Bill at Barca football game








Maps etc



Map of Spain

Map of Barcelona



When to go:

+/-
May to June, and September to October, are best.
July and August are hot and humid;
August is the major vacation month in Europe.

WeBarcelona weather

I went for the months of May and June, in both 2013 and 2014, and the weather was lovely the whole time. Almost always sunny, usually just cool enough to make walking comfortable. A few too-warm days, a few hours of rain here and there.

Barcelona's time zone is 6 hours ahead of East Coast USA.



The Metro is the easiest way to get around the city:

+/-
Metro map.
The Metro is run by two separate companies, so some maps may have only half of the information.

You may need buses or suburban trains to reach some places. And buses run along most city routes every few minutes.

Changes in 1/2020:
T-Casual card: 10 rides for €11.35, uni-personal.
T-Usual card: unlimited rides for 30 days for €40, uni-personal, includes L9 to airport.

From Wikitravel's "Barcelona":
... metro cards are also valid on the buses, trams, FGC (Catalan Railway Network) and on the main Spanish Trains (RENFE). ...

... Metro operating hours are: Sunday and M-Th 0500 to 2400, Fri 0500 to 0200, Saturday 24 hr (continuous service from Saturday at 0500 until Sunday at 2400). ... [If the Metro is closed, use the Night Buses.]

... Pay attention to the fact that to get from metro lines operated by TMB (1,2,3,4,5, 9/10 and 11) to the ones operated by FGC (6,7 and 8), or vice versa, you need to exit and then enter through a new pay-gate. In this case, if you had a one-journey ticket, you need to get a new one. If you used a multiple-journey ticket (such as the popular T-Casual ticket - the one that locals use the most) you won't be charged for a second time when changing lines (as long as you are within the stated travel time for a single journey). ...

Most of the Metro stations have 2 or more exits, often widely separated. So it's easy to be disoriented when you get up to street level. Inside the bigger stations, you may have a long walk from the entrance to the platform you want.

Single 75-minute trip:
Once you insert your card, all buses and Metro trips within next 75 minutes count as one trip, except if you insert your card into another Metro entrance, or if you ride the same bus route in the opposite direction. That starts another 75-minute trip. In other words, you get only one Metro card-insertion per trip.

In other words, you get unlimited bus-entrances and only one metro-entrance during an hour-and-15 "ride". So you could go bus-bus-metro-bus-bus for example. Or metro-bus-bus-bus.

I think after you first validate the ticket in bus or metro, don't put it into any more machines in buses. Some of them will charge you for an additional trip even though they shouldn't.

Metro sounds: Metro-ProximaStationeArcDeTriomf.mp3, Metro-ProximaStationeHospitalSanPau.mp3

1925 Metro map
The buses are pretty easy too:
+/-
Get a free bus route-map at Tourist Info in Placa Catalunya.

Use your metro card in the buses.

On major roads, there may be two bus-stops within 150 feet of each other, with different buses stopping at each stop.

Regular (day) buses stop running around 2100 or 2200.

Zoom-able night bus route maps
Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk:
+/-
I walked my feet off in Barcelona. It's a fine city for walking: sidewalks are paved from building edge to curb, drivers respect pedestrians, buses and Metro are at start and end of any walk. Lots of pedestrian squares and parks and pedestrian streets. Lots of interesting small streets to wander down. Lots of museums and churches.

But when exploring the hilly edges of the city, take public transit to the top and walk downhill !



Oh-Barcelona map of districts
Wikitravel's "Barcelona"
TripAdvisor's "Barcelona Travel Forum"
reddit's /r/Barcelona forum
SuiteLife blog
AngloINFO Barcelona
One World Nations Online's "Google Earth Barcelona Map"
Greg Miller's "Beautiful Interactive Map of Barcelona Digs Into Rich Architectural History"



Barcelona is notorious for petty crime: pickpockets, etc.

+/-
TripAdvisor's "Barcelona: Health & Safety"

Especially be careful around Metro entrances, and on La Rambla. Watch out for having your smartphone or camera snatched out of your hands, or off your table as you eat outdoors.

From someone on reddit: "It really happens a lot more at night and around drunken-tourist areas."

Caroline Williams' "How pickpockets trick your mind"

My strategy: I kept everything in one small backpack, and held onto that with a death-grip.

If your debit card is stolen, call your bank immediately. The thieves will head for an ATM within 15 minutes and try to guess your PIN, and they may succeed.

If your phone is stolen, report the theft immediately to your service provider; do not delay. There are gangs who will run up thousands of dollars of calls as quickly as possible, and you are liable for everything up to the time you report the theft. Then call the provider again to make sure they got the report (article).

Online report to police, but then you have to go to police station within 3 days to confirm the report.

In general, have a plan in case your stuff is stolen. Have card numbers and reporting phone numbers written down somewhere safe. Be aware of what you are carrying, so you know what you lost. Write down serial numbers for devices. Have passwords and security software enabled on devices (see my Computer Security and Privacy web page). Have photocopies or scans of important documents.


2020: Barcelona is getting more dangerous. There have been some murders, usually about drugs or outside dance clubs. Quarantines have made pickpockets more desperate. Stress levels are high.


Pepper spray:
+/-
Better to get the gel type, not the aerosol type, so it can't blow back onto you.

Armeria Ravell. https://www.ravell.es/ Carrer de la Diputacio 289, between Pau Claris and Roger de Lluria. Girona metro and walk south on Diputacio. MTWRF 0900-1400,1600-1900.

What is sold on Amazon.es may look like pepper-spray, but if you read carefully, it's either a holster for pepper spray, or colored-die spray.

Not sure if it's legal for a minor to carry pepper spray.

Be very careful when using it. Better to pull it out and threaten and have the person go away, than to actually spray it.




Bought a guidebook: "Eyewitness Top 10 Barcelona". Pretty good, but very much stop-at-the-city-limits. Supplemented by maps from Tourist Info, Metro, etc.

Lonely Planet's "Catalunya & the Costa Brava". Pretty good.



Airport:

+/-
Make sure the airport code says "BCN" (AKA "El Prat"); apparently some budget airlines might list Girona or Reus as "Barcelona airports".

Arriving:
From Wikitravel's "Barcelona" and elsewhere:
Arriving: International arrivals are in terminal 1, except for Ryanair.
Free shuttle bus between terminals 1 and 2.
Aerobus (one-way €6) or RENFE train (one-way €3, or buy T-Casual travelcard for €11.35 (but not in terminal 1)).
Train doesn't run from about midnight to about 6 AM. Aerobus doesn't run from about 1 AM to about 6 AM. Night busses (N16 and N17) run all night.
[Apparently machines at train in airport might try to sell you a 4-zone T-Casual card; get a zone-1 T-Casual for €11.35.]

As of 2016, there is a new L9 Metro station at the airport (both terminals, I think). The T-Casual card works to/from airport on Rodalies train, but not on the L9 metro. Airport Metro station isn't in any of the 6 zones and it functions as a virtual one that behaves like zone 1 for all tickets except for single-ride and T-Casual !

Departing:
From Wikitravel's "Barcelona" and elsewhere:
When leaving: Please be aware that you can check in for your flight only at the respective terminal T1 or T2 and, since they are 7 km apart and there is little information available at the train station and bus stops, it's good to know which terminal you need before arriving at the airport!

From barcelona-tourist-guide:
When leaving: It is important to remember that both Aerobuses for Terminal 1 and for Terminal 2 stop at the same bus stops in the city centre. If you are making your way to Barcelona Airport, make sure that you take the right Aerobus. Both buses look the same, however the bus to T1 is the A1 and the bus to T2 is the A2.
If departing and taking Aerobus, the bus attendant can tell you which bus to get on for your airline.

When arriving, I did shuttlebus-train-Metro. But departing, it might be better to do Metro-Aerobus, to eliminate the uncertainty of the up-to-30-minutes wait for the airport train in Sants station.

Metro-train-shuttlebus took me about 1:25 from Virrei Amat to T1 once, but I got lucky with the train timing; probably averages 1:40 or so. Metro trains run less frequently in the early weekend mornings, add a few minutes for that (on a Sunday at 5 AM, I saw 11 minutes between trains on L1 line).

Aerobus site says "average trip is 35 minutes". I think that's between Placa Catalunya and airport.

First Aerobus of the morning (5:30 AM) to airport will have a crowd waiting to board it. When I took that bus from Catalunya on a Sunday morning, two A1 buses came at 5:23. But some people still ended up standing in the aisle. If you're boarding at Espanya, you may not be able to get onto the very first bus of the morning.

Now that I've been doing this for a few years, and coming from the far side of Barcelona (Nou Barris), when leaving I do Metro-Train-ShuttleBus (metro Fabra i Puig to Sant Andreu Comtal onto R2 train). The big crushes for boarding the train are at Passeig de Gracia and Sants Estacio, so boarding at an earlier station is better. Look up the train schedule in advance, to avoid the uncertainty. The train is faster and more comfortable than taking the Metro for 15 or 30 stops. Cheaper than the Aerobus.

From my brother:
When leaving, make sure you allow plenty of time at Barcelona Airport. Checking in at the United ticket counter, plus security, plus passport control took me a full hour. The United ticket counter was especially slow. [And this was with ticket printed online the previous evening. Maybe he was directed into the wrong line.]

I flew out via Lufthansa in 2013 and USAirways in 2014, and printing boarding passes the night before let me go through a 5-minute baggage drop-off line instead of a 20- or 45-minute check-in line.




From US Dept of State's "Spain and Andorra Country Specific Information":
Spain is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Spain for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You need sufficient funds, evidence of hotel reservations or an official letter of invitation if you will stay with family or friends, and a return airline ticket.
My first arrival experience: no questions asked, no other docs needed, when I presented my USA passport at Immigration. Scanned it, stamped it, on my way. And nothing at Customs, either: I just walked out through the green "nothing to declare" arch. [Later, my brother had exactly the same experience. And I've had same experience every time for last couple of years.]

My understanding of Schengen requirements for US citizens: you can spend 90 days of each 180 day period in EU. So you could come for 30, leave for 30, come for another 30, etc indefinitely. Or come for 45 days, leave for 1 day, come for another 45, then have to wait 89 days before coming again.





Apartment



My apartment:

+/-
I rented an apartment through Airbnb in 2013, for about $1500 for 2 months. 3 bedrooms, up to 6 people, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, no smoking, no pets. In Nou Barris / Porta, in central zone of Metro, but N corner of Barcelona.

Stupid: I realized, long after committing, that what I rented was just one bed in a 6-bed apartment; I thought I was renting the whole apartment, and there were extra charges if I put more people in it. I probably will have the whole place to myself most of the time, but maybe not.
[Later found out: owners changed terms of the listing a few months after I made my reservation. So I did reserve the whole apartment, then they changed me to just renting one bed. Save a copy of the rental listing terms when you make your reservation.]

But: when I arrived, the apartment owner switched me to stay in her apartment, a couple of blocks away, with her and her son. On Carrer Deia, across the street from Placa del Soller. Which turned out to be great: we shared food, the bedroom was nicer, they acted as translator/guide, we went places together. Nice people.

After seeing the original apartment, I would say it really is more like a 4-person apartment, not a 6-person. Probably sleeps 4 adults plus a child. One bathroom, not overly large. The kitchen is small; really only one person or couple at a time could be cooking.



Apartments:
Airbnb
ApartmentBarcelona
HouseTrip
HomeAway
Holiday Lettings
Owners Direct / HomeAway
Waytostay



From Mike:
Enjoy Barcelona. Be sure to pack earplugs when you go. It has to be the noisiest city I have ever been to (travelled quite a lot with job as cameraman for BBC).

The problem is unbelievable, I have stayed there 8 times now and have found only the Arts Hotel (on floor 8 and over) do-able ... The concrete roads are the cause of the noise. Most of the good premium hotels have double glazing, but it does not remove that constant noise. Last time there was for 6 days, ears felt like they had been used for crazy golf by the time to come home.
My experience: this wasn't a problem. But I wasn't staying in a tourist section of the city. Traffic is fast and loud on a couple of the very major roads, such as Via Laietana, but I wouldn't say "noisiest city".
But: From someone on reddit 6/2017 about the new "super-blocks" strategy:
Barcelona has really sh*tty air quality. There are 3500 early deaths due to air pollution in Barcelona per year, according to article.

Barcelona is the seventh worst city in the world for noise pollution from traffic (sitting between Beijing and Mexico City), and Spain gets fined every year by the EU for the air pollution levels in Barcelona and Madrid.





Places to see and things to do



[Info gathered from various sources, including:
Barcelona Holiday Review By Richard Watson
Barcelona Travel Guide
Don Boyd's "My Barcelona top 10"
Serda Yilmaz's "Notes from my trip to Barcelona"
tripadvisor's "Barcelona: The Best Sights of Barcelona"
LittleAesthete's "Top 10 Barcelona"
reddit's /r/Barcelona
reddit's "Visiting Barcelona" wiki
Everything Barcelona
Angloinfo's "Living in Barcelona"
Barcelona Navigator's "101 Things to Do in Barcelona"
]



Open-top bus tour

+/-
These are fun but pricey. I did one after seeing much of the city in other ways, and rode the bus as many hours as I could in one day without getting off much, on two routes. It was fun and I felt like I got my money's worth, doing it that way.

