caught our eye.
Camp Nou Tour
I’m not a football fan in the slightest BUT I really enjoyed this trip! We got off the Big Bus at the Camp Nou stop and headed to the stadium for an afternoon of exploring. We had already pre-booked tickets online so it was quick and easy to get in. We booked a self guided tour around the stadium where we checked out the trophy cabinets, changing rooms, press rooms and of course, the pitch itself! It was a great little tour and there were plenty of photo opportunites throughout. We headed to the Nike store to check out the football kits too and all the souvenirs – I’m sure they make an absolute fortune in there!
The rest of the day was spent exploring on the top deck of the bus and getting off at the various stops that caught our eye.
We headed back to the main square, Placa Catalunya, and went to Mcdonalds. Not very original I know but I’m actually glad we went in there, it’s a whole different menu to the UK one! I had a chicken nugget wrap with pepper mayo (not the best but it filled a hole as my Nan would say) and James ordered a beef burger with onion rings and a beer. A BEER! Revolutionary.
We hopped back onto the tour bus and headed to the harbour and the shopping centre, but we didn’t end up finding any souvenir stands. There were some fantastic looking restaurants though, but the price to eat there was pretty steep. You’re paying to eat with a stunning view at the end of the day, but we fancied finding family-run, quaint restaurants to eat at.
We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and went for a walk into the town to find somewhere to eat for dinner. We found Colom Restaurant down a little side street, serving fresh tapas, paella and sangria. I was in absolute heaven here, the food was incredibley fresh and flavoursome and the staff were attentive and friendly. The restaurant was bustling with Spanish locals too – which is always a good sign! On the way back, we went to Stoke Bar and enjoyed a night of frozen strawberry daquiris!
We hopped on the Big Bus Tour Barcelona for the East Route to explore the other side of Barcelona.
When I was looking at things to do in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia was at the top of my list of must-sees. The cathedral is absolutely incredible and the photos that you see online will never do it true justice. Orginally, we started queuing for tickets but the queue was fairly long and we didn’t want to waste an afternoon waiting around. So instead, James bought tickets online using one of Barcelonas (many!) free wifi hotspots so we were able to go straight through.
We paid a little extra for the self-guided audio tour but it was well worth the money. The history behind the cathedral is just incredible and such an eye opener; I’d love to return once it is fully built and complete! The Roman Catholic Church was designed by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi in March 1882 but was sadly never completed due to his sudden death in 1926. It’s anticipated completition date is 2026, to coincide with the centenary of Gaudi’s death.
Feeling inspired by Gaudi’s work, we got the Big Bus to Park Guell to explore late afternoon. The bus stop is actually quite a walk from the park, with the majority of the walk uphill, but once you’re in the park the views make it all worthwhile. You can walk around the park for free or pay to get into some of the restricted areas; the park is free after 6:30pm to explore the restricted areas however! We walked around for a little and snapped some photos of the stunning park. The view point was just stunning as well – with beautiful panaromic views over Barcelona and the harbour. I can see why Gaudi was such a popular artist!
We headed back to the hotel after a day of exploring the city, and dressed up for our final meal in Barcelona. After a few recommendations on Twitter, we decided to head to Restaurante Ferran for fresh seafood and sangria. It was expensive but so, so worth it. This fresh prawn pasta was the most incredible past I’ve EVER had!
Our flight home Sunday was a nice afternoon one, so luckily we didn’t need to be up early. We packed our stuff and headed to the airport, with just enough euros to get us there! We had less than 3 euros to our name to spend at the airport, so we shared 5 Burger King chicken nuggets together; sad times.
The whole trip to Barcelona was just incredible and I can’t wait to return. It’s an absolutely stunning city with breath taking views and delicious food! Although it was warm at the beginning of February, I’d love to visit Barcelona again in the summer to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and pools.
Have you been to Barcelona before?
Ahhh I loved Barcelona and reading this post has just made me want to go back so much! You’re definitely right that the photos you see of the Sagrada Familia online will never do it justice, such an incredible building. Glad you had a fab weekend, and love the sound of the hotel incorporated into an old theatre!
Sophie xxx | Sophar So Good
I’ve been to Barcelona for a long weekend about 10 years ago (time flies!) but I’d love to go back. I never got to visit Sagrada Familia and it still annoys me – it looks so beautiful! Plus the idea of eating ALL the tapas really intrigues me too haha x
Laura // Middle of Adventure
I haven’t been to Barcelona, but I would love to. Especially to see the Sagrada Familia, it looks so different and interesting. You did lots of things in only 72 hours.
Its so sad that after such a wonderful trip where you enjoyed Mediterranean gastronomy you had to eat nuggets at BK! Next time in Barcelona I recommend taking a culinary experience, it gives you a lot to take back home!
I’ve been wanting to go to Sagrada Familia foreverrr…thank you for the tix tip!
I loved seeing what you did in Barcelona! I went for the same amount of time last year for a work thing and tried to cram in as much as I could. I didn’t do any of the tours you mentioned though, I’d love to do the bus one. The Sagrada Familia was jaw dropping though.
Amy – http://amyevans.co.uk