Written by Ash

Barcelona in One Day: 24 Hours in Barcelona Itinerary


Thinking about doing Barcelona in one day?

If you’re on limited time, then I’ve got the perfect one-day Barcelona itinerary for you.

And in order to maximize your time, I’ll make sure there’s a balance of top attractions, epic local eats, and a couple of off-the-beaten-path options – so whether on a layover, a cruise-ship stop, or just too busy, here it is:

The perfect one-day Barcelona plan.

Barcelona in One Day Itinerary

travellers use the metro in barcelona spain

Getting Central

The clock is already ticking, so if you’re at the airport, the quickest way into town is to take a 20-minute Barcelona taxi for about €30.00.

Other Barcelona airport transport options include the airport train in Terminal 2 (€2.40, 25 minutes but limited departures) or the Aerobus (35 minutes, departing every 5 minutes).

If you’re at the Barcelona cruise ship terminal, grab the Autobus Azul shuttle to the famous La Rambla and get on the green line of the Barcelona metro at Drassanes, change at Diagonal (blue line L5) and head to La Sagrada Familia church.

⚠️  Warning ⚠️: Barcelona’s top two attractions must now be booked in advance.

You can book fast track tickets to both individually or get them as part of a discount pass:

You will not be able to book these tickets on site – lock in your tickets ASAP or you could miss out.

Arriving by train? From Sants Estacio, grab the blue line of the metro to Sagrada Familia.

Remember: the best way to see Barcelona in one day is by using the metro, so grab yourself a Barcelona map and get rolling.

If you need left luggage, check out the central Barcelona left luggage options that start from just €4.50 at Barcelona Turisme.

stained glass windows at the sagrada familia in barcelona spain

Stop #1 – the Sagrada Familia (2 hours)

Yeah yeah, every city in Europe has an enormous Roman Catholic church: but Sagrada Familia just hits differently.

This spiky UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by wonder-architect Antoni Gaudi is by far Barcelona’s most visited tourist destination. It’s so detailed that has been under construction for over 130 years.

With over three million annual visitors annually, the lines will stretch into the hours, especially during summer. So get there as early as possible.

Go for the English-guided tour of Sagrada Familia for the full experience.

Lock in your timeslot now!
upper facade of casa batllo with balconies in barcelona spain

Stop #2 – Passeig de Gracia (1.5 hours)

Take the metro back to Diagonal (blue line, L5) and exit at Passeig de Gracia – the city’s most stylish street, which is known for Barcelona’s best shopping and architecture.

Walk towards the sea, you’ll know because there’s a slight downward slope.

Stop in and visit any of the world’s top brands but remember, if you’re visiting Barcelona in one day, your time will likely be better spent visiting the area’s world-renowned architectural masterpieces.

Gaudi’s Casa Batllo and Casa Mila are both truly original art nouveau mansions that, at the very least, need to be appreciated from the outside. Look up and stand in awe.

🚲 Wanna see a ton of sights in little time? Consider taking one of the best bike tours in Barcelona.

el nacional multi restaurant culinary space barcelona

Stop #3 – Lunch at El Nacional (1 hour)

El Nacional is Barcelona’s newest sensation.

Here you can find several of Barcelona’s best bars: including a cocktail bar, a beer bar, a wine bar, and an oyster bar under one roof! There are also a number of Barcelona’s top restaurants, each specializing in meat, fish, and tapas, respectively.

Each establishment uses only traditional recipes from the Iberian Peninsula. And I’m telling you, eating top-quality Spanish cuisine is easily one of the top things to do in Barcelona in one day.

You’ll find it at 24 Passeig de Gracia.

🍷 Want the best local wines outside of El Nacional? Book one of Barcelona’s best wine tours from €30.00.

Stop #4 – Placa Catalunya (30 minutes)

At the bottom of Passeig de Gracia, you’ll find Barcelona’s biggest square, and a can’t-miss destination on any one-day tour. It’s the city’s true centre and a border of sorts between the old city and the new.

Spend a few minutes dodging the pigeons and contemplating life’s most intricate mysteries, or if you’ve still got the shopping bug, duck into the city’s largest department store: El Corte Ingles.