Bus Touristic pick up all over the city - you will see them everywhere - a good place to start is Placa de Catalunya at the top of La Rambla. Adult one-day €26, two-day €34 (10% discount for booking online). There are two major routes, and a third smaller route in summer. Same ticket covers use of all three routes. Hours 0900-1900 (2000 in summer).

Another bus: Barcelona City Tour (same prices, same online discount, also two routes, same audio and guide services, hours 0830 to 2000).

From somewhere: "What we tend to do is stay on the bus for the first day - then get off at all the places of interest on the second. At Olympic Park you can go in and around the stadium where the 1992 Olympics were held and there are great views of the city. NB it's free - yippee! Some 'must see' things are Olympic Park, Nou camp, Tibidabo and Sagrada Familia."

From Wikitravel's "Barcelona":
One approach is stay on for an entire route, then continue while getting off at locations that interested you earlier. Buses are double-decked, with the open-air upper deck offering much better views ... sunscreen essential in summer months, jackets in winter/early spring/late fall. As you first get on, you are offered earphones. Outlets near every seat let you choose among many languages and playback volumes. As you approach each significant location, you receive audio describing it.

My impression: always seemed to be long lines for the buses in Placa Catalunya, at least in the morning, and I'm sure everyone wants to sit on the upper level. Probably best to get to ticket office 15 minutes before the first buses start running ?

My later experience, on Bus Touristic:
Did the bus on a Monday, when museums were closed. Bought the tickets online (10% discount) and printed out the ticket voucher. Took Metro to Sagrada Familia, handed in the voucher at the booth (no wait), got real tickets. I'm not sure you can hand in the voucher at any bus stop; might have to go to a place with a ticket booth.

We rode the Blue line from 10 to 2:30, getting off at Park Guell to do that (unfortunately the buses stop four long uphill blocks from the park; I'd hoped they would stop closer), and then off at Camp Nou to find lunch (not easy, bad idea), then back to Sagrada Familia. Home for naps, then on again at 5:30 to ride the Red line without getting off at all, until 7:30. I don't see how you could do both routes in one day while getting off at more than 2 or 3 places for any amount of time.

I enjoyed the bus without getting off because I already knew much of the city, and it was fun to zip around it and connect all the parts and see it in a different way. My brother enjoyed it (not knowing the city) because he likes riding more than walking. He said the audio was good; I didn't listen to it.

We always rode on the upper level, sometimes in the front row (fun). Wear sunscreen. Watch out for your hat blowing off, or maps blowing out. Lower level is enclosed and air-conditioned, but the view would be much less. Most things tend to zip by too fast to get decent photographs.

The discount book gives you 10% or 20% discounts at many museums (but not Picasso), which amounts to €1 or €2 here and there. Generally 10% discounts on other attractions, but often only if you buy the most expensive, all-inclusive ticket, or a guided tour or something.

Tour bus


Museums

+/-

Museum passes

+/-
  • arTicket Barcelona: visit 6 art museums (Picasso, MACBA, CCCB, Fundacio Tapies, MNAC, Fundacio Joan Miro); valid for 3 months; gives only one entrance to each museum: available at BarcelonaTurisme / arTicket or any Tourist Info for €30.
    My experience: the art is bad or barely passable in the Tapies, MACBA, CCCB and Miro museums, and that makes the card no bargain.

  • ARQUEO Ticket: visit 4 history museums (Egyptian, Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya, Museu d'Historia de Barcelona, Museu Maritim). The card costs €14 and the Museu Egipci alone costs €11, so it's a good deal if you want to see these museums. Arqueologia is sleepy and non-English, but I liked the other three.

  • "Barcelona Card" available at BarcelonaTurisme; 2-day adult for €33; 5-day adult for €56. The time-limits make me think this is not a good deal.

  • There is a combined "MNAC / Poble Espanyol" ticket for €18, which saves you €5.


Free entrance to museums

+/-
Various museums have free entrance at various times, often first Sunday of the month, or every Sunday afternoon from 1500 to 2000. You can get a printed list of free entrance times at Tourist Info, but ask them to explain it: it's as clear as mud. Lines may be long at the free times.
Barcelona Navigator's "Free Museum Days in Barcelona"
TimeOut's "Barcelona Museums: Free Sundays"
TripAdvisor's "Barcelona: Free Entry at Museums"
Damian Corrigan's "Free Museums in Barcelona"
Barcelona Top Travel Tips' "Free museums in Barcelona or culture on a shoestring"




Festivals, etc

+/-
  • Three Kings parade, Jan 5. A mob scene. Their arrival at the harbor is not very interesting; can't see much.

  • 10-day Carnaval, in February/March. Town hall in Placa Jaume was open to the public for one day. Various parades, including a fire-parade. I think the really wild festivities are elsewhere, such as in Sitges.

  • Easter, in late March. Processions in old town on Good Friday, mainly around the cathedral.

  • Dia Sant Jordi, April 23. Buy a rose for your lady; usually can get them for €1 or €2.

  • La Nit dels Museus de Barcelona (Night of the Museums), in mid-May. Free entry, music and dancing in some of the major museums. Don't miss ! Probably best to go to MNAC or Hospital de Sant Pau.

  • Primavera Sound music festival, end of May / start of June. Often some free concerts.

  • Corpus Christi, mid-June.
    Several govt buildings open in Placa Jaume area; the town hall is spectacular, the others are mediocre. Unusual statues and artwork displayed ("gegants i bestiari"), dancing eggs ("L'ou com balla"; see eggs), parade ("Seguici Popular de Barcelona"; see parade).
    Corpus 2014 program (PDF)

  • Berbena de Sant Joan (also known as La Nit del Foc, or Fire Night, or Nit de Sant Joan, or Revetlla de Sant Joan) on June 23: drinking, dancing, fireworks, bonfires.
    [We went to Barceloneta beach for Sant Joan 2014, and it was disappointing: no bonfires, just lots of people and lots of big explosions.]
    From someone on reddit:
    Incidentally, Barceloneta beach is the very worst place I can think of to go on Sant Joan. Unless you find it amusing dodging the fireworks and cava bottles that get thrown around blindly. Head to a village or somewhere not full of tourists for a real Revetlla.


  • Sala Montjuic: outdoor concerts and films at Montjuic Castle, July and August.

  • Festa Major de Gracia, around August 15: streets of Gracia decorated and full of dancing and music.

  • Catalonia's National Day (La Diada Nacional de Catalunya), September 11.

  • Festes de la Merce, September 24 and the week leading up to it: includes concerts, dancing, a swimming race across the harbour, parades, correfocs (fire runs), fireworks.
    The opening ceremony in Placa Jaume was worth seeing.
    Two nights of fireworks over Barceloneta; best way to see them is go to Vila Olympica Metro and walk to the beach.
    The correfocs are unique and a bit fun, but hard to see and photograph. Stand somewhere that gives you room to retreat when the sparks/fireworks come close.
    Free entry to Sagrada Familia, maybe approx 19th-21st; maybe search for "Entradas gratuitas para la Sagrada Familia" to find info.
    On the 24th, free entry to various museums and buildings ?
    On the 24th at 2200: very nice fireworks and music over the Magic Fountains of Montjuic near Placa Espanya, but it's a mob scene, and perhaps better watched on TV.

  • Grec Festival, in early October; theatre, dance, music and circus festival.
    Wikipedia's "Festival Grec de Barcelona"

  • Open House Barcelona, a weekend in mid-October. Lousy. Lots of places open for free, but extremely long and slow lines. Plan ahead; opening times and days vary from place to place. Get there early, or consider buying "preferential" tickets that let you jump the lines. Maybe forget any of the downtown locations, and pick less-popular places in the outer districts.

  • New Years Eve: last two years, there has been a big "New Year Chimes celebration" and fireworks at the magic fountains of Montjuic. But Metro trains going to it are jammed, it's a jam-packed mob scene at the plaza, we couldn't hear music, the fountains weren't operating, and everyone leaves about 15 minutes after midnight. If you go, try not getting out at Placa Espanya Metro; get out one stop short and walk. And forget trying to get away fast after midnight.

movingtobarcelona.com's "Fiestas in Barcelona"
Wikipedia's "Public Holidays in Spain"


Football (soccer) game

+/-
Football player takes a dive for no reason

Football season runs from mid-August to mid-May.

Barca:
+/-
All players wearing Messi jerseys

fcbarcelona.com
How To Buy Tickets For A Match
Get notified by email when tickets go on sale
Barca tickets on viagogo.com

My experience: I bought tickets at Tourist Info at Placa Catalunya, for ticket face-price (no VAT or service fee), the day before the game. Maybe that wouldn't be possible for a big game. [Note: the "store" side of Tourist Info charges a small service fee; the "info" side of Tourist Info doesn't.] The cheapest seats had a fine view of the field, but we had to climb a lot of stairs to get to them. There were plenty of empty seats. Again, maybe not for a big game or if the team is in contention.

Warning: sometimes the date or time of the game is changed, with fairly little notice. The date shouldn't change by more than one day in either direction.

Stadium is surrounded by 5 Metro stops, all about a 10-minute walk away.
How to Get to the Barcelona FC Stadium
Metro station: Collblanc on Blue L5 line, or Palau Reial on Green L3 line.

Take snacks and maybe umbrellas to the stadium.

Leaving the stadium after the game, the Metro stations will be jammed, with long lines extending out onto the streets. And the Metro stops running at midnight on Sunday through Thursday. Best to go to the most "upstream" stadium station on each line, Palau Reial or Collblanc: the trains arrive at the "downstream" stadium stations already full. Or just walk across town to a completely different Metro line or bus line, one that goes nowhere near the stadium.

Barca TV channel schedule

RCD Espanyol:
+/-
There is a second major football team in/near Barcelona: RCD Espanyol (Wikipedia's "RCD Espanyol").

The stadium is Estadi Cornella-El Prat, southwest of Barcelona proper, toward the airport. Metro L5 stop Cornella Centre or Gavarra, then a bit of a walk (map). Bus 67 or 68 from Placa Catalunya. FGC train from Placa Espana to Cornella Riera or Almeda stops. How to get to RCD Espanyol stadium.

My impression is that tickets aren't much cheaper than low-end Barca tickets, but a lot more tickets are available. For us (in Nou Barris), the stadium is a long way away, so I haven't been to a game there.

Lower-league teams:
U.E. Sant Andreu (stadium Narcis Sala, Metro stop Onze de Setembre, map, schedule). Walk up and buy tickets just before game time; €5 to €10 for general admission, depending on type/league of game. No containers allowed in the stadium, not even a water-bottle.
C.F. Montañesa (stadium Camp Municipal de Nou Barris, Metro stop Via Julia and walk 1 long block uphill)
CE Europa (stadium Nou Sardenya, map, schedule).
UE Cornella (stadium Nou Camp Minicipal, or is it Minicipal de Cornella ?; Metro stop Cornella Centre; schedule).
Can find schedules on Federacio Catalana de Futbol, but it's a lot of work.

Sometimes there are lower-league or womens-league games, sometimes for free, in the Mini Estadi in the Camp Nou complex.

Football player fakes injury


Free (tip only) or paid walking tours:

+/-
Go to Wikitravel - Do and scroll down a bit.

I took a Runner Bean Old City free tour 7/2015. Register ahead of time, all in English, 2.5 hours, I gave a €10 tip at the end. The tour was interesting, saw half a dozen interesting plazas and outsides of churches, learned some things. A little frustrating that we didn't go inside anything.

Barcelona Street Style Tour (go Sunday when businesses are closed ?)


Barcelona Symphony Orchestra.

+/-
Most events at Auditori de Barcelona; some at Palau de la Musica Catalana.
Tickets from ClassTic, €20-56 depending on event and seating zone.
At Auditori de Barcelona: go to Marina Metro stop, 1 block up Av. Meridien and left onto Carrer Lepant, 1.5 blocks on left. Actually, halfway between Glories and Marina Metro stops.


Beaches

+/-
Beaches

Named the #1 Beach City in the world by National Geographic.

But: the Barceloneta beach has no shade unless you rent an umbrella, there's a strip of pebbles by the water that makes walking along the water's edge a little awkward, and the water in May was quite cold (meteoprog's "West Mediterranean Sea surface temperature"). The beaches further N, from Platja Nova Icaria to Platja de Llevant, don't have the pebbles.

Beach in Badalona (end of Metro line L2) is miles long and quite nice.
Beach at Montgat Nord (past far end of Badalona; take R1 train) is good.



Cruise ships

+/-
Not cheap in warm months, and there may be an additional €10 or more person per day tacked on for "gratuities" once you get aboard.

CruiseCritic's "Barcelona Cruise Port"
Expedia cruises out of Barcelona
Tourist Guide Barcelona's "Barcelona Cruise Port Terminals"



Current events:


Sardana dances:

+/-
At main Cathedral on Saturday evening around 1800-1830, and Sunday at 1100 or noon.
Also Placa Jaume on Sunday evening around 1800-1830.
A cultural/political event, but the dance and music themselves are boring.

