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Favorite thing: [from my Barcelona forum tip]
- When you arrive and check in your hotel, try to get some initial food and necessities for the first few days until you get to know where to go. An initial one stop place is El Corte Ingles department store at Plaza Catalunya. There's a cafeteria at the top floor with good views. At the bottom level there is a gourmet grocery store.
- Also in Plaza Catalunya is the Tourist Info office.
- There are 2 competing touristic bus offerings in Plaza Catalunya. I did the Bus Turistic bus tour. I think it's good to do at arrival day or the next day if you're still jetlagged. You can just ride the routes to get a feel of the places you'll go to or may want to add, and judge distances between attractions. The Blue and Red routes takes about 1 and a half hours, while the Green route takes about 45 minutes.
- Avoid the crowds at La Pedrera and Casa Batllo typically between 11a till 3p. Go straight to the rooftops then work your way down. Get to La Pedrera by 10:30a (the tourist buses stop there so it'll be crowded from 11:30a till about 3:30p then stroll along or have tapas at one of the places going south along Passeig Gracia. 3 blocks later you're at Casa Batllo.
- La Sagrada Familia - be there lined up by opening or go late afternoon. I was there at opening then headed straight to the elevator lifts to go to the towers. Less people jockeying in narrow spaces and more time to enjoy the views from the towers.
- The T10 subway tickets is a 10 journey ticket that is SHAREABLE and good for subway and bus. This is what I used.
- If you're on Twitter, follow @SuiteLifeBCN and @Somniosays. They give timely info on events going on in the city.
SuiteLifeBCN has free ebooks called the Barcelona Bible on an insider's guide to Barcelona. Somnio has a pdf detailing a route to see all the places you see in the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
- If you take the tram to Montjuic, take note of what time the tram stops running. When I was there, it stopped at 7:00pm. So I had to walk all the way down to the Parallel metro stop.
- If you're there on a Sunday, try to see the people dancing the Sardana, the Catalan national dance. Try near the Cathedral. When I saw people doing the Sardana it was in the afternoon in the park across from La Sagrada Familia.
- Try to catch one of the neighborhood festivals spread out throughout the city in the summer. They really do it up. I saw one being setup in Barceloneta. I wish I could have stayed in the evening but it was my last night in BCN.
Fondest memory: [from my Barcelona forum tip]
I was in Barcelona last month for 6 days and wishing I was still there!
I stayed at Hotel Marvi (www.hotelmarvi.com) and Hostal Hostemplo (www.hostemplo.com) all booked through www.booking.com
I looked at reviews at Booking.com and TripAdvisor.com
Of the 2, Hotel Marvi is better location wise since it is close to Metro Universitat and 5 minute walk to Plaza Catalunya and Las Ramblas. If you do book hotels, if you prefer balcony (view but noisier) as opposed to inner courtyard (no view, quieter) do state your preference before hand so hotel can accomodate you.
For apartment rental options, there is Suite Life (www.suitelife.es). They offer apt rentals and have free Barcelona Bible e-books to offer suggestions on being an "insider".
I wanted to stay in one of the private rooms at Somnio Hostels (www.somniohostels.com). It's primarily a hostel (dorm style beds with shared bathrooms) with a few private rooms with bathroom ensuite. It's in a good location a few blocks from Plza Catalunya but quiet and close to great tapas bars. The advantage of staying in hostels is instant social environment so it's easy to find people to do stuff with.
Another idea to easily find people to do stuff with is find the Travel Bar (www.travelbar.com/travelbar) off of Las Ramblas. They offer free walking tours (2.5 hrs) and they also set up bike tours, pub crawls. ( http://www.travelbar.com/es/free-walking-tour )
Another is from Runner Bean Tours. 2.5 hours. Lets you choose between Gaudi Tour or Old City Tour. ( http://www.runnerbeantours.com )
Tours are "free" meaning the guide operates on a tip system.
Beaches - Barceloneta beach is closest to tourist area, eat & drink places; while Mar Bella / Nova Mar Bella are where locals tend to go. There are boardwalk / walkways connecting the beaches.
Placa de Catalunya
Favorite thing: The Placa de Catalunya, surrounded by banks, shops and hotels, marks the epicenter of the city. Measuring 46,554 m2, it was developing after demolishing the city walls, although its current perimeter dates back to 1927. Some of the city’s main cultural events take place there, and its gardens and fountain have become a meeting point for locals and visitors alike. Among the statues that adorn it feature La deessa (the Goddess), by Clara, Pastor tocant el flabiol (Shepherd playing the pipe), by Gargallo, and the monument honoring Francesc Macla (1859-1933), founder of the Estat Catala and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya nationalist parties, and President of the Generalitat between 1931 and 1933.
