Hola fellow Reader !
I was recently in Barcelona for work. But with proper planning and advance bookings, I made this trip a perfect mix of work, leisure and exploration.
If I go in a flashback of those 2 awesome weeks, I relive everything again, it feels like it was just about yesterday that I was walking down the lovely Ramblas, exploring the narrow streets of Gothic Quarter, adoring the amazing buildings on either side of the streets, eating tapas and witnessing Gaudi’s marvels!
Barcelona has so much to do and see, that it offers every traveler an amazing array of experiences not found in any other city on the earth. It has the best of all worlds, call it the pubs & bars, or the history, or beaches, or museums, food, or entertainment.
In this blog, I will take you through my journey of exploring this beautiful city of Spain, pictures that will blow your mind, and tips to plan your itinerary to make the most out of your trip. Because I too believe that traveling a place doesn’t just mean doing the touristy stuff, traveling means knowing the city, doing the off-beat things, do it as locals do and embrace their culture.
So, read on how I made the most of my trip to Barcaaaa >>>
Before I even arrived in Barcelona, I did an important thing – Research. Because a smart traveler don’t want to travel so long and arrive at a monument only to know it is closed that day ! Or spend more than one should on buying tickets, or even reaching a place not on its best time of the day. Yes, research is important. Spend time now to save time (and money) later.
So I did a lot of research and found that to explore the city and its various various places of interest, there are different passes that one can buy basis on their budget, and interest. Passes like Barcelona Pass, Barcelona Card, Barcelona City Pass, Bus Touristic pass and more, are available to be purchased online with attractive offers that can make your exploration of the city easier. These passes have a combined value that you pay once but it in turn offers free entry to many tourist attractions, without having to stand in queue to buy tickets on the spot. Plus, they also give you discount coupons to be used for food, shopping and more !
So I, after a day or two of research, brought the ‘Barcelona Pass’ that I think has the most to offer in terms of attractions covered. Though it is the most expensive, but if you are traveling so far to such a city, money comes later ! This 2 day pass costs 99 Euros. It might seem expensive but the benefits you get is way more of what you are spending. I did my bit of calculation, and at the end of second day, I saw places worth more than 99 Euros. So, go for it !
After purchasing the Barcelona Pass, which gets delivered instantly to your mail box, I checked out all the attractions covered in the pass and read it in detail.
One of the things you get after you buy the pass is a
‘Walking Tour’ of the main Barcelona Gothic City. And you need to register
yourself prior to arrival, so that your slot is booked, and a guide is assigned
to you. This has to be done simply by sending an email to the id provided in
A ‘Bicycle Tour’ is also covered and you have to pre-book that too.
You should also keep in mind the timings of certain attractions, like the Opera house. There are only a few slots available that offer a free guided tour with Barcelona pass, that otherwise costs 15 Euros.
This was mostly it, I decided the two days I would be using this pass, booked my tours in advance, planned an itinerary basis the availability of slots and I was all set !!
I reached Barcelona a night before and stayed in this beautiful Hostel called ‘Primavera Hostel’, near Placa Catalunya. The bunk beds are comfortable, the common room is lit, the kitchen is huge, and the central hall is fill with pictures, pamphlets, testimonials, and a lot of cool stuff.
I woke up early, made myself a quick oats in the kitchen and was all set for a long exciting day !
To begin with, call up your tour guide, whose number you
will get in the mail a day before from the tour organizers. Reach the decided
spot, greet other fellow travelers and get ready for a walk full of conversations,
interesting stories, inspiring stories, and a lot of information. The group is
usually decided by the languages you speak and accordingly the guide is
This is when your Barcelona pass gets activated for next 2 days.
Out tour Guide was Olga. Olga was very sweet, humble,
patient, and knowledgeable. She took us around the gothic, the cathedral, the
columns, markets, inside the streets and to many more places and told us the
related stories and the significance of those places. Usually without a guide,
you might even miss those points and would never know how important is that one
part of a pillar, and why is it shaped that way !
Olga gave us ample time to adore the beautiful buildings, take pictures and cleared all our doubts along with suggestions and recommendations of the best places nearby to eat, drink and relax. You can send a message to me if you want to get in touch with her as your guide for the tour.
This indulging tour is approximately for 3 hours.
Post the guided tour, walk towards the most famous street of Barcelona – Las Ramblas ! A mile long street with loads of trees, shops, restaurants on the sides, a walk down the Ramblas is a must do when in Barcelona, and I did it everyday !
On one end of the Ramblas is Placa Catalunya, which is an exciting place for food, events & shopping; and on the other end is the Columbus Monument, beyond which lies the Mediterranean Sea. And in the between are metro stations, famous food joints, Opera house, Wax museum, Bouqueria market, streets leading to the Gothic quarter and a lot of exciting shops to get souvenirs from Barecelona.
So after the Guided tour, walk straight to the Liceu Opera, which is just on other side of the road if your tour ends near the Cathedral. From inside, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in Barcelona. If your scheduled slot is now, go for the tour, or park it for later.
