2 Days in Barcelona

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Barcelona – A city for which we had no expectations. A city we didn’t even really seek out. We spent 2 days in Barcelona because it’s where our cruise ended. So we figured we’d spend some time exploring this city before flying back home. Turns out, we fell in love with this beautiful and cosmopolitan city and wanted to share with you what we did to explore Barcelona in 2 days. Hopefully by the time you’re done reading this Barcelona blog post, you’ll have some great ideas to add to your very own Barcelona 2 day itinerary!



How to Spend 2 Days in Barcelona

If you find yourself with only two days in Barcelona, here are some helpful ideas for how to best spend your time. (You can also pick and choose from these highlights if you’re on a cruise and only have one day in port!)

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What To See in Barcelona in 2 Days

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Barcelona is a HUGE city and you simply won’t see everything there is to see in 2 days! However, one way to cover a lot of ground is to go on a guided and narrative city bus tour. During our second visit to the city (this time with my dad and step-mom), we took a ride on the Barcelona Bus Turistic Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus. 3 different routes (Red, Blue, and Green) stop at 44 different stops around the city, offering close to 5 hours of ride time. Of course, you can hop on and off the bus as you please to explore various parts of the city. Along with your ticket, you will receive a pair of earphones to listen to the commentary (in one of 16 different languages). In addition, you will receive a detailed guide providing information about attractions at each stop (in Spanish, Catalan, and English) and a discount book for attractions and restaurants all over the city. WiFi is available on board (at no extra cost) to help you further plan your time in the city. Another great Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is the 1- or 2-day Barcelona City Bus Tour – Get Your Advance Tickets HERE.

What to do in Barcelona for 2 days

Montjuïc Hilltop Park

At the Parallel metro station, you can catch the funicular up to Montjuic; otherwise you’ll get a good amount of exercise walking uphill to this massive urban park. (There are several stops on Montjuic on the red line of the Turistic Bus just mentioned.) With all of its trees and gardens, this park is the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city below! This is also where you will find the Olympic Stadium, left behind from the 1992 Summer Olympics, though it is still in use today.  You can also access by scenic cable car, which offers outstanding views over the city and port!

Montjuic Barcelona

Museu Nacional D’art de Cataluna (MNAC)

Within the boundaries of Montjuic, you will also come upon the Museu Nacional D’art de Cataluna (MNAC). The museum, constructed for the International Exposition of 1929, houses the world’s best collection of Romanesque mural paintings. Wander through and gaze upon examples of Catalan Modernism (Gaudí and Casas, for example), Gothic Art, and Renaissance and Baroque paintings. For FREE entry to the museum, visit on a Saturday after 3 pm or on the first Sunday of each month. Otherwise, you can purchase your MNAC tickets HERE in advance!

MNAC Barcelona

If you’re not big into museums, simply enjoy the incredible city views from the steps of the MNAC.

2 days in BarcelonaEl Poble Espanyol

El Poble Espanyol is a charming village that was built in 1929 representing squares and streets from the various regions all over Spain. Wander through its alleyways and peruse its different shops and restaurants. This is an excellent place to buy hand-crafted souvenirs, though keep in mind, there is a moderate entry fee to get into the village. To get to El Poble Espanyol via metro, get off at the Espanya stop on line 1 or 3 or by bus at stop Poble Espanyol on line 13, 23, or 150.

Barcelona Spain

The Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter is the center of the old city of Barcelona stretching from Las Ramblas to Via Laietana. It’s a fascinating area to walk around (consider taking a 2-hour walking tour with a professional guide), as many of the buildings date back to Medieval times. Leisurely stroll through the Gothic Quarter and admire its architecture, but do beware that pickpockets operate in this area. And though not Gothic by any stretch of the imagination, other than its placement within this region of the city, we enjoyed walking around Art Montfalcon, an eclectic shop selling everything from jewelry and art to trinkets and collectibles.

The Gothic Quarter Barcelona

Barcelona Cathedral

Don’t miss out on a visit to this gorgeous 14th century cathedral located in Gothic Quarter! Officially named the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, but more commonly known as the Barcelona Cathedral, this church holds a lot of history! 13 geese will always be found in the secluded Gothic cloister in memory of Saint Eulalia who was martyred for her faith at the age of 13. (Ladies, be sure to cover your shoulders before entering the cathedral.) After exploring the church, check out the antique flea market set up just outside the cathedral front doors.

Barcelona Cathedral

Santa Maria Del Mar

Santa Maria Del Mar was built in the 1300’s at the height of Catalonia’s maritime and mercantile superiority. The cathedral is a fine example of Catalan Gothic architecture and the interior is absolutely magnificent (entry is FREE)! It is said that the church contains some of the most slender stone built columns in the world.