🧑‍🎨 Want more of Gaudi? Unlock his masterpieces with the top Gaudi tours in Barcelona.

tourists walking through restaurants on la rambla in barcelona spain

Stop #5 – La Rambla (1 hour)

Just south of Placa Catalunya, you’ll find the famous Las Ramblas.

This street that never sleeps is the door to the famous Gothic Quarter. Sure, there are tons of tourist traps to avoid here, but you have to see it once, and at least you’ll get one of Barcelona’s best markets.

I’d recommend ignoring the street salesmen, fast food restaurants, and overpriced souvenir shops until La Boqueria Market appears on your right-hand side. Sample some great Serrano ham and get yourself a fresh 1 euro fruit shake. You’ll need the energy for the rest of the walk.

At the bottom of La Rambla, take a left at the Columbus Statue and follow Passeig de Colom for 10-15 minutes.

🏙️ Wanna see a La Rambla + other top sites?: Consider booking one of the best Barcelona city tours.

the leaning homentage a la barceloneta monument at barcelona beach neighbourhood

Stop #6 – Fresh Air and a Drink in Barceloneta (2 hours)

Feel the sea breeze in Barcelona’s beach neighbourhood – now you’re officially on holiday! It may not be what I’d consider one of the best beaches in Barcelona. But if you’re doing Barcelona in one day, time is of the essence.

The people-watching here is amazing, and it’s another classic place for photographs.

If you’re looking for a drink, head to La Xampanyeria (Carrer de la Reina Cristina 7) for cheap bottles of rose wine or Bar Leo (34 Carrer Sant Carles) on a weekend afternoon – you’ll likely get a Spanish guitar performance.

Finish the night in the neighbourhood with a Spanish classic: Barcelona’s best paella. You can’t miss going to 7 Portes if it’s quality you’re after, and my favourite seafood restaurant in the area is Somorrostro.

Need more? Check out my post on what to do in Barcelona at night.

Stuck on a rainy day? Check out my list of Barcelona indoor activities.

One day in Barcelona not long enough? 🤯

Check out my other Barcelona itineraries to help you find that budget/time sweet spot:

Related: Is Barcelona Worth Visiting?

Related: Unique Things to Do in Barcelona

Get Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Batllo, and a 10% Discount Card!

Barcelona in One Day FAQs

  • Is it possible to visit Barcelona in one day?

    Absolutely! Although it’s a big city with a lot to see, you can still make the most of your time and get a good feel for the city in just one day. You’ll have plenty of time to visit Sagrada Familia, wander around La Rambla , check out the beach and enjoy the local Catalan cuisine.

  • What are some must-see attractions on a Barcelona one day itinerary?

    Some of the top attractions include the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, La Rambla, Casa Batlo, and the Gothic Quarter. If you’re in town in the summer, it’s also worth checking out the beaches if you have time.

  • How should I plan my itinerary for one day in Barcelona?

    First off, you’ll need to have your transport options sorted to maximize your time. Once you’re in town, it’s a good idea to start with the most important sights and work your way down – what exactly these are will depend on your interests.

    If you’re short on time, consider booking a tour such as the Bus Turistic, or using public transportation to save time. You can also plan your day based on particular interests, such as art, history, or food.

  • How can I make the most of my time in Barcelona?

    To make the most of your day, it’s important to prioritize and plan ahead. Don’t try to do too much or you’ll end up feeling rushed. After all, Spain is supposed to be relaxing!Take your time and enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavours of this beautiful city. And don’t forget to take lots of photos!

  • What is the quickest way to get into Barcelona’s city centre from the airport?

    If you have a layover in Barcelona and want to get into the city centre as quickly as possible, the best option is usually to take a taxi, which should take around 20-minutes. Alternatively, the Aerobus is a shuttle service that runs every 5-10 minutes from both terminals of the airport and goes directly to Plaça de Catalunya in the city centre.

    The journey takes around 35-minutes and costs around €5.90 for a one-way ticket or €10.20 for a round-trip ticket. You can purchase your tickets online in advance or at the airport.

