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Barcelona itinerary for 4 nights

All,

I will be staying in Barcelona for 4 nights from 12-16 May with my wife (both early 40's) anbd daughter (12)
My flight arrives at 9 AM on 12th May. So, I might have some meaningful time that day but I am not sure about the jet lag (coming from India). So, I will to keep it light on 12th.
I have already booked at hotel villa emilia
We like to walk around pretty neighbourhoods, enjoy the food and atmosphere.
We are not too much into art but like architecture. We would like to see the mordernista building, Parc Guell along with the Sagrada Familia obviously. APart from that, I would like a quick tour to Girona if possible.
Can you suggest a possible itinerary?
Also, what is the preferred way to get around in Barcelona? Metro/Taxi?
I prefer a taxi if it's not too expensive. Also, is uber or mytaxi available in Barcelona?
How much in advance should we purchase tickets for Sagrada Familia? Is it advisable to have a guided tour?
Any other places where I should purchase ticket in advance?

Sorry for so many questions .. but please help if possible.

Posted by
18355 posts

Barcelona is highly walkable. I used the Metro a few times to reach more distant locations during a long stay in Barcelona, but I mostly walked. Locals have commented here that taxis are reasonable. I don't know whether Uber operates in Barcelona.

Your tickets to Parc Guell will include a shuttle bus from one of the Metro stations, so it will be easily accessible. You must buy those tickets in advance because none are sold at the park. I don't think tickets sell out very early, but entries are timed, and if you want to go at a particular time (such as first thing in the morning), it would be prudent to buy earlier. I don't know how early would be "safe" for that purpose.

La Sagrada Familia tickets are also timed, and the earliest time slot is popular, because it means you'll walk into a church that isn't already full of folks who had earlier tickets. Again, I don't know how early the most popular times sell out. I used the audio guide and thought it was good.

Other places for which you'd want to buy tickets in advance--if they are of interest--include: Casa Mila/La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Picasso Museum (feel free to skip it; it's often unbelievably mobbed) and the Palau de la Musica Catalana (because the English tours may sell out). All of those places except the museum are modernista buildings.

Another modernista place you might like because its architecture is lovely: Sant Pau Modernista Site. It's a multi-building complex that takes at least 2 hours to see. You should be able to walk right up, buy your tickets and go inside. It's not terribly far from La Sagrada Familia.

Otherwise, I recommend walking around the Eixample area, where you'll encounter some other modernista buildings whose exteriors you will appreciate.

I also liked the walking tour of the Barri Gotic conducted by the tourist office. It was very informative, and they limit the number of tickets sold, so you won't be part of a huge contingent of visitors.

Girona is a good side-trip, but I wonder whether you'll have time for it with only three full, non-jetlagged days in Barcelona. I doubt that you'll want to leave. There's a lot to see in Girona, so I wouldn't recommend a "quick tour". Realistically, I'd figure on a full day by the time you get to Sants train station, ride to Girona, get from the Girona station to the medieval area, see the two historic churches, walk around the wall, wander the streets, have lunch, and get back to Barcelona.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for your reply.
I am also considering leaving out Girona. I am thinking to take a couple of walking tours.
Tentative plan.

12th May - checkin hotel, relax, go out for lunch and then Park Guell.
Questions - how long should I budget for Park Guell and easiest way to reach there?
Early dinner and sleep.

13th May - Want to focus on Gothic Quarter/El born area.
I want to start with a walking tour. I found a few as mentioned below, please suggest
free walking tour
sandeman's walking tour
runner beans walking tour

I think most of the free tours end the Cathedral but not sure if they take us inside?
So, I was planning to go inside the Cathedral and then go for lunch. Do we need to buy tickets in advance?
After the tour, planning to visit the Palau de la Música Catalana. Do we need to buy tickets in advance? Is a guided tour recommended?
In the evening, planning to go for Mercat de la Boqueria. Is it recommended to eat dinner here? I have heard that it's mostly a tourist trap. SO not sure?

