a VirtualTourist member from Limassol
Hello everyone! After a year of not traveling due to my pregnancy and birth of our daughter, my husband and I have booked tickets to fly to Barcelona and spend 4 days there in April. Since it is our first time, we'd appreciate any tips on what to do, where to eat to enjoy the traditional cuisine, where it is better to stay (in which area) and of course which hotels are worth checking out (not very expensive).
Is there anything we should be aware of?
Thank you for your time.
Four days is plenty to see much! (: Check out Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Arc of Triompf, Casa Mila, Casa Batillo, Las Ramblas, Boqueria Market, Port Vell, Gothic Quarter, nice shops on Passeig de Gracia & if you like, the museums! (Picasso, Museum of Catalunya..) I like staying in Gracia, safe and hip neighborhood. There's a pretty cool shop in Gracia called Vom Fass that sells different types of oils and alcohol, pretty unique and cool! As for food I recommend "Ciudad Condal", it's a great tapas restaurant, (on Las Ramblas & very close to Plaza Catalunya)! Be aware of pickpockets, and the guys who try to sell you stuff off the streets, also don't stay late on Las Ramblas (many prostitutes!) Enjoy your trip!
In 4 days, you should see everything. I did the hop on off bus tour in Barcelona, one of the best I have done, and the ticket covers 2 days. It will take you to all the important sights in Barcelona, so easy to see everything this way. This is my Barcelona page which I have written the way we saw the sights on the Bus.
Sorry, the link didn't come through.
We spent a few days in Barcelona this summer and we had great time. You will be there in April and I am not sure if you can enjoy the sea at that period. Staying in the central zone will give you the chance to reach major attractions easily. For example, we stayed in the Gothic barrio and we walked to many locations instead of public transportation. There are many things to see. Especially if you are into architecture and buildings, Gaudi has dominated the whole city with his masterpieces. For the restaurants, I have discovered some budget friendly places with very nice food. You can check all in my Barcelona page : [original VT link]
I hope the tips will be useful for you.
Congratulations on your baby and on being able to get away with your husband! Barcelona is the perfect place to do that! I would suggest staying in the Gothic Quarter or near the Ramblas. If you want to be near the beach, go for Barceloneta. The Gran Hotel Barcino (prontohotel.com/esp/barcelon... is reasonably priced and in a great location, as is the Hotel Atlas (prontohotel.com/esp/barcelon.... For a bit of a splurge, go to the Melia (prontohotel.com/esp/barcelon....
I suggest you that when you will go to eat something, goes far of the center of the city, because in the center we have a lot of "tourist traps" who sells dishes with low quality and very expensive.
And I want to remember too that the "typical tapas" is not typical in Catalonia... In fact, we have good restaurants for to eat Tapas (100 montaditos for example or Quimet and Quimet) but the typical catalan cuisine are dishes like: Escudella, Butifarra, Pa amb tomaquet, etc... Deppends your economy, you can find a really nice places!
My wife and I spent 4 days in Barcelona last May. Very enjoyable city and easy to get around with the metro and bus transportation. If you are there on a Friday or Saturday night check out the Magic Fountain of Montjuic for a color water fountain and music show (FREE). We took a walking tour of the Old Town (Barri Gotic) with a company called Runner Beans Tours. You pay only what you feel the tour is worth. We stayed up in a Bed and Breakfast part of the way up on Mt Tibadabo. Some people don't like B & B's, but for us to actually get away from the hustle and bustle of the city during the evening to an area of quiet surroundings is what we enjoyed. Go to the top of Mt Tibadabo for some nice views of the city of Barcelona below. You can take an old fashioned Blue Tram and then a Funicular to the top. We also enjoyed the market and the various Gaudi structures around town. For eating go a block or so off of Las Ramblas for more authentic and less expensive places to eat.
Here is the link to my page on Barcelona where you can see some of what I was talking about and also pictures.
[original VT link]
I was in Barcelona at the end of March and think it will definitely be too cold for swimming at that time of year. We also did the HOHO bus (hop on hop off) and found it a good way to see the city but it was almost too cold to be on the top deck. My main interest was in seeing the architecture of Gaudi, so we did that, and my grandson wanted to go to the aquarium, so we did that too. I didn't get to ride on the cable car from the top of Mt J. although I would have liked to.
Hola! congratulations for your baby! you'll sure have a great, and well deserved, break
You already got good advice above. Just a couple of comments:
- as said regarding food, be aware of the tourist traps. But do not rule out all the city centre for that reason. Maybe just las ramblas (and still, there are good places to eat too). The city centre is actually one of the best areas in town to find cheap and local eateries. The city centre may be full of tourists, but it is as well full of local workers looking for a good "menú del día" at lunchtime and full of locals living there or going there at nigh after shopping, cinema, etc. So, there is a good competition to attract repeating customers with good prices and decent quality too.
- regarding weather, April is very variable. You may be lucky and get warm and sunny weather and get a good tan at the beach, but sea water will be quite cold. You can get as well rain, or (relatively) cold weather. Check the forecast a few days in advance (here long term forecasts make no sense) and in any case plan to wear in layers
- when in April? If at all possible, try to be in town by Apr 23, Sant Jordi, our day of lovers, roses and books. A lovely day!
