One full day in Barcelona

Jan 15th, 2011, 08:14 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 101
One full day in Barcelona

Alright... we have had the most incredible, helpful advice on our days in London and Paris. Now it's time for the Barcelona day...
We will just be finished a few busy days in London. We arrive in Barcelona in the early evening and plan on just heading to our apartment that we are renting for 2 nights on arrival day.

In our family, there are five of us: my husband, myself and three sons (13, 11, and 8)

We will have one full day in Barcelona. This is what has been advised to me:
Bus Turistic tour - Red line tour – get on near apartment at Sants Estacio’ stop
Get off at Gothic Quarter (maybe go to chocolate museum? Picasso museum? - thoughts???)
Continue on red line tour to Plaça de Catalunya
After checking out area, get on blue line and head to Park Guell
Get back on blue line tour to Francesc Macià-Diagonal and then switch back to red.
Return to hotel for a break.
Then??? We have no ideas for the afternoon or dinner.

We really know so little about Barcelona, we are at a loss as to what we might want to see. We are excited to see the amazing architecture and sights. We will likely not go in the cathedrals though, unless maybe one. We've been warned it will be very, very busy and so we'd like to get in as much as possible without using all our time in one place.

I'd love to find out about a neat area we can connect to on the bus turistic tour (assuming the tickets are good all day?) so that we can and take a leisurely stroll and have some dinner.

The following day, we are boarding a med cruise. We have been told that we can probably drop off our luggage on the ship and then go and see Las Ramblas. Is this true? Is it within walking distance? If not, we would probably want to "hop off" in that area while on the bus tour. What stop would it be?

Lastly, if our apartment is within a short walking distance of Sants Estacio, what can we expect? Is there anything worth checking out in that area?

Thank you, thank you for any thoughts, advice, or suggestions!!
jtw999 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 08:34 PM
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'maybe go to chocolate museum? Picasso museum? - thoughts???)"
chocolate museum is not very interesting
Picasso is always busy
Las Ramblas is just a touristy street ...

What defines Barcelona is Sagrada Familia ( see it from the outside) and modernist architecture.

The kids may like the ride to the top of Mountjuic
or walk by the beach.
danon is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 08:34 PM
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Also, I forgot to ask...

Is it realistic to walk from our apartment area to the Magic Fountains? That might be something we could muster energy for after our late flight from London.
We will arrive in Barcelona on a Monday evening. I've heard the fountains will not be working on Mon-Wed. Is this true? Is it still worth seeing? Definitely at night though?
jtw999 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 08:37 PM
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Thanks, danon. Would you skip Las Ramblas altogether? I think skipping the museums are a good suggestions. We will see lots of museums in Paris and London, so we might be "museumed-out"!
jtw999 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 06:22 AM
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With only one day, you really need to prioritise. The following are what I believe to be the "must not miss" sights.

Sagrada Familia
La Pedrera
Palau de Musica Catalana
Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter and the quarter itself
Parc Guell

That's probably enough for one day and you will have seen the major stuff. There's only so much you can fit in in one day!

Try the Four Cats restaurant (Quatro Gatos) just off the Placa de Catalunya if you want to follow in the footsteps of Picasso.
Lifeman is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 08:04 AM
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Almost all tourists go to Las Ramblas and some like it.

It is a long street closed for traffic, there are many street performers "statues" ( the kids may enjoy it), a lot of tourists, and cheaper shops and restaurants. One attraction is the famous Boqueria market.
Barcelona is a big city with so much to see.. Some areas can be reached by walking, some by Metro ( cheap and easy to navigate) . If short on time, consider taking a taxi ( also not expensive). Weather permitting, I would stay "outside" as much as possible.
I am not fond of Ho-HO bus, but it may be right for you.

Parc Guell is wonderful for children. Nice view of the city.
Coming from big cities and many museums , the kids may enjoy looking at the boats in the port.
Another activity for the kids could be taking a cable car to Montjuic
danon is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 08:31 AM
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The Magic Fountain is near Pl. Espanya. You can check on Google maps if it's walking ditstance from your apartment.

