Weekend in Barcelona | How to Spend 3-4 Days in the Capital of Catalonia | Spain

Barcelona. There is something magical about the city. There is a special vibe of happiness and freedom and it is no surprise that millions of people flock to this charming city on a yearly basis. It’s hard to explain why Barcelona is so special, but it is definitely in my top five absolute favorite cities, if not my number 1 city that I’ve ever visited. It is fun and casual at the same time and it offers a little bit of everything in a relaxed and happy vibe. For some reason, Barcelona was never high on my list. It’s hard for me to understand why and now I am just looking for the opportunity to go back for a second visit.

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Barcelona – Capital of Catalonia

Barcelona is the vibrant capital of Catalonia, Spain. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with Spain and it’s culture and history, Catalonia is autonomous community located in the northeastern part of Spain. It is one of the most distinct regions in Spain, known for its unique culture, history, and language. The region has its own distinct identity and has been a significant center of political, cultural, and economic influence throughout history. There are even constant political debates where people question if it should be its own separate country. So much so that while visiting you probably won’t see the flag of Spain flying around, but rather the flag of Catalonia will be everywhere.

Weekend in Barcelona

Leaving the politics behind, Barcelona is a city that effortlessly weaves together its rich history and contemporary charm. Situated along the northeastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, this bustling metropolis is a treasure trove of architectural marvels, cultural landmarks, and stunning coastal views. Steeped in history, Barcelona also holds a unique place in Catalonia’s identity, with its distinct culture and language and a visit to this dynamic city promises an immersive experience that combines centuries of heritage with modern urban living.

Top 7 Things to See and Do on Your Weekend in Barcelona

I flew to Barcelona on a whim. I booked my tickets just two days before my flights and was ecstatic that there were still some amazing accommodation options available. Because this trip was so spontaneous, I only had a few days in the city, about 3.5 in total. And while a short weekend trip might not allow you to explore every nook and cranny of Barcelona, it’s still possible to make the most of your time and capture the essence of the city. I managed to fit in just about all of these items on my short weekend trip, but it was a very fast paced weekend!

1. Admire Gaudi’s Architecture

No weekend in Barcelona is complete without visiting and admiring some of Gaudi’s architecture. Antoni Gaudí is a visionary architect and the mastermind behind some of the world’s most unique and captivating structures. He has left an indelible mark on the cityscape of Barcelona with his whimsical style of architecture.

Park Güell is the number one place to visit on your weekend in Barcelona if you want to have the full and incredible Barcelona experience. It is an entire park with some of Gaudi’s best work, including the famous gingerbread house design and some many others. Be sure to book your tour or tickets well in advance if you want to ensure yourself a time slot!

You should also visit Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (La Pedrera). They are located quite close to each other and, in my opinion, are not worth the ticket cost to enter unless you are a devout fan. The most impressive part is the outside!


2. Visit the Gothic Quarter

Lose yourself in the narrow medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter. This historic neighborhood is home to stunning cathedrals, charming squares, and a palpable sense of history. Catch a free walking tour from one of the hostels or hotels throughout the city or explore on your own. It is also special and fun to visit in the evening and a vibrant place to grab a drink.

Around the Gothic Quarter you will also find Mercat de la Boqueria / Sant Josep if you want to explore an open air marketplace filled with lots of local goodies. It is right off of La Rambla the bustling pedestrian boulevard filled with people at all hours and stalls of touristy items for sale.

2. Visit La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Although technically also the work of Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia deserves its own entry as it is one of the most iconic landmarks in Barcelona and the world. This basilica, still under construction, is a testament to Gaudí’s unique vision and his integration of nature, faith, and art into one magnificent structure. Be sure to book your tickets or tour in advance as they sell out very quickly! Unlike most of the other locations, it is definitely worth visiting inside this building as it is even more incredible from the outside than the inside. Entry to La Sagrada Familia is free on Sundays at 9am as there is a mass being held at that time, however, it fills up pretty quickly, so don’t depend on that time slot, especially if you only have one weekend in Barcelona!


4. Enjoy the Trendy and Beautiful Gràcia

Although Barcelona offers many different and beautiful neighborhoods, there is something special about Gràcia. Gràcia offers a bohemian vibe with its unique boutiques, local markets, and hip cafes. It’s a great place to soak in the local culture, enjoy delicious foods, grab a casual drink, or enjoy a street performance. You won’t regret spending some time vibing with the locals in this slightly off the beaten path part of the city.

5. Go to the Beach

Unwind on the golden sands of Barceloneta Beach, where the Mediterranean Sea beckons with its refreshing embrace. Barceloneta Beach is the most popular destination and it filled with restaurants, bars, and a lovely promenade.

6. Party and Go Clubbing

Barcelona is renowned for its vibrant nightlife. From traditional flamenco performances to modern dance clubs, there’s something for every night owl. One of Barcelona’s most famous and versatile venues is Razzmatazz that has multiple rooms, with an option for everyone’s taste. The clubs by the port are also an option, although I found them to be a less desirable vibe and enjoyed small salsa bars and Razzmatazz a bit more.

