If you are planning a trip to Barcelona for a weekend, and want to get the most out of the cities culture and leisure offer, don’t miss our web editor’s advice in this article, carefully elaborated to tell you all the most interesting activities and places to visit in the thrilling town of Barcelona. Squeeze your days in Barcelona with this fine itinerary of the hippest shops and restaurants, and get the most of your stay.
Barcelona is probably the most international and best well known city of Spain, and this is no wonder, considering that it has been the headquarters of the Olympic Games in 1992 and many other international events throughout its history... Barcelona has always been a reference for the arts since the early XX century: Picasso, modernism, the musical revolution of the 60’s… all of these artistic expressions made of Barcelona their hometown, and today the city preserves this multicultural and bohemian spirit, and takes it into the future throughout its many contemporary art centers and museums, and its enforcement of the artistic community.
In case you go for the museums, you will find out that Barcelona is packed with them: MACBA, CCCB, Museu Picasso, Casa Gaudí, Joan Miró Foundation, Antoni Tàpies Foundation, CaixaForum, the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion and the many modernist buildings which also open their doors to the visitors, showcasing exhibitions that range from furniture and decoration to fine arts. Our recommendations are visiting the MACBA (Pl. dels Angels, 1), Barcelona’s contemporary art museum that focuses on the second half of the XX century, and bases its activity mainly on temporary exhibitions. Also the Museu Picasso (Carrer Montcada 15-23), located in a beautiful medieval complex of interconnected manor houses, is a good visit for the lovers of the art of the genius from Malaga. If you want to have a break and a nice lunch in the area, you can visit the famous Els Quatre Gats (Carrer Montsió, 3), formerly the headquarters of the Catalan bohemia, and the place where Picasso did his first painting exhibition. The menu is varied and affordable, and the quality of the food is excellent, with a very homey taste.
You can also take the time to wander around town a bit, and maybe visit Montjuic, a famous hill in the city that holds the Olympic complex, and a very peculiar construction, the Poble Espanyol, a recreation of a Spanish village with representative buildings of every part of the country. This “open-air museum” also organizes concerts and events at the village’s Plaza Mayor (Main Square), and the nights are very lively there when that kind of events takes place. You will surely find something going on during a weekend in Barcelona.
As for the sightseeing option, there are so many options that you won’t probably have the time to do all of them if you don’t want to rest for a week after your trip… And that probably isn’t your idea of a nice weekend out in Barcelona. Sometimes just sitting outside a bar having a drink and enjoying the time passing and the fresh air of the Mediterranean are enough of an activity, so don’t miss out on those tender moments that life sometimes brings.
In any case, a nice plan would be visiting the Parc Güell (Carrer d'Olot, 13), a modernist garden complex designed by Gaudí that encloses an enchanting atmosphere of art, nature and fantasy. On your way there, it would be recommended to stop at the Sagrada Familia (Carrer de Mallorca, 401), the unfinished work of Gaudí –the city’s most notable son-, an impressive modernist cathedral that’s still being completed after the master’s plans and designs.
Later in the evening you should go for a stroll down Las Ramblas, the most famous thoroughfare of the city, and get lost in the small side streets that will drive you through El Raval or El Gótic, depending on which side of the avenue you choose to explore. The Barrio Gótic, on the left-hand side of the Ramblas as you stroll down towards the sea, is an extraordinary complex of small narrow streets that run in a maze-like structure, and where each corner keeps a story and a secret of the old medieval city. In the area, you can take a small break at one of the outdoor bars in Plaça Reial, a beautiful gothic square with palm trees that can give the traveller solace in the warm summer nights.
There are also some bars that you can visit in the same square, like the pop-rock oriented Sidecar, a classic in the area. Very close to it is the Fantástico Bar (Passatge dels Escudellers, 3), a nice little cosy bar that is also somewhat of a cultural agitator in Barcelona. You can have a drink there and you will always catch an acoustic concert or a film projection on weekdays and a busy pub on Friday and Saturday nights.
In the case you want to stop for a quick bite in the area, the best “bocadillo” (Spanish sandwich) option is the Bar Fidel (Carrer de Ferlandina, 24), a traditional bar with a very standard decoration but that offers a huge variety of bocadillos and salads, and with unbeatable prices in the area. In the same street, music lovers can check out one of the best record stores in the city, Discos Paradiso (Carrer de Ferlandina, 39), and the nearby classic shop Discos Revolver (Carrer dels Tallers, 13). Both also offer small acoustic sets of local and international bands; you might as well come across your favourite singer when visiting one of them during your weekend in Barcelona!
Click the links for a day by day itinerary for your weekend in Barcelona: