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Help with Barcelona Itinerary

Seems like I'm jumping all over town. I'm restricted to a Tuesday or Thursday 3 pm TI Picasso Tour that I really want to go on. Could cut out Montserrat but that seems like a great place to spend some time. I'm sure I'm leaving other sites out that would be great so any help and advice is greatly appreciated.

**Monday: Day 1: Arrival day: Plane gets in about 2 pm, should be at the hotel near the Rambles by 4 or before(hopefully) Taking Areobus from airport to hotel.
Unpack, freshen, grab a bite to eat while site seeing:
Options: 1. Hop on hop off sight seeing bus
2. Follow RS Ramblas Ramble walking tour and or tour Barri Gotic
Catch early tapas for dinner and crash
Tuesday: Day 2:****
AM: La Sagrada Familia book 10:30 time if possible
Grab lunch
PM: 3:00 TI Picasso Tour: only in English on Tuesday or Thursday
or Park Guell is it possible to also catch Block of Discord?
Wednesday: Day 3:
Trip to Montserrat (is a half day enough time)?
Maybe Block of Discord this afternoon with Casa Milia
Thursday Day 4
Check out of hotel and have them hold luggage while sight seeing
AM: Palace of Catalan Music
PM Picasso Museum and tour if not taken on Tuesday

check in on cruise ship
Friday: Day 5
Will have spent the night on the cruise ship
Visit: Montjuic and Baraceloneta?
El Born and Santa Caterina Market
Cruise ship departs at 5 pm.

Posted by
12943 posts

What time of year?

Are you a serious fan of early Picasso? I have no problem with the tour at all, but that museum is a madhouse. As in it's very difficult to get close enough to the paintings to read the labels posted beside them. Are you up for that? Barcelona has many other museums that allow you to see art in a more pleasant environment.

I haven't made it to Montserrat yet, but half a day sounds rather short to me. Where's Enric?

The HO/HO bus in Barcelona was oversubscribed when I visited the city in August 2017. There was a humongous line of people waiting at the Plaza Catalunya stop--more than would ever fit on a single bus, not that there was a bus present at the time. The Metro in Barcelona is very good for getting near most places (Parc Guell being an exception) and far more efficient than a HO/HO bus. Also vastly cheaper.

I don't think you'll have a hard time doing a walk-by of the Block of Discord. Depending on how things play out (such as whether you do or do not go on the Picasso Tour), you might have time to see the Sant Pau modernista site, which is fabulous and so far has been a place you can just walk up to and buy a ticket. It's fairly near La Sagrada Familia.

Many of the pay-to-enter sights in Barcelona are open late, which may help you squeeze in an extra attraction or two if you have the energy.

Unless you're heading over there for a seafood dinner or something like that, I don't consider Barceloneta one of the top things to do in Barcelona, and the Ramblas is nothing special. Don't waste your time making an effort to see it; it's a super-crowded street with its fair share of the local pickpockets. You may find yourself traversing it in the course of your visit, and that's fine. It's the historic areas like the Barri Gotic and the modernista architecture (concentrated in the Eixample, though not completely limited to that area) that are what makes Barcelona most distinctive to me.

The Palau de la Musica Catalana is very worthwhile but the tour doesn't take terribly long--I think a bit less than an hour as of 2016. So you may be able to fit something else between that site and the Picasso Museum if you want to.

It's not clear from reading your post that you know all of these sites require pre-purchased (generally timed) tickets, though if you take the Picasso Tour, it includes museum entry: La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Palau de la Musical Catalana, Picasso Museum, Casa Mila/La Pedrera and (not mentioned by you) Casa Batllo.

Posted by
12304 posts

I would say that if you are a fan of Picasso's cubist period, the museum is a good idea since a lot of it is focused on his development during that period. The exhibition begins with some of his earliest, very traditional works and shows how competent his craftsmanship was and how he quickly left if behind. Again, worthwhile if you are a Picasso buff.

The Palau de la Musica is very close to the Santa Caterina Market and not far from the Barri Goti. BTW the Santa Katerina Market is mostly for locals, not tourists. The stalls start to shut down after lunch, so go in the morning. El Boqueria on La Rambla is bustling through the early evening at least.

Montjuic is usually an all-day affair. What do you want to see there? MNAC alone needs at least 2 hours.

Posted by
12943 posts

I spent 5 hours at MNAC over the course of two visits. I especially liked the modernista collection (furniture and decorative art) and the fabulous frescoes rescued from deteriorating churches in the Pyrenees. The Miro Museum (modern layout, far less crowded than the Picasso Museum) is also on Montjuic. Aside from any special exhibition that may be running, it's just works by Miro. It took me around 2 hours, including a special exhibition.