14th May - PLanning to start with a Gaudi and Mordernism tour from one of above tour companies. Suggestions?
After the tour, Have lunch, visit inside of Sagrada Familia and Sant Pau.
Come back to hotel for some rest. Go out later for dinner.
Questions - SInce most of the walking tours don't start before 11 AM. I was planning to go inside one of the Mordernista buildings before the tour. Which one should I choose - Casa Batlo or Casa Mila?

15th May - Not planned anything yet. I am thinking if we are not able to visit the above attractions, then we can cover this day. Or, if we have covered enough, we can go to Girona. Also, planning to visit the Montjuïc area in the evening and watch musical fountains. Can you suggest a good place for Tapas crawl? Please note that I have a 12-year old daughter. I have heard Montjuïc can be a good place for the same.

Looking forward to suggestions from forum members

Posted by
14235 posts

See if there's a Modernisme walking tour through the TI. It is very good and will open your eyes to a lot of details you would otherwise miss. Mine was in the afternoon. Look on their website here. I took their Gothic Quarter tour and it went into the Cathedral. I took one Runner Bean tour and it was excellent. They are recommended by RS and get high marks here on the forum.

Yes, you need to book the Palau de la Musica tour in advance. There are limited numbers of spaces available for the English tours and they sell out. Another very good sight by the same architect is Sant Pau, a 10-15 minute walk from La Sagrada Familia.

La Boqueria is very touristy but I wouldn't call it a tourist trap. Many stands will give you free tastings and while you may pay a little more, you'll see a wide variety of local products. I've never gone late in the evening so I don't know how much is still open.

I don't know of any tapas places on Montjuic. I don't think there's much around the Placa de Espanya either. Do check when the light shows begin. Sunset's not until 9 pm. Unless you are adopting the Spanish dining hours (10 pm and after), you'll want to eat before going there.

Posted by
14235 posts

You asked about taxis. They aren't expensive but they can get bogged down in the slow traffic. I find that the metro is usually the fastest way to get around.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for your reply.
Can you clarify what do you mean by TI here - "See if there's a Modernisme walking tour through the TI"
The website shared by you is the official tourism website?

I am checking a few walking tours, running bean tours seem very good indeed but their Gothic tour does not go inside the church.

So, this is how my plan looks like as of now -
12th May - Park Guell post lunch.
13th May - Gothic walking tour - lunch - SANTA MARIA DEL MAR (should I go to the tower?) and Palau de la Música Catalana.
Thinking of skipping the Picasso Museum as I have heard it's too crowded.
14th May - Morning Casa Batlo, Gaudi and mordernista guided tour (11AM - 1:30 PM) - lunch - Sagrada Familia - Sant Pau.
15th May - currently open, suggestions? I am not too interested about the fountain. Planning for Casa Mila night tour/morning our For 15th May, should I plan a visit to Girona or plan something else or spread out the attractions more evenly?

Please provide your suggestions.
I am planning to start online booking of some of these attractions soon.

Thanks a lot
Shiladitya

Kindly provide your suggestions.

Posted by
18355 posts

TI = Tourist Information Office. Barcelona Turisme has redesigned its website and it's now difficult to find information about its own tours, as opposed to commercial tours it also sells. On the day I took the Barri Gotic tour back in 2016, there was a considerable difference in the size of my tour group and the other groups I saw in the Barri Gotic. BT only sells so many tickets for its tours. I've never seen a "free" tour turn anyone away.

Link to Barri Gotic tour: https://bcnshop.barcelonaturisme.com/shopv3/en/product/213/barcelona-walking-tours-gotic.html?o=h

Link to Modernisme tour: https://bcnshop.barcelonaturisme.com/shopv3/en/product/188/barcelona-walking-tours-modernisme.html?o=h

You must pre-purchase tickets to Parc Guell; they no longer sell tickets at the park. I wouldn't want to pre-purchase any tickets for my arrival day. You cannot be sure your flight will be on time or that you'll all be awake enough to enjoy the park. Adult tickets cost 10 euros; your daughter's ticket will be 7 euros. It's possible tickets will still be available for the afternoon when you arrive in Barcelona. You could buy them when you land at the airport (using your smartphone or at the TI booth), or you could stop by one of the Barcelona Turisme offices once you get into the city. There are branches at Sants Station, under Plaça de Catalunya and in Plaça Sant Jaume (Gothic Quarter).

