Going to Barcelona for a cruise. We will arrive on a Friday around 3pm, leave for cruise Sunday afternoon. Suggestions on an itinerary and places to stay for that short time. Have never been to Barcelona. Thanks in advance. Going in May this year
We enjoyed Fat Bike Tours, besides all the usual spots/sights to see.
"Food Lovers Tapas Tour" was fabulous when we were there a few years ago. You can check them out on Trip Advisor and see photos of the typical participant and the food. You will not go away hungry. They visit different tapas places, and then enjoy a full meal at the end, all adult beverages included. Guide explains the foods and traditions. It's fun.
Re: what to see. La Sagrada Familiar and all the Gaudi sights are typical things to see. There is also a huge market (La Ba.......something...don't recall the spelling, but it is also fun to walk thru.
Barcelona has a really good subway system supplemented by buses, so you needn't be too constrained in selecting your lodgings. However, I was thrilled with the location of my (budget-level, and truly tiny) hotel room in Barcelona. I was very near Placa Catalunya, which put me a short walk from the Barri Gotic in one direction and the modernista-architecture-rich Eixample district in the other. The Aerobus from the airport stops right on Placa Catalunya, and there's a large city tourist office underneath the square.
You have provided no clues about your interests, so we would just be guessing if we suggested sightseeing stops. Barcelona is unusual in that so many of its most popular destinations really need to be booked in advance if you don't want to stand in a very, very long line. With the very short time you have, you can't afford to waste time in line. You need to get a guide book from your local library and read the sightseeing section to see what appeals to you. These are the places that you do not want to approach without a ticket already in your hand:
- Camp Nou soccer experience (sells out early)
- La Sagrada Familia (if there's a must-see in Barcelona, I think this is it; first time slot of the day will be less crowded)
- Parc Guell (outdoors, so monitor weather situation)
- Casa Mila/La Pedrera (will be crowded)
- Casa Batllo (will be crowded)
- Palau de la Musica Catalana (tour required, or you could attend a performance; English available)
- Picasso Museum (will be crowded; skip if you are not a big fan)
If you are arriving in Barcelona from elsewhere in Europe and will not be jetlagged, you may want to take advantage of the evening hours available at Casa Mila or Casa Batllo on your arrival day. If you're coming in on a transatlantic flight, that day's probably a lost cause; maybe you'll be just about energetic enough to wander around the Barri Gotic.
Organizing an assault on Barcelona is difficult since so many of the modernista sights need to be pre-booked, and who knows how much time you need to leave between bookings? So I'd be choosy about the things on the above list and hope to fill in with a few sights you can (usually) walk right into:
- Sant Pau modernist site (fabulous, and so far not crowded; multiple buildings so you'll be outdoors part of the time)
- Barri Gotic (outdoors)
- Museums other than the Picasso; the Miro is less mobbed, just for one example
- Cathedral (dress code requires covered shoulder and I think clothing down to or near the knee)
- Santa Maria del Mar
- La Boqueria (touristy covered market but convenient for off-hour munching on tapas and small snacks)
Barcelona was one town where I really enjoyed the Hop On Hop Off bus tour. One day did the Barri Gotic and seaside part of the tour; and one day to the Eixample, Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou and Montjuic.
I suggest caution vis-à-vis the HO/HO. Upon my arrival at Placa Catalunya I observed an extremely long line of people waiting for the HO/HO bus. There were far more people than could fit on one bus--maybe as many as 200. I am a very impatient person and would hate to have to wait for a service for which I'd paid so much money. Especially when time is tight, I think the much-more-frequent public transportation is a better idea. With only one full day in the city and some random extra hours, I can't imagine doing much hopping on and hopping off when you have to wait for the next bus to show up (and have room for you). Two or more people could grab a cab occasionally, if they wanted to, and probably spend less money than on a HO/HO bus.
In Barcelona, where so many sights call for pre-purchased timed tickets, I'd be afraid to use the HO/HO bus.
I'm sure there are regular city bus tours available if you want a quick 2-hour overview or something like that. Wouldn't they be cheaper than a HO/HO?
Thank you all for the responses. Since we are there such a short time, the notes about getting ticket ahead of time is welcome advise Tapas are on tap for sure.
•Magic Fountains of Montjuic (from Placa Espanya)
•Passeig de Gracia - walk by Casa Mila & Casa Batllo
•Ramblas - La Boqueria & Placa Real
•Bari Gotico - Cathedral
•El Born - Basilica Santa Maria del Mar
•Sagrada Familia (BOOK AHEAD)