Barcelona Expert? Maribel? Others?

Old Jan 17th, 2008, 01:36 PM
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Barcelona Expert? Maribel? Others?

My daughter's boyfriend is taking off for Barcelona next week to spend spring semester studying there. And apparently has done very little advance work (to be fair, he's been incredibly busy for the last few months with other things. So my daughter told him "That's OK, my mom's an expert on Europe - she'll email you with everything you need to know..."

Um, hardly...I've been to Spain a few times, but I am nowhere close to being able to shoot off an email of what a guy in his mid-20s should do in Barcelona.

Anyone already have a file on Barcelona? Boyfriend is a history nut and enjoys art and music and architecture. I've already told them to watch Auberge Espanol, but beyond that I can't offer any help. I know he's got a couple of guidebooks that he'll read on the plane over, but I guess I'd like to get him started with Barcelona 101 in advance.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 02:29 PM
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I have a guide to Barcelona that he can download in pdf at
It's written for tourists rather than students in residence, but there are links there that can get him started.

If he's a history nut, he should definitely visit

1) the Museu d'Historia de Catalunya (which I don't list)

2) the Monestir de Pradalbes with a gorgeous Gothic cloister.

3) Museu Maritim, which is a huge medieval space filled with ships.

4) the Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat which traces the city's history from the Iberians to Romans, Visigoths and beyond.

He should take in a performance both at the magnificent Palau de la Musica and at the Teatre Liceu, he should visit all the Moderniste architecture sites, Gaudí's Sagrada Familia, Palau Guell and Parc Guell.

The suberb Picasso Museum is an absolute must, both the cathedral and the Santa María del Mar church, he must see.

On Montjuic the Miró Foundation and the immense Museo Nacional d;Art de Catalunya (MNAC) with its Romanesque, Gothic and Thyssen-Bornemisza collections.
Their Romanesque rooms are the best in the world.

We've seen great special exhibits (from the d'Orsay) and attended concerts at the Caixa Forum.

Tell him to read Orwell's Hommage to Catalonia and Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

And he should take a trip to Vic, with its highly atmospheric, huge Placa Major, to visit the Museu Episcopal de Vic, one of the world's great medieval art museums.

Another trip up to Empuries for
a visit to the highly impressive Greco-Roman ruins and a trip up to the Iberian settlement north of Ullastret for equally impressive Iberian ruins. They're both in the Empordá, which is loaded with charming medieval villages, such as Monells, Ullastret, Peratallada, Pals, Madremanya, Cruilles.

Up there in the Empordá he can do the Dalí triangle:
Gala's castle at Pubol, the Dalí museum in Figueres, the Dalí-Gala home in Port Lligat plus the little modern art museum in Cadaqués.

And the Call, the Jewish quarter, of Girona is a true treasure, as is its cathedral museum.

Then below Barcelona, in the Tarragona province, there's the interesting Cistercian triangle, "la ruta del Císter"-Monasteries of Poblet, Santa Creus and Valbona de les Monges.

Plus the Roman amphitheater and other Roman sites in the city of Tarragona.

And the military town of Montblanc.

That should get him started!
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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Forgot to mention that the REAL expert on the city is Fodor's own author George Semler, who has lived in Barcelona for over 25 years. I would have your daughter's boyfriend order a copy of Semler's Barcelona Walks at

He helped me plan our unforgettable "dream trip around the Pyrenees".
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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WOW! Thanks, Maribel!
StCirq is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2008, 02:52 PM
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Whew, great advice!! Maribel, Please stay around until my next trip to Spain too (2009)
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