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4 Days in Barcelona: Gaudi, Picasso, Museums, Port Vell, Food Tours, Flamenco Shows, and Discount Tickets

Barcelona is city driven by passion.

And that passion runs deeper than the Catalan independence riots you’ve likely seen on the news.

Just look at any building designed by art nouveau architect, Antoni Gaudi, who spared no expense in expressing his devotion to simulating nature. Then there’s masterpieces by artists like Picasso, whose abstract modernist paintings showcase his obsession with the female form.

It’s also the city to fall in love with all things Spanish, from delicious rice dish paella and the fruity cocktail Sangria, to Flamenco dancing and afternoon siestas.

Oh yeahhhh, those siestas.

If you’re short on time, you may have to forgo a couple of siestas in favour of hardcore sightseeing.

I suggest ordering a Turbopass Barcelona City Pass to save money on tours, shopping, dining, and entertainment, as well as on entry to iconic attractions like the Sagrada Familia and dozens of fascinating museums.

I’ve proven it is possible to spend 4 days in Barcelona without breaking the bank. Here’s how.

Language Tip: While most locals in Barcelona speak English reasonably well, it helps to brush up on your Español, especially if you plan to continue onto cities like Valencia, where English is less prevalent. I recommend Pimsleur’s self-paced Spanish lessons available through their handy smart-phone app.


About Turbopass Barcelona City Pass

Choose between a 2, 3, 4, or 5-day Turbopass Barcelona City Pass ranging from €109.90 to €156.90. This itinerary works best with a 4-day Turbopassto squeeze in more attractions - the more you see, the more you save.

Turbopass provides entry to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, lookout point Mirador de Colom, modernist mansion Casa de les Punxes, a harbour boat tour, a 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus, and a guided tour of the Gothic Quarter. It also comes with a Barcelona Card which provides public transport access; entry to museums like the Picasso Museum, National Art Museum, and History Museum; and hefty discounts on walking tours and day tours, restaurants, entry to venues like Gaudi’s Casa Mila, and entertainment like flamenco shows.

Once you’ve selected the duration of your Turbopass and reached the checkout, you’ll be asked to select a date to visit the Sagrada Familia as availability sells out days (or even weeks) in advance. You’ll also have the option to upgrade your Sagrada Familia ticket to include an audio guide and tower climb.

I was impressed with how easy it was to use my Turbopass at all included attractions. My public transport card was just as easy too, as was my Barcelona Card at museums with free entry.

Redeeming the Barcelona Card discounts, however, proved challenging. Most popular attractions, like Gaudi’s Park Guell, have massive queues, especially in peak season (July-August). The only way to claim the discounted price (usually 10-50% off) is to queue up, develop the patience of a saint, and hope there’s still room inside as some attractions cap entry for safety purposes.

If you happen to die without losing your patience, I heard that’s a fast-track to canonization.

I personally would have preferred to purchase fast-track tickets online for a few extra euros, get in faster, and make it home in time for a siesta. Your sanity is worth a lot more. And so are siestas.

Barcelona Tip: Many venues close for ‘siesta time’ around 2pm-4pm and open up again until about 7pm. Google Maps doesn’t always reflect this so may suggest closing time is either 2pm, or 7pm without considering the 2-hour siesta closure. The opening hours listed below are summer hours. If you visit between mid-September and May, check the attraction website for winter opening hours.


Day 1

10:30am – Collect your Barcelona Card and Public Transport Card

If you choose to have your Turbopass delivered, your Turbopass, Barcelona Card, Public Transport Card and Sagrada Familiar ticket will be sent to your home address for a small delivery fee.

If you choose collection, your Turbopass and Sagrada Familiar ticket will be emailed for electronic use and your Barcelona Card and Public Transport Card will need to be collected from the tourism office at either Barcelona El Prat airport or Plaça Catalunya. Simply show the collection voucher emailed with your Turbopass to redeem your cards.

I collected my cards from the Plaça Catalunya tourism office, which is actually located underneath the public square. Look out for the tourist information sign next to a descending staircase.

 


11am – Marvel at Gaudi’s Casa Batllo

Walk 10 minutes northwest to Casa Batllo, a whimsical multi-story apartment building designed by Antoni Gaudi. I joined the “standard tickets” queue for about 15 minutes to redeem my €3 discount and purchase a €25 ticket (for €22), then queued up for a further 5 minutes to enter Casa Batllo. This is one of the venues I’d suggest forgoing the discount and booking tickets online to skip the first half of queuing. Especially if you’re short on time. Or patience.

