With temperatures still around 13 to 17 degrees at this time of year, visitors for a short weekend in Barcelona can enjoy a seaside location with fewer crowds, as well as plenty of cultural activities and historical sites to visit. The city is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, many of which were created by architect and designer Antoni Gaudí, who was at the forefront of the Art Nouveau movement in Spain.

As a Mediterranean city, Barcelona also benefits from excellent beaches and (usually) good weather. Moreover, as a walkable city with a mild climate, it is a great place to visit at any time of the year, including the winter months. Founder Susie Marquis discusses her must-see places, even if only visiting this incredible city for a short weekend…

Short Weekend in Barcelona at Casa Mila
Short Weekend in Barcelona: Casa Milà

Gaudi’s work included some of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks, including Casa Milà (also known as La Pedrera), Casa Vicens and Gaudi’s first house, Casa Batlló, now a museum.

If visiting Barcelona for the first time, we would highly recommend walking to visit all three, and exploring both the incredible interiors and exteriors. Strongly ahead of his time, Gaudi’s architectural style uses arches and mosaics to create designs that are truly awe-inspiring. A must-see!

Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family) is undoubtedly one of Barcelona’s top attractions to visit. Standing tall above the city, it is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world and due to be completed in 2026.

This monumental building is one that must be seen to be believed, and is incredible from both the outside and inside, with standout architectural techniques used throughout.

Short Weekend in Barcelona at Sagrada Familia
Short Weekend in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia
Park Guell - Short Weekend in Barcelona
Short Weekend in Barcelona: Park Güell

Another masterpiece from Gaudi is Park Güell, with its colourful mosaics and views across the city and to the sea. A true explosion of colour and design, this park is famous for its spectacular array of nature-inspired architectural forms and use of bright, bold colours, coming together to create an incredible space away from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona’s streets.

We’d recommend spending the morning here in the high season before the crowds (and the heat!) arrive, and no matter what time of year you plan to visit, make sure to book your ticket online before venturing as it is often sold out on the day.

Closer to the main districts of central Barcelona is the Parc de la Ciutadella. A green space in the heart of the city, this park houses the Barcelona Zoo and the Catalan Parliament, with the Museu d’Art Modern found here too. With the memorial arch of the Arc de Triomf making its mark as you walk through, make sure to explore the park’s lake where you can rent a rowing boat, or simply relax with a picnic.

Short Weekend in Barcelona: Parc de la Ciutadella
Short Weekend in Barcelona: Gothic Quarter

While there is so much to see and do at every turn in Barcelona, we would recommend exploring Barcelona’s oldest district, the atmospheric Gothic Quarter in the district of El Born. With its cobblestone streets and a good choice of shops, bars and restaurants, El Born is located is within walking distance of most city landmarks, including Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar, a Gothic church from the 14th century, and Palau de la Música, an art nouveau music hall and one of the best examples of Modernist architecture. 

El Born also offers a wide range of fine-dining restaurants, mostly offering Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine, as well as a good choice of bars. If you are cooking in your apartment, El Born also has an excellent market, Mercat Santa Caterina, offering a mix of local tapas bars where many locals shop and eat, as well as a broad range of fresh produce, seafood and meat. You can also find a great selection of souvenirs, spices and local products.

For art lovers, the Picasso Museum is open Tuesday to Sundays from 10am to 7pm and has over 3,500 of the artist’s works on display. Remaining in exile during the Franco years, Picasso considered Barcelona as home, and we recommend the highly-rated tour that is run by the Barcelona Tourism Board.

There are also many art galleries along the main Passeig de Gracia, as well as the previously mentioned locations of La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, two of Gaudí’s famous buildings along the way. Picasso used to live in this neighbourhood, and there is a walking tour available, La Ribera Tour. This medieval quarter has a little of everything, from high-end shopping to some of Barcelona’s liveliest tapas bars.

Additionally, the National Art Museum of Catalonia is situated on Montjuïc hill at the end of Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina and near Pl. Espanya, is known for its outstanding collection of Catalan art from the 19th and 20th Centuries. 

Short Weekend in Barcelona: Picasso Museum
Short Weekend in Barcelona: Skyline

Whatever you decide to do on your short weekend in Barcelona, you’re sure to find hidden gems on every corner. From small tapas restaurants to decades-old bars, just wandering this city’s many streets will keep you entertained.

Short on time? The city’s metro system is easy to use, and even some of the most central restaurants can deliver fantastic tapas and nibbles, including Iberico ham, local cheeses, patatas bravas and more.

Searching for the ideal luxury apartment in central Barcelona? Look no further, as we have a range of properties to suit. Click here to view all of our city centre apartments, and explore nearby places in Spain such as MadridSeville and the Costa del Sol to create a longer trip in this fantastic country.

Tempted by a Short Weekend in Barcelona or a European city break? From chic Paris to romantic Florence, discover the very finest in luxury apartment rentals here at The Luxury Travel Book.

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