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What to see in Barcelona in 1 day

Barcelona is a fun European city. The capital of Catalonia. It's beloved for its modernist architecture, delicious food, and plenty of entertainment. If you have a long layover in Barcelona, or if you're passing through, you'll have time to explore the city center in a day.


Discover the must-see attractions in Barcelona for a one-day visit. GetYourGuide: Explore the highlights of this vibrant city with Fenix's essential itinerary.
Rambla Stret in Barcelona, Spain

We've put together a 13 km route to the main attractions in the city


It starts at the Sagrada Familia church and ends at Montjuïc Fortress. Along the way, we will see famous Gaudí buildings, the Casa Milá and Casa Batlló, the Palau de la Música Catalana, Santa María del Mar Cathedral, La Rambla, the Columbus monument, the shopping centre Las Arenas and the magical fountains.


To get to the start of the route from El Prat Airport, take the Metro at either terminal and travel to Sagrada Familia station on the purple line. A single-ride ticket costs €4,6.


A list of 10 attractions on our 13 km day trip itinerary to Barcelona:



1. Sagrada Familia


The Sagrada Familia is the city's most famous landmark, the world's longest-running building and the project of Barcelona's star architect, Antoni Gaudi. The Cathedral has been under construction from 1882 until the present day.


Get around the Cathedral to admire its three facades:


  • The Nativity facade

  • Passion facade

  • Fame facade


The Nativity facade on the pond side is detailed and sombre, created during Gaudi's lifetime. The Passion facade conjures up associations with Star Wars for many. The unfinished facade of Fame plans to show the history of mankind from Adam and Eve to the second coming.


Inside the building, there are a lots of lights and branching columns that turn the temple into a mystical forest. Tickets start at €17. To avoid standing in a long queue, I suggest you buy one in advance on the official website.


Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

2. Casa Mila & Casa Batllo (Casa Batlló)


Casa Mila (Casa Mila) and Casa Batlló (Casa Batlló) are residential buildings by Gaudí. Both houses are undulating, looking more like a sea sponge than an urban building. Gaudi's architectural works are impressive.


Casa Mila (Casa Mila) and Casa Batlló (Casa Batlló) are residential buildings by Gaudí. Both houses are undulating, looking more like a sea sponge than an urban building. Gaudi's architectural works are impressive. Casa Mila in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
Casa Mila in Barcelona, Spain

The cost of admission to Casa Mila and Casa Batllo:


  • Casa Mila ticket with audioguide costs €22

  • Casa Batlló: €25.


For current ticket prices and schedules, visit the Casa Mila and Casa Batlló websites. The Casa Batlló offers an augmented reality video guide: you point the device at an object, original interiors appear on the screen and a fire "lights up" in the fireplace.


For current ticket prices and schedules, visit the Casa Mila and Casa Batlló websites. The Casa Batlló offers an augmented reality video guide: when you point the device at an object, original interiors appear on the screen and a fire "lights up" in the fireplace. Casa Batllo in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
Casa Batllo in Barcelona, Spain

3. Palau de la Música Catalana


The Palau de la Música Catalana, another Art Nouveau building, is Europe's only concert hall with natural light. The interiors are opulent, with shimmering coloured stained-glass windows, sculptures of Valkyries, Pegasi and a mosaic ceiling imitating the sky with a golden sun. You can go to a concert with classical performers, pop music, jazz or just a guided tour.


Cost of admission tickets to the Palau de la Música Catalana:


A ticket costs €15 without a guide and €20 with a tour group.


The Palau de la Música Catalana, another Art Nouveau building, is Europe's only concert hall with natural light. The interiors are opulent, with shimmering coloured stained-glass windows, sculptures of Valkyries, Pegasi and a mosaic ceiling imitating the sky with a golden sun. You can go to a concert of classical performers, pop music, jazz or just a guided tour.  Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Spain

4. Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral 

Santa María del Mar Cathedral is a Catalan Gothic cathedral with sharp towers, narrow windows and intricate stained-glass windows.  Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain

Santa María del Mar Cathedral is a Catalan Gothic cathedral with sharp towers, narrow windows and intricate stained-glass windows.

  • Admission is free.

  • Open weekdays from 9:00 to 13:30 and 16:30 to 20:00, and 10:00 on weekends.


5. La Rambla


La Rambla is a famous pedestrian walkway extending from Plaça Catalunya Square to Barceloneta Beach.


Take a stroll down the Rambla to see living statues and a mosaic by the artist Juan Miró next to the Boquería market, listen to street musicians, and enjoy the atmosphere of festivity and happiness. Beware of the pickpockets in the crowds and the prices of souvenirs from local vendors are ungodly high.