Your ticket includes an interactive audio-visual guide, that leads you on a set route through the flamboyant apartment to witness some of Gaudi’s most ingenious architecture and the aspects of nature that inspired him. In some rooms, like the sitting room, the audio-visual guide replicates the original furniture using augmented reality, revealing what the room would have looked like when occupied by the Batllo family.

The highlight of Casa Batllo was undoubtedly the rooftop with exquisite colourful mosaics resembling a sleeping dragon.

Barcelona Card discount: €3 off | Hours: 9am-9pm daily

 


12:30pm – Visit Europe’s Most Important Private Collection of Egyptian Artefacts

The Egyptian Museum of Barcelona is a 4-minute walk north from Casa Batllo and hosts one of the most important private collections of Egyptian artefacts in Europe, from sarcophagi and jewellery, to artwork, furniture, and pottery dating back to 4,000BC.

Entry is free with the Barcelona Card so simply present your card at the ticket desk in exchange for a ticket. Some items include descriptions in English but many don’t, so I recommend downloading the museum’s free smartphone guide before your visit (iOS or Android).

Barcelona Card discount: free entry | Summer hours (June 25 – September 11): 10am – 8pm Monday – Saturday, 10am – 2pm Sunday

 


1:30pm - Lunch

I recommend having lunch at El Trencadis, just around the corner from the Egyptian Museum. You’ll find fantastic lunch specials here including vegetarian and vegan options.

 


3pm – Wander Through Casa Mila

Walk 5 minutes northwest to Casa Mila, also known as la Pedrera, a luxurious apartment complex designed by Gaudi. The Barcelona Card provides €3 off standard entry (bringing the ticket cost down to €22) and luckily, the queues aren’t as long as at Casa Batllo. I only had to wait 3 or 4 minutes to redeem my discount and gain entry.

Tickets include an automated audio guide that stops and starts according to your location within the house. When you enter the terraces, it will start talking about the terraces, and when you enter the dining room, it will start talking about the dining room. Clever, hey? The guide describes Casa Mila as Gaudi’s “crown jewel”, the best example of his personal style which drew inspiration from elements of nature, like tree-trunk-shaped columns, and bone-shaped air-vents.

My favourite part was, again, the rooftops, which combine functionality for ventilation with designs resembling the 4 forces of nature, as well as some pretty cool guardian-esque chimneys.

Barcelona Card discount: €3 off | Hours: 9am-6:30pm daily

 


4:30pm – Visit Modernist Mansion, Casa de les Punxes

Squeeze in one more architectural marvel by walking 6 minutes north to Casa de les Punxes, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch for the prominent Terradas family. While the complex looks like one large house, it was actually designed as 3 separate residences for the 3 Terradas sisters.

Show your printed or electronic Turbpoass at the ticket desk for entry and an automated audio guide which leads you on a set route through the mansion. The first few rooms show videos of the dragon-slaying adventures of Saint George, the patron saint of Catalan who features on one of the mansion’s stained-glass windows. The rest of the tour focuses on the mansion’s architectural style, ending on the rooftops where visitors can climb inside a series of turrets.

Turbopass discount: free entry + 10% off souvenir shop | Hours: 10am-7pm daily

 


5:30pm – Meet your Vegan Food Group

I caught a 5-minute metro from Diagonal station to Catalunya station (with my free public transport card) and walked 5 minutes south to Biocentre, the meeting point for my 6pm Vegan Food Tour of Barcelona. Food tours have always been my favourite way to explore the culture of a new city and since choosing a vegan diet earlier this year, I can’t go past Vegan Food Tours when travelling in Europe.

You don’t have to be vegan to love this tour. My guide, Martin, explained that many of his guests are simply looking for a healthier food tour option, interested in learning about vegan food, or are vegetarian, but they all LOVE the food they get to sample.  

The 3-hour tour visits 4 restaurants in La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter with a friendly guide sharing stories from Barcelona’s history and culture and pointing out places of interest from Roman ruins and medieval street signs to stores selling ethical products.

We sampled some amazing Spanish food with a vegan twist including patatas bravas, paella, bread with tomato and olive oil, sweet potato pasta with macadamia cheese sauce, and raspberry rhubarb crumble with coconut milk. One alcoholic drink per person is included at each restaurant, because you know, this is Spain.

This is not the kind of food tour you’ll leave hungry. Or sober.

