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Barcelona, Spain

1st trip to Spain! What can't I miss?

Traveling to Spain for the 1st time, primarily Barcelona. I have 3 weeks time! Looking for recommendations, please!

10 Answers

answered first by
Crystal from Anchorage


There is a lot you can see in three weeks in Spain. It's nice that you are able to dedicate the time to the region. I would guess that you are flying into Barcelona which is a great place to start. 

Girona is another place worth checking out with several sites.

Figueres is famous for their Dalí Theatre-Museum.

If you want to check out the Basque Country for some pintxos, you could start by heading to the larger city of Bilbao and then head to San Sebastian. For a quiet yet beautifully dramatic beach, go to ZumaiaVitoria-Gasteiz is a small historic town which won a big award for being the greenest city in Europe a few years back. They don't have a ton of attractions so to speak but it is a fun place to go out on Thursday nights. That's the night where most bars have a specialty 1 Euro pintxo and 1 Euro glass of wine (good wine too!). Speaking of wine, there are several vineyards to visit in the Basque area to taste and learn.

Madrid is a place you will probably end up, and they have a big variety of attractions too.

Balearic Islands are often overlooked on Spanish itineraries, but they are beautiful and so worth seeing. Palma de Mallorca, the major city of the islands is accessible by ferry or plane.

I could really keep going all day, but one more "must-see" place I will mention is Alhambra in Granada. This stunning Moorish structure is a UNESCO Heritage Site you could wonder around all day.

I hope this is enough to get started! I'm happy to give you some more specific suggestions based on your interests and ideas. There is a lot too Spain and something for everyone I believe. Just contact me through The Traveler's Toast if you want to talk it over.

Happy Travels!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Spain (country)
  2. Barcelona (city)
  3. Girona (city)
  4. Figueres (city)
  5. Dalí Theatre-Museum (attraction)
  6. Bilbao (city)
  7. San Sebastian (city)
  8. Zumaia (city)
  9. Vitoria-Gasteiz (city)
  10. Madrid (city)
  11. Balearic Islands (attraction)
  12. Palma de Mallorca (attraction)
  13. Alhambra (attraction)
  14. Granada (city)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
verity from London

Parc Güell above all and then meander back through the streets and get tapas at a local joint - Morryssom (very relaxed and local).

Bar Mut is my favourite bar (floor to ceiling bodega)

Above all avoid las ramblas and the food there (its not spanish and not true Barcelona)!

 Ive also heard a great day trip is to Sitges.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Parc Güell (attraction)
  2. Morryssom (restaurant)
  3. Bar Mut (restaurant)
  4. Sitges (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Jahn from Barcelona

Hi Robert!

Welcome to Spain! My personal don't miss list:

Enjoy Basílica de la Sagrada Família but reserve online in order not to get into the long lines.

Have a lovely and rustic weekend only BBQ with a different perspective at La Caseta del Migdia.

Enjoy some of the best food in town hidden away in Les Corts Fragments Cafè.

And of course check out my free weekend guide... #BCN - by locals - weekend.

Enjoy Barcelona

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Basílica de la Sagrada Família (attraction)
  2. La Caseta del Migdia (restaurant)
  3. Fragments Cafè (attraction)
  4. Barcelona (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Lauren from Toronto

Don't miss the Pyrenees mountains! Spend as much time there as you can, absolutely breathtaking :) 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pyrenees (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Kirin from Chicago, Illinois

Hey there.  

Barcelona is a really great town to just walk around and get lost in.  If you would like to get a sense of the people and culture, they have a really big couchsurfing(.com) community, with many events to meet locals and other travelers who can give you an inside perspective on the town.

I always recommend staying in hostels because you will meet many other travelers who will offer you more suggestions and stories about where to go than you can keep up with.  I'm in my late 30's so I avoid the youth party places, but there are always more eclectic diverse places that attract people of different age groups that are great.  And if you're not into the dorm thing the hostels often have private rooms for a lot cheaper than hotels.  

Spain has a ridiculously amazing history, and has been influenced by so many different cultures.  Anything historical (walking tours are great) in Spain is super fricken interesting.  Some of the best architecture I've ever seen was in Spain.

If you are going to other places outside of Barcelona, I'd recommend taking several days to visit Grenada.  It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  The old town is preserved in the style that goes back a thousand years ago and it has a really cool beatnik hippie vibe. 

Also, I didn't make it, but the coastal towns north of Barcelona are supposed to be epically beautiful.  Making your way up to Figueres to visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum and maybe venturing up into Basque country would probably be spectacular.  Or heading to northern coast of Spain would also be cool.  San Sebastian is supposed to be beautiful and has some of the best food in the world, and on the way you could possibly swing by the bull running in Pamplona.  There are so many cool little places in Spain all with their own unique style that no matter what direction you go I'm sure you will find something amazing. 

Have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Barcelona (city)
  2. Spain (country)
  3. Grenada (attraction)
  4. Figueres (city)
  5. Dalí Theatre-Museum (attraction)
  6. San Sebastian (city)
  7. Pamplona (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Krista from San Francisco

Hi Robert,

I just went to Barcelona for the first time, and wrote up all of the things to do and not to do. Needless to say, we tried to cram a lot into four days - and did some things right, and got some things very wrong (buy the Metro pass!)

