24 Hours in Barcelona: The Best of the Catalan Capital in One Day

Barcelona contains an entire world of sights, culture and flavors that require time to experience fully.

However, sometimes you just have a few precious hours in town and you want to experience the best of the best. To that, we say salud to you and your eagerness to explore! Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Barcelona to get a taste for the Catalan capital.

You have one day in the Catalan capital. Make it count! Here's how to spend an unforgettable 24 hours in Barcelona.

10 a.m.: Tastes & Traditions Food Tour

Start off your 24 hours in Barcelona on a delicious note! Walking tours are a great way to get the lay of the land in a new city, and a food tour takes things up a delicious notch. Our Tastes & Traditions of Barcelona Tour will take you through two of Barcelona’s most authentic, historic neighborhoods. You’ll start learning your way around town, get a feel for local culture and taste some of our favorite local food!

Our Tastes, Tapas & Traditions Tour is the perfect way to kick off your 24 hours in Barcelona.
Step inside the truly local Santa Caterina Market on our Tastes & Traditions Tour!

2 p.m.: Lunch like a local or visit the museum

You probably won’t be hungry after eating your way around Barcelona all morning. However, if you’d like to check out Barcelona’s foodie scene on your own, we suggest hanging around the Barceloneta area for lunch. A traditional fishermen’s barrio, this off-the-beaten-path neighborhood is full of friendly locals and authentic charm. Check out some of our favorite places to eat in Barceloneta!

Not hungry? After your tour ends in Barceloneta, you’ll be in walking distance to some of Barcelona’s best museums! The Catalan History Museum (Plaça de Pau Vila, 3), housed in a former 19th century waterfront warehouse, allows you to take a look back at the history of this fascinating part of Europe. If you fancy yourself an art aficionado, the Picasso Museum (Carrer Montcada, 15-23) in Born pays a perfect tribute to the iconic Spanish cubist.

Be sure to eat like a local during your 24 hours in Barcelona! We suggest getting off the beaten path at a bar or restaurant in Barceloneta.
Eat like a local in the Barceloneta neighborhood, home to some of the most authentic bars and restaurants in the city.

4 p.m.: Stroll through the city center towards La Sagrada Familia

Start at Plaça Reial in the Gothic Quarter and head north up Las Ramblas towards Plaça de Catalunya. While this is quite a touristy street, it’s one of the city’s most famous sights and a must-see during 24 hours in Barcelona.

Soon, you’ll start heading towards the most iconic sight in the city: La Sagrada Familia. Catalan architect Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece lies in the heart of the Eixample neighborhood. If you’re interested in seeing the inside, we highly recommend booking your tickets online in advance to avoid long lines! However, this stunning church will take your breath away from the outside as well. It’s an absolute must during your 24 hours in Barcelona.

The Sagrada Familia is a must during your family holiday in Barcelona!
The inside of Sagrada Familia will blow you away! Photo credit: Iwao Kobayashi

6 p.m.: Merienda in Gracia

The charming, authentic Gracia neighborhood used to be a completely separate village until Barcelona swallowed it up in its massive expansion! However, it still retains its small-town charm even centuries later. You can’t spend 24 hours in Barcelona without spending some time wandering through Gracia’s picturesque narrow streets.

Late afternoon-early evening is nowhere near dinner time for the locals. Instead, join them for merienda—a traditional snack eaten between lunch and dinner. It’s usually something sweet accompanied by coffee or tea. Stop at Pastisseria Príncipe (Carrer de les Guilleries, 10) for a sweet pick-me-up. We love this Arabic bakery so much, we included it as a stop on our Gracia Neighborhood Food & Market Tour!

Be sure to take some time for a merienda during your 24 hours in Barcelona. We recommend Pastisseria Príncipe in Gracia!
Our friend Mostafa is the owner of Pastisseria Príncipe, where he serves up delicious homemade Syrian pastries!

Evening: Sunset at Park Guell

Need more Gaudí? You’re in luck! There are many stunning places to watch the sunset in Barcelona, but the colorful park is one of the best. Spend some time wandering amongst the buildings at Park Guell, which looks like a fairytale gingerbread house come to life. As evening falls over the city, head up to the top of the hill and watch nightfall gently blanket the city. This is a must during your 24 hours in Barcelona!

Don't miss the sunset during your 24 hours in Barcelona. We recommend checkin it out from Park Guell!
Park Güell is stunning any time of day.

10 p.m.: Dinner in Gracia

Head back into charming Gracia and eat dinner like a local! The neighborhood is full of fantastic hidden gems most tourists would never find. Whether you want to sample more authentic Catalan fare or have a hankering for tapas, there’s something for everyone! Be sure to check out our guide to the best places to eat in Gracia before you go.

Make the most of your 24 hours in Barcelona and try something you never thought you'd eat, like caracoles!
Step out of your foodie comfort zone in Gracia. You might find that caracoles are actually delicious!

Night: Experience Barcelona’s iconic nightlife

If you’ve only got 24 hours in Barcelona, be sure to spend a few of them experiencing the city’s famous nightlife! With many venues staying open until daylight the next morning, it’s no wonder why locals are so into the siesta culture. Head to one of the city’s best cocktail bars or nightclubs for a night of partying like you’ve never experienced before!

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