Santa Maria Del Mar Barcelona

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas is the heartbeat if the city! You simply can’t visit Barcelona without making a visit to this popular bustling city street. Go shopping, enjoy a meal, drink a glass of sangria or two, and watch the people go by. There are usually always street performers to keep you entertained. But whatever you do, watch your belongings. Las Ramblas is one of the most common places to get pick-pocketed in all of Europe. Happy to say, we escaped without incident!

Las Ramblas Barcelona

Exploring Gaudi’s Architecture

La Sagrada Família

The construction for this church started in the late 19th century, halted in 1926 when Gaudi died, and continues today with his style in mind. They say it could still take another quarter of a century to complete.

La Segrada Familia BarcelonaWe didn’t go inside, as the line wrapped around the building, but simply marveled at its uniqueness and detail from the outside. If only we had purchased the fast track admission ticket! To get the most out of your visit -> skip the line and take a guided tour!


Casa Batlló

The roof of Casa Batlló resembles the back of a dragon. Its vibrant exterior displays colorful mosaic made from broken ceramic tiles, while bone-like adornments surround its windows. For obvious reasons, it is commonly called The House of Bones. Be sure to get your admission ticket and video guide in advance! To arrive via metro get off at Passeig de Gràcia on line 2, 3, or 4 or arrive by bus on numbers H10, V15, 7, 22 or 24.

Casa Batllo Barcelona

Casa Milà

Just a few blocks from Casa Batlló is Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (the stone quarry) It was built in the early 1900’s by Gaudí and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984 for its uniqueness, artistic and heritage value. Skip the line! -> Purchase a fast-pass ticket (and audio guide) in advance!

Casa Mila Barcelona

Park Güell

Park Güell is a little off-the-beaten-track, but totally worth the effort to get there! Wander through the gardens and take your time looking at all of the unusual and colorful sculptures and mosaics throughout the park. Park Güell has 2 different areas: the Monumental Zone, which requires the purchase of a ticket (skip the line and get your tickets HERE) and the Free Access Area which is open to all visitors at no charge.

Park Guell BarcelonaYou can take public transportation most of the way to the park; then it will be about a 15 minute walk to one of the park’s many entrances. Take Line 3 on the metro and get off at either the Vallcarca or Lesseps stop. For the bus, you can get off on the following stops: Travessera de Dalt (Lines H6 and 32), Plaça Catalunya (Line 24), or Trelawny-Passeig Marítim (Line 92).

Barcelona in 2 days

More Things to Do in Barcelona in 2 Days

Want even more ideas of things to do during your 2 days in Barcelona? Consider a sunset cruise, 3-hour city bike tour, or 1.5 hour segway tour!


Where to Stay in Barcelona

Hotel Grums

If you’re visiting the city for more than just the day, we can highly recommend the hotel where we stayed – Hotel Grums. We found an excellent deal through Living Social and couldn’t have been happier with our accommodations. It was very modern and chic hotel with one of the best breakfast buffets we’ve ever seen! Each room is themed after an influential person who lived/worked in Barcelona. Our room was themed after Jacint Verdaguer, a write, which was neat and coincidental, since Sam is a writer!

Hotel Grums Barcelona-> Check Availability & Current Prices for Hotel Grums <-

Included in our Living Social deal were welcome drinks, cocktails, and tapas, which we enjoyed out on the open-air deck behind the hotel. Sam tried a locally brewed beer – Moritz and I enjoyed a glass of white wine, as we snacked on tomato bread, prosciutto, cheese and some kind of bite-sized potato snack. The hotel also provided us with some sweet slushy concoction to sip on as well basked in the warm summer sun!

Hotel Grums Barcelona

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Aparthotel Silver

If you’re looking for self-catering apartment-style living, look no further than Aparthotel Silver in the Gracia neighborhood; it’s the perfect location for your 2 days in Barcelona. Just steps away from the Fontana metro station, you’re only minutes away from the historic center of the city. The hotel boasts 49 apartment-style rooms complete with a kitchenette, including mini-fridge, microwave, kettle, stove-top, pots, pans, plates, cups, and utensils.

Aparthotel Silver Barcelona

Some rooms come equipped with a terrace complete with lounge chairs and dining table. Enjoy an evening outside overlooking the nearby city streets while sipping on sangria and dining on your own ‘home-made’ cuisine.

Aparthotel Silver Barcelona-> Check Availability & Current Prices for Aparthotel Silver <-

A continental style breakfast buffet is available in the private garden if you prefer for someone else prepare your breakfast! They even catered to Sam’s gluten-free diet and prepared our final breakfast the night before we left, as we had to depart early the next morning to make our way to the airport. The staff couldn’t have been any more accommodating, helpful, and friendly, and we can wholeheartedly recommend Aparthotel Silver.

