36 Amazing Things to Do in 36 Hours in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain is an amazing city to explore. You need at least several days to explore the city and really experience all that makes Barcelona so unique. In fact, it took me 3 different trips and over 15 days to truly get to the heart of the city. But maybe you have less time. Maybe you’re on a cruise stop in Barcelona or on a short weekend break to Barcelona. If you only have 36 hours in Barcelona, then I have 36 amazing things to do!

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.

 

36 hours in Barcelona, is it enough?

No. I can beat around the bush but it’s not. But if 36 hours is all you have, then let’s make the most of it. Below are 36 amazing things to do in Barcelona to get a first feel of the city.

Of course, I don’t know exactly what time you’ll arrive in Barcelona and when you have to leave again. For the purpose of showcasing the best 36 things to do in Barcelona, I base myself on an arrival time of 9 am in the city on day one. That means we have until 9 pm the following day to explore and take in these 36 things to do!

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
the famous Arch near the Parc de Ciutadella.

Probe around the Globe uses affiliate links. If you book something, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra costs for you. In this case, I did most of the tours and bought most of the tickets myself. I only recommend official tickets and tours by the official Barcelona Tourism Office and tours from my personal experiences. As always, all opinions are my own.

36 Things to Do in Barcelona in 36 Hours

Get ready for a whirlwind tour of Barcelona! Here are my recommendations for 36 hours in the city.

1. Only pay 1 Euro for your transport ticket

From the airport, you need to get to the city. Did you know you can just take the normal bus or train and not pay more than 1 euro for your ticket? You’ll arrive in the center of town by bus or by train for as little as 1 euro. This is my ultimate Barcelona Budget Tip. 

Read all about how this works and where to get the tickets.

2. Walk Passeig de Gracia

One of the main streets in Barcelona that connects many of the highlights of the city. A must do if you want to see Barcelona in 36 hours. Walk along this broad avenue. Admire the boutique shops and amazing Modernist buildings like Casa Battlo and Casa Mila (or La Pedrera, 2 names for the same building).

 

3. Keep an Eye out for the amazing Doors of Barcelona

A lot of the houses and buildings in Barcelona are spectacular by design. But even the non-extraordinary houses of Barcelona have a great show stopper: the doors. Barcelona is filled with fun, quirky, modernist and extravagant doors. Make sure to keep an eye out for them when you walk through Barcelona!

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Small example of the amazing doors of Barcelona

4. Visit one of the famous Gaudi houses, like Casa Battlo or Casa Mila

If you only have 36 hours in Barcelona, I recommend to choose one of the Gaudi houses to visit. Mainly because they are expensive and do take up at least 2 hours to fully explore. If money is not a problem, by all means, do visit both as I found them quite different. Each of them show a different period of Gaudi’s works. They do have things in common which is fun to recognize but they are both very unique. Because you’re now on the Passeig de Gracia, you’ll find Casa Battlo on one side of the street.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
The colorful Casa Battlo blew my mind for sure! Never expected to have so many quirky little features behind that facade.

Casa Batllo is the colorful building the the masquerade style balconies. Inside you’ll feel like you’re entering an underwater world with the main staircase being covered in blue tiles. I recommend to take the audio tour as they explain all kind of fun facts about the building and the problems Gaudi had to overcome remodeling the house.

Be smart and book you’re skip the line tickets in advance. 

Skip the Line Casa Battló Tickets

Almost opposite from the Casa Battlo, you’ll find Casa Mila, or la Pedrera. This is a vast building with 2 court yards and is still being used by residents! Even today. Go through the collection of Modernist furniture and end at the roof. Not only you’ll have spectacular views across Barcelona, but the chimneys make for very fun photographs. 

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Casa Mila is also called: La Pedrera, which translates as stone query because of its massive stone facade.

You’ll only have 36 hours in Barcelona, so don’t waste them by waiting in line. Buy your tickets in advance.

Skip the Line Tickets La Pedrera

5. Hop on and hop off the bus as much as you like

From the Casa Mila, it’s easy to hop on one of the hop on hop off buses of Barcelona. The bus takes you around town and stops at all the major tourist attractions. Super convenient when you have little time or are too tired to walk everywhere. Buy a 24h or 48h ticket and you’re good to go for the rest of the day. I wrote an in-depth guide, explaining the prices, routes and things to see.

