how many days should I spend in Barcelona to see the city properly?
A lot of first time visitors opt to go for a 3 days which should give you enough time to visit the major sights and get a feel for the place.
I usually recommend no day trips unless you have 5 days or more for a first trip, so I guess I'm recommending 4 days minimum. Three days would seem quite rushed to me. And I like some time to relax and really enjoy the city v. checking sites off a list. Of course, if you plan on returning, you can leave some key sites for later.
You could stay a week and not have time to see everything, so the longer your stay the better. Three days minimum.
Oopsy and Benny are right. 3 days is absolute minimum and may be more suited for the European traveller who can always come back, but you're coming a long way so you probably want to stay longer. I'm going back for a week next week! There's so much to see in terms of museums and sights and this time I will have time for a full day day trip as well. Have a look at the Must See Sights/Day Trips section under Top Questions, make a list of what you're interested in and draw up a mock itinerary to see how long you'd need to cover everything you want to see.
Nicoleta, I actually think 3 days is too rushed for a first time visit (as I said above), and particularly for folks coming off of a long flight.
Fontcar, I took my mother to Barcelona in March. It was her first and likely will be her only trip there, so I planned it at a bit more of a touristy pace than I had my previous trips (which were 9 days, 14 days, and one month). We had six days, and while she would have loved to have stayed longer, it was a good amount of time to see loads of sites AND relax a bit. That time to relax, stroll, sit in a cafe, is important to really get a feel for Barcelona (or any city, I suspect). We took one day trip in that six days.
Nicoleta's advice to take a look at the key questions to the right is very good. Everyone has different tastes. You might also want to do a search for trip reports to see how other visitors have planned their time.
There seems to be a consensus emerging - about 4 days. But it depends on so many factors.
1. Will you be able to come again?
2. How deep are your pockets (how much can you afford)?
3. Are you enjoying it as much as you thought you would?
4. Is the weather favourable - too much rain or too much heat can dampen your ardour very quickly.
5. What else do you want to do on this holiday?
6. How quickly do you get tired/ how much energy do you have?
7. What is your reason for coming to Barcelona?
Tomorrow I am flying in to BCN for just 2 days. But I live in Spain and pass through Barcelona every year at least once. My reason for going this time is to go to an opera at the Liceu. The tickets are outrageously expensive but I am saving money on the hotel (cheap and cheerful). I am vegetarian, so will save on meals too. I haven't posted a single question about my trip but I have read the answers to almost every question that other people have posted. So thank you Tripadvisors!
I spent 3 1/2 days (4 nights) in Barcelona last October and felt there was a great deal more of the city I wanted to see. I am, therefore, going back for another 3 1/2 days (4 nights) next month. I may not yet be able to see everything I want to see, but I will feel much better about it after that trip.
I have made three trips to Madrid (18 days) and I am still not sure I've visited everything I want to see there. It seems everytime I go I feel compelled to visit the Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thysson galeries. I guess you really can never have enough time is museums like those ...
I like to immerse myself in any new town I visit. And that feeling of really belonging takes at least ten days.
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