Barcelona is one of Europe’s great cities, filled with so much to see and do that you could never be bored here. Even at a breakneck speed of travel you could probably spend 2 full weeks here and still have more to do.
However, spending four days in Barcelona is just about the perfect time for most travelers to experience this city.
To see the city’s main sights at a leisurely pace and still have time for exploring Barcelona 4 days is what you should aim for. With 4 days in Barcelona, you’ll get to see both the city’s biggest attractions and the more off-the-beaten-path Barcelona gems.
Keep reading for our ultimate Barcelona 4 day itinerary: we’re sharing exactly what to see in Barcelona in 4 days for the perfect trip, and some things that are better off skipping.
Plus, you may even have time for a day trip from Barcelona – keep reading to discover which ones are worth it!
What to See in Barcelona in 4 Days
When considering what to see in Barcelona in 4 days, you’ll definitely be able to see Barcelona’s most popular attractions, such as the following sites, which I consider to be Barcelona’s unmissable destinations.
Here is what you can’t miss when visiting Barcelona
- The Best of Gaudí: Park Güell and Sagrada Familia
- The Gothic Quarter
- La Boquería Market
With 4 days in Barcelona you can make it to sights like these, too:
- Castell de Montjuic
- The Picasso Museum
- Carrer de Petritxol
- … and much more!
Thankfully, with a Barcelona 4 day itinerary you’ll be able to go much deeper than just the must-see and have time to see an array of Barcelona’s best.
Is 4 Days Enough in Barcelona?
4 days in Barcelona is just the right amount of time to get to see the city’s major attractions, and a little more, while not feeling too rushed. You’ll have time to leisurely explore, eat, and shop, while still feeling like you’ve seen the very best of the city.
Being such a large cosmopolitan city, there is always more to see and do, and you can’t do it all in Barcelona in 4 days.
However, with a Barcelona 4 day itinerary, you’ll have just enough time here to really do the city justice. Anything less just isn’t enough time.
If you have 4 days in Barcelona, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city and its best attractions at your leisure – no need to book a complete multi-day city tour unless that’s the way you love to travel!
However, Barcelona also has some incredible short tours, or full day tours, that can add to your trip! There are some truly inventive tours and experiences run by locals that will add so much to your travel experience here. Here are some favorites:
- Gaudi Tour: Sagrada Família, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló
- Barcelona Bike Tour
- Affordable Catamaran Excursion from Port Vell – Barcelona
I personally love incorporating food tours or cooking classes into my travels. These are the best way to sample true local cuisine, meet locals, learn the best things to order for the rest of your trip, and of course, taste delicious food. These are Barcelona’s best:
- Gothic Quarter Walking Tour and Churro Tasting
- Tapas and Wine Small-Group Walking Tour – we loved this tour, and it is my number one recommendation for Barcelona travelers!
- La Boqueria Market Tour and Cooking Class
Plus, with a cooking class, you can take your knowledge home with you and recreate your experience again and again!
If you’re headed out of the city to explore nearby sites like the Costa Brava, Figueres, Girona, or Montserrat, consider finding a tour to take you there. With just one day to explore, even just having transportation taken care of can save you a lot of time (and sometimes, money!) better spent exploring.
These places are all easily visited independently as well, but a tour can be of benefit when you’re working on a shorter time frame!
Where to Stay in Barcelona
There are plenty of fantastic neighborhoods in Barcelona to find great accommodation, but I generally recommend visitors stick to just a few as they look for where to stay in Barcelona.
Especially when on a relatively short trip, like with just 4 days in Barcelona, you’ll want to stay close to the majority of the attractions. Consider choosing a hotel in the El Born or Gothic Quarter neighborhoods to be within walking distance of many of the city’s best attractions.
Musik Boutique Hotel and Hotel España Ramblas are two great hotels in these historic neighborhoods that won’t break your budget – if you’re looking for even more savings, check out Safestay Barcelona Gothic Hostel!
Barcelona 4 Day Itinerary
How Can I Spend 4 Days in Barcelona?
In this Barcelona itinerary 4 days is the perfect amount of time to get to know the best of the city, and even explore the best of the Cataluña region.
