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What to see in Barcelona in a day: the best places to visit

What to see in Barcelona in a day: the best places to visit

Are you going to visit Barcelona but only have one day to enjoy it? We suggest a daily tour so that you can make the most of your time and get to know the buildings, streets and monuments that must be seen in Barcelona to get to know the soul of the city.

What to see in Barcelona in a day: walk through the main modernist buildings

From the hotel, you can take Metro Line 4 to Hospital de Sant Pau, designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Although you could spend a whole day admiring it and getting to know its incredible history (it is the largest modernist complex in Europe and one of the largest in the world), today we will have time only to admire its impressive façade and the beauty of its gardens.

El Hospital de Sant Pau es uno de los recintos modernistas más grandes del mundo

From there you can take a pleasant stroll along Avenida Gaudí until you reach the great icon of modernism in Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia.

The building designed by Antoni Gaudí is in fact like an architectural Bible in which the main symbols of the Christian faith are represented. In this sense, the three facades of the temple refer to the most important moments of the life of Jesus Christ: his birth (Carrer Marina), the passion, the death and the resurrection (Carrer Sardenya), and the glory (Carrer Mallorca). All of them contain sculptural ensembles that recreate the main passages of his life: the kiss of Judas, the Last Supper, the judgment of Jesus, the Ecce Homo, etc.

For the interior of the basilica, Gaudí was inspired by the shapes of nature to design enormous columns in the shape of a tree trunk that turn it into an exuberant forest of stone.

La Sagrada Familia es una visita obligada cuando vas a estar en Barcelona solo por un día

After more than a century under construction (the work began in 1882), the project is expected to be completed in 2026, coinciding with the centenary of the death of the Catalan architect.

At that time the temple will be crowned by 18 towers (currently only eight are completed) of which 12 will be dedicated to the apostles, four to the evangelists and one to the Virgin Mary. The last one, dedicated to Jesus Christ, will touch the sky of Barcelona at 172.5 metres to turn the Sagrada Familia into the tallest building in Barcelona.

Passeig de Gràcia, an ode to luxury and glamour

After visiting the Sagrada Familia, you can continue your tour by strolling through one of the most glamorous and popular streets in the city, Passeig de Gràcia. On the corner of Provença street you will find Casa Milà (also known as La Pedrera, which will make you fall in love with its sinuous curves, impossible shapes and a decoration that imitates elements of nature.

Continuing with the modernist delight, the next stop is known as La Manzana de la Discordia, located between Aragó and Consell de Cent streets. An open-air architectural museum that brings together in a single façade three of the greatest works by the main architects of the time, which have competed with each other in beauty since their construction: the Casa Lleó Morera (work by Lluís Domènech i Montaner), the Casa Ametller (by Joan Puig i Cadafalch) and the Casa Batlló (by Antoni Gaudí).

While you enjoy the main wonders of Barcelona’s modernism you can treat yourself well in one of the city’s most important fashion boutiques, and then continue your journey to Plaza de Catalunya until you reach La Rambla.

What to see in Barcelona in a day: getting lost in Las Ramblas, the Gothic and the Born

Time to recover and what better place to do it than the Boquería Market. A gastronomic paradise where you will find products from almost every part of the world and, in addition, it has excellent restaurants and food stands such as El Quim de la Boqueria or the Bar Central de la Boqueria where you can taste tapas and dishes prepared on the spot with fresh products from the same market.

El mercado de La Boqueria está ubicado en pleno corazón de Las Ramblas de Barcelona

After a well-deserved rest you can continue the route through one of the most famous streets of Barcelona, La Rambla. In addition to admiring the beauty of the Teatre del Liceu, the imposing statue of Columbus or the Plaza Real (a neoclassical jewel in which 19th century buildings coexist with shops and restaurants), While you walk along La Rambla you will come across beautiful flower and local products stands, ice cream parlours, century-old shops, souvenir shops, street performers and a never-ending flood of people who fill it with life.

Then it will be your turn to get to know the Roman city of Barcelona by entering the Gothic Quarter. Among its narrow and labyrinthine streets you will find places as magical as the cathedral of Santa Maria del Pi or the Plaza de San Felipe Neri.

Continuing along Ferran Street you will reach Plaça de Sant Jaume, with the City Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya facing each other. A few metres away, in Plaça del Rei, you can discover the city’s medieval past while approaching Plaça de la Seu, where you will discover the majestic cathedral of Barcelona (one of the best examples of 15th century Catalan neo-Gothic architecture) and you can see the remains of the Roman wall located on the corner of Calle Bisbe (at least one reconstruction).

Dinner and stroll through the Born

If you still have some energy left, you can’t miss the Born, one of Barcelona’s most bohemian and cosmopolitan neighbourhoods.  There you will find the fabulous basilica of Santa María del Mar (the inspiration for the famous novel “La Catedral del Mar” by Ildefonso Falcones) and the Palau de la Música Catalana, the only modernist concert hall declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exuberant beauty.

La Basílica de Santa María del Mar es uno de los principales atractivos del centro de Barcelona

Born is an ideal neighborhood to have dinner and a drink before returning to the hotel.

We have proposed a guide to the essential places you should visit when you only have one day to enjoy the city, but we are confident that you will be looking forward to more and hope that you will be able to visit us again in the future (at the Arc La Rambla Hotel we will always be delighted to welcome you…;))

Barcelona’s offer is almost endless! In our blog you will find hundreds of alternatives and plans or, if you prefer, you can ask the hotel staff. We are waiting for you!