Besides the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, and the sights on Montjuic, the "rest" of the major sights are in walking distance of Pl. Catalunya.

You can see the most famous Modernisme building at the upper end of Passeig de Gracia (metro Diagonal), and the old town from Pl. Catalunya or metro Liceu (assuming that you will be close to metro Sants Estació).

So the Bus Turistic is not a total necessesity, but very convenient if you don't have that much of a clue what might interest you.

If your boys are up for a little "thrill", the cable car from Montjuic to Barceloneta is a great scenic ride (and a bit of an adventure). Not exactly cheap but you can do it just one-way and take public transport to/from either end.

Las Rambles is kinda okay if you are into lots of tourists and living statues. Just take only a little cash with you, and leave your $3K camera and your rolex in the hotel
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 09:53 AM
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Thank you all for your advice! As you can imagine, there's a little pressure in trying to plan a one day visit to such a magnificent city as Barcelona.

I have updated our itinerary, according to suggestions. It is still a work in progress though, so feel free to put in your two cents' worth!!

Monday (day one): Arrive from London at 8:00 pm and check into hotel.

Tuesday, July 19: (we will probably not go in the buildings, but just admire them from outside)
RED line tour – get on at Estació de Sants
1st stop: Fundació Joan Miró – ride cable car to Montjuiic
2nd stop: get off at Gothic Quarter and explore area **Cathedral
Walk up to Palau de Musica Catalana (I don’t see a stop on the bus touristic for it)
Then walk up to Plaça de Catalunya
After checking out area, get on BLUE line
1st stop: Passeig de Gràcia - La Pedrera
2nd stop: Sagrada Família
Head to Park Guell
Get back on blue line tour to Francesc Macià-Diagonal and then switch back to red. Return to hotel.

Find area to head to for dinner
Possibly walk to Plaza Espanya to see fountain, although it will be the wrong day for a performance.

Wednesday (day 3): Board ship (possibly drop off luggage and go over Rambla de Mar to Las Ramblas) Or, just stay on the ship and enjoy it against the backdrop of the Mediterranean!

New questions...
1) Does this full day seem reasonable? I appreciate the suggestions of local metro vs the hop on hop off tour. I will explore that, as I'd prefer it. We like to walk, as well, although I have knee issues and I can only really walk on level surfaces. I understand Park Guell is a hill, so that might be all the hill I can do in one day.

2) If there was but one of the buildings mentioned you could pick to go inside, which would it be? I truly have no concept how far or close these places are. If we find things are quicker than expected, I'd like to have a possible place in mind to pay the fee and enter.

3) Are there any favorite sites to see in the Gothic Quarter? (besides the Cathedral)

4) I'm sad to see we will no be in Barcelona on a day of the Magic Fountain performance. I'm sure it is still a sight to be seen without the lights though. Is the area around it a good place to explore for a little shopping and possibly dinner? I'd like to sightsee in the day, have a little break at the hotel in the late afternoon, and then preferably walk to an area for dinner and a leisurely walk in an interesting area.

