This amazing city attracts millions of visitors per year and with good reason.
There is something to discover for everyone no matter what time of year you choose to visit. It also helps that the mild Mediterranean weather is an invitation for adults and teens alike.
So let’s take a closer look at our Barcelona 4-day itinerary packed with things to do and start walking !
- SAGRADA FAMILIA
- HOPITAL SANT PAU
- PARC GUELL
- G EXPERIENCE
- GRACIA NEIGHBORHOOD
The Sagrada Familia is one of Gaudi’s most impressive example of Modernista architecture, combining gothic and art nouveau elements.
Gaudi was appointed chief architect of this project and worked relentlessly throughout the years to make it come to life. However, he died in 1926 long before its completion.
The outside has been under renovation for a few years now with an end date of 2026, but that doesn’t stop 2.8 million visitors from lining up to admire this massive piece of genius.
Gaudi was a profound Catholic, and the Sagrada Familia was destined to become an ode to God.
On the exterior facades, you can see intricate details and interpret the symbolism. It tells the story of Jesus and represents several passages of the Bible.
An audio guide is recommended.
The interior of the Sagrada Familia is just breathtaking with its stained glass windows, high arches and a pure rounded feel in every corner.
Visit in the afternoon to catch a glimpse of the sun rays beaming through and just stand for a few moments without moving to take it all in.
Even teenagers are moved when first entering the basilica.
The Passion and Nativity towers are an interesting visit and offer a spectacular view. However, it does raise the ticket price quite a bit and it really depends on how in-depth you’d like to explore. We skipped it although once inside, we wish we hadn’t.
In 2005, the Nativity facade and the crypt of the Sagrada Familia made the list as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Buy tickets online in advance or you may end up waiting forever in long lines. Arrive well before your time slot with your printed ticket and allow about 90 minutes to visit. Audio guide available.
HOPITAL SANT PAU
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista conceived by Lluís Domènech I Montaner is a bit of a walk from the Sagrada Familia. Don’t be in a hurry, the stroll is worth it. Otherwise just Uber.
Visitors can see beautiful examples of Art Nouveau throughout several buildings of what used to be a hospital.
Meander through the series of underground tunnels which were meant to facilitate moving from one building to another. Also, take a walk through the beautiful garden in order to understand the initial concept. Quite unique.
In 1997, it was listed as a UNESCO heritage site
From here you can take a taxi/uber to Parc Güell as public transportation can take about 1 hour.
Another one of Gaudi’s fun creation! From the main entrance, you walk through 2 Hansel and Gretel style gingerbread houses and right away you get a feel for Gaudi’s imaginary world.
The small Monumental Zone needs a ticket entrance. You’ll see animal sculptures, and a bit further up long rows of impressive columns with mosaic details. It’s all on several levels of landscape architecture.
This zone is not very big, but it is the most popular and where most mosaics are concentrated. The 80% remainder of the parc is free to explore so take your time !
In addition, you can visit the Gaudi House Museum, where Gaudi once lived. (extra fee)
Again, buy your tickets online to avoid long waiting times. Arrive well in advance at the control point before the entrance.
Bring water, sunscreen (hot in summer) and snacks. There is an onsite cafe but it is a bit on the expensive side.
100 meter walk from the Parc Guell, you can learn more about Gaudi through the G Experience.
Read up on his life, the projects he conceived and how certain masterpieces were built. Take a picture with Gaudi himself and learn through interactive stations.
Highlight: The 4D experience with moving seats and surround sound in the small movie theatre. Buy tickets onsite.
After your visit, walk downhill towards the Gracia neighborhood.
Gracia located a bit north of the center of Barcelona used to be a small independent town. Today, Gracia’s residents are a mixture of traditional old-timers and lively newcomers, they all live side by side in contrasts and harmony.
It does not have many tourist spots to visit. Life here is easy going and relaxed although some places do have a high concentration of everyday activities.
Gracia has several pedestrian-only squares throughout its neighborhood where you can stop, rest and have some good food or drink.
An example is Placa del Sol, a large, lovely square which has become a friendly meeting place lined with bars, restaurants and outside terraces that gets very lively at night.
It’s also a perfect place to people watch.
In August, be sure to attend Festa Major de Gracia, a week-long festival that fills the streets with music and all types of extravagant decorations.
In addition, stop and enjoy the many food stalls and fun parades!
Gaudi strikes again in this neighborhood with the UNESCO Heritage Site Casa Vincens, Gaudi’s first architectural work built in 1183-1885.