 


Day 2

9:15 – Learn about the Gothic Quarter on a Walking Tour

Your Turbopass includes a 2-hour Stories and Legends of the Gothic Quarter Walking Tour which must be booked at least 48 hours in advance by emailing your name, Turbopass number and preferred tour date to the email address provided by Turbopass.

I met my guide, Aida, and group of about 15 at the Tourist Information office in Barcelona Plaça de Sant Jaume at 9.15am for a 9.30 start. Have your booking confirmation and Turbopass handy for staff to check.

Aida shared a brief history of Barcelona, which dates back to a 1st century BC Roman settlement, before setting off to explore the Gothic Quarter. Along the tour, she pointed out the best places to buy locally made souvenirs, the best food markets to stop for lunch, and quiet hide-outs to escape the cruise ship crowds.

Aida highlighted different types of architecture throughout the city, from Gothic, to Baroque, to Romanesque, to Neoclassical. Her favourite examples included the Barcelona Cathedral, which was constructed over 200 years in Baroque and Neo-gothic styles; “travelling buildings” which have been moved from their original location; and the Museum of History of Barcelona, where we saw scale models of how the city has grown and changed over the centuries.

Turbopass discount: free tour | Hours: 9am-9pm daily

 


11:30am – Stop for an Early Lunch

For lunch, I recommend Vegetalia Gotico, a vegetarian restaurant with bargain lunch specials. Alfresco seating is available for a small surcharge.

 


12:30pm – Explore the Basilica of Santa Maria Del Mar

After lunch, walk 8 minutes northeast to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, a 14th-century, Gothic-style church. Our tour guide, Aida, said entry was only free before 1pm so I arrived at 12.30pm to make the most of the church’s large open spaces, towering columns, and elegant stained glass windows.

 


1pm – See the Evolution of Picasso’s Art at the Picasso Museum

Walk 2 minutes northeast to the Picasso Museum to see the evolution of the master-painter’s artwork. Picasso lived in Barcelona for 9 years before having to flee the country during the Spanish Civil War. From abroad, he supplied a collection of his works to establish an art museum in his beloved Barcelona.

Entry is free with the Barcelona Card, but don’t queue up at the ticket desk. Instead follow signage to the “group meeting point” counter where your card can be scanned in exchange for a paper ticket. Ask staff for directions if you get lost like I did. Audio guides are available for an extra €5 and backpacks must be stored in lockers for a €1 coin which is refunded when you collect your bag.

 

Picasso is best known for his abstract painting style that, dare I say, resembles finger paintings by a 5-year-old. The museum showcases pieces from his studies at a fine arts school in Barcelona and from his early career when he excelled at crafting portraits of historical and religious figures and exquisite landscapes with a unique realism. As the museum continues, exhibits showcase changing influences on Picasso’s art as his style grew from realism, to minimalist, to avant-garde, to geometric. Some exhibits demonstrated Picasso’s exploration with other mediums like ceramics and photography. This was a man who pushed his craft to its limits.

Barcelona Card discount: free entry | Hours: 9am-7pm Tuesday – Sunday, 9am-9:30pm Thursday

 


2:30pm: Stroll Through the Past at the El Born Cultural Centre

To discover a period of Barcelona’s history largely unknown to the average tourist, walk 5 minutes east to the El Born Cultural Centre.The first thing you’ll notice is a huge area of excavated ruins – the old Mar Quarter which was destroyed during the 18th century War of Spanish Succession. You can walk above ruins for free and read a series of informative plaques.

To visit the centre’s 2 paid exhibits (1 permanent and 1 temporary), scan your Barcelona Card at the ticket counter. Lockers are available for a refundable €1 coin.

The permanent exhibit aims to transport visitors to the society that lived in the area at the turn of the 18th century by showcasing ceramics, glassware, jewellery, toys, and pipes discovered in the excavations as well as scale models and informative posters. At the time of my visit, the temporary exhibit featured works by political artist Josep Renau, who’s provocative art-deco posters saw him exiled during the Spanish Civil War.

Barcelona Card discount: free entry | Hours: 9am-9pm daily

 


4pm – Admire Catalan Artwork at the Frederic Mares Museum

Keeping in the theme of art, walk 10 minutes southwest to the Frederic Mares Museum to see Catalan sculptor Frederic Mares’ vast collection of Spanish sculptures, paintings, and artistic objects. Entry is free with the Barcelona Card and lockers are available for a refundable €1 coin (picking up the trend?). I recommend spending €1 on an audio guide to learn about the significance behind each fascinating piece.

