Although Sagrada Familia itself is an absolute must, I regret paying the entrance fee to go inside (8 euro, 9 combined with entrance to Gaudi's house in park Guell).
The main hall is still a construction site, there is not much to see there. As for the stairs up, we spent about two hours reading the graffiti on the stone walls and waiting to go up - the staircase was so crammed that we were lucky if we could go 1 step up every 2 minutes.
Occasionally there were photo opportunities of the view and close-ups of parts of the exterior, but I really don't think it was worth the time and money.
Unique Suggestions: Stay outside the church, everything you need to see is here.
The Gaudí museum, his former house... We were doubting if we should get in there. As cheaptraveling backpackers we thought the fee of 4 euro was quite much, compared to all those bigger museums with a way smaller fee. But we entered the museum. I can advise you not to. It's thé example how this Gaudí-hype got out of hand. You see some old, but not very special pieces of furniture, a small house and very, very much tourist. There is so much to see in Barcelona, I wouldn't want to spend my time and money on this.
Unique Suggestions: But, there is one good side on this tourist trap! As you can see in the picture the outside of the building is beautiful! And it's free! So I would suggest to stay out of the museum and to whatch the whole building and al the tourists walking in and out.
Fun Alternatives: The museum is a part of the parc Güell which is really beautiful. So if I where you I would just visit the patc and see the museum from a distance. That's enough.
Check this photo, now you have seen the olympic station and don't need to go there.
Unique Suggestions: The good thing is that you haven't gone here in waste. In the are around Montjuic it's a lot of other things to see. Check out the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya or Poble Espanyol.
I should start by saying I'm not a philistine or an 'all modern art is rubbish' sort of person. However: think carefully about going to the Picasso Museum. The work on display is not by any means his best, you will have to queue for quite a while, and in our experience, the place was packed with incomprehending groups on guided tours (with tour guides glowering at you if you tried to look at a picture at the same time) making it nigh-on impossible to neogtiate your way around. I'd say the only compelling reason to go (unless you're a total Picasso fan) is to persuade someone that Picasso really could draw and paint 'properly' before he went off into cubism. There's an extensive display of his very early work, and boy, could the old boy paint conventionally. However, I sort of knew that already, so it wasn't particularly revelatory.
Fun Alternatives: Try practically any of the other art museums - they are generally free of the slack-jawed variety of tourist and offer in the main a much higher quality of art.
Barcelona has some excellent museums but also far more than its fair share of really crappy ones. The Footwear Museum falls into the latter category. If viewing row upon row of ancient footwear is your cup of tea, this is for you. If not, think twice.
The problem is that - with the odd bizarre variation (Gary Glitter's platform shoes, Frankenstein's beetle crushers) - footwear has not changed much over the ages. People still have five toes per foot, ankles, soles, etc. and this inevitably leads to a certain convergence of design. Barcelona's Footwear Museum merely confirms this boring fact ad infinitum.
Why not put your feet up and take a siesta instead?
Unique Suggestions: Goggle at the footwear worn by the famous and let out loud exclamations like "Just imagine, those shoes were actually worn by ....[fill in the name]!" and watch for signs of enthusiasm in fellow tourists.
Alternatively, try "They may be Roman sandals but you can practically smell the foot odour' to see if you can put anyone off lunch.
Footwear History Museum
Placa Sant Felip Neri 5 - 08002 Barcelona
Tel.: (+34) 933 014 533
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 2 pm.
I've noticed that a lot of tourists are going to Maremagnum to spend their time. This is a commercial center at day and a nightlife spot at night.
It's agood idea dancing or shopping surrounded by the sea... BUT last years this place has become just a "kitsch" place, in my oppinion. And at night could be even an unsafe spot, so be careful...
Unique Suggestions: You will see it for sure, since it's at the end of the famous Ramblas (Columbus monument and so on). But you can take Paseo Marítimo and go somewhere else, all you have to see it's enough from the distance ;P
Although I went to Hard Rock Cafes in another countries (yes, I'm guilty too) I regreted.
I think the only place you can justify going to the Hard Rock is in the USA because you can live the American culture and eat American food there.
Unless you are in Barcelona for a long time don't go, try local places with local food. If you are travelling probably is for some reason.
