Barcelona in Just Three Days? Sure, No Problem.

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Alexa, play “Strut” by the Cheetah Girls! This summer, I had the chance to go on the trip of a lifetime to Spain, and 10-year-old me (who definitely dreamed of being the fifth Cheetah amiga) was 100 percent freaking out. I finally got to live out my dream of visiting Barcelona—the gorgeous and historic capital of Spain’s Catalonia region—and I got to bring my mom along for the ride (hi Mom!), which was probably the best part. To put it simply, it was everything I had hoped for and more.

Mom and I decided to do a full mother-and-daughter European adventure, three days of which were spent in Barcelona. It definitely wasn’t enough (I mean, who would want to leave?), but we were on a mission to make the absolute most of our time. And honestly? I think we did pretty well cramming all the must-sees, must-eats, and must-dos into the few days we had there while still having time to breathe and truly enjoy ourselves. Tapas, dancing, culture, history, art, no sleep…our travel itinerary had it all. And I’m letting you in on the itinerary in case you want to copy it in the future. Read on to find out how to do Barcelona in just three days, according to moi.

(P.S. The writer received a free stay, meals, and activities in order to research this trip.)

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The One Barcelona: Elegant, sophisticated, and modern are the three words I’d use to describe The One Barcelona, where my mom and I set up camp for the long weekend. This luxury hotel is located in the heart of Barcelona, blocks away from some of the most famous historical sites. With two restaurants, a high-end spa, 88 rooms, a rooftop pool, and an outdoor shower overlooking the city, the hotel just exudes luxury. Needless to say, my mom and I wanted to move in. Gorgeousness aside, the hotel staff were also warm and personable, answering any questions we had, giving us endless recommendations, and hailing cabs for our adventures.

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Baluard Barcelona: Upon landing, my mom and I were in dire need of coffee. This place was full of locals and a rotation of fresh, homemade pastries. What more could you ask for? The cappuccino I had was next level, and the sandwiches were out of this world. So simple, yet so tasty. Mission accomplished.

The Mood Rooftop Bar: With a panoramic terrace high above the city, the only thing that may beat the view from this restaurant (which is inside The One Barcelona!) is the food. My mom and I needed our Aperol fix ASAP, so we ordered the Red One cocktail (Aperol with strawberries, Cointreau, grapefruit juice, and tonic) as we took in the sights. We then devoured the avocado roll, tomato salad, chicken skewers, scarlet shrimp, and grilled veggies, leaving nothing to waste. The staff also treated us to some free dessert, which is fully the key to my heart. If you’re a chocolate fiend like me, I highly recommend the Ferraro de Avellanas.

Side note: If you’re more in the mood for a ~tapas and chill~ daytime vibe, head to the rooftop in the afternoon. You can grab lunch and a cocktail by the pool with the best views in all of Barcelona.

tomato salad, avocado roll, the red ones

Courtesy of Kristiana Morell

chicken skewers, scarlet shrimps and grilled veggies

Courtesy of Kristiana Morell

The Somni Restaurant: Being greeted with a giant pastry basket and fresh-squeezed juice? That’s what you can expect at the Somni Restaurant, the fine dining restaurant in The One Barcelona that is open to all guests for a complimentary breakfast. The menu has a wide variety of food, including lots of traditional Spanish breakfast items. Each day, my mom and I tried something new (we loved the Spanish omelette) but always made sure to order a side of fresh fruit and a giant chocolate pastry. It was the perfect fuel for our day.

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Go on a food tour: Talk about tapas on tapas on tapas! My favorite way to get to know a new place is through a food tour, and this one from Paella Cooking Experience did not disappoint. We walked through famous areas in Barcelona, soaked up the history, and ate and drank (a lot) at four different restaurants. My personal favorites from all our stops? The homemade sangria and patatas bravas. To. Die. For.

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See a Flamenco show: This was a must for us, and we quickly found out that Tablao Flamenco Cordobes is as authentic, passionate, and sensual as it gets. With your ticket, you get one hour of world-class performers dancing, singing, and making music, along with free-flowing sangria. Talk about a perfect night-out activity. Located on the famous La Ramblas street, the theater encapsulates the Victorian era with velvet curtains and ornate chandeliers. The intimate setting makes you feel so part of the show that by the end I was ready to get on stage, tbh.

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test, please rewrite

Take a cooking class: This was my first cooking class, but it definitely won’t be my last. Three words: paella from heaven. We booked a class with Barcelona Cooking and were taught Spanish culinary techniques while sipping bottomless wine and enjoying conversations with people from all over the world. Using fresh ingredients from Mercat de la Boqueria (which I highly recommend strolling through), we chefed up some strawberry gazpacho, Spanish potato omelettes, seafood paella, and crema catalana dessert. I was chopping like a pro—even Gordon Ramsay would’ve been impressed. We left full, happy, a litttttle wine drunk, and with a bunch of new friends.

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Book a walking tour: Park Güell and Sagrada Familia are two historical sites that are non-negotiable if you’re visiting Barcelona, and one of the easiest ways to check them both off your list is with a walking tour. Two points you want to look for when booking a tour: 1. it’s not too long, and 2. it includes tickets to the attractions. You may think it’ll be easy to buy tickets on-site, but they tend to sell out most days, so you’ve gotta plan accordingly. We did a four-hour tour with a company called Barcelona Local Experiences and loved it. It gave us skip-the-line access to Park Güell and Sagrada Familia, and they were truly as magical as people say.

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Appreciate the city’s rich history: Three other historic attractions we ventured off to were the Arc De Triomf, Casa Milá, and Montjuïc—all of which I recommend exploring on your own. The Arc De Trimof is a stunning monument that was originally built as an access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. Casa Milá, on the other hand, was once a private home (built by Gaudi!) that has since been turned into a museum showcasing the Catalan modernist art style. Finally, while visiting Montjuic, a famous hill, we rode up cable cars and saw the most incredible view of Barcelona. Once at the top, we hopped off and toured the Monjuïc Castle, reading about its fascinating history as a military fortress in the 17th century. It gave major Bowser’s Castle vibes.

Treat yourself to a spa day: After hours of sightseeing, we were definitely in need of some R&R, and the Despacio Spa delivered. Here, you can relax in the sauna, hot tub, or treat yourself to a massage, body treatment, or facial. My mom and I opted for massages, which were fully customizable. We specified all of the little details, from how much pressure we preferred to the room aroma and music. I requested something relaxing, but also deep tissue. It was dreamy (literally…it almost put me to sleep), and the perfect way to end our trip.

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