The first set of exhibits showcase exquisite sculptures of figures from Greek mythology, the Roman Empire, and Christianity. Next is a series of religious carvings, reliefs, and paintings, many of which were formerly housed in medieval churches. The final exhibits are called the “collectors cabinet” in which Mares’ unique collection objects shed light into 19th century lifestyles in Catalonia. Items on display include fans, pipes, guns, keys, sewing machines, jewellery, watches, photographs, and glass bottles.

Barcelona Card discount: free entry | Hours: 10am-7pm Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-8pm Sunday

 


6pm – Marvel Inside Gaudi’s Unfinished Sagrada Familia

I left the Fredric Mares Museum at 5.30pm to get to the Sagrada Familia in time for my pre-booked visit at 6pm. I caught a L4 metro (yellow) from Jaume I station to Passeig de Gràcia station, switched lines to catch a L2 metro (purple) to Sagrada Familia station, then walked 3 minutes south to the Sagrada Familia itself.

It took about 10 minutes to get to the front of the queue for an airport-like security check, then show my printed ticket to gain entry. If you ordered an audio guide with your Turbopass (which I highly recommend), It will be handed to you at the ticket checkpoint.

The Sagrada Familia is the most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona. The fact that Gaudi died in 1926 before completing the project, causing it to remain under construction ever since, probably contributes towards its popularity. Tickets sell out a good week in advance so do not be late for your allocated time slot. I watched several ticket-less hopeful-visitors get turned away by security.

 

You can easily see that Gaudi, a highly religious man, threw all of his energy and experience into designing and constructing this magnificent church. Every inch of the exterior is covered in intricate sculptures depicting biblical scenes and replicating nature. You could stare at it all day and still discover new layers of detail.

Inside is equally as jaw-dropping with large open spaces, unique load-bearing columns resembling trees, and the most colourful stained-glass windows I’ve ever seen. There’s also a video and scale model showcasing the proposed final church scheduled for completion in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death.

I chose to visit at 6pm for the best lighting and was rewarded with magnificent sunbeams shining through the west-facing stained glass windows in vivid hues of purple, blue, green, yellow, and red. The way the light reflected through the windows gave the impression of being under water, another clever representation of nature by Gaudi.

Turbopass discount: free entry | Hours: 9am-8pm daily, April – September

 


7:30pm – Dinner and Drinks

Several cosy restaurants with alfresco seating and fairy lights can be found on Avinguda de Gaudi, a 6-minute walk north from the Sagrada Familia. I recommend dining on traditional tapas at Restaurant la Llesca followed by a glass or two of Sangria.

 


Day 3

10am – Ride the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Around the City

One of the best ways to see Barcelona is from the top of a hop-on hop-off bus. Turbopass includes a 24-hour Barcelona Bus Touristic ticket, so check the online map to find the bus stop closest your hotel. The first time you hop on, you’ll need to scan your Turbopass voucher in exchange for a paper ticket and headphones, which you’ll need to hold onto for the rest of the day.

There are 3 different bus routes to choose from. Blue for the inner city, red for Port Vell, and green for the beaches. I hopped on the blue line at Sant Pau Recinte Modernista stop and stayed on for about 90 minutes, getting off at the Placa de Catalunya stop. We drove passed sites including the Barcelona Football Club, Park Guell, the Sagrada Familia, and Casa Batllo. The audio guide shared information on the life of Antoni Gaudi, different residential areas within the city, cultural festivals, local customs, and shopping opportunities.

Turbopass Discount: free 24-hour ticket

 


11:30am – Lunch Near Placa de Catalunya

I hopped off the blue bus at Placa de Catalunya to swap over to the red bus line and visit Port Vell. Before jumping on my next bus, I grabbed lunch at Theresa Carles, a vegetarian restaurant with several vegan options. This is a great restaurant for anyone with special dietary requirements as allergens are clearly marked on the menu. Don’t worry about missing the bus as they run every 5-10 minutes.

 


1:30 – Catch the Hop-on Hop-off Bus to Vell

After lunch, I walked 4 minutes northeast back to Placa de Catalunya and jumped on the next red line bus, which passed sites including Placa d’Espanya, the Olympic stadium, and Montjuic, with audio commentary explaining the significance of each.

 


3:15pm – Sail Around the Harbour on a Double-Deck Ferry

The bus arrived at Port Vell at 3pm giving me just enough time to walk over to the Las Golindrinas ticket office, show my Turbopass to redeem my free harbour tour, and get on the 3.15pm boat. I didn’t know quite what to expect from a “harbour tour” but it turns out Port Vell is so large that you can spend 50 minutes sailing around the harbour without entering open waters. I sat on the top deck to enjoy the sunshine as we sailed passed the iconic W hotel, Maremagnum mall, several luxurious yachts, and waved at cruise ship passengers relaxing on their balconies.