Same for Irish pubs.
Fun Alternatives: Try local pubs, bars and restaurants. Be mixed with locals, it's plenty of friendly people. You'll have time to meet your compatriots once in your country.
I'm not sure if it should really be called a park. There are no trees, no benches no grass no...well anything! The only thing of any interest is the sculpture and seeing a picture would've been enough. We had seen a picture of the scultpture and imagined the park much differently. So we thought we'd stop by...relaxing in a park SEEMED like a good idea. The only company we had were some kids on skateboards.
Unique Suggestions: when in a taxi have them drive past, it's all you need
This is supposed to be a recreation of traditional Spanish buildings from different eras, assembled together in a village. Ha! In reality, almost every building in the place is a shop selling overpriced tourist tat. And to think you've just paid to get in here...
Unique Suggestions: Take photographs. The one redeeming feature of the village is that many of the buildings are quite attractive looking from the outside.
Fun Alternatives: I'm sure there are villages in Spain which are the real deal
It's about la Sagrada Familia. it's really wonderful. But 8 Euros for entering the church (apart from the beautiful ceiling and some other architectural incomplete attractions it is just a building site) and for the relatively small museum is too much.
Unique Suggestions: MAke the most of your 8 euros trying to spot and admire the smallest details on the church's façade
Fun Alternatives: there is no alternative, because it is an unique site
All very nice during the day, just lay at the pier and enjoy the sun. A few reasonably priced food stands and very good (and very expensive) frappe coffee at the juice stand at the ground floor.
Don't go near the place during the night!
The nightclubs are at least horrible, the drinks unbelievably overpriced, the music disgusting. The best description of the atmosphere can be seen at late-night docusoaps with zero IQ drunk Brits abroad.
DON'T GO THERE!
Unique Suggestions: There is an irish pub at the top floor. Very expensive drinks and huge cockroaches running around freely (as in the rest of Maremagnum), but at least you won't be bothered by the stupid music and crowd from the downstairs clubs.
Fun Alternatives: There are many late bars and clubs around Barcelona. My favourite area is the Marina/Poblenou but it's a 30-minute walk or you need a taxi.
If you want to stay near the Ramblas, try London bar - not a very good choice either, but orders of magnitude better than Maremagnum.
Recommended by many in this site the old restaurant Les Quatre Gats was our first target restaurang. With help from a local guy we found the place. Outside the restaurant a gentleman praised their lamb which he had eaten twice in two days. Inside, we were told to wait in the "waiting area" but rather quickly and effectively we were directed to a table and this we thought first was really great. After observing this restaurant for awhile from upper deck we understood that this was part of effectiveness and profit. The 150 seats were effectively filled as soon as they were empty. The staff was non communicative, but correct. We guess there once was a soul in this place, probably nice personell that showed some humour or at least some humanity. The lamb was mediocre and expensive. (The gentleman outside must have an even more mediocre experience of lamb before) We recommend you choose somewhere else to eat.
Fun Alternatives: We suggest tapas at the Princessa 23 in Carrer Princessa. Great tapas!
Too many tourists, too many machines around.
Od velicastne zgradbe, ki jo clovek pricakuje, dobis le nekaj dokoncanih in nekaj nedokoncanih stolpov, kup zerjavov in se vec turistov. Kriza. Poglej od zunaj, pojdi naprej in se vrni cez nekaj desetletij, ko bo stvar dokoncana :)
Fun Alternatives: If you still want to see Gaudi's work, go rather to Casa Batlló or Park Guell.
At the ramblas , in all tourist books, but really stinking.
Bad food, unpolite staff, just no good value.
Unique Suggestions: Go to ANY other place
Fun Alternatives: The places at the small streets from las Ramblas and around Placa Reial are SO much better
One big disappointment for me in Barcelona was the Palau Nacional and surrounds at Montjuic. Do you remember the 1992 Olympics and that beautiful fountain with the gracious palace in the background?
Well, the fountain wasn't going at all on the two days I went to see it. The Palace was rundown, with old sheets hanging in the windows. The escalators up to it were broken and piles of litter had accumulated at the bottom of them. The whole place was seedy and grubby. It was a moment of reality bights I suppose - you can't always have those picturesque moments!