Barcelona 5 Day Itinerary
I love the dynamic city of Barcelona, Spain because it’s filled with a lively energy that’s infectious. This city is jam-packed with numerous artisanal shops and multi-colored detailed Gaudi style architecture. Barcelona also has a delicious food scene begging to be tasted as well as lots of cute and unique Hotels and Airbnbs for you to stay in while visiting. With distinctive neighborhoods to explore, Barcelona offers its visitors an authentic experience steeped in the Catalan culture, different wellness practices and rich history.
This 5-day itinerary for Barcelona will take you through many of the unique things to do in Barcelona, as well as the can’t-miss tourist hot spots and famous landmarks in Barcelona.
Plan and create your ideal itinerary from this list of things to explore in Barcelona, then enjoy your trip! I recommend visiting all the sites in one neighborhood at a time as it’s easier to navigate the city. Plus, you’ll spend less time in the metro and more time adventuring Barcelona.
To prepare for your trip to Barcelona take this fun quiz about Spain.
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Barcelona 5 Day Itinerary
Transportation in Barcelona is very easy to navigate. With reliable bus schedules and metro time tables, you’ll be able to explore the city with ease.
When leaving the airport via the metro, you’ll have to purchase an airport metro ticket. Once you’re in the city, instead of purchasing a single trip ticket, I recommend purchasing a T-Casual Metro ticket. A T-Casual ticket allows ten trips per usage and is 11.35 euros, while a single ticket (one-way) is 2.35 euros. Buying a T-Casual ticket will save you money during these five days as you travel around Barcelona.
Furthermore, any ticket brought has free transfers between metros and buses. These transfers are valid up to 75 minutes from when first activated.
When to visit
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate filled with mild winters and warm summers. While summer is quite warm, it’s also the high tourist season. I recommend visiting in late fall to avoid the high tourist season. That way, there are fewer tourists, and it’s still warm with long sunny days.
However, Barcelona is a year-round destination with ideal temperatures so anytime you plan a visit expect decent weather.
El Born Quarter
One of the first places I recommend starting your 5-day adventure in Barcelona is in the El Born district. Here you’ll find an off the beaten path food scene filled with less touristy stops, and the pungent aroma of food filling the streets. Honestly, there are excellent wellness restaurants in Barcelona found in each of the neighbourhoods, but my favourite churros con chocolate shop is located in this area.
First stop in the Born Quarter is to get some breakfast with churros con chocolate. This Spanish staple is a tasty deep-fried doughy pastry that’s dipped in rich, creamy chocolate. If you’re vegan or gluten-free, there are several allergy-friendly restaurants in Barcelona. Not feeling chocolate? You can order churros without chocolate and enjoy it with coffee instead.
After grabbing breakfast, roam around the asphalt streets of the Born Quarter and head over to the Passeig del Born. This beautiful passage is lined with exquisite eateries that have outdoor seating, overhanging trees, and cosy shops. In this area, you’ll also find the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, a beautiful medieval Basilica, as well as the Santa Caterina Market. This market is filled with local restaurants, freshly cured meats, delectable cheeses, fruits, and vegetables.
If you’re a museum fanatic, consider visiting the Picasso Museum where you’ll find an impressive collection of artwork and paintings. The museum is open from Tuesday-Sunday starting at 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, and cost between 7-12 euros per person depending on the day. I recommend buying your tickets in advance as ticket sell out fast.
Explore the Gothic Quarter
After visiting the Borne Quarter, head over to the Gothic Quarter. In the Gothic Quarter, you’ll find even older asphalt streets filled with zig-zag alleyways all leading to the Barcelona cathedral with a medieval facade. The cathedral is open every day and is free to enter for prayer. All general admissions are €7.
