BARCELONA in 5 days. Walking guide to visit our city.
After reading about our city in the previous post, we hope you're feeling more excited and ready to visit Barcelona - explore the city as a local and have an unforgettable experience. Let's see what we recommend to do in five days!
Portal de l'Àngel
La Catedral de Barcelona
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
Plaça Sant Jaume
El Born and Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
The first day, depending on your arrival time, we suggest you to start walking from the city center; Plaça Catalunya, to the oldest neighborhood: Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) - to discover the Roman and medieval landmarks.
We invite you to walk along Portal de l'Angel Avenue, the main fashion shopping street. On your way you can stop in Planelles Donat, a family business since 1850, where you can enjoy a great horchata and a sweet traditional turrón.
Keep walking and turn left Carrer dels Arcs Street to Plaça Nova where you can see Picasso's mural on the Architects Association façade, and the interesting Catalan Gothic construction: Barcelona Cathedral commenced in 1298 and painted by Guerau Gener, Lluís Borrassà, Gabriel Alemany and Bernat Martorell among others. The cultural and tourist visitation hours are from 12:30 pm. to 7:45 pm.
Crossing the Roman towers to el Carrer del Bisbe you will be immersing into the heart of our Gothic quarter, the original Barcino city. Divert right to the first street, stopping in the unique Felip Neri plaza; a tiny square with a charming little fountain in the middle, overlooked by the baroque church of Sant Felip Neri.
Felip Neri Church, used to be a home for evacuating people during the Spanish civil war, when in 1938 a couple of bombs dropped by Franco's fascist air force exploded. The marks still remain in the facade, surrounded by an interesting calmed atmosphere in the middle of the city.
Back to Carrer del Bisbe, you will cross El Pont del Bisbe (Bishops Bridge), one of the most photographed sights in the city. And finally you will arrive to Sant Jaume plaza where the City Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat are located. Do not miss Can Conesa sandwiches! Since 1952, the best and economic ones!
Turn Carrer de Jaume I, passed Jaume I metro station you will be in El Born neighborhood. Walk down through Carrer de l'Argenteria to El Born Avenue.
With the Born Market at one end and the church of Santa Maria del Mar at the other end, the Passeig del Born still retains its medieval flavor on the terraces of its fashionable bars. A charming avenue that has adapted to new times without turning its back on its past.
Don't be afraid to explore by yourself and get lost among the labyrinthine streets.
During the evening, if you still have some energy and want to enjoy the best views of the city, you can go to the beautiful Sagrat Cor church siting at the top of the Tibidabo hill, as well as a popular amusement park (about 1h in metro, funicular or bus from Jaume I stop).
Estació del Nord
Arc de Triomg, Passeig Lluís Companys and Parc de la Ciutadella
Passeig de Gràcia; el Nacional, Casa Batlló, Casa Ametller and La Pedrera
What's better than starting the second day visiting the Sagrada Familia basilica?
We'd recommend you to book the entrance in advance. It cost between 17-25 euros, they open at 9am and close at 8pm every day. If you arrive early in the morning it will be more quiet and you’ll have the rest of the day to keep discovering Barcelona (BCN or Barna).
You're now in Eixample neighborhood, open your eyes and observe, you’ll see that all the streets are squared, kind of grid-like layout and blocks with chamfered corners. Designed by the engineer and town planner Ildefons Cerdà, it's an award winner of the modern rational urban plan. We call it “illes or manzanas", it means literally: islands, considering that the buildings are designed squared with a middle shared green area.
Keep your eyes peeled and admire the legacy of the finest Catalan architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
If you like walking (we recommend you to walk as much as possible), don’t forget to bring a good steel water bottle, our public fountain water isn’t really good and the tourist markets will sell the plastic bottles super expensive!
Now that we are talking about little tips, we have to tell you that, unfortunately, tourists are often an easy target for pickpockets. Please be aware of your personal belongings, put in front of you the backpack in crowded streets or when using the underground, and always leave your stuff under control, especially at the beach. We’ve to say that we always feel really safe in our city and violence is not common, but you better keep one eye open. Public toilets are not easy to find, you may need to order something in a bar to access to the restroom or use the public ones during your visits in attractions or shopping centres.
Once Sagrada Familia exceeded your expectations, let's keep moving!
We recommend you to walk down through Marina Street (carrer is street in Catalan and calle in Spanish, you’ll find named plates on every street corner), crossing the famous modernist Diagonal Avenue and the interesting art-nouveau bullring of la Monumental, the last active bullring in Catalonia and finally closed in 2011 . Keep walking down from the Estacio del Nord park, five minutes to the iconic landmark: Arc de Triomf, designed as the gateway to the 1888 Universal Exhibition.
Walk through the promenade of Passeig Lluís Companys and the park of la Ciutadella, which covers 18 hectares, as a result of the demolition of the military citadel in 1869.