Lunch time, & Ramblas – a perfect combination. There are multiple choices of restaurants, you can try tapas, paellea, burgers, pasta, pizza, anything. If you are on budget, head to Boqueria market for an array of fresh juices (just 1 Euro), chocolates, desserts, sea food and a lot of exciting options.
Once you are done with that amazing food, move straight towards the lower end of the Ramblas and reached the booking counter of the boat ride – Las Golondrinas boat cruise. Get your slot on showing the Barcelona pass, board the boat and get set for an exciting ride deep into the sea, to get the best possible view of the complete Barcelona skyline.
This tour lasts about 1.5 hours.
The boat ride is pretty much relaxing, as all you do is sit
and adore the beautiful coast line of Barcelona. This should take away all your
stress and leave you energized, so now head to your right – towards the
Aquarium. Its an amazing place to see the aquatic life, seen or unseen, known
or unknown – Sharks, dolphins, penguins and more. Specially the place where you
get a full view of the aquatic life all around you through a glass wall is
This visit should last around 2 hours.
The thing next is MACBA – The Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona, which is 15-20 minutes’ walk from the Aquarium. The art work here is amazing, and will leave you in thoughts and awe.
This museum should take one around 2 hours, or more depending on your love towards art !!
Evenings in Ramblas is usually pleasant and cheerful, as it gets crowded and bursting with people. I searched for the next best thing to do nearby, and found the Wax museum the closest, whose entry is covered in the Barcelona pass.
The Museu De Cera is 10 minutes walk from MACBA. It’s a nice
visit, and has a good huge collection of wax figures of world’s famous
personalities, along with a horror house too.
This visit is quick, but still takes around 1 hour.
Quite a packed Day 1 ! You have covered many exciting places and must be tired. Settle for a decent dinner in Placa Riel or anywhere on the Ramblas and walk back to your hotel if its near. I loved walking in Barcelona.
So we’ll make the most use of the Barcelona pass, and get in the Hop on Hop Off bus service that runs in Barcelona covering all the major spots and take a complete round of the city. This bus usually costs close to 30 Euros and it comes free with our Barcelona pass for a day.
Reach the Touristic Bus office in Placa Catalunya. They open at 9 and will give you a paper that you have to show to the Bus Conductor once to get the ticket for the day.
The Touristic bus has 3 lines, and you’ll get a map that
shows the route of each. The bus is a
double decker bus, and obviously I suggest you get yourself a seat on the top
to get the best uninterrupted view of the city. You also get a headphones that
has to be plugged in a slot available at each seat, choose your language, and
enjoy the show with an audio guide that tells you about the name &
importance of each place.
I suggest taking the Blue line from Placa Catalunya, the starting point, sit back, enjoy the view – the wide and clean roads, amazingly designed buildings and more.
Set your first pit stop as Casa Batilo (pronounced as Batio). As exciting from outside, its equally exciting inside as well. It houses important Gaudi works that you enjoy via an audio video guide. The visit should took you close to 2 hours.
Come back to the same bus stop that you got off, get another bus on the same line. The bus frequency is around 15 mins.
Get down at Casa Mila. Casa Mila’s facade will catch your attention immediately, thanks to its unique design. The audio guide gives you a great insight into Gaudi’s ideas and will leave you mesmerized. It should take you close to 1.5 hours for the complete tour.
The bus passes through La Sagrada Familia, the biggest highlight of Barcelona. But since the Barcelona pass doesn’t covers this, just adore it sitting in the bus and take some pictures. I suggest to later book a preferred slot online, and do a complete tour, costing only 17 Euros, if you are in Barcelona for longer. Or it can be skipped. An inside self guided audio tour of La Sagrada Familia should take you close to 1-1.5 hours.
Your next stop is FC Barcelona Museum & Camp Nou Stadium,
a place not to be missed even for the non-football fans. The moment you enter
the stadium, you get goosebumps, for sure !
The visit takes you through the press room, jacuzzi room, players area, museum, collectibles, trophies section, picture gallery and finally leading to the ground. Then moved to the stands, VIP box, & official merchandise shop. This is a must to complete your Barcelona trip !
Grab a coffee at the café inside the stadium campus. The visit takes around 2 hours.
So, get in the bus again, complete your Blue line tour and got down again at Placa Catalunya. Then get into Red line & get off at Poble Espanyol. It is an amazing city like area that houses museums, shops, cafes and more. Entry is free with Barcelona Pass. This visit should take you 1 hour.
Continue your red bus tour and do one last stop at Barcelona Zoo. You should be doing a quick round as it is evening and the touristic buses stops at 7 PM. Or if you are really liking it, let the Touristic bus go and take a cab/metro/bus to the next thing to see.
Head to the Montjuic to see the Magic Fountain – a splendid
show of water, laser and sound. The timings are mentioned in the website and is
not to be missed. Note : This fountain is closed in months of January and
February and opens again on 1st March, so plan accordingly.
