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Barcelona Spain in October

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Aug 5th, 2014, 07:54 PM
  #1
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Barcelona Spain in October

My husband and I, both in our fifties, are staying for 5 days in Barcelona prior to taking a cruise a 7-day cruise.
We are staying in an apartment in Gracia and are looking to visit markets and do other fun stuff. Will visit Sagrada Familia and the Gaudi park. We love food and will try the local tapas. We thought of going to San Sebastian but flights are rather costly for an overnight trip so maybe we'll stay local or nearby towns. We would appreciate suggestions on what to do and where to go. Thanks!
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Aug 5th, 2014, 10:27 PM
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With only 4 nights (?) / 5 days, why not stop and enjoy the city? Have you ever been to Barcelona? If not, you will find a lot to see and do, and realize that 5 days is simply not enough.

You can start your research with what to see and do with Turisme de Barcelona (www.barcelonaturisme.com).

There is also: http://www.cocoonbarcelona.com/blog/...ties-calendar/
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Aug 5th, 2014, 10:35 PM
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If you want to see something else one day consider Girona, Figueres, or Montserrat, which are easy train rides from Barcelona.
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Aug 6th, 2014, 01:55 AM
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Speaking of tapas, you still have time to make a reservation at Tickets, the new paradise version of traditional tapas style restaurant run by the Adrià brothers of the world's by far most awarded restaurant this century, now closed El Bulli. Very affordable Tickets was up on the list of the world's 100 best restaurants after one year (#77), and jumped this year to #57. http://www.theworlds50best.com/

The basic concept is traditional tapas prepared and presented as you never would imagine and with tastes to the maximum. Iberian ham, Spanish cheeses, olives, croquetas, tomatoes, anchoas, shellfish, Iberian pork etc etc plus some surprises from out of this world. Just tell the waiter how much you would like to spend and what kind of food you like, and then leave it up to the kitchen to make it an evening never to forget. The four of us had some 17 dishes here a year ago and payed around around 60-65€ each with wine/cava included. Lived very much up to the high expectations.

You can normally only book online and only two months in advance. Tables are literally gone 10 minutes after midnight two months prior to every day year around, so you have to be online on midnight Barcelona time two months on the day before you want to book a table. http://www.ticketsbar.es/web/en/
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Aug 7th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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For a traditional Catalan meal, I recommend Barcelona classic 7 Portes from 1836 with tons of Barcelona history in the walls or small and family-run Ca l'Estevet. Both are almost timeless places and serves excellent regional food.

7 Portes: http://www.7portes.com/angles/
Ca l'Estevet: http://www.restaurantestevet.com/wpre/

The Boqueria food market is one of the finest in Europe: http://www.gardenista.com/posts/la-boqueria-market

The close by and more local feel Mercat Santa Caterina:
http://no.tripadvisor.com/Attraction...Catalonia.html

Find a concert at quite spectacular Palau de la Musica Catalana: http://www.palaumusica.cat/en

See some of the finest flamenco artists in Spain at either Tablao Cordobes or Tablao de Carmen.
http://www.tablaocordobes.es/es
http://www.tablaodecarmen.com/

To give you an idea of what to expect:
El Junco at Tablao de Carmen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sENoCuTQYPs
Three of the greatest female flamenco dancers on the current scene in early and laid-back preparation for a performance at Tablao Cordobes (Pastora Galvan, Paloma Fantova and Karime Amaya): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7x7jRHDuNU

The medieval and vibrant Born District: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...s/el-born.html
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Aug 8th, 2014, 11:38 AM
  #6
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Thank you Kimhe and Robert2533. I think we will stay local and really experience Barcelona. I tried to make reservations at Tickets, albeit past the two months minimum. I saw several days in black so I tried to book but to no avail.
I have pending reservations at Portes and L'Estevet. Hopefully I'll get confirmation.

Thanks again. We are looking forward to visiting Boqueria and Santa Catalina. If you think of anything else that we should look into, please feel free to add a post here.