Still Wondering How to Do Barcelona in 1 Day?

Was my Barcelona in one-day advice a little too flat for your tastes? Drop me a line below, and I’ll help you plan it out more thoroughly with some custom advice.

So there it is! An eight-hour shift in one of Europe’s best cities. Hopefully, you enjoyed Barcelona in one day so much that you’ll be back soon for a longer visit. After all, there is still so much to see.

Hasta la proxima😉

  • April 2, 2023 at 3:59 pm
    Hi Ash, I really appreciated all your great advice back in 2019 to help me plan a 3 day visit to Barcelona! Now my husband and I will be back with another couple at the end of a cruise in September 2023. The other couple have not been before, and we only have one full day and night. We are off the ship early in the morning of Sept 21, staying one night at the Catalonia Born hotel, and fly home the next day. We have booked the 11:30 Sagrada Familia guided tour. Can you suggest an itinerary around this to maximize our time? We will need to stash our luggage somewhere after getting off the ship, should we do that at the hotel first, or use the left luggage option? I like all the suggestions in your one-day itinerary, but is it mostly walkable or would it require navigating a lot of public transit? Would it be practical to use the Hop on hop off bus to get around? Also wondering if we should try to fit in a walking tour of the Gothic district? Can you also suggest a great spot for dinner and drinks with some live music (maybe some Spanish guitar)? Thanks in advance!
    • April 9, 2023 at 11:48 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Lisa, Thanks so much for the kind words, always super happy hearing from somebody on their second go around :) The first thing I'm thinking of is the luggage. Save the money by going and leaving the bags at the hotel as it's technically on the way to the Sagrada Familia. That said, I don't know how early the ship arrives so the timing could be a bit off here. My whole itinerary suggestion would depend on how much time you have before Sagrada, but I'm just going to assume it's the first thing you're doing. That said, there's nothing wrong with killing some time walking around the Born, grabbing coffee or breakfast there, before Sagrada. From Sagrada I would go up to Park Guell as it's a natural follow up. I'm assuming your friends have never been and this is a must. From there I'd head back down to walk Passeig de Gracia and the Ruta de Modernisme - pass by Casa Batllo and La Pedrera, visit if you'd like, and then end up on La Rambla for the typical tourist walk. As for the HoHo bus - it's basically tailor made for what I said above. You could board it at the Pla de Palau – Parc de la Ciutadella stop which is near enough to your hotel. Would take the guess work out of transport cards etc. In a way it'd probably buy you more time as you don't have to navigate. Walking tours are always suggested but most of them run around the time you're at Sagrada. If you could find one in the late afternoon that would be good though. As for dinner I'd recommend Guzzo, near your hotel, which is a cool dining spot with live music at times - though it's usually jazz. Ca L'Andreu is also near and has been known to have Spanish guitar :) Cheers,
      • July 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm
        Sounds great, thanks! We actually decided to change plans – we are now doing a walking / private transfer tour that includes a guided tour of SF. It starts at 11 am on La Rambla and tours the Gothic quarter, Montjiuc hill, Passeig de Gracia, and ends at Sagrada. The tour is approx. 5 hours, which would take us to about 4pm. Should we head up to Parc Guell after? If so, what is the best way to get there and would we need to purchase tickets in advance? Should we then head back to the hotel and the dinner spot you suggested? Do we need to make a reservation for dinner? As for storing the luggage in the morning – we’ll probably be off the ship by 9am and I’m hoping the hotel will accommodate us at that time. I believe it will be an easy walk to La Rambla from our hotel to meet the tour, is this correct? Thanks again!
        • July 23, 2023 at 7:16 pm
          Team Member
