Favorite thing: As in lots of other countries in the world already smoking is generally forbidden in public places as in restaurants and bars especially. A sign that smoking is forbidden is placed in the doors of the restaurants as you can see it on the photo. But (as far as I was told, and you can see it on special signs) bars or restaurants can also buy the permission to allow smoking at their place. Then you find a similar but green sign at the entrance that allows smoking. Thought I took a photo as well, but can?t find it currently ;-)
Favorite thing: The University of Barcelona, just like the city, is bilingual. What this means is that classes could be in Spanish, Catalan or a combination of both. Students are free to express themselves in either of the 2 languages (as long as it's not a Spanish/Catalan language class). This was a little bit intimidating at first, not knowing which language to expect a class to be in or having a lecture in one language and a discussion section in another one, but it turned out not to be too big of a problem. Teachers seem to be very understanding of foreign students.
Favorite thing: Barcelona is one of the biggest cities in Spain, but it is not what you typically think of when you think of Spain. There are no bullfights (it was banned in the city a while ago) and the only flamenco shows you'll see are the ones targetted towards tourists. Barcelona is the capital of the province of Catalonia, and since Catalonia was once an independent nation, it has retained many of its own cultural traditions. Catalan is the main language (similar to Castillian Spanish and French), and the music, dance, and food are mostly Catalan rather than Spanish. However, it is a big cosmopolitan city where many people and cultures come together, so if you don't speak Catalan or Castellano, it is not difficult to find someone who can speak English. Also, along with the city skyscrapers and unique architecture by Gaudi, there are also beaches.
Here is an ideal car to rent if you wish to drive in the city. The cost vary from season to season, although through the use of internet you can easily book for the cost ranging from 60 euros per day.
Fondest memory: This vehicle which everyone calls SMART is the funnest car we had rented to drive around the city, instead of renting a mopad, we rented this vehicle called "SMART". Quite an ideal to rent for couple of days instead of walking around the city miles to see Barcelona.
Hi, I discovered this new website www.takeoffguides.com, it has a travel guide of Barcelona in PDF format, really complete with pictures, travel tips, maps, I recommend it to all vt's! I am using it myself for my trip to Barcelona, and also all the tips from virtual tourist of course. Thank you.
Fondest memory: Currently travelling in Barcelona
That really depends on three factors: how much time you've got, what you plan to do, and last but not least - your tastes and inclinations.
The area of Barrio Gotico and Las Ramblas is preferred by tourists, but I don't know anyone living in Barcelona who would want to live on Las Ramblas. Lively during the day and the center of nightlife, this neighborhood attracts tourists and pickpockets alike, so you always have to watch your belongings. In this sense, the area is dangerous, but it's highly unlikely that you'll get physically assulted here, or anywhere else in Barcelona. Having said that, I must warn you that the old town is more dirty and noisy than it is dangerous.
If you are here for just a few days and want to see as much as you can, then you should consider staying in Barrio Gotico. It would save you a lot of time on transportation. You can catch up on sleep when you get back home! :)
Barceloneta is another authentic picturesque neighborhood not far from the old town, but almost as dirty. It is close to the beach and known for seafood. If you are just two people travelling, you are most likely to find accommodation in this area because apartments here are smaller.
Fondest memory: Don't forget that Bcn is not such a big city (its fame is much bigger than its size), so what is important, in my opinion, is that the area is centric and well communicated by bus and metro to other parts of the city. Eixample, Gracia, and Vila Olimpica are such areas.
Eixample is a wider center of the city, and some parts of it are nicer than others. I like the areas of Paseo de Gracia, Sagrada Familia, and Parc de la Ciutadella.
Gracia is a popular area located above Eixample, and populated mainly with younger generation. It's relaxed atmosphere can be enjoyed on one of its many plazas with bars, restaurants and shops. Artsy and original, this neighborhood is lively but not wild.
Vila Olimpica is a posh area, located by the beach. With well-trimmed parks and recreational facilities, swimming pools, tennis courts, hiking paths, large shopping center and cinema in English, it is close to the Zoo and Barcelona Aquarium, and thus ideal for family holidays. It is an elite neighborhood with night clubs and casinos, also recommended to those who seek glamour, because that's as fancy as Barcelona gets!
