How to spend 4 days in Barcelona? Best guide!
Lucky you if you are going to Barcelona, because you’ve just found best guide ever! We all know that Barcelona offers a lot of attractions, but I would say that 4 days are perfect to see everything. Hard to believe that it was our first time in capital of Catalonia. We have visited so many places, but it was our first time together even in South Europe! Ok, I was in Barcelona 20 years ago, but how much can I remember when I was only five years old? Now, I also understand why Barcelona is so popular among tourists. It’s such a beautiful city, with so many attractions and it’s located on the mediterraneansea. You will find there lots of palms, fountains and amazing beaches! If you want to see all of this and take amazing pictures, read this guide! Check also our previous content from Barcelona to grab some useful information regarding Barcelona.
Barcelona, Day 1 – Following Gaudi’s art
We arrived to Barcelona around 12;30 PM. Even the entire landing at El Prat airport provides amazing views of the Barcelona coast! You will soon be able to see it on our video.
We quickly got out and we wanted to go to the exit, but we had to pick up luggage. Once we have them we went to catch a bus. We read that this is the cheapest way to get to the city. A few minutes later, poorer by about 2 euro, we were on Placa Espanya. From here we took the subway and few stops later we were in front of our flat next to the Sagrada Famili (you can read the details of the apartment in the previous post from Barcelona). We left our luggage, we quickly changed for some lighter clothes and went for a lunch …. 😉 Well, it was a bit late, and we had breakfast early enough, so our stomachs were dying. So, we started our sightseeing from lunch. 😀
At 4 PM we were finally ready and full. It was still not late, but at 7:15 PM we had an entrance to the Sagrada Familia. Luckily, not that far from from us were located other Gaudi’s building!
We started from the most elegant street in Barcelona. Keep your eyes wide open because all the Art Nouveau buildings are really beautiful. It is well known that these made by Gaudi focus most attention, but it is also worth looking at other facades or decorations!
First we reached Casa Milà. It was built before World War I as a response to the lack of interesting buildings in Barcelona. At first, Gaudí’s design didn’t appeal to the inhabitants of Barcelona and they called this building the quarry. Despite the fact that the structure was meant to reflect waves on the sea. 🙂 It’s true that Casa Mila is less attractive than Casa Batllo , but still attracts many tourusts and has its own charm. We skipped interiors, but if you wanna go we recommend to buy tickets online.
Casa Batllo vs. Casa Amatller
Next to the Passeig de Gracia stop are located another two buildings of Gaudi. A lil bit older than Casa Mila, but definitely more popular. Since 2005, Casa Batllo has even been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interestingly, Casa Batllo was built in the 19th century, but already in the early 20th century the owner decided to demolish the building. He has changed his mind to rebuild the building. This task was entrusted to Gaudi.
Casa Batllo refers to animal motives. The roof is covered with scales, which we associate with the dragon, and the facades of the balconies look like skulls. The whole tenement house looks like someone pulled it out of the fantasy world. The building is so amazing and I highly recommend to admire it from every perspective. I almost took pictures of Casa Batllo from every side!
Next to the Casa Batllo stand the Casa Amatller. A bit like the shadow of the Casa Batllo, but a true traveler will also see the beauty of this building. Especially its colorful finishes that can confidently compete with mosaic roof of Casa Batllo. Although it is a little brighter and more visible than Casa Batllo, it won’t grab that much attention.
I recommend photoshooting in the morning, when the sun illuminates the buildings. We took pictures under the sun, hence they are a bit dark. Besides, I think both houses are better to admire in the months when the trees are empty, because they can effectively cover both buildings! 😛 Again, we didn’t get in. It was too expensive for us. If you want – we recommend to buy tickets online.
It was already after 6 PM so we decided to come back to Sagrada Familia. We wanted to be earlier to take some picture in front of it. Sagrada is a great masterpiece of art, although not everyone want to include it in Gaudí’s work. Especially when it has been built since 1882. Its intricate design seems to justify such a long construction period, but can it still be called Gaudí’s work since it’s been built for so many years? Many architects have worked and worked on it, trying to make as many Master’s visions as possible. Although it is said that Gaudi has abandoned this project during his life – I understand these doubst.
