1-day Itinerary in Barcelona
Explore the best things to do in Paris in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.
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Antoni Gaudí's Parc Güell is as whimsical as parks can get. The park was originally supposed to be a housing community for the rich, commissioned by Eusebi Güell. Güell hired Gaudí but the project eventually folded due to the land's incompatible building conditions. Gaudí continued on, modeling the park after gardens he had seen in England (Güell means English in Catalan) and building around the natural elements of the land instead of tearing them down.
Today's park covers 42 acres of space and features everyday park props with a twist that is quintessentially Gaudí. Instead of numerous benches spread throughout, here visitors will be greeted with one long, wavy stone bench adorned with vibrant mosaics and equipped with views of the ocean. And instead of drab administrative buildings, the welcome centers here (which house park souvenirs and learning materials on Gaudí and the park) look like buildings you'd see in a Dr. Seuss book. You'll also find plenty of picturesque pathways that weave along verdant vegetation, down cascading tiled staircases and through jagged stone columns and tunnels. While you're here, don't miss the chance to see the Sala Hipóstila. Located right at the entrance, the Sala Hipóstila was originally intended to be a marketplace. Today it serves as nothing more than to dazzle visitors with its stately stone columns and beautiful mosaic works, which you'll find dotted all over the ceiling. Other popular attractions here include the Casa Museu Gaudí (Gaudí House Museum), Gaudí's former home turned museum, and Turó de les Tres Creus, a lookout point with pretty impressive views of the city situated in the southwestern point of the park.
Travelers found Parc Güell to be a lovely place to spend a sunny day in Barcelona. Visitors loved the beautiful architecture of the park and how it seamlessly weaved into its natural surroundings. Some strongly suggested taking part in a guided tour to better understand the history and architectural detail of the park (guided tours are available at the park with the purchase of a guided tour ticket). Others also recommended taking time to explore the trails Park Güell has to offer, but make sure to come prepared. Being built on a hill, trails feature steep inclines and unpaved pathways. And keep in mind that since this is one of Barcelona's most popular attractions, there will seldom be a time when there isn't crowds. In fact, according to the Barcelona Tourism board, only 2.4 percent of Barcelona residents visit the park. The rest are national and international tourists.
Parc Güell is open every day, but hours vary depending on the season. There is a cost to enter the park. Tickets are 7 euros ($8) online and 8 euros (about $9.50) at the park. Reduced fares are available for children and seniors. Some visitors complained of not being able to be admitted to the park the day they arrived due to capacity restrictions, so getting a ticket in advance online is advised, especially if you're short on time. To get to the front entrance of the park, hop off at the Alfons X metro station. If you want to start at the top of the park and make your way down, get off at the Vallcarca stop. Keep in mind that there are no metro stations just a couple blocks away from the park. Vallcarca is a half a mile west and Alfons X is nearly a mile southeast. For more information, visit Parc Güell's website.10 minutes by car; 20-25 minutes by bus
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From 1882 up until his death in 1926, Catalan Art Nouveau master Antoni Gaudí devoted himself to the construction of La Sagrada Família (Church of the Sacred Family), a towering Gothic-style-with-a-twist church. And even then, he was unable to finish; Gaudí was known for saying "My client (God) is in no hurry." The church, which is funded by private donations, is still under construction today and is said to be completed by 2026.
La Sagrada Família is not only considered to be Gaudí most recognized work, but also his best. Believe it or not, this church wasn't always Gaudí's. The architect that was first commissioned to do the church, Francesc del Paula Villar, was replaced after disagreeing with promoters of the church. When Gaudí took on the project, he changed it entirely. Instead of the original neo-Gothic style, he looked toward something more innovative. While the church does feature Gothic elements, there are plenty of unconventional details that deviate from that norm throughout, resulting in an eye-catching structure that is entirely one of a kind.
Even if you're not all that interested in architecture, you're sure to find this church — like Gaudí's other work — a feast for the eyes and full of symbolism. Gaudí's main goal for La Sagrada Família was to teach people about Catholicism through architecture. The best place to see this is right outside of the church, where you'll odes all over. The four towers represent the 12 apostles and the intricately carved facades at the base show the life of Christ, from his birth, death and resurrection. La Sagrada Família's interior are just as striking, from the smooth, nearly white stone columns to the rows of vibrant stained-glass windows.
Travelers were in complete awe of the the church's magnificent architecture. So much so that visitors who have been to La Sagrada Família before always make it a case to come back and see it again when they are in Barcelona. Visitors strongly suggested taking your time with this attraction; there's so much to observe and even more details to take in both inside and out. Considering its popularity, travelers warn that no matter what time you visit, there will always be crowds. As such, it's smart to book tickets online in advance to avoid lines.
