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Barcelona seems to be a hub for a great deal of people either travelling to Europe by plane or those traveling on a Mediterranean Cruise. While there, you will be able to see some of the most beautiful art and architecture in the world. Not going to be in Barcelona very long? Don’t worry. We have compiled a list of sites to see when you only have one day in Barcelona
Before you go to Barcelona
First and foremost, I would highly recommend you purchase the Barcelona Pass. This pass will get you skip the line entry (and tours) for many of the must see attractions. Pricing is based on how many days you would like to use the pass. The smallest is the 3 day, but even if you have only one day in Barcelona, it still will save you a ton of money (as long as you are planning on trying to hit several attractions).
- €45 for a 3-day (72 hours)
- €60 for a 5-day card (120 hours)
Secondly, we always recommend that you have a pocket guide for big cities, especially when you will be travelling around on foot! Our go to books are usually by Rick Steves. This pocket guide is small enough to take with you and has great walking tours with maps!
If you are planning to take the kids to Barcelona, you will find that it is very family-friendly. Our kids enjoyed the Mission Barcelona travel guide that gave them “missions” to accomplish while we were out and about town. It kept them entertained and made site-seeing fun! I highly recommend the entire series of these travel books for children!
Top Sites to See When You Have Only One Day in Barcelona
Designed by Antoni Gaudí, this Gothic basilica is in the shape of a Latin cross and has been a work in progress since 1882 and is still not complete. This cathedral is unlike anything you have probably ever seen and thus is my top pick of what to prioritize when you are limited for time in Barcelona.
The interior is awe-inspiring. Built to look like you are standing below a forest of trees, the vaulted ceiling and pillars are magnificent, but even more stunning is the stained glass that casts colors throughout the basilica.
The focal point is the High Altar. The canopy of trees appears to converge into an opening at the top of the church through which it can be imagined that Jesus is ascending to heaven.
As if the interior isn’t enough in terms of symbolism and artistry, the exterior of the Sagrada Familia is equally as breath-taking. Carved into the facade is the story of Jesus from birth to crucifixion.
You will also find important figures in Christianity, such as the apostles, Virgin Mary and angels.
While there is an audio tour that you can use, I found that the Sagrada Familia Visual Guide book to be an amazing tool to help with understanding the different aspects of this symbolic basilica. Look for it in the gift shop as it is ridiculously priced on Amazon.
Admission for Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia is on the Barcelona Card which allows you to skip line & free entrance, otherwise:
- Adults: €15
- Seniors: €11
- Students & adults under 30: €13
- Disabled & Children 10 and under are FREE
This museum houses one of the most extensive collections of Picasso’s art~ 4,251 to be exact. You probably best know Picasso’s cubist work, but in this museum, you will get to see the progression of his art from his youth through his cubist period and beyond.
Admission for Museu Picasso
Museu Picasso is on the Barcelona card
- Standard Admission: €15
- People between 18 and 25 years old & People 65 years old and over are €7
- Thursday afternoons from 6.00pm to 9.30pm and First Sunday of each month, from 9am to 7pm are FREE
A picturesque public park designed by Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona’s Park Güell will allow you time to view the whimsical garden, architecture and give you an amazing view of the city. While you can take the metro & bus to get there, you will still have to walk about 10-15 minutes up hill after the stop. While the walk is intense, the artistic beauty of Park Güell is well worth it!
Looking for more Gaudi? We have a great list of Gaudi landmarks in Barcelona you will want to see.
Admission to Park Güell
Park Güell is on the Barcelona card.
- General 7.50€
- Children 7-12 5.25€
- Over 65 5.25€
- Children 0-6 FREE
- Disabled FREE
When you only have one day in Barcelona, you MUST spend at least an hour at La Rambla. It is a great spot to go for dinner and since it is so pedestrian-friendly~ you can walk off your dinner to fit in some dessert! The center of La Rambla has market-style shops, open-air dining, street performers, and live music. There is plenty to keep your attention as you enjoy taking in the culture.
Where to Eat on La Rambla
Our pick for dining on La Rambla is UltraMarinos (Here’s has a discount). Food is good and beer is cold! The dish you must have while in Spain is Paella. Comes in many forms (chicken, sausage, seafood) and is spectacular. Be clear though if you order a burger (like our kids did) as they will bring it to you nearly raw (this is standard for much of Europe) unless you ask for it well done.
Barcelona is an amazing city in Spain. It has a beautiful Catalonia culture and the whimsical architecture makes it a top destination for people traveling to Europe. While there are many places you can visit during your one day in Barcelona, we hope that you will take the time to explore some of the ones we’ve mentioned here.
Have you visited Barcelona? What is one of your favorite things to see?