Barcelona Guide – One Day in Barcelona To Do List

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Visiting Barcelona for a day and wondering how to spend your time in the city? This Barcelona One Day Guide will cover the most important landmarks to see in a way you’ll truly experience the city in an efficient way. Oh, and of course we will cover the best places for tapas, churros, and paella. Let’s start with things to do in Barcelona in 24h.

Suggestion: It’s quite common, especially for flights to Spanish islands, like Tenerife, to be much cheaper if you take a change in Barcelona. While doing that, why not hop into the city for a couple of hours to explore it? Or even stay for the night and continue your journey the next day. That’s what we did when returning from Tenerife and I could say we hit a jackpot.

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Barcelona One Day Guide: What To Do in Barcelona in 24h?

Limited time in Barcelona is not a barrier. Barcelona is completely walkable, with most attractions right in the city center or a couple of metro stops away. Below is a map of the things to see in Barcelona in 24h:

TIP: If you do not like planning yourself, book an organized 1-day tour around Barcelona. I have found the following one which is highly recommended and has good rates. It covers the visits to all attractions (with tickets included!) that are mentioned in this guide.

Book Sagrada Familia & Barcelona Full-Day Tour



Distance: 5min walk from your hotel

Let’s start the day in the best way – with food. Your first stop on your Barcelona adventure should be Mercat de La Boqueria. As the name suggests, Mercat de La Boqueria is a fresh indoor public market where you can find the best products, ranging from fruit and vegetables to fried snacks, meat, cheese, or even desserts. Go there early in the morning to get the best of the products and avoid the large crowd that comes rushing through the market in the afternoon. Buy yourself a delicious breakfast (I recommend the smoothies, they’re heavenly). 

Barcelona Food Market
Barcelona Food Market

Mercat de La Boqueria


Distance: Right outside Mercat de La Boqueria

After refilling your energy, it’s time to start exploring. Exit the market and explore La Rambla. La Rambla is a three-lined pedestrian street of 1.2km, connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the North with Port Vell in the South. La Rambla is Barcelona’s most famous street, full of stores and sights on every corner (perfect for window shopping since you’re limited on time).

La Rambla is less crowded in the morning, so I suggest taking advantage of it. From the Market, you should head North to reach your next stop.

La Rambla - Things to do in Barcelona

La Rambla


Distance: 5min walk on La Rambla

Coming to the end of La Rambla, the street opens up to Plaça de Catalunya. This large, central square, built in 1889, is famous for its monumental buildings and a great deal of fountains and statues. Not only that, the square also divides the older part of Barcelona in the south with the newer area of Eixample right north of it.

The Aerobus to the airport stops on the eastern part of the square (all about transport to and from the airport is covered further in this guide).


Distance: 20min by metro/45min walk from Plaça de Catalunya

From Placa de Catalunya, either take a metro (L3) or walk to reach Park Güell. Gaudi’s designed park on top of Carmel Hill is a combination of cleverly designed colorful organic shapes and statues, incorporated into the green park that offers spectacular views of Barcelona.

Yes, Park Güell is not exactly close by and it takes some time to reach it, but it is one of those attractions you simply can not miss when in Barcelona, even if just for the day. You could spend half a day in Park Güell, but since your time in Barcelona is limited, I suggest taking 1.5h-2h to explore it.

What you do need to know about Park Güell is that the tickets tend to get sold out almost all the time. I recommend purchasing the tickets online at least a few days in advance to skip the line and not get stuck outside the entrance without a ticket. 

Guarantee your Park Güell entrance tickets now

Park Güell - Things to do in Barcelona
Park Güell - Things to do in Barcelona

Snapshots of Park Güell


Distance: 20min by metro/30 min walk from Park Güell

Now that you have seen Park Güell, it’s time to head to THE attraction – La Sagrada Familia, the most iconic landmark and the most visited landmark in the whole of Spain. 

La Sagrada Familia’s design was crafted by no other than Gaudi. The church’s design had 18 towers in plan. Gaudi unfortunately passed away after finishing only 1 tower and other famous architects have continued his job ever since. The works are still ongoing.

The Sagrada Familia is crowded no matter the time or the day. The is always a line of tourists that winds from the entrance to the cathedral down the nearby streets. To avoid getting stuck in the line, purchase the skip-the-line tickets in advance.

La Sagrada Familia - Things to do in Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia - Things to do in Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia

7. Arc de Triomf & Parc de la Ciutadella

Distance: 15min by metro/20 min walk from La Sagrada Familia

Your next pit stop will be at Arc de Triomf. To reach it from Sagrada Familia, I suggest walking. It’s a nice, 20min walk through a green neighborhood. The best part – it’s all downhill. 

Arc de Triomf is a magnificent gate that was built as the main access gate to the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. The gate is followed south by a wide promenade between palm trees. 

The southern end of the promenade then opens up to Parc de la Ciutadella. For decades after its creation, Parc de la Ciutadella was Barcelona’s only green area. The two famous landmarks in the park are the Zoo and the magnificent waterfall monument – Cascada. As it’s by now already sometime around 4 pm, I recommend having a stroll around the park and taking a quick break by the lake.

