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Itinerary for Barcelona

We will be staying in Barcelona for two days after our Mediterranean Cruise. Our transfer car arrives at 10:00am to take us to our hotel. Here is what I have come up with for a pretty busy 2 day schedule. Is this schedule too ambitious? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, October 5 - arrive at our hotel around 11:00am

  • Walk along Las Ramblas perhaps have lunch 3:00pm
  • Get our transportation to Montserrat
  • Return to Barcelona around 8:00pm and have late dinner or tapas

Monday, October 6

  • 8:30am meet our driver to ake us for a tour of the city
  • 12:30 drop off at Sagrada and have lunch
  • 2:00 Skip the Line tour of La Familia Sagrada
  • 4:00pm tour ends. Head back to Las Ramblas
  • Finish rest of evening in Las Ramblas, have dinner, etc.
Posted by
123 posts

I would be inclined to skip Montserrat since there are so many great things to see and do in Barcelona. It would be a pretty rushed trip to Montserrat considering it takes about 1.5 hours each way. Also, keep in mind the last good train connection back to Barcelona leaves the monastery at 19:15 (although it's sometimes extended to 20:15 on Sundays, which could give you more time. Check the schedule when you purchase your tickets).

Other options beside Montserrat would be the Picasso Museum or Gaudi's Park Guell. Also, I wouldn't have dinner on Las Ramblas two nights in a row. Restaurants on the Ramblas tend to be overpriced and cater to tourists. For a more local feel, I would either go to the Barri Gothic neighborhood, or just off the Ramblas is the famous Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) restaurant which was one frequented by Picasso himself.

Posted by
2393 posts

Rosie speaks the truth! I would save Montserrat for a trip when I could give it the time it deserves.

I too would avoid Las Rambla for meals - you will pay a premium for often mediocre food.

Park Guell is lovely and the Barri Gotic is a cool little neighborhood.

Definitely spend some time in La Boqueria on La Rambla

Barcelona is wonderful place with much to discover - enjoy!

Posted by
4535 posts

Montserrat is pretty scenery, and Catholic pilgrims go for the relic, but otherwise it isn't what I'd put on a list with only 2 days. And leaving for there at 3:00 is pretty late in the day as the others have noted. If you did want to go, try to leave earlier and save your walk along Las Ramblas for afterwards.

Walking Passeig de Gracia with all of its high end shopping is nice if you like to shop or window browse. And two other Gaudi buildings are along that street (expensive but worth if you are interested in his work).

I wouldn't recommend Parc Guell now unless you are really into Gaudi. You must now pay to enter the main areas of the park and the wait can be hours unless you pre-book. Not easy to get to. Again, for 2 days there, skip it.

The Picasso Museum is excellent, especially of his early work before Cubism. And it has some late Cubist works. Exploring the Barri Gotic is more interesting to me than Las Ramblas.

The Cathedral is nice if you like churches. It's be a good counterpoint after seeing Sagrada Familia.

Also, know that 8:00 is not "late dinner" in Spain. Most restaurants don't even open for dinner until at least 8:00 and some 8:30 or 9:00. Most that are open before then are not really worth it. But you can find plenty of tapas joints and I've eaten plenty of "dinners" just eating tapas. And as the others say, try not to eat along Las Ramblas - they are VERY touristy and not that great. There are great places in the Barri Gotic, Barceloneta and off Passeig de Gracia.

Posted by
2393 posts

Try to hit Passeig de Gracia in the evening when the locals are out strolling. I will never forget our first encounter with "the stroll". Entire families from grandma to babies were dressed up and strolling the streets. Such a beautiful culture!

Posted by
1495 posts

Ditto to all of the above with an emphasis of getting off of Las Ramblas. Sagrada should take a priority, be sure and go up at least one tower. Add casa batllo. For a wonderful experience check out the website for the Palau de la Música Catalana. Attend a concert regardless of the music selection and get a taste of spain many folks miss. If you really want to experience the culture of spain then force yourself to eat dinner after 10 pm. Check out the city museum which has an interesting perspective of the history of barcelona w an excellent tour of underground ruins.

Posted by
4 posts

Maybe first day can walk the city center: Gothic quarter, Born quarter, Picasso museum, Passeig de Gràcia. And October 6 can visit the modernist route, Sagrada Familia, Hospital de Sant Pau, Park Güell,...

The MNAC, CCCB and the Picasso Museum are among those that open their doors to the public on the first Sunday of every month all year round, and others do the same every Sunday afternoon - and they're all on the house.

Posted by
37 posts

You all have been great and really, really cleared up a few things for me. Just one correction to the Itinerary for Sunday. We will be catching a tour bus a few minutes from our hotel at 3:00pm. The tour includes the train to the top of the monastery. I have not confirmed the tour to Montserrat yet, because I wanted to get more feedback.

