A Guide to Spending 12 Hours in Barcelona

Barcelona, since it was founded by the Romans more than 2000 years ago, has been a city of passage. The city is the main seaport in the Mediterranean sea and plenty of cultures have occupied it.

These days, the city is a vibrant hub in Spain. Plenty of travellers pass by for leisure or business. Barcelona ranks #5 among European top cities to discover – a world-renowned culinary offer, plenty of sunshine and a trendy cultural life make it a perfect spot to uncover.

There are plenty of people that spend only a day in Barcelona, for different reasons, and on this guide, we uncover the very best of Barcelona attractions that you must see and experience in the short range of 12 hours. Let’s check them out!

#1 Uncover Barcelona’s magical side by Antoni Gaudi

Barcelona has 9 world heritage sites, and 7 were built by the local genius Antoni Gaudi, therefore anyone visiting Barcelona should see his unique creations.

Around the famous Passeig de Gracia, there is an area known as the Golden Quarter, where 2 of the most beautiful Gaudi buildings in the city are located. Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera) open early in the morning, and certainly, you should pick one to visit.

#2 Boost your day with a couple of traditional tapas

An essential part of enjoying Barcelona is eating delicious tapas. In case you are visiting one of the Gaudi buildings around Passeig de Gracia, save some time to eat at Tapas 24 or the Cerveseria Catalana, both establishments offer outstanding cuisine and you don’t need an advance reservation.

#3 Shop at the glamorous Passeig de Gracia

Barcelona’s golden boulevard is an eclectic array of modernist buildings and glamorous shops. Even if you buy a souvenir, it is worth walking by this street. This boulevard connects the Barri de Gracia on the north, and Placa Catalunya, Barcelona’s heart and the epicenter of life.

#4 Get a glimpse of 2000 years of history at Barcelona Gothic Quarter

Very close to Placa Catalunya you will find the historic Gothic Quarter, which is the area where Barcelona was founded by the Romans. Just get lost through the narrow cobblestones streets and do not miss the Cathedral, Placa Sant Jaume and Placa Reial with the unmistakable lamps designed by Gaudi.

#5 Eat at Barcelona’s oldest restaurant

#6 Visit the chicest Barcelona district: El Born

A few steps away from the Gothic Quarter, El Born (aka the Jousting Field) is where the Catalan aristocracy in medieval days set foot. The district is old and charm and populated by the rebellious designers who decided to escape the masses of Passeig de Gracia. Packed with boutique shops and little restaurants and bars, El Born is a must see in Barcelona, including the famous Santa Maria del Mar church.

#6 Visit the Picasso Museum

Barcelona is a city packed with art, and there are plenty of museums and galleries around town. The Picasso Museum is one of our top picks, and it is at the heart of El Born district. Pablo Picasso spent his youth in Barcelona and left a glorious legacy about the city on his paintings. Definitely, a place to go!

#7 Learn some of the city’s history at the El Born Cultural and Memorial Center

Located inside the former Born Market that opened in 1876, the Centre de Cultura i Memoria is an open space for people to witness the traces of the demarcations of streets and houses Barcelona of the 1700s, places that were erased as a consequence of the siege of 1714. Entrance is free.

#8 Start the evening with a taste of local cava

Cava is the quintessential Catalan drink that makes locals proud of. It is the only sparkling wine in the world that is produced under the champenoise method. The best way to enjoy it is by going to a local winery. As you are in El Born, go to Bodega Maestrazgo, talk to the staff, they are very friendly and knowledgeable, leave it to them and enjoy!.

#9 Walk your way through Barcelona’s rebellious district: La Barceloneta

Every visitor in Barcelona wants to take a chance of seeing life by the Mediterranean sea, and La Barceloneta district, with its back facing Barcelona, is all about that. Home to fishermen and pack with eclectic tapas bars, getting lost through its windy streets is a fantastic adventure.

#10 Eat fish or paella by the beach

Towards the beach side of La Barceloneta, you’ll find plenty of restaurants that open up to the Mediterranean sea, choose a restaurant by the beach, that will make the rest of the evening. A nice bottle of Catalan wine, few tapas, and rice will reveal why is so nice to spend more than 12 hours in Barcelona.

I hope you enjoyed this itinerary to get the best of Barcelona in 12 hours, please share it with the world!