Hi! I have a quick stop in Barcelona next month. Recommendations? I've seen Sagrada Familia over 20 years ago so will probably do that again. Any must-sees? Lodging in safe location? Thank you!!!
You're going to want to buy tickets online well in advance for the Sagrada Familia, for next month travel I wouldn't wait.
We stayed at the Europark Hotel on Girola St. last month.
Nice hotel, and safe.
I agree that you should see the Sagrada again, as it's changed quite a bit, I'm sure. We also enjoyed the Picasso Museum, especially if you're interested in seeing his earlier works, as I'm not a fan of his cubism but enjoyed his more traditional styles in his younger years -- I would also advise on getting advance tickets with the timed entry. Park Guell may be something you're also interested in, which should also have advance tickets/timed entry (though admittedly, my husband loved this more than I did). We also enjoyed walking around the El Born area and visiting the cathedral, and then you have to do the Ramblas at least once, and save some stomach room to visit the La Boqueria market during your stroll and get some snacks.
Rick recommends the Santa Caterina market more than the Boqueria (much smaller, less busy, and more affordable). It's in the El Born district. Good restaurants there too.
Kent, thanks for your reply about purchasing tickets ahead of time. I'm not sure what happened but, I purchased a Barcelona City Pass, and selected the hop on/off bus and sagrada familia and parc guell. I specified my dates september 30 and oct 1. Then I got an email the next day where I needed to specify the dates/times for sagrada and parc guell. Sagrada Familia showed a few dates but, no times. Parc Guell showed dates and times. I've tried to email the company to find out what this means. Does this mean nothing is available for Sagrada Familia, even though I purchased this city pass to include that tour on those dates? I'm so confused.
If anyone has tips on this I'd appreciate it. Thank you!
well, lesson learned. purchasing the Barcelona City Pass, with the option of entrance to Sagrada Familia, does not guarantee that you can get in on the dates you want. even though i mentioned in my pass my arrival and departure date (departing October 1st), the system did not tell me Sagrada Familia was not available until Oct 1st, at least not through the city pass.
so, for an extra $36 i went directly to the sagrada familia site and purchased an entrance for the basicilica and towers, AND when i purchased it told me the dates the times that were available.
i wasted some $$ on the city pass but, i'll use it for transportation in the city, i still got my pass for Parc Guell, and it included an airport transfer. not exactly the most intuitive website to use though.
i hope this helps others booking this tour!
What's done is done, but for future travels, be very careful about buying any City Pass. Before buying it, understand exactly what it does and does not cover. These days, that includes needed reservations. As more and more sights require reservations, passes that only cover admission fees but do not include reservations become less useful. Of course, some passes do include reservations, but you do have to be careful.
All of this is in addition to the not-new issue of whether a particular pass is a good deal in general. Some are great (I particularly remember the three day Strasbourg pass as being almost impossible NOT to make pay off), and some are not (Rick takes pains to mention how the Bergen pass has become a worse deal with each passing year).
As for what to see in Barcelona, that depends on your interests. There's Gaudi sights (many pricey and requiring advance timed tickets), other Modernista sights (like the Sant Pau and the Palau de Musica Catalana), fine arts museums (Picasso, Miro, MNAC), other museums (Maritime), eclectic museums (Frederic Mares), neighborhoods to wander (Gracia, Eixample, Barri Gotic), views (from Tibidabo or Montjuic) and more.
yes what’s done is done. i bought an expensive bus pass. and i paid to skip long lines for sagrada familia with the prepaid pass. rookie mistake. could have been worse 🤣
Only money and a beneficial instructional moment for all of us. Have a great trip.
You have already received great advice on what to do and where to go. I have a couple of other recommendations for you.
For hotels, I have stayed in a couple over the years in Barcelona and my favorite is Hotel Midmost: https://majestichotelgroup.com/en/barcelona/midmost-hotel. It is centrally located near Catalunya square and Universitat square with easy access to the Metro and just far enough away from Las Ramblas.
I would also recommend if you have time to take a food tour. Barcelona has some unique cuisine and the Devour tours are excellent: https://devourbarcelonafoodtours.com/.
Have a great trip.
Our family (6 adults,4children 10-4 years in age), chose to celebrate the New Year in Barcelona. With great anticipation, as is my custom I began my accommodations search in my Rick Steves guidebooks: Spain, RS Barcelona , and RS pocket Barcelona.
Four of the six adults in our group are educators, two retired, so I was conscious of being fiscally frugal. Along with this consideration, of course safety, cleanliness and comfort are requirements.
Location? Now that we are here I feel the great expanse if this magnificent city. The guidebooks were so helpful, yet the options are each vast and dizzying.
I had very recently arranged every detail of a 100 days journey throughout Europe, B&B’s every step of the way other than a few boutique hotels.
Wow, did this confidence backfire on me! I truly can’t remember if I found this lodging in one of our SR guidebooks. If so, the one needs to be reviewed and eliminated! There are neighborhoods in Barcelona that are less safe, so be sure to read Steve’s guidance carefully.
Dig deep into the website for (in random order because I am still rattled by our experience):
-look carefully at the images of the lodging entrance (if it is a bit obfuscated, it could be as dicy as it appears (or doesn’t appear including the graffiti next to the confusing entry, “buzz in, how?” at 11PM while wrapping your grandchildren near to protect them from what might be lurking in the shadows of this scary dank deep distressed city darkness
-is this truly a non-smoking lodging (otherwise they try to mask the smell with other nauseating chemicals)
-a cancellation policy that includes prepaid may mean “we need to lock you in because we want your money and will block your pocketbook’s escape route with all our might”
-keep in mind, photos ARE DECEIVING so look closely at the website photos of reception or sitting room couch covers hiding who knows what, could there be stacks of who knows what ineffectively hiding behind doors, under the check in desk, look closely at that image of flat or lumpy beds, the bed covers, details or lack thereof in the bathroom sink, shower, facilities (if there is mold and or grime they won’t include photos of the shower or sink)
-shared bathroom availability-even if you select a private bathroom may place you on the other side of a thin wall between your room and shared stall where the guy repeatedly vomiting in the fiscally prudent facility at 2AM!
-Be sure you see photos of your room selection, not just a similar room which will more likely be their “ideal” far above the quality of the real one you’ll get stuck in. For the children, mattress in the floor! “This is not acceptable!” I announced, frightening our exhausted 6 year old adorable grandson! The next morning he said to his mom, my daughter, “Grandma is brave. She is watching over us.”
So, my advise to you is avoid prepayment requirements, and DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN IT ALL FACE TO FACE! If it looks like you need to get out, GET OUT.
My travelers motto has become: When in smaller towns and villages, lodge in locally owned and run B&Bs, and when in Rome (or in any other large magnificent city, make a hotel, boutique or otherwise, your home sweet home away from home!
Ultimately I’d note quite quickly enough, we moved to a wonderful hotel, all safe and cozy, for our Barcelona adventures. Wishing you comfy, clean, traveler considerate respites on your journeys.
PS “Partial refund may be arranged if released rooms are booked.” Such is life.
At least you are all for-warned.