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14 Days in Barcelona

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Apr 7th, 2014, 05:11 AM
  #1
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14 Days in Barcelona

Visiting Spain for the first time with wife and 21 year old daughter from Sept 20 - Oct 4, 2014. Exchanged our home with a couple from Barcelona for 2 weeks. We plan to spend the first 6 days in the city; the next 4 days exploring places from where we can come back home at night and the last 4 days touring places outside Barcelona leaving behind our luggage.

We will almost exclusively use public transport and where possible ride share. We prefer going around on our own and will take a tour only if it delivers great experience difficult to achieve otherwise.

We love history, architecture, people, culture, food, nature and old world charm. We love the sea and water bodies although none of us can swim. Me and my wife are in our fifties, moderately fit and not the perfect candidates for treks in the mountains. But, having said that we would not want to miss the Pyrenees.

Some of the places that we are contemplating for the shorter day trips are:
1) Nuria valley spending some time at Vic and Queralbs.
2) Montserrat ... can we combine any other nearby place?
3) Costa Brava - Calella, Blanes, Palafrugell, Begur.
4) Tarragona and Sitges

Overnight Trips:
T-1 : Day-1 Barcelona - Zaragoza - Lleida (Night stay)
Day-2: Lleida - Balaguer - Tremp - La Pobla de Segur - Balaguer (Night stay)
Day-3: Balaguer - Ponts - Cardona - Barcelona

T-2: Day-1: Barcelona - Figueres - Girona (Night stay)
Day-2: Girona - Banyoles - Besalu - Olot - Barcelona (via Vic)

Please give your suggestions. Are we trying to cover too much for the outstation trips? Should we allocate a day more for Tour-1? And will it be cold in the Pyrenees in the first week of October? We are from a tropical country and not used to minus temperatures. What kind of clothes should we carry without making the luggage too heavy.

Will appreciate your suggestions.

Best regards
Sudip
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Apr 7th, 2014, 06:32 AM
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<< What kind of clothes should we carry without making the luggage too heavy. >>

Cotton layers. Tank tops, fleece vests, gloves, scarves/pashminas, sweater, waterproof jacket with hood, socks, long sleeve shirts, long pants.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 08:06 AM
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Montserrat. This takes a good half day and you can combine it with a visit to San Sadurni d'Anoia, the centre for the Cava production. You can do trips round a winery and through the vast cellars.

Sitges is not worth a trip IMO. we stayed there for a week a few years ago, but the place itself is nothing special.

Your Costa Brava trip should the old town in Tossa de Mar, nicer than Calella.

Figueres is worth a visit for the Dali museum and then over to the Bay of Roses for lovely scenery. Not sure I'd do this an overnight, as it's fairly quick by train to get to this area.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 08:09 AM
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BTW, not sure what you mean by rideshare? You'll get a lot more out of the area if you hire a car for the Costa Brava to the North bit and down to Tarragona.
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Apr 7th, 2014, 08:09 AM
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I don't really see any point of visiting Zaragoza for a couple of hours on a day trip, if you do visit at least spend the night so you can have a good look around and hit "El Tubo" in the evening for tapas. Or, save it for another trip.

Consider an overnight at Montserrat instead of a day trip - it is crowded during the day (too crowded in my opinion) and it is magical at night and in the early morning when the day trippers are not around.

Finally, you will be there when the Santa Tecla festival is going on in Tarragona - I'd consider breaking away from Barcelona for an overnight in Tarragona or at least visit for the day to experience this festival. The big days are September 23 and September 24. Check this out to get a sense of Santa Tecla: http://www.tarragonablog.com/categor...a-santa-tecla/

The La Merce festival happens in Barcelona at the same time but the program isn't released yet. I have never been to that festival but once I saw the final night fireworks on TV and they were incredible!
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Apr 8th, 2014, 12:49 PM
  #6
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Thanks for your quick response. Based on your suggestions we will reschedule our itinerary as follows:

Sept 20: Arrive in Barcelona

Sept 21-22: 2 Nights at Tarragona for Santa Tecla festival - Thanks to Rialtogrl or we would have missed Santa Tecla despite being within striking distance..

Sept 23-24: Festa de la Mercè is from Sept 20-24. Piromusical is on Sept 23 and finale on Sept 24

Sept 25-29: explore Barcelona and its attractions - Is the Barcelona Card good value?

Sept 30: Colonia Guell, San Sadurni d'Anoia with overnight stay at Montserrat.

Oct 1-4: Costa Brava, Figueres, Girona and the Pyrenees

Oct 4: Fly back

We now have clarity on the first 10 days of the trip. There is too much action in Barcelona and Tarragona during that time to go elsewhere. Which leaves us to the last 4 days in which to cover Costa Brava, Figueres, Girona and the Pyrenees. Please advice the must sees.

Rubicund,
Ride share is when a person driving from one place to another offers to shuttle passengers for a price. There are websites like, blablacar.com which aggregate people offering such drop facilities. Its a great way to travel cheap and in comfort, make friends and reduce your carbon footprints.

Thanks once again.
Sudip
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Apr 8th, 2014, 05:19 PM
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This itinerary sounds wonderful!

If you do end up overnight at Montserrat, you can buy local foods (cheese, honey, fruit) from some vendors who have tables set up close to the parking area. Just bring bread, maybe some wine if you like wine, and have a picnic...
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Apr 9th, 2014, 02:35 AM
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Any suggestion on where to stay at Montserrat? Hotels are at a distance with the nearest at Monistrol de Montserrat and Collbató.
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Apr 9th, 2014, 05:18 AM
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There is a hotel up there... Hotel Abat Cisneros. I booked it on booking.com and you can book directly on the Montserrat site.

You don't have to drag your luggage through from parking to the hotel, you can check in with the guard, drive in and drop your luggage, then go back and park in the parking area. I think we still had to pay a little for parking and validate the ticket at the hotel desk, I can't remember!

September 30 is a Wednesday so the famous boys choir will be singing. You can go to listen at 6.45 pm for vespers with 50 people instead of 1 pm with many hundreds of people. In the morning get up at 7 and go out to watch the sunrise. It is magic! Also wonderful to walk around with no one else there...
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Apr 9th, 2014, 07:28 AM
  #10
 
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On costa brava, I would recommend staying in L'estartit, best beach on costa brava in my opinion. The towns further north like Cadaques are much more vibrant and cultural though so depends which is more important to you. I'd also recommend doing a trip around the medieval villages near L'estartit too. I'd recommend hiring a car too after Barcelona. Much more flexible and roads around Costa brava are good and won't be too busy that time of year.
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May 10th, 2014, 01:31 PM
  #11
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Still a little confused on the last 4 days, Oct 1-4 of my trip and the two dominant thoughts are:

1) Pick up a car at Girona and explore the coast from Tossa de Mar to Llanca; La Garrotxa, Rupit, Santa Pau, Besalú, Banyoles in the Pyrenees and medieval villages like, Pals, Torroella de Montgri, Peratallada, Rupia, or

2) Spend half-a-day each at Girona and Figueres and proceed the same evening to Perpignan, which then becomes the base for exploring the coast from Collioure to Narbonne and other destinations like, Ceret, Mont Louis, Prades etc.

If I have to choose between the two, which one will you suggest or is there a better way of doing it.
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