Review of the Barcelona Hop on Hop off Bus

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Visit all the tourist attractions in one go with the hop on hop off bus. Also a good option to see a lot and not walk 10.000 miles.

6. Explore the Sagrada Familia

Hop off the bus at the Sagrada Familia. A must see when you visit Barcelona. Walk around it, admire it from the park opposite the church but the best thing is to see it from the inside. They are making progress on finishing it but the interior is already magnificent. Purchase your skip the line Sagrada Familia tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait. In my opinion, you don’t need a tour but an audio guide can be useful.

Purchase your Sagrada Familia Tickets + Visit to the Tower here

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Still not finished but they are nearly there. In a couple of years, it will be done!

7. Marvel at the colorful mosaics at Park Güell

Maybe today is a bit of a Gaudi day, but you’ll want to see as much of the highlights of Barcelona in 36 hours as possible. Take the hop on hop off bus and explore the Park Güell. Marvel at all the colorful mosaics at the monumental part, or explore the rest of the park for free. Read more about the Park Güell and what to see and do there.

Buy your guided tour with skip the line tickets for Park Güell in advance

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
The Park Güell makes for great photo ops

8. Learn about Gaudi with the interactive Gaudi experience

You’ve seen a lot of Gaudi today and he definitely left his mark on Barcelona. But who was he? And why was he as a modernist architects so important? Learn all about Gaudi at the interactive 4D experience near the Park Güell.

Buy your Gaudi Experience tickets online

9. Explore lesser known Gaudi at Torre Bellesguard

The Torre Bellesguard is located next to the Park Güell. It’s one of Gaudi’s lesser known works but you can take an audio guide (or go on a guided tour but they run once a week). This Gaudi house was used as a test case for all the problems Gaudi had to overcome with the Sagrada Familia. You’ll see straight lines in this Gaudi Building!

Find out more about Torre Bellesguard and buy your ticket here

10. Get lost in the Barrio Gothic

Head back to the old town and dive head first into the Barrio Gothic. Explore the narrow streets and just get lost. Walk past small boutiques, try slices of cured ham and shop for souvenirs. Or just take in the vibe of the city.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
The famous little bridge, connecting the Cathedral with the buildings across it.

11. Stumble upon a farmer’s market in Barcelona

If you walk around in Barcelona, keep your eyes open for small gatherings of stalls and people. On several occasions, I bumped into farmer’s markets or flea markets in Barcelona. Great for shopping or getting some snacks. For a couple of euro’s, try a class of cava or a cone filled with several cheeses. I found these impromptu experiences one of the best I had in Barcelona.

 

12. Eat Churros

The best place to eat churros in Barcelona is a small hole in the wall in the Gothic Quarter. But there are numerous other places that serve this delicious sweet doughy treat. Dip it in melted chocolate or just eat with a pinch of extra sugar. Mmmhhh divine.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
I love churros so I eat them immediately, but this is sort of what they can look like. Enjoy!

13. See Barcelona Cathedral

If you do get lost, just follow the signs for the Cathedral of Barcelona. The square is a good orientation point for you. But now we’re here, why not pop your head in and explore the main cathedral of Barcelona. The garden is a nice quiet retreat from the busy streets and of course you have to walk around it for amazing views.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
The front of the Basilica. You can also purchase a ticket to visit the roof top tower, which gives great views over this part of Barcelona.

14. Write a postcard home from Barcelona

Near the Palau the Musica, you’ll find a bunch of the cutest book stores you’ll ever see. They have the standard postcards but also some unique finds. Pick a few postcards and write one home. As an avid post crosser, I always send postcards when I can. So even if you only have 36 hours in Barcelona, write one!

15. Explore the Picasso Museum

If you’re into art, a visit to the Picasso Museum is on your list for your time in Barcelona. Given you only have 36 hours, you might want to see the highlights and not spend the whole afternoon there, but the top pieces of the collection are worth it.

 

16. Eat tapas

Are you hungry yet? Yes, it is time to get some food. But where to start? I strongly recommend to join a food tour in any Spanish (or Catalan) city you’ll visit. Preferable on your first day or evening. This way, you’ll have great company, delicious food and you’ll learn the insider tricks for the rest of your stay.