- Day One: Gaudí Highlights & Barcelona’s Best Tapas
- Day Two: Historic Barcelona
- Day Three: An Unforgettable Barcelona Day Trip
- Day Four: Trendy Neighborhoods & Barcelona’s Seaside
This itinerary will allow you to get to know the best of Barcelona’s things to see and do while also leaving time to explore, so you don’t feel like you’re running from attraction to attraction. Keep reading for all the details about how to bring this Barcelona 4 days itinerary to life.
Start your first morning in Barcelona at one of Barcelona’s most-visited and beloved attractions – Park Güell. One of architect Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces – the one I found to be the most impressive when we visited! – this park on one of Barcelona’s hills is the perfect introduction to this city.
Park Güell will likely be busy no matter when you visit, but in the morning you’ll have the best chance of enjoying the park with the least number of other people.
No matter when you choose, make sure to pre-book your Park Güell ticket to skip the line – you’ll have to wait in line otherwise, and can only use one entrance unless you’ve booked in advance.
Make sure to spend time exploring the whole park. Taking a picture of the map at the entrance or downloading a map beforehand will help with this! You’ll find covered walkways, colorful tile work, intricate mansions, and incredible views overlooking Barcelona wherever you turn.
After visiting Park Güell, head to another unmissable Gaudí masterpiece, La Pedrera – also known as Casa Mila. Commanding the corner of a busy intersection, this stunning building was first built private residence for the Mila family.
Now, La Pedrera is open for visitors and is one of Barcelona’s principal attractions, though there are still a few rented residential apartments inside!
While some visitors to Barcelona like to break up visits to Gaudí sites over multiple days, visiting Park Güell – La Pedrera – Casa Batlló back to back to back is generally the most convenient transportation-wise!
As with any of the Gaudí sites in Barcelona, make sure to pre-book your skip-the-line ticket to La Pedrera – lines get long fast, even at the opening and during the week.
Make sure to explore the entire building, but don’t miss the roof! The rooftop seems straight out of a fairytale. Walking around it is like being in an open-air Gaudí sculpture museum, with tons of shaped pillars and statues throughout. Plus, you’ll see some incredible views of Barcelona from this high up.
Continue on just a few blocks way to another Gaudí masterpiece – Casa Batlló. Referred to locally as Casa Dels Ossos (House of Bones) for the exterior’s skinny, bone-like columns, even just the facade of this build is fascinating and beautiful.
In our 2 Days in Barcelona itinerary we recommend just checking out Casa Batlló from the outside, but with more time to spend in this city, visiting the interior is a must.
This is one of Gaudí’s most fascinating creations, so you’ll want to spend some time exploring.
Inside you’ll find beautiful winding staircases with intricate tile work, gathering halls, interior gardens and courtyards, and arched hallways. Even the rooftop is a masterpiece, reminiscent of both Park Güell and La Pedrera.
Make sure to book your ticket in advance – lines don’t get as long here as do at Sagrada Familia, but even on an average day you could spend an hour or more waiting in line to enter.
Make sure to check out the gift shop before you leave. Even if you don’t purchase anything, they have some cool design pieces here and really inventive souvenirs to bring home from Barcelona.
Take a Tapas Tour
Finish off your first day in Barcelona exactly as you should – with delicious tapas! If you’re going to do any group tour or activity in Barcelona – make it this tapas tour!
Even if these type of activities aren’t generally your style, trust me, this specific Tapas and Wine Small Group Walking Tour, run by Barcelona Local Experiences, is well worth it.
Barcelona is filled with tapas restaurants, and it can be hard to determine which are actually worth your time, with many marketed towards tourists and serving plates that truly are not great. These tapas tours take you to only the best spots in the city and introduce you to the best dishes around.
You’ll also learn the history behind some of the city’s most famous tapas, like bombas, patatas bravas, butifarra, pan con tomate, and more. The rest of your time in Barcelona, deciphering menus will be much easier!
Tickets include everything you’ll eat along the way as you explore eight or nine of the city’s best tapas spots, plus multiple glasses of wine, cava, and sangria along the way. The value of the tour for the money is truly a steal!
Looking for more things to do in Barcelona at night? Check out this Barcelona At Night complete guide for more great ideas.
