Self-guided Barcelona Walking Tour
This is a self-guided and therefore free walking tour of Barcelona that takes at least 2 hours. Depending on how much you stop for pictures, tapas and exploring along the way 🙂
I have taken almost all my visitors on this tour because it covers some of the mayor attractions, some hidden gems and a few of my personal favorite places to see in Barcelona.
It’s the perfect walking tour if you want to explore Barcelona on foot in one day.
Where to start the Barcelona Walking Tour
This is a circular route, so you can start anywhere. I will start at Estacio de Franca for the sake of this post. Other metro stops along this route include: Arc de Triumf, Jaume I, Lieceu, Barceloneta.
Estacio de Francia
This historic train station is worth popping into! Iron gates lead into the great hall with its domed ceiling and tiled floor. This is the station I go to when I take day trips, such as towns along the Costa Brava.
Park de la Ciutadella
Past the station are the gates to the Park de la Ciutadella. As you enter you will also see the entrance to the zoo, one of the fun things to with kids in Barcelona. There is a lake in the park where you can rent a rowing boat, in case you are romantically inclined 🙂
The coolest thing to see in this park is the Cascade Fountain. It is at the far corner from where you entered. From there, walk towards the Castell del tres Dragons. On the right you will see the park exit that leads straight to the Arc de Triumf.
Arc de Triumf
Get closer if you want to take better pictures of the Arch. But then come back to the Castell del tres Dragons. Cross Passeig Picasso and walk straight until you reach el Mercat del Born.
Museo de Xocolate
A a few steps away you’ll find the chocolate museum. Worth a visit if you can spare the time.
Mercat del Born
In the early 2000s the city was going to build a library at this site, but then the ancient foundations were discovered during excavation works. Instead of a library, they build a roof over the archeological site. Now you can visit this site for free and learn about local history. Fabulous if you are exploring Barcelona on a budget!
Passeig del Born
Upon exiting, straight ahead of you there is Passeig del Born – a great spot to grab an ice cream or refill your water bottle at the fountain. These bars get busy at night, as Born is a popular area for nightlife.
Basilica Santa Maria del Mar
Continue straight ahead to the church Santa Maria del Mar. This gothic cathedral is tucked away in narrow streets on Gotico and worth seeing from the inside. If you look closely, you can notice that the columns in the center of the church have slightly bent over time under the pressure of the stone ceiling they support.
Exit through the door across from the altar and turn right into Carrer de l’ Argenteria. Walk towards Placa St. Jaume. If you need to do any souvenir shopping, this street offers plenty of opportunity. On weekends you’ll find local artists selling their handiwork from stalls along the left side of the street.
Or take a little detour and explore the alleys on the right for galleries and shops of local brands.
Cross Via Laietana to Placa St Jaume and turn right towards el Catedral. On this square you will find a historic bakery with delicious pastries in the windows. Picture speaks for itself 🙂
el Catedral de Barcelona
Famous cathedral. Often crowded during summer months and lines are long to get in. But it’s one of those must-see places in Barcelona so I put it on the agenda here. Around the corner from the Cathedral is the Fredrik Mares museum, which is my favorite museum in Barcelona.
They have a few floors dedicated to Modernist culture that give you great insight into what life was like during the time star architect Antoni Gaudi lived in Barcelona.
The shopping street Carrer de la Portaferrissa leads you to la Rambla.
Every itinerary of Barcelona includes La Rambla. It’s packed with people! Watch your stuff when you walk here. Pickpockets are used to easy pray here. If you would like to extend your walking tour of Barcelona, turn right and continue on towards Placa Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia to see some of Gaudi’s famous architecture.
Otherwise turn left and take in a few blocks of La Rambla. There are flower shops and artists here that make it a nice stroll. But I have no found a single restaurant here that was worth a visit. To me it’s a red flag each time a restaurant has pictures of their food on the menu and they all do.
Along la Rambla you will find the market of La Boqueria. Another one of those very touristy places that is on every itinerary of Barcelona, so if you want to buy fresh produce or fish or spices, knock yourself out. Then continue down la Rambla until on the left side you reach Place Reial.
A quiet square with no roads, tucked away just meters away from busy la Rambla. There is a fountain in the middle, two Gaudi designed lamp posts and tons on restaurants along each side. Palm trees are sprinkled on the square and in the evenings often you will see acrobats showing off their talent here.
In the far right corner there is an opening leading to narrow alleys. Walk towards the water, same direction as you were walking on La Rambla but with fewer people around. This will give you an honest impression of Barcelona, as these streets are not polished for mass tourism.
You will come out of the narrow labyrinth when you hit Passeig Colon. The Columbus statue is on your right. This palm tree lined street is a mayor traffic axis through Barcelona. The old town on the left and the old Port on the right, walk towars Estacio de Franca to complete the circle.
You will be passing three of my favorite rooftop bars in Barcelona here: the Soho House, the Duquesa de Cardona and the Serras. Stop by for a cocktail or glass of wine with a view over the old port, the Mare Magum shopping mall, Barceloneta and the Mediterranean Sea if you like.
When you see this colorful statue on Passeig Colon you have another option of extenting this self-guided walking tour of Barcelona. If you keep walking straight you will get back to where we started. If you turn right, you will walk past the Museum of Catalan history (which also has a nice rooftop bar!) to Passeig Joan de Borbo. This road leads to Barceloneta Beach.
You see how you can easily turn this route into an itinerary for Barcelona in one day if you explore all the options and go for a swim in the sea at the end. But if you only stop occasinally for pictures without taking longer breaks, this tour can be finished in two hours.
Hope you have fun trying out this tour! Feel free to comment with questions!