This show is of 30 minutes. Its mesmerizing !
Take a bus towards Ramblas again, and spot a famous club that hosts Flamenco dance, a traditional dance form of Spain. I bet you will totally enjoy it and will be glued to your seat during entire performance. The cost of Flamenco dance would be starting from 15 to 20 Euros -without food and drink, and starting 40 Euros -with food and drink. Different clubs offer different packages. Choose one and indulge !
If you still have energy left, go for bar hopping, one of
the most exciting things to do in Barcelona.
Either do it yourself, or find a person on the Ramblas that will offer
you different packages. This bar hopping begins at 11 in the night and
continues upto 4 or 5 am. The agent will charge you a small amount for that. Be
cautious though it is very safe and fun !
Or you can take a walk into the Gothic streets, and a round of Ramblas, and head back to the Hotel.
So, in this way you just covered some of the most exciting things to do in Barcelona and made good use of the Barcelona pass, worth more than what you paid. However, it is impossible to cover all the attractions listed in the pass in two days. You have spent quality time at each place, but was just quick to move to other points so you can cover the most.
Barcelona is an amazing city with still loads of things to do and see, like Park Guell, Picasso Museum, Tibidabo and more.
More tips to make the best of your time in Barcelona
-Book tickets well in advance, specially for Sagrada Familia, Guided tour, bicycle tour, Opera house.
-Barcelona has a lot of interesting museums, like Maritime museum, Museum of History, Frederic Mares, Design Museum, Art Museum, Picasso museum, Hemp & Hashish Museum and more. These museums in Barcelona are free for everyone on the first Sunday of every month, and on all Sundays after 3 pm (few on Wednesdays). On other days they charge a small amount like 8 to 10 Euros. Check out their individual websites for this confirmation, and for certain museums like Picasso museum, you have to book much it in advance as it generally gets full.
Special mention of the History Museum where a lift takes you down years behind, literally, as you enter the lift in 2019, and come out 2000 years back into the Roman Era. Its an entire museum below a normal looking crossing and its one of the best maintained museums in Barcelona !
-Park Guell – another must visit place in Barcelona. The entry usually costs 10 Euros, bit if you go there little early, before 8 am, you can enter the park for free, and roam inside freely, see all the highlights until you come out. Isn’t that a great hack?
-Spend an evening walking in the streets of Gothic. You will come across nice unique shops like Sex toys shop, condom shops, shops that has souvenirs of super heroes, GOT, Harry Potter etc.
-For open air free music, head towards Cathedral in evenings. You’ll love it !
-Use Meetup app for meeting new people in Barcelona. Lot of language exchange meetups happen and it is a nice way to make friends with the locals and tourists too !
-Search for free walking tours in Barcelona on web and you will come across a plenty of groups that offer that. You can pay them if you wish. Book in advance as the slots get generally full.
-Don’t forget to visit the Casino of Barcelona. The entry is free but make sure to carry your identity card.
-Evenings are nice at the Barcelona beaches. You’ll find great crowd, music and peace.
-Head to Bouqeria Market for some saffron to take back home. 1 gm would cost around 2 to 2.5 Euros.
-Bargain while buying stuff at the Ramblas. Most of the shop owners are Indians or Pakistanis and will surely give you a good deal..l
-Walk. The buildings in Ramblas are great to see, the pavements are huge and the traffic is sensible. So enjoy walking ! Special mention to the Glories Building – called earlier as Torre Agbar – a 38-story skyscraper that looks glorious at night – the last image in the gallery below.
-‘Parallel’ is a shop that offers all clothes at just 1 Euro each ! Yes, any cloth at just 1 Euro. Although these are second hand clothes, but you will find most of them fresh like unused.
-If you have time, plan a trip to Tibidabo. The best eagle eye view of Barcelona awaits you ! A lift takes you to the top of the church of Tibidabo. I loved it, you’ll too ! It usually takes about 1 hour to reach there from the main city by metro / funicular, but you can reach quicker if you have your own car. If you are planning a half day trip from Barcelona, go for this !
-Loads of carnivals keep happening in Ramblas. There are posters on the walls inside the Gothic and also on the Ramblas, keep an eye, enjoy !
-Both ends of Ramblas has got water taps that you can use to fill drinking water in the bottles, which is otherwise expensive outside (2 euros for 500 ml or expensive).
-Barcelona has all meal options in plenty – Vegetarian, Nonvegetarian, and Vegan. Look out for your choice of food and enjoy.
-Be at the Ramblas around 11 pm. A group of boys dance, put up a show and do stunts. It’s a nice watch.
Hope these tips and tricks will help you plan your Barcelona trip well. Its an amazing city with so much to offer that you can never get enough of it!
Here are some more pictures of this maximum city ! Hope you enjoyed my clicks, as well as reading the blog and the hacks are helpful for you.
Enjoy responsibly, do as locals do, and make the most of your trip. Happy Traveling !!