Barcelona in 48 Hours: Your Guide to Unmissable Experiences (2024)

Barcelona in 48 Hours: Your Guide to Unmissable Experiences (2024) © Pack a Sandwich

In this easy-to-follow guide to discovering Barcelona in 2 days, I reveal the must-sees of my favorite city in Europe.

Planning a weekend in Barcelona? Excellent choice! Here, you will find all the useful tips you need on must-see activities, places to visit, transportation options, costs, and much more.

Located on the shores of the Mediterranean, Barcelona enjoys an ideal climate and exceptional gastronomy. This Catalan capital attracts many visitors in search of culture, history, sun, beaches, and entertainment. As one of the most popular and most visited cities in the world, Barcelona will offer you an unforgettable experience!

Admire the architecture of the Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is undoubtedly a pillar of modernism. This ambitious project, built by architect Antonio Gaudí, cannot be compared to any church you will see in Europe. Inspired by nature, the structures imitate the silhouette of trees, and the Sagrada Familia looks like a true stone forest from the inside.

Although I am not usually drawn to very touristy places, the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia left me absolutely speechless!

When to visit the Sagrada Familia?

Visit in the early morning or late afternoon to fully appreciate the splendor of the illuminated stained glass windows. If you have a limited budget or simply prefer to admire the external view of the basilica, head to the Plaza de Gaudi park. There you will find a beautiful view with its reflection on the water, which is well worth the visit.

To know how long to visit the Sagrada Familia, plan for about 1.5 hours for a complete exploration of the site.

  • Location: Sagrada Familia Metro
  • Opening hours: 9am to 6pm from October to March and 9am to 8pm from April to September.

Book and avoid the crowds at the Sagrada Familia

You must book online on the official website, the entrance fee is €26 (€30 for a guided tour), and free for children under 11 years old.

To avoid the queues, it is recommended to book your tickets online before your visit, as they can extend up to 1 hour due to the influx of tourists.

Discover Barcelona's largest market: La Boqueria.

An essential place to taste local and international specialties. Loved by locals and tourists alike, La Boqueria has over 300 stands of products and crafts typical of Barcelona and abroad. The place is filled with restaurants, fishmongers, delicatessens, fruits and vegetables, as well as a wide selection of sweet and savory specialties.

Stop here for a quick, rich, and cheap bite with a Catalonia ham and cheese sandwich, while contemplating the market's scene and action. The place is also popular for seafood tapas and smoothies.

Tips and opening hours for visiting the market

  • Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
  • Location: Liceu Metro, a 10-minute walk from Plaça de Catalunya.
  • Opening hours: Open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8:30pm.
  • Bring cash: Many vendors do not accept credit cards.
  • Avoid the crowds: It is recommended to visit the market at 10am.

Follow La Rambla to the beach

La Rambla is an iconic avenue in Barcelona that stretches for 1.2 km, from Plaça de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Monument at the old port. This avenue attracts visitors for its controversial and artistic side, as well as for its dark sides and vices, which makes its visit intriguing every time.

If you go from Liceu metro station to the Mediterranean Sea following La Rambla, you will visit a very important part of the city. However, I recommend that you do not try the restaurants located on La Rambla, as they are often tourist traps. Instead, enjoy the street artists and the lively atmosphere that reigns from morning to night.

Relax in front of the sea

Continue your exploration by strolling along Barcelona's most beautiful beaches, relax in the shade of palm trees, listen to the sound of waves, and don't hesitate to take a swim to fully enjoy your stay!

The water is pleasant, and although the beaches are often crowded, if you move away from the center a bit, you will find quieter and more beautiful beaches, such as Sant Sebastià or Somorrostro.

Get lost in the Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter is one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. Its narrow medieval streets are very pleasant to walk through and form the perfect place to enjoy the city center in peace. Take the time to appreciate the beauty and richness of the facades and monuments of this historic neighborhood.

What to do in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter?

  • Barcelona Cathedral: A wonderful construction from the 14th century. The entrance fee is €7, and it includes access to the temple, cloister, choir, museum, chapel, and terraces where you can see the whole city.
  • El Call: See the Great Synagogue, which is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to the 6th century. Barcelona's Jewish quarter was once one of the most important in Southern Europe.
  • Plaza Real: You will find restaurants, bars, and street performances. At night, the square becomes extremely festive with nightclubs and people outside until dawn!

Where to eat in the Gothic Quarter on a budget?

Although the gastronomy of the Gothic Quarter is very popular, prices are generally quite high. However, I recommend the excellent Tucco Real Food Born restaurant, located just a few steps from Plaza Real. Enjoy delicious dishes in a warm atmosphere for less than €10.

