Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world. It is full of magnificent art and architecture, lovely beaches and a vibrant Catalan culture. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the city a few different times and each time I am there, I always find something I haven’t experienced before. Wondering what to do in Barcelona for 3 days?
Whether you are in Barcelona for one day or visiting Barcelona for 3 days, there are certain things you will want to experience, like Sagrada Familia and the whimsical world of Anton Gaudi. Beyond that, three days in Barcelona will give you even more time to explore things just beyond its border like Montserrat.
Before Visiting Barcelona for 3 days, Get These Items
One thing you will want to get before your trip to Barcelona is purchase the Barcelona Pass. This pass will get you skip the line entry (and tours) for many of the must see attractions plus transportation on the Hop on Hop off bus.
Pricing is based on how many days you would like to use the pass. Since you are in Barcelona for 3 days, you will want to purchase the three day pass. It is €45 for a 3-day pass and is good for 72 hours consecutive hours.
There are other discount cards out there (Barcelona Card, Barcelona Museum Pass), but for 3 days in Barcelona, I believe the Barcelona Pass to be the better deal.
Pocket Guide to Barcelona (with map)
Another thing you should consider is for a 3 day trip to Barcelona is a pocket guide. Our favorite is Rick Steves. This pocket guide is small enough to take with you and has great walking tours with maps!
If you are travelling to Barcelona with children, you will find Barcelona very family-friendly. We purchased a Mission Barcelona travel guide for our kids prior to our trip to Barcelona. This book gave them “missions” to accomplish during our vacation. They enjoyed learning about Barcelona and exploring through the book.
What to do in Barcelona for 3 days
Take a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
One thing that we love to do when we first get to a big city is take a bus tour. Barcelona is spread out and a bus tour makes navigating an unfamiliar city easy.
The Hop on Hop off Bus tours of Barcelona will take you to all the most important landmarks in the city. There are three different bus lines, each taking you to different parts of Barcelona, including stops along the Mediterranean sea.
If you took my advice and purchased the Barcelona Pass, you will get to use the Hop on Hop off Bus as part of your pass. If you are going to Barcelona without the Barcelona Pass (and I don’t know why you would ever do that) you can purchase a ticket for the Hop on Hop off bus.
This is the most important landmark in Barcelona. Sagrada Familia was designed by Antoni Gaudí and this Gothic basilica is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of the world.
It has been a work in progress since 1882 and is still not complete (although completion is set to be done by 2026).The Sagrada Familia is unlike anything you have probably ever seen and thus is my top pick of what to see in Barcelona.
While the exterior of the Sagrada Familia is an amazing artistic design, the interior is what will really astound you.
When you learn more about Anton Gaudi you will see how his love for nature and whimsical design is ever-present in this cathedral. The columns appear like trees reaching to the ceiling and the stained glass bring enough of light to overwhelm the entire space inside.
The focal point of Sagrada Familia 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.
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 Sagrada Familia gift shop as it is ridiculously priced on Amazon.
Admission for Sagrada Familia (Book Guided Tour NOW)
Sagrada Familia is on the Barcelona Pass which allows you to skip line & get free entrance, otherwise:
- Adults: €15
- Seniors: €11
- Students & adults under 30: €13
- Disabled & Children 10 and under are FREE
Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso)
Pablo Picasso is one of the most well-known of the Spanish artists and Barcelona was once his home. If you love art, the Museu Picasso houses the most extensive collections of Picasso’s art~ 4,251 pieces!
The museum does a wonderful job of showcasing his work from different periods of his life so that you get to see the progression of his art.
Audio guides are available for additional €5 but we found that they are not necessary. There are plaques throughout the museum that give a fantastic description of each piece.
Admission for Museu Picasso (BOOK NOW)
Museu Picasso is on the Barcelona Pass
- Standard Admission: €12
- 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
This Art Nouveau mansion designed by Gaudi is one of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona and is just off La Rambla. Palau Güell was designed for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell in the late 1880’s and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site nearly 100 years later due to its use of space and natural light.
It is the only building Gaudí fully designed & completed and is the best preserved in Barcelona.
This is one tour where you will want the audio guide so you can understand what you are seeing.
Palau Güell Tickets are Free with Barcelona Pass otherwise:
Adults: 12€ or you can do a guided walking tour of Palau Güell along with the Gothic Quarter for $35. BOOK NOW
When you are spending 3 days in Barcelona, you have to go to La Rambla at least once. 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 Gelato!
Spend time enjoying the market-style shops, open-air dining, street performers, and live music.
Visit Roman Ruins at the Museum of History
Explore this extensive collection of Roman ruins that lies beneath Barcelona. The Museu d ‘Història give the history of the city of Barcelona since Roman times. Here you will find the largest Roman excavation outside Rome.
7.00€ (BOOK NOW)
The Temple of Augustus in Barcelona was once a Roman temple.The only trace left of the temple are four columns They are more than 2,000 years old! It is FREE to see.
Situated in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona , the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Barcelona Cathedral) is a gorgeous Gothic church located in front of Plaça de la Seu.
While not as grand as the Sagrada Familia, this cathedral is decorated with gargoyles, statues, pinnacles, and arches with tall bell towers.The interior has a knave flanked with 28 chapels and beautiful stained-glass windows.
Casa Mila is the last private residence designed by Gaudí and another UNESCO World Heritage site. Also known as La Pedrera or “The stone quarry,” you will discover more about how Gaudi’s architectural design was inspired by nature during this self guided tour.
Seniors & Students €16,50
Children 7-12 €11
Another must see attraction in Barcelona is Park Güell. This picturesque public park designed by Gaudí is filled with whimsical details.
You will find some parts very natural stone while others are full of beautiful colored mosaic tiles.
It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the city while being able to get a bird’s eye view of Barcelona.
Looking for more Gaudi? We have a great list of Gaudi landmarks in Barcelona you will want to see.
Admission to Park Güell (BOOK NOW)
- General 7.50€
- Children 7-12 5.25€
- Over 65 5.25€
- Children 0-6 FREE
- Disabled FREE
Day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat
Since you have three days in Barcelona, you really should take a trip out to Montserrat, a sacred mountain just an hour’s drive from the city.
Take a guided tour and learn about the history of Montserrat’s Benedictine Monastary that sits atop the mountain.
Here, you will get to see the famous Black Madonna statue in person, view paintings in the on-site museum, and shop for souvenirs at vendor stalls.
Full Day Guided Tour of Montserrat (BOOK NOW)
If you take the Green line of the Hop on Hop off Bus, you will find that it will take you straight to the beaches of Barcelona.
The most popular (and crowded) is Bogatelll. You can spend time getting sun, playing a match of beach volleyball or strolling along the promenade.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The magic fountain is something you should best experience at night once the sun has set (usually between 8pm-9:30pm). It is a beautiful water show filled with movement, color and set to music.
Barcelona is an amazing place to visit and while spending 3 days in Barcelona doesn’t allow you to do everything you would be able to do in a week’s time, it does allow you to see a lot!
We hope that you are able to fit in all of the things on our list of what to do in Barcelona for 3 days!
For those of you that have been to Barcelona, do you have any tips to share on things others should be sure to see while in Barcelona?