Maps etc









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 Diputació 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" (on Amazon - paid link). 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" (on Amazon - paid link). 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



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


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


Football (soccer) game




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

Barca:



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.



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:


city web site
forfree
TimeOut
GuiaBCN
Butxaca

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:




Gaudi area (pronounced "gow-DEE"):




Eixample area:




El Raval area:




Barri Gotic and La Ribera and Born area:




Parc de la Ciutadella area:


Wikipedia's "Parc de la Ciutadella"



Barceloneta area:


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


Glories area:




Les Corts area:




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.



Near Placa Espanya, below Montjuic:




Poblenou and Forum districts (NE, on waterfront):




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:



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.

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:


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



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)


Tossa de Mar

Take Costa Brava Bus (Sarfa) at Estacio Nord Bus Station.


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


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


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.


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:




Shopping:

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:
About.com's "Madrid to Barcelona by Train, Bus, Car and Flights"

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 ?
costasur.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:
/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:

Indian:

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):


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:
Martín 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 Cataluña 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."



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.

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:

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.