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Back after 4 days in Barcelona

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Back after 4 days in Barcelona

Just back from our first visit to Barcelona.

What a fantastic City.

The following is a brief resume of our stay.

We stayed @ NH Centro in Carrer del Duc and took the breakfast option. The Hotel was in a great location, near Plaça de Catalunya and Las Ramblas and was very clean and rooms quiet. Also the staff were helpful and friendly and spoke good English. Their extremely varied buffet breakfast was excellent and set us up for the days adventures.

We had planned to take a Taxi from the airport to the Hotel, but saw the Aerobus and decided to try it. We found it so easy and convenient. Great for money saving if you are staying on the route. We then purchased T10 tickets for local bus and metro travel once settled at the Hotel. The metro was very efficient, fast and clean. Easy to negotiate and we never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a train.

After booking in late afternoon , we wandered round the Cathedral, Placa Catalunya (and the tourist infomation), Las Ramblas and Boqueria Market and Port Vell.

Day 2

We had pre booked a visit to the La Sagrada Famillia and when we saw the very long queues @ 9.30 we were so glad we could walk straight past them. Incredible building, such a difference between to exterior and interior. We went up and down in the elevator in the Passion Tower as the stairs very busy. Also we had pre booked the audio guides which were fantastic for info and wandering around at our own pace.

We then took the metro and a No24 Bus uphill to Park Guell. Lovely Park, so much to see with brilliant views. We then went down to the Beach and the Marina area to stroll by the water and then wander back up the Ramblas to our hotel.

Day 3

We went to the Camp Nou by metro and had a fabulous time on their tour.We are football fans, but the exhibition and tour is extremely well done and would capture the imagination of most. We did make the mistake of getting a snack and drink at their food bar after our tour - we ordered and paid easy enough, but then had to join another queue to get the food - it was a long wait !

We then went to Montjuic as we were intending to go to Poble Espanyol, however the MNAC got our attention and had free entry. Brilliant place and a lovely time. We were then entertained on the terrace, by a couple of wedding parties that emerged from the MNAC. We then watched the Magic Fountain Show - amazing spectacle, with crowds of people having a great time.

Day 4

Walked to the Cathedral and enjoyed wandering around the local market stalls in the square. We them meandared round the Barri Gotic and Born areas and across the Arc d triomf down to Parc de la Ciutadella. What a relaxing area, with locals and tourists mingling. We then went to Barcelonetta and wandered along the beach . Visited the Aquarium, which was interesting and enlightening and a little different. Back via Port Vell and the Ramblas.

We had brilliant weather, people were sunbathing and swimming in the sea - we walked miles, but didn't notice, ate some lovely food and enjoyed the fantastic hospitality of the Barcelona people.

We were concerned before we went about the talk of pickpockets and beggars etc. We were fine and did not feel threatened or uncomfortable at any time. We certainly found it less of a problem than in Paris. Please do not become paranoid, and let it put you off Barcelona. Just be careful and be aware as in any crowded environment and watch your bags. We did notice some people putting phones, cameras and bags down and wandering off to look at something else - not a good idea anywhere. So be aware, but enjoy this wonderful City and all it has to offer.

Finally Thanks to Enric for his helpful comments before we went and for many posters on here that gave us so much background knowledge before we went. Can't wait to return !

Barcelona, Spain
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1. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

Hi @Mickgsd, great report. Thank you. I'm happy you enjoyed your stay.

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2. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

I agree, a great report, lots of info without being an exhausting read!

You seem to have covered Barcelona's highlights pretty well in the 4 days,. it will be useful for others for planning. Only thing I can think of is the fact that you didn't go into any of Gaudi´s houses, only the basilica (Sagrada Familia) and the park.

However you did go to MNAC!! Free entry means you were there after 3pm on a Saturday I assume (also Sat because you managed to see the fountains) . Entry to MNAC is fre every Saturday from 3pm; also the first Sunday in the month (Sundays it is open till lunchtime only).

