My girlfriend and I will be spending 3 days in Barcelona in October. Suggestions for what to do, where to stay for two women traveling together would be greatly appreciated. First trip to Spain. I'm a vegetarian - she's not. But we both LOVE great food! Thanks!
Also - are there safety issues for women traveling alone?
I recommend City Musueum, Parc Guell, the Cathedral (great cloister with geese and a garden), La Pedrera (Casa Mila), (or Casa Bottlo, maybe both), Catalan Music Hall. Las Ramblas of course. Sagrada Familia, I think is overrated - but that is based upon my experience. We were there in September when it was really, really, really under construction (as opposed to being ordinarily under construction, which it has been for a really long time). You could hardly see anything of the interior with the areas that were open for our visit. I am sure a lot of other have had better experiences though and it is really nice from the outside. Barcelona is a good city to consider a bus tour. The Catalan Art Museum is heavy on interiors from old churches in the region, but I may have been too rushed and tired to appreciate it fully. I have the museum guidebook and it looks more varied that I remember. Montserrat is a very worthy day trip, but you are better off staying in town with the time you have. Rick's book is very strong for Barcelona, highly recommended. I have stayed at Hotel Lloret at the top of the Ramblas twice, once with my wife and once on a business trip, and it's great.
Regarding safety: the end of the Ramblas toward the water starts to feel weird late in the evening. I know this from personal experience. Also, I have read the same about the Barri Gothic late in the evening. For pickpockets there you are at risk almost anywhere, probably the biggest pickpocket risk in western Europe - wear a money belt as in any big city in Europe. My wife and I were almost victimized in Barecoloneta in 2005, a couple of young guys trying to get us to look at a map, obviously a trick to the wary. That said, when I was on a business trip and had a couple of extra days in 2010, I was cluelessly walking around having failed to zip up my backpack. It was just hanging open and there I was at the top of the Ramblas. A friendly local alerted me to this, which was much appreciated.
I think you could divide your time into one day for Barri Gotic and sights you want to see in that area (the TI offers a good walking tour); another day for Ramblas, beaches and shopping; and a third day for modernist architecture (Parc Guell, Block of Discord, and Sagrada Familia). You should be able to find vegetarian options without any trouble in most places. We stayed at Hostal Campi. I thought it was a good budget option and well located - about a block off the Ramblas and a couple blocks from Placa Catalunya.
You two will have lots of food choices, vegetarian and not, at a tapas place. Not a bar but a place with tables and a tapas menu, like Que Que on Passeig de Gracia, or the Chainplaces like Tapas Tapas. Spanish Tortilla is a hearty egg and potato omelette ( served by the slice) if you eat eggs. Lots more choices on the menu.
Cat Bar Cat. We ate there 3 times in our 4 night stay. All vegan. their burgers are tops: black bean, spinach, pollenta burgers with homemade rolls. They also have some craft beers, some on draught. I would say that it would be good for both flesh and non flesh eaters. They had a "sausage" special when I was there, was going to get it but fell into the burger trap. Also free wifi. http://catbar.es/ Veggie Garden in the El Raval neighborhood was tasty. Good specials with a starter, main course, bread, dessert and a drink for 9.50 euros. Plus, any place that sells tapas will offer both kinds of eating delights. We loved the sweet fried eggplant dishes (berenejas), fried artichokes (alcachofa), Tortilla espanola (potato and egg souffle like thing), espinacas y garbanzo (spinach and chick peas)......It was very veg friendly. If you stay in a populated shopping area, get ready for noise, nonstop, any time of the day. If you stay near a church, get ready for non-stop bell bonging that don't even coincide in a quarterly fashion. And if you get a room next to a stair well, loud as hell. We stayed at Vrabac guest house on Carrer Portifissera and had a room right on the street and suffered with the noise the whole time. What saved me was my noise reducing headphone ear buds that I would wear at night.