Castellers (human pyramids):

+/-
Castellers de Catalunya
If you can't get to a public event, perhaps you can go to a training session (assaig). Castellers de Barcelona club trains at Carrer Bilbao 212, near Clot Metro station.





Districts / parts of Barcelona



Tibidabo / Gracia area:

+/-
  • Torre Bellesguard (Bellesguard house, built by Gaudi).

    At Carrer Bellesguard 16, off Ronda de Dalt about 5 blocks from CosmoCaixa.
    Admission €9; guided tour €16.

  • CosmoCaixa:

    Science museum; near Tibidabo; open 10-8; €4 admission. [Private museum, not part of the free-museum days.] Address: Carrer Isaac Newton 26. Maybe take blue L5 Metro to Vall d'Hebron stop, then 60 or 73 bus to CosmoCaixa (Avinguda Tibidabo).

    Hordes of schoolkids, often running and shrieking. Nice aquaria, but the rest could be done a lot better.

  • Parc de La Creueta del Coll:

    At Passeig Mare de Deu del Coll 77, near El Coll / La Teixonera Metro station.

  • Real Santuario de San Jose de la Montana (on Wikipedia). On an approach to Park Guell; Av. del Santuari de Sant Josep de la Muntanya 25. Nice exterior and courtyard; hard to get inside.

  • Park Guell:

    Colonnades, interesting houses with Gaudi styling, trails zigzagging up the hillside, some mosaics. Nice view out over the city. (If you go, be sure to take a picture with the iconic lizard!) Lots of tourists and trinket vendors.

    Starting 25 October 2013, visitor admission to the "Monumental Zone" of the park (a very small central area) will cost €8 (used to be free) ! Official site (buy ticket online for €7).
    Also can buy ticket at machine at Lesseps Metro (by the main ticket exit) or at the park.
    Tickets have time-slots, so if you buy at the park, you might have to wait until your time-slot starts. Buy tickets online in advance.
    At some time in the evening, maybe around 1800, the attendants go home and the entire park is free access ?
    Gaudi Museum inside the park is a separate ticket.

    But: the "Monumental Zone" is a pretty small part of the park, maybe only 5%, and you can see much of it from outside the zone. Maybe go to the free areas first, and decide if you absolutely MUST get into the Zone.

    This site is a little difficult to get to. From anywhere except bus to the East (Carmel) entrance, it is a strenuous walk up stairs or streets, and it takes a while to get there. There is more up-and-down walking on trails inside the park, which is built on a hill or hillside. Only do this one if everyone in your party is physically up to the walking, and not vision-impaired. In summer, probably best to go here first thing in the morning, before it gets too hot.

    [Ten-minute uphill walk from Valcarca Metro station to one gate; also another gate more in the direction of the Lesseps Metro station. If you see major escalators going uphill, take them. Also could take 24 or 92 bus to east (Carmel) entrance; much less uphill if you do that.]
    [The city-tour buses let you off on Travessa Dalt, with about a 4-block uphill walk to the park entrance.]

    [Probably not worth paying to see inside of Gaudi's house.]
    "Guell" is pronounced close to "gwale".
    Nearby multi-media Gaudi Experience attraction: Carrer de Larrard 41, €9.

    My experience: maybe skip this site, unless you're really into Gaudi.

  • Parc Guinardo, and the Turo de la Rovira "bunker" / Bunker del Carmel:

    At end of Carrer de Maria Lavernia; map.
    "Bus 28 from Passeig de Gracia takes you to the bottom of the hill - the main path to the site".

  • Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau (on Wikipedia, on BarcelonaTurisme, Pics).
    There is a new hospital (same name ?) uphill of the old hospital.
    The old hospital has gorgeous buildings and costs €8 to enter. We saw it on a Night of the Museums, not the normal tour, but I'd say: don't miss it !
    Metro stop: Hospital de Sant Pau / Dos de Maig on Blue L5 line, then walk S 1 block and then uphill 1 block to old hospital.

  • Sagrada Familia cathedral:

    Virtual tour
    La Belle Society's "9 Mistakes You Don't Want to Make at La Sagrada Familia"

    €14.80 (inside, its two facades, the museum, the schools and the cloisters) to €19.30 (add visit to one of the towers) admission. Guided tour also available, for maybe €5 more. Buy and print tickets online, you get assigned an entering time-slot and it avoids a long wait in ticket lines and then another wait until your entrance time.

    We bought the non-tower tickets, spent about 2 hours at SF, and it was terrific; don't miss it ! If you printed tickets online, look for the "online ticket" entrance; in our case it had NO line. Your time-slot is for entering; you can stay inside as long as you wish. Don't miss the crypt museum, which is outside and under the church and a bit hard to find.

    From someone on reddit:
    Hint: time your visit to coincide with dusk/sunset. It makes the stained glass windows absolutely burst to life when you are inside. It's incredible.

    How it will look when completed in 2026 (video)

    Church underneath the basilica has free entry 1800-2000 every day ? It's worth seeing if you're there at that time.



Gaudi area (pronounced "gow-DEE"):

+/-
  • Casa Vicens (Carrer de les Carolines, 18-24; privately owned, no admission. But that will change sometime in 2016 !)
    NYTimes article

  • La Pedrera (AKA Casa Mila; Passeig di Gracia 92; apartment complex that looks like waves).

    Often long line to get in; buy tickets online and get assigned a time-slot. €16.50 admission. Bags have to go through a security-scanner machine. Visit includes roof, attic, an apartment or two. Great building, unique furnishings and decorations.

    From a guidebook review on Amazon: "Visit La Pedrera near sunset (unless midsummer does not allow it) and go up on the roof as the sun sets and the lights come on."

    There are concerts in La Pedrera and on the roof of it. Not cheap and maybe not easy to get a ticket.

  • Casa Batllo: Passeig di Gracia 43. €21.50 admission ! Outside is designed to look like the dragon, and the dragon's victims, and St George's lance sticking out of the dragon's back.

  • Palau Guell (on Wikipedia; at Carrer Nou de la Rambla 3, just off La Rambla between Liceu and Drassanes metro stops). €12 admission.



Eixample area:

+/-
  • Palau Baro de Quadras: on Avinguda Diagonal near junction of Rossello and Pau Claris. Wed mornings only, tours only ?

  • Briefly step into beautiful lobby of Hotel Casa Fuster. Passeig de Gracia 132.

  • Palau Robert (art). Passeig de Gracia 107, at intersection with Avinguda Diagonal. Free. Nice courtyard/park. Tourist Info office.

  • Fundacio Sunol (contemporary art). Passeig de Gracia 98, near intersection with Avinguda Diagonal. €6. MTWRF 1100-1400, 1600-2000 and Sat 1600-2000.

  • Bulevard dels Antiquaris. Passeig de Gracia 55-57. Shopping center with 73 antique stores, as good as visiting a museum. Free bathrooms on the lowest level.

  • Casa Amatller. Passeig de Gracia 41. Free (ground floor only; the rest is private).

  • Casa Lleo Morera. Passeig de Gracia 35. Guided tour €15; must buy online and reserve in advance; ground floor only, the rest is private.

  • Museu Egipci (Egyptian Museum of Barcelona; on Carrer Valencia). Nice; a little pricey at €11.

  • Fundacio Mapfre / Casa Garriga i Nogues (art museum).
    In Passeig de Gracia near University of Barcelona, on Diputacio between Rambla Catalunya and Balmes, Diputacio 250.
    M 1400-2000, TWRFSat 1000-2000, Sun 1100-1900.
    Have to reserve ticket and time-slot in advance.

  • Museu de Modernisme Catala (art, furniture). Carrer de Balmes 48, near Carrer del Consell de Cent. €10 admission.

  • Fundacio Tapies (near La Pedrera). Small, expensive, and the art is not good. Skip it.



El Raval area:

+/-
  • University of Barcelona, Humanities Campus.
    Nice building, some art upstairs in entryway, some gardens, occasionally an exhibition of some kind.
    On Gran Via, up Ronda de Sant Pere from Placa Catalunya.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA). Nice building, but the art (when I was there) was disappointing. Probably skip it.

  • CCCB (more contemporary art; next to MACBA). Closed Mondays. Very poor art first time I was there, but some nice stuff the second time I was there. So it's hit-or-miss.

  • Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu (halfway down La Rambla, to Placa del la Boqueria / Liceu metro stop, then up Carrer de Hospital). Gardens, paths, pavilions, chapel, Catalonia's national library, art school.

  • La Virreina Centre de la Imatge: photography/cultural institute. Palau de la Virreina, at La Rambla 99, a couple of blocks from Liceu Metro towards Placa Catalunya. Tues-Sunday 1200-2000. Admission free.

  • Cultural event ticket booking office: Palau de la Virreina, at La Rambla 99.

  • Museu de l'Erotica. La Rambla 96. €9 admission.

  • Casa Bruno Cuadros (or "Quadros"; AKA "the umbrella building"). La Rambla 82.

  • La Boqueria (full name: Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria): Fruit/veg/fish/meat marketplace. La Boqueria market (on La Rambla, just up from Placa del la Boqueria / Liceu metro stop).
    Stephen Burgen's "Barcelona market traders want limit on tourists keeping shoppers away"

  • Opera and classical music: Gran Teatro del Liceu.

    I've been to only one event there, a Beethoven concert. The building is lovely, a nice experience. The web site said most seats were taken, but at show time there were plenty of empty seats. Buy cheap seats and you might be able to move forward.

  • La Rambla, the Barcelona Harbor, and the beach: La Rambla is a beautiful street filled with interesting touristy shops, kiosks, and restaurants [and swarms of people]. Walking down this street is a beautiful experience and will lead you to the Barcelona harbor which is filled with all different kinds of boats from huge cruise ships to sailboats that look like pirate ships.
    [Smaller, less-crowded version of La Rambla: La Rambla del Raval, parallel to La Rambla, in Raval.]
    [Free bathrooms in Gotic/Raval area: shopping center at corner of Placa Catlunya toward CCCB; top floor in MareMagnum; near MACBA at corner nearest harbor; just inside entrance of Museu Maritim.]

  • Art Santa Monica (contemporary art). La Rambla 7, near Drassanes Metro stop. Free.

  • Museu Maritim (Maritime Museum), where La Rambla meets the harbor. Full-size replica of a galleon, wooden submarine, lots of ship-models, nice Darwin/evolution exhibit 5/2013. I enjoyed it. €7 admission.

  • Museu de Cera: waxworks museum. Passatge de la Banca 7. €15 admission.

  • Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum.
    The building seems beautiful, worth seeing.
    Carrer Ample 35.
    €9 admission; 5% discount if buy online.

  • Nomar Gaudi homage: in Nomar Leather store.
    C. Josep Anselm Clave 3, 2nd floor, near Columbus statue.
    Free admission; 1000-1330 and 1630-1900; closed Sundays; in summer also closed Saturdays.
    I've tried 4 or 5 times and never succeeded in getting into this place.

  • Christopher Columbus statue: at harbor end of La Rambla. Gift-and-tickets shop underneath. Elevator to top about €4; wasn't running on a Sunday.

  • MareMagnum: Nice modern shopping center at harbor end of La Rambla. Restrooms on top floor.

  • Aquarium (AKA "El Oceanario"; at Port Vell).
    One visitor rates it just "okay".
    Cale Gram's "What is there to see at the Barcelona Aquarium?"
    Admission €20 ! €18 if you buy online.



Barri Gotic and La Ribera and Born area:

+/-
  • Santa Maria del Mar basilica (Placa Santa Maria): open 0900-2000, Sun 1030-2000 ? Attend an evening concert ? But the concerts are too expensive: €18 if ticket bought in advance. Was there on a Saturday afternoon, sign said tourist hours 1300-1700, €5 admission.

  • El Born CC (Born Centre Cultural; former Mercat Del Born; on Timeout).

    Lovely huge building, beautiful inside, with excavated circa-1700 ruins in the middle. Only group tours of the ruins. Two exhibits in spaces along the sides 6/2014: one about the 1714 siege of Barcelona, other more on general history of the city.

    Placa Commercial 12, equidistant between Picasso museum, Santa Maria del Mar, and side of Parc Ciutadella.

    Open daily 1000-2000, closed Mondays. Free access to building. Exhibits admission €6. Guided tour of ruins €5.50. Sundays 1500-2000 free entrance to exhibits.

  • Museu Picasso (including five large palaces on the Carrer de Montcada) is Barcelona's most-visited museum. Go on a weekday, maybe in late afternoon (open until 8). May be long lines anyway, especially on rainy days. Buy tickets online in advance to avoid long lines ? Free every Sunday 3-8 PM. You also can buy a "carnet" membership that gives unlimited entries for one price ? No photography allowed.

  • MEAM: Museu Europeu d'Art Modern (Carrer Barra de Ferro 5; close to Picasso museum).
    €7 admission. Photography allowed.

    Concerts in the museum on Friday (Blues, €11) and Saturday (classical, €16) evenings. Lovely, intimate setting. Program varies every week. Blues concert lasted about 1:45. On the day of the concert, the web site wouldn't let me buy tickets, but I was able to buy tickets at the museum at noon or so. Concert ticket includes museum admission.

  • Some part of MUHBA in Santa Caterina plaza. Across Ferran from Picasso museum.

