Be it a layover or just a day trip to Barcelona, you may be feeling slightly overwhelmed at the thought of trying to finish seeing all that there is to see in this beautiful city within the short time frame given. With so much to do, but so little time, what is truly worth visiting and cannot be missed in just one short day? Though it may seem daunting, but exploring the city in a day can certainly be done. Here is our list of what you must do during your 24 hours in Barcelona.
Going to Barcelona without seeing one of Antoni Gaudi’s work would be the equivalent of going to New York City without seeing Times Square. It would almost be a crime not to. Park Güell is just one of the many marvels that was designed by native architect, Antoni Gaudi. Initially destined to be housing site and later converted into a municipal garden, Park Güell was made in the 20th century and is one of the most highly visited landmarks in Barcelona. In the park, you can find not just trees, but also art and you can even get an amazing view of Barcelona!
Mercat la Boqueria
When in Barcelona, you should certainly pop by one of Europe’s largest and most well known food markets. Stimulate your senses as you take in all the sights, sounds and tastes that this market has to offer! The variety of food available in the La Boqueria is truly endless and you can spend hours upon hours just walking through every aisle, in awe of the sheer amount of treasures that you can find. Grab a quick bite from the multiple different bars and restaurants that line the aisles, including the famous “Bar Pinotxo”, that serves up what some people swear by as the best Tapas in Barcelona. Travelers should note that the market only opens from Monday to Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Of course, no trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the world famous “unfinished church”. After 144 years, this beautiful church is still not complete, with it only set to be done in the year 2030. Designed by none other than the iconic Antoni Gaudi, this complex work of architecture is certainly a sight to behold in person. The Sagrada Familia was consecrated in November 2010 as a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI and still remains as one of the biggest tourist attractions in Barcelona. For a small ticket fee, you can enter the church and even visit the top of the eight towers that have been completed. Plus, each ticket purchased will contribute to the funding of building the rest of the church, a cause completely worth supporting in our opinion.
Magic Fountain of Montjuic
Just minutes away from the Espanya metro station, The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is a stunning musical display of colored lights and water acrobatics. Illuminated by over 50 hues of coloured lights, this spectacular fountain is a captivating sight to behold. Whether you are 5 or 82, you are definitely in for a treat as this visual spectacle is also another one of the most visited attractions in all of Barcelona. It should be noted that the fountain only operates on Thursdays to Sundays from 9.30-11.00pm during certain times of the year.
Also known as Casa Milà, this is another piece of architecture that was designed by Antoni Gaudi. Constructed between 1906 and 1912, the La pedrera has become one of the most iconic buildings that decorates the streets of Barcelona. Due to its unique design and heritage value, it has been recognised and inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in the year 1984. The building now houses the headquarters of Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation and a cultural centre. There are also different spaces that are used for art exhibitions that is open to the public, with guided tours included. If museums aren’t really your thing, you can opt to just visit the stunning facade and admire the intricate details that Gaudi put into the building for free.
A beautiful 1.2 km walkway that cuts through the heart of Barcelona, La Rambla is yet another must visit attraction. The picturesque avenue is lined with various stalls, restaurants and street performers that never fail to entertain the thousands of people who walk through the La Rambla daily. From the cheesy souvenirs to the intriguing human statues, there is definitely something for everyone in La Rambla. This famous street also serves as a cultural hub with theatres, magnificent architecture and art (including the Pla de l'Os mosaic by Joan Miró) dotted along this central boulevard.
Also known as Plaza Real, this is definitely a place to visit to truly experience the vibrancy of Barcelona’s nightlife. Just off La Rambla in the Barri Gotic, this square that was built in the 19th century, is certainly one of the most visited areas in Barcelona. It is also no surprise why. Filled with a myriad of restaurants and bars, this square attracts thousands upon thousands of tourists daily. The Plaça Reial is also home to some of Antoni Gaudi’s earliest work. Try looking out for a set of lamps that Gaudi was commissioned to design for the Barcelona council. Even though every lamp includes a plaque on the floor with his name, it is often overlooked. So do try to find it when you visit the most beautiful square in Barcelona.
Dine with a local
There is no better way to end your trip off than having a meal with a local. Gain deeper insights into the history and origins of all the landmarks you have visited, while simultaneously treating yourself to authentic Catalan or Spanish food. The best part? Have all your questions about Barcelona answered, and get advice on what other hidden gems there is to see for your next trip to Barcelona, straight from a local. Try dining with our host Teresa, a native Spaniard, serving up a delicious Tapas dinner with her own home-made Sangria – certainly a unique experience like no other. Winding down with amazing authentic food, people you love and new friends? We cannot think of a better way to end your short 24 hours in Barcelona with.
24 hours is definitely not enough to explore this beautiful city thoroughly, with hundreds upon hundreds of other things to see, do and eat. However, 24 hours is certainly enough to make you fall in love with the charm that Barcelona has to offer, and get you started on planning your next trip back to this bustling city. Do you think we missed out on any crucial attractions that one must go to during their short stay here? Let us know in the comments below!