This time we saw also interiors and I must admit that it was the most expensive church I have ever visited. 20 years ago when I was with my parents in Barcelona, the Sagrada was not available from the inside. Hence, I decided to make up for the loss. Impressions? Definitely an unforgettable experience. An incredibly original design, reminiscent of nerve connections in human tissues. 😀 However, 15 euros is an overstatement, especially since the Sagrada compared to other interiors of sacred buildings is neither large nor richly decorated. We don’t regret that we have entered, but this amount leaves a slight distaste, especially since it didn’t even include an audioguide, which was extra paid. I will not mention the extra paid entry fee for the tower… Again, I recommend to buy tickets online.
In the evening…
It was quite late when we left Sagrada and took some last pics. We haven’t seen a lot today, but can you imagine that we walked almost 14 km? Pretty good start, right? We bought some food in grocery next to our flat and went to the bad! 😀
Barcelona, day 2 – again Gaudi, Tibidabo hill, and Ice Bar in the evening!
We started at 9 AM. At 11 AM we had tickets to Park Güell, but before that we had to eat something and somehow get there.
How to get and which entrance is the best to enter Park Güell?
Ok, I know that you can check it on google maps. But, unfortunally it doesn’t work well. It can show you few differents way, what might be confusing. It’s because there are many bus stops around Par Guell and many entrance. That is why it show the quickest option at time you check it. But how to pick up the best one? This is how we did:
We started from Marina Av Diagonal stop – V21. At Padilla – Túnel de la Rovira we changed to H6 for one stop to CAP Larrard. From there we went straight to Carrer de Larrardstreet and a few minutes later we were in front of the Park. Along the way you will pass many souvenir shops. Interestingly, they didn’t let us the main entrance to the Park. We had to walk along the wall as you have indicated on the map.
Now, time to explain why it was the best entrance! Everything because of Salamander, which was the closes to our entrance. We entered at 11 and it was the first etrance for tourists that day, so we were first next to the Salamander!
Park Güell – things you can’t miss!
For me, the whole Barcelona is beautiful, but as you can see, not everyone liked it, since Gaudi decided to build a beautiful city for the rich. That was the purpose of the Park Güell. Works lasted from 1900 to 1914 but he never finished this masterpiece. Only 5 buildings are finished and in one of them lived Gaudi. In 1922, the city bought out the estate and turned it into a city park. In 1984 Park was put on the Unesco World List.
To our surprise, the first hour (11:00) for the tourists to the paid part turned out to be perfect. We were able to take pictures of the Park without the sea of tourists. As I wrote above, first we ran to the Salamander. It is really beautiful and it is not strange that everyone asks for it. A few steps up there is a bench that resembles a little grotto. When we finally get to the top we will be at the hall of one hundred columns. But the name is misleading, because there are only 86 columns built in the Greek style. This place was supposed to serve as a market.
Over the column pavilion is located a terrace, which was called by the architect Greek theater. There is a famous bench on it. Its detailed project was refined by Josep Maria Jujol. From the terrace we also have beautiful views of the nearby gardens, Barcelona and of course beautiful gingerbread houses. For this part you also need a ticket so I recommend to buy it online!
We didn’t end up on the paid part. We walked around gardens, admiring the beautiful plants, the views of Barcelona and the hidden gems of architecture!
Tibidabo – how to get by public transport on one ticket
Today’s day was not particularly intense in terms of the number of sights, but the distance and area of the sites we visited explained why we sacrificed so much time!
Generally traveling to Tibidabo is a bit complicated and we had to change 4 times (we were traveling from Guell Park). This only confirms the fact of how big is Barcelona.