  • Frederic Mares Museum (in the Royal Palace of the Counts of Barcelona; very close to the Cathedral). First two floors are just very repetitive religious sculptures and art, but the upper two floors contain more interesting stuff: dolls, old bicycles, ironwork, a little armor and weaponry, lots of small dioramas and stuff. Free 1st Sun of month; no longer free on Wed afternoons.

  • Barcelona Cathedral (Cathedral of Santa Eulalia; La Seu cathedral). Metro: Jaume 1. Free entry from 0800 to 1245 and maybe 1700-1800; other times €6 ! Elevator to roof €3. Quite nice cathedral; don't miss it (when free) !

  • Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat (MHCB; History Museum of the City) at the Placa del Rei (close to the Cathedral). AKA Museu d'Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA) in Casa Padellas. Lots of Roman archaeological remains dating back to 1st century BC. Free admission every Sunday from 1500 to 2000. Metro: Jaume 1. Nice museum, and a church at the exit.

  • Temple Roma D'August (between Cathedral and Placa Jaume; C. Paradis 10).
    Wikipedia's "Temple of Augustus in Barcelona"
    Free admission. Open M 1000-1400, TWRFS 1000-1900, Sun 1000-2000.

  • Museu de la Xocolata: chocolate museum.

  • Casa de la Ciutat (city hall), office of mayor and government of Barcelona, in Plaza Sant Jaume. Free admission, guided tour or on your own, Sundays 1000-1330, but tours in various languages are only at certain times. irBarcelona's "Ayuntamiento de Barcelona" Public open day during Carnaval, but expect long lines ?

  • Palau de la Generalitat: Office of president and government of Catalunya, in Plaza Sant Jaume. Free admission, guided tour only, make appointment in advance, only on 2nd and 4th weekends of each month (closed August). Public open days on Saint George's Day (April 23rd), La Merce (September 24th) and the National Day of Catalonia (September 11th).

  • Santa Maria del Pi church, in Placa del Pi (between cathedral and La Rambla).

  • Fundacio Joan Brossa (modern art). Carrer dels Flassaders 40 in Born. [5/2013: found it at Carrer dels Flassaders 40, but closed and all signs in Catalan. Maybe a performance-art/theater venue, not a museum. Got this online: "The current address is carrer dels Flassaders 40 but there is no exhibition now because we are waiting for a new exhibition place."] Free ? Tue-Thu 10 am - 7 pm, Fri 10 am - 6 pm ?

  • The Music Hall (Palau de la Musica Catalana).

    Off Via Laetana, at Santa Francesc de Paula 2. Metro stop is Urquinaona, take "Bruc" exit.

    Tour: €18 ! 20% discount for buying online. Tours every 30 minutes, daily 1000 to 1530, lasts 55 minutes.
    (Perhaps the virtual tour will suffice.)

    Go to an event (concert). Go early, and see the building a bit. After the event, you'll have a bit of time to take pictures, but then the staff will start clearing the building.



Parc de la Ciutadella area:

+/-
Wikipedia's "Parc de la Ciutadella"

  • Museu de Carrossess Funebres (hearse/funeral museum).
    Has moved to entrance of Cementiri del Sud-Ouest (AKA Montjuic Cemetery); no longer near Marina Metro station. Free ? Don't know what the hours are; it was closed on a Tuesday afternoon.

  • Can't go inside most of the buildings in the park (Three Dragon Castle, Hibernacle, Museu Martorell / Museu de Ciencies Naturals, Parliament).

    But Parliament De Catalunya supposed to be open and free, Sat 1000-1900 and Sun 1000-1400, closed in August.
    Have to make reservation at site ?

    Open to public with no reservation on Day of Catalunya (Sept 11 ?); get there early.

    Building is nice, nice chandeliers and marble and woodwork, but not great.


  • Maybe get food at Santa Caterina food market, near Cathedral toward Three Dragons corner of the park (Av Francesc Cambo 16).

  • Arc de Triomf, W of Parc de la Ciutadella.

    Can get inside sometimes; not sure when. Was open but with huge slow line on Open House Barcelona (October).

  • Metronom (contemporary art). Fundacio Rafael Tous d'Art Contemporani.
    Carrer de la Fusina 9, off Passeig de Picasso, on side of Parc de la Ciutadella.
    Free. [But 5/2013, the location looks empty and "to let".]

  • Zoo. €19.60 admission.

  • Diposit de les Aigues: former water reservoir, now library at Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    Fodor's review
    Address: Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27.
    Ciutadella - Vil.la Olimpica metro stop, go up side of the park. Entrance is underground ?
    Free; open MTWRF 0800-0130, SS 1000-2100.



Barceloneta area:

+/-
  • Museu d'Historia de Catalunya (MHCAT).
    Across from Barceloneta Metro station. Nice museum, and nice views from terrace on top. €4 admission. Free admission last Tuesday of each month Oct-June.

Cinema Lliure: free films on the beach (July and August) and in libraries.


Glories area:

+/-
  • Glories shopping mall (Avinguda Diagonal 208; Glories Metro stop and walk past Agbar building.

  • Torre Agbar: odd-shaped skyscraper. Close to Placa Glories. On a few special occasions during the year, lights up with different colors at night. Free exhibit on the ground floor, but it's not very interesting.

    Apparently at times in the past (Inscripcion), touring the building has been possible; not sure if/when that will happen again.

  • "BruumRuum": artistic light-installation on plaza, which reacts to sounds of city and people. Glorias Catalanas Square 37 (at Glories Metro station). Free. Daily 2130 to 2330. on forfree, on CODAworx.

  • Design Museum (Museu del Disseny): next to "BruumRuum".
    Open M 1600-2030, TWRFSS 1000-2030; admission €5.

  • Encants Barcelona flea market: at Placa de les Glories Catalanes (Glories Metro stop). Now housed under spectacular new structure.

  • National Theater (Teatre Nacional de Catalunya).

    Can take a tour of the building. Must reserve in advance; €8 admission; takes 1 hour; Wed and Thurs at 1100 and 1230 only.

  • Auditori de Barcelona.

  • Museu de la Musica; halfway between Glories and Marina Metro stations, Carrer de Padilla 155, part of Auditori complex. Free admission Sundays 1500-2000. Quite nice instruments, some nice music, occasional free small concerts, could do with more descriptive text (but we didn't get the audioguide, probably should have).



Les Corts area:

+/-
  • Parc del Castell de l'Oreneta.

    Carrer de Montevideo 45. Mostly just woods and walks, but also has a pool, a corral of small ponies, and a miniature train that runs Sundays 1100-1400. Blue L1 Metro to Vall d'Hebron stop, then 60 bus on Ronda de Dalt to Rotunda de Can Carelleu. (But coming out, I couldn't find the 60 bus stop anywhere. Ended up taking a 34 bus.)

    Park is smaller than the map and guidebook and web sites make it sound. And one entrance is a block behind the monastery, not a long walk away as the map makes it look.

  • Monestir de Pedralbes.

    Baixada Monestir 9. Green L3 Metro to Palau Reial stop, walk down to circle, then 63 or 78 bus up Avinguda Pedralbes to monastery. Or Blue L1 Metro to Vall d'Hebron stop, then 60 bus on Ronda de Dalt to back side of monastery ?

    €7 admission. Free first Sunday of the month, and every Sunday 1500-2000.

    The monastery is pleasant and quiet, some nice art. But go only when it's free.

  • Cervantes Rose Garden. Avinguda Diagonal 708-716. On San Pere Martir hill; in Pedralbes; Parc de Cervantes. Green L3 Metro to Zona Universitaria stop, cross and walk W or SW up Avinguda Diagonal to park entrance at 708-716. Gardens pleasant, nice roses 5/2013.

  • Palau Reial de Pedralbes. Palace, gardens.
    Used to have three museums (ceramics, textiles/fashion, furniture/artifacts), but they've moved to Museu del Disseny at Glories Metro stop.
    Green L3 Metro to Palau Reial stop; Avinguda Diagonal 686.

  • Fundacion Foto Colectania. Julian Romea 6; Metro stop Diagonal, up Avinguda Diagonal to Via Augusta, up to intersection with Travessera de Gracia, left and left again. €3; 1100-1400 and 1700-2030; closed Sundays; free 1st Sat of the month.

  • Football stadium: go to a game.

  • Barca football museum.

    Camp Nou Experience includes the FCB Museum and Camp Nou Tour (self-guided stadium tour) and costs €24.

    From amirlivne on TripAdvisor's "Barcelona Travel Forum":
    Re: Is the Nou Camp Worth Seeing ?

    I love football and I love Barca but unless you're an avid fan I would say no, at least not as first priority.

    I've been there a few times (as a host, taking children of friend who have no interest or patience for football) and I must say that for what you get (museum with trophies, past outfits and a bit of history, entering the stadium in various points, including near the pitch, and a look at a dressing room, not the one of Barca) the price is too high. Not to mention that inside there are other optional payments for some photo ops that you can only take with their official photographer and for a hefty price.

    Camp Nou and Museum Tour Times

  • El Centre Penitenciari d'Homes de Barcelona (AKA La Model; Edifici de La Model).
    Carrer d'Entenca 155, near L5 Entenca metro station.
    Open Friday 1500-1800, Saturday 1000-1800.
    Free admission.
    Interesting but not great.



Montjuic:

+/-
The hill overlooking the city centre from the southwest, is home to some fine art galleries, leisure attractions, parks, the main group of 1992 Olympic sites, sweeping views of the city.

Placa Espanya Metro stop, then 150 bus up onto Montjuic, or walk and then up escalators up to MNAC.

  • Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (AKA Mirador del Palau Nacional; MNAC). €12 admission (for two days within a month); free first Sun of the month; free every Saturday from 3 PM onward. Non-flash photography allowed in most galleries.

    From a guidebook review on Amazon: "Visit MNAC in the latter afternoon on a Fri/Sat/Sun and stay for the Magic Fountain display at dusk." But the fountain starts at 9 and really doesn't get good until 10 or so, and the museum usually closes at 8, I think.

    My experience: MNAC is a jewel, the best museum in Barcelona, probably one of the best in the world. Huge museum, great art, great building, great views. Don't miss !

    New in 2014: the roof of MNAC is accessible too. Just inside the main doors, go all the way to the left and follow signs to "Terrazza". You'll take an elevator halfway up, then several floors of stairs. The views are great, and there is a lot more to the roof than just the first part you come out onto. When you leave the roof, there are bathrooms, and an elevator all the way down (no stairs).

  • Poble Espanyol.

    Streets, buildings, shops representing all of the provinces of Spain. Only a few workshops where you might see artisans working on something. Pricey at €11, and the most scenic shops and workshops have "no photography" signs. Many of the shops have high-quality but high-priced goods.

    A fairly nice free art museum (Fundacion Fran Daurel) inside, with a dozen or more works by Picasso and some other interesting works. At the other end of the museum building, a wonderful multi-story mobile hanging in an atrium (Espai Guinovart).

    I thought this place wasn't quite worth the admission price.

  • Olympic Stadium and adjacent Palau Sant Jordi (Passeig Olimpic; tel. 34 93 426 2089).
    Sundays free after 1500.

  • Museu Etnologic (Ethnology Museum). Closed in 2013 ? Passeig Santa Madrona 16-22.

  • Fundacio Joan Miro (Avingudade Miramar on Montjuic). Visit the roof, and the gardens. Expensive at €11, no photography, and the art is mediocre; skip it.

  • Museu Militar de Montjuic. Now closed.

    But Castell Montjuic building still open to the public. Castell de Montjuic €5 admission; Sundays free after 1500. Terrific views, nice castle. 150 bus from Placa Espanya.

  • Museo del Comic y la Ilustracion. Now closed for renovation and moving ?

  • Cementiri del Sud-Ouest (AKA Montjuic Cemetery; Barcelona.de page): thousands of graves, tombstones, mausoleums and chapels carved into cliffs.

    All of the interesting old tombs and mausoleums are in the lower half, nearest the entrance. Most of the hilltop and the back side of the hill are just modern high-density high-rise tombs.

    The cemetery is on Montjuic hill to the south of the Anella Olimpica, but there is no entrance/exit on the Olympic side: the cemetery has a single entrance, on Ronda del Litoral. Metro Paral.lel stop and then bus 21. Going to the cemetery, the bus stop is in the cemetery entrance. Coming back from the cemetery, to get to the stop, you have to go under the major highway, then turn right (away from old town), and walk 100 meters or so to the bus-stop pole. The bus does a loop through a couple of exit ramps before picking you up.

    Museu de Carrossess Funebres (hearse/funeral museum) is at cemetery entrance; don't know the times and admission price.

    Supposedly a 107 bus runs inside the cemetery, but I didn't see a single one the whole time I was inside the cemetery.



Near Placa Espanya, below Montjuic:

+/-
  • CaixaForum (AKA Casarramona building; Social and Cultural Centre; contemporary art museum).

    Was free until 5/2013; now it's €4 admission. No photography.
    Avinguda Francesc Ferrer i Guardia 6-8 near Placa Espanya. From the placa, walk 1/4 mile down Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina (to magic fountain), turn right onto Avinguda Francesc Ferrer i Guardia, go 2 blocks.

