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Barcelona in a day - Bus Turistic or Taxi - which is most efficient?

Barcelona in a day - Bus Turistic or Taxi - which is most efficient?

Jun 9th, 2006, 10:55 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Barcelona in a day - Bus Turistic or Taxi - which is most efficient?

Hi everyone,

We're leaving in 1.5 weeks for our 1st trip to Europe. Half of the trip is a land vacation; half a cruise vacation.

We'll be in Barcelona from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. during our cruise. We'll probably get off the ship around 8 a.m. and need to be back by 4:30 p.m. at the latest. I know everyone raves about the Bus Turistic as a way to see Barcelona in a day... but is it the most efficient way?

We want to see as many of the usual sights as possible... the Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi works, but want to be able to spend some time walking around Las Ramblas, the Barri Gotic, and the Eixample as well. We'd love to see Palau de las Musica Catalana and do the Cable Car to Montjuic, but we probably won't have time for those, I assume?

Sooo... is it more efficient to take cabs from place to place (starting at Placa de Catalunya), or take the Bus Turistic?

If we take the bus, will we have time to do both red and blue routes, and still have time to spend on Las Ramblas and the Barri Gotic (if so, for how many stops will we have time to get off)? Also, I understand the bus doesn't start up until 9 a.m. If we do the bus, what would we do for an hour after getting off the ship? Would there be enough time to go to Mercat de la Boqueria?

Thanks for any advice on the most efficient itinerary to see as many of these sights as possible!

cawhite is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 11:23 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Ma'am, that is one tall order. However. . .

Get to BCN at 7. Walk from the port up to Plaça Catalunya via the Ramblas, veering off to the right to walk the Gótico, then crossing the Ramblas to get to the Boqueria, possibly having breakfast at Escriba (great hot chocolate and croissants). Continue up the Ramblas and you can either take a cab to your next destination, or hop on the bus.

If you have a list of specific monuments and places you want to see, I think that cabbing it is a good idea. Don't get a driver for the full day, but using a map choose your order and go from there. For example, you could try to catch a cab from the Boqueria (just make sure it is headed up and not down. . . you will need to cross the pedestrian way) to the Sagrada Familia, see that, then go to the Pedrera/Casa Milà. From there you can walk to Batlló (on Passeig de Gràcia), and then get a cab up to Parc Güell. Have a quick lunch before heading up there, though, as the restaurants up there kind of suck. Then take a cab down to the Palau and see that. It puts you in central Barcelona and it will be about 3. get to the cable car place and take it up to Montjüic and enjoy a short view and maybe an aperitif. Head back down to the city and see whatever else you want.

That is a full day, no doubt, and heavily weighted to Gaudí, but if it is what you want, you can do it.
laclaire is offline  
Jun 9th, 2006, 11:32 PM
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Wow... that's perfect, laclaire! I had a feeling we were going to have to get off the ship at 7 a.m. to fit this all in!

Do you have a suggestion on where to grab lunch near Parc Güell?

I assume we will have to be flexible about going to Montjuic, due to time constraints.

Is this too much Gaudi for our kids (they are 15 and 11)?

Also, how long should we allow for each of the Gaudi works, given this schedule?

Many thanks!


cawhite is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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oops... I meant to say: Do you have a suggestion on where to grab lunch near near Casa Batlló, before we head over to Parc Güell?

Than you!
cawhite is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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Wow, you must be excited!

If you are interested in Gaudi, I'd walk up to the Eixample like Leclaire suggested and then walk onto the Passeig de Gracia where a lot of the great Gaudi buildings are.

The kids will probably like the Ramblas with the street performers and vendors, which is on your way up to the Eixample. When you get to the Plaza Catalunya, stop in the tourist office (underground at the southern corner near big Cortes Ingles store, big sign with an "i" outside) and buy the Moderniste walking guide book (which is well worth the $20 as a beautiful book to read later even if you only use it for a day of the trip). You can buy the book at the desk at front and don't have to wait in the big line.

Passeig de Gracia is right above the Plaza Catalunya. I was there a few weeks ago and thought the Casa Batllo was really amazing. It is expensive ($20/person) but the audioguide is great. You can see some other Moderniste buildings on the same block. A few blocks up is La Pedrera. You can see a furnished "model" apartment (again with the headset) and go up to the roof in addition to going to a big museum explaining the architecture. You could easily spend a couple of hours there. I would leave 1.5 hour for each of these buildings as you'll probably have to wait half an hour for each to get into, so you might decide to see one or the other.

The Sagrada Familia is about a 20 minute walk or quick cab ride. I waited in line to go to the top but due to the stage of construction, you can't see that much from the tower. I think it is still worth visiting but in total might be a 45 minute visit. Interesting to see from the outside.

This may be heresy but I'd skip the Park Guell. I think it is extremely overrated. As a park it is nothing special - dusty crowded paths, unattractive flowers and trees, extremely crowded and you can see equally good Gaudi buildings in the city. Given your time frame, I'd skip it. We were in Barcelona for nearly a week and I think we should have skipped it.

have a great time!
The Palau Musica is down in/near the Barri Gotic. We didn't have any trouble getting tickets but the English tours are every couple of hours so the timing might or might not work for you. Once you buy your ticket though, if you have to wait for a tour you could walk around else where. I really liked going there but you (or your kids) may have had enough Modernista architecture if you hit La Pedrera and Casa Batllo as well.