Well, let’s get on Larrard again to bus no. 24. Get off at Pl. Gal·la Placídia and go down to the underground to Gracia. Here you have to be careful, because on the same platform goes a train with the inscription Tibidabo. Don’t get into it unless you want to take the historic tram for 3 euros. If not, catch S2 towards Sabadell and go to Peu del Funicular. There change to the funicular railway (yes, ticket also covers it) and go to the end. Upstairs is already the last stage of the journey. Get onto the bus no. 111 and go to the end station.
An hour later we are finally on Tibidabo. From Guell Park we have a beautiful view of Barcelona, but here the view is definitely the best one! It is not so high, because the hill is only 512 m. but this is enough to admire the incredible panorama of green Barcelona. On Tibidabo Hill is located the Church of the Sacred Heart, which is visible from every part of the city, also at night. When I first saw the picture of the church before I thought, I said it was the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris. 😀 It turned out that I was not so wrong because the creator of our Barcelona monument modeled on the Parisian basilica. The statue of Jesus, however, refers to this in Rio de Janeiro. 🙂
Entrance to the church is free. However, while the external part is extremely impressive, the interior is not very interesting. It doesn’t look like what we see outside. You can also take the lift to the tower for 2 euro, but I would recommend you another attraction for the same price. 🙂
There is also a large luna parks on the hill. We took a ride on the highest carousel, whose main attraction is the beautiful view of the Church!! It costs only 2 euro so don’t hesitate to jump on the carousel! 🙂
I celebrated the Namesday in Barcelona! Perfect time to celebrate it, right? 🙂 I decided to celebrate it at Ice Bar. For Darek this was the first time, I already had a comparison with the Stockholm Ice Bar. I bought tickets online. It didn’t have some great reviews on the internet, but not bad either. However, we didn’t want to waste time in the day, so we went there in the evening!
The Ice Bar is on the beach so we have quite a bit of temperature and climate fluctuations. 😛 We went inside, dressed in jackets and gloves. We were alone. The barman made us the drinks that were included in price and then left us. It was cool, but a little weird feeling that for 30 minutes we sat alone in a pile of ice. Anyway, it was OK!
By the way, it was our first time on the beach! As soon as we left the Ice Bar, we pulled off our shoes and headed off to the beach. We also submerged our feet in the water. 🙂
Barcelona, day 3 – Gothic, fountains, parks and beach!
We started our sightseeing at the same time like yesterday. Our first stop was the Triumphal arch that was located only few min away from our apartment.
The triumphal arch must be in every big city in the West Europe! 😛 Recently I have the impression that I see them all the time! The triumphal arch in Barcelona was built of colorful Mudejar bricks at the end of the 19th century for a world exhibition, and was designed by Josep Vilaseca. It stands out from other European archs. All of this is because of the colorful bricks that decorate it. Inspirations are taken from Islamic architecture. Hence its original look.
Parc de la Ciutadella
Slowly we moved away from the arc, walking on the beautiful alley surrounded by palms. Sometimes we looked back, because even from a distance the triumphal arch looks beautiful. When we entered the Park, the arch completely disappearsed from our field of vision.
Parc de la Ciutadella is the oldest, most visited and most attractive park in Barcelona. Even in the 18th century there was a fortress with quite a large number of soldiers who were supposed to protect the city. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the place was handed over to the city, and the city authorities announced a public tender for the development of the area and the establishment of gardens. Josep Fontseré won; His project was approved in 1873, but it was only in 1888, when the park became a reality.
The most interesting place of the Park is the amazing, beautiful and powerful fountain! Not as big as the Magic Fountain next to the Museum of Contemporary Art, but more stylish and original. It resembles a palace on the water. Designed by Fontsere, but also made by Gaudi!
Parliament of Catalonia
In addition to the beautiful fountains and gardens, you will also find the Parliament of Catalonia in Park. It is a remnant of the former fortress and now serves mainly politicians. Allegedly, once in a while, there are open days and then you can see the interiors of the building.
Barri Gòtic – Gothic Quarter
Few min later we were in the Gothic district Is not that far away from the Park. We turned unplanned to the first alley and we were already charmed by a completely different architecture.