Again, don’t be afraid to get lost through el Born neighborhood little streets. You can find here the Picasso Museum, The permanent collection comprises over 3,800 works from different periods, but with particular emphasis on works from his formative years and youth. We’ll recommend to eat at any local and authentic restaurant from around the area.
Energies recovered, let’s keep exploring! Walk to Urquinaona plaza to start the second path up to the emblematic modernist boulevard of Passeig de Gracia, a showcase for Barcelona's bourgeoisie at the turn of the 19th century.
Obligatory stops: on the left side you will find Casa Batlló by Gaudi, Casa Ametller by Puig i Cadafalch and the Casa Lleó Morera by Domènech i Muntaner. And, on the other pavement side: La Pedrera.
You can spend the evening in Gracia neighborhood walking across their streets. Gracia is more like a little town in the city. It has an active political and social life and an extensive network of deeply rooted civic, cultural, sporting and artistic institutions. We enjoy meeting some friends and have a drink in their plazas as Plaça del Diamant or Virreina.
La Festa Major de Gracia, which is held in mid-August, has become one of the city's landmark celebrations. Our neighbors decorate the pedestrian streets, surrounded by cultural activities and late night open-air concerts.
Les Rambles; Mercat de la Boqueria
La Barceloneta nighborhood
Museu Nacional d'Arts de Catalunya and La Font Màgica de Montjuïc
Sant Antoni neighborhood
Let's start the third day, again, from Plaça de Catalunya, opened by King Alfonso XIII in 1927 as an open piece of land located in front of the gates to the walled city. Nowadays, is the nerve centre of the Catalan capital and also the geographical space that separates the districts of Ciutat Vella and the Eixample. There are six sculptural groups around the plaza: they represent the four Catalan capital cities, wisdom and labour.
It's time to walk through the well-known Les Rambles, 1.2 kilometres laid out in 1766 following the contours of the medieval city walls. These days florists, newsstands and souvenir kiosks had set up their premises here.
First stop, the one and only public fountain that we will suggest to drink some water and a symbol of our city ; Canaletes Fountain. A meeting place for locals and visitors alike where people also flock to celebrate the victories of the Catalan team, Fútbol Club Barcelona, Barça.
As you walk along, you'll see landmark buildings, such as the greatest theater of Barcelona's opera, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Palau de la Virreina and the spectacular Boqueria Market, open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8.30pm. We recommend you to stop and have an amazing breakfast! La Boqueria was the first Barcelona's local market, opened in 1836. Avoid the first tourist stands and walk to the most authentic ones, for example El Quim de la Boqueria, Pinotxo restaurant, Bar Central or Kiosk Universal.
If you prefer a sweet breakfast, divert to Carrer de Petritxol where you will find the best coffee bars serving delicious hot chocolate with churros in the city!
Where La Rambla meets the sea, we find the Mirador de Colom, built in 1888 for the Universal Exhibition as a tribute to Christopher Columbus, who chose to disembark at the port of Barcelona on his return from America.
Walking through Port Vell Marina and Maremagnum shopping centre, it's time to discover La Barceloneta once known as the home of fishermen associated with the fishing trade and the metal industry, and now as one of the city's most visited and popular districts. On the sand and inside the neighborhood, rows of restaurants and bars combine with the traditional images of locals sitting in their chairs in the street and narrow balconies displaying clothes drying in the sun. Close to the oldest and best-loved beaches: Barceloneta Beach we invite you to have some tapas in the beachfront restaurants, known as xiringuitos or get lost between the little streets of Barceloneta and find an authentic place.
It's time to visit Park Güell! There's different options to go by public transport, we recommend you to check google maps latest updates. I won't take more than half an hour to arrive. Remember to bring your steel bottle water!
If you still have time and enough energy to keep walking, take the metro: green line (L3) from Vallcarca to Plaça Espanya to visit the National Museum of Catalonia Arts (MNAC) in Montjuïc.
The Museu Nacional takes visitors on an uninterrupted journey through a thousand years of Catalan art, from the 10th to the 20th centuries, through its four permanent collections: Romanesque and Gothic art, Renaissance and Baroque art pieces, ModernArt, also photography, drawings, prints and posters and the Catalan Numismatic Department.
It's open every day but Mondays from 10am until 8pm, Sundays until 3pm. You can visit the museum per 12 euros, or enjoy the views and the sunset from their rooftop. Also located in front of the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, Barcelona's biggest ornamental fountain, which was built in 1929 for the International Exhibition. It offers a short music and water show from Wednesday to Sundays between 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm.
Every year, Montjuïc's Magic Fountain is the chosen site for the "Piromusical" in September 24th, a huge firework display with a music and laser show, which is the closing event for Barcelona's main festival, La Mercè.
Ready for dinner? From Plaça Espanya get lost through the first city expansion: Poble-Sec neighborhood, a close-knit community with a long-standing tradition in the world of entertainment and theater.
