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Initial itinerary try for 1 week March Barcelona

This is my original thread on our trip to Barcelona at the end of March with suggestions from some posters we would like to try and add. We will add restaurants after we've decided on what area we'll be in that day. We're hoping to eat mid-day lunch as our big meal of the day.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/spain/barcelona-help-suggestions/replies/new

Staying in the Barri Gotic area and using only public transportation.

This is a first try at a late March itinerary:

Monday:
arrive BCN early afternoon
???

Tuesday:
La Sagrada Familia
Sant Pau hospital

Wednesday:
Palau Musica
Barcelona Cathedral
shopping for locally made things--shoes, Desigual?

Thursday:
Recaredo Cava tasting tour leave 8 am'ish

Friday:
Parc Guell 8 am
Parc Laberint
La Pedrera
Casa Botllo-walk by only
shopping for locally made things--shoes?

Saturday:
Vic day trip leaving early morning

Sunday:
Mass
???

Monday:
flight home mid-morning

What attractions can we put together on certain days all the while trying to arrive at the busiest attractions first in the morning to avoid crowds as much as possible?

We don't want to cram in too much on a daily basis but, also want to use our time and logistics wisely.

Help???

Posted by
2170 posts

Hi, I will circle back with some more info and notes on your itinerary a little later, when I have some more spare time.

But I wanted to speak about the locally made shoes you reference - the Espardenyes are the local handcrafted traditional footwear of Barcelona/Catalonia/Valencia. They are both popular for woman and men, I haven't owned a pair in a while... but I remember there was a low-key shop called Espardenyes Barcelona close to La Sagrada Familia. For a more traditional experience, you could also check out La Manual Alpargatera, which is closer to the Barrio Gotico, I think they actually have a workshop on site there.

Posted by
18741 posts

I think you've done a good job of grouping things, though the Barcelona residents will be more informed than I am.

For an end-of-March visit I might prefer not to visit Parc Guell so early in the day, because I'm very cold-natured. But it sounds like a good plan for catching it at its least crowded.

Wednesday will be a good day to walk around the Barri Gotic to enjoy both the architecture and the shopping possibilities. However, I recommend the tourist office's Barri Gotic tour, which is excellent. In late March it seems to be offered at 9:30 AM every day except the 29th. They control the number of people on the tour. When I took it (2016), the group was a very manageable size, considerably smaller than the commercial tours I saw in the same area. I always have more confidence in the information imparted by a guide on a tourist office tour.

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks so much for these initial comments. I'm a very detail oriented planner (probably more so than most) but, it's how I work :). I love specifics and set plans. I also like to have a Plan B in my pocket for the times when Plan A doesn't work for some reason.

I also love photography and that will probably be part of how we plan the itinerary too.

I'm looking forward to the replies:)

Posted by
82 posts

RJean, we're staying in the Barri Gotic area. You mentioned moving La Sagrada Familia and Sant Pau hospital. Why?

It would be nice to be able to move both to a Sunday and open up Tuesday.

Posted by
1524 posts

The reason i mentioned moving them to Sunday is so you can have the opportunity to day trip to Montserrat on Tuesday which will take most of the day. And since you are flying out on Monday, no point to take a full day trip on Sunday and get yourself tired out. Sunday should be an easy day to relax before the flight home.

Posted by
18741 posts

As recently as last May, one could walk right up to Sant Pau, buy a ticket and go inside, so that's one place where you can avoid locking yourself in with a pre-purchased ticket. It's a large complex and two of the nicest rooms are at the very end of the self-guided tour. I needed over two hours there, and I spent little time reading the (extensive) posted material about the life of the complex in its days as a hospital.

I imagine your research has revealed that you'll need pre-purchased, timed tickets for La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell (none sold at the park), and La Pedrera. I always recommend buying the Palau de la Musica Catalana ticket early as well, because the English tours could sell out.