  • Pavello Mies van der Rohe (also official site; AKA "German Pavilion" ?). In front of MNAC. I think entrance is across from CaixaForum, maybe near corner furthest from MNAC entrance ? €5 admission.

  • Font Magica de Montjuic (magic fountains of Montjuic): Lots of smaller fountains and one big one. During the warmer months in Spain, the fountains are lit up and a water show is timed to popular and iconic music.

    Placa Espanya Metro stop, then walk down Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina to fountains overlooked by MNAC.

    [My experience: go at 9 or later, on Fri or Sat when the Metro runs all night. Afterward, maybe go into Arenas shopping center (was once a bullfighting ring ?) at Placa Espanya.]

  • Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya: sleepy, most signage in Catalan only. €3 admission.



Poblenou and Forum districts (NE, on waterfront):

+/-
  • Poblenou Cemetery (AKA Cementiri Est de Poblenou; official page). Metro L4 Llacuna stop and walk down Ciutat de Granada toward the waterfront. Or 14 bus from Placa Catlunya, or 26 bus.

  • Museu Blau (part of Museu de Ciencies Naturals de Barcelona) in the Forum Building. "Houses Europe's largest scale model of a city" ? (Not in the museum; maybe elsewhere in the building ?)

    Metro L4 stop Maresme-Forum. Museum is in Forum building, on far side of circle about a block away, at major intersection of Avinguda Diagonal and Rambla de Prim, near waterfront. Address: Placa Leonardo da Vinci 4-5.

    €6 admission. Free first Sunday of the month, and every Sunday 1500-2000. Closed Mondays. Seems to be nothing else of interest nearby, except the waterfront (fun in the evening).

    The museum has a couple of robots, some metal sculptures, fossils, videos, minerals, and a lot of pretty nice skeletons and taxidermed animals. Not bad, but it could be a lot better.

  • Several big parks ?

  • Placa Fotovoltaica ? Just concrete and solar panels, as far as I can tell. Metro L4 stop Maresme-Forum, walk past Edifici Forum, to waterfront near marina.



Barcelona Navigator's "Secret Gardens of Barcelona: 12 Hidden Treasures"





At the edges of Barcelona



Walking/hiking to Turo de Montcada

+/-


Walking/hiking in Parc Collserola

+/-
Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola
Paul Cannon's "Hiking in Barcelona's Collserola Park"

To park information center: FGC train from Placa Catalunya or Gracia station to "Baixador de Vallvidrera" station (line S1 or S2; Zone 1 so T-Casual card should work). Then a bit of a walk uphill. No maps for free; have to pay small amounts for them. Walk uphill from the Info Center is mostly dirt roads, plenty of uphill. Rest of area around train station seems to be uninteresting.


Tibidabo

+/-
Tibidabo

Views from the top are great. Amusement park with mostly kiddie-level rides. Very nice church, with €2 lift to higher level for more views. Also a nature reserve with lots of trails: Parc de Collserola (tourist info open 9:30 to 3), but it looks like a bit of a walk to get to that area ?

Check web site to see what days the amusement park is open; on days when it's closed, the funicular may be closed, or may stop running at 5 PM or so. Museu dels Automates (automatons).

Ticketing is a mess; the web site is confusing, and everyone who steps up to the ticket window has a 3-minute discussion with the ticket-sellers, trying to figure out what to buy.
Admission to everything: adults €28.50, children €10.30, babies free.
[Not sure the following is true any more:]
Admission to Sky Walk ("Cami del Cel"), which lets you pay separately for some rides, with free access to the rest of the site: €12.70.
But you have to pay separately for the funicular round-trip, either €7.70 if you're not buying anything else, or about €4 if you are buying something else.
We bought the funicular round-trip only, €7.70, and there was plenty to see: views and walks and the church.

If you're on Barcelona Bus Turistic, you are taken to circle near Avinguda Tibidabo Metro stop. From here you take a tram for €2, then a funicular railway to the top.

Maybe take blue L5 Metro to Vall d'Hebron stop, then on the downhill side of the highway there is a T2B bus stop and ticket office and parking lot. Buy tickets, then get on the bus.)

Take your own food; prices at Tibidabo are high.


Fabra Observatory

+/-
Fabra Observatory
Between Tibidabo and CosmoCaixa.


Castell de Torre Baro

+/-
Abandoned "castle" (really, a hotel) with great views.
Viquipedia's "Castell de Torre Baro" (in Catalan)
Google Map

The tower/castle itself is open MTWRF 1000-1300, Sat 1000-1700, Sun 1000-1400. On busy days (or maybe all days), you have to get a free ticket at the desk, then wait for your group to go up. A very interesting aerial map on wall inside tower.

The views are great even if the tower is not open, and there are nice labeled photos outside to explain the views.

Take 82 bus from Virrei Amat to Castell de Torre Baro stop (maybe tell the driver in advance, the stop comes up quickly). Walk down paved road, see the "castle".

Then walk down to Mirador de Torre Baro (scenic overlook), then maybe El Cordera restaurant, then down dirt trails or roads through Parc del Pla de Fornells, eventually to Trinitat Nova or Torre Baro Vallbona Metro station.


Parc de la Trinitat

+/-
Trinitat Vella or Baro de Viver Metro stations.


Badalona:

+/-
  • Tourist office at Placa de la Plana; get a map.
  • Nice streets in "old town" section. Lots of shopping and cafes.
  • Beach is miles long and quite nice. But no shade.
  • Museu Badalona; at Augusta and Termes. Nice Roman ruins in the basement, but essentially identical to those in MUHBA in Barcelona. €6.37 admission.
  • Cementiri Vell O Sant Crist, with a big park across the street.
  • Sometimes a free art exhibit in a space under Placa de la Vila; look for stairs going down.

At end of Metro line L2; station Pompeu Fabra. Or take Metro to Clot station, then RENFE train to Badalona (Metro card works for the train).


Monestir de Sant Jeroni de la Murtra

+/-
Monestir de Sant Jeroni de la Murtra

Metro L1 to Torras i Bages stop, walk down Passeig de Torras i Bages, left onto Carrer Palomar, two blocks to intersection with Carrer Coronel Monasterio AKA Carrer de Fernando Pessoa.

This info translated from response to email:
Open Tuesday to Sunday 1000 to 1300. Maybe 1st Sunday free 1000 to 1200. Guide from Tuesday to Thursday. The tours last about an hour and ask a contribution of €3.


Parc del Laberint d'Horta

+/-
Park with gardens, hedge-maze (actually, cypress trees), pools, etc. On Wikipedia.

Passeig dels Castanyers 1. Metro L3 to Mundet stop, cross Ronda de Dalt, walk up Carrer de Paulo Frere past velodrome, or walk up roads along edge of UB campus, to Passeig dels Castanyers.

Free admission on Wednesdays and Sundays; otherwise €2.23. Park may reach limit of 750 people inside and allow no further entrance. Can get busy on Sundays.

I found it pleasant but nothing special.


Llobregat and other parts S of Montjuic:

+/-
Note: there are several "Llobregat's" and they go a fair distance out.

  • Museu Agbar de les Aigues (water and energy museum).

    €4.5 admission. No photography.
    Metro L5 to Cornella Centre station, walk 1/4 mile to Parc de les Aigues, entrance on Carretera de Sant Boi. From station, walk to nearest circle and then straight across it, past huge Llobregat Centre shopping mall: map.
    OR: Metro L3 to Zona Universitaria station, then tram T1 to Parc de les Aigues.

    Nice buildings, nice old machinery, but no machinery moving, kind of a sleepy place.

  • Gaudi's Crypt and Colonia Guell.

    Church/crypt is very interesting, visitor's center is good, rest of the place is boring. All you see is the outsides of various buildings; you don't get to go into anything, especially the old factory.

    FGC train from Placa Espanya, lines S33, S8 and S4 to station Colonia Guell. Other trains on same tracks skip that station. Once off the train, follow the blue footprints painted on the ground that will take you to the Visitor's Center.

    Combined train/colonia ticket is about €15. Expect 2 hours to see the whole Colonia.

    Maybe also look (from outside) at the abandoned castle Torre Salvana, but you have to push through some overgrown paths through the brush to get a decent view.

  • Catalunya en Miniatura (on Wikipedia, and on InfoCatalonia).

    Miniature park that displays 147 models of palaces, churches, bridges and other buildings from Catalonia and Mallorca.

    In Torrelles de Llobregat (map).
    Transportation from Placa Espanya.
    Combined train-bus-park ticket €16 at ticket machine in Placa Espanya station, or apparently you can take 62 bus from Collblanc Metro station ? Train S33 or S8 from Placa Espanya to station St Vincenc Dels Horts, then bus 62 or 71 to stop near park. About 1/2 mile walk, somewhat uphill, from bus stop to parking lot of the park.

    This is interesting for those who have seen many of the major buildings in Barcelona and Catalunya; not so interesting if all of them are new to you. Entertaining little mechanisms run when you push buttons: cars drive down highways, trains run, crowd sings the Barca football song in the stadium, etc. Some kid's rides/games (for additional money), but in general I think kids would be bored here.

    Adjoining: El Bosc Animat (rope-walking and zip-lining high in trees in the forest; on InfoCatalonia). Can buy a combined ticket.

  • Sant Boi de Llobregat Museum / Can Barraquer / Can Torrents.

    Metro L8 to Sant Boi station, then a hard-to-describe walk with several curves and turns.

Tourism Baix Llobregat
Llobregat is pronounced "Yobregat".




Well outside Barcelona



[Generally from N to S:]

Tren dels Llacs

+/-
Tren dels Llacs
Very scenic historical train along series of lakes from Lleida to La Pobla de Segur.

Well outside Barcelona to the W; have to take a train to Lleida. And the train along the lakes only runs a few days each month; make a reservation.


Casa Dali, Port Lligat, Cadaques

+/-
Casa Dali, Port Lligat, Cadaques

This one is kind of a pain to reach [E of Figueres, out on a cape]. See the villa that Dali built, and step inside his home life. It's about as nutty as you would expect. It's pretty much a must to purchase tickets in advance. €11 admission.


Figueres

+/-
Figueres to see the Dali museum.

From Barcelona, take train from Sants or Passeig de Gracia or Clot, then 15-minute walk (or bus) from station in Figueres to museum (get map and info from nice Tourist info desk in Figueres train station). Train says final destination is Portbou; get off at Figueres. Round-trip fare from Clot is €23 (slow "Regional" train) or €30 (faster "Media Distance" train). I don't know the fare for the fast "Ave" train, and whether it comes into the same station in Figueres (there is a second, "TAV/TGV" station).
[Maybe take your passport with you: if you miss your stop, you might end up in France.]
[See RENFE - Timetables; different for weekdays and weekends.]

There also are all-day (0830 to 2000) bus tours out of Barcelona to Figueres and the museum and Girona: Viator (€73) and BCN.travel (€66). and Julia Travel (€71) and others. The bus tour price includes the Dali museum entrance fee of €12. I assume bus group avoids ticket line at Dali museum. And you get to see Girona. And have a guide. But the high-speed train takes 53 minutes each way; cheap train takes a little more than 2 hours each way; the bus takes about 2.5 hours each way.

Dali museum may be extremely crowded on weekends, or cloudy summer days. We were there on a sunny Thursday at end of May, and the museum was uncomfortably crowded, and had long lines for the bathrooms, but I'm sure it gets worse. But: the art is quite nice ! Well worth the trip from Barcelona. Photography allowed, but no flash. Exact opening hours vary by time of year.

Maybe eat at a kebab shop. The one restaurant we tried turned out to be a rip-off. Deceptive menu-of-the-day, extra charges, some of the food mediocre.

Also in Figueres:
  • The Dali museum ticket gives you free entrance to see the Dali Jewels gallery (outside and around the corner from the main Dali museum). Quite nice also; don't miss it. And there are well-hidden bathrooms inside lower part of this museum; get the guard to show you.
  • Museu de la Tecnica de l'Emporda ("MTE"; technology museum). Quite nice, and run by helpful people. Full of interesting gadgets, including scores of grandfather's clocks, hundreds of sewing-machines, a 1908 motorcar, scales, wood-stoves, old calculators, gramophones, etc. €3 admission. Open Tues-Sat 1000 to 1400 and 1600 to 1900; closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays. Don't miss it.
  • Museu de l'Emporda (art and archaeology). Didn't get to it.
  • Museu del Joguet (toy museum; but this review makes it sound a bit small and pricey). I skipped it.
  • Castell de Sant Ferran (castle; Fodor review). €3 admission. Nice old buildings and walls, but no contents. Some nice views. Skip it.


Besalu

+/-
wikipedia's "Besalu"
Spain-holiday's "Besalu travel information"

Take train to Girona, then Teisa bus (station is right next to Girona train station) about 50 minutes to Besalu.

Or direct Teisa bus from Barcelona: buy ticket at office at Carrer de Pau Claris 117 (Metro station Girona); buses depart from Carrer Consell de Cent corner Carrer Pau Claris (Autonomous University of Barcelona at Cerdanyola del Valles, Carrer del Consell de Cent 326 ?); "Olot - Banyoles - U.A.Bellaterra" or "Olot - Banyoles - Barcelona" route. Takes about 1:45, costs about €16 one-way.