The second day our driver will really be at disposal as far as where. We have skip the line tickets for Guell park and I was thinking the Gothic Neighborhood would be great too. Well any way, we have the driver for 4 hours and then our Tour of LaFamilia Sagrada with one of the towers.

If I have to give anything up, I would give up the Montserrat Tour.

Posted by
1495 posts

Ok, i will bite.... Why do you need a driver in a city where walking brings fantastic experiences?

Posted by
37 posts

Marbleskies, you are sooooo right, but we have a person in our group who cannot walk long distances, so we thought a driver would help with the travel. When we went to Paris, we walked and walked, but our friend could no longer go the distances and had to go back to the hotel. We were trying to make it easier for him this time. So much for traveling with others!!!

Posted by
111 posts

I hate to say this, but I would pretty much skip Las Ramblas altogether unless you want to go into La Bouqeria market (which I do suggest, in which case you can do that stroll fairly quickly from Placa Catalunya). It's very touristy and to be honest, can b ea bit seedy. I completely agree that visiting Montserrat should be reconsidered as there is A LOT in Barcelona to see. With two days in Barcelona proper, I'd spend the first day in the Gothic Quarter and El Born area (located next to each other), which is enough for a whole day and you can make frequent stops to enjoy all the people watching without you feeling like you are sacrificing the limited amount of time you have. Within that area you can visit:

*the Cathedral,
*the Temple d'August (Roman column ruins),
*Santa Maria del Mar (have you read "Cathedral by the Sea?" It's an amazing book and features this church),
*the Picasso Museum,
*several markets: La Boqueria, Santa Catalina market, El Born market (has medieval ruins underneath it),
*the city museum which is very close to the Cathedral, and
*the Chocolate Museum (good for maybe 30 minutes and really, just an excuse to buy a lot of high quality chocolate.

There are tons of wonderful little cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, and markets within these two adjacent neighborhoods plus plenty of places to sit and enjoy people watching. On a Sunday, I think you should see more people out and about because of the churches, but its a really spectacular area. I personally found El Quatre Gats to be a tourist trap, but its worth a drink if you are a fan of Hemingway and others.

As for your second day, I would keep your schedule as you've written since it sounds as if you've got some of that locked in, but I would spend your dinner and evening in Gracia rather than Las Ramblas. Alternatively, the Eixample neighborhood (near Casa Batllo and Casa Mila) has a lot of really nice restaurants to choose from.

Keep in mind that its not uncommon for restaurants to START serving dinner at 9 or 10pm. You will have a hard, but not impossible, time eating before 8pm. The exception of course are the restaurants catering to tourists.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
2880 posts

Barcelona is a city made for strolling, if you love to walk you're going to love Barcelona. And since the question pops up very often, I've prepared a map for those interested in a diy tour, just take a good guide book along with you -so you can understand what you're seeing- and follow any of these routes. I've created the orange and red ones to take you through the key streets and back alleys for you to pass by the most important sites/landmarks of the Old City. and have this to get your bearings

The orange route covers the neighbourhoods of Barri Gòtic and Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i La Ribera which formed the old walled city of Barcelona plus El Raval, left of La Rambla which was the outside of the city, and La Barceloneta, the late 1700s neighbourhood created at the beachfront as a results of the citizens of La Ribera being displaced due the construction of La Ciutadella military citadel -fortunately these days most of this citadel does no longer exist. Over 2000 years of history are packed within these four neighbourhoods and gather the most important buildings in the history of Catalonia some of which still are, from the remains of the Roman Temple of August to the medieval Palau Major where our kings have resided for centuries or the Palau de la Generalitat -roughly our equivalent to 10 Downing St or 1600 Penn Ave in DC- where the office of the president of Catalonia is located. The tour is an extended one as is by far the most dense given the sheer number of things to see and to do, and all these alongside numerous shops, bars and other worthwhile visiting establishments, so plan for a good 6-8 hours at a relaxed path. The overall distance is 14km (8.5 miles) for the ORANGE route and if you need to shorten it I advice to skip El Raval and La Barceloneta -roughly the RED ROUTE-, then it comes down to 7km (4 miles), say 4-5 hours. Note this is a very dense area and on top of landmarks there's lots of people watching, window shopping, etc. so don't be fool when planning your timings by the relatively short distances when looking at your map. These routes include, among many other: La Catedral de Santa Eulàlia, Santa Maria del Mar, La Ciutadella, Plaça Reial, Plaça Sant Felip Neri, Plaça Sant Jaume, Temple d'August, Plaça del Rei, Antic Hospital de Sant Pau i la Santa Creu, La Rambla, Palau de la Música, Columbus statue, Mercat de la Boqueria, Palau de la Virreina, El Born, the beaches at La Barceloneta, etc...