EUROPE
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain (Kyle Haney | GlobetrotterKyle.com)

Picking just the right city to visit in Europe is overwhelming, there’s no question about it. From hiking to Oeschinesee Lake in Switzerland to exploring the Roman Colosseum, both of which are incredible, the range of options and experiences is literally endless.

So much so that you can quickly develop analysis paralysis: the inability to make a decision based on the overwhelming amount of data or choices.

So, let this guide assure you that Barcelona is among the BEST locations to pick for a long weekend excursion while stationed in Europe.

“Why visit Barcelona?”

For a host of reasons, Barcelona commands a visit. From archaic and gothic architecture to some of the most delicious food in Europe, this is one place you don’t want to pass up.

Top reasons to visit Barcelona include:

  • Standing in the La Sagrada Família and internalizing the vertigo from looking up at the 45-meter-high columns designed to feel like a forest.
  • Watching the sunset at Carmel Bunkers before admiring the twinkling city lights below as they mimic the Milky Way above.
  • Eating tapas and drinking Spanish wine in a courtyard while kids play soccer with their friends in the adjacent cul-de-sac.
  • Filling your phone’s storage capacity with insta-worthy photos of quaint streets and ancient architectural styles in the Gothic Quarter.
  • Counting paddleboarders as they cruise by the Spanish coastline at Barceloneta Beach.

Short on time? Here are the Top 3 Sites in Barcelona.

“Here’s my ultimate itinerary for visiting Barcelona.”

Day 1:

You’ll pack a lot in on this day, so be sure to have some delicious tapas and sangria to fuel you back up.

1. Wake up around 7:30 and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee at Hidden Coffee Roasters. I highly recommend their pour over!

2. Make your way to the Cathedral of Barcelona and visit the church before the crowds show up.

Pay the small fee and climb to the roof of the Cathedral; it’s 100 percent worth it! You’ll get some of the best views (outside of the Carmel Bunkers) in all of Barcelona. The Spanish coast to the south and the beautiful city to the north; what more could you ask for?

3. Lunchtime! Between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., enjoy the best vegetarian tapas in Barcelona at Vegetalia Gòtic. Simply order the desayuno breakfast (even though it’s brunch) and thank me later.  It is 10 items of pure deliciousness.

4. Slowly wander towards the Plaça de Catalunya along the iconic La Rambla Boulevard. You might want to stop at all the different street vendors but I’m telling you: HOLD OFF!

Instead, visit Mercat de la Boqueria and try dozens of Spanish foods in this vibrant farmer’s market.

When you get to Plaça de Catalunya, take a rest and watch the city pass you by. Listen for the sounds of live music or the beautiful Catalan accent spoken between friends and lovers in the area. Or, alternatively, charge toward the 500 pigeons and see how many you can catch.

5. Catch an incredible sunset at the Carmel Bunkers. These Spanish Civil War relics now covered in graffiti and influencers looking for that perfect photo were once a strategic defense point for anti-aircraft batteries whose job was to shoot down enemy aircraft.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain (Kyle Haney | GlobetrotterKyle.com)

Day 2:

Same wake-up time, 7:30 a.m. Sure, you might think I’m crazy to wake up that early on my vacation but, what better way to ensure you make the most of your time? Carpe diem, remember?

1. Walk under the Arco de Triunfo and get some incredible photos. This early in the morning, the sun will still be relatively low in the sky, and it’ll create some fascinating shadows from people walking past. Take photos as necessary.

2.  Stroll down the promenade towards Ciutadella Park. Take note of how the car horns and squealing brakes start to dissipate and become replaced by birds chirping and bicycle gears changing.

Make your way towards the Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella, a fountain and monument of Venus accompanied by an insta-worthy grand arch and incredibly clear water.

3. Make your way northwest towards La Sagrada Família. I recommend taking the street past the Estación del Norte building because, well, I think the building looks really cool. It’s the former main railway station in Barcelona.

La Sagrada Família; a must-visit if you do nothing else on either of these lists.

4.  Take the metro to Barceloneta Beach and see how many paddleboarders you can count as they cruise by you on the Spanish coastline. Enjoy that free vitamin D while you’re at it.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain (Kyle Haney | GlobetrotterKyle.com)

Days 3, 4, or more

Your final few days in Barcelona can look like however you want! In total, I recommend spending at least three days in Barcelona but four is definitely the sweet spot.

With four days in Barcelona, you can easily take your time visiting the numerous well-known spots but also have enough time to get lost in a beautiful neighborhood or the bottom of a delicious sangria (or four).

On days three and four, you can even sleep past 7:30 a.m.

“Other things to do in Barcelona once you hit the main attractions”

  • Visit one of Barcelona’s tap rooms for craft beer. My personal favorite was Ølgod Brewpub; tons of IPAs and amazing vibes.
  • Catch a movie at Verdi Barcelona. After three straight days of walking, I was needed to just veg for a while, so this was perfect for an afternoon show! Be prepared for sweet popcorn if you attend a showing.
  • Check out some of Picasso’s art at the Picasso Art Museum. It was here that I learned I’m not really into Picasso’s art style.
  • Geek out on more gothic architecture at the Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi. You can climb up to a second-story area for a small fee and see some incredible views of the strong columns holding this masterpiece up.
  • Go back in time at the MUHBA Temple d’August; Barcelona’s most well-preserved Roman Empire relics dating back to the 1st Century B.C.E. and all that remains of the Temple of Augustus.
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain (Kyle Haney | GlobetrotterKyle.com)

Kyle Haney is the creator of GlobetrotterKyle.com

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