Discover the unique neighborhood of El Raval

I would go back to Barcelona just for this... El Raval is one of the most charming and authentic neighborhoods in Barcelona. Less frequented by tourists, it is nevertheless one of the must-sees in the city. If you are in search of adventure, don't miss the opportunity to discover its lively small streets, intense nightlife, and wide selection of affordable bars and restaurants. You will love it!

The best affordable places to eat and drink in El Raval

  • L'Ovella Negra Ramblas: for drinking good beers with locals in a rustic and relaxed atmosphere where everyone talks and jokes... It's wonderful.
  • Paloma Blanca and Rincón del Raval: enjoy Mediterranean and Moroccan flavors for less than €8 with incredible service from the staff.
  • La Familia del Raval: taste Filipino delights at a good price in a karaoke atmosphere and a strongly Asian clientele that transports you directly to the Philippines for a meal!
  • MACBA Square (Plaça dels Àngels): a young and festive atmosphere in the heart of the neighborhood, very popular for socializing with friends and for skateboard enthusiasts. I always had great encounters at this place.

Experience a neighborhood bar

In Barcelona, there is a wide choice of themed bars for all tastes, and the Nevermind Bar is a perfect example of how concepts can be pushed to the maximum!

Inside, you will find hundreds of graffiti, a real skate ramp, as well as a popcorn machine, a foosball table, comfortable sofas, and a retro arcade machine. The place is simply great and quickly becomes a second home for all fans of the genre.

Spend the evening visiting one of the best underground bars in El Raval, where you can enjoy local beers and excellent cocktails in a relaxed atmosphere inspired by the grunge style of the 90s.

Take a walk through Park Güell

The Park Güell is one of the most photogenic places in the city of Barcelona, with its undulating structures and colorful ceramic mosaics. It is considered one of Gaudí's masterpieces and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Where is the park located?

The park is a 20-minute walk from the Lesseps or Vallcarca metro stations on the green line (L3). To get there, you can check the official park website to discover different route options and book your tickets online.

Price and time to visit the Park Güell

Entry is free for most of the park, and it takes about 1.5 hours to complete a full tour. The visit is worth it for the nature and views of the city. Walk along the small dirt paths surrounded by trees and vegetation.

To visit the part of the monuments and sculptures:

  • Adults: €10
  • 65 years and over: €7
  • Children aged 6 to 11: €7
  • Children under 6: free
  • Gaudí House Museum: €5.50 extra in addition to the entrance fee.

For a guided tour of Park Güell, you can join the daily tour at 4 pm. Lasting 1 hour and 15 minutes, it includes a skip-the-line ticket that allows you to avoid the entrance queue. The cost of this ticket is included in the tour price, so there is no need to purchase an additional ticket.

What are the costs of the guided tour?

  • Adults: €24
  • 65 years and over: €21
  • Children aged 6 to 11: €15
  • Children under 6: free of charge

Wander around the Gràcia district

Here, bohemian and multicultural vibes dominate. Starting from the Passeig de Gracia metro station, you'll find cozy spots, independent cinemas, trendy cafes, and several artist workshops. This neighborhood has been a place of expression for many architects, including Gaudì, so the streets are overflowing with artistic facades to see, a true open-air museum!

What to do in the Gràcia neighborhood?

On Passeig de Gracia street, you'll find Casa Batlló (pictured above), whose facade really catches the eye. The bone-shaped undulating structures come straight out of a fantasy world. If you want to take a peek inside, the price is €25 when booking online.

Enjoy the view and try typical Barcelona dishes at my favorite tapas bars:

  • L'Arrosseria Xàtiva: The paella is delicious! Generous portions, reasonable prices, and charming service.
  • Txapela: Try Basque pintxos and more than 52 choices of tapas.
  • Gatamala: The best tapas in the area and really affordable. Make sure to reserve as it often gets crowded.

See Barcelona from the air

Montjuïc Hill offers you the chance to visit the National Art Museum of Catalonia, the Archaeology Museum, the Botanical Garden with over 2,000 plant species, historical sites like the Olympic Ring, the former military fortress, and even a castle!

Barcelona Views from Above

Enjoy stunning views of Barcelona by taking the Montjuïc Cable Car. This popular attraction takes you up Montjuïc Hill while admiring spectacular views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Montjuïc Cable Car is open every day from 10am. It costs €10 for a one-way trip or €13.50 for a round trip and is easily accessible by taking the Montjuïc Funicular from the Paral·lel metro station (L2 and L3) or buses 55 and 150.

