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How to Spend 48 Hours in Barcelona

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15-Dec-2023 Karl Page

How to Spend 48 Hours in Barcelona

Barcelona is a magical city that deserves to be explored and appreciated. This guide will offer you an insight into how you can make the most of your trip if you're only visiting for 48 hours.

Although Barcelona isn't the capital of Spain, it is one of the most visited cities in the country and in Europe with its gothic architecture and meandering streets that lead to historic buildings and delicious restaurants and cafes. For those looking to enjoy luxury travel and a holiday in Europe, travelling to Barcelona is a wonderful choice that offers something for every traveller of all ages.

Whether you've got a week or just 48 hours to explore this magnificent city, there is plenty to impress you as you wander. Keep reading to find out what you should do in the city in just 48 hours, including some of the very best views in Europe...

How to spend your first day in Barcelona

Arrive in Barcelona

Whether you have crossed the channel on the Euro Star and driven to the city or you have flown into Barcelona International Airport, travelling to Barcelona and getting into the city centre is relatively hassle-free, and the airport is only about 13km away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Pick-up points are easily accessible outside the airport for those who have pre-arranged a transfer, but taxis are also waiting outside the arrivals for those who may need them.

Check into the Mandarin Oriental

When visiting Barcelona, we recommend a stay at Mandarin Oriental, one of the best hotels on offer. Located in the centre of the city, this marvellous five-star hotel overlooks the prestigious Passeig de Gracia and offers outstanding facilities. Those staying in one of the magnificent rooms can expect to enjoy luxuries, including the rooftop pool, two Michelin-starred restaurants, a spa, and fitness centres. After arriving and taking a moment to rest, it is time to head out to explore the wonderful city that lies before you.
Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona
Terrat Restaurant at dusk

Marvel at the magnificent Catedral de Barcelona

An imposing and architecturally marvellous building, Catedral de Barcelona is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona and The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. Built between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, the inside is just as breathtaking as the architecture outside and is a must if you're visiting the city. The high altar, crypt, cloister, and tombs can all be seen when visiting, and the quiet and peaceful cathedral is the perfect place to reflect and enjoy the wonders of the ancient world.

Wander the streets of the Gothic quarter

Not only is the Gothic Quarter one of the prettiest and most popular areas of Barcelona, but it is also known for being the location of the Roman village. Wandering around this area of the city is like stepping back in time, and the ancient buildings can easily be spotted spread between modernised areas and buildings. The juxtaposition of old and new brings visitors of all types, and the winding labyrinth of streets are dotted with restaurants and bars as well as nightclubs and popular eateries. This area comes alive as the sun starts to set and the historic buildings start to glisten under the glow of the streetlights; it is the perfect area for an evening in the city.
The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona

Enjoy dinner at the La Plata Tapas Bar

After an afternoon exploring the streets of the Gothic Quarter, why not stay for dinner? As mentioned, the area is teaming with world-class bars and restaurants, none more so than La Plata Tapas Bar. Founded in a seventeenth-century building, the restaurant offers authentic and classic Spanish dishes, including delicious tapas and seafood dishes. The eatery hasn't changed much since it was first opened in 1945, so it's full of charm and character. This small but delicious restaurant is one not to be missed when in the area and will end a day of exploring on a real high.

How to spend your second day in Barcelona

Visit the Sagrada Família

After a magical first day in Barcelona, there is still so much to explore, and there is one popular attraction that just must be marvelled in person, and that's the stunning Sagrada Família. One of the most iconic and photographed attractions in the city, the Sagrada Família is a Roman Catholic minor basilica. Construction began in 1882 and is still unfinished to this day. Known for its fluid and tactical form, the basilica has bold twisting buttresses and towers that loom over the cityscape. Much of the original design by Antonio Gaudi was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War, but those visiting today will be able to witness the various designers' works and the different genres of construction as they explore the vast building.

Keri and Emma from the blog Ladies What Travel commented on their first impressions of the Sagrada Família on their blog; they loved the architecture and featured this on their blog:

"Whether your time in Barcelona revolves around a layover, weekend away or a longer break, the one thing you cannot miss during your time in the Catalan capital is a visit to the Sagrada Familia. I fell in love with Gaudi's style over a decade ago on my first trip to Barcelona, so it was with great joy that I returned to the Sagrada Familia to see how much it had changed since I first saw it and well. wow!"

View of Barcelona city

Mirador Torre Glòries

A short walk from the Sagrada Família is the Mirador Torre Glòries, one of the best lookouts in the city and one of the best ways to end a trip. The lookout building rises high above the city and offers a whole new perspective on the area, as well as being home to amazing and immersive art installations. From 125 meters high, you can experience 360-degree views as you point out popular buildings and gaze out towards the bright blue ocean beyond.

Enjoy the walk to the beaches

Although not known for its beaches and shores, Barcelona is a seaside city and is home to several wonderful beaches. Meander down from the Mirador Torre Glòries to the seafront and dip a toe in the crystal-clear waters, read a book on the warm sand or enjoy lunch or an afternoon drink looking out to the sunset.
View of the beach and sea in Barcelona

Enjoy dinner at La Mar Salada

Set just back from the seafront, La Mar Salada is a great dinner spot for those who have been relaxing on the beach or shopping on the promenade. With personality and flair, the restaurant serves freshly caught seafood, and the dishes are nothing short of breathtaking to look at and taste. The kitchen is run by chef Marc Singla, and the restaurant has accumulated a vast repertoire of seasonal dishes that are always cooked to perfection. If you're looking for a high-end restaurant with the wow factor, then this is a great choice.

If you're looking to visit the cultural city of Barcelona on a luxury holiday in Europe and don't know where to start with your Barcelona travel plan, then hopefully, this guide has given you some inspiration on places to visit, things to see and spots to eat.
For more inspirational travel articles like this, make sure you explore Elegant Traveller
Karl Page

Karl Page

Digital Experience Manager

With a genuine love for all things travel, I love exploring new destinations and discovering something new, gaining a wealth of experience in luxury holidays along the way.

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