Barcelona itinerary- please help

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Sep 14th, 2014, 02:05 AM
  #1
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Barcelona itinerary- please help

Hi fodoriites,

I will be in Barcelona in the first week of October for two and a half days, with my wife and kids (girls aged 12 & 6). We will be landing in BCA by 11.30am and then heading to hotel (Novotel). We have time 3 days before we go to Granada on 4th day morning. My plan to see Barcelona is as below and would greatly appreciate if you could give some tips so that I can tweak my plans.

Day 1 evening - Spend the evening at Placa Espanya to enjoy the magic fountain and Montjuic
Day 2 - in the morning, go to Placa Catalunya to take ride on HOHO (Red bus) to get a feeling for the city, for 2 hrs. Then get down at Casa Batllo and Sagrada Familia for a pre-booked guided tour and spend the evening at Park Guell.
Day 3 - In the morning go to Montserrat Monastery using funicular and afternoon at Gothic Quarter, Palace of Catalan Music and finally at Hospital de la Santa Creu.

Our train to Granada is on 4th day morning.

My concerns are

1. Is taking HoHo worth the money or buy travel card and use public transportation to move around. We are frequent visitors to London and have no problem in using Metro and buses. Is it safe to use public transportation in Barcelona?

2. Is there any other places as a must-see I need to consider? I'm planning for a Flamenco evening in Sevilla.

3. Should I pre-book for the visits where it is possible?

I sincerely hope to some good advise.

Cheers

navas_am
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Sep 14th, 2014, 02:44 AM
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1. I'd be disinclined to spend the money on the HOHO bus for only 2 hours. Public transportation is a better use of time and money for a short visit.

3. You absolutely need to pre-book Sagrada Familia, Casa Battlo, and Parc Guell.

I'm not sure how late Parc Guell is open. I don't know if there are any lights there. I went in the day time but I can't remember seeing lamp posts. You might want to make this visit in late afternoon, early evening.

You mention Palau de la Musica. If you're looking to attend a musical event you need to pre-book. If you want an English tour you need to pre-book.

Day 2 - Casa Battlo tickets are good for the entire day; they are not timed. I would go to Sagrada Familia and take the docent-led tour. Book tickets for the first entry.

Day 3 - there is no way you can get to Montserrat and be back for the afternoon to do all those things.

The train takes an hour (leaves every hour) and then there is the cable car or funicular (25 minutes). Plus you have to get to the train station. Then there is the reverse trip. You're looking at at least 4 hours of travel. If you want to go to the top, above the monastery then it's more time. If you're going to hear the boys choir, they sing at 1:00. If you want to touch the Black Madonna (rather than just look at her from the church), there is a very long line which shuts down for lunch. People stand and wait for the line to open up again.

We spent most of the day on our Montserrat trip.

Hospital de la Santa Creu - there are 2 hospitals with similar names. One is the UNESCO site, which is probably the one you want, designed by Montaner. The official name is Hospital de Sant Pau. It is the one that is not near the Ramblas. It's near Parc Guell. The one that is near the Music Palace is the Medieval hospital (Antic Hospital) where Gaudi was taken and I believe it's only open in the mornings. I was there mid afternoon and the building was closed.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/804

I visited the Montaner hospital when it was still under renovation to maintain UNESCO standing and the parts that were open were lovely. I understand the construction has been finished. Well worth seeing as it appears that you're interested in architecture.
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Sep 14th, 2014, 02:54 AM
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I didn't want to lose what I had typed so this is a continuation of my thoughts.

If you are interested in architecture, do an inside guided tour of the Palau de la Musica (docent led).

Also consider Palau Guell which sees few tourists and is very different from Casa Batllo and La Pedrera. It's near the Ramblas.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/320
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Sep 14th, 2014, 03:44 AM
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Many thanks, Adrienne for the tips. It is quite useful for me to adjust my plans especially the trip to Montserrat. As an architect myself, I would not want to miss any of Gaudi's masterpieces and other contemporary architecture Barcelona is famous for.

