A different kind of Barcelona question

Jan 29th, 2012, 11:11 AM
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A different kind of Barcelona question

We will be taking very good friends to Barcelona late June early July for a week - it will be the first time that they have been and our sixth visit although we haven't been for about 5 years. I want to try and make their visit as special as possible. We will be showing them all the usual tourist stuff and I've sent them a questionnaire with 18 things to do on it that includes museums, day trips, Gaudi buildings, shopping, etc on it and have asked them to rank each of the things from 5 to 1, from stuff they definately want to do down to things they dont mind missing, so that I can tailor our week to maximise their enjoyment of it. For us our enjoyment will definately come from showing them the best time possible.

There are some things that I know we will be doing such as Camp Nou, Picasso museum, Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, the Cathedral, wandering around the Barri Gotic, a day trip to Sitges, MACBA, a day on the beach at Barcelonata, Palau de la Musica Catalana, the Mies van der Rohe pavillion and Park Guell. What I wanted though was some great tips on things that are not so obviously touristy but that might delight them. Also are there even other toursity things that are so good we should do. For example we've not been to Tibidabo before and have not done the Poble Espanyol. We also want to go to at least one place to eat where we will be amongst locals rather than other tourists.

Thanks for your help, Tim
tjhome1 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 07:54 PM
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Have you actually considered taking a guided tour with someone (licensed) who really knows the city and has the right contacts? It might be the best way for both you and your friends to experience and enjoy Barcelona. A lot has changed since you where last there, and a good guide may be worth the time and effort, and overall, it's just not that expensive.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 12:42 AM
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Stop for coffee/tea/lunch at the top floor cafe at Corte Ingles. Fabulous views of the city.

Actually spend some time hanging out at Parc Guell and watch all the different kinds of people passing through --both locals and tourists from everywhere. I suppose this advice works for any of the major tourist sites. Sometimes the human show is as good as or better than the place itself.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 01:31 AM
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I would definitely do Tibidabo. The trip to get there is an experience. If you have ever seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona there is a scene from Tibidabo. The Fundacio Juan Miro was my favorite museum.
opaldog is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 07:23 AM
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Perfect, just the type of tips I was after. We've been to the Miro Foundation years ago and I remember a very nice lunch there. Our friends aren't quite so into art though so I didn't want to overload the week with museums but I shall certainly keep it in mind and I await the return of the questionnaires this Friday to see how they have ranked the 3 museums I put on their list (Picasso, MACBA and MUHBA).

Am also going to check out guides.
tjhome1 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 08:53 AM
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Monasterio de Pedralbes-- located in a great area of Barcelona for a nice stroll afterwards.

Viajero2 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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On the way up to Tibidabo, where you get off the Tramvia Blau and transfer to the funicular, there is a bar with a wonderful view that is worth a stop called Mirablau.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Yes, Pedrables is on the questionnaire I gave our friends and it looks like Tibidabo is definately going to make it. Is the Mirablau just a drinks stop or is the food worth a longer stop?

Thanks again everyone, am so looking forward to this trip. The trip report is going to be fun too, mixing in friends first time views alongside our sixth time thoughts.
tjhome1 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 10:20 AM
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I suggest walking around the neighborhoods of Gracia & Sarria. Also, we had lunch at a lovely restaurant just across the street from the Monastery at Pedrables. You can click on my name to read my trip report from October 2010. I also recommend Casa Battlo, which we liked better than La Pedrera, althought La Pedrera (Casa Mila) is worth it for the unique rooftop. Other ideas include the Arc de Triomphe, and the amazing water fountain (La Casacada) at the Parc Cuitedella.
Kwoo is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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You know, it would be really helpful if you told us what your friends ARE into rather than having a bunch of people suggest things and you replying, "they aren't really into..."
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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Did you try putting in"Barcelona" in the search the forum field above? I loved the Perfume Museum.
jan47ete is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 11:13 AM
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I don't know about the food at Mirablau, although we may have had a sandwich or something there.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 01:17 PM
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lol, yes jan47ete, I've put Barcelona in the search field lots and have spent hours reading trip reports and getting some excellent ideas from people. Thanks Nikki, I think the Mirablau will just be drinks and taking in the view.

I love the idea of views and so, following a tip from another poster, one of our first things I think we will do is go to La Pedrera for the rooftop. Apparantly it has some excellent introductory info on Gaudi too, which will set our friends up for the week.

