Catalonia: 3 Days Itinerary - Dive into Spain's Diverse Northeast

Catalonia offers a rich tapestry of experiences, far beyond the bustling streets of Barcelona. Over 3 days, explore awe-inspiring architecture, savor tantalizing cuisine, and immerse yourself in the local culture. The region promises a mosaic of terrains from pristine beaches on the Costa Brava to snow-capped Pyrenees peaks.
Pro Tip:A car rental is almost a must for those tight on time but rich on wanderlust.

Day 1: The Grit and Glamour of Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

A beacon of modernist art, Sagrada Familia remains Antoni Gaudí’s magnum opus. As you wander through, you’ll find the cathedral’s intricate design elements spellbinding, a heady mix of surreal and divine.

  • Why Go: This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see in any Catalonia itinerary. It’s the epitome of Gaudí’s imaginative architecture.
  • How to Reach: The cathedral is centrally located in Barcelona. The most convenient method is the metro, stopping at the Sagrada Familia Station.
  • Pro Tip: Try to book tickets online several weeks in advance to secure an entry time that suits you. This also helps to avoid the famously long lines.

Park Güell

This park is a playground for the imagination, designed by none other than Antoni Gaudí. Between the colorful mosaics and the whimsical sculptures, every corner is a new surprise.

  • Why Go: It’s a wonderland for anyone keen on art, architecture, or simply some Instagram-worthy shots.
  • How to Reach: A quick bus ride from Barcelona’s central Passeig de Gracia will get you there.
  • Pro Tip: Arriving early will not only help you beat the crowds but give you the soft morning light perfect for photos.

La Rambla

La Rambla isn’t just a street; it’s a living, breathing entity teeming with life. From its flower stalls to its human statues, you’ll find a variety of activities and shops that make it a go-to spot for locals and tourists alike.

  • Why Go: A walking tour of La Rambla is like a crash course in Barcelona’s diverse cultural scene, an essential part of your Catalonia itinerary.
  • How to Reach: It’s just a 10-minute metro ride from Park Güell, making it an easy next stop.
  • Pro Tip: While it’s a bustling area, it’s also a hotspot for pickpockets, so be extra cautious with your belongings.

For tourists who want to dive deeper into the Barcelona spirit, we prepared our Barcelona 3 days itinerary with a complete where to go guide.

Catalonia, Spain

Day 2: The Beaches of Costa Brava

Tossa de Mar

This isn’t just any beach; it’s a beach with a view of a medieval castle! It’s like stepping into a storybook where history meets the beautiful sea.

  • Why Go: A must-see for history buffs and beach bums alike, offering a perfect blend of the past and the present.
  • How to Reach: It’s about an hour’s drive from Barcelona.
  • Pro Tip: The beach can get crowded, so if you want a more peaceful experience, aim for an early morning visit.

Calella de Palafrugell

This quaint village is the epitome of Mediterranean beauty, with its white-washed buildings and turquoise waters. Spend your day wandering through narrow alleys, discovering hidden courtyards and sampling local seafood.

  • Why Go: For a truly authentic Catalan experience, far from the tourist crowds.
  • How to Reach: A 40-minute drive from Tossa de Mar.
  • Pro Tip: Local restaurants offer the freshest catch; don’t leave without trying a seafood paella.

Platja d’Aro

Here you’ll find a sprawling beach alongside a bustling promenade filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes. The area transforms as the sun sets, becoming a lively hub of bars and clubs.

  • Why Go: It’s a versatile destination, ideal for families during the day and party-goers at night.
  • How to Reach: A quick 30-minute drive from Calella de Palafrugell.
  • Pro Tip: The smaller coves around Platja d’Aro offer a quieter beach experience and are great spots for snorkeling.


Catalonia, Spain

Day 3: The Serene Mountains and Catalan Culture


Experience tranquility and spirituality combined with breathtaking vistas at Montserrat, a mountain range about an hour’s drive from Barcelona. Known for its unique “serrated” cliffs, the area is also home to the Montserrat Monastery, a pilgrimage site with a rich history.

  • Why: It’s a soul-soothing escape from the hustle and bustle, offering a chance to experience Catalonia’s spiritual side.
  • How to Reach: From Barcelona, take a R5 train to Aeri de Montserrat, then switch to the cable car to reach the monastery.
  • Pro Tip: Early mornings are less crowded and provide a stunning misty mountain view that is Instagram-worthy.


If you want to experience a less crowded beach along with a dose of culture, Sitges is your go-to. A charming town famed for its Film Festival and Carnival, Sitges is also home to some beautiful beaches and delightful seafood restaurants.

  • Why: For a taste of Catalan culture and gastronomy alongside the serenity of the Mediterranean.
  • How to Reach: Take a 1-hour train ride from Montserrat to Barcelona and then another 30-minute train ride to Sitges.
  • Pro Tip: Don’t miss the ‘coca de llardons’, a traditional Catalan pastry, when you’re here.

Another city worth adding to this list, is Girona. Check out our top 10 things to do in Girona guide to modify the day 2 itinerary.


Wrap up your Catalonia 3 days trip in Cadaqués, a picturesque village that inspired Salvador Dalí. This quaint fishing village features narrow cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings, and an abundance of local art shops.

  • Why: To see Catalonia through the eyes of artists like Dalí.
  • How to Reach: Sitges to Cadaqués is about a 2.5-hour drive along the scenic Costa Brava coastline.
  • Pro Tip: Visit late afternoon for magical lighting, perfect for photography and painting alike.


End your Catalonia itinerary in Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí. Its highlight is the Dalí Theatre-Museum, designed by the artist himself and displaying a vast collection of his works.

  • Why: Ideal for art aficionados and those looking to understand more about Dalí and Catalan culture.
  • How to Reach: A 45-minute drive from Cadaqués will take you to Figueres.
  • Pro Tip: The museum can get crowded, so booking your tickets in advance is advisable.

More about Catalonia’s wonders could be found in our top 10 places to visit in Catalonia list.

Best areas to stay and to avoid

5 Areas to Live

  1. Eixample, Barcelona – Ideal for those visiting Catalonia for the first time; centrally located with plenty of transportation options.
  2. Gracia, Barcelona – Artsy, bohemian vibe with lots of unique shops and cafés.
  3. Girona Old Town – Medieval architecture and narrow winding streets offer a deeper dive into Catalan history.
  4. Tarragona – Great for those looking for a less touristy, beachside stay.
  5. Figueres – An artsy town famous for the Dalí Theatre-Museum.

5 Areas to Avoid

  1. El Raval, Barcelona – Known for its higher crime rates.
  2. Salou – Often overrun with tourists, especially in the high season.
  3. Lloret de Mar – Primarily a party destination, might not suit all travelers.
  4. Badalona – Not much in terms of tourist attractions.
  5. Hospitalet de Llobregat – A mostly residential area, far removed from most tourist sites.