Posted by
10541 posts

If you're not going into the Casa Batllo or the Casa Amatller, you can see the Block of Discord at any time (it's lit at night, but of course you get a better view by day). My sister enjoyed going into both (I've only been inside the Casa Batllo); she enjoyed the contrast, as well as the fact that the Casa Amatller was almost totally empty.

I agree that there is no need to allot time to "see" the Ramblas. You'll see parts of it as you go about sightseeing, and that's sufficient. On your arrival day, you can walk around the Barri Gotic and/or see the Block of Discord instead.

Posted by
12943 posts

Casa Amatller is not a modernist building on the inside--more pseudo-medieval, but it is interesting and different. And definitely uncrowded compared to Casa Batllo (a zoo!) and Casa Mila (almost as bad). I should point out that the crowded conditions in CB and CM slowed me down a bit but didn't seriously affect my ability to enjoy those sites. However, photographers will struggle mightily to get interior photos (assuming those are permitted; I don't remember).

Posted by
129 posts

Thanks everyone, we'll be there the first week of April.

Posted by
1277 posts

Sue, unless you are mobility challenged, skip the hop on/off bus. Easy to take the subway to famiglia cathedral. Everything else is interesting walking. We did the RS rambles walking tour and was interesting.

Posted by
2613 posts

If you visit Sagrada Familia at 10:30, you might finish (if you do the inside and outside) in a couple of hours or perhaps longer. Be sure and take the elevator up so you can look out over the city.

I suggest taking a half day city tour. Also, you can do Monserratt on your own, just go early.

Wear a money belt (for guys) of have a pak-safe purse for women. Barcelona is the pickpocket capital of the World. Only keep a little cash and perhaps one credit card in your pocket.

Loved the tapas, there are great tapas bars around the city, check out TripAdvisor for where to go.

Posted by
2635 posts

I needed a full day at Montserrat. We headed out at about 9. You need advance tickets for any of the Modernista venues like Park Guell and Casa Mila. You could visit both the Ramblas and the Gothic that first day. The Boqueria just of the Ramblas is a fun visit and you could get your snack there.

Posted by
121 posts

A couple of comments since you asked:

The Aerobus ends at Placa Catalunya at the uphill end of the Las Ramblas. try to find a hotel near there, so you can walk to it from the aero bus stop.
After you check in, walk down the Ramblas, stop at the Boquiera, continue down the Ramblas and if you are not tired or jet lagged, you can visit the Bari Gotic and look for a restaurant and then walk back to your hotel.
Day 2:
Definitely visit La Sagrada Familia. and book the Tour in English. You must buy tickets in advance for a timed entry.
I'd budget 2 hours minimum including tour.
I like guided tours, so if that's what you want at the Picasso Museum, book those tickets in advance also.
Note, that you will get an audio tour headset as part of your admission, so if the guided tour doesn't work out, the audio headset explains a lot. Also, the stuff at this museum is Picasso's early years. There are no famous works here, so don't be disappointed if you were expecting more. Still worth a tour, though.
Monserrat needs a day, but when you return to barcelona in the early evening, you could take the night tour of Gaudi's La Pedrada (Casa Mila). Casa Batlo (down the street from Casa Mila) is open until 9pm . last entry is 8 pm

Barceloneta is not worth it. It's just a beach and shabby neighborhood near the beach. Visit Montjuic, by taking the aerial or the funicular up to the castle. The castle itself is empty and not really that interesting. The views from there are incredible. If you like Miro, the Miro museum in Montjuic is worth seeing. (but that will take some time)
Or visit Parc Guell (with advanced timed tickets and tour) in the morning. And do the El Born neighborhood in the afternoon

Posted by
7112 posts

OK, I’ve bitten the bullet and ranked sights as I see their importance and appeal.


  1. Sagrada Familia
  2. Passeig de Gracia (Eixample) - Casa Mila & Casa Batllo (choose one to visit)
  3. Bari Gotico - Cathedral
  4. Palau de la Musica Catalana
  5. Hospital Sant Pau
  6. Park Guell
  7. La Ribera - Basilica Santa Maria del Mar & Parc de la Ciutadella
  8. Montjuic - Joan Miro Foundation & MNAC (choose one to visit)
  9. Picasso Museum
  10. Las Ramblas - La Boqueria & Placa Real

1st Reserve. Magic Fountains
2nd Reserve. Barceloneta