If you decide to go to Montserrat, that can be done on the spur of the moment. You just head to the train station under the Placa d'Espanya and buy a combo ticket. You'll need to decide which of the two transportation options you prefer for the last leg of the trip. One of our local residents has suggested not buying a ticket that includes lunch, which he thought was not a good value.

Posted by
82 posts

RJean, I think we've decided against Montserret in favor of going to the market town of Vic. As I mentioned above, I do like the idea of freeing up Tuesday to fit in other things.

Does anyone have any strong reasons why visiting Sagrada Familia and Sant Pau on a Sunday after Mass? the one thing that pops up for me is that we'd be visiting both much later in the day after going to Mass. Although, we could go to Mass at Sagrada Familia, visit Sant Pau, lunch and then back in the late afternoon (for lighting purposes) to Sagrada Familia?

We really would like to fill each day fully with things to do/see as we aren't much on relaxing during trips. We like to see and do a lot and rest when we get home :)

Yes, acraven, we want to pre-purchase tickets where needed to save time and get the time slot we want.

A friend who went to Barcelona a few years ago said she went to a shop that made custom shoes for 50 Euros or so. She hasn't found the name yet from her previous trip. that would be a dream for me! I've always wanted a pair of custom made shoes with out the sky high price :)

Thanks for all the help!

Posted by
2170 posts

Hello, here would be my first pass of some of my suggestions for revisions/additions to your itinerary:

Monday:
-Arrive BCN early afternoon
-Explore Barrio Gotico/Cathedral
-La Manual Alpargatera (workshop)
-MUHBA Roman Temple of Augustus
-Ancient Sinagoga Major de Barcelona
-Early dinner in lower Barrio Gotico area (near Carrer de la Mercè)
-Return to hotel for early night

Tuesday:
-La Sagrada Familia
-Espardenyes Barcelona
-Sant Pau hospital
-Explore quirky Vila de Gracia neighborhood
-Casa Vicens de Gaudí
-Eat at one of the neighborhood pizzerias in Gracia

Wednesday:
-Start day at Churreria Laietana
-Palau de la Musica
-MUHBA Plaza del Rey
-Picasso Museum
-Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
-El Born Cultural Centre
-Tapas crawl in El Born (Cal Pep/Bar Celta etc.)

Thursday:
-Recaredo Cava tasting tour leave 8 am'ish
-(if time)-
-Mercado de La Boqueria
-Mercado de Sant Antoni

Friday:
-Parc Guell 8 am
-Parc Laberint
-MUHBA Bunkers del Carmel (Views)
-Casa Milà
-Casa Batlló-walk by only
-Shopping at El Corte Ingles near Placa de Catalunya

Saturday:
-Vic day trip leaving early morning

Sunday:
-Mass (Cathedral of Barcelona)
-Maritime Museum
-Teleferico to Montjuïc Fortress (Views)
-Walk down Montjuïc, stopping at Botanical Garden of Barcelona
-Look at Olympic Stadiums
-Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
-Tapas crawl in El Poble Sec
-End day at Magic fountain

Monday:
flight home mid-morning

Posted by
18741 posts

There aren't a lot of restored rooms at Casa Vicens. Except for modernism junkies (like me), I don't think it's essential; I'd certain choose Casa Batllo over Casa Vicens, despite the massive crowds--and higher entry fee--at the former. As of last May one could buy a Casa Vicens ticket on site and go right in; I'm guessing it's still that way. The outside of the house is attractive, but I don't remember how much you can see without paying admission.

Posted by
1524 posts

Carlos - I couldn't have written a better itinerary then this, well done! From a Spaniard's perspective, you really hit all the right spots in Barcelona. All Joby has to do now is save this itinerary on his phone and use it as a guide for that week.

Carlos, What's your take on Hot Air Ballooning over Barcelona?

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks to both for your thoughts :) Love the suggestion of the Teleferico to Montjuïc Fortress (Views) (cable car)! I think we might sub that instead of Bunkers del Carmel.