Gracias!
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Aug 8th, 2014, 11:56 AM
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A concert at the Palau de Musica is more than a concert, but a chance to see the inside of a fabulous, beautiful concert hall done in moderista fashion. Not to be missed.
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Aug 8th, 2014, 07:40 PM
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We found Tickets disappointing - more of a tourist destination than a restaurant :
everyone spoke English , most patrons were franticly taking photos of dishes in front of them and the food
was not even close to meals we enjoyed in Madrid, Seville and San Sebastián.
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Aug 8th, 2014, 09:02 PM
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Sounds about right...
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Aug 9th, 2014, 02:15 AM
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Tickets is far from the normal restaurant or tapas experience. I guess you either hate it or have one of the best food experiences of your life. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...Catalonia.html

At Ca'l Estevet, I can recommend the tomato salad - much thanks to the extremely rich Vinagre de Jerez - the world class Iberian ham, the Barcelona speciality Bacalà a la llauna and the wonderful grilled chicken with prunes. On Wedensdays in the winter half of the year, and I think that includes October, they serve the most typical of all Catalan dishes, Escudella i carn d'olla, the oldest documented soup in Europe (14th century).

In 7 Portes, I always have the great Arròs caldós (a more soupy variant of paella with seafood), but through several visits the last years, I have also tasted the monkfish soup, the monkfish in garlic sauce, the roast lamb and the entrecote. Everything delicious.

7 Portes is a special place with tons of history. A major Barcelona event when the restaurant celebrated its 175 anniversary in 2011. Seven articles on seven consecutive Saturdays in the major Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia marked the event. You might find some articles fun to read before going here: http://www.slideshare.net/fullscreen...ia-neswpaper/2

The actual celebration night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujDIsGzDO38
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Aug 18th, 2014, 07:33 PM
  #11
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Thank you Kimhe. We have reservations at 7 Portes and L'Estevet.

Now, I have to plan our land transfer from BCN to our apartment. The apartment is in Carrer de Goya. Are you familiar with the area?
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Aug 18th, 2014, 07:46 PM
  #12
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Also, we would appreciate any feedback on the apartment we rented. Anyone familiar with the area?

http://www.vrbo.com/420405

It is in Carrer de Goya. I googled the address and I see graffitti on some of the metal gates. I am now wondering if this is a safe neighborhood. The reviews on the apartment were very positive. But one never knows.
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Aug 19th, 2014, 12:17 PM
  #13
 
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Gràcia should give you a local Barcelona feel, but at the same time very central: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...ia-barrio.html

Some great descriptions of the area and some tips: http://www.theconfuseddasher.com/201...ona-on-budget/
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Aug 31st, 2014, 11:21 AM
  #14
 
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I will tell you that I spent 5 days in Barcelona proper in 2012 and did NOT get through my list of things to do so I actually am going back for 8 days in November, ha ha. We loved the markets in Barcelona -- Santa Catalina was my favorite, definitely less touristy than la Boqueria (but don't get me wrong, despite the tourists, that is still a must see). Here is a link to various markets, but keep in mind that every neighborhood has a public market -- I believe there are 38 of them?

http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...na-market.html

As to Tapas, I know this type of answer is vague, but seriously, just wander around El Born and pick the one that is busiest. The further you are from Las Ramblas, the more likely you will be eating at a place that is appreciated by locals. I don't personally like dinner show types of things, so I don't have any suggestions for that.

I highly recommend taking advantage of Barcelona's art scene. They have some small, but incredible museums -- Picasso, Miro, modern art, Catalonian art -- you name it. You can buy the Art ticket online from the tourist shop for 28.5 euros or buy it at any of the museums for 30 euros. It covers 6 museums. If you plan to go to 3 museums, this pass has more than paid for itself. Plus if you have bad weather, its nice to have some indoor options.

http://bcnshop.barcelonaturisme.com/...wr-1NRkiKtG8-g

When I was in Barcelona last time, I did two walking tours with the Tourist office as per Rick Steves' recommendation (see link above, then navigate to the walking tour section). The Gothic Quarter walk and the Architecture walk were both incredible. Both were around 13 euros, give or take. We also did a tour with an architect company whose name I am not going to mention, which was also really good but cost 5 times as much.

For some off the beaten path stuff, head up to Mount Tibidabo for views. Also, if you are in El Born, the Chocolate museum is totally worth 30-60 minutes and is just fun. We saw Spongebob and other amazing creations but the real reason to go is that you can buy a lot of really good chocolate when you're done and what's more fun than chocolate? Ha ha.

Personal preference, I would skip the magic fountains, bus tours, and similar tourist stuff and just give yourself plenty of time to wander, have long meals in restaurants, and soak up the culture. Barcelona is a very vibrant place so you won't feel bored if you have unscheduled time. Have a wonderful trip!
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