Arc De Triomfe - Things to do in Barcelona
Cascada Monumental - Things to do in Barcelona

Arc de Triomf and Parc de la Ciutadella – Cascada


Distance: 10min walk from Parc de la Ciutadella

Since it’s getting late, you wish to be closer to your hotel to then change for the night activities. Finish your sightseeing part back where you began – right in the Gothic Quarter. It’s best to leave you to it – explore the area and discover the beautiful narrow streets and medieval architecture. 

Things to see in the Gothic Quarter:

  • Cathedral of Barcelona (purchase entry tickets here)
  • Plaça del Pi + Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi (we had our hotel here)
  • Plaça del Rei
  • Plaça Reial
  • Mural del Beso
  • Carrer del Bisbe (one of the most beautiful streets in the Gothic Quarter)

If you have not had churros yet, I recommend an authentic place on one of the side streets in the Gothic Quarter. The place is called La Pallaresa Xocolateria Xurreria, and the owners are the nicest! They even prepared us churros with hot chocolate 10min before closing.

Gothic Quarter, Barcelona

Plaça de Sant Jaume – Gothic Quarter


If you’re back from the sightseeing on time, I highly recommend joining on an evening food or/and drink tour. You can find more similar tours on Get Your Guide’s Website

We have been too slow and have missed the start of a food tour we were interested in, so we have decided to make the night our own. First, we headed out for dinner at this lovely place called El Portalón, followed by a drink at Bar Mono Barcelona to end the night in style.

El Portalón - Where to eat in Barcelona
Momo Bar Barcelona - Where to eat in Barcelona

El Portalón (left) and Bar Mono Barcelona (right)


Barcelona’s main airport is El Prat, with its official code BCN. The airport has great connections to the city center by all means of transport. What you need to be careful of, however, is the terminal. There are two terminals at El Prat – T1 and T2. The two terminals are quite distant from one another, so you might miss the flight if you end up at the wrong terminal.

To reach the city center of Barcelona from the airport, you will only need about 30min. The distance makes BCN Airport one of the most convenient in the country. 

The best way to go from the airport to Barcelona is by Aerobus, the official shuttle bus. Aerobus buses are hard to miss with their significant turquoise blue color. Not that Aerobus is the fastest, but it is also the most economical way to travel – tickets cost 6.75eur (one way) or 11.65eur (return ticket). 

You can purchase the tickets on the ATM machine outside of the airport but you risk getting in a long line. Since you’re only in Barcelona for 1 day, I suggest using Omio and purchasing the tickets in advance.

I always use Omio when purchasing bus or train tickets abroad. The site is secure, and almost always offers discounts (like this cool 8% discount off train or bus travel in Spain) and if you are with Revolut, you can get some great cashback on each purchase!


There are two Barcelona Aerobuses – A1 and A2. You can guess right that A1 goes to Terminal 1 and A2 to Terminal 2. The stops are not the same on the way there and back. For that, check the map below.

Aerobes line map - to do in Barcelona



If you’re coming to Barcelona for the first time or wish to stay in the heart of the city center, then most certainly look for accommodations in the medieval Gothic Quarter. You will be within a minute’s walk from La Rambla, surrounded by all the shops and restaurants you can imagine. Plus, the area is always full of tourists – therefore safe.

Link to our hotel in Gothic Quarter

We found our hotel in a typical Spanish building with the most amazing view of Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi, right behind La Rambla. The bus stop to the airport is also just a 5min walk away, making the location extra convenient for your one-day trip.


Another area to consider is El Raval, which is on the other side of La Rambla. If you decide to stay here, I recommend staying as close to La Rambla as possible (the eastern parts of this area, especially down towards the port still have a bad reputation).

Other good areas to stay in Barcelona: Eixample, Barceloneta, Sagrada Familia



Barcelona as a city is generally safe and that’s how I have felt while visiting. Perhaps due to the fact that I come from Milan, where pickpocketing and strangeness is something you see each day. Many do though warn of pickpockets and yes, some smaller and unpopulated streets do get shady at night, but if you pay attention in crowded areas and follow the streets where there are people you will do just fine. Of course, as in any big city, look to avoid the dangerous areas of Barcelona.


Here is a breakdown of how much you can expect to spend in Barcelona in a day. The costs are per person. Of course, your budget might differ based on your preferences. Count in that we have stayed in a mid-range hotel and had breakfast and dinner out.

Budget for 24h in Barcelona


9 am: Have breakfast at the market

9.45 am: Enjoy a morning walk on La Rambla

10.00 am: Visit Plaça de Catalunya and admire its beauty during quiet morning hours

11.00 am: Visit Park Güell (buy tickets in advance to avoid them being sold out) 

1 pm: Head to La Sagrada Familia to admire its exterior and interior (don’t forget to book skip-the-line tickets to Sagrada Familia here)

2.30 pm – 3 pm: Have a quick lunch in the area

3.30 pm: Explore the area of Arc de Triomfe and Parc de La Ciutadella

5 pm: Head back to the Gothic Quarter to spend the afternoon and discover the area’s beauties

7 pm/8 pm: Book a food and drink tour or enjoy tapas for dinner at El Portalón


Hi, it's Neja

I am an expat from Slovenia,
 living in Milan since 2021 and writing a travel blog for all of you who are curious about life in Italy or traveling in Europe.

Follow me on my journey and learn everything about Italy and the European destinations.

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