Barcelona in 48 hours: an insider's guide

Our travel expert Johannes explored the hidden gems of Barcelona - enjoy this fantastic itinerary.
The following itinerary and activities were all done on foot and, to be honest, it was quite tiring, so if you feel like doing a similar route feel free to take the bus, the train or the metro to give your feet a little rest every now and then.

Day One

From the lovely neighbourhood of El Born, we started walking up to Montjuïc Mountain in the lively district of Sants-Montjuic. This wonderful area was constructed during the first world exposition in 1929 and is a must-see if it is your first time in Barcelona as the views from atop are nothing sort of spectacular. Furthermore, the many trees and gardens provide a lot of shadow so you can visit even when temperatures are very high.

Once in the park, look for the Teatre Grec (Passeig de Santa Madrona 36, 08038 Barcelona +34 933 16 10 00), a fabulous Greek amphitheatre whose story is just as mesmerising as its looks. Before it became a theatre, this place was used to cut out stones in order to build the king’s residence; which is just a few meters away from the park. When all the stones were cut out, the mayor and the planning team decided to use this wall as an amphitheatre and it still hosts a lot of great plays and music festivals.

From there, we walked to the nearby Joan Maragall Gardens. Located by the Palacete Albéniz, the official residence of the Spanish royal family in Barcelona, these grassy green environment was in fact, created for a king back in the 19th century and is full of sculptures and fountains. We were totally surprised by its beauty and the serenity it offered while being in the middle of such a busy city. It is no wonder why some people consider these gardens to be the most beautiful in Barcelona.

After a well-deserved break, we headed towards the old gondola that would bring us down to Barcelona’s Port and the beach. On our way we passed the Joan Miró Foundation (Parc de Montjuïc s/n, 08038 Barcelona, +34 934 439 470), a modern art museum honouring the late artist Joan Miró that everybody says is worth visiting. We also walked past the amazing Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc (Miramar 31, Barcelona, +34 934 430 046), the former Olympic swimming pool for the 1992 Olympic Games now open to the public.

If you are considering following our steps during your next visit in Barcelona, make sure you have your bathing suit with you and enjoy the unbelievably beautiful view from here – I have rarely seen something more beautiful. The pool is open every day from 11am to 6.30pm and tickets cost €5,63 for adults and €3,93 for children between 6 and 14 and seniors over 65.

If you feel like taking a luxurious break, I highly recommend the café at the wonderful five-star hotel Miramar (Plaça de Carlos Ibáñez 3, 08038 Barcelona, +34 932 811 600). Just next to the gondola and the Mirarmar you can find the small but gorgeous Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens, home to the biggest collection off cactuses in Europe. I am usually not a big fan of botanical parks but this one somehow caught my attention and I am not sure why, maybe it was just because of the sheer beauty of the entire place.

So from here we finally took the gondola down to the beach. Make sure that if you want to ride this amazing old-fashioned gondola you start at the hillside and not the beach because the queues from Barceloneta can be really long and this way you can avoid waiting in the sun and the heat.

And now check out where to eat the best tapas in Barceloneta!

Once you step out of the gondola you’ll be surprised to see how different the landscape is; after all, you now are in the hip area of the Barceloneta neighbourhood, part of the Ciutat Vella District. If you have more than 48 hours or would like to spend a long time at the beach, I recommend you to check out the amazing five-star hotel W Barcelona (Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents 1, 08039 Barcelona, +34 932 952 800) On your way to the holte, you will come across the amazing, and legendary, sports centre Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta (Plaça del Mar s/n 08003 Barcelona, +34 932 210 010) Located right on the beach, it has an indoor pool and an outdoor Olympic pool, as well as a gym and a spa. A day ticket costs €12,19 for adults and it opens from 7am to 11pm.

We took it really easy and walked down to the historic area of Barceloneta and visited the quaint Plaça de la Font, which means ‘square of the fountain’ in Catalan; you will notice that there are lots of fountains in the city. Here we stopped for a meal break at Els Fogons de la Barceloneta (Plaça de la Font s/n, 08003 Barcelona, +34 932 242 626). After savouring some great fish tapas and sardines a la brasa (grilles sardines), we moved on to the beach to take a refreshing swim in the amazingly pretty clear water of the Mediterranean Sea.

Fully refreshed, we walked back towards the city centre and the popular La Rambla de Catalunya. On your way back you will pass by the impressive National Art Museum of Catalunya (Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc s/n, 08038 Barcelona, +34 936 220 360) If you are visiting over a weekend you will be pleased to know you can access for free on Saturdays from 3pm onwards and the first Sunday of each month. Opening times are from 10am to 6pm during winter and 10am to 8pm during summer; on Sundays the museum is only open from 10am to 3pm. Whether you like art or not, make sure you go up the stairs to the rooftop terrace to enjoy a scenic drink with one of the most beautiful and less touristic views of Barcelona as background.

Start now discovering the unique places we visited on Day Two!

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