If you want to learn more history about the Gothic Quarter, consider signing up to take a guided tour of this area. I personally love taking tours on the first or second day because it gives you a mini roadmap to the city’s heart. If you’re staying at a hostel, there should be options for available tours there. If you’re wanting to plan ahead you can book a variety of tours through Get Your Guide and get public transport tickets
In the Gothic Quarter, you’ll also find the bustling streets of La Rambla, which is filled with street performers, tall trees, and streets overflowing with outdoor dining and shopping. About halfway up La Rambla is an eye-catching market called Mercado de La Boqueria. This alluring outdoor market is jam-packed with sweet-smelling fruits, candied nuts, and freshly baked traditional Spanish goods. You’ll find croquetas, empanadas, mini-sandwiches, and several eateries to grab tapas (a hearty snack), or enjoy a late lunch.
This is generally considered to be the city centre.
If you’re a night owl, the nightlife in the Gothic Quarter is something you should plan time for. From whimsical bars to Irish pubs and cosy bars, there’s a variety of bar scenes to explore in this area.
Take the metro to explore the elegant and trendy Gracía neighbourhood. This is where you’ll find the multicoloured Park Güell which is one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Barcelona.
Designed by Gaudi, a well-known architect, this is a city hot spot you don’t want to miss. It has an idyllic ambience and its colourful tile mosaics can be found throughout the park. Park Guell has free admission, but to enter the monumental zone, the cost is ten euros. This zone contains more of Gaudi’s personal work.
Editor’s Note: If you have the budget it’s worth paying for a guided walking tour of the park to really understand the artwork you’re seeing.
After exploring the picturesque Park Guell, stroll through the Carrer Verdi to experience the trendy vibes of Gracía. With unique shops, art museums, and diverse cuisines, consider grabbing some tapas or lunch among the many eateries featuring Spanish croquettes, empanadas, patatas bravas, and paella.
If you’re a big foodie, there’s also food tours that are available in this area. These tours will snake you through Gracía, and give you some tasty insight into Spanish cuisine. You can book your food tour before you arrive here.
Once lunch is finished, make your way to the monumental Sagrada Família, designed by Gaudi. It’s distinctive architecture and multicoloured stain glass windows attract tourists from around the world to witness this unique structure. Since it’s a big tourist hot spot, I recommend purchasing tickets beforehand so you can choose the time and date you prefer.
Tickets sell out fast, and same-day tickets aren’t always available at the ticket booth. You can buy your skip the line tickets, and a tour, here.
After Sagrada Família, cruise through the double-wide street of Passeig de Gracía. On this street, you’ll find more restaurants where you can indulge in some Spanish wine and more tapas. Also found along this passage are more extraordinary masterpieces created by Gaudi.
There’s the stunning Casa Batlló and the ravishing Casa Milà (La Pedrera). You can admire these buildings from the outside, or continue the journey inside. Tickets for each can be purchased at the respective ticket booths and is the easiest option for same-day tours.
Editor’s note: Casa Batlló is incredible and so worth paying to go inside. The first time I visited Barcelona was over 10 years ago now and it still sticks out in my mind as one of the best things to do there.
You’re midway through your week-ish long visit to Barcelona, so it’s time to visit the mighty hill of Montjuic. To get to Montjuic Hill you can take the bus, or consider taking the cable car up the side of the mountain for a more scenic route. In the cable car, you’ll be hovering over the green hillside on one side, with the vibrant downtown area on the other.
Upon the grassy green hilltop is Montjuic Castle. This giant medieval castle with a rich history was once used to protect Barcelona, is a former prison, and at one point, was used to bomb the city. Now this protected castle has been transformed into a museum with both temporary activities and permanent exhibits. Here you can visit the watchtower, different cannons and the drawbridge. The museum is open Monday-Friday 15:00 pm – 20:00 pm, and Saturday-Sunday from 10:00 am – 20:00 pm.
You can buy round trip tickets to go up in advance here.
Botanical gardens & History Museum of Catalonia
On Montjuic Hill, you’ll also find several gardens, such as the Jardí Botànic de Barcelona. There you can witness different types of Mediterranean plants and trees while basking in the outdoor wellness scene Barcelona has to offer.
After relaxing among the gardens, walk or take a bus to the History Museum of Catalonia. This museum is filled with beautiful art pieces explaining the history of Catalonia. The museum is open almost every day for visits.
