Four hours in Barcelona: tips for time-starved travellers ??

You’re in Barcelona but only have half a day, or perhaps just four measly hours, to spare in the Catalan capital. So, what do you do?

It’s a tough call. Spain’s second city is after all one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.

Here are just a few suggestions for things to do and see if time is short.

Camp Nou

We put a shout out on our Facebook page for suggestions of what to do in Barcelona and the answer was emphatic: visit Camp Nou.

Home to FC Barcelona, more commonly known as Barça, since 1957, Camp Nou is Europe’s biggest stadium, with a capacity just shy of 100,000.

Time might be tight to watch a match. But you could try one of several guided tours. Options include a trip to the players’ changing room or a Virtual Experience experience to relive some of the team’s most exciting moments as if you were really there.

La Boqueria market

Barcelona is home to no fewer than 39 food markets. The best-known of these is the huge Boqueria market, along with the famous La Rambla (more of which below).

If your short stay in Barcelona happens to be in the morning, you’re in luck. The best time to visit the bustling market is early before the crowds descend.

Or you could head to one of the city’s smaller markets, such as La Barceloneta, which is also in the centre of the city.


You could do worse than spending your short time in Barcelona on the tapas trail, taking in some night spots and munching through a selection of these small dishes.

The Foodie in Barcelona blog recommends trendy Gula Bar in the Gràcia district, which it says is ‘re-imagining tapas’. Or among recommendations from the Barcelona Food Experience blog are Mont Bar in the Eixample Esquerra neighbourhood for “tapas dishes to share, many of them top-notch fish and seafood”.

Las Ramblas

La Rambla, AKA Las Ramblas, is Barcelona’s most famous street, full of shops, cafes, flower stands, street performers and the Boqueria market. Reports suggest a 2017 terrorist attack on busy boulevard has done little to dent its popularity among tourists.

Walk its 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) length from the lively Plaça de Catalunya square to the Christopher Columbus Monument at the port.

Gothic Quarter

If you find La Rambla a bit too hectic, then you’re in luck. Less than a 10-minute walk away is a slightly calmer alternative, the Gothic Quarter.

This is old Barcelona, a maze of narrow streets and squares. One of the best ways to find out a bit more about the history of the area is by taking a free walking tour. These leave daily at 11am and 3pm from Plaza Catalunya and can be booked online here.

Gaudi architecture

Since you’re in Barcelona, you’ll want a Gaudí fix, even if just in passing.

The architect’s most famous design is probably the Sagrada Família. But don’t expect to see it finished just yet. Construction of this distinctive church started in 1882 and isn’t due to be complete until 2026.

Or you could head to Casa Battlo, a townhouse on Passeig de Gràcia, a high-end shopping street which is itself worth a visit if you want to squeeze in a luxury shopping dash.

There are plenty of other options to take in Gaudí’s work, such as Unesco-listed Park Güell, to the north of Gràcia.

So much more

We’ve just scratched the surface with these tips. If you know of a better way to spend a few hours in the city, we’d love to see your suggestions.

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