Dukey, they are very good friends but we've not been on holiday with them before and as I point out I've given them a questionnaire so they can be clear about what they want to prioritise. Also I gave a list of things that kicks of with Camp Nou, indicating an interest in sport, and a day at the beach, indicating that they want to enjoy some time relaxing. However, this is their first trip and so I think it's also about guiding them to Barcelona's most special sights, most special things to do and maybe surprising them rather than simply only giving them what we think they might like - hence my question. I will value and consider every suggestion made, lots I will take, some I wont and I hope the lack of greater clarity about what they are into won't put people off responding.
tjhome1 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2012, 02:39 AM
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The Mirablau has some food, but it's more tapas, sandwiches, bocadillos.. You can check out the menu here:

Opposite the Mirablau, part of the lower station building of the cable car, you will find the two restaurants La Venta
These are supposed to offer fine dining, but that's only what I read and no personal experience.

If you want to spend more time outdoors, you can walk there from Vallvidrera (S1 or S2 train from Pl. Catalunya to Peu de Funicular, 1 stop with cable car) on the scenic Carretera de les Aigües trail (one 1hr or less) with great views of Barcelona. You probably get an impression from this photo

On Montjuic is probably the best hidden bar to watch the sun set over Barcelona.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Jan 31st, 2012, 06:45 AM
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As you will be there in the high season, don't miss a water, light, sound show at the Font Majica, http://www.bcn.cat/parcsijardins/fonts/EN/magica.html
Alan_CT is offline  
Jan 31st, 2012, 12:51 PM
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Excellent tips thank you, the bar on Montjuic looks fun. The fountains will definately make it, I forgot to put it on my list above - when we went years ago partner's son, who was 6 at the time, said he could feel the music in his heart - so sweet. Am hoping we get Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe singing 'Barcelona'.

Thanks Kwoo, yes I'd read your excellent trip report and I've made a note of the restaurant.
tjhome1 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2012, 01:11 PM
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You sound like a great friend. But if someone gave me a questionnaire I would cancel the trip. We like meandering. Playing it by ear. Going with the flow. Being spontaneous. But good luck.
colduphere is offline  
Jan 31st, 2012, 02:34 PM
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lol...yeah I've not spoken to them for a few days! They may be moving house and changing phone numbers right now!

It was a gentle questionnaire though and I promise it's not going to be a forced march through my idea of Barcelona's top 20 things to do. Meandering, playing it by ear, going with the flow and being spontaneous are all wonderful and definately have their place in my life - just not on a precious weeks holiday to one of the world's best cities. For that special week meandering is going to be confined to the Barri Gotic, parts of Raval and maybe a couple of hours in those neighbouhoods Kwoo mentions above.

I don't want to go with the flow if the current is downstream to somewhere dull; I don't want to play it by ear if that means missing out on something really special and unique that I may not get the chance to do or see again. And also because I'm the one that does all the holiday planning it will feel to the others like it is a little more spontaneous and more going with the flow than I know it is. You are right though to sound a few warning words and for me the key objective is these friends saying they've had the best weeks holiday ever.

It's a good job we're all different though. There is a part of me that is a little anxious about how these friends will take to my detailed planning of their holiday. Having done it many times though for our extended family I know to build in free time, not to try and do too much in a day and to plan for spontaneity - you never know though we may not be speaking by the weeks end! - I'll tell all in the trip report.
tjhome1 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2012, 02:42 PM
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Great answer. And now to chip in, we spent 5 days in Barcelona in 2010. The highlight was walking around the Olympic complex, then cutting down to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. We sat in front, listened to a spanish guitar player and looked out over the city.

One of our fondest memories.
colduphere is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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Met up with our friends last night and they really appreciated the questionnaires - even better their best friends were there when they opened them and they were very impressed.

Sadly though the results don't help particularly - of the 18 choices La Pedrera came joint bottom along with the Olympic stadium and Pedrables convent. And joint top, along with the beach, Sagrada Familia and Sitges, was the tourist bus! which we've never done - at least it will be something new for us too.

So I shall just ignore some of their poor choices and plan anyway - at least 'wandeing around soaking up the atmosphere' came joint second.

Thanks everyone for some excellent tips - they will help shape our trip.
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