When people think about visiting Europe, some of the top locations include Italy, France, and Spain. Just a couple of months ago, I had the chance to visit Spain and see all of its beauty. Since it was my first time, I decided to visit some of the most popular cities including Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville. Need some tips on the best sights and restaurants? Well, look no more! Here is my 5 day Barcelona itinerary, taking you step by step through my travels. Hopefully, you can find a tip or two that will help you during your vacation!
Day 1: Soaking it all in. Depending on what time you arrive, you may want to just settle in and see what's around your hotel or Air Bnb. Barcelona is a fairly large city so staying in the city center does make it easier to get around.
If you have time, visit La Rambla in Barcelona. It is a popular pedestrian street that stretches almost a mile, connecting Placa de Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus Monument. You will most likely be visiting this street multiple times as you tour the city.
Day 2: Now this is where the real 5 day Barcelona itinerary begins. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking quite a bit. Let's start the day by visiting one of Antoni Gaudi's most famous work, Casa Battlo. Gaudi is responsible for almost all of the unique architecture in Barcelona; he even designed the cobblestones that line the streets.
Purchase tickets online ahead of time for 25 euro and skip the wait. You can visit during the day or night but expect a different experience depending on when you go. Although the building is not particularly big, expect to spend about an hour exploring every nook and cranny.
From Casa Battlo, walk 13 minutes or take a 10-minute train ride to Sagrada Familia, another Gaudi masterpiece. This breathtaking church is still in construction and is not expected not to be completed until 2022. I've heard that you can climb to the top of the towers but the views are not worth it. Buy tickets for 15 euros online.
By this time you're probably famished. Walk over a couple of blocks for lunch at Paradeta. Paradeta is a popular seafood restaurant where you get to pick the specific protein and how much. The staff then takes the seafood and cooks it to order, either steamed or tossed in their salsa verde. I tried everything from the crab to the octopus to the prawns and everything was delicious.
Now that you got some energy back, it's time to visit Park Guell. You might have guessed by now that Gaudi built Park Guell and you are 100% right. You can visit the park for free but there are sections for which you need to purchase the ticket. I highly recommend buying the admission fee because this is where the heart of the park is.
On a beautiful day, you really can't ask for anything more than this view. Take a look at some of Gaudi's creations, take a stroll around the park, and enjoy Barcelona's beauty.
Day 3: We have already reached the halfway point of our 5 day Barcelona itinerary, can you believe it? Barcelona has so much to offer but if you have the time, take a day trip to a nearby city such as Montserrat. You can rent a car, take the train, or join a tour to visit this stunning mountain range.
Montserrat is small but there are many things to do. You can take a 20-minute hike and take pictures of the scenery, visit the museum which houses works of Picasso, or even participate in an alcohol tasting.
If you're lucky, you might even catch Escolania, the boys' choir, perform at the church. Their voices are described as being the voice of angels and I can testify that it was a truly unique experience. Before you leave the church, touch the feet of the Black Madonna statue for good fortune.
Day 4: We continue the trip with one more visit to Gaudi's museum, Casa Mila also known as La Pedrera. This unusual building was actually a private residence that is now open to the public.
Apparently, people were not immediately accepting of this building because of its unconventional appearance. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is many of Gaudi's works. Truthfully, I could have skipped Casa Mila. It was not as impressive as Casa Battlo since it was used primarily as a private residence.
Did someone say lunchtime? By now, you have probably read multiple reviews on Barcelona's famous market, Mercat de la Boqueria. This market is more like a food court with many, many eateries to choose from. There are several stores that sell items such as spices, chocolates and snacks, fresh fruit, and jamon. I would advise against buying any spices or souvenirs at this market because this is a tourist attraction, meaning the prices are sky-high. You'll be able to find the same products elsewhere for a fraction of the price.
There are two restaurants that are the most well-known in Mercat de la Boqueria: El Quim and Pinotxo. I, of course, tried both. El Quim is a traditional Catalan bar with dishes such as baby octopus with fried eggs, ceviche, and gazpacho. The food was delicious but my all-time favorite was a nearby restaurant, Pinotxo.
Pinotxo is a seafood eatery that has some of the best seafood I've ever had in Spain. Wait for a seat at the bar and order everything you possibly can. As you look around, you will notice that the majority of the customers are locals. Always a good sign.
I ordered the spiny lobster, giant prawns, and the mushrooms. If I could, I would have ordered 5 more items. The seafood is simply grilled and finished with sea salt, but let me tell you, it is beyond words. The seafood is so fresh, you don't need anything else.
Even their xuiso, a donut-like pastry filled with custard, was excellent. They only take cash and it can be a bit pricey so be prepared.
After stuffing yourself with the best seafood, it's time to walk it off. Take a quick 10-minute walk and find yourself at the Gothic Quarter, the narrow medieval streets of Barcelona. There you will find trendy bars, clubs, and many Catalan restaurants. This neighborhood has a very different feel from the rest of the city, giving you a different look at Barcelona.
As you reach the end of the Gothic Quarter, you'll start to see the water. If the day permits, rent a bike and cruise along the promenade.
Day 5: Now that you had a chance to visit the most popular market, go take a look at the lesser-known ones. It's at these markets that the locals actually go and eat themselves. I went to Santa Caterina market, which was smaller with fewer food options. However, that didn't mean that the food was of less quality. Other options include Sant Antoni Market, Mercat de la Concepcio, and Mercat del Ninot.
I had originally decided to visit Sagrat Cor and Cascada monumental on this day. Alas, I was hit with a case of food poisoning and was unable to leave the bed. However, I did recover enough to dine at Lasarte, a 3 Michelin star restaurant. For full details on my experience, check out the following post.
That concludes my 5 day Barcelona itinerary. There is so much more to see and do, but there are the highlights that I recommend visiting.
Next up: Lasarte