If you don’t have that much time to explore the city, the best way is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus. I’m usually against those buses as I like to explore the city on my won and get lost but Barcelona is too big for that.
I was staying by Las Ramblas, the famous walking zone in Barcelona and so I started my journey there. Walk through Las Ramblas, enjoy the walking zone, but don’t stop to buy anything or eat there, it’s a major tourist trap zone. Walk all the way to Plaza Catalunya one of the major squares with all the major shops and heart of the Bari Gòtic area. You can catch the bus there. I bought a 2-day pass.
From the bus, I enjoyed the view of Camp Nou the famous football stadium for Barcelona Football Team, Bogatell Beach and Nova Mar Bella Beach. We also passed by the Forum Designed by the Swiss architects Jaques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the triangular Forum building is an urban and very curious landmark in Barcelona; I personally think it doesn’t fit in the Barcelona landscape. We also saw The Torre Agbar, or Agbar Tower, a 33-story tower at Plaza de les Glòries Catalanes. These are stops that you can explore if you have time later on.
First stop Port Vell. This picturesque old harbor is a popular tourist area with many attractions and sea-food restaurants aplenty.
Next stop, La Sagrada Familia. The Gotic Cathedral designed by Gaudi is a must see and the line is always long so is always good to go as early as possible. The unfinished masterpiece is breathtaking. The inside, as well as the outside, is just spectacular; it’s all about the details.
I got back on the bus and went to La Pedrera or Casa Milà, a block of flats with a wavy stone facade and sculptures on the roof. This site was designed by Antoni Gaudi and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Next top is Casa Batlló, another Gaudi masterpiece, this site was built in the architect’s signature style where fluid lines and organic forms replace straight lines and right angles. Actually walk between those 2 bus stops as they are on the same street called Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s most elegant avenue.
At night, you can walk to catch the last bus to go to Barceloneta. It’s the name of the beach and the neighborhood has great restaurants especially seafood restaurants. If you don’t like seafood try Maka Restaurant right by the beach, it’s such a fun and young crowd restaurant A good place to try the typical Paella. For the bars, you can head back towards Las Ramblas, the small streets that take you there are full of great bars like London Bar or Bar Lobo Restaurant.
On day 2, I took the bus to see the Catedral-Barri Gòtic (Cathedral Gothic Quarter). The Cathedral is the most important building in the Gothic Quarter.
Next stop, the must-see Park Guell. Designed by Gaudi and declared a Heritage Site by UNESCO, the park contains amazing stone structures, stunning tiling, and fascinating buildings. One can spend hours there admiring the colors and the architecture.
Then go to Tibidabo. This hill is Barcelona’s highest point so you can see the whole city from here. There is also an impressive modernist church, called the Sagrat Cor (Sacred Heart), a planetarium and the oldest amusement park in Spain (complete with original rides).
At Night head to the W Hotel, that you can see rise at the end of Barceloneta. That Hotel has an amazing Rooftop bar.
On day 3, start your day by going to the Market on Las Ramblas, La Boqueria. You can find fresh fruits and local food. Then, you can enjoy some of the other stops from the hop-on-hop-off bus or just walk around the city. Plaza Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia are great places for some shopping. You can also go back to one of the beaches to enjoy some sun. If you like museums, check out Museo Picasso, MNAC Museum or Fundacio Joan Miro, said to be the best museum in the world.