My wife and I are renting an apartment in Barcelona this spring, following a brief, wonderful visit there this past fall. What are some suggestions for how we might best prepare for a comfortable, enjoyable stay (eg. what to bring, etc.) and what are some ideas about short (2-3 day) trips we might take from there. Thanks
Girona would be on my list. Also the area concerned with Salvador Dali...his house, the museum, etc. And Cap de Roig, a wonderful garden on the hillside of the ocean. I would also want to visit Pals, a wonderful old town. A day or two stay at the Castle de Emporda, fantastic bed and breakfast hotel, one of the top rated in Spain would be on the list. One of the beach towns along the coast would also be a plus.
Take a tour and also attend a concert at the http://www.palaumusica.cat/ca/.
Terrific experience many travelers miss.
If you enjoy tennis, and are there in April, then the Barcelona ATP tourney is held April 21 - 27.
We love Barcelona and have taken to jumping on subway trains and randomly hopping off at stops just to "see what we can see". The vast majority of the time we were delighted with the experience, always were safe and found aspects of daily living which are undiscoverable in tourist zones. We especially liked trying random restaurants while on this type of discovery journey. Prices are way cheaper and provided a more authentic experience. http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/maps/barcelona-metro-map.html
On our last trip we went house hunting and spent two days touring properties. Now we are genuinely interested in purchasing a residence in Spain so felt no guilt in contacting a realtor. We have eliminated Barcelona as a place to purchase, but greatly enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the communities. We are now focused on Valencia. A purchase of a property, or several properties, for a total minimum amount of 500 k Euros allows obtaining a Spanish residency visa. Something we value as we intend to retire in Spain. So, you may consider speaking with a real estate broker to learn more about the potential of Barcelona.
Spring is a time laden with festivals, check out http://www.aboutspain.net to learn of opportunities which may interest you.
So jealous, but admire your investment in taking a month to investigate Barcelona.
A day trip to Sitges - about a 30 min train ride from Barcelona. It's a beach town with lots of night life and things to see.
Thank you all for the helpful information thus far. Any suggestions about what we should be certain to bring, either for our comfort or otherwise, that would be difficult to get while there? We will be there late spring. We would not want to pack any more than necessary but we ARE used to typical American "comforts". Also would appreciate anyone's thoughts about renting a car for trips out of the city...and is an "international license" required? Thanks....
Get the international license...if you are stopped or have an accident without it you will regret not having it on your body...Also, make photos of the car (all sides) when you get it and when it is returned. The train to Sitges is the way to go, but the car will be useful otherwise.
If you have a specific day trip which is not served by a train then you can rent a car, but.... I would do all possible not to have to hassle with one. The subway and train system is fantastic! We have rented cars when we have specific needs. The guidance about the IDP is dead on and must be obtained prior to departing USA. Get one at AAA for $20.
Your needs will be fully met with shopping in Barcelona. Pack lite and make your life simple. El Corte Ingles is the place to shop, they have dept stores everywhere and a full grocery store in the basement. NOTE: their bathrooms are on the 3rd floor in the corner of the store.
Shop like a local. Buy daily small amounts of food. Don't you dare fail to purchase Jamon at the specialty stores! or at the local butcher. Cheese is fantastic. Have you a terrace at your apt? Wine, cheese and jamon makes for a great way to relax. Also, try the Cava Sangria, don't ask; just do it!
Special treat? The beach restaurants alongside the former olympic village are great. We enjoyed Carpe Diem.
Ah, my jealousy grows, but............ our daughter just shifted her study abroad program to be in barcelona all summer so we will just have to check up on her!
meant to mention this.................
please toss out your thought about "American comforts" and try on the "Barcelona comforts".
Off topic but check out the Tapas bar called Irati..just off the Ramblas. Fantastic and loads of fun!!
Go to Figueres and Cadaques if you like Dali.
If you haven't been up to Montserrat, I'd put that on the list. A nice (almost) day trip by train with a lot to explore. And if you want to fly or drive to San Sebastian, gorgeous country.
Is taxi the best way to get from the airport to our apartment, which near La Sagrada Familia? My wife and I will have a few full size suitcases and will have been traveling overnight from the US, so convenience will be a consideration. If so, what would be approximate cost and are taxi drivers normally tipped?
As far as comforts, there is nothing you can’t find in Barcelona if you find you are wanting something. I would only pack the minimum - that is a lot! I am traveling for the next 5 months and got it all in one carry on suitcase. That is heavy enough. it isn’t the clothes, it is the personal care stuff, and you can only bring the small sizes! You electrical appliances won’t work here without a converter so I would definitely bring one of those. They are expensive here! You will have access to a washing machine so don’t bring a lot of clothes. Look at Rick’s suggested packing list. Has everything you will need!
I did bring my favourite tea and find it is easy to buy here. The have speciality tea shops and I found some fabulous Earl Grey tea here! Bring your medications and copies of prescriptions in case you need to have them filled. If you have allergies, bring LOTS of allergy medicine. It isn’t the same here, I like Benadryl and it isn’t sold here. Substitute isn’t the same.
All the name brand cosmetic lines are sold here. Can’t think of a single creature comfort you can’t find here! So, leave it at home. A month really isn’t that long, it will go by in a blink.
I just noticed this is an old post. You are probably there and back :( Hope you had a great time!