The complicated layout of the streets in the district and most of the buildings dates back to the Middle Ages, although the district was partially rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is good to walk around the Quarter without specific plan to feel its climate and discover the treasures. For example, we were on the way to the Church of Santa Maria del Mar, but we found also very interesting place … Look on this amazing mural! 🙂
Church of Santa Maria del Mar
It is a real gem of the Gothic Quarter. It was built in the fourteenth century, although the earthquake, and later a fire, has also added on it a number of elements of other styles. The dense development of the district made this church almost invisible for us. Leaving the alley, we came to the back of the church thinking it was some kind of a regular building. Don’t hesitate to enter the church. The entrance is free. 🙂
Palace of Catalan Music
Just for a moment we left the Gothic Quarter to see the nearby Palace of Catalan Music. It was built only in 3 years and is one of the most important monuments of Catalan art nouveau. Orchestral and instrumental music concerts and choral performances are now held here. Unfortunately, the dense development of the distric makes it impossible to admire this object in full splendor … 🙁 Besides, I don’t know whether you can go inside to see its beautiful interiors. In our case the building was closed.
Cathedral of Holy Eulalia
Although Barcelona is not Rome, where there are plenty of churches to visit, but in Barcelona are also several churches that you must visit. In addition to Sagrada, Tibidabo and the Church of Santa Maria del Mar you must also put on your bucket list the Cathedral of St. Eulalia!
Again we were in the Gothic Quarter. It was a little before 1 PM. We walked up the stairs, we were almost entering, but the guard stopped us and told that cathedral was closed. It soon turned out that the Cathedral is just open from 1 PM, which we completely forgot, although in the guide this information was written. 😛 We decided to wait a few minutes and get some rest. In the meantime, I don’t know whether it’s due to the fact that a lot of people have decided to wait until 1 PM or if they found out that the queue is getting something is noteworthy, but in a few minutes came dozens of people! We haven’t seen such a big queue yet. 😛 Don’t worry, there is another entrance that is almost empty …
8 euro later, or rather 8 euro less we were already inside. The cathedral is truly enormous and beautiful. Very rough construction, dark interiors and high ceilings – typical gothic building. The Cathedral of Saint Eulalia was erected in several stages in the 13th – 15th centuries on the site of an older temple built by the Romans. Visit also the external cloister – it looks very exotic!
Walking in the Gothic Quarter
As I mentioned above, you just have to walk around the Gothic Quarter. In fact, every street is more or less interesting, but I guarantee you that even without a specific sightseeing plan, you will find real gems. Don’t be afraid just to turn to the small streets. I found all this places below, without any plan!
Nowadays, the beautiful Bridge of Sighs has became very popular on Instagram. It is located next to the Cathedral. This is the 19th century connector of the Palau de la Generalitat and the Casa dels Conoges, the official residence of the President of Catalonia. You will surely find it, but it’s not easy to take a picture! Very busy street …
From Gothic we walked to the Harbor. There are some cool buildings. However, the most important is a statue of Christopher Columbus. I didn’t know that you could climb into it and even climb up to the top. What are impressions, prices and if it is worth – I can’t say.
By the way, do you believe in the latest research that Christopher Columbus was a Pole? The son of the king Wladysław Warneńczyk? 😀
Time for the first negative comment! Although I’m still in love with Barcelona and I have a very positive opinion of this city, I can’t say the same about La Rambla. I don’t understand why this place is a must see for tourists? I didn’t see anything interesting here. Maybe because there were too many tourists, so I didn’t see much. The stall with souvenirs are everywhere. Alternatively, ice cream or pancakes, or expensive restaurant. Are they supposed to be like these attractions? I don’t know … We went all over La Rambla, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a must see in Barcelona, or even in the top attractions!