Turbopass Discount: free harbour tour

 


4.15pm – Climb the Columbus Monument (Mirador de Colon)

For a different view of the harbour and of Barcelona city, walk 2 minutes northwest to Mirador de Colon, a soaring column topped with a statue of Christopher Columbus that doubles as a lookout point. Entry is actually underneath the monument, so descend down the staircase to have your Turbopass scanned at the ticket desk and ride the elevator up 60m to the lookout platform for panoramic views over the city.

After your visit, wander around the markets opposite the monument. You’ll find interesting second-hand items as well as souvenirs, jewellery, and clothing.

Turbopass discount: free entry | Hours: 8:30am-8:30pm daily

 


5.50pm – Watch a World-Class Flamenco Show

Next, walk 6 minutes northwest along la Rambla to see some of Spain’s best Flamenco dancers at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes Barcelona. The Barcelona Card entitles you to 20% off, but the discount can only be redeemed when booked and payed in advance at the door. With an itinerary as jam-packed as this one, I didn’t have the time to stop by so decided to book online instead. I chose the show and drink package for €45, but there’s also a dinner and show package option which includes a meal of tapas (including vegan options) before the show.

I arrived at 5:40pm for the 5:50pm show and was immediately shown to my seat and given a glass of refreshing sangria before the electric show commenced. I was amazed by the intensity of emotion in the dancers’ faces as they stomped their feet and swooshed their skirts in time to the clapping of other dances and strumming of two of the most talented guitarists I’ve ever seen.

If you want to know what Spanish passion looks like, this is the place to see it.

Barcelona Card Discount: 20% off

 


7pm – Dinner on La Rambla

Choose one of La Rambla’s many tapas restaurants for dinner. I ate at La Cereria, a small and cozy vegetarian restaurant with a quirky interior and delicious selection of tapas, burgers, wine, and beer.

Safety Tip: By and large, Barcelona is a somewhat safe city but its dark side is the trendy La Rambla. Don’t walk in the dark alone, don’t wear flashy or expensive jewellery, and don’t carry valuable belongings that could attract muggers. Keep a close eye out for pickpockets and if you have a backpack, place it on the front of your body.

 


8pm – Party the night away with the Bcn Nightcard

If you’ve got enough energy, pick up a 2-day Bcn Nightcard for €7 (including the Barcelona Card discount) for access to Barcelona’s most rocking nightclubs, like City Hall, Sutton, Opium, and Go Beach Club to party the night away.

Barcelona Card Discount: 30% off

 


Day 4

10am – See the Fashions of Yesterday at the Design Museum of Barcelona

Start the day at the Design Museum of Barcelona and show your Barcelona Card to gain entry. Backpacks must be stored in lockers for a refundable €1 coin. The museum is split into 4 levels covering 4 fields of design: product design, art, textiles, and visual communications.

The product design exhibits were the most interesting in my opinion, showcasing Spanish designers who pushed boundaries to create uber-functional and sustainable products like chairs, bicycles, and cooking and cleaning equipment. I especially liked a rug that doubles as a chair and water bottles that shrinks in size when empty.

The textile exhibits presented Catalonian fashions from medieval times to the 1980s, with informative posters explaining how fashion shifted to keep up with national and international trends and influences.

Barcelona Card discount: free entry | Hours: 10am-8pm, Tuesday – Sunday

 


11:30am – Pick up a Bargain at the Barcelona Market

Just opposite the museum is Mercado Barcelona, a huge undercover flea market filled with hundreds of stalls selling antiques and second-hand items, reams of fabric, clothing, homewares, books, food and more.

 


12pm – Lunch

For lunch, I walked 10 minutes northwest to the food court within Glories mall and enjoyed a delicious veggie burger at Biocentre.

 


12:30pm – Stroll Through the Past at the Museum of History of Barcelona

Next, walk 13 minutes southeast to Llacuna station and take a 7-minute L4 metro (yellow) to Jaume I station, a 1-minute walk from the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA). The museum is located within Placa del Rei, the former residence of the Aragon Royal Family, which sits on top of Barcelona’s richest historical ruins.

Show your Barcelona Card at the ticket desk to receive a paper ticket and audio guide. Backpacks must be left in lockers for a refundable €1 coin.

