If you are planning to visit Barcelona but aren’t sure how much time to spend in the city, this post will cover my suggestions for how many days to spend in Barcelona, and how to plan your Barcelona itinerary to perfection.
Of course, your decision may be influenced by various factors, from how much money you want to spend to how many holiday days you have, and where else you plan to visit in Spain. I have to say though, don’t underestimate Barcelona. To truly appreciate this magnificent city beyond the tourist sites you need to take your time. So let’s see how many days in Barcelona are enough for you!
How to Plan Your Barcelona Itinerary
Barcelona is a special city. There is no other place like it on earth, so if you are likely to only visit Barcelona once, you want to make it count! There are so many things to do in Barcelona it can be difficult to narrow it down to one or two days, so try to spend a little more time in Barcelona if you can.
No matter how much time you have in Barcelona, the key is to think about what you enjoy doing. Do you like museums? Architecture? Food? Beaches? Beautiful views? Getting off the beaten track? There is something for everyone in Barcelona, so you can choose exactly what you would like to do, without worrying about simply ticking items off your bucket list.
If you are tight on money and want to visit Barcelona on a budget, don’t worry. There are plenty of free things to do in Barcelona to keep you entertained! That said, there are also some top-class attractions and activities that are worth the money if you have it to spend, such as going inside the Sagrada Familia or taking a tour of FC Barcelona’s stadium Camp Nou.
Our favourite paid activities in Barcelona include:
How to Enjoy Barcelona Responsibly
I adore Barcelona, and hope that everyone can experience the city at least once in their lives. However, Barcelona has struggled with over-tourism, so now that visitors are returning try to be mindful of the impact you have on the places you visit.
If you can, plan your trip to Barcelona in the shoulder or off-season and remember that weekdays are also quieter than weekends. Take time to explore the city beyond the top attractions, and bear in mind that the longer you stay in the city the more chance to have to really enjoy it and get beyond the typical tourist hot spots.
If you’d like more tips on how to be a responsible tourist in Barcelona, make sure you check out this article.
Want More Barcelona Articles?Check out these blog posts for more inspiration for your Barcelona vacation, or head back to our homepage to browse all of our Barcelona planning tips.
How to Get Around Barcelona
You can also walk around Barcelona quite easily, although if you are on your feet all day you certainly feel it by the end of the day. If you want to fit as much in your day as possible then the metro is one of the quickest ways to get where you need to go as you zip underground and avoid any traffic.
If you’re spending 2 or more days in Barcelona then I’d recommend the Hola Barcelona transport card, which gives you unlimited journeys on the bus, metro, tram and local trains, including to and from the airport. The 48-hour card costs € 16.40, 72 hours is € 23.80, 96 hours is € 31 and 120 hours is € 38.20 for 5 full days.
Alternatively, if you don’t think you will use public transport much then a single ticket costs €2.40, or the T-Casual transport card costs €11.35 (available to buy at all of the metro and the airport train station) which gives you 10 journeys on any form of public transport, and it’s valid indefinitely – until the prices go up!
There are taxis all around Barcelona which you can hail on the street so they are useful for quick journeys but they are a lot more expensive than the bus and the metro, so stick to public transport in Barcelona wherever you can!
READ MORE: How to Get Around Barcelona
How Many Days to Spend in Barcelona?
While some people may tell you that one day in Barcelona is enough, I assure you that it is not. But just how many days should you spend in Barcelona to enjoy the best of the city? Well, that really depends on how much you really want to do here and whether you would like to visit some of the other wonderful places in Catalonia.
Instead of rushing through Barcelona on a whistle-stop tour, you could easily spend four or five days in Barcelona, and more if you use the city as a hub to visit more of the region of Catalonia.
Is One Day in Barcelona Enough?
I understand that there are lots of beautiful places to visit in Spain, or you may not have long to visit Barcelona, but please try to spend at least 2 days in Barcelona. If you only have a day in Barcelona, you will rush around, following the crowds and doing all of the same things that everyone who only has one day in Barcelona does – that is walk down La Rambla, visit La Sagrada Familia, see Park Güell and eat a meal (probably paella with a glass of sangria).
Not that there is anything really wrong with that – and if you only have a day in Barcelona that is certainly better than not visiting at all! But, Barcelona has so much to offer it would be a shame to only scratch the surface.
How About 2 Days in Barcelona?
For me, this is the absolute minimum time anyone should spend in Barcelona. Two days in Barcelona are just about long enough for you to visit the top things to do in Barcelona and explore some of the less-touristy areas of the city like Gràcia.