Skip the Lines in Barcelona
Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance for Barcelona’s favorite must-see attractions in order to skip the lines!
Castell de Montjuic
Start your second day in Barcelona at the historic Castell de Montjuic, overlooking Barcelona’s port on one of the city’s highest hills. While this historic fort is interesting in its own right, the true attraction is the spectacular view over the city.
From the top you’ll be able to spot some of Barcelona’s most well-known attractions, including Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, the W Hotel in Barceloneta, and the Barcelona Cathedral. Plus, take in the fascinating view of the port on the far side of the fort.
You can take the public bus to the fort from Plaça Espanya, but even better is the Montjuic Cable Car – offering its own unforgettable views of the city.
The cable car is a fantastic and affordable excursion in the city that I love to recommend to travelers. Get your cable car ticket online and prepare for a fantastic start to your day in Barcelona.
La Boquería Market
One of Barcelona’s most visited attractions, La Boquería Market is a beautiful covered market located on Las Ramblas, just on the edge of the Gothic Quarter.
The architecture of this historic market alone is stunning, but it is also a fascinating place to explore, people watch, and taste your way through one of the world’s most famous markets.
Here you’ll find tons of fresh and prepared foods, with everything from fruit and vegetables to local cheeses, olives, meat, and fish. Its a great place to learn about Spanish and Catalan food – take a tour with a local chef to really get an in-depth picture of what you’re seeing!
Scattered through the market you’ll find bars with high-top chairs where you can order everything from tapas to full meals, and at the back of the market you’ll find an area dedicated to sitting and eating.
If you’re an Anthony Bourdain fan like we are, check out the bar El Quim and order what he ordered – fried eggs with mushrooms.
While I always recommend that visitors to Barcelona check out La Boquería, I also insist they visit Santa Caterina Market as well. Just a block away from Barcelona’s Cathedral in the El Born neighborhood, Santa Caterina Market is a much more local market, with just as many delicious food options to choose from, and even better people-watching. In my opinion, it’s the best market in Barcelona.
Explore the Gothic Quarter
The oldest and most charming part of the city, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is an unmissable section of the city to explore. Here you’ll find some of the city’s most beautiful and historic attractions – countless old churches, museums, historic mansions, plazas – so plan on spending a few hours here.
On a self-guided walking tour of the Gothic Quarter, make sure to visit these beautiful spots along the way:
- Barcelona Cathedral
- Plaça de Sant Jaume and the Bishops Bridge (El Pont del Bisbe)
- Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi
- Plaça Reial
- Santa Anna Church
- La Casa de l’Ardiaca
- Barcelona’s Roman Walls
- Plaça del Rei
If you’d rather see the neighborhood with a local, there are inexpensive small group walking tours that leave frequently to explore the Gothic Quarter. This is a great way to learn more about the history of the area, meet fellow travelers, and get advice from a local all at once.
However, don’t get too hung up on running from one destination to the next while in the Gothic Quarter. Part of the experience of visiting this beautiful neighborhood is in exploring the winding and twisting streets, stumbling across hidden cafes and restaurants, and generally taking it all in.
Spend plenty of time enjoying this historic neighborhood, and don’t rush!
Perhaps no food is more iconically Spanish than churros and hot chocolate, and while Madrid may be best known for this tasty treat, Barcelona has its fair share of unforgettable xurrerías to try this treat yourself.
Read More: Ultimate Guide to Barcelona’s Best Churros
Most of the city’s best and most historic churros and hot chocolate spots are found on the Carrer de Petritxol in the Gothic Quarter. Once home to most of the city’s “granjas” that sold dairy products, they evolved to specialize in hot chocolate and the churros that most typically accompany it.
Typically eaten as a breakfast treat, especially after a long night out, you can save yourself from standing in the unending morning lines at the city’s favorite establishments by saving churros and hot chocolate for an afternoon pick-me-up.
It isn’t truly a trip to Barcelona without visiting the Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí’s most famous creation and one of the most unique and attention-grabbing churches you’ll ever see. This is Barcelona’s ultimate must-see attraction!
There is a lot of talk about when is the best time to visit the Sagrada Familia – what day of the week, what time of day, etc. I generally recommend visitors come in the late afternoon or evening to see the light shining through the stained glass, booking your Sagrada Familia ticket in advance is the most important part of a visit, no matter what time you choose to come.