The audio guide leads you on a set route underneath the palace, starting with the city’s oldest history, ruins of ancient Roman town, Barcino, including the old city walls, and remains of houses and factories. The next ruins are from the era of the Visigoths with remains of a church, necropolis, and wine cellar.

The final exhibits showcase more recent history, with information on the kingdom of Aragon and changes to the size and structure of Barcelona during the Middle Ages.

Barcelona Card discount: free entry | Hours: 10am-7pm Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-8pm Sunday

 


3pm – Rest your Legs at Salterio

Stop for a drink at Moroccan-inspired tea house Salterio, a 3-minute walk southwest from MUHBA. Choose from the huge selection of tea or order a jug of sangria if you need to renew your buzz. If you’re hungry, don’t go passed Salterio’s signature dish, sado, a bread-like pastry stuffed with your choice of fillings.

 


4pm – Walk through Placa d’Espanya to the Museum of National Catalan Art

Walk 5 minutes west to Liceu station to catch a 6-minute L3 metro (green) to Placa Espanya station. From there, wander through the public square, stopping for photos of the towering iconic Venetian-inspired gateway, before continuing up a series of steep stairs to the top of Montjuic to visit the Museum of National Catalan Art.

Walking through the Venetian Towers

 

Show your Barcelona Card at the ticket counter for free entry and leave any backpacks or large bags in a locker for a refundable €1 coin. This art museum is absolutely huge. Allow a good 2 hours to explore it thoroughly and don’t expect to be fit in every amazing piece of artwork.

The 2-story museum is split into sections for different periods of art, including Romanesque; Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance; and modern art. The Romanesque exhibit featured religious paintings and sculptures mainly discovered in churches in the Pyrenees, while the Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance exhibits featured amazingly well-preserved paintings and marble sculptures by international and Spanish artists covering themes of religion, Greek mythology, portraits, and still life.

Each painting and sculpture was exquisite in its own right, but it was fascinating to wander through the different periods and notice changes in the artists’ approach to colour, realism, and perspective as time went on.

Barcelona Card discount: free entry | Hours: 10am-8pm Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-3pm Sunday (May – September)

 


7pm – Dinner

Grab a bite to eat at Restaurante Oleum, a fine dining terrace restaurant located inside the National Art museum. Online bookings through Google Maps are recommended. Alternatively, there are several budget-friendly restaurants and food stalls near Font Màgica de Montjuïc.

 


8pm – Watch the Magic Fountain Light up at Night

After dinner, wander over to Font Màgica de Montjuïc which lights up like a rainbow after dark with water and light shows set to a musical score. It’s a lot of fun to watch for young and old alike.

Hours: 9:30pm-10:30pm Wednesday to Sunday (June – September)

 


Additional Days & Other Options

If you’re lucky enough to have more than 4 days in Barcelona or are looking for some alternatives to the options above, check out more of the free museums included with your Barcelona Card, like the Centre of Cultural Contemperaria Barcelona (CCCB) to see a collection of modern and contemporary art, or MUHBA El Call to learn the history of Barcelona’s Jewish community and impact of the Spanish Inquisition.

Alternatively, visit some more Gaudi masterpieces like Park Guell, a failed housing development donated to the city and turned into an urban park. Most of the park is free to visit, so you can wander along windy pathways and pose beside classic Gaudi-style mosaic balconies and benches without paying a cent. Tickets are only required to visit the UNESCO Heritage listed “restricted area”, which contains complete houses designed by Gaudi and the most vulnerable parts of the park. Entry is capped at 400 people (which fills up surprisingly fast) so I strongly recommend pre-booking your tickets online in advance. I watched dozens of hopeful visitors turned away by security just an hour after the doors opened.

Park Guell

 


The Bottom Line

As an avid architecture buff, Barcelona’s art nouveau masterpieces by the likes of Gaudi gave me weak knees at first sight. As did the amazing vegan tapas. And the sun-kissed beaches. And fascinatingly well-preserved history in the museums.

And the sangria. Especially after a few glasses.

Whatever fuels your passion, chances are you’ll find it in Barcelona. It’s not the kind of city you can visit for 4 days and leave unchanged.

It will stay with you forever.

But there was really only one thing my Barcelona itinerary didn’t do. One thing that failed in making it authentically Spanish. One thing that locals would scoff at…

And that was failing to make time for at least one siesta.

But come on! There’s just too much to see and not enough time to see it all. The way I look at it, is if you manage to follow my itinerary then chances are when you get back home, you’ll need a few siestas to recover.

And a sangria or two.

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