Gaudí houses: Palau Güell near bottom of the Ramblas is cheaper entry than Casa Batlló and Casa Milá but they are all fantastic.

There will be a charge to visit Parc Güell from 25th October http://www.parkguell.cat/en/

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3. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

Really enjoyed your report as I'm off to Barcelona this weekend. Did you book in advance for your Nou Camp tour? Some people say you should and others say there's no need. Also do you have any advice on the best place to watch the Magic Fountain from?

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4. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

@BerkshireChalkie.... my five cents: from the stairs behind the fountain, that would be approx where the bunch of people is sitting (to the right) here: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EZl5V1OH5bE/TmCsWL8tLBI/AAAAAAAAA8U/oh2nRfQinw0/s1600/palau+nacional+1a.jpg

Note this picture is taken in daylight (no Magic Fountain show just yet). Unfortunately, sometimes it's not really a matter of 'what's the best place to watch from' but of 'where the heck can I fit to watch the damn thing' Hopefully it won't be the case this week-end :))

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5. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

Thank you Enric M. That's what quite a few people have said but aren't the pillars in the way now? If it's not too busy perhaps we can move around and get photos from different positions. Would be nice to get the MNAC in the background of some shots I suppose

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6. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

Well the pillars do rather spoil the effect of the fountains from above, yes. One other option is to stand on one of the footbridges between the fountain and Plaça Espanya.

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7. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

Boys and girls.... what you call 'the pillars' is a very emblematic and patriotic monument representing the four red bars of the Catalan flag. It was originally inagurated during the Spanish Republic in the 1930s but was later forbidden and removed by the Franco's dictatorship. It's re-inaguration a few years ago was indeed a very expected and celebrated event... so I'm sorry if it 'spoils' the effect of the fountains :)))

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8. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

In any case, for a good shot of the fountains with the MNAC in the background my advice is to move to the big avenue, approximately half way between the stairs to the fountain and the Venetian towers in Plaça Espanya, get in the middle of the avenue (watch for incoming traffic!!!!) and take the shot. This is perhaps a bit too far (…staticflickr.com/4053/4697670497_6a13a56100…) but you get the idea.

Being end of October I doubt it'll be 'that' crowded... but it's only a gut feeling.

Edited: 5:08 pm, October 22, 2013
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9. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

I am aware of the significance of the pillars but they do block the view ("rather spoil the effect"). They were erected in 1919 and removed in 1929 according to La Vanguardia here lavanguardia.com/cultura/20101209/5408512155…

Note the text below the photo "Las columnas no seducen a los barceloneses - Los barceloneses no están convencidos de la presencia de las columnas jónicas en Montjuic que se estrenarán oficialmente el próximo 25 de diciembre. Creen que son antiestéticas y que anulan la visibilidad de la zona"

So it's not just me saying it! And the interests of tourists have such weight for the Ajuntament , I'm surprised they were put back; after all what is sold on the Ramblas and the Barri Gotic is now pretty well totally totally geared to the tourists.

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10. Re: Back after 4 days in Barcelona

Thanks for your comments folks

We would have liked to have seen more and visited inside Gaudis' Houses, but the weather was so wonderful we stayed longer in the parks and beach areas than we had planned !

We did get to MNAC about 3ish on the Saturday and could not resist going in as it was free. So much to see in a lovely setting. Were the Wedding parties we saw VIP's using the MNAC for their reception or is it possible for anyone to book the venue. What a backdrop for Wedding Photos LOL.

We watched the magic fountain show initially from the top balcony and had a great view, but the sound did not carry very well that day. We moved down and watched again from alongside the main action. It was very busy, but not impossible to get through the crowds, so was great to be able to move round and see it from different viewponts.

Re the Camp Nou tour, we did pre book online, but the queues at the stadium were fairly short (we went about 10 am). We followed the tour round and being footie fans we did take our time and then sat in the stadium for a bit to imagine the atmoshhere on match days - we probably spent about 3 hours on the tour. You could zoom round a lot quicker, depends on your interests.

Really wish we were flying out today ...............