The closest metro stop to La Sagrada Família is Monumental or Verdaguer. You can take a quick peek of the church outside for free, but you'll have to pay 15 euros for admission (or $17.50) to go in and explore (travelers highly recommend doing so). The church opens at 9 a.m. year-round but closing hours vary by season. Keep in mind that the church enforces a dress code. Anyone wearing hats, shirts that don't cover shoulders completely and shorts or skirts that don't go over the knee will not be admitted. For more information, check out La Sagrada Família's website.15 minutes by car; 25 minutes by metro
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The Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, is the oldest part of Barcelona, and considering its location next to the city center, also its most liveliest. Here, you'll find beautiful examples Roman and Medieval-era architecture rubbing elbows with the many shops, restaurants, alfresco cafes, bars and clubs that line this neighborhood's narrow roads and picturesque plazas. And there are so many plazas to explore. Aside from Plaça de la Catedral, which you'll no doubt end up in if you visit the Barcelona Cathedral, make sure you stop in Plaça Reial and the smaller and much quainter Plaça Sant Felip Neri, which was bombed by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War (you can see scars from the attack on the church in the square). The palm tree-clad Plaça Reial is much more energetic and usually buzzes till the wee hours of the morning. Definitely come here to start your night out in Barcelona. Another notable plaza is Plaça Sant Jaume, where the Catalan seat of government has been since the Middle Ages. No matter where you end up in the Gothic Quarter, travelers say its Spanish splendor will leave you charmed long after you leave.
Visitors also say when visiting the Gothic Quarter, discard the map and just let yourself wander. The neighborhood isn't that big so you'll probably end up at top spots by mindlessly strolling. Some suggested taking part in a walking tour if you're interested in learning the history behind the neighborhood.
The Gothic Quarter is free to explore all hours of the day and night. The closest metro stops are Liceu and Jaume I. If you're interested in taking part in a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter, the Barcelona Tourism Board offers them. For more information on walking tours, as well as the Gothic Quarter, visit the Barcelona Tourism Board website.10 minute walk
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Even if you're not keen on visiting the touristy Las Ramblas, make the trek to the thoroughfare only for it to lead you to the foodie heaven that is the Boqueria Market. The Boqueria Market is Barcelona's first local market, having opened in 1840. But its foodie history spans much earlier than that. The first food peddlers were said to have been around as early as the 13th century selling meat on the streets. The market you see today wasn't around back then, it took four years to construct once Saint Joseph's convent left the area (hence the name of the market).
Today that tradition of hawking goodies lives on, and the covered marketplace treats visitors to the vibrant colors and enticing aromas of everything from fruit juices and wines to fresh fish, meats, produce and desserts. Make sure to grab Spanish specialties while you're there, including jamón ibérico, manchego cheese and salted cod (or bacalao). What's more, bars and restaurants can be found in and around the market, so food options truly abound here.
Travelers say if you plan on visiting the Boqueria Market, make sure you come with an empty stomach. Many travelers loved the bustling atmosphere of the market as well as the wide variety of food and snacks available, with lots of visitors favoring the pressed fruit juice available at some of the stalls. Some, on the other hand, weren't crazy about the prices, while others were overwhelmed by the amount of people that flood the market on a daily basis. If you're not one for crowds, travelers suggest coming early.
The Boqueria is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Browsing is free, but definitely carry some cash with you just in case something catches your eye or makes your mouth water (which according to most visitors, is highly likely). The closest metro stop is Liceu on the L3 line. For more information, check out the market's website.5 minute walk
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This bustling thoroughfare is one of the city's major tourist hubs. So much so that if you're visiting Barcelona, you're bound to end up here eventually. Las Ramblas is a pedestrian-friendly pathway situated right smack dab in the middle of the city, so expect it to be busy all hours of the day and night. During the day, you can peruse souvenir stands, watch buskers and street performers, pick up some local art from artists selling on the street, or sit down and enjoy a light snack at one of the many alfresco cafes found here. When the sun sets, you should head here to start your night out, as many bars and clubs can be found in the surrounding area.
While Las Ramblas has no doubt established itself as a visitor-friendly stop, it didn't always cater to tourists the way it does now. Soon after the nearly mile-long thoroughfare was developed in 1766, it became a popular place to hang out for locals. The reason for this has to do with its design. Back in the day, streets in Barcelona were predominantly narrow and windy, making the long and wide Las Ramblas unconventionally roomy. Today, the chances of finding locals congregating here fewer and farther between, especially during the day. At night, however, since it is a prime place to party, you'll likely see some more Catalans.
For recent travelers, Las Ramblas continues to be a must-visit stop in Barcelona. Many travelers enjoyed the lively atmosphere that permeated the street, and say a stroll both during the day and night is warranted to properly soak up its contagious energy. Some visitors, on the other hand, found Las Ramblas to be too touristy. Some travelers expressed feeling uncomfortable with the amount of street performers and panhandlers found in the area. Others warned against grabbing drinks and tapas from one of the alfresco cafes, as they found prices to be exorbitant (13 euros for a beer) and the fare subpar. Travelers also had run-ins with pickpockets. Be alert when you visit Las Ramblas, don't leave any valuables in your pockets and always keep your bag in view.
Las Ramblas is free to explore all hours of the day and night. The closest metro stop to Las Ramblas is Liceu. For more information, check out the Barcelona tourism board's website.
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