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
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.
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:
- ⛪ Buy now: Sagrada Familia Fast Track Admission (skip the lines)
- 🏞️ Buy now: Park Guell Fast Track Admission (skip the lines)
- 🎟️ Buy now: Best of Barcelona Bundle (Sagrada + Park Guell + 10% discount code for all else)
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.
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.
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.
🚲 Wanna see a ton of sights in little time? Consider taking one of the best bike tours in 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.
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.
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:
- 2️⃣ Barcelona in a Weekend: double your pleasure with a two day break!
- 3️⃣ Barcelona in 3 Days: stay for a long weekend and lock in more attractions
- 4️⃣ Barcelona in 4 Days: business trips or Barcelona lovers!
- 7️⃣ Barcelona in 7 Days: spend a week in Europe’s best city
Related: Is Barcelona Worth Visiting?
Related: Unique Things to Do in Barcelona
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😉