Here are some of my thoughts, hopes, dreams....on the revised itinerary---

  1. Daughter isn't big on museums and I think with all the guided tours of the various places she will have had her fill of structured attraction visits. So, Carlos, I've cut most of the museum suggestions you made in the itinerary :(

  2. We want to walk along a beach somewhere. Beach suggestions? Where to put it in itinerary?

  3. We hope to mainly eat menu del dia with some tapas and 1 excellent paella thrown in. Suggestions on certain days of this itinerary? Sweets are high on our list too :)

  4. For shopping we hope to try to find some local shops, shoes and I definitely want to visit 1 of the Desigual stores---not really malls or large department stores. Where in the revised itinerary???

  5. I (not so much daughter) would like to see the Poblenou cemetery to photograph it. Where to put it in itinerary?

  6. Daughter really wants to do the self-guided walk Street Art of Poblenou. Where in itinerary?

  7. If Parc Laberint is too much of an outlier, we can skip it but, it does look really cool to walk through :)

Here is my alteration of Carlos' proposed itinerary:

Monday:
-Arrive BCN early afternoon
-La Manual Alpargatera (workshop)
-Explore Barrio Gotico/Barcelona Cathedral late afternoon for photo lighting-- 5 pm'ish???
-Early dinner in lower Barrio Gotico area (near Carrer de la Mercè)
-Return to hotel for early night

Tuesday:
-La Sagrada Familia-- 10 am
-Espardenyes Barcelona
-Sant Pau hospital-- 2 or 3 pm'ish???
-Explore quirky Vila de Gracia neighborhood
-Eat at one of the neighborhood pizzerias in Gracia

Wednesday:
-Start day at Churreria Laietana
-Palau de la Musica-- 10 am
-Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
-Tapas crawl in El Born (Cal Pep/Bar Celta etc.)

Thursday:
-Mercado de La Boqueria breakfast
-Recaredo Cava tasting tour-- leave Barcelona 8 am'ish
-(if time)--Mercado de Sant Antoni

Friday:
-Parc Guell before 8 am
-Parc Laberint
-Casa Milà
-Casa Batlló--walk by only
-Shopping at El Corte Ingles near Placa de Catalunya??? Other more small local stores for shopping???

Saturday:
-Vic day trip leaving early morning

Sunday:
-Mass (Cathedral of Barcelona)
-Teleferico (cable car) to Montjuïc Fortress (Views)
-Walk down Montjuïc, stopping at Botanical Garden of Barcelona
-Look at Olympic Stadiums
-Tapas crawl in El Poble Sec
-End day at Magic fountain 8 pm show

Monday:
flight home mid-morning

All of your suggestions and advice are greatly appreciated! I am always open to suggestions and changing our minds :)

Posted by
1524 posts

Enjoy your trip Joby and tell us all about it when you return from Barcelona.

Buen viaje!

Posted by
18741 posts

There are small shops in the Barri Gotic. You'll encounter them in the normal course of things while you stroll through that area. The various Gsudi/modernista sights have nice gift shops. Warning: Once you enter the shop at La Sagrada Familia, you cannot return to the church.

Posted by
1240 posts

I haven't read every post, so apologies if this is already covered, but I believe the "magic fountain" show re-opens in March, after the current maintenance issues, and I'd recommend that since you're there on the days it usually runs and it's well brilliant.

I think for many of us, Camp Nou is Barcelona's highlight. But, if you're not interested in football then I guess its not a priority. I'd still say it is worth visiting, though, if just from the outside.

Posted by
2170 posts

Some answers to your queries:

  1. There is a very nice seaside esplanade in Castelldefels, just south of Barcelona, it takes about 10-15 min on public transport to get there. There is even a small castle nearby that hardly anyone knows about. Closer to Barcelona, just north of la Barceloneta, is a beach side walk that goes all the way up to El Poblenou.

  2. I agree the menu del dia is a real gem, not enough tourists really consider it, it is very reasonably priced and incorporates local/seasonal ingredients. Close to El Poblenou, in the Port Olimpic, there is a pretty good Paella restaurant called La Barca del Salamanca, they have a great menu del dia there, that incorporates Paella, Arroz Negro, Fideua etc. very good value.