Take a stroll down the Rambla to see living statues and a mosaic by the artist Juan Miró next to the Boquería market, listen to street musicians, and enjoy the atmosphere of festivity and happiness. Beware of the pickpockets in the crowds and the prices of souvenirs from local vendors are ungodly high. La Rambla is a famous pedestrian walkway extending from Plaça Catalunya Square to Barceloneta Beach. Take a stroll down the Rambla to see living statues and a mosaic by the artist Juan Miró next to the Boquería market, listen to street musicians, and enjoy the atmosphere of festivity and happiness. La Rambla Street in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
La Rambla Street in Barcelona, Spain

6. Monument to Columbus


The Columbus Monument is a 60 m high monument erected at the end of the 19th century. It stands at the entrance to the Old Port where the explorer's ship docked after his first voyage to America. For €6 you can take the lift inside the column and climb to the viewing platform right under Columbus' feet.


7. Take the Teleferico del Puerto cable car


The Teleferico del Puerto cable car takes tourists to the top of Montjuïc hill. The ride takes about 10 minutes and offers beautiful views of the city along the way. The nearest cable car station to Columbus is called Miramar.


Prices for entry tickets to the cable car station vary:


  • A one-way ticket costs €11

  • Return trip: €16.5


The cabins leave every 15 minutes. Cable car website


If you decide on a one-way ride, skip the next two points on the itinerary: Las Arenas and the Magic Fountains. The walk to Montjuïc (at the top of the cable car) can be long: 1-2 hours minimum.


If you decide for a one-way ride, skip the next two points on the itinerary: Las Arenas and the Magic Fountains. The walk to Montjuïc (at the top of the cable car) can be long: 1-2 hours minimum. Teleferico del Puerto cable car in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
Teleferico del Puerto cable car in Barcelona

8. Las Arenas


"Las Arenas" is a shopping centre converted from a bullring. The last time bullfighters fought bulls here was in 1977. Bullfighting is now banned in Catalonia, but its former magnitude can be appreciated inside Las Arenas.


Under the dome of the building, there is a vast observation deck with a great view over Plaza España. There is a lift outside the building that takes tourists upstairs for €1. If you go inside the shopping centre, you can go up to the same roof in the visitor lifts for free.


"Las Arenas" is a shopping centre converted from a bullring. The last time bullfighters fought bulls here was in 1977. Bullfighting is now banned in Catalonia, but its former magnitude can be appreciated inside Las Arenas.  Las Arenas Comercial Center in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
Las Arenas Comercial Center in Barcelona

9. Magic Fountains


The Magic Fountains are cascading, or tiered, fountains where there is a light and music show every weekend evening. Entrance to the show is free. The colours and sounds of the musical fountains will please even the snobs.


The Magic Fountains are cascading, or tiered, fountains where there is a light and music show every weekend evening. Entrance to the show is free. The colours and sounds of the musical fountains will please even the snobs.  The Magic Fountains in Barcelona, Spain | Fenix.info
The Magic Fountains in Barcelona, Spain

10. MNAC, the National Museum of Catalonia


Nearby you'll find escalators leading up Montjuïc hill and to the stunningly beautiful building, the National Museum of Catalonia (MNAC). The Museum de Arte Nacional de Catalunya MNAC showcases hundreds of works by artists ranging from medieval frescoes to contemporary installations.


MNAC entrance fees:

  • Admission is free on the first Sunday of the month and Saturdays from 3 PM.

  • Other times: €12.


The Museum Nacional de Arte Nacional de Catalunya MNAC showcases hundreds of works by artists ranging from medieval frescoes to contemporary installations. The National Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) in Barcelona, Spain |  Fenix.info
The National Museum of Catalonia (MNAC)

11. Montjuïc


Montjuïc is a 173 m high hill. There's plenty to see and do there. Montjuïc is worth a stroll through the botanical gardens and parks. We particularly like the unusual cactus park: among the tropical plants, it feels like you're in Africa or Asia. And it's easy to lose your head over the scents.


12. Montjuïc Fortress and Military Museum


At the top of Montjuïc stands the ancient fortress that houses the War Museum with medieval cannons and military uniforms. In the summer, there is an outdoor cinema on the fortress patio. Films are shown in their original language with Spanish subtitles.



Entrance fees to the military museum on Montjuïc:

  • A visit to the military museum costs €5

  • Open cinema ticket: €6.5

  • Renting a cinema chair costs another €3.25

Barcelonans usually bring plaids and wine and combine watching a film with a picnic. You can book tickets for the film here.


13. The pools at Bernat Picornell


The pools at Bernat Picornell (The Piscines Bernat Picornell) are still on the hill, you can swim and relax in the colourful public pools of Bernat Picornell. 

  • Entrance to the pools costs €6.50

  • Lounge chair: €1.



14. View the walking route in Barcelona on Google Maps:

13 km walking route around Barcelona:




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