          Hi Lisa, The Sagrada to Park Guell trip is super common. We actually break it down in our post on how to get to Park Guell from Sagrada Familia. How you do it really depends on how much walking you want to include. Anyway, I'd definitely get the tickets in advance (how to buy Park Guell tickets) to guarantee your spots. They cap hourly visits so you don't wanna be left in the cold. As for reservations I have never booked a table at Guzzo but I would definitely get in contact with them and ask, especially if live music is playing. If they don't have music I'd also consider Fismuler for food (reservations recommended) as it's right near your hotel too. From your hotel it's gonna be about a 20-25 minute walk to La Rambla. It's easy enough, and there are some cool things to check out along the way (Palau de La Musica, Barcelona Cathedral, Placa Sant Felip Neri etc.). Anyway... this is pretty action packed but it's about the right amount of top attractions given your time frame :) Let me know if you have any more questions!
          • August 15, 2023 at 3:28 am
            Thank you Ash! Just one more question – do you think we will be affected by the Merce festival that is coming up that weekend? Meaning places being a lot more crowded?
            • August 16, 2023 at 5:27 am
              Team Member
              Hi Lisa, The mid-late evenings in the Gothic Quarter can get pretty busy/crowded indeed... but it's quite a concentrated area. Wouldn't worry about it too much - it's actually a very nice atmosphere :) Cheers,
  • September 28, 2022 at 12:17 am
    Hi Ash. I am reaching Barcelona on 25 Oct at 04:00 pm and leaving 27 Oct 09:00am with my wife and son. Can you please help me with a compact tour programme. Regards,
    • September 28, 2022 at 10:03 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Madi, I am not sure what you mean by compact tour program? The day itinerary above is a very good start. That said, not knowing the age of your son and your likes and dislikes it's very hard for me to come up with something custom. Please let me know a little more about yourselves. In the end, as a primary suggestion I would say to take a look at my Barcelona itinerary post and try to do day one on Oct 26th (your only full day). I would do Park Guell on the evening of the 25th as well as the aperitivo and dinner options, or you could throw in the Barceloneta and Born neighbourhoods in that spot too. Cheers,
  • June 12, 2022 at 11:36 pm
    Hi! I am arriving Barcelona on the 14th evening and have to take the flight to Rome on 16th morning. So it's a little more than a day and am travelling solo. Hears too much about tourist traps and pickpocket.. how safe is it for a solo female traveller? Also tips to purchase metro and bus tickets pls..
    • June 13, 2022 at 2:38 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Satkirti, Unless you're wandering around late at night near La Rambla or in the El Raval neighbourhood you should be totally fine. Just make sure you're very conscious of where your wallet is and don't leave your bag or mobile out in the open/not attended. When you arrive just go to any metro station and buy a 10 ride transport pass at the machines. Will be good for metro and bus. Cheers,
  • October 17, 2020 at 5:11 am
    Ruben Nagrampa Briones
    International flight arriving Barcelona at 11:50 AM and Cruise departing the following day and arriving from cruise at 5 AM and departing flight back to New York at 5:10 PM. So half day before the cruise and another half day after the cruise. What should we do? Any suggestions will be truly appreciated.
    • October 20, 2020 at 5:52 am
      Team Member
      Hi Ruben, Thanks for writing in! When exactly do you have this trip planned for and from where? I don't have many people writing with plans these days, it's almost shocking haha. As for your question... I would simply divide the one day itinerary above in two. Start day one at Sagrada Familia, work your way down Passeig de Gracia and then have dinner at El Nacional (instead of lunch). Then when you're back from the cruise you can start the half day 2 at La Rambla (you'll be dropped off at the bottom of it with the Cruise Bus) and work your way up to Plaça Catalunya. From here I'd cut over through El Born back down to the beach neighbourhood of Barceloneta. This way you ensure you see the biggest attractions given your limited time. Please let me know if you have any more questions! Always here to help :) Cheers, Ash
  • February 24, 2020 at 5:05 pm
    Hi Ash, Great website with lots of ideas for things to do and see, Im going over by myself for a day and this page will come in very handy! Thank you! Cheers, Rich
    • September 28, 2020 at 12:16 pm
      Hi Ash, I absolutely loved the day and all the plan, I followed it all and even added some more like visiting the Gòtic quarter and the National Geography Women exhibition. instead of eating lunch at EL National I had lunch at Ciutut Comtal. It was definitely worth the 40 minutes wait for a table.
      • October 5, 2020 at 8:54 pm
        Team Member
        That's so great to hear Mimi! :) I like how you made the ideas your own with some stops aside... and yeah, Ciutat Comtal is a great restaurant option for all those reading!
