Day One

  • La Rambla & Barri Gòtic

On day one spend the morning exploring the narrow medieval lanes of the Barri Gòtic. Have a peek inside La Catedral – not missing its geese-filled cloister – and stroll through the picturesque squares of Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol and Plaça Reial. Discover Barcelona's ancient roots in the fascinating Museu d'Història de Barcelona. Before lunch, have a wander down La Rambla to take in the passing people parade.

  • Lunch The beautifully designed Federal whips up deliciously healthy fare.
  • La Ribera

In the afternoon, wander over to La Ribera, which is packed with architectural treasures. Have a look inside the majestic Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar. At the Museu Picasso, beautifully set inside conjoined medieval mansions, you can spend a few hours taking in the early works of one of the great artists of the 20th century.

  • Dinner Sample tapas with global accents at creative El Atril.
  • La Ribera

Before having a late dinner, catch a show inside the Palau de la Música Catalana, one of the great Modernista masterpieces of Barcelona. Later, end the night with tropically infused libations at candlelit Rubí.

Day Two

  • L'Eixample

On day two start with a morning visit to La Sagrada Família, Gaudí's wondrous work in progress. It's worth paying a little extra for a guided tour (or audio guide) for a deeper understanding of Barcelona's most famous sight.

  • Lunch Celebrated Disfrutar spreads a deliciously imaginative Catalan feast.
  • L'Eixample

After lunch, explore more of the great Modernista buildings by taking a stroll down L'Eixample's Passeig de Gràcia. Have a look at the three most famous buildings that make up the Manzana de la Discordia. Then visit one of Gaudí's house museums on the street – either Casa Batlló or La Pedrera further up the avenue.

  • Dinner Enjoy excellent wines and tasty sharing plates at Viblioteca.
  • Camp Nou, Pedralbes & La Zona Alta

In the evening catch a football match at Camp Nou, home of the top-ranked FC Barcelona. Amid the roar of the crowds, prepare for a serious adrenaline rush, especially if Barça is playing arch-rival Real Madrid. Afterwards explore lesser-known gems in the area, such as the plaza-side El Maravillas,great for tapas and drinks, or Bangkok Cafe, serving Barcelona's best Thai dishes.

Day Three

  • Barceloneta & the Waterfront

On your third day in Barcelona it's time to take in the lovely Mediterranean. Start the morning with a stroll, jog or bike ride along the waterfront. Beach-facing restaurants and cafes provide refreshment along the way.

  • Lunch Go early to snag a table at tiny La Cova Fumada.
  • Barceloneta & the Waterfront

Stroll through Barceloneta, stopping for a peek inside the Mercat de la Barceloneta and for pastries at Baluard. Afterwards, visit the Museu d'Història de Catalunya and peel back the centuries on an interactive journey into Catalan history.

  • Dinner La Vinateria del Call has a magical setting in the medieval streets of El Call.
  • La Rambla & Barri Gòtic

At night catch a live band inside the Gothic quarter. Harlem Jazz Club and Jamboree are good bets for jazz and world music. If you still have energy, check out a few bars more off the beaten track, like L'Ascensor, a cosy drinking den with nicely mixed cocktails and a more grown-up crowd than other parts of Barri Gòtic.

Day Four

  • Montjuïc

Start the day with a scenic cable-car ride up to Montjuïc, followed by a stroll past flower and sculpture gardens to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. Take in the magnificent Romanesque frescoes, vivid Gothic paintings and works by 17th-century Spanish masters.

  • Lunch Pepa Tomate is a neighbourhood charmer, with outdoor tables on a peaceful square.
  • Gràcia

After getting a taste of Montjuïc, hop on the metro up to Gràcia and wander through its enchanting village-like streets. Cafes, bookshops and vintage shops all make for some worthwhile exploring. The bars surrounding its plazas come to life around sundown.

Take in the bohemian side of Barcelona in El Raval. Browse record shops and vintage stores, check out a live band at the Jazz Sí Club, or watch an indie feature at the Filmoteca de Catalunya. Finish the night over a few house-made vermouths at La Confitería or at dance favourite Moog for something livelier.