48 Hours In Barcelona

48 Hours In Barcelona: Guide To A Great Getaway

Full to the brim with beguiling architecture, sandy beaches, sumptuous food, and avant-garde art; Barcelona and its half-decent footy team is a joyous place to experience the Catalan way of life for a couple of days with 48 hours in Barcelona.

Think: lazing on fine beaches and losing yourself in labyrinthine Gothic streets by day; parading along legendary Las Ramblas and hitting the city’s effervescent bars and clubs after dark…

How to Spend 48 Hours In Barcelona

Day One:

Hit La Rambla

After refreshing with a dip in its sweet rooftop pool, say “adios” to your hotel, the elegant Hotel Espanya, and stroll past the landmark Liceu opera house down to La Rambla, the city’s pulsing main artery. It’s infectiously busy and full of life, though you can always duck into a side street like pretty Plaça Reial and take five with a coffee if the crowds get too much. 

Get Lost in the Gothic Quarter

Peel off La Rambla about half way along and head northeast for about five minutes and you’ll stumble into Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, the oldest and arguably most atmospheric part of the city. Admire its beautiful old buildings and secluded medieval squares and then realise you’re lost. Everybody does it – it’s part of the magic of the place…

Lap Up Some Culture

Cultural big-hitters including the Picasso Museum and the MEAM modern art museum are both just a short walk from the bewitching Gothic Quarter. Check out the relatively close Erotic Museum of Barcelona as well if you have time – you’ll get a free glass of Cava to, y’know, help get you in the mood…

Take on Barcelona’s Legendary Nightlife

Avoiding anywhere within a two-minute walk of La Rambla, fuel up with some strategically-timed tapas. Then kick off your night on the Catalan tiles by heading to snazzy Domino Bar on Carrer de Les Flors. The cocktail list is as inviting as it is extensive but remember… Night life here starts late and doesn’t wind down ‘till the wee early hours.

Ever-popular late-night venues like The Magic Club (an esteemed rockers hang-out) and La Terrazza are fine places to work up an early morning sweat.

Day Two:

Visit Gaudi’s Park Guell

Begin the day with a complimentary brekkie at your hotel. Then, head for the delightfully bizarre surroundings of Park Güell. It’s one of the most breath-taking green spaces in the entire city. The   fairytale-style dragon staircase and excellent museum showcasing the great artist’s work are standout features. However, it may well be the stunning views over the Med from its hilly setting that live longest in your mind.

Go to Church

More Gaudi now but this time it’s his most iconic endeavour, the incomparable Sagrada Família on Carrer Mallorca. Work started in 1882 and is still unfinished. This rather unsettling and almost organic-looking church is as incredible to admire within as it is to behold from without.

If you want to marvel at the lava-esque stonework inside then do yourself a favour and buy a ticket online beforehand. It’s the only way to beat the considerable queues.

Hit the Beach(es)

One of Barcelona’s chief perks is that it has top drawer beaches just acros the street from its city blocks. And with more than four miles of fine sand stretching from buzzing Port Vell to chic Port Olympique and the Fòrum beyond, you can take a well-earned break from sightseeing. Enjoy some ray-catching downtime whenever the mood takes you. Pitch up at sandy Platja de la Nova Icaria: you can grab some eats on its attractive restaurant and café-lined boardwalk.

48 Hours In Barcelona

Savour an Authentic Catalan Evening Meal

You can’t come to this neck of the woods and pass up the chance to feast on real-deal Catalan grub. The Gothic Quarter certainly offers evocative evening dining experiences. But, it’s trendy El Raval – once a no-go area for tourists – that’s the de facto best place to enjoy authentically unpretentious  local flavours. 

48 Hours In Barcelona

Bo Heamyan

Bo Heamyan is a British travel writer, reporter and author. When not plotting adventurous overseas japes or motoring away on off-grid road trips, Bo enjoys re-reading Walden, worshipping Nietzsche and highlighting the dangers of conformity to his six-year-old daughter.

View stories