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  • Writer's picturetravelinggibson

24 Hour Layover in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain is an artistic city that is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia and has plenty of sites to see and food to eat. A visit should absolutely be for a few days if not longer, but if all you have available is a long layover before continuing on to another destination, this blog will show what I personally did during my 24 hour layover in Barcelona.


When arriving into Barcelona by air, you will land at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport which is roughly 16km from the main sites in the middle of Barcelona. Passport control can usually be a long wait to get through and then if you have a checked bag, that will take even longer, so account for at least 45 min to an hour before you can get to transportation.


To reach downtown Barcelona I recommend simply hopping onto the metro and ride L9 to Colblanc station and then transfer onto the L5 to reach whichever station is closest to your specific destination. I was stopping by my downtown hotel to drop my bag off so I exited at Diagonal station. You can continue on the line for another 2 stops to reach the Sagrada Familia stop. The metro ticket cost €5.15 for a one-way which is much cheaper than a taxi or Uber which averages €30-€40 one-way.


Mercado de La Boqueria

Potato Chips on a Stick

This indoor public market is famous for its offerings of meat, produce, cheese, and a wide selection of other food items. After a possibly long flight arriving into Barcelona, there is no better way to get situated exploring this city on a layover than to visit the market and get some delicious snacks.

Barcelona Market

I recommend getting either a spicy chicken or spicy meat empanada. It is also nice to pair it with a fruit drink that is available at quite a few stalls within the market. Another delicious snack available within the market are the potato chips on a stick, which are perfect for walking around.


Cathedral of Barcelona

After getting some snacks at the Boqueria Market it is a short 8 minute walk to reach the Cathedral of Barcelona. Barcelona has a plethora of cathedrals that all have some beautiful architecture, but this imposing gothic cathedral as well as the La Sagrada Familia both have outstanding designs that can you have you standing and staring for awhile.

Cathedral of Barcelona

Tickets are required to enter into the cathedral and if you are already going to La Sagrada Familia later, then it may feel repetitive to pay the €11 entrance fee. I personally did not go inside the cathedral, but when I hopefully revisit Barcelona for a longer stay, I plan to visit inside.

If you're incredibly efficient with your time during the layover, or more than likely with a longer visit to Barcelona, you have the option to purchase a combo ticket of the Barcelona Cathedral and the Barcino Sacra Card for €47.

This combo ticket includes entrance into the Barcelona Cathedral and Santa Maria del Mar, as well as others that are not so well known, such as Santa Maria del Pi, the Casa de la Almoina and the sanctuary of the Sacred Heart on Tibidabo, and others that are less well known, such as the ancient monasteries of Sant Pau del Camp and Sant Pere de les Puel-les or the church of the oratory of Sant Felip Neri in Barcelona.


La Sagrada Familia

If you're talking about Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia is more often than not going to be one of the first things that come to mind when it comes to sites to see. If you can only see one thing during a layover in Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia will leave you feeling content enough until you can revisit and spend more time exploring the city.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is the crown jewel and the unfinished work of Antoni Gaudi that began construction in the 1880's. Construction has only been stopped a handful of times throughout history and its most recent stoppage in 2020 has meant that its expected completion date is now expected to be delayed past 2026.

La Sagrada Familia

To visit La Sagrada Familia you must purchase tickets online and book a timeslot for when you may enter. It is also highly suggested to download the Sagrada Familia app on your phone for easy entry as well as providing information.

La Sagrada Familia

The ticket for entrance into the church is €26 and €30 with a guide. I highly suggest the ticket option that includes entrance into one of the two towers; Nativity tower or the Passion tower, which costs €36 or €40 with a guide.

La Sagrada Familia

Entrance into the church is based on a timeslot but once you are inside, you may spend as much time as you deem fit.

Other Sites to Visit

Depending on the time that you have given yourself you could try to squeeze in a few more sites, or substitute one of these with one listed above.

  • Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona

  • Barcelona Zoo

  • Aquàrium Barcelona

  • Sant Miquel Beach

  • La Pedrera-Casa Milà

  • Plaça de Catalunya



Barcelona: The Artistic City Worth A Longer Visit

Barcelona Paella

As I've written this blog, I become more steadfast that a layover in Barcelona is just not enough and more time is needed to experience all this city has to offer. However, the layover works well in getting a small taste of the city with the hope of revisiting for a longer time in the future. Thank you for your time reading, and if you have any questions or statements you can contact me at or on Instagram @travelinggibson.

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