Thank you all so much for your help!
jtw999 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 10:40 AM
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Palau de Musica Catalana is beautiful, but mostly from the inside... one has to take a tour.
From Placa Catalunya one can easily walk up Passeig de Gracia to La Pedrera.
Parallel to Passeig is leafy Rambla de Catunya .. a great place to sit down (lunch??) and relax for an hour.
danon is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 12:27 PM
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I'd go the La Boqueria if you can find the time. Even if you are not into food too much it's still a very interesting place. Who knew there were so many kinds of eggs. There are interesting fish, although dead, and so many other varieties of things that I, very much into food, learned a few things. We were there during mushroom season during the fall and you can't believe the assortment.
Quark is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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How far a walk might it be from Port Vell through Las Ramblas, through the Gothic Quarter and up to Palau de Musica Catalana and then onto Plaça de Catalunya? Judging by mapquest, is says under 2 miles (about 3 km).
Also is this flat or uphill?
jtw999 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 05:43 PM
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Hi there, I just flew in from Barcelona last night and saw your post and have a few comments.
I would not do both bus lines, it takes too much time. We only did one line without getting off and the trip was 2 hours. With one day I would:
1. Choose one bus line and do the tour.
2. No museums.
3. Go to Monjuic.
4. Stroll the length of Las Ramblas from the Christopher Columbus statue to Placa de Catalunya. Las Ramblas is flat and two miles is about the length.
5. You can eat down at the waterfront in Barceloneta or in a historic place in the Gothic Quarter.
6. A real DON'T MISS is La Boqueria as Quark mentioned above. It is right on Las Ramblas. This is the largest food market in Europe. It is simply amazing. There are stands filled with fish, poultry, hams, produce, etc. It is just full of new and different foods. You can easily spend an hour just walking and looking.

Las Ramblas has a wide pedestrian section down the middle, one lane traffic on each side and then a narrow sidewalk before the buildings. On the pedestrian section are outside cafe seating areas, souvenir stands, puppet sellers and tons of flower stalls. It is definitely worth a visit. Yes, it is filled with tourists (watch your wallet and purse).
There are also "street performers" which your kids will love.

For your last question, you might want to take a look at I think it would be about an hour walk. You can walk from the Columbus statue (start of Las Ramblas) to Placa de Catalunya in a leisurely 30 minutes.

As someone who doesn't live in Barcelona but has spent a lot of time there over the years, I find it to be most enjoyable when you don't try to squeeze too much in. My oldest son went for the first time this trip (he's 22). He said the best part was the Gothic quarter, Ramblas and the market. Okay, and the cava bars! We ate at a couple of excellent places. I will dig out the names.
Lynnaustin is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 04:29 AM
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Coming back to your new questions:

* The bus stop of the Tourist Bus for Parc Güell is an appr. 10-15min pretty steep uphill hike to the main entrance of the Parc. Not sure if there are escalators on that street. If you think that this will be too much, use the regular city bus #24 from Pl Catalunya or any stop on Passeig de Gracia to the East Gate of the Parc.

* In your 7.53pm post you say that you want to take the Tourist Bus to Fundació Miró and take the cable car to Montjuic. But the Fundació IS already on Montjuic. Keep in mind that there are THREE cable cars that go up Montjuic.
1) from metro Paral.lel to Montjuic/Fundacio Miro
2) from Montjuic/Fundacio Miro to Montjuic/top of the hill/castle (Teleferic de Montjuic)
3) the harbor cable car which connects Montjuic/Miramar with the beach/Barceloneta
#3 is in 15min walking distance from Fundacio Miro and closer to the tourist bus stop "Miramar - Jardins".

* favorite sites within the Gothic Quarter could include the beautiful Pl. Reial (off the Rambles), the "hidden" Pl. de Sant Felip Neri, but also Santa Maria del Mar church in neighboring Born district (and the maze of alleys there, too).

* There are few restaurants around Pl.Espanya worth mentioning (IMO!). Same applies to Sants station area.
If you go to see the fountains anyway, you can take the escalators up to the National Museum and enjoy the view at night. You probably want to eat somewhere else, though.

For your general dining schedule you may want to keep in mind that few real restaurants are open before 8/9pm, and there won't be much life in them before 9.30/10pm. Tapas bars and similar are open /busy all day, in case you don't want to eat after 9pm.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 12:19 PM
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3) the harbor cable car which connects Montjuic/Miramar with the beach/Barceloneta
sounds interesting. Is that the beach by Port Vell?

What area do you all suggest as being the area to dine in?

jtw999 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 09:46 PM
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Yep.. that are the beaches by Port Vell

You are more or less dropped off on the beach by that cable car, and walk 5min to where the long boardwalk starts that connects Port Vell/Barceloneta with the Olympic Harbor (a 20min walk, with several beach cafes and restaurants).
Cowboy1968 is offline  
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