If you like markets, then wander through Mercat del Abaceria Central (Travessera de Gracia, 186) a very local colorful market filled with fresh produce that you can take cook if staying in an apartment.
Carrer de les Carolines, 20
- PASSEIG DE GRACIA
- LA PEDRERA
- CASA BATLO
- ARC DE TRIOMF
- PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA
PASSEIG DE GRACIA
At the start of the 20th century, Passeig de Gracià was the longest and chicest avenue where rich and noble families had their homes.
Today Passeig de Gracià divides the Eixample neighborhood which is laid out in a grid form, so it’s quite simple to get around. It’s also a very hip area.
Passeig de Gracià is lined with restaurants, high-end shops and preserves absolute incredible architectural gems like Casa Batlló and Casa Mila (also known as La Pedrera).
LA PEDRERA (Casa Milà)
Gaudi again! It took 5 years to build La Pedrera, between 1905 & 1910 and was destined for the wealthy Mila family. Wander through the rooms and get a glimpse of what it was like a century ago.
The roof is particularly interesting with its selection of Modernist sculptures and chimneys plus you can see the Sagrada Familia in the distance.
Passeig de Gràcia ,92
This amazing architectural work of art renovated in the early 1900’s by none other than Gaudi himself.
An absolute barcelona with kids “must-see” day or night. The interior is a magical mix of ocean blues and greens tiled walls, curved balconies and magnificent details throughout all floors.
It all curves and swirls and twists.
Explore the Exterior, the Noble floor, the Loft and the Roof Terrace. On the roof terrace, you can make out dragon sculptures that illustrate the legend of Sant Jordi (a very important story about a very hungry dragon 🙂
Each floor exposes the visitor to Gaudi’s genius and to the optimization of natural light in each room.
Tickets are available on site, but again selecting your tickets online and in advance is always the best option as it can get extremely busy with long lines. Visit at your own pace and use an audio guide (highly recommended) for the 60-90 minutes tour.
Passeig de Graca, 43
ARC DE TRIOMF
Walk past the end of Passeig de Graca, the avenue is lined with palm trees and is very enjoyable.
Once you reach the Arc de Triomf you’ll recognize the beautiful brick archway built for the 1888 World Fair as the main gate. You cannot go inside the arch itself, but the area is very nice to stroll, relax and take a break.
It is also the entrance to the Parc de la Ciutadella.
PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA
On the edge of the Ciutat Vella (old town), this 70-acre park is very beautiful. Perfect to walk around, have some fun or take a rest.
The Barcelona Zoo, the Castle of the three Dragons, the Parliament as well as the Museum of Modern Art are within the park’s limits.
As you walk around this park in Barcelona with the family, you’ll take many photos next to life-size sculptures, like the giant mammoth. In the center of the park, artists, musicians, and people blowing extra large bubbles provide some fun for adults and kids alike!
- PALAU DE LA MUSICA CATALANA
- GOTHIC QUARTER
- BARCELONA CATHEDRAL
- PLACA SANT FELIP NERI
- SINAGOGA MAYOR
- PLACA DEL PI
- FLAMENCO SHOW
PALAU DE LA MUSICA CATALANA
Ohhhh myyyy what a beautiful moment! Paula de Musica should without a doubt be high on your list of places to visit in Barcelona with kids. They may hesitate at first, but once inside have them look up.
It is just amazing.
Admire the work of Lluis Domenech I Montaner who was with Gaudi one of the main architects of the Catalan Modernista period.
Visit the main concert hall with a guide, it takes about 1 hour. You must select your time in advance and a guide will be appointed.
Once inside take your time and understand the details. There are beautiful portraits of muses, sculptures representing winged horses and when you look up you can admire an enormous inverted dome made of stained glass.
There are just so many details!
Many famous artists have performed in this amazing concert hall, including Maurice Ravel, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald among many others.
In 1997 Palau de Musica was listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
Check the concert schedule for the month you are visiting and choose one of the many concerts offered in the magical place!
Palau de la Música, 4-6
BARCELONA’S GOTHIC QUARTER
The Gothic quarter, named Barri Gotic, is considered to be the center of Barcelona’s old town.
The blend of old Roman remnants and modern practices bring people to the Gothic Quarter. There are a great number of guided tours, walking tours, food tours and any kind of tour you can think of aimed at exploring this medieval neighborhood.
Walking is again the way to go!
Immerse yourself in the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets even if you get lost, that’s half the fun, and eventually, you’ll end up in one of the many large squares leading somewhere else.
We allowed an afternoon to just wander and stop wherever we wanted.
