Barcelona is not such a huge city as London or New York, yet it is full of unmissable touristic places. Even though several weeks would not be enough to visit this mesmerizing city, I decided to concentrate the visit in 3 days choosing the attractions that, in my opinion, must not be left unseen.
You can start the visit with the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site. The closest metro station is “Sant Pau | Dos de Maig”, blue line L5. This building originally was a hospital, now it has been converted to a wonderful modernist and Art Nouveau site that can be visited inside. Despite its rooms being empty, the decorations of the walls and the inner courtyard make the Sant Pau a very original attraction, if you consider that it was build to be a hospital.
From the Sant Pau, you can walk through the Avinguda de Gaudì, a pedestrian road that crosses the chessboard plan of the district leading straight to the Sagrada Familia. Please remember that it is only possible to book it online in advanced (one-two days is enough).
It is now necessary to use the transportation to get to the Park Güell, the fairy park designed by Gaudì. The easiest and fastest way is to get a taxi (my suggestion is to download the MyTaxy App), otherwise from the Sagrada you may walk around 700 metres to get to Passeig de Sant Joan, where you can catch the bus V19 that will leave you in front of the park (the stop is Ramiro de Maetzu - C.N. Catalunya).
The last part of this first day in Barcelona is the Bunkers del Carmel, a free open-air space where to admire the whole city from above. The Bunkers are set around 20 minutes on foot from Park Güell, but if preferred you can take the bus 24 from the same stop where you hopped off before (Ramiro de Maetzu - C.N. Catalunya).
I chose the Bunkers not only because they are quite close the park, but also because this is my favorite panoramic place in the city.
This day will be focused on the historical centre and the surroundings. You can start with the Triumph Arch. The L1 red line stops directly there. Personally I really love this area as it is very lively, there is a lot of green, and it is all pedestrian. Take the street that leads from the Arch to the Ciutadella park. This park is not very big, actually it is quite small compared to the parks of other major cities. Yet, there is a wonderful monumental area inside it, as well a lake where you can rent a rowboat, and a relaxing path under the trees.
If you have the Triumph Arch at your back, exit from the right side of the park, and go inside the El Born district. Its main road is Carrer de la Princesa, where the Picasso Museum is located. Pay attention, it is mandatory to book weeks in advance as the museum is always full.
From here, go straight-wards on the Princesa street, and you will head to the Jaume I metro station. Here the Gothic Quartier starts with its huge and monumental Via Laietana. The places not to be missed in this area are: the Santa Maria del Mar church, the Barcelona Cathedral, the gothic bridge, and the square with the Catalonian government. It is very easy to reach the latter one. From Jaume I go straight on along the Carrer de Ferran, you will reach the square and, if you still go on on the same road, you will arrive at the famous Rambla.
The ending of the Rambla is especially very nice, with the Columbus Monument and the sea view from the Ramble de Mar, an elevated pedestrian path.
A full day should be dedicated to the well-known houses that Gaudì gave to the city of Barcelona, those along the Passeig de Gracia. Take the metro and get out at Diagonal (L3 green line and L5 blue line), then have a great walk all the way to Catalunya Square. Passeig de Gracia is the main road for luxury shopping with the wonderful window-shops by worldwide famous boutiques, but here you can also find the more affordable clothing brands. Along the road you can admire Gaudì’s houses Battlò and Milà (or La Pedrera). They are amazing from the outside, and mind-blowing from the inside. My suggestion is to purchase the online tickets in advance, as these houses are always full of tourists. Please note: at the moment (march 2019) the Battlò house is under reconstruction, and the façade is fully packed up. Visit the website for more information.
Catalunya Square is the beating heart of Barcelona, the place where two famous streets actually start, the Rambla on one side, and the Portal del Angel on the other one (the latter being a pedestrian road that leads to the Cathedral). Moreover, for those who may be interested, the Hard Rock Cafè is located on this square.
From Catalunya square you can reach the second main square of the city by metro (L1 red line), Plaza Espanya. Despite being a bit outside the city centre, this is a must-see in Barcelona. It is a monumental area of the city with the Venetian towers, the magic fountain, the National Art Museum of Catalonia, and the mesmerizing view from the top of the stairway. The Las Arenas is located here, too. It was originally used for the traditional corrida (bull fight), today it is a shopping mall with restaurants and a great view from the top floor.