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The best way to see Barcelona in one day will be jam-packed, so our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend that you wake up early. That shouldn’t be a problem, though, as the sun will rise over the Mediterranean Sea, beckoning you to start your day.
Head to Cafe de l'Opera (just across from Liceu Opera House) to enjoy a cup of coffee in the heart of Las Ramblas. While you’re in the area, stop by La Boqueria, a public market, and peruse the fresh fruits, vegetables and fish — and if you’re already hungry, grab a snack of fresh olives, meat and homemade pizza slices. From there, beeline to architectural feat Casa Milà to get your first taste of Gaudí for the day.
After that, go for the gusto and ride to the top of La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s masterpiece cathedral, before heading up to Parc Güell, a garden complex designed by Gaudí, where you can rest for a bit while looking out toward the sea.
At this point, you’ll need a lunch break; we recommend Passadís del Pep, a relaxed restaurant in Pla de Palau specializing in fresh seafood. From there, head to the Gothic Quarter to check out the Museu Picasso, which houses more than 3,500 works by the prolific artist. If you have time, catch a few afternoon rays by the seaside and enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Do a little shopping in the shopping district Portal de l’Àngel so that you have a few things to bring home, then get yourself prepped for a night out.
Consider noshing on a few tapas-style snacks, which aren’t native to Catalonia but have become increasingly popular. Then enjoy a long dinner, and if you can stomach it, get ready to hit the town — the best spots are in Eixample. Relax in a wine bar or lounge or dance in the local clubs. Most people won’t show up until 1 a.m., so don’t worry if you think you’re running late, and don’t hesitate to hop from place to place. As your night winds down, don’t be surprised if the sun is already coming up again over the Mediterranean Sea — such is the way when you’ve only got 24 hours to spare in a city like Barcelona, with so much to do.