Girona

+/-
  • Cathedral of Saint Mary.
  • Cathedral museum. I think €7 admission, which is too much. A few nice objects in the museum, and then access to the cathedral, which is big but a bit dark and gloomy.
  • Museu d'Art. Next to cathedral. Closed Mondays. €2 admission, which gives you 50% discount to admission to five other museums. The art is pleasant but not great.
  • Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat. Carrer de la Forca 27. €4 admission. First floor lots of old printing presses and industrial electrical machines, various history and art upstairs. Pleasant but not great.
  • Museu Arqueologic. Carrer de Santa Llucia. €2.30 admission.
  • Monestir de Sant Pere de Galligants. Home to Museu Arqueologic.
  • Esglesia de Sant Feliu church.
  • Jewish History Museum (Museu d'Historia dels Jueus de Girona; AKA Centre Bonastruc Ca Porta). Carrer de la Forca 8. €2 admission.
  • Medieval Arab Baths (Banys Arabs). On Carrer de Ferran Catolic. Mon-Sat 1000-1900, Sun 1000-1400. €2 admission.
  • Cinema Museum. Carrer de Sequia 1. €4 admission.
  • Casa Maso. Birthplace of Rafael Maso.
  • Eiffel bridge, in middle of town. Pleasant.

90-minute train (cheapest) from Sants station or Clot. Train says final destination is Cerbere; get off at Girona. Round-trip fares from Clot: €16 (Regional), €21 (Media Distancia), or €74 (Ave).

No Tourist Info or maps at the Girona train station; look for map on sign outside the station, and go to Tourist Info in town center.

Some dodgy-looking guys on the train back to Barcelona; hold onto your stuff !


Tossa de Mar (beaches)



Palafolls

+/-


Marineland (aquarium and water-park; May-Sept).
Can buy a combined train-bus-and-park-admission ticket from Rodalies.


Parc del Montnegre i del Corredor

+/-
official site, map.

Hiking trails; info center at Vallgorguina
Train from Passeig Gracia or Clot station to San Celoni, walk down road C-61 ? Someone in Sant Celoni told us: there really are no bus routes serving Parc del Montnegre (into it from outside).


Parc Natural de Montseny

+/-
turismeMontseny

Hiking trails, usually starting from Fontmartina, Santa Fe, Sant Marcal, Collformic or Col de Sant Mari ?

R2 train from Passeig Gracia or Clot station to Sant Celoni, then bus to Montseny town ? But the 567 bus goes only twice a day: leaving SC at about 8 AM and 2 PM, leaving Montseny town at about 9 AM and 2:45 PM. And there's no tourist info at the Sant Celoni station; have to walk into town and find which of three info places is open at the moment.


Illa Fantasia waterpark

+/-
Illa Fantasia waterpark near Vilassar de Dalt / Premia de Mar.

Open June+Sept 1000-1800, July+Aug 1000-1900.

Full day ticket €17 for children, €28 for adult. Can buy a combined train-and-park ticket.

R1 train from Placa Catalunya or Clot station to Premia de Mar station, then free shuttle bus to the park. Shuttle bus June+Sept 0930-1400 and 1530-1745, July+Aug 0930-1400 and 1530-1845.


[Previous places are NE of Barcelona; following are S of it.]

Formula 1 racing at Montmelo

+/-
BarcelonaYellow's "Circuit de Catalunya - Montmelo race track"
Circuit de Catalunya
Paul Yates' "F1 Barcelona Testing Information on Times, Dates, Prices and Travel"

Tickets very expensive, usually multi-day. But admission on Test days is free or cheap, maybe only for morning hours ? We called about this and got no useful information.


Vic

+/-
Vic

  • Catedral de Sant Pere (open 1000-1300 and 1600-1900; €2 admission to crypt etc).
  • Museu Episcopal (four floors of good art, mostly religious; closed Mondays, TWRFS 1000-1900, Sun 1000-1400; €7 admission).
  • Roman temple.
  • Leather art museum (Museu de la Pell).

Train: Rodalies line C3, takes 1:20 or so. No maps in train station, but map on board in middle ot traffic circle across from train station. Tourist Info office near main plaza in middle of town.


Sabadell

+/-
Sabadell (pronounced "sabaday").

About 25 minutes by R4 train from Sant Andreu Arenal station to "Sabadell Centre" station.

Confusing: two trains run from Barcelona to center of Sabadell, and there are two different "center" stations, about 8 blocks apart. One train is FGC S2 to "Sabadell Rambla" station. The other is Rodalies R4 Manresa train to "Sabadell Centre" station.


Manresa



Cardona

+/-
Cardona (on Wikitravel).

Nice castle.

No train. Maybe take train to Manresa and a bus from there.


Igualada

+/-
Igualada.

Igualada Leather Museum / Museu de la Pell d'Igualada.
Igualada Muleteer's Museum / Museu del Traginer d'Igualada.
Igualada Cemetery.
Gaudi architecture ?
Basilica of Santa Maria.

A big town, not very memorable. We went there and wandered around the shops and had a nice lunch and didn't get to any of the attractions listed above. No Tourist Info office, no maps available, no obvious signs pointing to the attractions. I think most of the good stuff is reasonably far from the train station.

Train: R6 from Placa Espanya, takes 1:40, about €15 round-trip.


Terrassa

+/-
Terrassa.


Rodalies line R4 from Sant Andreu Arenal or Placa Catalunya or Estacio Sants, or FGC S1 via Sant Cugat from Placa Catalunya or Gracia. Takes about 45 minutes.

TripAdvisor's "Terrassa, Spain"
Ayuntamiento de Terrassa


Barcelona.

Montserrat

+/-
Mountain, monastery, basilica, museum, views, hiking, tourist shops.

60 to 90-minute train-ride from Placa Espanya train station, SW out of Barcelona. After R5 train, take cable-car or rack-train (main funicular) up to monastery level. Buy combined round-trip ticket in Placa Espanya train station in Barcelona: it's far cheaper than buying tickets at Montserrat. And the combined ticket also acts as a 6-ride Metro ticket afterward ! (Or maybe ours did because we missed one funicular ride we'd paid for ?) "Trans Montserrat" ticket is just transport; "Tot Montserrat" ticket adds meal and museum; approx €27 to €43. Barcelona To Montserrat by Train.

But: by the time you take Metro to Placa Espanya, buy tickets, wait for R5 train, travel on train, wait for cable-car or funicular, and travel up to monastery level, 3 hours may have elapsed. Add up to another half-hour to get from that level to one of the "tops": Santa Cova or Sant Joan. Coming down from Sant Joan to monastery, we had to wait for second run of the funicular. Similar times on the return trip: with waiting and travel, it took us 2:45 to get from monastery level to apartment back in Barcelona.

And: some of the R5 trains leaving Espanya station go only to Montserrat town, not to the stops to go up to Montserrat monastery. And the schedule is different on weekdays than on weekends and holidays. First train out of Barcelona is approx 0830; last train back from Montserrat is at least 1815, sometimes 2015.

And: several different trains leave from the same track that the R5 train leaves from. And a train may arrive with signs saying one thing, and then change to another thing before leaving. Make sure your departing train says R5 on it.

And: the cable-car and the main funicular are run by different companies. So you have to decide in Espanya, when you buy the combined ticket, which way you're going to use to get from R5 train to monastery level. And the cable-car and main funicular leave from different stops of the R5 train ("Monistriol de Monserrat" / "Cremallera" for funicular. "Aeri" / "Montserrat Aeri" for cable-car. Coming from Barcelona, the Aeri stop is before the funicular stop). So if you buy the ticket, and then either change your mind about cable-car versus funicular, or get off at the wrong stop of the R5 train, or forget which kind of tickets you bought, you may well have to pay extra at Montserrat. If you forget what you bought, the ticket should have "Cremall" or "Aeri" printed on it. There are attendants in Espanya station to help with buying the tickets, but even with their help and my companion being a Barcelona resident and fluent in languages, we were confused and ended up with slightly the wrong tickets.

The cable-car is more thrilling, and runs more frequently, but is smaller, so you may have to wait for the next car. The main funicular is more comfortable and sedate, runs less often, but has a large capacity per train.

There are bus tours to Montserrat, if you don't want to do the train etc.

Dress warmly. Choir (L'Esclonia boys choir ?) sings at 1 PM on weekdays, noon and 6:45 on Sundays ?

The basilica is nice. There is a long line up a side-passage to see the Saint Mary la Moreneta statue (mother of Catalunya); don't bother unless it is of religious significance to you.

We didn't get to the museum; reportedly it has a mummy, ceramics, some nice paintings.


Castelldefels Castell

+/-
Castelldefels Castell.

L94 or L95 bus from Placa Catalunya ?
Open 2nd sunday of each month (1100 to 1400 and 1700 to 1900) ?


Wine country: Sant Sadurni d'Anoia

+/-
Sant Sadurni d'Anoia.

Train: Rodalies Renfe C4 (Manresa - St. Vicenc de Calders, Stop Sant Sadurni d'Anoia).


Sitges

+/-
Sitges.


Take 45-minute R2 Cercanias (commuter) train from Passeig de Gracia or Sants stations. About €8 round-trip. All of the interesting stuff in town is on the beach side of the train tracks. Tourist Info office just outside the train station.


Vilanova i la Geltru

+/-
Vilanova i la Geltru

No Tourist Info or maps of any kind at the train station. Signs to "Officines de Tourism" led us 10 or 12 blocks and then ended with no office seen. Some tourist brochures on table inside entrance of railway museum.

Museu del Ferrocarril (railway museum) (on Wikipedia)
Right next to the train station. Open Tues-Sun 1030-1430, Sat 1030-1430 and 1600 to 1830, closed Mondays. €6 admission.

Biblioteca Museu Victor Balaguer (antiquities and art) (on Wikipedia).
One block from the train station, pink building. Open TWRF 1000-1400 plus evening hours, SatSunHols 1100-1400; closed Mondays.

R2 train from Sants Estacio to Vilanova i la Geltru, takes about 40 minutes.


Tarragona

+/-
Tarragona.

  • Roman ruins: circus, amphitheatre, praetorium, city walls and towers, etc.
  • Nice views of the sea, beaches, port.
  • Santa Maria Cathedral, Santa Maria del Miracle Basilica, San Antonio Church.
  • Museu Diocesa de Tarragona. Pla de Palau 2, inside the cathedral. Closed Sundays; other days 1000-1900. €5 admission.
  • Museo Nacional Arqueologico (MNAT). Placa del Rei 5. Closed Mondays. €2.40 admission (joint ticket with Necropolis). A bit disappointing, lots of broken statues and standard Roman items (oil pitchers, oil lamps, etc).
  • Roman museum in Pretori Tower ? €3 admission ?
  • Necropolis Museum. Avenida Ramon y Cajal 80 or 84. Mondays mostly closed. Other days generally 1000-1330 and 1600-2000. Across town from the old town area; we didn't get to it.
  • Museum of Modern Art (MAMT). Santa Anna 8. Closed Mondays. Free admission. Some nice items, including a Miro tapestry.
  • Streets and plazas of old town are pleasant to wander around, but there's a fair amount of uphill.
  • Museum of Ancient Weapons ? Only found one reference to this; may not exist.
  • Museum of the Port of Tarragona. Refugi 2, Moll de Costa. Closed Mondays, Tues-Sat generally 1000-1400 and 1700-2000, Sundays 1100-1400. €2 admission. Not near anything else; we didn't get to it.
  • Ferreres Aqueduct. About 4 KM out of town.
  • Some museums listed as "Tarragona" on the internet actually are in other towns well outside the city of Tarragona itself.
  • Most things closed on Mondays.
  • Beaches. But there is absolutely NO shade on the beach, NONE, ZERO, until early evening. And no changing rooms on or near the beach; maybe change in the train station bathrooms. And there are only TWO points where you can get across the train line to the beach: an underpass at the far S end, in Placa Dels Carros, and an overpass at the far N end, up past the Roman Ampitheatre.

1.25-hour train from Passeig de Gracia or Sants station; board at Passeig de Gracia to be sure of getting seats. 6/2013, round-trip fare on slow train is €15. In Sants, go to "Media Distancia" ticket line. At Tarragona, maps but no other Tourist Info at the station, and you can't get a printed schedule of return trains. With Metro and waiting times and travel time, it took us about 2:45 each way.

AVE train from Barcelona to "Tarragona" arrives at "Camp Tarragona" station, some 10 KM from the city-center.

Warning: it seems the Tarragona train and train station and beach are a bit of a hotbed for thieves. Hold onto your stuff !


Port Aventura / Universal Mediterranea amusement park

+/-


Apparently, "Universal Mediterranea" refers to the whole complex, which includes two hotels, the "Port Aventura" amusement park, and the "Universal Costa Caribe" water-park. All just outside of the town of Salou.

Official site
on Wikipedia
on TripAdvisor

In Salou, just S of Tarragona. "Noddy train" from center of Salou to the park. There may be trains to the park's own train station; try using destination "Port Aventura" on Renfe site.

