You could probably spend two weeks in Barcelona and still not see everything – but the truth is, most people who come to this wonderfully cultural city only have a few days at their disposal. The good news is that it’s a highly accessible place, with a decent transport system and comfortable walking distances, so it’s not hard to squeeze in quite a few of its highlights in a short space of time, if need be.
48 Fabulous Hours in Barcelona
If you only have 48 hours in the city, here’s a suggested itinerary that does more than simply scratch the surface of its cultural and historical highlights. While it certainly doesn’t cover everything, that just leaves room for you to plan to come back next year…
The Gothic Quarter and La Rambla
On day one of your stay, taking a stroll around the authentic Gothic Quarter is a fantastic introduction to the city. As you wander the charming cobbles, you can almost feel the history of its ancient narrow streets unfolding around you. Pop into quaint craft shops and boutiques, stop for some local coffee and delicacies (or tapas) in a cafe, and take in famous highlights like the Cathedral, the El Born artists’ area and, of course, the iconic street known as La Rambla.
La Sagrada Família
After lunch (slip into a side-street off La Rambla to escape the tourists), it’s time for the most famous of all the city’s highlights: Gaudí’s La Sagrada Família. This huge, unfinished basilica has become renowned around the world for its quirky (and some say ugly) exteriors and jaw-dropping interiors. You’ll certainly have an opinion one way or another after you’ve experienced it in person.
Love him or hate him, there’s no escaping Gaudí’s work here, so you might as well embrace it – and Park Guell gives you plenty of opportunities. Aside from the artworks dotted throughout, a wander through this lovely UNESCO World Heritage Site to the highest point delivers stunning views over the city. You can also visit the Casa Museu Gaudí, where the famous artist and architect lived and take a very interesting guided tour.
By the time you get back to your hotel you’ll be ready to enjoy some wine and tapas! Again, make sure you veer off the beaten tourist path and find somewhere out of the way so it’s more authentic.
On day two you’ll already be charmed by Barcelona, so you’ll no doubt be raring to go! After a hearty breakfast (try a traditional fried dough stick called a churro), it’s time to get cultural.
There’s a host of excellent galleries and museums you could visit, but the most popular is, without doubt, the Picasso Museum. Home to more than 4,000 artworks, it’s set over three levels and five houses, and offers a fascinating and comprehensive insight into the Spanish Master. You’re free to explore at leisure, or you can join a guided tour.
There’s no need to expend too much energy to get up this hill, as the funicular will not only get you there in quick-smart time, it’s also a wonderful way to enjoy the views over the city on the way up. After a walk around, you can then jump in the cable car, which will take you the rest of the way up to Montjuïc Castle, along with some stunning gardens, the Miró Foundation, and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The panoramic views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, so it’s worth allowing yourself at least a few hours to explore without feeling rushed.
Beach in afternoon
What better way to wind down and relax for your final afternoon than on the beach? You’ve got plenty of choices within easy distance of the city centre, but the most convenient (and popular) is La Barceloneta. At more than 1,100m long, with lots of sun loungers and facilities, it’s pretty impressive, and you’ll be able to swim and sunbathe to your heart’s content. If you fancy something a little quieter, you might want to head to Bogatell, which is just as well-facilitated but with fewer tourists.
Sunset Sailing Cruise
After two days of action-packed fun, a sailing cruise on a catamaran is a great way to end your mini-break – and also a chance to get a different view of the city entirely. As you cruise along the coastline, sipping wine and watching the sun set over the horizon, you may even be graced by the presence of dolphins. A perfect end to a perfect 48 hours in one of the most fascinating and lively cities in Europe.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Arts Barcelona: Set right in the heart of the action overlooking the stunning beachfront, the Hotel Arts offers luxury accommodation and world-class service. A host of onsite facilities includes a 2-Michelin-Starred restaurant, bars, a hair salon and luxury fashion boutiques. Spoil yourself!
Olivia Plaza Hotel: In a fabulous location on Plaza Catalunya, the Olivia Plaza enjoys tranquil views over the famous Santa Ana church. Close to all the city centre attractions, this design hotel offers elegant, well-appointed rooms with all the conveniences of home, and more. Las Ramblas is 100m away, and the Gothic Quarter is just a ten minute walk.
Exe Plaza Catalunya: Within walking distance of many of the city attractions, the Exe Plaza offers chic, spacious rooms with air-conditioning, flat screen TVs, private bathrooms, and a balcony. There’s also a fabulous roof terrace where you can enjoy a drink and fantastic views over the city.
How to Get There
Getting to beautiful Barcelona from the UK is a cinch. The average flight time to Barcelona Airport is just over two hours, with numerous airlines servicing the route. You’ll have a great choice of times from budget airlines and British Airways, so it’s not hard to find one to suit. Once you land at the airport, the very best way to get to your accommodation in the city or surrounds is on a convenient airport transfer from Barcelona with Shuttle Direct. Depending on traffic it will take around 40 minutes and you’ll be enjoying wine and tapas before you know it!
UK to Barcelona Flight Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
BCN to Barcelona Distance: 14.5 kilometres
Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 40 minutes
Types of Barcelona Airport Transfer Services
Shuttle Bus: A shared shuttle transfer from Barcelona Airport is one of the most popular options to get to city destinations. The cost is shared with other travellers who’ve booked, so it is a fantastic, affordable choice for those watching the holiday budget.
Taxi: While a taxi is convenient, standing in a queue is not! A pre-booked airport taxi from Barcelona Airport will negate the need to stand in line with everyone else, as it will be waiting for you as soon as you land.
Private Transfer: A private transfer from Barcelona Airport is a great way to start your holiday in style. A friendly driver will meet you at the airport and whisk you directly to the door of your accommodation in the fastest way.
Minibus Transfer: If you’re travelling with a larger group of friends or extended family, a minibus transfer from Barcelona Airport to Barcelona accommodation is the most effective way to fit everyone and their luggage in comfortably. Not only is it more affordable than having to hire several vehicles, it is also more practical to be able to travel together.
Choosing the Right Barcelona Airport Transfer
As soon as you’ve booked your flights, it’s time to pre-book your airport transfer from Barcelona. But the kind of service you book will depend on your personal preference, which generally comes down to a matter of cost and convenience.
Cost: We recommend you carefully compare the cost of each service that’s offered to see what suits. A shared transfer will obviously be much cheaper than a private one, so it’s completely your decision if budget is your main priority.
Convenience: If convenience is the most important thing to you, then you’ll be best off choosing a private transfer from Barcelona Airport. You’ll have the vehicle all to yourself and be picked up and delivered right to the door of your accommodation.
About Shuttle Direct
Here at Shuttle Direct we’re proud of our renowned service, which offers convenient, affordable airport pick-ups and drop-offs in destinations all over the world. We use only the best drivers who have great local knowledge and will get you to and from wherever you need to go with the minimum amount of fuss. No matter how you like to travel, and whatever your budget, our shared and private airport transport from Barcelona takes the stress out of holiday travel.