The impressive Cathedral of the Holy Cross stands massively in the Pia de la Seu, a large square where visitors gather to admire the cathedral or walk through to other destinations.
It is centrally located and borders the Gothic Quarter. Free if you visit early mornings.
Built from the 13th to 15th century, but the facade we see today was added in the 19th century and is dedicated to Saint Eulalie, the patron saint of Barcelona. She is buried in the cathedral under the high altar.
Do not miss the beautifully secluded cloister. There are palm trees and flowers in the garden, a pond and a fountain dating from the 15th century.
You may also see geese roaming around as they are a symbolic part of Saint Eulalie’s legend.
For an extra fee, you can take the elevator to the rooftop and treat everyone to a 360-degree view of Barcelona.
Also check out the bell towers and the strange looking gargoyles up close.
Pla Seu, 3
PLAÇA SANT FELIP NERI
A small square where you’ll find the Sant Felip Neri baroque church and a small shoe museum, Museu del Calcat.
This quiet square hides a heavy history of executions and bombardments from the Spanish civil war. Proof of these violent times can be seen on the walls, but in spite of this eerie feeling, people do come here to sit and catch up by the small fountain and kids play happily in the afternoons.
The inside of this synagogue is very small and not spectacular. But the fact that it is believed to be the oldest synagogue in Europe, perhaps dating back to the 3rd century is a wow factor.
In 1995 the Call Association of Barcelona took over and restored the synagogue.
If you are interested in Jewish history then be sure to visit as it is open to the public for a small fee.
El Call which means alleyways or small narrow paths was the Jewish neighborhood within the walls of Barri Gotic.
Wander around the cobblestone maze and you’ll understand that it is aptly named!
Carrer de Marlet, 5
PLAÇA DEL PI
There are several shops and decorated facades in this area but the first reason people come through here is the beautiful Basilica Santa Maria del Pi.
A very impressive 14th-century gothic church with a richly decorated entrance and stunning windows.
Go up to the top of the bell tower and admire the view! If you are there when they have guitar concert nights, don’t miss it. It’s worth the experience.
And the second reason we came here was to have a delicious hot chocolate with churros in an outdoor cafe 🙂
Or was it the other way around?
By now your feet hurt a bit (or maybe a lot) but your feeling happy because you’ve seen many different things. Right?
So let’s slow down, call it a day.. have a delicious dinner or some tapas, people watch, talk about what each person liked or disliked, exchange impressions and take a well-deserved break together before an amazing almost emotional flamenco show.
A must while in Barcelona.
Just a short walk from Placa del Pi spend a perfect evening at a Flamenco show within the 16th-century walls of Palau Dalmases.
For an hour or so in the Espai Barroc let yourself go to the rhythms of canta (sing), baile (dance), cajón(wooden drum) and guitar.
It all blends together and will transport you into another universe!
Palau Dalmases is on Carrer Montcada. In the old days, many palaces and high-class homes on this street are where the richest and influential families lived, including the Montcada family.
The Picasso Museum is just next door and very interesting as each exhibit guides you through his work. It is a must see with kids in Barcelona, but truth be told my girls at this point we’re done with culture 🙂 We should have done it earlier.
Shows are daily and although a bit expensive it is a unique experience. A drink is included in the ticket price.
Now it’s showtime!
Carrer de Montcada, 20
- LA RAMBLA
- BOQUERIA MARKET
- PLA DE L’OS
- PLACA REIAL
Tourist traps should be Las Ramblas real name. Beware of overpriced restaurants and coffee shops.
Just take any small side street and you’re in a completely different atmosphere with reasonable prices.
But in spite of all the cons, it’s still a must in Barcelona. During the day it is always busy with tourists and some locals plus artists of all sorts – some interesting, others not so much.
It is a very long boulevard that starts at Placa Catalunya, ends at the Port and runs through the Old City (Ciutat Vella). Just follow and make a few stops in between.
Note: Access to different parts of the city is easy from Placa Catalunya as it is central.
LA BOQUERIA: BARCELONA’S FRESH MARKET
Locals claim this was a meat market back in the old days. Today it has become an incredible profusion of delicious foods for lunch or just to snack. Eat your way through the small alleys and try local food.
You can taste everything from local Serrano ham or croquettes to fresh fruit smoothies and other delicious foodie surprises. Kids will probably stop at every other intrigued by barcelona’s treats.
My teens spend way more time here than a quick lunch, but then again everything looked sooo good !
La Rambla, 91
PLA DE L’OS
You’re halfway on La Rambla. Look down!
No not at your feet but at the large round circle filled with colorful yellows, blues and red mosaic tiles created in 1977 by the artist Joan Miro.