From Amy C on TripAdvisor's "Barcelona Travel Forum":
[from Passeig de Gracia] ... you can get off at the Portaventura stop which is directly outside the park entrance, give or take! ... The train normally ends in Tarragona or Tortuga, so look out for these stations on the board - it will always say R16 next to to it, so follow signs with R16 on in the direction of Tortuga/Tarragona and you can't go wrong! The next stop after Portaventura is Salou, and getting off here will mean a 20-30 minute walk back up the hill ...
Don't board train at Sants Estacio, you probably won't get a seat. Board at PdG or earlier.

Hotel plus park admission: 1 night, 2 persons starts around €160.
Park admission only: 2 adults, 2 days €112.
Can buy a combined train-and-amusement-park-admission ticket from Rodalies (click on "Promotions"). Similar combined ticket for the water-park.

From someone on reddit 7/2015:
Buy the expensive ticket, the one that lets you skip queues. Money well spent. ... August is (very) high season there, it is more or less crowded every day with queues ranging from 30' to 1.5 hours. ... There are four different Express tickets (to jump queues, etc). ... If you plan going by train, you can get ticket+train for 45€ = free train ride. They sell this promotion at Renfe train stations. ... Express tickets are just an add-on you buy there. IIRC there's another box office once you get in. ... If you live in Catalonia, chances are you may get a 2x1 discount on the main ticket easily, i.e. Estrella, Coca Cola, Carnet Jove, etc.
Many people say: buy the fast pass, the queues are insane without it.


Ferry to Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Minorca or Ibiza)

+/-


Trip takes 8 hours one-way. Cheapest seat is about €110 round-trip.
How To Travel By Ferry From Barcelona To The Balearic Islands


Barcelona Eat Local's "47 Fantastic 1-Day Trips from Barcelona You (Probably) Didn't Know"




Miscellaneous



Dancing / discoteques:

+/-
  • Vila Olympica: lots of loud teenage-type discos.

  • Basement of restaurant near L1 Sant Andreu metro station: Bar Versalles.

  • Discoteca Duvet / Imperator.
    Carrer de Corsega 327. Diagonal metro stop.

  • Barroko's.
    Carrer Aribau 242. Diagonal metro stop then about 6 blocks uphill on Diagonal, R onto Aribau.
    Someone says "Sunday from 6 to 10:30. We party so hard, the music is 50s 60s 60s".




Shopping:

+/-
  • Art fair: Placa Sant Josep Oriol and Placa Santa Maria del Pi, Saturdays from 1100 to 2000, Sundays from 1100 to 1400.

  • Secondhand markets:



  • English-language stuff:

    • Used book store with lots of English-language books: Hibernian. L3 Fontana metro stop (in Gracia). Cross Asturies, 1 long block down Gran de Gracia, left onto Carrer Montseny, less than 1 block, #17. Monday: 1600 to 2030, Tuesday to Saturday: 10:30 to 20:30. Quite nice; most books from €2 to €5.

    • Used book store with a few English-language books: "Re-Read" at 564 Avinguda Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, halfway between Urgell and Universitat Metro stops.

    • Also a "Re-Read" on Paseo San Juan-Corsega ?

    • Bookstore: Llibreria Anglesa. Diagonal metro stop (in Gracia). Down Rossello to Balmes; Balmes 129.

    • Bookstore: BCNBooks. Three locations.

    • Used books: on Valencia 2-3 blks from Meridiana.



  • Big shopping complexes/malls:

    • L'illa Diagonal (Avinguda Diagonal 557; Metro green line 3 Maria Cristina).

    • Montigala (Carrefour, and surrounded by big stores such as Ikea; Metro red line 1 to Fondo, then bus B19 about three stops).

    • La Maquinista (Calle Potosi 2; Metro red line 9 Sant Andreu or blue line 10 Bon Pastor).

    • Diagonal Mar (Avinguda Diagonal 3; Metro line 4 Forum stop).

    • Gran Via 2 (Avinguda de la Gran Via 75 in L'Hospitalet; Metro line 8 stop Cornella-Riera, or FGC to d'Ildefons Cerda or Europa-Fira station, or 79 bus ?).

    • IKEA Gran Via in Hospitalet. Near Europa Fira Metro/train station. L9 metro, or FGC train or 46 or 65 or H12 bus from Placa Espanya, or H12 bus from Placa Catalunya or Glories.

    • Glories (Avinguda Diagonal 208; Metro stop Glories and walk past Agbar building.

    • Las Arenas (Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 373; Placa Espanya). (Was once a bullfighting ring.)

    • La Roca outlet village (well outside Barcelona; near Granollers).



  • All the tourist shops - especially on La Rambla - will bargain, so NEVER pay the asking price for souvenirs etc. And if using credit card, don't let them charge you in dollars, they'll use a bad exchange rate; charge in Euro's.

  • About Corte Ingles department store at Placa Catalunya, from Everything Barcelona:
    "To get a 10% shopping discount as a foreigner in El Corte Ingles, present your ID or passport at the 'Tourist Point' inside (ground floor). You will be given a discount card for one day."

Food and non-food markets: Mercats de Barcelona



Bicycle:

+/-
Rent a bike ? 43 miles of bike lanes. Helmets are optional.

Rental costs about €15-16 for one day, half that for each additional day, €55-60/week.
Guided group bike tours: about 3 hours for about €22-25.
Budget Bikes
Barcelona By Bicycle (AKA Un Cotxe Menys ("One Car Less"))
Barcelona By Bike (tours only, no rentals)
Classic Bikes Barcelona
Barcelona Holiday Bici

Barcelona By Bicycle says: 2-month rental for €240. Budget Bikes says: €200.
Buy a bike (and lock) in Barcelona and leave it there at end of trip ?
Maybe the apartment comes with a bicycle, or the owner could borrow one from someone for me ?

Ideas for buying a bike (but watch out for stolen bikes):
Try buying from one of the rental shops listed above. But probably expensive.
Look in ads in free "Metropolitan" magazine.
LoQUo (but you'll need to read Catalan)

Carrefour sells a new 26" mountain bike for €99.

From Busik on Cycling Forums 2/2012:
Bikes in trains:

It's free of charge but there are limitations (more strict this year). In regional trains, for short distances, you can take your bike in the train, no problem. For longer distances only up to 3 bikes are admitted, and you have to get an authorisation and a ticket for the bike (remember, free of charge). Foldable bikes are an exception and you can carry them with you in the train but they have to be folded before entering the train.

Bikes in buses: There are no buses with place for bikes and the only way that you can get a bike in a bus is to have a folded one.

Bike-sharing program Bicing is not intended for tourists, requires year-long subscription and DNI or TIE card).

If you buy a bike, etch your name onto it, paint it weirdly, and take pictures of it so you can identify it if/when it's stolen.

My experience:
After arrival in 2013, I decided not to get a bike.

The Metro and buses are very good. Extremely good.

Despite bike lanes on the sidewalks, and sidewalks completely paved from building edge to curb, there's so much foot-traffic and car-traffic and motorcycle-traffic and dog-traffic that you'd have to be a very good urban bike-rider to bike safely here. The tourist areas often have insane amounts of foot-traffic. I fear I would run into someone. And biking uphill in some outskirts of the city (toward Tibidabo, for example) would be a bummer.

Also, biking didn't seem to fit my style: I would take Metro to point A, walk and wander through neighborhoods and streets and museums to point B, take Metro home from there. With a bike, I'd have to walk back to point A to get on the bike again. And usually after all the walking, I would have been in no mood for a long bike-ride home.




Trains and Long-Distance Buses:

+/-
Barcelona to Madrid:
Damian Corrigan's "Madrid to Barcelona by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane"

Trains from Barcelona to Madrid:
Barcelona Madrid Train.
Use RailEurope for tickets; don't use RENFE site.
High-velocity train (AVE): cheapest fare I've seen is US$106 one-way, more typical is US$146 one-way, PLUS handling fee of US$18. Takes about 3 hours.
Combinado train: about €??? one-way, more stops, takes about 6 hours.
Costa Brava overnight train: about €??? one-way, takes about 9 hours.

Barcelona AVE to Madrid airport:
They make it as easy as possible to do this, but there are a few steps:
  • AVE from Barcelona Sants Estacio to Madrid Atocha station.
  • Up a couple of escalators and 50 meters to entrance to train.
  • Swipe AVE ticket on machine and get a free train ticket.
  • Take train, but it may dump you off at Charmantar station instead of going all the way to Madrid Barajas airport.
  • If so, take another train (using same ticket) to airport.


Bus from Barcelona to Madrid ?
Costs around €30 ? Takes 8 hours ?
busbusgo.com
busbud.com
Barcelona Nord bus station

In Madrid: see Central section of my Places to Visit in Spain page.



Traveling by train from Barcelona to Paris, from reddit 4/2014:
+/-
As someone who's done this a few times, the high-speed train is the best and most comfortable way to do it.

Some random thoughts:
  • Renfe can sell you a ticket all the way to Paris via high-speed train; depending how far in advance you purchase, typically you'll pay €59 to €169 second-class and €99 to €199 first-class. Second-class is equivalent to business class on an airplane, with nice wide seats and a power outlet per pair of seats; first-class is slightly more comfortable (slightly wider seats with a power outlet per seat). The train has a bar car which sells hot and cold snacks and drinks (which you can bring back to your seat), and the bathrooms are much more spacious than on any plane (except perhaps Emirates first-class). It's about six hours and is very comfortable.

  • If you choose the high-speed option (recommended) and are offered the choice of sitting downstairs or upstairs, sit upstairs (that's approximately seat 65 and up); the view is better, and upstairs is where the corridors between the cars are. (Double-decker trains indicate you will be on French TGV equipment, instead of single-level Spanish AVE equipment. Both are very nice.)

  • Train ticket prices constantly rise as the departure date approaches, unlike airlines which use all sorts of pricing formulae and constantly raise and lower prices. With rail (at least Renfe and SNCF), I have never seen prices drop as departure approaches, unless some sort of special sale kicks in. Buying as early as possible has always worked out well for me.

  • Renfe cannot sell you a seat on the overnight train, since there is no overnight train leaving from Spain (that I know of; the Elipsos Trenhotel used to serve this route but I can't seem to find it in the timetables anymore).

  • The higher the price you pay, the less restrictive the conditions (the cheaper exchanges and cancellations become). The inverse is also true. The €59/€99 tickets are absolutely no cancellations or alterations whatsoever, but one or two brackets up gets you only a 25% exchange/cancellation penalty, and full-price is zero penalty up to two hours AFTER departure in many cases. You can opt for a higher price when cheaper prices are available if you want the flexibility.

  • Renfe cannot sell tickets on trains departing from within France unless it's the return leg of a booking beginning within Spain, and the same goes for the SNCF but in reverse.

  • If you want to travel overnight, buy one ticket from Renfe departing Barcelona and arriving Narbona (Narbonne in French), then buy - either at the station in Narbonne or online from the SNCF - the ticket from Narbonne to Paris on the Intercites de Nuit overnight train. I have done this and it works fine, but I recommend the TGV if you just want to get there. If you want the overnight experience, then this isn't bad.

  • The SNCF overnight train offers three types of accommodation: super-reclining seats (cheap, but so-so for comfort), second-class beds (six beds to a cabin, hostel-style, bottom/mid/top bunkbeds on the left and right), and first-class beds (four [wider] beds to a cabin, hostel-style, bottom/top bunkbeds on the left and right). Beds include pillow, blanket, bottle of water, etc. I dunno about the bedrooms, but the cars with the seats do not have power outlets.

  • Buying a ticket online from the SNCF means you can print the ticket when you get into France, but you must have a credit card with a chip (known as EMV, Visa or MasterCard etc) and you must have the same card used for the purchase on your person to get the physical ticket printed once in France. (American Express, with or without a chip, is not supported.) They also support mobile ticketing if you have their app, but that's been hit and miss for me.

  • The failsafe option is to buy the ticket once you get into France from manned desks (cash or credit cards) or the yellow self-serve machines (chip cards only, no cash), assuming seats/beds are still available on the overnight train in question (selling out seems unlikely since I think there is one every day). You can also book online to hold your seat but pay later (over the phone or in person in France via a machine or human), thereby locking in your price, but payment must be made within seven days from booking or the booking is automatically cancelled.

  • If you have problems with the SNCF website not accepting your card (like saying it's declined even though it should be working fine), look in the top-right corner and choose the country in which your credit card was issued. (Spanish card? Use the Spanish SNCF site, not the English one.)

  • The SNCF telephone reservation centre seems incapable of processing payments on non-French credit cards, with the possible exception of some British ones.

  • SNCF reservation desk: +33 892 353 535; press the undocumented top sekrit code of #85 once you hear the menu, and it will magically switch to English, then option 3 is what you likely want. Changes etc can be made at +33 9 70 60 99 60.

/r/Barcelona's "Travelling from Barcelona to France"




Food:

+/-
Tapas (not native to Catalonia), or pintxos (Basque counterpart of tapas)
Flautas (little sandwiches)
Waffles sold at street stands
Sausages

Wikitravel - Eat

Majority of traditional restaurants and cafes are closed between 4 PM and 8 PM ?

Great sandwich place: "Bo de B", Carrer Fusteria (corner Carrer Merce) near the main post office (Correos, on Via Laietana one block in from harborfront road; sort of halfway between Bareloneta and Jaume I Metro stations).