Lines to buy tickets for the Sagrada Familia can stretch on for hours – even during the off-season, even during weekdays, even when the church first opens in the morning.
Do yourself a huge favor and pre-book your Sagrada Familia ticket online – you’ll save hours much better spent exploring Barcelona.
Spend your time exploring the Sagrada Familia rather than rushing through – this is an architectural marvel worth your time and consideration. Check out every window, every angle, and take it all in.
If you’re looking for an even more in-depth visit, consider touring Sagrada Familia with a guide – you’ll be so much more informed about what you’re seeing and take so much more from your visit.
Skip the Lines in Barcelona
Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance for Barcelona’s favorite must-see attractions in order to skip the lines!
Take a Day Trip from Barcelona
With four days in Barcelona, you’ll definitely have enough time to take a day trip from Barcelona. There is so much to see and do close by the city that this is a fantastic option for visitors. With Barcelona’s excellent public transportation options making cities near and far accessible, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from.
Here are some of the best day trips from Barcelona.
For the best hiking options bear Barcelona – and some spectacular mountain views – make sure to visit Montserrat, less than an hour outside of central Barcelona. Wedged up among rocky mountain outcroppings you’ll find a monastery and shrine to the Virgin Mary, tucked among some incredible scenery.
Even if you’re not religious, Montserrat is a fabulous hiking destination.
Visitors can reach the monastery by cable car or funicular – this ride is part of the fun of the visit (get your cable car ticket online beforehand). From the top, you’ll be able to start several hikes of varying difficulty around the mountain peaks.
Visitors can easily spend a whole day exploring the monastery and hiking the cliffs, or just a few hours as an easy half-day trip.
Public transportation makes it easy to access independently (just take the R5 train from central Barcelona!), but Montserrat half-day excursions and Montserrat full-day excursions can be inexpensive, informative, and a great way to travel with ease.
The Costa Brava
If you’re visiting in the summer and want to experience the Mediterranean in all of its glory, plan a day trip to the Costa Brava. Including the coastline from Barcelona north to the border of France, the Costa Brava is considered some of the most beautiful coastline in the Mediterranean.
Come to enjoy the beach, water sports, fantastic food, and unforgettable scenery. A day trip to the Costa Brava can be a great option for almost any type of traveler.
The most popular excursions combine a visit to Girona and the Costa Brava, or include kayaking and snorkeling in the Costa Brava in some of the area’s most picturesque spots.
History buffs and romantics will enjoy the lovely, medieval town of Girona. Just an hour north of Barcelona, it’s the perfect day trip from Barcelona.
Here you can explore the historic town’s winding streets, walk along the top of the medieval city walls (while taking in stunning views of the town), and even discover where Game of Thrones filmed some of its most iconic scenes.
High-speed trains leave every 45 minutes from Barcelona, or if you aren’t interested in planning your own transport you can book a popular Girona excursion from Barcelona. Either way, you’ll have a fantastic time exploring one of Cataluña’s most picturesque cities.
Of course, taking a day trip from Barcelona may not be your thing – if not, simply spend time exploring the many other sites of this fabulous city!
You couldn’t get bored in Barcelona even after spending two weeks or more here, so it should be easy to find something else to fill your Barcelona 4 day itinerary.
Santa Caterina Market
Start your last day in Barcelona at the city’s very best covered market. Overshadowed by the tourist magnet of La Boquería, Santa Caterina Market near Barcelona’s Cathedral is a market locals actually use. It’s a great place to explore, people-watch, and learn about Spanish cuisine.
Here you’ll find tons of fresh foods and prepared foods alike. You’ll see plenty of meats and fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, prepared foods, cheeses, olives, and more.
If you stumble across the stall selling croquettes, you have to try – they’re some of the best I’ve ever had!
Around the outside edges of the market, you’ll find cafes and bars, many with indoor and outdoor seating options. Grab a coffee here and explore the market, or sit and have a leisurely breakfast.
El Born Neighborhood
After checking out Santa Caterina Market, continue on exploring the surrounding neighborhood of El Born. The El Born neighborhood is like the cooler cousin of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter – just as historic and beautiful, but with far fewer tourist traps and much smaller crowds.