Find hotels cheap in BarcelonaWhere to Eat in Barcelona

Ciudad Condal

This restaurant came highly recommended and we certainly weren’t disappointed with our selection! We enjoyed a pitcher of sangria along with a variety of tapas, including a hamburger slider, cheese, a prosciutto-wrapped cheese-filled date, asparagus and mushrooms. YUM! We enjoyed it so much, we went back for another visit during our second visit to the city!

Ciudad Condal Barcelona

Cafe de L’Academia

Tucked away in the heart of the Gothic Quarter offering delicious Catalan cuisine at a surprisingly affordable price (by Barcelona standards), is Cafe de L’Academia. There wasn’t a single thing we ordered that wasn’t absolutely spectacular. In fact, we ordered a second portion of the garlic noodles with shrimp, it was so good! The cheese and tomato stuffed salmon was equally as divine!

Cafe de L'Academia Barcelona


We found this restaurant on a side street off of Las Ramblas. Note, the restaurants right on Las Ramblas are very expensive. Head to the side streets for a better deal. We had drinks and a light meal at Schillings and thought everything was wonderful.

Schillings Barcelona

Experience Local Cuisine in Barcelona

Dine with Locals

Sure, eating out at a restaurant is nice, but for a truly authentic and local experience, we encourage you to meet, drink, and dine with locals in Barcelona! For a truly memorable encounter, dine in the home of a local, do a cava tasting on a beautiful rooftop terrace, or take a cooking class.

Eat with locals on BonAppetour

Visit the Local Market

Mercado de La Boqueria is a colorful open-air market with an entrance off of Las Ramblas is a great place to grab a snack or a meal while wandering around the city.

Mercado de La Boqueria Barcelona Market

Or if you’re full or broke, it’s a wonderful location to take pictures!

Mercado de La Boqueria Barcelona MarketBarcelona is a fascinating city; one that truly took us by surprise. We’re not usually into BIG cities, but with its delicious food, unique architecture, and eclectic vibe, what’s not love?! Although we did our best to supply you with how to get to various attractions using public transportation, the city (although large) is very walkable. We hope we’ve given you some great ideas for what to do in Barcelona for 2 days!

If Time Permits…

Now, I know this Barcelona travel blog was written with the intention of helping you plan for a limited number of days in the city, but if time permits, we’d strongly encourage you to check out the nearby region of Costa Brava during your visit in northeastern Spain. Located just over an hour from Barcelona, this stunning coastal region is absolutely worth a visit! From medieval towns to coastal activities, Costa Brava is a destination in and of itself where you can dine on delicious Catalan cuisine and relax on its gorgeous beaches! You can either hire a car and explore Costa Brava on your own or join in on a number of available day trips from Barcelona where transportation is provided – Half-Day Tour of Costa Brava | Full-Day Tour of Costa Brava | Full-Day Tour of Costa Brava, including Girona.Of course, we’d recommend staying in Costa Brava for a few days if your schedule allows, but if a day trip from Barcelona is all you can spare, it’s worth a visit nonetheless! 

Tossa de MarOur hope is that you enjoy your visit to Barcelona (and Costa Brava, if you get a chance) as much as we did!

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2 Days in BarcelonaWe’d like to thank Barcelona Turisme for providing us with press passes to explore the city and Aparthotel Silver for a complimentary stay in exchange for our review. As always, our write-ups are an accurate reflection of the experiences we had. This post contains affiliate links, which simply means if you click on one of our links, we may receive a small fee, at no additional cost to you.


  1. Barcelona is such a great city and it looks like you covered it well in just two days. Your photos brought back some fond memories, thanks.

  2. The Hotel in the center of Barcelona offers a different kind of Bed & Breakfast, unique buffet right in the Centre of Barcelona.

  3. Congratulations on your fantastic photos that you took in your Barcelona tour.

  4. Very nice photos! It seem that you had lots of fun there! My friend told be that if you travel to Spain to visit Barcelona, then you need at least four days to enjoy everything it offers. I’m glad you found out that it is not 100% neccessary 😀

  5. Take a look at the new 4K resolution video, part of the Around The World 4K project, to see from another perspective, what this city has to offer.

  6. There are so many things to see in Barcelona but your article lists the main places to go! I would have add to walk along the see from the Mirador de Colom to the Olympic Port. An amazing way! Then, as I am working in an events promotion company in London, where I have attended many travel events about Barcelona and Catalonia and learnt about some things to do there, I would also recommend to go to the Parc de la Ciudatella if you can find the time to go there!

  7. Good tips about Beautiful Barcelona…I would recommend that you try the Sightseeing Bus one of the first days to get to know the city. Maybe go to Montjuic Mountain for city views or Parc Güell and of course visit La Pedrera/Casa Mila and Casa Battlo and if you want to get to know more about the works of Antoni Gaudi a good place to start is The Gaudi Exhibition – but remember to book your tickets in advance to save queue time.