From someone on reddit:
  • Tapas: Cerveseria Catalana (Carrer de Mallorca 236, halfway between Diagonal and Passeig de Gracia Metro stops).
  • Tapas: Salamanca (Calle L'almirall Cervera 34 in Barceloneta).
  • Sushi: Double 00 (where ?).
  • Seafood: La Paradeta (five locations; self-service restaurants).
  • Burgers: PimPam (at least three locations ?).
  • Burgers: Kiosko (Avinguda del Marques de lArgentera 1; a block from Placa del Palau; sort of halfway between Barceloneta and Jaume I Metro stations).
  • Thai: Cafe Bangkok (Carrer Evarist Arnus 65; 3 blocks from Placa del Centre Metro stop).
  • Mexican: La Taqueria (Passatge Font 5, down a small street directly across from Sagrada Familia cathedral towards Avinguda Diagonal).
  • Pizza: Gusto de Borne (where ?).

Indian:
  • Menjar Per Emportar (very cheap; Carrer dels Codols 7; from lower end of La Rambla take Carrer Dels Escudellers to Carrer dels Codols).
  • Nice Spice is a good indian place in Poblenou.
  • Rangoli (Passeig Joan de Borbo): a bit pricey, but amazing food.
  • South Indian cuisine, try Chennai Masala Dosa (Carrer de Galileu, near Maria Cristina metro, map).
  • Swagatam: near Diagonal metro, map

Kebab: Bismillah Kebabish (very cheap; Joaquin Costa 22; close to MACBA; from upper end of La Rambla take Carrer del Carme to Carrer de Joaquin Costa).

Pork sandwiches and other sandwiches: Can Conesa / Conesa Entrepans (Llibreteria 1; from Jaume 1 Metro walk down Carrer de Jaume 1 to Placa Sant Jaume, right and right onto Llibreteria).

My experience (I'm from USA):
  • Restaurant meals, whether Spanish food or generic, were a bit expensive.
  • Kebab-shop takeout meals were terrific, big, and cheap. Same for nice kebab-restaurants.
  • Grocery store food seemed cheap-to-reasonable. Butcher-shop meat prices seemed cheap.
  • Instead of buying high-priced stuff from tiny tourist carts, look for a small grocery store nearby.
  • We had sangria and munchies at a cafe right in the middle of La Rambla one evening, and it was very expensive, but the atmosphere and people-watching were lots of fun, and it was worth doing. Once.


Tried restaurant Ca L'Estevet in Raval 11/2014; was expensive and disappointing.




Cannabis clubs:

+/-
The law says any adult can join, and minors can join if they have medical need. Apparently tourists can join cannabis clubs, but can't be recruited to join, and no one can take cannabis outside of the club or consume it in public. Clubs will require ID and registration, and some may not accept non-citizens or non-residents. After a new member joins, the club must wait 15 days before dispensing any cannabis to them, unless needed for medical reasons.

Generalitat de Catalunya's "LEY 13/2017, de 6 de julio, de las asociaciones de consumidores de cannabis"
BUT:
Martin Barriuso Alonso's "The New Decisions of the Constitutional Court: The End of Cannabis Tolerance in Spain"
"The Future of Cannabis Social Clubs Remains Uncertain in Spain"
"5003-2017, interpuestoporel Presidente del Gobierno contra la Ley del Parlamento de Cataluna 13/2017, de 6 de julio, de las asociaciones de consumidores de cannabis" (PDF)

George Mills' "Barcelona cannabis club closed for selling drugs"
Russ Hudson's "10 Things You Need to Know about Barcelona Cannabis Clubs"
/u/inadaptado's "Marijuana in Spain: The Ultimate(ly grumpy) FAQ"

Private and personal growth and use is legal ?
Damian Corrigan's "Is Cannabis Legal in Spain?" (says Yes)
TheLocal's "How Barcelona is getting it wrong on cannabis" (says Yes)
We Be High's "Marijuana in Barcelona, Spain" (says Yes)

"Barcelona Cannabis Club Directory" Facebook group
Kush Tourism's "Cannabis Social Clubs of Spain - Barcelona"

I'm a US citizen who's resident in Spain. I joined a club 7/2018:
+/-
Despite their club being tagged as "new member has to be recommended by an existing member" on some web sites, I didn't have to be recommended.

Showed my residency card (actually, Tarjeta Comunitaria) and passport, and they made copies for their records. Filled out a 2-page form. They took a photo of me, and typed info into a computer. Paid €27 for a year's membership. Got a key-card for going into the back room. But I want edibles, which won't be available until next week.

Went back then, bought 4 cookies for €14. Half of a cookie is enough to get me (first time trying cannabis) pretty buzzed. Months later, I bought another 4 cookies. Then at the end of the year's membership, let it lapse. Cannabis is okay, glad I tried it, but I prefer alcohol.


The Local's "Barcelona revealed as Europe's cocaine capital"



Wi-Fi:

+/-
Most fast-food places and cafes and bars have Wi-Fi; go in and order a drink or food, and ask for the password.

Some shopping malls have free Wi-Fi in the public spaces, too.

Barcelona WiFi:
+/-
There is free Wi-Fi provided by the city in various places, mainly around government buildings, museums, some plazas, some Metro stations, and "markets", I think.

The network is called "Barcelona WiFi", there is no password.

Speed is limited, operation usually limited to hours 0800-0100, only browser access is allowed (no Skype or peer-to-peer), and adult sites are blocked. Smartphone apps such as "Here Maps" do work.

The first time you use it, you will have to submit an email address, indicate (in general terms) where you live, and agree to terms of service. Then you have 10 minutes of free access in which to read your email and click on a "confirm" link in an email from the service.

Every subsequent time you use it, you will have to specify your email address, indicate where you live, and agree to terms of service again. But no new email will be sent.

Barcelona WiFi
telecompaper's "Barcelona to launch free Wi-Fi on public transport in 2015"




Public bathrooms:

+/-
None in the Metro stations.
Some in the train stations, once you get to the platforms.
Sants Estacio train station: have to pay.
All of the libraries have them, but you may have to ask for a key.
Most of the big shopping malls or department stores have them (El Corte Ingles, etc).
All of the museums have them, some in the entranceway before you have to pay.
El Born CC (former Mercat del Born) has bathrooms.
Public bathrooms in front of MACBA (at end of Carrer d'Elisabets), and another set on La Rambla (near intersection with Carrer del Escudellers).
You can go into any cafe, pay €2 or so for a coffee, use the bathrooms.



The Local: Spain's News in English



Medical, especially for USA citizens:

+/-
There are pharmacies all over the place, every few blocks. Medicines (even ibuprofen) are not sold anywhere else.

From Rick Steves' "Do I Need Travel Insurance?":
"Before buying a special medical insurance policy for your trip, check with your medical insurer - you might already be covered by your existing health plan. While many US insurers cover you overseas, Medicare does not."

I believe Medicaid does not cover out-of-state services, much less out-of-country services.

From comments on a Fodor's forum:
"If you have a policy that covers you abroad (and many private plans do), [usually you pay cash and then insurance reimburses you when you return home]. However, policy coverage and procedures vary -- I really think you should ask your insurer this question, [because if] you don't follow procedures or get the correct documentation, it could cost you. Also, a special claim form may be required and there may be other requirements for coverage (eg, notification within 24-48 hrs of an emergency hospital admission)."
and
"You must check with your insurance company. Some offer worldwide coverage, some offer only emergency coverage, some offer none."
and
"Unless you already have something in writing detailing coverage while traveling, ask them to send you a copy of that section of the policy, so there can be no mistake."

Testing for sexually-transmitted diseases: reddit thread



Quick history of Barcelona:

+/-
Some Neolithic settlements up to 4000 years ago. Founded by Romans as "Barcino" about 2000 years ago, taken over by Visigoths by 500 AD or so, then taken by Moors around 715, then by Charlemagne in 801, then invaded by Moors again, then independent around 880 (Count Wilfred the Hairy).

A golden age of Barcelona from about 1010 (start of collapse of Moors in Cordoba) to siege of 1473. From about 1360 to 1460, periodic famines and bubonic plague, and then civil wars.

Last of Moors finally pushed out of southern Spain in 1492. Golden Age of Spain was 1500-1650, with Spain dominating the economy of Europe, reaping vast riches from the colonies. Barcelona defeated by Castilians in 1652, conquered by them again in 1714.

Development started in 1800's, World Fair in 1888, artistic era started in late 1800's (Gaudi, Picasso, etc). Spanish Civil war 1936 to 1939, Franco dictatorship 1939 to 1975. Olympics in 1992.
Apartment Barcelona's "10 Things You Didn't Know About Barcelona"
Alexander Doerr's "Behind Four Walls: Barcelona's Lost Utopia"

Spanish/Catalan involvement in the slave trade: article



For those living in Barcelona (residents):

+/-
Sign up to get info, and free or discounted admissions at some places: Barcelovers (Gaudir Mes). You will have to go to a government office to show ID and have your fingerprint taken. Take your paperwork with you to sites; you're supposed to be able to get in with a fingerprint, but their scanner may be broken.

Reporting a broken traffic light or other "civic" problem: call 010, or tweet to @barcelona_010, or use Bustia Ciutadana ("Citizen Post Box") smartphone app.

Other smartphone apps (mostly from SuiteLife, Barcelona govt, Barcelona eBike Tours ):
TMBAPP (official app for Metro and Bus).
BibliotequesXBM (official app for libraries).
RenfeTicket.
Bicing.
TripAdvisor BCN. [Is this same as TripAdvisor app and then downloading Barcelona for offline use ?]
BCN Visual (old photographs of Barcelona).
Barcino 3D.
FC Barcelona Official App (Barca football).
BCN Museus.
Gencat.
061 CatSalut Respon (ambulance)
AlertCops (contact nearest police in case of incident)

Waste disposal: Ajuntament de Barcelona's "Waste Browser".

City "Lost and Found" office: l'Oficina de Troballes.

Computer sales and repair shops: on Sepulveda, starting near Universitat Metro station. We have used ChipNova / Com2, Sepulveda 153 bajos, 931 778 812, sepulveda at com2.es.

Main extranjeria office: Rambla de Guipuscoa 74, Sant Marti metro station on L2, cross street Carrer del Treball, must have a cita. For change of address and a couple other things, Carrer de Mallorca 278, no cita needed, I think MTWRF 0900-1400. To pick up a new card (after you've been approved): Carrer de Mallorca 213, no cita needed, MTWRF 0900-1400.

Registro: Placa Duc de Medicinaceli 3, near Drassanes metro. No cita needed, generally open 0900-1400. For sending documents to another registro, you want section T.

Testing for sexually-transmitted diseases: reddit thread

Looking for an apartment: Everything on Idealista will be apartments through agencies, where you have to pay a 1-months-rent fee to the agency. Just about everything on Facebook groups and other web sites will be individual rooms for rent. We went to a couple of districts and taped up "we want to rent an apartment without paying an agency fee" notices on a lot of traffic-crossing poles, and got almost zero response, and many of the notices were torn down quickly.

Barcelona claims/aspires to be a "smart city", but some things could be improved:
  • Some city services, such as the "10" thing for reporting potholes etc, are only telephone or mobile app. As someone who limits smartphone use, and doesn't speak/hear Spanish well, a standard web site (where I can use Google Translate) would be much better for me. Even email would work.

  • Some city government web sites require Java (which the browsers are dropping), or give errors. 9/2019 The site for doing idCat digital certificates only supports Internet Explorer browser, and IE says "site's security cert is bad, not going to allow it".

  • Most Metro stations identify exits only by street names, with no indication of which exit for specific local destinations or museums etc. Same outside the Metro exit: some arrows on the sidewalk pointing to the popular destination would be nice.

  • The bus map could use some more directional arrows on the routes, especially where a route does tight loops near the ends. For example, the 11 bus and others in Nou Barris.

  • Each bus stop in huge plazas (such as Placa Catalunya, Placa Espanya) should have a map showing all of the stops in the plaza. Sometimes you have to walk most of the way around to find the stop you want.

  • On a less-serious point, how about a law against long leashes on dogs ? Annoying to walk down the sidewalk and suddenly there's a dog-leash blocking my way, owner on one side, dog on other. Dogs on the sidewalks may be my top annoyance in Barcelona. Have to dodge them all the time.

  • Would be good to have electronic signs at street level outside Metro stations, showing times to next train arrivals.

  • Signs in some bus stations, such as Sant Andreu Arenal, are terrible: no central sign listing the bus routes and bays.


Bicing bicycle program:
Pronounced "bissing". Not intended for tourist-route or long-duration use. Must be at least 16 years old. You must have a DNI or TIE card. After you sign up, you get a Bicing card, good for one year from the date when you activate it. Annual subscription costs about €47 (plus €4.54 for new card ?). First half-hour of each use is free, next 3 half-hours cost €0.74 each, after that the charge is €4.49 per hour. After you return a bicycle, you're not allowed to take out another for at least 10 minutes.




TripAdvisor's "Placing a complaint while on holiday in Catalonia"

Barcelona Webcams





Staying in Spain full-time:
See my Moving to Spain page.

See my Places to Visit in Spain page.