Just another question.. which travel card would you recommend?
Cheers
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Sep 14th, 2014, 05:11 AM
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Hi navas
We are in Barcelona now for three days. The hoho buses are running about every 5 minutes, but even so we walked past one stop today near the Gaudi houses that had a queue snaking around the pavement - we estimated that it would have taken at least three full bus loads for the last person in the line to get on. Remembering that the buses pulling up weren't empty, we were very pleased that we hadn't opted for that means of transport. .

We plan to take a taxi to places like Park Guell that are further from the main centre. Taxis are very plentiful here, with frequent taxi ranks where you can pick them up. If you consider the 27 euros you pay per adult (don't remember child fare) for the hoho bus, then that's a lot of taxi miles you can buy with your money!

You can check the price for a taxi from A to B at the website worldtaximeter dot com

Barcelona is a lovely city, with much more to do than we will manage in our three days! Di
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Sep 14th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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We took a lot of taxis since we wanted to save our energy for sightseeing. I'm guess you're much younger but with 4 people and only a short time in Barcelona it might be better to spend a bit more and cover more ground. Taxis were all over the place and very easy to hail. They were not a lot of money. The only time we waited in traffic was going to the train station. The rest of the time we sailed along the streets so no wasted fares waiting in traffic.

For the rest of the time you can walk if it's a short distance. Barcelona is really spread out.

Since you're going to Montjuic, you should stop to see the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion. They have 1 English tour on Saturday at 10:00 but there is no need to take the tour as you can see the entire building (1 room) from the outside. There are 2 Barcelona chairs inside. It's at the bottom of Montjuic, across from Caixa Forum.

In Parc Guell there is the Gaudi House with some of his furniture. The building was less interesting to me. What I enjoyed was the furniture and marble walls and painted walls. You can go through it very quickly. It's beyond the Monumental Zone and it's a pink building so easily spotted.

I would also see La Pedrera if you can fit it in. Buy tickets for first thing in the morning. You go right in and the elevator takes you to the roof where you will have some time alone among the chimney pots. You then descend back to the ground floor.

There's Frank Ghery's "big fish." We did a drive by just to view it.

There's also the house next to Casa Battlo and if I hadn't had 2 glasses of wine at lunch today I could think of its name.

There's another house which I didn't see that recently opened up. If you check Barcelona threads here in the last 6 months or so there are a couple of references to this house. Sorry I'm not more helpful at the moment. Got it - casa domenech i estapa.

Someone was exiting Casa Calvet and I asked politely to go into the entry but was refused. Maybe you'll have better luck.

Here's my photos.

https://modigliani.shutterfly.com/barcelona
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Sep 14th, 2014, 06:49 AM
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OK - the wines are getting to me. Casa domenech i estapa is next to Casa Battlo. It's not the house that I can't remember the name of.
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Sep 14th, 2014, 06:50 AM
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Hi di2315,
Many thanks for your tip. You are absolutely right. With 4 of us, it would be better off by riding taxis.

Are u going for seeing performance at Palao de la Musica Catalunya? I'm planning to book a ticket for opera n flamenco performance. I want to surprise my girls.

Cheers
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Sep 14th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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Hi navas
No, the Palao isn't on the list this time around. But others have written on this board that the only way to really appreciate the interior is by going to a performance. Your girls are lucky ladies! Di
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Sep 14th, 2014, 08:44 AM
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as mentioned Montserrat is a whole day trip. ...

We visited Montaner hospital in May...fantastic( a short walk from Sagrada Familia)

Highly recommend : Palau Guell. .... just off Ramblas.
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Sep 14th, 2014, 08:51 AM
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P.S.
there is so much to see in Barcelona it could be rather overwhelming.

Some time on the beach and a funicular ride up to Mountjuic might be fun for the kids.
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Sep 14th, 2014, 09:07 AM
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For the evening on the first day, make sure the magic fountain is actually on. It looks like Thursday to Sunday only, in October.