Join an evening tapas tour here

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Some delicious foods in Barcelona

17. Drink delicious Spanish wine

On the food tour, you’ll not only eat. Of course, there is plenty to drink too. Taste the wines, explore sangria, cava or opt for a glass of tinto de verano.

Join an evening tapas and wine tour in Barcelona

18. Go to a flamenco show

The night is still young in Barcelona! I experienced an evening of Flamenco dance at the Palau de la Musica and found it a truly unique experience. The music, the dance, but mostly the fire and passion of the performers. Check the schedule and find a flamenco experience

Book your evening of Flamenco dance here

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
The very passionate dancers of the Flamenco show at the Palau de la Musica.

19. Dance the night away at one of Barcelona’s nightlife hang-outs

Now it’s time for you to dance. Or just sit back and relax and order some nice cocktails. The night is still young and in Barcelona you’ll have all night to go club hopping or bar crawling.

Read here my Barcelona Nightlife tips and download the list with my recommendations.

20. Pop a bottle of Cava

While you’re out and about in Barcelona’s nightlife, why not order a bottle of Cava? This fizzy wine is delicious for those warm Barcelona nights. Mmmhhh cava!

Make your hours in Barcelona count and enjoy Barcelona nightlife, but we still have a busy day tomorrow.

 

21. Enjoy breakfast with pan con tomato

After your first day in Barcelona, it’s time for some much needed sleep! I can recommend the Eco Boutique Hostal Grau. Just a few streets from Las Ramblas, I found this boutique hotel great value for money and the staff was super friendly. Added bonus: its convenient location!

In the morning, head out to get some breakfast. A Spanish favorite is pan (or tostado) con tomato. Basically a toasted piece of bread, with some tomato spread. Drizzly with some olive oil and a pinch of salt or pepper and dig in! Enjoy!

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Mmmhh delicious breakfast in Barcelona.

22. Walk around Olympic History at Montjuïc

Early morning for your 2nd and final day in Barcelona. Head out to Montjuïc and explore the hill. Walk in the shade, explore the botanic gardens and see the sights of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The old Olympic track is partly open to visit and the sight of the Olympic flame gives great photo opts.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
The Olympic Stadium is partly opened for visitors. You can pop your head in for this shot, but you can’t race the track.

23. Admire the view of Montjuïc

From Montjuïc, you’ll have amazing views of the city of Barcelona. See where you’ve been so far and where you still want to go. The views down from the National Museum of Catalan Art towards the Plaza d’Espayna are particular spectacular!

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
The steps are a popular spot for performers of dance and music to display their skills. Sit back and enjoy a free outdoor concert. Be aware of pickpockets but don’t forget to tip the guys and ladies performing for you.

24. Watch the fountain at Montjuïc

Best thing is to see the fountain of Montjuïc at night. During most part of the year, they put up a show when it gets dark of light, music and amazing fountain effects. But if you don’t happen to be around it at night, then it’s still a pretty cool spot to hang around, watch the children play or take photos around the fountains. 

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
A nice place to refresh a little bit as the fountains are a cool spot in Barcelona.

25. Take the cable car to the harbor

From Montjuïc you can take the funicular down to the harbor. Even more spectacular views and a great way to transport yourself! Book your Cable Car Ticket in advance.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Super quick and easy way to leave Montjuïc and drop down to the harbor of Barcelona.

26. Bike along the beaches of La Barceloneta

Barcelona is actually quite bicycle friendly. The beach of Barceloneta is perfect to explore by bike. Either choose a regular bike or e-bike, just go! You can rent a bike and follow your own path, or join a guided bike tour of the area.

Choose your Barcelona Bike Tour here

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Biking along the beach!

27. Go shopping in Barcelona!

I’m throwing this in here but you can do it any time you want! Either on Passeig de Gracia, in the Gothic Quarter or around the harbor. In small streets, big avenues or souvenir shops. Barcelona is stocked aplenty with nice stuff, gadgets and trinkets. Go shopping!

 

28. Buy your lunch at La Boqueria food market

Is it time for food again? Yes, please! Go to the famous Boqueria food market and indulge your senses with all the smells and noises of a food market. Sit down and order food or shop for the best hams, olives and cheese for your lunch.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
One of the stalls at the market.

