Barcelona, proud capital of Catalonia, is a gorgeous, colourful city with a fantastic setting right on the Mediterranean Sea. If you’ve got a weekend or a couple of days, there’s nowhere better to head for a break. Few cities can beat its amazing combination of bright lights and big city attractions with miles and miles of fabulous sandy beaches! Perfect for a city break at any time of year, the weather is always balmy, the food is amazing, and the Sagrada Família and other extraordinary buildings by Antoni Gaudí (Barcelona’s most famous architect), will leave you dazzled! Don’t miss out on any of the key sights with our unmissable guide to what to do in 48 hours in Barcelona!
Day One: Morning
Stroll down the Rambla, the famous promenade in the centre of the Barcelona, then get a feel for this beautiful, historic city by plunging into its ancient heart, the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). This medieval warren of narrow alleys has barely changed in centuries. Visit the cathedral cloister to see the white geese honking beneath the palm trees, do a bit of shopping (Avinguda Portal de l’Àngel and Carrer Portaferrissa are top for shops), and stop for lunch on one of the charming plaças (squares).
Day One: Afternoon
You can’t miss out on the Sagrada Família – but make sure you buy tickets online first to avoid the enormous queues. Antoni Gaudí, an architect and visionary, had an imagination quite unlike anything else in the world, and his huge temple dominates the city. Still unfinished, it’s extraordinarily beautiful, especially now that the stained glass windows in the nave have been completed. Take the lift up the towers for heart-stopping views over all of Barcelona.
Day One: Evening
Catalan cuisine has become world famous over recent years and boasts some of the finest restaurants on the globe. Whether you want to splash out on a gourmet meal to remember, or simply want to eat some tasty Catalan home-cooking, you’ll have a ball in this foodie paradise! Post-dinner, take your pick from glamorous cocktail bars, lounge bars with beds overlooking the beach, jazz dives, rooftop concerts, and underground clubs: Barcelona offers all this and much, much more!
Day Two: Morning
You deserve a break – especially if you want to recover from the night before! – so why not head down to the beach? With more than four miles of sandy beaches lapped by the warm Mediterranean Sea, you’ll find plenty of room to spread out your towel. If you’re visiting in winter, enjoy a stroll or a bike ride along the seafront promenade, shaded by palm trees, and watch the old men play dominoes in the sunshine. Indulge in a slap-up seafood lunch, or perhaps a paella, at one of the fantastic seafront restaurants.
Day Two: Afternoon
Take the cable car (transbordador aeri) from Barceloneta up to the hill of Montjuïc, then walk up to the castle at the very top for some wonderful views. There are lots of beautiful gardens on the hill, and you can wander through them on your way to the Fundació Joan Miró, which is set in a blazing white contemporary building and showcases the work of one of the greatest 20th-century artists.
Day Two: Evening
The Poble Sec and Sant Antoni areas at the foot of the hill of Montjuïc have become hotspots for bars and restaurants in recent years. Poble Sec retains some of its old-fashioned charms, while Sant Antoni is a hipster hangout. You’ll find scores of great places to eat and drink, and these areas remain relatively undiscovered by tourists.