Park Guell was one of our favourite places in Barcelona. It is a fantastic (literally) example of Gaudi architecture in a park setting. See website: http://www.parkguell.org/
To enjoy Barcelona, do be aware of pickpocketing. A friend of mine says 7 of his friends have been to Barcelona and every one has been a victim of pickpocketing - yes, and this includes me! I was aware of the problem so I had my wallet in a zipped front pocket and still had my wallet stolen; I also had 2 unsuccessful attempts. So take extra precautions and leave as much as possible in the hotel safe. Sorry to be negative but being prepared will help you enjoy this beautiful city. Bruce
Hotels I stayed at: + Hotel Marvi - basic room, en suite bathroom. Had room facing inwards away from street so the noise is only from other hotel guests. Next to metro stop and on the Aerobus route. 7 minutes walk to Plaza Catalunya and Las Ramblas. + Hostemplo - Ikea like modern rooms, en suite bathroom. Single room is on the small side. 5 minutes walk to Sagrada Familia and metro. Quiet neighborhood. + Aparthotel Citadines Ramblas - Rooms with kitchenette, mini-fridge?, en suite bathroom. It's on Las Ramblas so you may need to get rooms not facing street is you do not want to hear the people staying out late.
Tapas places with traditional cuisine: Ciudad Condal and Sagardì Euskal Taberna. Also in La Boqueria marketplace there are several places to eat standup / bar stool style like Pinotxo Bar.
For sandwiches on the go I seem to gravitate towards the Pans & Company chain.
Other reviews and general tips on the city I've put on my Barcelona page. Especially in the Favorites section where I have a general tip on links to downloadable PDF Barcelona guides by Maribel's Guides (she runs small tour groups in Spain so content is from her experience) and SuiteLife BCN (Barcelona Bible ebooks on Barcelona from locals). I prefer to have something printed or pdf files on my device rather than carrying a heavy guidebook.
[original VT link]
This is the link to my page
[original VT link]
A few tips I thought I'd mention, try not to use taxis, the best economical way to move around Barcelona is with the city buses and metro. You might also be interested in checking out this pretty cool website: plnnr.com With Plnnr you can create your own itinerary for sightseeing day-by-day.
Instead of taking a taxi from the airport you can take the RENFE train from terminal two (for around €3,80) to Passeig de Gracia station (then change appropriate lines to your destination), the Aerobus (express airport bus leaving both terminals) to Plaza Catalunya for €5,75 or €9,95 roundtrip (valid for 9 days), or take the Bus no. 46 (TMB Airport bus) to the city center, it has MANY stops but you can use a T10 ticket on this bus or an individual TMB (metro) ticket.
You can buy individual metro tickets for individual journeys for €2,00 or the best way, purchase a T10 ticket for €9,80 and will entitle you to 10 journeys. With a T10 ticket you can save €10,20! You can purchase T10 tickets at the Airport (Terminal 2) entrance to the RENFE train and at any metro stop. During my first holiday in Barcelona I saw everything I wanted to see within two days, using my T10 ticket on the metro.
The metro operates from: Monday-Thursday 5:00-12:00, Friday 5:00-2:00, Saturday 24H, Sunday until midnight.
Another spot to check out if you visit the Gracia neighborhood is Heliogàbal (Helio), on Carrer de Ramón y Cajal, 80. It's a popular trendy venue and I've had good times. If I remember correctly Bob Dylan hung out here. You can hear live music, book readings, and see art exhibitions here. It's walking distance from the Joanic metro stop.
Barcelona is notorious for it's pick-pocketers mainly because criminals will only be prosecuted if they steal €600,00 and over from a single person. With that said a pick-pocketer can make tons of cash each day without punishment! I visit Barcelona on my own and I haven't had any incidents, luckily. I carry a simple cross-body purse and keep the front, where the zippers are, turned towards me. I leave most of my cash stored away and the rest for the day in my purse. A local friend of mine had his wallet swiped from him, right under his nose when he was buying a €1 can of beer off La Rambla and didn't notice it was missing until after arriving at the place we were meeting at, so be very careful but don't let this scare you much. April should be a lot warmer than now, but do check the weather forecast before leaving. On my last visit the weather was 13º, but I still enjoyed the beach! I'm starting to miss Barcelona now.
Only to add that if you are in Barcelona 23th April you can have a wonderful day only wandering the city, specially the Rambles, and seeing the Sant Jordi's day, with books,roses and lovers.
Here's a unique event that happens during the end of April in Barcelona.
It's the celebration of Andalucian (southern Spain) culture in the Feria be Abril de Catalunya (April Fair). Traditionally held in Sevilla, I did not know they also have one in BCN. I went to the one in Seville and the there were lots of people dressed in traditional Andalucian attire - Flamenco, dancing the Sevillana, music,etc. So I had plenty of photo ops to put on my Seville VT pages.
The Feria de Abril 2013 in Barcelona is April 26 - May 5, at the Parc del Forum, free event. The thing different about the one in BCN is that the party tents (casetas) are open to the public.
Here are some links with pictures for more info: