How to Spend 48 Hours in Barcelona
A city break to Barcelona is a favourite getaway. For a short trip, you want to make the most of your time.
What will you do while you are there? Where will you stay, how will you spend your time and where will you eat?
We have put together a guide to Barcelona, that you can fit into a 48-hour trip.
Getting to Barcelona City Centre
The quickest way to get to Barcelona is to fly into Barcelona International Airport (BCN). The airport is approximately 30 minutes by taxi from the heart of the city. Or take the Aerobus, a fast shuttle service with free WiFi on-board, for a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, use the train or Metro.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Check in to your hotel, or ask them to secure your luggage in a safe place if it’s too early to check in. Barcelona has accommodation to suit all budgets, from hostels through to luxurious 5 star hotels. One of our favourites is Hotel Granados 83, perfectly located for attractions, bars and restaurants. This quiet boutique hotel has a plunge pool and rooftop bar, and the staff go out of their way to give you a wonderful stay.
Explore Barcelona by Bus
Now you are luggage-free, get yourself a bus tour ticket. This is a really good way to get a feel for what is where in the city. A bus tour allows you to take in all the main attractions with an audio tour guide, without having to walk the length and breadth of the city. You can hop on and off, so combine a bus tour with places you want to visit that are furthest away from your accommodation. We recommend the Barcelona Bus Turistic, which has three routes covering the whole city. Buy a 2-day ticket and avoid negotiating the Metro.
Barcelona’s Must-see Attractions
Use your bus tour ticket to hop on and off; this will free up time you would have spent walking, to fit in more! Where you are staying will dictate the order of your sightseeing itinerary, but these are not to be missed and can easily fit into a two-day trip to Barcelona.
La Rambla is the most famous boulevard in Barcelona. Lined with shops and cafes, this street is filled with street artists and musicians vying for attention. Flamboyant and exotic, this is the heart of the city.
Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is the number 1 tourist attraction in Barcelona with good reason. Designed by architect, Antonio Gaudi, this cathedral has been under construction since 1882, with another 30 to 80 years to go before completion. Buy your tickets online before you visit to avoid the queues!
The romantic Gothic Quarter is soaked in history and beautiful architecture. Here you will find the Cathedral in the Placa Nova and narrow streets bursting with quirky shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.
For a change of scene from taking in Barcelona’s architecture, art and local history, visit Barcelona Zoo. Situated in the city’s Parc de la Ciutdella, the zoo is home to 4,000 creatures from monkeys and hippos, to dolphins and lions.
No visit to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the beach. Grab an ice cream or a spot of lunch overlooking Port Vell, or if you visit in the evening, end the night at the Maremagnum leisure and entertainment complex.
The bus tour will allow you to see other landmarks around the city, including the Pedralbes Monastery and the Futbol Club Barcelona stadium.
Where to Eat in Barcelona
Barcelona caters for all appetites and tastes with international cuisine in abundance. For a taste of authentic Spain, opt for paella or snack on tapas.
It’s cheaper to eat your main meal at lunchtime in Barcelona. Most restaurants offer a Menu of the Day, a set menu of 3 courses, for around 10 Euros.
We love the restaurants at the top of the Arenas shopping centre. Many offer indoor and outdoor seating, with amazing views, and excellent food. Alternatively, enjoy lunch or an evening meal al fresco in La Rambla, watching tourists and locals go about their daily business.
Barcelona has lots to see and do, but with a little planning, you can fit much of it into 48 hours!