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Barcelona planning trip

Hello, we will be arriving in Barcelona on October 2, 2023 from a cruise. We are planning to stay a few days in Barcelona and a few days in Madrid before heading back home. I have read several posts on areas to stay, the Gothic area is one as well as Eixample, are these walking distance from each other? Since I’m just starting to coordinate my trip I want to know how many days you suggest for Barcelona? This is our first visit. I am aware that there’s a lot to see but I want to visit just a few sites, can’t stay too long. I want to visit Montserrat (I believe that’s a full day), want to see the Picasso museum, La Sagrada Familia, walk around town and maybe The Dali museum.
Thanks for your input.

Posted by
3965 posts

Gothic area is one as well as Eixample, are these walking distance from each other?

My preference is the Eixample, the Barrio Gotico can get quite rowdy at night. yes you can walk from one to another.

Montserrat (I believe that’s a full day)

For most people it's a half day as it's quite close to Barcelona, unless you do some hiking

Since I’m just starting to coordinate my trip I want to know how many days you suggest for Barcelona?

I'd say 3 night minimum for just the city, add 1 night for each day trip

The Dali museum

That's actually in another city to the far north of Catalonia, definitely a full day trip to visit

Good news is you have almost a year to plan!

Posted by
1996 posts

I would also suggest Eixample. If you are a walker, you can actually walk to the Gothic district from there. I know people think it's atmospheric but I think the restaurants and hotels are better in Eixample. I would definitely recommend 3-4 full day minimum.Montserrat can be done in a half day. We aren't religious so we didn't do much of the actual church but we did walk around for some amazing views from the mountain top.

Honestly, I'd skip the Picasso museum as there are better places to see his work-like in Madrid. I would suggest instead the Miro museum which is in a wonderful building on Montjuic. You can take the cable car up to the top and then walk down. Definitely visit Sagrada Familia and one tower.

I would also suggest walking along the promenade/beach.

Posted by
365 posts

We stayed very close to Casa Batllo and found it easy to walk almost everywhere we wished to go, and easy train access to anything else.

Agree with the others on the Eixample end as far as a bit more restful- but still in the middle of plenty of food, entertainment, and sites.

Posted by
115 posts

Thank you, we will stay 3 full days and skip the Dali museum. I will look for a hotel at Eixample area and then move on to Madrid.

Posted by
1542 posts

Grateful for your mentality to absorb Barcelona in small doses. HUGE menu of opportunities and believe this trip may whet your appetite to return. Suggest you find an apt to rent in the Eixample district for having the room to spread out comes at same expense of most hotels.
Barcelona is a wonderful place to walk and also blessed with a great subway system which is well connected to the train system.
To us Montserrat is a full day experience. Do keep an eye on weather for if the mountain is socked in with rain strongly suggest being nimble and adjusting your schedule. We find taking the subway to make the train connection is convenient and offers added elements to the travel experience. Many make this journey so lots of folks will help insure you may the correct connections. Please research the various methods to travel up and down the mountain, plus check out timing of choirs. a great way to spend the day.
La Sagrada is best with pre-search on how to enjoy the experience. Be sure and reserve and purchase tickets on line. We enjoy a morning visit inclusive of a visit to either tower (elevator up, narrow stairs down). After the visit suggest walking north up Avenue de Gaudi to visit Sant Pau Art Nouveau.
Strive to avoid the Picasso Museum on a day where entrance is free (crowds).
Magnificent opportunity to experience art, architecture and history and make great use of an evening for attending a concert. At a minimum include as a tour during the day and keep an eye out for announcement of concerts for next fall. We always make time for this experience (Barcelona is our favorite city and have been visiting for over 20 years).
Recommend the AVE high speed train to Madrid, book early online and save $. We suggest evening train to max time in Barcelona. Madrid train station is wonderful and adjacent to old town Madrid where majority of your time will be spent. Close to the station are some really great hotels away from the noise and bustle of tourist central. Old town is relatively small and easy to walk. With a minimum of three nights we always book apartments, but are totally comfortable with orienting and finding our way amongst locals. Madrid is a museum lovers dream, research and determine your art priorities. Be a local and picnic at Retireo Parc.