Today on the blog we are pleased to bring you a post from guest writer, Andrés Martinez. Andrés is the Founder and CEO of Speakspots, a Spain and European-focused AI Travel Planner. He has traveled to 100+ cities in Europe (50+ of them in Spain) and has 8+ years of experience in Product and Tech across Mastercard, Deloitte, and the startup space (Speakspots, Aiia). From solo, to couple, to baby-friendly trips, he has tried it all in terms of travel formats. After having experienced dozens of issues while traveling (due to bad planning or lack of time), he is now driven to create the ultimate AI travel planning tool to save you hours planning a trip, while preventing any inconvenience from ruining your trip due to bad planning.
On top of all of that, he was born and raised in Barcelona, so we knew he was the perfect person to ask to provide our readers with tips for planning a fantastic trip to this popular destination. Without further ado, we bring you Andrés.
Arriving at an attraction which is closed, spending more time commuting than enjoying, spending twice my budget… these are just a few of the issues I have had while visiting 50+ cities across Spain.
In 2019 I decided to start building Speakspots: an AI travel planner, with a focus in Spain (our first pilot market since 2021). Over the last four years, I have brain dumped into Speakspots 50+ travel planning rules, based on the lessons learned over my trips.
Barcelona was the first city we tested on our platform as I know it well. I have visited Barcelona over a dozen times as a tourist! So let me share a few travel tips to help you plan your next trip to Barcelona, combining my own travel experiences and Speakspots’ AI recommendations.
How many days should you stay in Barcelona?
If this is your first time in Barcelona – my advice is you stay a minimum of three days in Barcelona (for example: you could arrive Friday evening and leave Sunday evening). We prepared at Speakspots the accompanying infographic based on 800+ itineraries organized by our users to Barcelona. Three days in Barcelona is the top choice, by nearly half the users.
You need at the very minimum, two full days to visit the top attractions and districts. However, adding a third will enable you to properly sightsee and wander around the many interesting streets and squares in each district. Also, you should allocate some spare time to visit the multiple interesting spots inside Parc Guell or Parc de la Ciutadella.
What about staying more than three days in Barcelona? A fourth or fifth day is probably not worth spending in Barcelona, and you could instead do a day trip to beautiful seaside town Sitges or a one-day nature getaway to Montserrat’s mountain and monastery.
Best weekdays to visit Barcelona
The majority of Barcelona’s top attractions open every day of the week, both in the morning and afternoon. So you won’t find “Closed” signs on Sunday or Monday.
Best dates to visit Barcelona
May and June are the best months to visit Barcelona. April is typically a very rainy month in Barcelona. July and August are peak season (you will find long queues on the top attractions and the streets will be packed). September and October also tend to be rainy. May and June are my favourite time of the year to visit Barcelona.
Barcelona’s local council has published historical rain statistics by month since 2000. So feel free to check for yourself here.
Now that we have decided how long to visit Barcelona and when to go, let’s look at other factors you might want to consider.
Free indoor activities on a rainy day in Barcelona
There are plenty of free outdoor attractions to enjoy in Barcelona: Parc de la Ciutadella, Barceloneta seaside area, Paseo de Gracia street, la Rambla street, Gotico old town, El Born hipster district, etc. It is also free to take “from the outside,” a good glance at the modernist architecture buildings across Gracia and Eixample districts without paying any ticket (Sagrada Familia, Pedrera, Casa Batllo…).
But what can you do if it rains?
The most popular indoor attractions in Barcelona are modernist architecture buildings, with exorbitant ticket prices. An adult ticket to Sagrada Familia, Pedrera and Casa Batllo would cost you 75 euros in total (25 euros each). Furthermore, the most popular museums have ticket prices well above 10 euros.
If you are traveling to Barcelona, the weather forecast is not great, and you are on a budget… do not worry. You still have some options to save the day.
If you want to spend a gastronomic day, you can visit Boqueria Market and Concepcion Market. Just take your time and explore as many culinary delights as you can from as many different food stands as you can. If you eat all at once, in a rush, from a single food stand – you will not be enjoying the “tapas” Spanish tradition at all. Try to pick only one “tapa” per food stand and you can easily spend an afternoon, while enjoying some food and drinks.
Most museums in Barcelona cost more than 10 euros to visit. But Speakspots’ AI has helped me find a few interesting museums to visit for under 10 euros. Out of these options, here is my personal top 3 pick: CosmoCaixa science museum (4.7 stars on Google Maps), CaixaForum cultural centre (4.5 stars on Google Maps) and Catalan Museum of Archaeology (4.4 stars on Google Maps).
If you are interested in History or Photography, you will enjoy visiting one of the free exhibitions at the Photography Archive of Barcelona as well.
How to minimize commuting time between attractions, through distance optimization
Apart from the famous Rambla, the top 5 districts to visit in Barcelona are: Gracia (Bohemian), Eixample (Modernist), Gotico (Old Town), Barceloneta (Seaside) and Born (Trendy).
To optimize distances and reduce commuting to the minimum possible, you should visit these districts over a minimum of two full days. For instance, the walking time from Parc Guell in Gracia to Barceloneta is 90 minutes. So I advise you not to visit these two districts on the same day, if you can avoid it.
On the first day of your trip, you could visit Gracia and Eixample. Popular attractions in this area are Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Paseo de Gracia street, Plaza Cataluña square and a handful of famous modernist buildings such as Casa Batllo and Pedrera. I advise that you commute to the north side of Gracia and start your day either at Sagrada Familia or Parc Guell. Then, you can progressively walk southwards towards Eixample. If you have some spare time, once you reach the south side of Eixample, you could visit part of Rambla street and Gotico.
Popular attractions near Rambla and Gotico are Portal de l’Angel street, Plaza de Sant Jaume square, Plaza del Rey square, Plaza Real square, Catedral de Barcelona, Pont del Bisbe monument, Palacio Guell palace, Boqueria market, Plaza Real square and Columbus monument.
On your second day, you can continue visiting whatever you missed in Rambla and Gotico, before visiting Barceloneta and Born.
Popular attractions in Barceloneta to enjoy the seaside are the Paseo Marítimo area, Playa Barceloneta beach, Parc de la Barceloneta and Port Olimpic area. Barceloneta is a great place to try local seafood or paella, but make sure to book in advance over the phone during peak season and specify verbally that you want a table at “primera línea de mar” (right on the seafront)!
From Barceloneta, you are just 15 minutes away by walking from Born district. Popular attractions in Born trendy neighbourhood are Parc de la Ciutadella, Museo Picasso, Santa Maria del Mar church and Born market.
How can Speakspots help you plan your trip to Barcelona?
If you do not want to spend hours planning your next trip to Barcelona, why don’t you try Speakspots? Our AI Travel planner is available in 6 languages, it is very easy to use, and you can activate our AI travel assistant on WhatsApp for free. Here you can plan your 3-day itinerary in Barcelona.
It only takes one minute to complete our brief questionnaire and Speakspots will perform over 150,000 calculations (based on 50+ rules and hundreds of attractions) to find the best itinerary for you and your travel dates.
These 50+ rules are based on my own travel experience and are designed to find the optimal balance between conflicting optimization factors such as: distance optimization, value for money optimization, prioritize high-rated over low-rated attractions, and many more!
Barcelona 3-day itinerary: https://speakspots.com/newuser/three-days-in-barcelona-itinerary
Thank you so much to Andrés for this insightful look at planning an optimized trip to Barcelona. We think the trip planning tool he’s built at SpeakSpots is really cool and we can’t wait to use it when planning our travels in the future. Be sure to check it out at the links provided above!