Posted by
593 posts

Barcelona is a city where I found the 2-day HOHO bus tour to be very valuable. It gets you out to places that are a bit far to walk (Sagrada Familia, Nou Camp, Montjuic).

Spend a half day just wandering through the Barri Gotic and around the old cathedral. Barcelona is often thought of as a modern city but this medieval quarter is my favourite part.

Posted by
18355 posts

I question the value of the HO/HO buses in Barcelona, a city with very good local-transit options. The day I arrived in August 2016, there was a terrible line of folks waiting at the Placa de Catalunya HO/HO stop--way more people than could fit on one bus (even if it arrived empty). And traffic could certainly slow the buses down a lot. I'd prefer to have a choice of using a bus (for views, if the streets aren't too busy) or the Metro (for speed). But, I mostly walked in Barcelona because a big part of enjoying the city is seeing the architecture.

The new T-Casual transit card gives you 10 rides for 11.35 euros. You can use it over the course of an entire visit to the city, until you've taken 10 rides. I was in Barcelona for 9 days and went to a couple of sights far from the center of the city; I think I used public transportation between 4 and 6 times.

Posted by
24 posts

We like to walk to the extent possible.
I think my hotel is in the Eixample area and walkable distance from Placa de Catalunya. So, we would be walking to most places of interest. I plan to take metro/taxi for Park Guell and Sagrada Familia.

Can you suggest about my last day in Barcelona (15th May)?
Should I spread out the attractions? Or, plan some othera area like Montjuic or the waterfront?

Posted by
18355 posts

I don't plan at the same level of detail you do, so it's difficult for me to give advice. Also, I love art museums, so I'd just figure I'd fill in any gaps with one of Barcelona's good ones. The MNAC on Montjuic is excellent.

I am doubtful that you're going to be awake and energetic enough to tackle Parc Guell on the day you arrive, so that's something you could do on the 15th. Just remember that you can't just show up at the park without a ticket. Montserrat would also be possible (I haven't been there); it doesn't have to be pre-planned. Or you might arrive in the city and see posters for some special event that really excites you.

Posted by
24 posts

Your replies have been very helpful.
This is my final plan. Let me know if there are any suggestions. Do you think it will be too rushed?
The places in (?) are optional and I will make a decision once I reach there, not planning to book in advance for these places.

12th May: Lunch , Park Guell (4-6PM), walk to Gracia - Casa VIcens, Plaça de la Virreina(street), Carrer Verdi. Dinner/Tapas at Gracia

13th May: 11AM - 1:30 AM Gothic quarter walking tour - lunch - SAnta Del Maria church - Palau de la Música Catalana(?) - columbus monument - la barcelonata - Tapas/dinner at EL Born/La barcelonata

14th May: Gaudi and mordernista walking tour (11AM - 1:30 PM) - lunch - Sagrada Familia (3 -5 PM) - back to hotel for rest - Casa Mila evening/night

15th May: Casa Battlo - Mercat de la Boqueria- Guell Palace(?) - lunch - rest at hotel - MNAC - Montjuic fountain - Tapas/dinner at Carrer de Bla, Poble Sec

Given that I might have jetlag on 12th, Is it better to switch Park Guell to 15th evening and keep the MNAC - Montjuic fountain on 12th? Any other suggestions in terms of any missing attractions or to distribute better across days?

Posted by
18355 posts

What you could do is not buy the ticket to Parc Guell in advance. See how you feel upon arrival. If you're in great shape, go on line an see whether there are tickets available for later that day. As I write this it's 6:15 AM in Barcelona and the park will open in 2 hr. 15 min. There are still tickets available for all the afternoon time-slots. I know the city is likely to be busier in May than it is now, but Barcelona doesn't really have a slow season, and you have an advantage over a lot of visitors: You know you can't just go to the park and buy a ticket.

I wouldn't recommend a museum on your arrival day. The usual suggestion for banishing jetlag is to stay outdoors. So a walking tour, or just walking around yourself would be good. And if you are awake and alert, Parc Guell would be a fine thing to do.