I agree you could probably squeeze in a quick cable car ride.

You might want to pick up a good map before you go (I like Streetwise) to save you from getting lost and make sure you don't miss the great sight that you didn't realize is around the corner.
Sally30 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Thanks for your honest comments about Parc Guell. We'll only have a day and a half in BCN & I was on the fence about squeezing in the park. It's sort of out-of-the-way, and a long uphill climb in July heat. And no decent restaurants nearby (thanks, Claire.)

Now, hearing that it's "not all that" I'll just go with my gut feeling & skip it.

We're planning on seeing the Gaudi Big Three, some tapas for lunch, a nap, a concert in Placa del Rei, and then dinner. The next day La Boqueria, Las Ramblas, the Cathedral, lunch, and back home.
lol930 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 02:20 PM
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cawhite- As Sally said, Güell is not for everyone. I like it for strolling and seeing the mosaics. Kids tend to love it (my cousins had a blast!), and Gaudí's apartment there is really quite interesting. I would not miss it.

As for the time question, if you take the guided tours you can spend hours, and that is worth it for Batlló, but for La Pedrera I would go see the model, go on the roof, then go into the attic to see the wooden models. I have spent entire days there, but with 2 kids I think 1.5 including line is a good estimate. Once out on the street, there are tons of restaurants in that area. I like la Tramoia, which is on the SW corner of Gran Vía and Rambla de Catalunya, just a few blocks down from the buildings you will visit in that area.

I think that the guided tour at the Sagrada Familia is really silly to do. In fact, I don't think going inside is all that interesting unless you climb the towers and see the view of the city, which takes a lot of energy. For a great photo op, though, find the pond next door and go to the other side. You will have a perfect view of the cathedral.

The guided tour of the Palau is interesting, but might be a little academic for the kids and as Sally said, timing is everything. So, at least pay to go in and see the stained glass and the mosaics.

Have a great time!
laclaire is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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I actually liked the Parc Guell more than the Sagrada Familia. I think you should see the Sagrada Familia, as it a one of a kind place, but I think you could just see it from the outside and not wait in the long line to go in. I also think either of the Gaudi apartment buildings but not both would be wise. See both from the outside though, that should be easy as they are close to each other. But I think the Parc is worth a short stop. If you are taking a cab to get there then there's no need to walk up the hill, just have the cab drop you at the parc entrance. We stopped at a little grocery store about a half block from the entrance and got sandwiches and had a picnic. If you'd like a preview, my photos of Barcelona from this past March are at: www.pbase.com/annforcier/barcelona

Have a great time.
isabel is online now  
Jun 11th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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Thanks laclaire, sally30, and isabel! Now, I just have to decide if we want to do Parc Guell or not, and for which Gaudi works we actually want to go inside vs. just seeing from the outside.

I LOVED the pics Isabel! Thank you!!

cawhite is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 02:59 PM
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i would not go inside sagrada familia if i didnt have time, but i WOULD try to go inside the palau. see if you can squeeze it in when you are on las ramblas.

also great food inside the boqueria market.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 08:40 PM
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Thanks lincasanova - We will definitely plan to see the Palau de la Musica (inside) in the afternoon.

How is the guided tour? I understand from their website, the tour is 50 min. and is €8 per person. It says tickets are available up to 1 week in advance. If we plan to do the tour, I'll have to figure out how to reserve as we'll be in other ports during the 7 days prior to our visit. Maybe I can call them in the a.m. when we are in Barcelona (from the other side of town)... or should I try to reserve further in advance?

cawhite is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 09:49 PM
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My friend did the Palau tour and said it was interesting. I trust her judgement in those things, so if you have time, you should give it a try.

This is a random offer, but I wrote my Honors Thesis on the Art Nouveau style and one of my chapters is on Catalunya. I can't send along any images, but if you would like the text of it, e-mail me. It is concise and has specific information on the Palau and the Sagrada Familia, as well as political and artistic climate that influenced design. I use it to give tours when friends and family come to visit.
laclaire is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 05:42 AM
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That would be fabulous, laclaire. I will sent you an email!

cawhite is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 05:03 PM
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oops... I meant, I will SEND you an email!

cawhite is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 05:26 PM
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My wife and I just returned from Barcelona a couple days ago. We took the bus turistic. I think it was about $18 eu pp( got on at La Pedrera at about 9am - red route)and saw Sagrada Familia, Park GUell, Casa Battlo, La Pedrera and the Ramblas easily in one day. I'd say we spent an hour at the Park Guell, an hour at Sagrada Familia looking around. Then walked by and took pictures of the Casa and La Pedrera.

We got to the Ramblas around 1 and it was packed - this could easily be a one hour stroll (or more depending on how slowly you walk and if you want to hit La Boqueria.) Do yourself a favor and don't eat lunch at the Ramblas - WAY to touristy. Or get some reccos on here for decent places before you get there.

We preferred Gothic area & Passeig de Gracia over the Port, Ramblas, etc.

Have fun!

dunhilldk is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 10:04 PM
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Thanks dunhilldk - the timing you list helps me figure things out. Can you purchase tickets for the Bus Turistic at any stop or would we need to purchase them at a "central" station?

cawhite is offline  
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