Great bazaar on La Rambla and the second but last negative comment. 😛 I read in Internet so much about this bazaar and I was expecting something more. All in all I don’t know what’s so special about it. Yes, it looks colorful and tasty, but don’t we have such markets in other countries? Sure, it’s huge but horribly crowded. No pleasure to walk. We even planned to eat our lunch there, but we ended up with only snacks that were not as delicious as we could expect. Prices are also not a big deal. It’s a matter of taste, but in any case we wouldn’t go back to that place again. 😛
It is located at the end of La Rambla. Elegant square with impressive buildings. An important communication hub for the city. We went down to the subway and went to the Spanish Square to see the magic fountains, art museum and another beautiful city skyline!
Magic Fountains and The Museum of Contemporary Art
Barcelona is a city of fountains. At most junctions we can admire the smaller or the larger fountains. I don’t mind, because I love watching these streams of water and sophisticated forms! It is no different with the magic fountains at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Or rather with a team of fountains that we can admire on different levels. It’s really to break away from that sight. Unfortunately, we didn’t get into the night show. Apparently they are from Friday to Sunday (or even from Thursday) and we were just Monday-Thursday. Although when I was 20 years ago in Barcelona, I was at this fountain show. And it was the only thing I remember from that trip. 😀
We didn’t also go to the Museum. I already wrote about it, I’m not a fan of this type of attraction. But I must admit that the museum building perfectly fits to these fountains. For a moment I even have the impression that I am in Greece (in which I have never been). 😀
I mentioned that the fountains are on different levels, which means that you need to do a little work upstairs. There are some stairs, but also use escalators! 😀
We came back to Harbor again. We wanted to go to Barcelonetta, but we got off the subway at the Harbor and from there we walked to the beach.
This district was created for those who were displaced from the area of the present Citadel Park. Of course, I recommend to look at it because of the beautiful, large and sandy beach. Around you have lots of bars. They are a little more expensive, but we know that hunger sometimes doesn’t pick the perfect moments. Besides, you have to walk along the promenade. I would say it’s our European Florida or Los Angeles because the district looks really impressive! The buildings are rich, palm trees are everywhere, on the other side is the sea and golden beach. Really lovely place 😉
Barcelona, day 4 – a day of leisure 😉
Tonight we were leaving to Valencia. Luckily, in Barcelona we saw everything! We decided to visit less important places. We started quite late, because the day greeted us with a heavy rain … Fortunately, before 12 sun came out again. We left our luggage at the bus station (the locker costs 5 euros – May 2017) and we went to the town!
We decided to come closer to this office building. I will tell you that it reminds me of a man’s penis. 😉 There is something in this, because even the architect himself – Jean Nouvel – admitted that he was inspired by the Montserrat mountain near Barcelona and „its phallic shape” and the appearance of the geyser rising up. 😀 😀 In the evening the skyscraper is illuminated, so no matter if you visit Torre Agbar day or night. Either way, you will enjoy its phallic shape. 🙂 😀
Gothic for the second time
We went again to the Gothic Quarter. It was not a stupid idea, because we were able to find some cool spots again. First we found a very interesting mural – a kiss. Interestingly, there was hardly any tourists at all. Only some high school girls who didn’t want to leave the stage for the first few minutes. 😛
Then we discovered the brass inscription Barcelona, which stands on the same square as the Cathedral. Honestly, we didn’t see it at all yesterday, so we were lucky that we came back to these areas again.
Then we turned to the side streets that we walked along and across. There is not much to write here, you just have to see pictures!
Relax on the beach
At the end we went back to the beach. That was everything what we wanted to see. We didn’t only go to Montjuic, but honestly the ruins of the castle didn’t convince me. Maybe if we had 5 days, then I would have been persuaded. But instead, I would definitely like to visit Montserrat, that didn’t fit to our plan this time. Well, but maybe we will come back sometime? 🙂
Anyway, our 4 days in Barcelona I consider to be very successful! In the end we went through these 4 days up to 60 km! 🙂 And for sightseeing I always recommend Triposo applications! All sights / pubs / restaurants / hotels on one map, on your phone!