29. No habla Español! Habla Catalán

Don’t speak Spanish, speak Catalan. Whenever you walk around in Barcelona, you’ll pick up on some Spanish. But is it really Spanish? The people of Barcelona speak Catalan. Try to pick some up and try to say hello (also Hola) or thank you (gràcies) in Catalan. A little goes a long way.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Hola works in both Catalan and Spanish.

30. Enjoy the Parc de la Ciutadella

Take your picnic lunch and enjoy the Parc de la Ciutadella. Or just stroll through it without your lunch. Massive water parties, lush green patches to escape the afternoon heat and that famous Arch of Triumph that looks so iconic. Make sure to snap a picture for Instagram here!

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Shade and fountains! I loved the park

31. Toast on 36 hours in Barcelona high above in the Columbus Monument

Back at the harbor, you can head up the Columbus Monument and take in the views of most of Barcelona. A visit is included in the Gaudi Pass. Read all about the pass here. A glass of wine is included in the ticket so you can toast on your 36 hours in Barcelona.

Book your Columbus Monument Ticket here

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
View from the top of the Columbus Monument.

32. Walk along las Ramblas

Las Ramblas is famous and notorious in Barcelona. You must see this broad pedestrian avenue during your 36 hours in Barcelona. Be aware of pickpockets and don’t sit down for lunch or dinner, it is too expensive. Do look around at the buildings, the people and the lively atmosphere.

 

33. Marvel at the street performers of Las Ramblas

Take some spare coins with you and admire the street performers at Las Ramblas. Most of them are true entertainers and go through a lot of trouble. Don’t snap any pictures of them without paying.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Be aware of pickpockets on Las Ramblas, but do enjoy the street performers. Make sure to tip them if you enjoyed their performance.

34. Get hungry at the chocolate museum

Mmmhhh chocolate! Yes, Barcelona has a chocolate museum! Housed in a former convent, the Museu de la Xocolata is a delicious museum where you learn all about cacao and chocolate and how it came to Europe. They also offer workshops if you have more time.

Buy your ticket for the Barcelona Chocolate Museum here.

35. Tour the Barcelona Opera at Liceu Theater or Palau de la Musica

Just off the Ramblas, you’ll find the Opera of Barcelona. Completely burned down and rebuilt, you can now tour this amazing Opera house of Barcelona. Marvel at the grand entry hall and the amazing ceiling. I found the tour quite interesting as the tour guide is really good and offers all these little facts and details.

If you plan a short trip to Barcelona you might wonder if it is enough? I found 36 amazing things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona Spain.
Amazing ceiling of the Liceu Theatre of Barcelona.

Another great place to visit is the Palau de la Musica. I saw a flamenco show in the Palau, but if you’re not that lucky, you can also see the Palau on a guided tour. Stained glass, amazing acoustic and an impressive history! A must see for all cultural lovers

Purchase your tour for the Liceu Theater here

or

Buy a tour of the Palau de la Musica

36. Count sticks of Pinxtos

Are you hungry again? Before you’re 36 hours in Barcelona are over, get some bites to eat. Sit down at one of the tapas or pinxtos bars and order some delicious treats! At the end of the evening, you’ll gather your sticks, and that’s how much you need to pay.

Pinxtos are lavish decorated pieces of bread and they come in all kinds of options (meat, fish, vegan). I’d like to go with the chef’s special as they are little mouthful’s of culinary treats! Read my tips on solo dining in Barcelona without feeling super awkward.

 

Things to do in 36 hours in Barcelona

Wow, did we really do 36 things in 36 hours? How is that even possible? The above suggestions are possible in 36 hours but you might feel a bit rushed. You might notice that time in Barcelona is an elastic concept.

Tapas lunch can last for over 3 hours. Walking and taking in the city can take all day. The above things to do in Barcelona are just suggestions for your 36 hours in the city. Give it a try but make sure to leave some things to do in Barcelona to come back! Have more time in Barcelona? Consider a day trip to Montserrat by train.

 

How much time do you have to explore Barcelona? What is on the top of your must-see list? Share your experiences in the comment section below.

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