  3. Why I mentioned El Corte Ingles is not because it's department store, it's because it is the department store. If you like markets, then I think you will find the gourmet food market on the bottom floor really interesting. It offers the best of the best of Spanish culinary goodies. At the top floor of El Corte Ingles is the store's restaurant, has great views of the bustling city below, not to mention the food is pretty good too, perfect for lunch.

  4. I am actually very much inclined to el Parque del Laberinto. I had some good memories there. Personally I enjoy it more than Parque Guell. But I agree it is a bit difficult to get there, but I feel it's well worth it :)

Posted by
1524 posts

Is it in Castelldefels you mentioned a while back that most of the Barca soccer players reside?

Posted by
82 posts

Many thanks for the additional comments. This is all so very helpful in planning! it's exciting that headway is being made for an itinerary--progress :)

Since daughter isn't big on museums--I think what we could do is leave them in the itinerary as placed and use them for a Plan B If we want or need to?

Curious where you might suggest we add the Poblenou cemetery and the self-guided walk Street Art of Poblenou?

El Corte Ingles --you may have convinced me to add it back into the revised itinerary :)

Where would you add the beach that you suggested?

Would you add La Barca del Salamanca, to Sunday?

Posted by
1240 posts

Obviously others don't agree, but I wouldn't make a visit to an El Corte Inglés a must see. If you're passing one, then pop in. But its just a shop chain and not an especially famous one. Its not like Harrods if visiting London (not that I'd do that either). More like going to a Sears (do they still exist?), if visiting America.

Posted by
2170 posts

I certainly would not liken it to Sears, I'd say it's more along the lines of a Macys, if it had a gourmet food market. However not all Corte Ingles are the same, some are more nicer than other.

Also yes in the hills of Castelldefels is where many FC Barcelona players live.

Posted by
82 posts

Any suggestion on where we could add the Poblenou cemetery and the self-guided walk Street Art of Poblenou?

Posted by
2170 posts

I'm afraid Poble Nou, while nice to explore and a refreshing departure from the Ciutat Vella, would not be on the top 10, I have personally not seen any street art there or have been to the cemetery.

Also I've never heard of cemetery photography as a hobby or tourist activity lol! Does one have to get permission for that?

Posted by
18741 posts

I've made tourist-oriented visits to cemeteries noted for the beauty of their stone memorials in several countries. Does that make me strange? Would it be more or less odd if I took photos?

Posted by
2170 posts

Apologies I did not mean to offend with my above comment, I never even considered people would see cemeteries as a tourist attractions, I guess I do find it a little strange, coming from my cultural background.

Posted by
82 posts

Carlos, no offense taken :)

acraven, glad I'm not alone :)

I love art and landscapes and history and photography. Some cemeteries offer all of that. At first I did have to get over the "creep me out" feeling but, I am always respectful and busy looking around to see what I can find. Cemeteries can off lots of info on cultures, interesting headstones and markers, interesting writings on the headstones, a look back at common names that we would find unusual at this time, history, and sometimes beautiful landscapes.....

One of my favorite cemetery stories is about an old beautiful cemetery in Ireland we visited. My husband found a marker that read "Here lies Peter Rabbit" ( to us, Peter Rabbit is a story by Beatrix Potter) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Peter_Rabbit).

It was just a respectful chuckle for us.

The other part of the Ireland story is that we saw a young man working mowing and trimming the cemetery grounds. We stopped to ask him a question and by talking with him found out he was a 3rd generation caretaker of the cemetery. His grandfather had started working in the cemetery in the late 1800's. All of the members of this family worked there for FREE. Such a nice young man and knew lots of the history of the cemetery.

https://barcelonalowdown.com/cemetery-poblenou/

The street art link I found looked like an interesting spot to visit too. While in London last summer daughter found lots of Banksy (a famous street artist) paintings around. We also loved the murals in Northern Ireland about "The Troubles". Street art can be interesting and great photography too.

https://barcelonalowdown.com/more-awesome-graffiti-and-street-art-in-poblenou/

Both street art and cemetery wanderings are off most tourists radars too, which means there aren't tons of people in the interesting photos!