7. Take a Day Trip to Costa Brava or Monserrat

If you have some extra time in Barcelona and are looking for a little escape from the city, you are in luck! There are a few nice options for day trips from Barcelona. If you don’t have enough time, you can choose just one, but if you are staying for a while they are both worth it!

Day Trip to Costa Brava

Calling all beach lovers, this is the day trip for you. Costa Brava is a beautiful region that stretches along the Mediterranean Sea and is known for its stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, and charming coastal towns. Visit historic cities like Girona and enjoy cathedral views and medieval city walls. Or you can visit Cadaqués which is a picturesque coastal village that was once home to the renowned artist Salvador Dalí. It’s known for its white-washed buildings and charming waterfront. Tossa de Mar, Blanes, and so many other small cities are waiting for you to discover their charm and relax by their beaches.

Costa Brava Day Trip Barcelona

You can either rent a car or book a tour to visit these locations. Although public transport is also an option, it will take a very long time and you may miss some of the best locations that are harder to access.

Day Trip to Montserrat

Montserrat offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and spiritual serenity. Nestled amidst the picturesque Catalonian landscape, Montserrat is renowned for its breathtaking mountain range and the iconic Montserrat Abbey that sits perched high above. You can hike up the beautiful rock formations or take a cable car, but either way you are sure to be impressed by the stunning views located just outside 40 kilometers of Barcelona.

Where to Stay in Barcelona

Choosing the right neighborhood to stay in during your weekend in Barcelona can greatly enhance your experience. The city is divided into various districts, each with its own unique atmosphere and offerings. I stayed in the area near La Sagrada Familia since I booked my tickets so last minute and there wasn’t much else available. Although it was quite far from the city center, it was still amazing! Barcelona is very easy to navigate so I didn’t feel isolated or too far from the action. I would recommend staying in the Gràcia neighborhood if you want a slightly less touristic vibe for your trip, but if you want to be in the center of the city, choose a place near the Gothic Quarter.

Barcelona Spain

I stayed at a hostel during my visit to Barcelona as I was solo traveling and wanted to meet other travelers to explore with, however, Barcelona has many different options for accommodations. For the budget traveler I would recommend the hostel where I stayed, Saint Jordi Hostel – Gracia. If you are looking for a mid-range hotel, try Hotel Margot House Barcelona. For a luxury option, check out The Social Hub Barcelona Poblenou.

How to Get Around in Barcelona

Barcelona is a pretty big city and some of the sites are quite far apart, so either be prepared to walk a lot or enjoy one of the other ways to get around during your weekend in Barcelona:

  1. Metro – Barcelona has a great and reliable metro system that connects you to various parts of the city easily
  2. Busses – I ended up taking quite a few busses while in Barcelona as they were very reliable, ran during the day and night, and were pretty inexpensive. You can use apps like Moovit or Google maps to track the lines and destinations. You can also pay directly with a credit card on the bus.
  3. Taxis/Ubers – Although Ubers are an option in Barcelona, from my experience, they took a very long time to arrive, probably due to the high number of tourists. I would consider that the most reliable method to get around as each ride we ordered usually had at least a 20 minute wait time.
  4. Walking – What better way to get to know a city than to walk it? Barcelona is pretty easy to navigate as well as it is built in a nearly perfect grid system.

Where and What to Eat in Barcelona

Weekend in Barcelona food market

Indulge in the local cuisine at traditional tapas bars and seafood restaurants. Don’t miss out on trying paella, a quintessential Spanish dish, and the local Catalan specialties. I feel that I didn’t get to experience the best of Barcelona’s food options, so if you are a foodie consider joining a food tour that will show you the best restaurants and tapas bars.

How Long to Stay in Barcelona

While a weekend is a great way to get a taste of Barcelona’s charm, a 3-4 day stay allows you to delve deeper into its attractions and immerse yourself in the local culture at a more relaxed pace. If you can extend your stay, you’ll truly appreciate the diverse experiences the city has to offer.

A weekend in Barcelona is a whirlwind adventure through history, architecture, culture, and the Mediterranean way of life. With careful planning and an appetite for exploration, you can make the most of your short visit and create memories that will linger long after you’ve left this enchanting city.

Tips for Visiting Barcelona

  1. Book everything in advance – Barcelona is a very popular tourist destination. As a result, things book up very quickly. If you want to ensure that you will have tickets to the popular tourist sites, be sure to book in advance!
  2. Take public transport – Don’t feel the need to spend all your money and stay in city center. Barcelona’s public transport is quite reliable and so you can easily explore the city by bus or metro.
  3. Beware of theft – Barcelona is infamous for one thing and that is pickpockets. Be careful of pickpockets just about everywhere you go.
  4. When to visit – Barcelona is a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are relatively smaller.

Looking for more European city adventures? Check out: Best Tiramisu in Rome with My Tiramisu-Inspired Handmade Dress

Lots of love and safe travels,

Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters


  1. Well written! Since I’ll be in Barcelona next week, the post’s timing was ideal.
    Thank you!

    1. Amazing! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

  2. WoW! Wish Anita and I could sneak into one of your travel bags‼️😉

  3. I just ate dinner, but that dish in the last pic is making me hungry all over again. 🙂 You two always seem to have so much fun. Happy, safe travels!

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