The HOHO bus is NOT worth it. Since there are four of you I agree with the ones who tell you to take a taxi.
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Sep 14th, 2014, 09:12 AM
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<< But others have written on this board that the only way to really appreciate the interior is by going to a performance. >>

I disagree with that. I did both a performance and a tour and I thought seeing the inside with the tour was better as there was daylight to see all the architectural details and you had time to walk around and could take photos. It was a lot better than seeing it at night with all the people.

The cafe stays open before performances and you can get some tapas or a glass of wine while you wait to be admitted. Don't forget to walk around and look at the front of the building.
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Sep 14th, 2014, 09:20 AM
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I attended several performances at Palau. I don't think it is necessary in order to appreciate
the building. ,a tour is good enough ( especially with kids).
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Sep 15th, 2014, 02:58 AM
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Another heads up, navas:
If you are planning to visit Park Guell, and if you can all get out of bed early enough, I can recommend getting there first thing.
It opens at 8am this time of year, and our taxi dropped us off around 8:15. There were a couple of other people around, but that was all. So no problem to walk up for tickets, and best part of all - we could see all the magnificent mosaic and sculptures without dodging around crowds.
By the time we were leaving around 9:30, they were arriving by the bus load. Another advantage of taxi; we were dropped right at the ticket gate. Whereas those from the hoho bus had a 15 minute up hill climb before they were even at the gates. Escalators part way, but one of the three wasn't working.

Our next taxi took us to Hospital Sant Pau, just took a look at the beautiful Art Nouveau exterior here. Then a pleasant walk down a boulevarde lined with trees and eateries (Avia de Gaudi). In around 10 minutes we were at the S. Familia . . . and that's where the crowds really overtook us!!!
I've never seen so many tourists in the one place at the same time. We had only planned to view the outside, anyone queuing for tickets would have been lining up for an interminable time. So you are wise to have booked ahead.

From there we took a taxi back to our apartment here in El Born, and are back in time for a leisurely lunch. All up taxi fares were around 25 euros - great value and a great time saver as well. Di
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Sep 15th, 2014, 03:39 AM
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Great feedback, di. I'm going to follow your advice on my last day. Start with Parc Guelle, then Hospital Sant Pau and then maybe to Barri Gotic for lunch. Afternoon for my wife to do some shopping for souvenirs. Can you recommend any good place for shopping?

Cheers. Have a great trip.
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Sep 15th, 2014, 05:07 AM
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I usually buy myself a silk scarf from places we visit; after so many years of travelling we don't do a lot of souvenir hunting. I wear scarves a lot, so each has wonderful memories tied up in itself.

This time my scarf came from the shop in the La Predrera building. For a change it wasn't silk, but a combination of fabrics of different patterns, reminding me of Gaudi's work. That shop had an excellent range of quality goods suitable for all ages and interests.

If you're here over a weekend there are groups of market stalls all over the place - here on Carrer d l'Argenteria and along the waterfront up the end towards Barcelonetta are the ones we happened upon. They have artisan style goods, not the tacky mass produced ones you see in the tiny souvenir shops.

My advice is to just keep an eye out as you are moving around the city. And if your wife sees something she needs, buy it there and then - experience has taught me that you may never be able to find that exact shop again!

Our trip will be over in two days, but I'm sure you'll enjoy yours, Di
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Sep 15th, 2014, 05:39 PM
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montserret was wonderful. there are tours that you can book, where a van picks you up (and others), and you have a tour guide for montserret, and then they take you to lunch, and then to a vineyard. you arrive back later in the evening. i wish i remembered the name of the group that we booked it through. and the funicular to montjuic was pretty cool, good views and good photo ops. be sure to walk through el borne, barrio gotic, etc...the shopping is terrific and you can't find bad food if you tried. enjoy.
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Sep 17th, 2014, 05:04 AM
  #19
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Thanks di and otto for the feedback.

I'm now in the final phase of our exciting trip ahead. Ciao.
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