I hope this helps explain a couple of my interests. I'm not a creepy person--I promise :)

Posted by
82 posts

Carlos, is there any logical place to add the cemetery and the street art walk to our itinerary?

Posted by
2170 posts

I honestly would not know, I have personally not done those things, I cannot say for certain where I would put them, sorry that is beyond my knowledge ;-)

Posted by
82 posts

Another question--

We'll have access to bicycles during our stay. Would we be crazy to try and ride them during the day on parts of our itinerary?

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks for the links, RJean. It looks like in a few areas we might be ok to take the bikes.

Posted by
360 posts

@Carlos "Also I've never heard of cemetery photography as a hobby or tourist activity lol! Does one have to get permission for that?"
At Montjuïc cemetery YES — strictly speaking — you do need permission to take photos and video. Ironically, the Cemetery organizes a photo competition — 1.000€ to the winner — in October every year.

@joby - If seriously interested in cemetery photography then the cemetery on Montjuïc is a much more interesting site than Poble Nou IMO.
Here's a link to a write-up about Montjuïc cemetery: https://www.spottedbylocals.com/barcelona/montjuic-cemetery/
Enjoy your visit.

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks, Bill! I love the looks of the Montjuïc cemetery! Maybe we could include it in our Sunday itinerary (although it looks to be a bit further than the areas we'll be in).

Posted by
82 posts

Bill, I forgot to add--nice photo at the Montjuïc cemetery :)

Posted by
82 posts

Hello all,

We have a slight change in our lodging. I found a last minute rate at a nice B&B near Casa Mila. so, that's our new lodging.

Would you change our itinerary on certain days?

Current itinerary:
Monday:
-Arrive BCN early afternoon
-La Manual Alpargatera (workshop)
-Explore Barrio Gotico/Barcelona Cathedral late afternoon for photo lighting-- 5 pm'ish???
-Early dinner in lower Barrio Gotico area (near Carrer de la Mercè)
-Return to hotel for early night

Tuesday:
-La Sagrada Familia-- 10 am
-Espardenyes Barcelona
-Sant Pau hospital-- 2 or 3 pm'ish???
-Explore quirky Vila de Gracia neighborhood
-Eat at one of the neighborhood pizzerias in Gracia

Wednesday:
-Start day at Churreria Laietana
-Palau de la Musica-- 10 am
-Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
-Tapas crawl in El Born (Cal Pep/Bar Celta etc.)

Thursday:
-Mercado de La Boqueria breakfast
-Recaredo Cava tasting tour-- leave Barcelona 8 am'ish
-(if time)--Mercado de Sant Antoni

Friday:
-Parc Guell before 8 am
-Parc Laberint
-Casa Milà
-Casa Batlló--walk by only
-Shopping at El Corte Ingles near Placa de Catalunya??? Other more small local stores for shopping???

Saturday:
-Vic day trip leaving early morning

Sunday:
-Mass (Cathedral of Barcelona)
-Teleferico (cable car) to Montjuïc Fortress (Views)
-Walk down Montjuïc, stopping at Botanical Garden of Barcelona
-Look at Olympic Stadiums
-Tapas crawl in El Poble Sec
-End day at Magic fountain 8 pm show

Monday:
flight home mid-morning

Posted by
82 posts

I thought I might bump this up to see if anyone thought we needed any itinerary changes since we've changed hotels?

Posted by
2170 posts

Looks good to me, I don't think changing lodging from the Barrio Gotico to the Eixample with drastically change anything.

Posted by
82 posts

Glad to hear our lodging change won't affect logistics much :)

Now I'd like to get restaurant suggestions---especially menu del dia places as that's what we hope to eat most days.

I'll start a new thread.

Thanks to everyone for your help in putting together an itinerary for our stay :) Much appreciated!