Before you leave the hilltop, make a pit stop at the Olympic Stadium of Barcelona from 1992. At the Olympic Stadium, you can take a self-guided tour of this area, enjoying an impressive view of the city of Barcelona. After exploring Montjuic Hill, head down to the famous Plaza d’Espanya, and grab some dinner.
There are also several bars in this area to grab a drink after dinner.
Day trip to Montserrat
You’ve explored Barcelona for a couple of days, and now it’s time to take a day trip to the rocky mountain top of Montserrat. Montserrat is a famous Catalan wellness retreat where locals and tourists alike go to escape the active bustle of the city.
The mountain range is filled with unusual jagged mountains peaks and bright green shrubbery. It’s home to a Benedictine Monastery and hosts one of the rare and beautiful black Madonnas found within Europe.
Some people also find the monastery as a pilgrimage route in the Catalonia region. This trip would be smaller in comparison to the pilgrimage route that ends in the city of Santiago de Compostela, found in the Galicia region of Spain. Here at the monastery, you’ll find the Montserrat museums (8 euros per person), a bright yellow cable car that will take you up the side of the mountain, a railway car (12.50 round trip per person) and beautiful panoramic view from the top.
There’s also curvy trails along the mountainside, with intricate carvings, religious statues, the Santa Cova chapel, and Sant Miquel’s cross.
While taking the cable car up the mountainside is one solution, hiking up the mountain is an alternative option for those wanting an active wellness experience in nature. The trail is easily marked along the mountain with different coloured arrows and stairs to guide the way.
Just be sure to eat your food or snacks before you arrive at the mountain top since picnicking is not allowed in most places in the monastery.
How to get to Montserrat?
To get to Montserrat, you’ll want to leave at the Plaza d’Espanya station in Barcelona, and take the train called R5 within the Renfè system.
You’ll get off at Aeri de Montserrat, and from there you can decide if you want to hike the mountain or take the cable car. Prices for the R5 line are around 5.25 per person, while the cable car is 11.50 euros round trip.
There are transportation packages for a day trip to Monserrat, so I recommend checking the station before you leave as prices can change during the high and low seasons.
For your last day exploring Barcelona, I recommend soaking up some of Barcelona’s relaxing experiences. Explore Park Cuitadella, a gorgeous green park filled palm trees and a calming lake. Adventure around the numerous walking trails, kayak around the lake, have a picnic or enjoy more tapas near this area.
After head over to Arc de Triomf, a giant orange-hued Arc, located right next to Park Cuitadella. Along the main walkway to arc are various talented street performers, and giant bubble makers. This area is also the hot spot for rollerblading, riding bikes, and renting a Segway. Places to rent these can be found across the street from Park Cuitadella.
If you’re craving a more calming afternoon, visit Barceloneta Beach. Take a stroll down the gorgeous oceanfront to witness several beach volleyball games in play, go rollerblading, or join others walking along the beach path.
Here you can spend your last day relaxing on the beach, grabbing some drinks at one of the many restaurants, or joining the locals in a mini pick up a volleyball game.
If you haven’t attended a Flamenco show yet, this is could be a great addition to your last night and kiss Barcelona goodbye. The passionate music and ardent dance is a masterpiece waiting to captivate your senses with its high energy sounds and lovely sights.
While live performances can be found walking through the Gothic and Born neighbourhoods, I recommend purchasing tickets to Flamenco here.
What did you enjoy the most on this Barcelona 5 Day itinerary? Is there something you’d add to make it the perfect Barcelona itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.
I’m Ciara, a wellness traveler who has explored over 28 countries both solo and with my awesome husband. Through a blend of fitness, nutrition, and personal development tips, I help others find meaningful travel experiences. When I’m not traveling, you’ll find me freelance writing or blogging at my wellness travel blog, Wellness Travel Diaries — sharing tips and tricks to help you improve your well-being so you can feel your healthiest, best self yet. You can find me at my blog, on Instagram @wellnesstraveldiaries and Pinterest @wellnesstraveldiaries.
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