  8. Barcelona is a great place for vacation place in Spain. As a football fan when we are thinking about Barcelona the first thing came in our mind is the primera division Spanish football league, commonly known as La Liga and Football Club Barcelona. I love Lionel Messi and when it’s about spending 2 days there I must recommended I La Liga match specially of FC Barcelona. Thank you.

  9. Nice pics

    A mistake: The hill and park name is “Montjuic”, no “Montijuic” 🙂

  10. Nice pics of the market place.

  11. Love your website! We are going on a Med cruise in July with 3 days in Barcelona pre-cruise. This is all so very helpful!

  12. I want to share some more excellent restaurants in Barcelona for your next visit! Cometa Pla in the Gothic Quarters, SantaGula in Gracia and La Mundana in Sants! And if you are in to craft cocktail you need to visit the new bar Dr. Stravinsky!!

    • Thanks so much for the recommendations, Sara. Always happy to take on tips from readers. Hoping that people are reading through the comments to see your recommendations and give these new places a try. Sounds like we need to plan another trip to Barcelona ourselves! There’s so much of the city we have left to explore… and taste!

    • Hi Sara! Last time we went to Spain we had a hard time finding good cocktails so I’m really excited to visit Dr. Stravinsky! I know cocktails are normally 7-9 euros, how much are the ones at Dr. Stravinsky? Thanks!!

  13. An excellent blog post about Barcelona. The photos and information is truly inspiring. Thank you for this good share.

  14. I went to Barcelona back in February 2017 and I really enjoyed it. La Sagrada Familia was breathtaking.

    I can’t wait to back next year!


  15. In May it was our third visit to Antoni Gaudi’s fabulous La Sagrada Familia and yet again we were in awe! The detail in this cathedral is mind blowing… from a distance, it looks very Gothic in nature but then you get closer and every single element leaves your jaw hanging. From the lighting, the tree-like columns, the sculpture… It’s safe to say we have witnessed a work of art in the making! They’re aiming to finish construction by June 2026 – this will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.

  16. Wow
    Such a helpful helpful article.
    Exactly what I was looking for. ?
    Stay blessed

  17. Hello! I think we checked out your guide before we headed over ourselves. We really debated the hop on hop off bus as we think that it would be a helpful way to see the city but ultimately did self-guided exploration. Traveling by metro ended up getting us pick-pocketed. Still, we really enjoyed our time in Barcelona and would go back to see the many things we missed (including some things you hit in that time like Montjuic and Santa Maria Del Mar). Here is what ended up being our itinerary https://www.marriedwithmaps.com/2018/02/barcelona-2-day-itinerary/

    • We did self-exploration on our first visit to Barcelona, but when we went back with my dad and his wife, we decided to try the hop-on hop-off bus to see parts of the city we may have missed before. Even with two trips under our belt, there is still so much of the city we have yet to explore!

  18. Wonderful place!! I really like traveling to Spain because this country has so much to offer like the beautiful islands of Canary. We went there last year and I was amazed at how beautiful and breathtaking the place is. Too bad that we miss the Siam Park in Tenerife but will definitely go there next time we travel back to Spain. Are there any places you’d like to recommend we check in Spain?

    • Hi Daniele,
      We regrettably haven’t explored too much of Spain, but of the places we’ve been, we really enjoyed the region of Costa Brava, located just over an hour from Barcelona. We stayed in the town of Tamariu – https://forgetsomeday.com/tamariu-costa-brava/, visited wineries, medieval towns, went kayaking and sailing, took a cooking class, etc. There’s so much to do in this region and its beauty is definitely worth checking out. We also visited the island of Mallorca, which had some gorgeous beaches!

  19. I am so glad that I found your article on Pinterest! We opted for the two day pass on the hop on hop off bus. The first day we just rode both of the routes and ate at an out of the way place for lunch, and had a burger at Burger Bar for dinner. The second day we used the bus again to check out the La Sagrada Familia. We used both of your links and saved a bunch. Overall we had a wonderful experience. Thank you for the tips.

  20. This is great advice mixed with humor. I agree that you can’t be too careful in Barcelona with the pickpockets, so it’s a great idea to leave some money and credit cards etc. in the hotel safe

    • Always helps to be extra vigilant and aware of your surroundings when traveling, especially in bigger cities… and even more so when pickpockets are known to target certain cities/areas.

  21. Hi there,

    I love your list of what-to-do in Barcelona. You have some really good ideas about the city, you did a great job. If you are ever back in Barcelona I would love to show you some amazing places to eat in the city. I run a food tour company called Eye on Food Tours drop me a line some time.

    all the best,


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