How to spend 48 hours in Barcelona

How to spend 48 hours in Barcelona

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

For many people, the city of Barcelona is a top priority when it comes to making a travel bucket list. Here is the good news. Whether you have a full week or only 48 hours, you can experience both the must-sees of this Catalan city, and slow down to understand what makes Barcelona so special.

As Spain’s second-largest city, behind the capital city of Madrid, Barcelona has its own distinct feel, most notably with its Modernist architecture thanks to designer Antoni Gaudí. Its location along the coast also contributes to its character with beautiful beaches that will entice even the most planful of tourists.

What to see

With 48 hours in Barcelona, you can visit the must-sees and a few of the places you can’t fit in a quick trip (but you should). On the top of the list should be Sagrada Familia, one of Europe’s most magnificent cathedrals that has been under construction for over 100 years and isn’t expected to be completed until 2026! This is one of many structures designed by Gaudí worth visiting, in addition to Park Güell, Casa Milá and Casa Batlló, all representative of his Catalan Modernist style—side by side with the medieval history that still surrounds the city.

Celebrate another Spanish artist with a visit to the Picasso Museum, which houses over 4,500 works by the artist. Spending time wandering Barcelona’s streets should also be a top priority and to start, head to Las Ramblas, a pedestrian walkway with shops that will lead you through one of the city’s main squares, the Placa de Catalunya. You can also reach the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), a favorite neighborhood for travelers for its narrow medieval streets and trendy shops. For more strolling and shopping there is also the Mercat la Boqueria, Barcelona’s famous market.

A trip to this city should also include beach time. Whether you’re walking along the harbor or relaxing at Barceloneta Beach, make sure to squeeze in a seaside visit. If it is fútbol that brought you to Barcelona, a visit to Camp Nou may be in order to watch FC Barcelona.

What to eat and drink

To facilitate your wandering, you’re going to need to keep yourself fueled and what better way than with an exploration for your tastebuds? Catalan cuisine has similarities to other Spanish regions, but it also offers its own distinct menu. Here’s what you should try:

Tapas are the name of the game, with the “bomba” being the legendary bite in Barcelona. This is a fried ball of potatoes and pork, served with two tasty sauces. Its name, “the bomb,” comes from the hand grenades used in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War. Other bites include “Pa amb tomàquet,” or a piece of crusty bread slathered with tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. Being so close to the sea, you will find great seafood around the city too.

Lastly, to accompany your tapas or maybe celebratory paella, drink pairings can include sangria, Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, or some vermouth.

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