    • February 25, 2020 at 10:24 am
      Team Member
      Thanks so much Richard! :)
  • February 16, 2020 at 8:49 pm
    I am meeting a friend in Barcelona for the first day of a cruise, I arrive early morning and she arrives in the evening. Where is it safe for me to explore in the city before she arrives? I have also heard that there are rooftop bars near the beach to go to watch the sunset (we are traveling in May so the sunset is around 8pm) - any recommendations? We then have 1 day (until 6pm) to see Barcelona - thanks for the suggested itinerary! We will use it to replace/supplement the cruise's included excursions!
    • February 17, 2020 at 1:00 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Michelle, During the day all of the city's areas are safe to explore! Don't worry about all the pickpocket drama you'll read about... the odds of something happening are so low. I would get right into it with a walk through the Gothic Quarter and check out some of the stuff there. It'll be the easiest thing to do as all the airport transport like Aerobus terminates there. The only well known beachside roof top bar you'll find at the W Hotel. It's quite posh but one of the best in the city. Other than this you'll get a view of the Med from the Hotel Grand Central... it's my favourite one, great views and cocktails! Try and fit it in, it's just off from the Gothic Quarter so would be easy to get to. Cheers, Ash
  • February 15, 2020 at 7:24 pm
    Flying into Barcelona, but staying in Salou for a week. My boyfriend and I want to spend some time in Barcelona the day we arrive and also take a bus there for another day trip. Suggestions?
    • February 15, 2020 at 9:10 pm
      Team Member
      Hola Karly, I am full of suggestions ;) but not sure what you mean? This website is full of maybe 1000 suggestions including this one day post for a day trip... did you have something custom in mind that you needed? If I had to see just a few things I'd do Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Casa Batllo... then just enjoy the beach, drink some vermouth, and soak up the sights and sounds of the city. Cheers, Ash
  • December 27, 2019 at 5:17 am
    What could be a nice itinueary for Madrid for a 2 day stay there? What else is there to do in Barcelona?
  • December 8, 2019 at 5:33 pm
    Hi Ash, Your site has been a great source of info in planning my Spain trip with friends. We are from India and barring me everyone else is Vegetarian. Any recommendations on veg eateries, especially restaurants that serve both veg food as well as awesome Tapas, Jamon, Paella that I could partake in? Next question - we are visiting in December 2019. Would you recommend visiting the beach at this time of the year?
    • December 9, 2019 at 2:40 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Vidhya, Thanks for your kind words! Always glad to help :) I will steer you first to my post on vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona because I couldn't have worded it any better than there. You'll find all sorts of places. particularly I would recommend Season. For paella all of the restaurants I mention in my paella article can do vegetarian versions. As for the beach... it is sunny most days but you won't be able to swim or have any sort of traditional beach day out. It's too cold for that. It is quite a nice place to have a walk though in the afternoon. Cheers, Ash
      • May 24, 2022 at 2:06 pm
        Hi, id add going to the Colombus Monument and the Barcelona port nearby for some nice waves instead of the beach. Really nice place and tou could take a boat ride around the place. Really beautiful
        • May 24, 2022 at 2:16 pm
          Team Member
          Nice tips, Aaron! One thing, did you go to the top of the Columbus Monument? I've heard from multiple people that it's really claustrophobic.
  • October 4, 2019 at 10:22 pm
    Hi Ash My boyfriend is visiting me in Barcelona for four nights (10/11 - 10/14). Where is the best Paella? Best bar scene? Romantic spots in the city that won't be a huge commute? I want to plan a really nice weekend with activities but not an overwhelming or exhausting experience. We are looking for fun and adventurous.
    • October 5, 2019 at 12:26 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Miranda, I couldn't have worded it any better than in my list of best paella restaurants and best romantic ideas in Barcelona. For couples I would say the best bar scene is in the El Born area and specifically the area around Passeig del Born and the cocktail bar Paradiso. Take a look! And let me know if you still have any more questions :) Ash
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