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Thoughts on my Barcelona plans?

About to buy tickets for some of this, so hoping it makes sense, or that I may get some good advice:

Day 1: We are landing earlyish. Assuming all goes well, we are going to have a tapas lunch and meet a tour guide, who will take us on a tour of major neighborhoods, etc. We won't go inside any major sites. Idea is to learn about the city and identify areas we'd like to see more of later. Was hoping not to lose this day, even though we will be tired, and thought being led around by a tour guide and getting our bearings without forcing ourselves into major sites we may be too tired to appreciate would be best.

Day 2: Parc Guell (thinking including travel time, this is 2.5-3 hours) and Casa Mila (about 90 minutes). Not sure if I should do these at opposite ends of the day? Ideally, we'd like to get some more general wandering around neighborhoods in. After dinner, we will return to Casa Mila for the evening tour.

Day 3: Already have tickets to Sagrada Familia, including their guided tour (not a third party tour). I know this can take a while, and I also booked a tower ticket, though we might chicken out. The rest of this day is unscheduled.

Day 4: Fully spoken for. Taking a tour to the Dali house and museum and Cadacques

Day 5: Casa Batllo (1 hour) and shortly after Palau de la Musica Catalana (another hour). Then a lunch and wandering break and later in the afternoon, the Picasso Museum

Is this over scheduled or just right? Does it leave enough time to wander around? We have dinner plans each night, but no lunch reservations. I tried to group activities near each other, particularly on Day 5, and open to suggestions for neighborhoods to concentrate on each day, given where we will be.

Thank you!

Posted by
1495 posts

Pace seems right, would help to know time of year for your visit.
For me Parc Guell has lost its charm since being fenced off and creating a cow herd mentality. Tickets are expensive and folks tend to linger in order to "get their monies worth" while clogging the vistas.

Posted by
3742 posts

A few initial thoughts:

A "tapas lunch" does not exist, we locals go out for tapas in the late afternoon or early evening as a pre-dinner snack. I would be weary of an establishment that offers "tapas" for lunch as potentially a tourist trap, same goes for places serving paella for dinner. Know that the mealtimes in Spain may be different than what you are used to, for example lunch service starts around 2 pm and dinner service starts around 9 pm.

I agree that Parc Güell has become overrated these days, since you are in the area I highly recommend at least visiting the nearby Hospital de Sant Pau, a turn of the century hospital built in the modernist style, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site opened to visitors, very nice to explore with a fraction of the crowds as Parc Güell.

If you are looking for a neighborhood to explore with authentic charm, I suggest visiting the Gracia district specifically the Vila de Gracia area, one of the last corners of Barcelona still with local life. It is the "hip" place to be now, with its co-working spaces and artist studios, but also feels very cozy and welcoming. You see many young families living there, kids playing futbol in the neighborhood's various small squares, it has a small town feel. Gracia is within walking distance to most of the Gaudí sites and has good access to public transportation.

Posted by
1495 posts

Ah......beware of the heated swarm of fellow tourists. Seriously, stay hydrated to avoid baking your meat in the heat. A great benefit of summer is the additional hours of daylight so strongly advocate immediate adjustment to staying up late. Evening walks are wonderful and a great way to assimilate into the local culture. When dusk falls the locals come out, seek wide blvd to watch the families engage and then find a local place to eat.
In lieu of Parc Guell recommend visiting Gaudi's first home, Casa Vicens. Far more intimate of an experience plus a good walk back to Plaza Cataluna offering a variety of architecture, local shopping and dining experiences. You will find few tourists in these environs.
Add this gem to your time after visiting Sagrada, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau.
A nice walk north of Sagrada offering an architectural experience few take the time to visit.

Posted by
25625 posts

Although I agree that Casa Vicens most likely will be pleasantly uncrowded, as a fan of modernista architecture, I was disappointed by the interior in comparison to the other Gaudi sites I had visited (which is most of them). Sant Pau, on the other hand, is large and beautiful, as well as under-visited.

Your itinerary seems over-scheduled, especially with the heat and crowds. Others above have mentioned some good alternatives. Regarding meals, our local guides told us, “If you go to [an eating establishment] before 13:30 or 19:30, you will not get freshly-made dishes. Avoid eateries with photos of the food out front.

Posted by
5 posts

Barcelona is very interesting for tourists. Therefore, you can just fly there and walk around for days, admiring the architecture, which is simply magical, and take a lot of photos

Posted by
2880 posts

My two cents:

You didn't mention when are you visiting... and while Barcelona is visited by tourists all year round, it really makes a difference whether you're in town say in July or say in October. This is to say that whether you may be overdoing it or not it's also related to the time of the year you're visiting.

Having said this, and assuming you're visiting anytime from May to October...

On a different note: on your first days you mention "the major neighbourhoods", which would those be? The 'major' neighbourhoods, from Sarrià-Sant Gervasi to Nou Barris, among others, are not frequented by that many tourists.

Ah, and it seemed appropriate to me to revamp this old post of mine here, in case it can be of interest: