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What to visit in Barcelona and surroundings
First advice: Barcelona in August is very hot, 30 or 35 Cº (as minimum), so do not forget a good hat, sun lotion and bring water always with you. Apart of this, you can find also some summer storms, so do not forget also the umbrella.
The must see places of Barcelona are La Sagrada Familia; Las Ramblas; Passeig de Gracia (Paseo de Gracia in Spanish), where are the famous La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, both of them Gaudí's buildings; Barri Gotic (Barrio Gótico) and Barceloneta beach.
Apart of this, my personal advises are El Palau de la Música Catalana, a wonderful modernist building; Barri de Gracia (Barrio de Gracia) a quartier that was a independent town since it was integrated in Barcelona, but it still preserves his own identity, you can arrive easily by metro, green line, Fontana station; el Barri del Born (barrio del Born) and Barri del Raval, even that if you want to go to the last one is better to do it by day.
About the daytrips, I would advise you going to Montserrat, a mountain that is symbol of Catalunya with a sanctuary at the top; Tarragona with very important Roman ruins; Girona, with an important historic Jewish quartier and Sitges, a cute white town in the beach where, by the way, it's were I live. You can go to all these places by train.
If you have a chance of renting a car, you can go also to the area of La Garrotxa, with towns as Besalú, Santa Pau, Castellfollit de la Roca or Mieres. all of them are medieval and cute little towns that are surrounded of nature, in fact, you can see all of them in one day, as they're very close one of each other. But if you prefer to go to the beach, Cadaqués or Tossa de Mar are very good options. All these places are in Girona's province.
El born pictures
The best way to get these streets is taking Princesa streets or Argenteria st and turn left.. or from Cathedral square you cross the Via Laietana bd and straight .. both options are well .. to the left towards Santa Maria del Mar church or to the right towards Urquinaona and Arc de Triomf monument
Barcelona in just one (full and long) day
I know, sometimes we all have time constraints!! So, here you have some suggestions to fill up a very long day
Let's start at Plaça de Catalunya as it's the very city centre, very early morning. If you walk up Passeig the Gràcia you will see some of the most famous buildings of the city for a good start. Stop at Manzana de la Discordia and admire the beautiful houses here, the most famous of course is Gaudi's Casa Batlló. I would not visit casa Batlló but Casa Milà (la Pedrera) not far away. Later take any street to Rambla Catalunya and walk along, or have a rest on any of the nice street cafes there.
Walk down again until Plaça Catalunya. Here you I would propose you two alternatives:
- If you love walking: go down the famous Ramblas down until Columbus statue and the old harbor. After you can go up again and visit the Gotic, and maybe El Born/Ribera. Do not miss the markets, the most famous La Boqueria (in Las Ramblas), but Santa Caterina near the cathedral is very nice too and less crowded. On the afternoon, it may be fun to join a bike tour around the old town (see a separate tip for bike tours)
- Alternatively, in Plaça Catalunya you can take the tourist buses and have an overview of the city from its open top deck. You may take the red line of the tourist bus to Sagrada Familia (outside) and walk to hospital de Sant Pau nearby (most people miss it and it's amazing). Continue to park Güell (quick view of the area closer to the main gate, you will not have time for more). Continue on the red route just for sightseeing from the bus until the stop at Francesc Macià square. Here change to the blue line and sightseeing until you arrive again to Ramblas or Plaça de Catalunya. This way you will have a quick overview of virtually all the city, except the Gotic quarter (you have to walk there). To optimize your time you can grab some sandwiches and drinks and eat these while sightseeing from the open deck of the bus :)
- Road Trip
The Rivera District is the city's old fishermen neighbourhood. Its narrow streets are very picturesque and,nowadays, are full of bars, restaurants and trendy shops. The main sights are the Carrer Montcada, lined with medieval aristocratic palaces, including the one that hosts the Picasso Museum, and the beautiful church of Santa María del Mar, a typical Catalan Gothic church, whose interior is a true jewel of the Spanish religious architecture: sober, elegant and balanced.
1. Sagrada Familia, just a piece of genius work. 2. Go to Parc Guell, incredible from another planet, bizzare. Roam around El Born, Gotic Quarters and El Ravel. Go to Barceloneta and Olympic area. I witnessed FC Barcelona team members boarding the team bus after practice and saw some of the world's best futbol performers. The Avenida Diagonal has lots of shopping. The Picasso museum is always crowded, but it is interesting in that it is the artists works when he was age 15 to 30.
You have all info about Barcelona public transports here: www.tmb.net (available transports, ticket prices, suggested itineraries...)
You will get good coffee anywhere in Spain. If you like the coffee you get in Canada, ask for "un americano". If you like GOOD coffee, say small, strong with a little milk ask for "un cortado". If you just like a strong black coffee, ask for a "cafe solo".
Passeig del Born
In the area known as La Ribera, between the church of the Santa Maria del Mar and the wrought iron structure of the Mercat del Born one finds the small Passeig del Born. This little street used to hold glass and tin fairs as well as jousts and tournaments from the 13th to 17th century. Today, take time to wander along this boulevard and its adjoining streets, where bars, shops, and art galleries are plenty.
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