Sound and Light Show at the Magic Fountains

More than 7 million combinations of light and water jets will capture your attention. The fountain is located in the Plaza de Carles Buïgas, at the bottom of Montjuïc Hill, and the showtimes vary depending on the time of year. The shows start every half hour and last between 10 and 15 minutes.

Say goodbye to Barcelona

In the charming streets of the El Poble-Sec neighborhood, filled with colorful murals, tapas bars, and nightclubs, you can discover the lively and bohemian atmosphere of Barcelona. The best thing to do is to toast with a delicious glass of vermouth (flavored wine) or tinto de verano (refreshing wine drink), which is an essential local tradition.

The El Poble-Sec neighborhood is also famous for its thriving artistic scene, with many theaters, concert halls, and artistic performances. You can attend traditional flamenco shows in the tapas bars of the area or visit renowned venues such as the Teatre Lliure or the Mercat de les Flors. Whether you're an art lover or simply looking for a lively evening, this neighborhood is a must-visit in Barcelona.

Best hostels in Barcelona

  • St Christopher's Inn: €12 to €17 with buffet breakfast included.
  • Urbany Hostel BCN GO!: €12 to €18 with breakfast included.
  • No Limit Hostel Graffiti: €15 to €25.

How much does a 2-day trip to Barcelona cost?

For a 2-day trip to Barcelona, with accommodation, you should budget at least €50 to €75 per day, depending on the number of activities you do and your choices of hotels and restaurants.

  • Accommodation: €15-20
  • Meals and drinks: €20-30
  • Transportation: €5-15
  • Single ticket for all transportation (metro, bus, tram): €2.40
  • Hola Barcelona Travel Card 2 days: €16.40
  • Hola Barcelona Travel Card 3 days: €23.80

A city rich in culture and traditions

So, in these final words, you are guaranteed a wonderful experience in this dream city. Enjoy this cutting-edge international destination, taste delicious Mediterranean cuisine, savor a drink by the beach, and broaden your cultural horizons. But I must warn you... once you travel to Barcelona, it will be hard to say goodbye!

Photo credits: La Rambla - Juan Pablo Ortiz Arechiga, Beach - Meindert van D, El Raval - RdA Suisse, Casa Batlló - Keith Roper, Montjuïc - Patrick Mueller, Poble Sec -


Where is the best place to eat in Barcelona on a budget?

To find restaurants serving hearty and delicious meals in Barcelona, it is recommended to head to the El Raval district. Two popular options are Paloma Blanca and Rincón Del Raval, which offer a variety of homemade Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes at reasonable prices. The portions are generous and there are also vegetarian options. Customers are treated like royalty, with free starters, mint tea, and their main meal for less than 8 €.

If you prefer Asian cuisine, La Familia Del Raval offers excellent Filipino food at an affordable price. The restaurant offers an authentic atmosphere and even has karaoke in the evenings, making you feel like you're in the Philippines.

To make the most of your trip, be sure not to miss Barcelona's must-see attractions. Bon appétit and have a great trip!

The best ways to travel around Spain for a backpacker?

Your best low-cost option for long-distance travel in Spain is to take buses with Flixbus. You can download their mobile application on your phone, and their website contains detailed information that will guide you from the first to the last step. The buses are comfortable, with plenty of legroom, and the prices are unbeatable.

Carpooling is also an excellent way to get around Spain. In addition to being environmentally friendly, it will allow you to meet local people. Although carpooling may be limited in some regions, it's still worth checking out the BlaBlaCar website. This carpooling service is safe and frequently used in Western Europe.

Have a great trip and be sure to make the most of your visit to Spain. Don't miss out on the best attractions to see in Barcelona!

How can I get to Volos from Skiatos in Greece?

To go from Skiathos to Volos in Greece, taking a ferry is a pleasant option, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of the Mediterranean. Ferries are available several times a day and the trip takes about 2 hours. Prices range from 20 to 60 €, depending on the seat and the boat you choose.

You can ask your hotel to help you book or buy your tickets online on websites like Greeka and Ferryscanner. And most importantly, don't forget to enjoy your stay on the island of Skiathos to explore its wonders and relax by the sea!

Maxime Boudrias

About the author Maxime Boudrias

Max is a seasoned web developer, entrepreneur, and musician from Montreal. For the past five years, he has been a digital nomad, traveling to 56 countries. Passionate about authentic and off-the-beaten-path travel experiences, he shares his adventures to inspire others to pursue their travel dreams affordably and with ease.

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