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How To Spend A Touristy 24 Hours In Barcelona

Only got 24 hours in Barcelona? These suggestions will help you maximise your time.

It’s no surprise Barcelona is one of Europe’s top-visited cities. I mean, the city has a lot to offer.

However, when you’re pushed for time the very size of Barcelona can be overwhelming. Plenty to see and do but where do you start? That’s why I’m dropping the spots I’d visit if I had limited time. From the perspective of a semi-local who is putting on her ‘tourist for a day’ badge.

Ready to come spend 24 hours in Barcelona with me?

Pssss. Over here. If you’re after an updated version, check out my post on what to do with half a day layover in Barcelona. I’ve included everything you need to maximise your time with less-touristy recommendations, extra vibey suggestions and epic scenes.

How to spend 24 hours in Barcelona - girl in front of Camp Nou football stadium in Barcelona

Let’s Start Our Day At Plaça d’Espanya.

Who’s Craving Breakfast?

I say this because Plaça d’Espanya is transport central. You’ll find trains here, buses, airport services and plenty of rental bikes. This makes the area a good place to stay when you’re visiting for a short while. Not only is convenience a major factor, you’ll also find things to keep you entertained until afternoon. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

You’ll probably want breakfast, so walk over to ‘Arenas De Barcelona’, an old bull-fighting location renovated into a shopping centre, cinema, food court and supermarket, to choose from endless breakfast spots surrounding the mall. ‘Morrow Coffee’ is a personal favourite, as the hip interior and affordably-priced goods will have you hooked.

A Tip For You To Keep In Mind.

Once you’re done fuelling yourself with food, and have checked out the inside of ‘Arenas’, stroll over to ‘Montjuïc’. I mean, you can’t miss the castle and fountain.

A little tip: In the evening, you can see the ‘Changing Of Lights’ celebration at the fountain. Not many visitors know about it so let this be your sign to go, as it’s truly something.

Lunch Is Calling You.

All that sightseeing and walking is probably going to make you peckish so let’s grab lunch. In the direction of ‘Rocafort’ station (which legend says is haunted by the way), you’ll find ‘Copasetic’. This place is phenomenal for so many reasons, and a must-visit if you only have 24 hours in Barcelona. Family-friendly, organic produce, affordable prices and plenty of allergen-friendly options for anyone who needs it.

Admittedly, the restaurant is small but don’t let that put you off, as ‘Copasetic’ is a real gem. I would suggest booking a table in advance though. If you’re craving something different, head to ‘Ziqi’, which is a ramen and sushi spot hidden in the residential side of ‘Sant Antoni’. You’ll feel like you’re slurping ramen in Japan due to the traditional interior. Without a doubt, ‘Ziqi’ offers one of the best price-quantity-quality ratio points in the city. It’s my go-to location.

For more food spots, I’ll link you to my post on some of the best restaurants in Barcelona.

Grab The Metro To ‘The Gothic Quarter’.

Sure, the most obvious choice would be to head straight to ‘El Raval’ which is home to street-stalls, a HUGE food market at ‘Boqueria’ and a harbour, but the gothic quarter is majorly underrated. It’s the best place to find quirky little boutiques and street-art, not to mention a show-stopping cathedral. I’d really suggest participating in a walking tour, as you’ll be taken down all the cobbled streets and stop at some hidden spots even Google won’t always pick up.

If walking tours aren’t your thing, then at least walk down ‘Carrer Petritxol’. Home to art and chocolate shops, it’s a smart choice for purchasing souvenirs. Be careful not to get scammed in this zone though. I recently wrote a post about the topic so I’ll add it for you here: Avoiding Tourist Tricks.

Make Your Way To ‘La Sagrada Familia’.

If you’re going to see only one of the typical tourist landmarks with 24 hours in Barcelona, let it be ‘La Sagrada Familia’. Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece is visited by thousands, but upon arrival it’s easy to see why.

The reason why I suggest going to Sagrada Familia over another tourist landmark, such as ‘Park Güell’, is because ‘Sagrada Familia’ is more accessible to visit, meaning less time lost travelling to the location. If you’re really pushed for time, skip the queues to go inside and simply admire from the outside as it’s a landmark that you’ll want to see, regardless of whether you enter or not.

Football Fan? Off To ‘Camp Nou’ We Go.

A short 20 minute metro ride will get you pretty close to the notorious FC Barcelona Football Stadium. The nice thing about this place is that if football isn’t for you, you can easily head to ‘Les Corts’ to explore central Barcelona’s best shopping mall, L’illa Diagonal. It’s only a short distance walking.

I personally took the tour at the stadium because I was intrigued by what could be found inside. Essentially, the tour is a trip into FC Barcelona’s museum, with plenty of memorabilia, trophies and interesting revelations around every corner. You’ll also be able to walk into the stadium grounds and see the football pitch from up above. At the end of your tour, head straight into the gift shop.

Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s pretty cool seeing the different types of merchandise up for sale. I wouldn’t say you need to do this step if you’re doing Barcelona in 24 hours, but it’s certainly iconic.

Walk Over To ‘Sarrià-Sant Gervasi’.

Sarrià-Sant Gervasi is one of the more affluent and residential areas of Barcelona. As a result, the area is often overlooked by tourists. It’s definitely a step away from the hustle and bustle Barcelona brings. From ‘Les Corts’, you’ll be able to go by foot to try one of the best ‘Patatas Bravas’ in the city at ‘Bar El Tomas’.

Don’t just take my word for it though, listen to the hundreds of positive reviews this place has gained. Locals even visit here on a regular basis. Yes, the bar is not the most luxurious but that’s because the food does all the talking.

Head Back To ‘Plaça d’Espanya’ To Wrap Up Your 24 Hours In Barcelona.

Whether you’re now making your way to the airport to finish up your time in the city or simply calling it a day, going back to ‘Plaça d’Espanya’ will re-align your focus to help with your next moves. Although, you could check out that fountain event I was telling you about earlier…

Relevant Posts You’ll Love:

Consider yourself somewhat of a foodie? You really need to check out my post on 10 of the best food places in Barcelona. The best part? Simply screenshot the list and you’re all set. But wait, consider yourself a gluten-free foodie? You need to read my guide on being gluten-free in BCN!

For even more suggestions on how to spend a day here, download my checklist on 22 cool things to do in Barcelona. Although, you might want to hop over to Spain’s neighbour – Portugal, or perhaps a quick weekend in Italy?

If you want to see the visuals from my trip, I’ll add my social media link below. I’d love to connect with you!

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  1. Wow, what a whirlwind of a time in Barcelona! I spent about 72 hours there in 2016, and I still felt there wasn’t enough time. Sadly, I was unable to check out the Montjuic fountain show that time, as it was under construction…I’d also recommend Parc Guëll, if one has more time in the city, as anything Gaudi is worth checking out!

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