For me, the beauty of Barcelona is in wandering, so avoid the main thoroughfares and get lost in the narrow alleyways of the Gothic Quarter and El Born. Trying to rush around Barcelona is not enjoyable for anyone, so relax, take a seat in one of the squares, order a drink and watch the world go by.
You could also do a fun activity like taking a food tour or a cooking class, as well as wander around the streets away from the crowds and sample some of Barcelona’s fabulous nightlife in a cosy cocktail bar or salsa club.
How Many Days in Barcelona: 3 Days
Now we are starting to really get to know Barcelona. With three days in Barcelona, you’ll have time to see the main sites of the city, wander around, take a tour or two as well as a day trip from Barcelona to somewhere else in Catalonia.
Some of the most popular Barcelona day trips include a visit to Montserrat Monastery, the medieval city of Girona (where some of Game of Thrones was filmed) and the wine and cava region of Penedes.
If you are trying to see Barcelona in 2 days you could do this on your second day, but I’d recommend spending 3 days here so you can spend a whole day exploring the region without sacrificing your time in Barcelona itself.
Beach lovers may prefer to spend their third day in Barcelona visiting some of the beaches up the coast towards the Costa Brava, or further south to Sitges.
4 Days in Barcelona
Considering how much there is to do in Catalonia, 4 days is a decent amount of time to spend in Barcelona. Two or three days in the city itself, and a day or two exploring the region on day trips.
My personal preference would be to spend three days in Barcelona, visiting the tourist sites and then getting to know the city experiencing some of the more unusual things to do in Barcelona.
You’ll have time to try more of Barcelona’s incredible food, visit some of Gaudí’s lesser-known works such as Casa Vicens or Palau Güell, and even catch a football game at Camp Nou if you visit during the season.
5 Days in Barcelona
For me, no amount of time in Barcelona will be too much. On my first visit to Barcelona, I spent nine months here as a student, and while a lot of that was spent in bars, there was no way I could see everything.
Spend your extra day in Barcelona visiting more of the wonderful museums, taking a specialised walking tour, or take another day trip out of the city.
A Week in Barcelona
If you have more than 5 days in Barcelona such as a week in Barcelona or even more than that, you will have plenty of time to relax, enjoy the real ambience of Barcelona and learn much more about the history and culture of the Catalan Capital.
Take a couple of days out or even spend a weekend in another part of the region – Tarragona with its Roman ruins is a unique place to spend a weekend, or head further north towards France and explore the coves of Cadaques and the Dali museum at Figueres.
You could even spend a day in three different countries – Andorra and France are both within a couple of hours drive from Barcelona, so hiking or skiing in the Pyrenees would be a lovely change from the city.
No matter how long you have to spend in Barcelona, you will find things to fill your time. And while it can hard to choose exactly what to do in Barcelona when only have a day or two, my advice is to focus on what you enjoy doing and take it from there. By all means, see the tourist sites, but try to explore a little more too.
Barcelona Travel Tips
- Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Barcelona. Barcelona El Prat (BCN) is the closest airport to the city.
- Public transport is the cheapest way to get around Barcelona, buy the Hola Barcelona transport ticket for unlimited use of the metro, buses, trams and local trains, including the train from the airport to Barcelona.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
- Use Hostelworld to find the best prices for hostels in Barcelona. Take a look at these recommended hostels:
- For hotels in Barcelona, check out Booking.com or Hotels.com for the best deals. Recommended hotels include:
Barcelona Tours and Activities
- If you're staying in a hostel, check out their tours and activities which are usually free or very cheap - and a great way to meet people!
- I use GetYourGuide to book skip the line entry tickets and tours in Barcelona
- Recommended Tours and Attractions in Barcelona:
Beware of pickpockets
- Although Barcelona is a safe city, pickpockets are a problem here, particularly in popular tourist areas and on the metro. Do not keep your wallet or cash in trouser pockets and keep your hand on your bags at all times.
- When you are eating at a restaurant or café, keep your bag on your lap, not hanging over your chair and avoid leaving your wallet or phone on the table – especially if eating outdoors. It only takes a second for someone to distract you and grab it!
Buy Travel Insurance
- Travel insurance will help if you do have something stolen, and it is more important than ever, with frequent changes in rules and regulations meaning cancellations are more likely. I use SafetyWing, which even includes some cover for costs related to COVID, or check a comparison site like Travel Insurance Master to find the best cover for you.