Barcelona is Fantastic!

Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 05:40 AM
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Barcelona is Fantastic!

Just back from 4 FANTASTIC days in Barcelona and thought I would share our experience plus some tips. Could have stayed a lot longer. This forum and the city guide to Barcelona on Fodorsí site were a big help in making our stay a success. The entry and other tariffs which I researched from various websites on the Internet all seemed out-of-date but didnít really make a big dent in our budget.

Weather: was about 17-20 degrees Ė at times windy, so a light sweater was essential especially around the waterfront.

Trip from airport: The airport bus runs every 6 min from 9am-9pm. At other times, the interval is longer. Buy a return ticket from the ticket machine before boarding. It is cheaper. On board, only single tickets are sold at €3.90 one way. Don't panic if you see the bus already there, another one will be right behind. Extremely efficient! Get small change ready.

Apartment: was located in Ciutat Vella, just off La Rambla. Great location and for the price €70/nt, value for money. Met our needs perfectly, had everything, was in order. However, I would only recommend it to couples and people who want a cheap place to stay and want the convenience of having the whole place to yourself. Otherwise, pay €90-100 for a nicer place. If anyone wants to find out more, they can email me.

Food: The highlight of our visit. We didnít eat in one single bad place Ė probably because we mostly went on the recommendations found on this forum and avoided all places that had waiters outside trying to entice us in with the menu. We ate at most of the places below or passed by and I took note of the names as follows: Restaurants - Can Culleretes (order a la carte- thatís the real stuff), Juicy Jones (vegetarian), Sagardi. Tapas Bars ĖTaller de Tapas (excellent), Taverna Basca Irati (was packed with locals- we couldn't get in. Pintxos looked great), Casa Alfonso (good food), Cafes- Caelum, La Granja, Escriba (good pastries, chocs & coffee), La Pallaresca Granja, Xocoa. We didnít eat at the Tapas bars at La Boqueria but saw that they were packed with locals already at 9.30am!

Sightseeing: The second highlight of our visit. Barcelona is absolutely beautiful - Gaudi or non-Gaudi. Always look up! Be prepared to spend on entry fees. 2007 prices for Sagarda Familia -€8, La Pedrera - €8, Casa Batllo - €16.50, Cathedral -€4.

Travelling Around: We opted not to take the Bus Turistic. At €19 for one day (€23 for two days), we did not think we would get our moneyís worth even with the discounts for the attractions. Besides, my husband wasnít keen on Parc Guell. We were told that if you take the metro, it is a walk uphill and the Bus Turistic takes you up the hill. Since most places on our sightseeing list could be reached on foot from where we were based, we bought single metro tickets at €1.25 and made a total of only 5 trips costing €6.25 each person, over 4 days. If you intend to travel a lot, a day pass for unlimited travel would be good. At €5 something, you can use the buses as well. The ticket machines were very easy to use.

Safety: We took note of the suggestions given by everyone. Hold onto your handbag at all times and do not hang it on the back of the chair or put it on the floor but on your lap. Nothing happened to us. Walking down La Rambla was ok and not overly crowded at this time of year.

Shopping: Fantastic! Make sure you have extra space in your luggage for purchases. Thank goodness we only stayed 4 days! Unfortunately, it seemed that they were quite strict about overweight at the airport. Two parties in front of us at check-in had to pay. If you are looking for leather goods, Spain is the place to buy.

Others: *People were always friendly and the younger people could speak English. *The streets in the Barri Gotic area are narrow and at night, dimly lit up. Looked eerie and scary but there were lots of people around. Just avoid empty streets. *We were very impressed to see that street cleaners came out in force from 11pm at night and worked till 10am in the morning to clean the streets with jets of water but disappointed to see that people just littered liberally and spit all over during the daytime. Not much dog poo though, compared to Paris. *Although many small shops in the Barri Gothic and La Ribera area where we shopped showed opening times as 10am, they werenít open on time or even Ĺ hr later! Low season?? They do close for lunch and siesta and re-open from 5pm-8pm. Big stores are open all through and those on La Rambla too. * The Spaniards really do eat late. Lunch at 2.30pm and dinner at 8.30pm is not unusual, it is normal. For the popular places, I would suggest getting there a little earlier otherwise, you wonít get a seat! For those who canít wait that long, there are tons of places which serve food earlier. You definitely won't starve in Barcelona.

Just go with the flow and you will have a swell time!
munich_madl is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:41 AM
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Nice report, I'm glad you liked Barcelona.
Eric_S is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 03:20 PM
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very nice report. i am sure your detailed comments will help many.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:31 PM
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Thanks for your report. We're going in a few days and you got me even more excited than I already am (if this was possible ) Any great restaurant recommendations?
artlover is offline  
Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:03 AM
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Don't know how I missed your report last month.
missypie is offline  
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