This artist born in Barcelona created many sculptures and murals in public places for the joy of all who appreciate his work.
Unfortunately, in view of the August terrorist attacks, this place has become a sad symbol. Today people gather here to find some comfort and honor the memory of those gone.
This square is symmetrically beautiful. Built in the mid-1800’s it has an elegant feel to it. A fountain sits in the middle and if you look up you can see Gaudi’s work in the lamposts. A great place to just sit and relax during the day.
At night Placa Reial gets very crowded with the various bars, restaurants and music scene.
In the 18th century, Barcelonetta was a simple fishing village.
This area shows signs of modern times and is very popular with beachgoers for obvious reasons. You can still get an old-time feel while walking the narrow backstreets of Barcelonetta in spite of the crowds. It’s really a nice place to just wander with kids and take a break near the sea.
While walking the boardwalk check out the many outdoor sculptures and life-size artworks!
Laze around the many beaches, dip your feet in the Meditteranean, do water sports, cycle to feel the wind in your hair. When you’re happy to stop, then go and enjoy one of the many seafood restaurants for fish or a good paella n the neighborhood.
STREET ART EVERYWHERE IN BARCELONA
Barcelona is a haven for street artists. Everywhere you go you can see proof of talented artists and creative people who have something to convey.
Check walls, iron curtains, buildings, and benches, look up, look all around it’s right there! This is part of our 4-day itinerary, but you could easily spend 4 days just for the street art!
When going to Barcelona with kids, especially teens, keep your eyes wide open at all times.
We wanted to take a street art walking tour but had a bit of a “missed” experience as we arrived a few minutes late and they didn’t wait for us! Our fault. But if you’re interested in street art it’s worth finding a tour in Barcelona.
TAPAS IN BARCELONA
Small portions of deliciousness from a bowl of olives to the most filling patatas bravas are meant to be shared.
This is the best excuse to spend time together talking and enjoying each other’s company. Which means every single person, teen or not teen will love it.
Usually, tapas are lined up behind a glass display or on the bar’s long countertop. In popular places you must make your way to the bar to place an order, so don’t be shy and push through nicely!
You will probably go back for seconds quite a few times, so remember to pay when finished and not while choosing.
If you don’t like the idea of pushing through a crowd or sitting at the bar, you can find restaurants that allow reservations.
My teens loved the atmosphere and couldn’t figure out how the waiters and waitresses could actually keep count of everything we tried.
Some typical tapas you’ll find in Barcelona :
- Patatas Bravas: Spanish version of french fries but much better, usually you dip them in an aioli (garlic) mayo sauce or spicy tomato sauce.
- Pan con Tomate: Delicious bread drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomato. Simple is often Best!
- Croquetas: Deep fried with various fillings to choose from, like chicken, ham, fish or spinach, all with a creamy sauce. La Bomba, a very popular croquette, is round, a bit smaller than a tennis ball, filled with ground beef and topped with the same sauces as patatas bravas. Delicious.
- Buñuelos de bacalao: Salt cod fritters are prepared differently according to where you go – but always very good if you like fish.
- Pintxos: These are our favorites! Pintxos bars are everywhere. Taste delicious slices of bread with various toppings displayed on small individual plates and beautifully aligned on countertops. You serve yourself.You’ll never get enough.
The list is endless as there are so many different possible combinations! But we can’t spend our long weekend just eating.
Or can we?
PICKPOCKETS. Be aware.
In Barcelona pay attention. Careful Careful Careful.
Can’t say it enough! Certain cities are known for expert pickpockets and Barcelona is one of them.
Double up on awareness when going to Barcelona with kids as they do have a tendency to be glued to their phones, even on the streets.
Some hotspots: La Rambla, the Gothic Quarter, and wherever a lot of tourists gather in awe without paying attention!
When your money and docs get stolen it’s extremely annoying, to say the least, and help doesn’t always come fast – your vacation could turn into a long series of scrambling for solutions.
However, don’t let fear or paranoia take over.
Just use basic common sense like no wallets in the back pocket.
- Keep your handbag and backpack close to you at all times with zipper facing towards you.
- Never leave your purse hanging from a chair in a restaurant.
- Take your bag with you even if you’re just going to the washroom.
- Don’t show lots of cash at once.
- Don’t walk while looking at your phone.
- Be aware of your surroundings when walking around at night.
Simple prevention can save you a lot of aggravation.
For more safety tips check out this post.
Ok now get your walking shoes on and enjoy 4 perfect days in Barcelona! 🙂