Here you’ll find cool galleries, design stores, cafes, historic and trendy restaurants, and much more. Just exploring these historic, winding streets is a treat – make sure you take your time to wander and get lost a bit.
Make sure you check out landmarks like the impressive Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar and the tree-lined Passeig del Born.
Plus, check out the Plaza de Ramon Berenguer el Gran, where you can see sections of Barcelona’s ancient Roman wall.
Other favorite spots include these:
- La Colmena Bakery – try delicious treats like the Spanish favorite ensaimadas or crema catalana.
- La Fábrica – delicious Argentine empanadas in more flavors than you can imagine (a great cheap eats spot in this neighborhood!).
- Cremat 11 – one of Barcelona’s best brunch spots!
The Picasso Museum
Another El Born landmark is the Picasso Museum, home to the world’s largest collection Picasso’s art. If you’re going to check out one museum in Barcelona, let this be the one!
As one of Barcelona’s most popular museums, you may have to wait in line to get a ticket – I recommend you book your Picasso Museum ticket ahead of time online to avoid the wait!
I’m a big art history buff, so I loved this place just for the art alone. However, just exploring the building itself is a treat worth the visit.
The museum is housed within five adjoining medieval palaces in El Born, all with beautiful architecture, winding staircases, and charming courtyards.
Make sure to take your time exploring the museum’s many rooms and courtyards, including the impressive permanent collections and the rotating temporary exhibits. Plus, they have a lovely gift shop on the bottom floor with great souvenirs to bring home from Barcelona.
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You can’t come to Barcelona without trying paella… but don’t try it just anywhere! There are plenty of restaurants selling paella in Barcelona, and many use the dish’s fame to sell an inferior paella to tourists.
The best paella restaurants are, unsurprisingly, near Barcelona’s port, in the neighborhood of Barceloneta. Among beachy cafes and the Barcelona beach hotels you’ve been dreaming of, you’ll find the restaurants that have been serving this rice and ultra-fresh seafood masterpiece for generations.
We ate outside facing the port at La Mar Salada and had an unforgettable meal! Enjoy a leisurely late lunch here, as the locals do, taking time to savor this typically Spanish dish.
After your paella lunch, take time to explore the Barceloneta neighborhood near the Barcelona cruise port and harbor. You’ll notice as soon as you step foot in Barceloneta there is a completely different vibe, as if you’ve been transported from a metropolitan city to a Mediterranean beach town.
Here you’ll see laundry hanging out of windows to dry, bicycles resting next to open doors leading into locals’ apartments, and surf shops lining up paddleboards and kayaks on the sidewalk.
Check out Manihi Surf School for equipment rentals and water sports lessons (surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, etc!) if you’d like to give it a shot – it’s a very popular activity!
If you’re visiting in the summer, you may want to bring a towel and plop down on the sand along the long, arching stretch of beach that starts here. The beach is popular any time of the week when the weather is nice!
Even on the chillier days of fall and winter, it’s lovely to walk along the shore and take in the beautiful Mediterranean.
Barcelona’s Best Tapas
There is no better way to end a trip to Barcelona than enjoying the very best tapas the city has to offer. The El Born neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best tapas spots, so you’re in the right place.
If you haven’t yet, this is the time for the Tapas and Wine Small Group Walking Tour – this activity is a must for visitors to Barcelona!
You’ll be lead directly to the best spots by a local, and your tour ticket includes a feast of tapas and drinks – you get more than your money’s worth!
It’s easy to visit some of the neighborhood’s best spots – they’re within just a few blocks of each other. Start at Pasa Tapas between Barceloneta and El Born – this excellent spot has a huge range of different tapas to choose from, including classic Barcelona staples and creative plates you won’t find elsewhere.
The best dishes are paella (though not a tapa, this is a great place for it!) and grilled meats. Pasa Tapas also serves excellent and affordable prix-fixe menus for lunch, a great choice if you’re in the neighborhood.
Check out some of the neighborhood’s best spots like La Plata – this simple tapas joint only has six choices on the menu, and does some of Barcelona’s most traditional tapas perfectly.
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.