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La Place de Catalogne
Favorite thing: La Place de Catalogne à Barcelone ou "Plaça Catalunya" en Catalan , vaste place née de la démolition des remparts en 1854 est un point central de la ville et naturellement le centre névralgique du quartier fait de banques, d’hôtels et magasins réputés..
The Place of Catalogne in Barcelona or "Placa Catalunya" in Catalan, vast place been born of the demolition of the battlements in 1854 is a central point of the city and naturally the neuralgic center of the district makes banks, of hotels and well-known stores..
BCN meeting point
Favorite thing: Here it is the most important people to come together in Barcelona...most locals meet here to take beers or go to eat something...if someone talk to you about Zurich or triangle Fnac ..thats the place... just in the corner between Pelai street and Catalonia square
Plaça Catalunya and Ramblas
Favorite thing: Everyone know this place...more details about that are below
Starting point for many bus lines (above all during the night) SO MUCH IMPORTANT if you go out at night when the subway finnish its work day..Catch a bus or be ready to pay an interesting amount of Euros in a cab
Corte Ingles huge department store in BCn ..i dont fancy it so much lol..more expensive than other areas
Portal de l'Angel avenue ...gorgeous pedestrian avenue running to Picasso museum and Cathedral
FNAC ..no comments ..every ***ed people knows what is inside (lol)
Touristic Bus lane always crowded ( bufff i hate it)
And other stores as Sephora, Hard Rock cafe ....and something else
PLAÇA DE CATALUNYA
Favorite thing: This is the BARCELONA´S HEART, PLAÇA DE CATALUNYA.Around this beautiful square ,you can find,shops, good restaurants and some big Shopping Centers.Also there is a HARD ROCK CAFE.Without any doubts is one of most visited places in the whole city.
Favorite thing: A good walking tour of Barcelona begins at Placa de Catalunya. Start here and walk down Las Ramblas toward the port. Or head the other direction and you'll be exploring some of Gaudi's best architectural examples in El Eixample.
Fondest memory: The beauty of the place and its people.
Favorite thing: It's the heart of Barcelona. We arrived there by train.
There is a tourist information - good maps available there and also tickets for the touristic bus. The tourist information is under the Plaza Catalunya. Here is the stop from the red and the blue touristic bus line, so you can change here.
- Family Travel
The town centre!
Favorite thing: The name of the centre is Catalunya Plaza. Most buses will stop there, include the air bus. There has a tourist office, many restaurants, hotels and shops around there. The Plaza is near the Metro - Sant Antonai Catalunya. You will find this place always has many people, especially the tourist.
Placa de Catalunya
Favorite thing: At the end of La Ramble you come to the Placa de Catalunya. Unfortunately we didn't look around, just turned around and walked back down La Rambla. Take the time to look around...I only took the time to take a picture.
: ( Oh, this also happens to be the location of my favorite place in Barcelona, the Hard Rock Cafe...; ).
It is difficult to choose...
Favorite thing: It is difficult to choose something you absolutely must visit in Barcelona, because this one is a really rich city (in all of the senses ;-))
However, I think there's something you really should visit: Les Rambles and Plaça Catalunya. Maybe these two places (very near one each other: in fact, Les Rambles begins in Plaça Catalunya) are the most representative ones of the diversity of Barcelona.
In Plaça Catalunya you will find the most rich offer to the tourist: Restaurants, fast-food restaurants, cinemas, shopping centers (El Corte Inglés, Fnac and much more), games centers... everything placed around a beautiful square.
In Les Rambles, a delightful avenue where cars have left their place to people, you can find dancers, painters, human statues and much more amusements for the tourist. Also, following Les Rambles down to the sea port, you can find the Columbus statue and the Maremagnum (the most visited commercial center in Europe).
The easiest way to go there is by Metro (subway), Line 3 (green). To go to Plaça Catalunya you should stop at Catalunya station, and to go to Les Rambles you can choose three stations: Catalunya (recommended: you can visit this square and then continue with Les Rambles), Liceu (at the middle of the avenue) or Drassanes (at the end, where you'll find the Columbus statue).
Fondest memory: If you like the sea, I recommend you to visit the Olympic Ville (Metro, Line 4 (yellow), Ciutadella-Vila Olimpica). Just go there and take a walk by the sea... it's lovely.
North from Liceu is the Placa...
Favorite thing: North from Liceu is the Placa del Catalunya, a square which has become anyone's gathering spot. And where crowds of audience surround street entertainers. Hotels, shopping complex (including M&S and El Corte Ingles), cafeteria and restaurants erect side by side, together with Barcelona City Hall they form the square's perimeter. Just north is the Eixample which contains much of the well known Gaudi architecture.
Favorite thing: if u drink from the fountin, you'll come back....
and it's favorite place to meet with friends/pple on Pca. de Catalunya
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