Will be spending 3 days in Barcelona in May '14. What are the recommended highlights to see in such a short stay?
Everyone has their favorites for different reasons. Without knowing your preferences, it is impossible to say. Buy a guidebook, read it and make a list for yourself. I used the TimOut Guide and the Eyewitness Guide Top Ten Barcelona and found them very helpful
I think Sagrada Famila would be on the list. If your read about and decide to go, but tickets on line and early. I bought the tower tour, audio guide, package and no wait. Ramblas is also a must see. Just a lot of things happening.
I only had two days.....would have liked to explore the old city.
Sagrada Familia....if you go to Barcelona this is the # 1 site for sure. Long lines to purchase ticket!!Avoid this by going to its own web site and purchase advance tickets there. You will be way ahead when you see the long line, but all you have to do is walk to the front of it to the "advance ticket sales" booth and basically walk right in. Or, better yet, become a "member" and get the admission and discounts on other items. ONLY on their web site. I just did this and am very glad I did. To appreciate the structure, sit in the enclosed area the throngs milling about. The tower is ok, but you have specific admission times on the ticket. Elevator ride up (and down if wish), climb up inside the tower for a spectacular view. Only if you have the time. Cathdral .. Nice, but with admission price. Church of Santa Maria Del Mar is better, less crowded, and free!! A short walk away. Bario Gothic. Interesting and full of shops and restaurants. Meander around. I just returned from about a week there, walked somewhere every day, Metro to different area. AVOID the tour groups. They look like long worms following their head which all ways has a bright flag!! Strike out on your own and have a great time.
I love Gaudi, but I just couldn't get bring myself to see the Sagrada Familia. The day I was there, even those WITH tickets were in a long line, so I don't know what was up with that. We walked around it and took photos but again, not my cup of tea with all the noise and construction. HOwever, we hopped a city bus and spent over half the day at Gaudi's Park Guell walking every path possible. LOVED Park Guell. Barcelona also has an impressive Arc de Triumphe. We walked for what seems miles so I'm not sure of streets/areas, but there is a garden/park/conservatory area with incredible water fountains, gold statues of chariot and horses, Neptune, live swans/geese, etc.
Diane, I was in Barcelona in June and there's LOTS to see there. The "recommended highlights" depend to some extent on individual interests. Some that I enjoyed.... > La Sagrada Familia - although it's not finished (and won't be for a long time) it's a magnificent building and well worth seeing. You MUST pre-book reservations and with that there won't be too much of a queue. If you want to go up one or both of the towers, those are booked separately than the entrance. > Las Ramblas - Walking down from Plaça Catalunya to the waterfront is really nice. Be sure to stop at La Boqueria market (about half way down) as it's incredible. The water front area is beautiful and there's a huge shopping mall there. > Hop On / Hop Off Bus tour - I enjoyed that as it allowed me to get a good overview of the city. There are at least two different routes and the ticket allows passengers to travel both of them. You can check the Barcelona Tourism website at www.barcelonaturisme.com/ for other ideas. Be sure to brush up on your Catalan prior to the visit. Also, be sure to wear a Money Belt, as there WILL be pickpockets at work. Happy travels!
3 days does not give you much time in Barcelona but here are my thoughts. First, the Sagrada Familia. No contest. Outside of the Vatican, its one of the most beautiful churches in the world. The interior is like no other. Yes, there are lines. You might want to see if you can get advance tickets online. Viator and others have "skip the line" tours. You might look into the separate tickets for the small elevator ride up one of the towers. We've done that and the views are spectacular. There are also some Gaudi architectural surprises up there. Second would be walking up and down La Rambla. It's a free treat. Have lunch at La Boqueria, which is a very large inside farmers market. Its unique and quite impressive. Third, Parc Guell. It's a large park in the hills with lots of Gaudi influence. The world-famous mosaic chameleon is there. Take the No 23 bus up to the Parc Guell stop. Don't take the metro as it doesn't get anywhere near the park. It's all uphill from the nearest stops. Fourth, Gaudi mansions. There are 3-4 in Barcelona. You can buy tickets to go inside. Be sure to go to the roofs to see the Gaudi influence there. Fifth, the modernisme architecture influence throughout Barcelona and Catalunya.
Did not expect to be 'wowed" by La Sagrada, but we were and spent more time than I expected. Def. buy your ticket online and print it out, eat before you go! Get the RS guidebook and take the 3 RS walking tours- they are short and interesting in 2 neighborhoods and then the Modernisme/Gaudi walk. The Picasso Museum is, IMHO, not as good as the one in Paris but still worth a couple of hours. You would probably enjoy the funicular up to Montjuic and a walk up there- lots to see. Buy a fan, wear a hat, and be prepared for the Spanish sun!
WEAR THE MONEYBELT- we caught a very average looking, cleancut middle aged pickpocket on the subway who chose the wrong pocket with the sunglass case - yikes!
Not neccessarily in this order. Maybe one day Las Ramblas from Placa Catalunya to the beaches, then up to the Olympic village, shopping and stopping when something interests you. Another day for Barri Gotic. Start with the walking tour provided by the TI (great value at about $15 each) then visit the sights that interest you most. Third day for Moderniste architecture, start with Block of Discord, then Parc Guell, and end up at Sagrada Familia. I don't think Montjuic is fully open then, so you won't have to decide whether that's a good use of your time.