Day 4 - Option 01
Figueres; Museu Dalí
Cadaqués, Palamós, Calella de Palafurgell or Tamariu
The fourth day -option 1- is focused for Dali lovers, discovering beyond Barcelona. Our suggestion, it's going to the Dalí Museum in Figueres city and, as it’s a long way, visit also a coastal village to spend the night. You can book a group trip with a company or go by yourself. One option, if you’re not afraid of driving on the right side, will be renting a car.
The other option will be going by train. There’s a metro station called Girona in Barcelona, please don’t get confused, Dali Museum is located 2h from Barcelona by RENFE train - 145 Km driving, close to Girona region's city: Figueres. During summer it’s open all day from 9am until 7:15 pm, and the price is around 15 euros, reduced if you buy it online. Going by train (called RENFE) from Barcelona to Figueres MD cost 16 euros. The paper ticket for Barcelona city does not work in other areas (zone 01 is just for the main city), you will need to buy single or/and return ticket.
We would really recommend you to spend the night in the gorgeous coastal town of Cadaqués.
Is a unique Mediterranean town, seating in Cap de Creus bay. n small walled village with white architecture and the ancient pavement, known as rastell (handmade using slate stones), that you can appreciate when walking through the Old Town.
Salvador Dalí once said of the town that inspired much of his work: "I have spent a delightful summer, as always, in the perfect and dreamy town of Cadaqués. There, alongside the Latin sea, I have been quenched by light and color".
It’s true that it’s not easy to access by public transport, renting your own car can be a good option in this case. If you prefer to arrive by train, there’s also other amazing coastal towns in the area as Palamós, Calella de Palafurgell or Tamariu with their own station and easier way to arrive. Discovering Catalonia great beyond the city of Barcelona it’s the best way to experience the countryside and pure Catalan culture.
Day 4 - Option 2
Platja de la Barceloneta, Mar Bella or Nova Icaria
Santa Maria de Montserrat
Palau de la Música
If you prefer to stay in Barcelona city taking easy the previous routes, you can do some of the suggested walks today. If you like partying at night, you'll need some rest during the mornings, believe us!
Another good option, if it’s summer season, you can relax on the beach. In the famous, and often crowded, Barceloneta beach, Mar Bella or Nova Icaria, Forum area with new buildings and modern constructions.
On the other hand, if you’re a nature lover, don’t miss Montserrat and the monastery, it offers plenty of walkways! You need to take the train in the FGC Pl. Espanya Station, the train to the Montserrat line to get the cable car to the mountain.
Montserrat is a unique place with spectacular, vast, open spaces, unusual rock formations with peaks and crags, and breathtaking views. Once there, you can visit the monastery; see the Black Madonna, La Moreneta; explore the streets; or go sightseeing in the surrounding area.
During the afternoon you can experience a cultural show and assist in Palau de la Música, the so-called "building that epitomizes Catalan art nouveau" designed Lluís Domènech i Montaner during 1905-1908 . This concert hall in Barcelona, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an artistic landmark of outstanding beauty and a highly prestigious music venue.
Or have some authentic dinner in the informal Elisabets Restaurant (Elisabets Streets number 2, five minutes from Plaza Catalunya) a popular Raval's district bar born in 1962 decorated based on the history it represents with marble tables, wooden chairs and old photographs and radios. Don’t be surprised if you have to cue, it’s worth it!
Castell de Montjuïc
Your last day, if you’re not leaving early, you can visit el Poble Espanyol or Tibidabo and the lookouts if you missed the first day.
Poble Espanyol means Spanish Village, built for the International Exhibition in 1929 created to recreate an old little Spanish town with the original buildings, artisans decorations, audiovisual installations... Poble Espanyol it’s located close to Pl. Espanya metro station. It’s open Monday from 9am to 8pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday until midnight, Friday until 3am and Saturday until 4am. The price is from 6.30 euros and around 3.50 for the audio guide.
Another option for farewell Barcelona will be going from Plaça España to Castell de Montjuïc by bus (line 150). Standing on a vantage point 173 meters above the port, Montjuïc Castle commands stunning 360º views of the city.
Barcelona is our place so, our special connection makes us believe that you're making a really good choice. We hope to hear from you, feel free to write us sharing your amazing experience and memories around our streets or any new suggestion. Being a responsible traveler, respecting the locals and buying in family shops and restaurants would be the best way to let the city inspire you and make of this trip an unforgettable one!
Finally, we wold like to thank Ester's aunt, Anna, for all the support and photos supplied, as we currently live in Australia and we won't be able to update the post until late 2020.
We also would like to cite The Consortium of Turisme de Barcelona, the official entity for promoting and boosting the tourism, cultural, commercial offer in Barcelona and its environment, created in 1993. Which helped us to complete our walking guide and detail all the necessary information. We invite you to visit their webpage and barcelona.cat.