Don't miss:

Don't forget to buy tickets to everything online in advance. Many attractions sell out or have incredibly long lines. :(

Enjoy your trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Parc Güell (attraction)
  2. Casa Batlló (attraction)
  3. La Pedrera (attraction)
  4. Museu Picasso (attraction)
  5. Gothic Quarter (attraction)
  6. Eixample (attraction)
  7. La Rambla (attraction)
  8. Mercat De La Boquería (attraction)
  9. Sagrada Família (attraction)

answered by
Derek from Seattle

Barcelona has so much to offer that you'll be able to spend as much time as you like there. I second Crystal's recommendation of Girona, too: it's a beatiful little city. From Catalunya, the trip to Madrid will give you a chance to check out Spain's excellent high-speed rail system (or you can take a short plane flight).

However, I'd be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to encourage you to visit AndalucíaSeville is a delightful city where you'll find a ton of history (La Giralda and Royal Alcázar of Seville), culture (this is the capital of flamenco!), and food and drink (tapas are from this area). Fascinating cities such as Cordoba (Spain) and Cadiz are short trips away, as is Gibraltar in case you want to see what a British territory in Spain looks like.

Anyway, Spain is a wonderful country, and you can't really go wrong. ¡Aproveche!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Barcelona (city)
  2. Girona (city)
  3. Madrid (city)
  4. Andalucía (attraction)
  5. Seville (city)
  6. La Giralda (attraction)
  7. Royal Alcázar of Seville (attraction)
  8. Cordoba (Spain) (city)
  9. Cadiz (city)
  10. Gibraltar (attraction)

answered by
Kim from Canada

In Barcelona we stayed in and fell in love with El Born as you could walk to Barrio Gótico de Barcelona, La Rambla Barceloneta and were close to the park and zoo. The neighbourhood itself is filled with galleries, cafes, bars and has a great liveable quality to it. Not to be missed!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. El Born (metro area)
  2. Barrio Gótico de Barcelona (attraction)
  3. La Rambla (attraction)
  4. Barceloneta (attraction)

answered by
Brenda from Long Beach

Robert, what a great choice! I would start in Barcelona. Five days at least.You must visit Sagrada Família and at least one of the Gaudi homes (Casa Batllóor Casa Pedreda). You must eat at least one meal at Ciudad Condal. If you are a foodie and want to see where the locals hang do the Aborigins - Local food insiders tour. Go to Tibidabo and have a drink or coffee at Mirablau (best view of the city). Visit Barrio Gótico de Barcelona and the cathedral and maybe the Picasso museum. Do a day trip to Sitges or go to Cadaqués and see the Dalí Theatre-Museum after going to the Dali museum. Walk La Rambla in the morning and stop by El Quim de la Boqueriain the Boqueria for a bite after you stroll the market. Then walk past the Christopher Columbus monument and past the Lichtenstein sculpture of Barcelona to the beach. Go to El Born and have some Jamon and a pastry from bubó

I would then fly to Madrid visit the Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. After 3 or 4 days in Madrid, I would head to North central Spain and visit San Sebastian (beautiful beach and a destination for foodies with several Michillen star restaurants) and travel to Bilbao and go to the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao.

Finally, I would head to Southern Spain and Andalucía. Start in Sevillefor 3 or 4 daus. Walk across the bridge to to Trianaand see how the locals live. Visit the Cathedral, the Alcazar De San Juan, and Plaza Espana. Eat at least one meal at Ovejas Negras

Train to Cordoba (Spain) and spend the night after visiting the Mezquita Tariq Bin Ziyad and eat at Bodegas Mezquita.

Finally, train to Granada and see the Alhambra (no words). Watch the best flamenco, and definitely have tapas ay La Tana.  

 .....lucky you

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Barcelona (city)
  2. Sagrada Família (attraction)
  3. Casa Batlló (attraction)
  4. Ciudad Condal (restaurant)
  5. Tibidabo (attraction)
  6. Mirablau (attraction)
  7. Barrio Gótico de Barcelona (attraction)
  8. Sitges (city)
  9. Cadaqués (attraction)
  10. Dalí Theatre-Museum (attraction)
  11. El Quim de la Boqueria (restaurant)
  12. El Born (metro area)
  13. bubó (restaurant)
  14. Madrid (city)
  15. Museo del Prado (attraction)
  16. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (attraction)
  17. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (attraction)
  18. San Sebastian (city)
  19. Museo Guggenheim Bilbao (attraction)
  20. Andalucía (attraction)
  21. Seville (city)
  22. Triana (attraction)
  23. Alcazar De San Juan (city)
  24. Ovejas Negras (restaurant)
  25. Cordoba (Spain) (city)
  26. Mezquita Tariq Bin Ziyad (attraction)
  27. Bodegas Mezquita (restaurant)
  28. Granada (city)
  29. Alhambra (attraction)
comments (1)

answered by
Ashley from Calgary

Just a short train ride outside of Barcelona the mountaintop Montserrat is stunning, I'd say it is a definite must see. Before we even went into the "town" we walked the trail below the monastery and it was so peaceful.

Granada is also very beautiful and you must check out the Alhambra when you are there. The Moorish influences in the area are different from a lot of what you're used to in Europe and it's lovely.

Valencia is also great and  just down the coast from Barcelona. Gorgeous beaches and lots of vibrancy!

Madrid is different from Barcelona in a lot of ways but it is beautiful and really charming. It doesn't seem to get as much love as Barca but it is a great city with lovely architecture, large squares, lots of parks and world class museums. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Barcelona (city)
  2. Montserrat (attraction)
  3. Granada (city)
  4. Alhambra (attraction)
  5. Valencia (city)
  6. Madrid (city)

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