In case, like me, you have to call someone to make arrangements for you room, you might need to use a pay phone, as most shops and restaurants won't let you use one.
Fondest memory: This is a simple process. You buy a phone card at any local shop. I tried to get two machines to take coins and, although they accepted, they did not allow me to make the call. The card goes into the slot on a payphone face up, with the arrow facing in. Don't dial +34, just dial the numbers following. Do NOT remove the card fromt he slot until you are done, otherwise it will terminate the call.
Whether you have a late flight or you're just passing through Barcelona, you may have the need to store your luggage for a period of time. Let me make your life easier by telling you that there are two places in Barcelona where you can store your luggage.
The first is the Estacio de Nord (Bus station). The website is http://www.barcelonanord.com/default_eng.asp
This website will give you the address as well as tell you how to get there by metro.
The second place you can store luggage is the Estacio de Sants Train & Metro Station. I do not have the exact address, but it's very easy to get to as it is also a metro stop. From this train station you can also get to the airport in 1/2 hour for about 2 euros.
Favorite thing: To keep in touch with people it is always useful to know where the nearest Internet Cafe is located. This one was good for me, I was staying with friends on C. de l'Escorial which is near to Parc Guell.
If you're planning on doing the bus tour, do it before any other tourist activity. When you give your ticket to the bus driver they give you a coupon book. This book has discounts for Sagrada familia, the zoo, etc. It's perfect for your days around the city and the savings will save up.
Also, the bus meets up in Plaza Catalunya buy Cafe Zurich. You can purchase your tickets next to Sephora. (PS. Great clothes there!)
It is a convenient way to make the visit easier.Barcelona card include free travel on public transport and also offers over 100 discounts at museums, theatres, shops, restaurants, nightlife and other attractions.The guide provided with the card gives information about places to visit and discounts ,a city map and a metro map.The prices varies ,depending the lenght of its validity:1-3 days.
Points of sale : tourism information offices -Pl.de Catalunya,airport (terminal A and B ),City Hall (Ciutat,2 )
If you get the opportunity you should go and see a bullfight. (Unless you have a problem with seeing animals hurt, like I have. I can't even go to a circus, but that's me...) In bullfights they use a special kind of bulls, Toro Bravo, that are only conserved in Spain.
Many civilizations revered to them, the bull-cultus in Creta is quite well-known, and the Bible reports on sacrifices of bulls in honour to the divine justice. Also in the religious ceremonies of Iberian tribes living in Spain in prehistorical times, bulls played an important part.
The origins of the Plaza (bullring) are probably not the Roman amphitheaters, but the Celt-Iberian temples where those ceremonies were held. In the province of Soria, close to Numancia, one of them is conserved. It is believed to be a place where bulls were sacrificed to the Gods.
For its fans, La Corrida is a form of art, rather than a sport. And of course it's the challenge of the man fighting against the beast. It is an archaic tradition that has survived in Spain, just as the Toro Bravo has done.
The history of Barcelona is closely linked to that of the Catalan nation and the Catalan language. The language is an evolution of Latin, and is more similar to Provencal French than Castilian Spanish.
There are also very strong Catalan traditions, cultures and identity, making the people feel much more like Catalans than spanish.
In the 13th and 14th centuries there was a great Catalan expancion throughout the Mediterranean area. Today you can still see the traces of both Catalan commercial and military, in places like Sicily, Malta, Sardinia and even Athens.
Romans came to this place more than 2000 years ago, and founded the city of Barcino. They chose to build the city on a sandy enclave on the northeastern Iberian coast, situated between the mouths of two rivers, Llobregat and Besós, and protected by the Collserola mountainrange.
This was a very strategic position, well communicated by land and sea, and protected by the landscape and the citywalls. Over the centuries the city grew to become the capitol of Catalunya and Spains main tradingport.
Pick up some Minicards. Minicards is the name of the handsomely-designed full colour advertising cards, which, free of charge, are available in hotels and other public places.
Minicards are printed with the advertiser’s every possible message, amongst others: information on product and/or services, the address, a routemap and opening hours. Besides, the advertiser also has the possibility to give attractive discounts through his Minicard.