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Barcelona

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Outlook onto Les Rambles, Barcelona
Barcelona [1] is the capital of Catalonia in Spain, Europe. The city, Spain's second largest, has a wealth of unique historic architecture and has emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe during the 1990s.

Districts

Parc Diagonal Mar

Barcelona has many quarters, but the most important and interesting for visitors are:

  • Ciutat Vella -- Barcelona's old town, including the medieval Barri Gotic.
  • Eixample -- Modernist quarter, noted for its art nouveau buildings
  • Gràcia -- Historically a working class neighborhood, now rather gentrified, and very lively
  • Barceloneta -- Historically a fisherman's quarter

Understand

When to visit

  • Festes de la Mercè Around the 24th of September, the main celebrations in the city. Live music during all the day and night, theatre, life in the streets, castellers, and most of it for free!
  • Festes de Gràcia Around the 15th of August, the celebrations from the Gràcia quarter. Many streets are decorated by the neighbours, live music, food in the street, party all night long. They have a website
  • Festes de Sants Similar to Gracia's ones, but smaller and a bit later in August. If you can't go to the Gracia's, try these! [2].
  • Sant Jordi 23rd of April. Is like Saint Valentine's in many places. People give roses and books around the streets. Is one of the most popular and interesting celebrations in Catalonia.
Casa de l'Ardiaca during Corpus
  • Corpus. Late in May (Corpus Christi day). An egg is put over the fountains (most of them in the churches, and decorated with flowers), and "magically dances" over the water. Most of the churches are in the city centre: Cathedral's cloister, Santa Anna, Casa de l'Ardiaca, Museu Frederic Marés, and over 10 more fountains.
  • Fira de Santa Llúcia From December 2nd/3rd to December 23rd, to commemorate Sta Llúcia (December 13th). In front of the Cathedral, is where the Christmas objects are sold. Some places sell Christmas trees, but most of them sell elements for making the pessebres, the representions of the birth of Jesus that people uses to put at home. You can find from the small sculptures to the wooden pieces to the moss used to simulate grass. By far the star of every year's Santa Llúcia is the Caganer, a uniquely Catalan addition to the birth of Jesus. It is a very charismatic figurine of someone squatting, butt exposed, taking a dump, turd included. What's special about them is that they are a great barometer of fashion and current events.
  • Festival de Sant Joan: for weeks on end, listen to kids shoot off caps and fire crackers. Finish the week with San Juan, head down to the beach for various music stations and all night festivities.

Language

Barcelona's official languages are Catalan and Spanish. Most signs are indicated in Catalan, although Spanish and English are also widely used. Most inhabitants speak both Catalan and Spanish, although many also speak English and/or French. As in most European countries any attempt by visitors to use the native language, in this case Catalan, is always appreciated. While Catalan is very prevalent in the city, the majority of Catalans instinctively address foreigners in Spanish.

To avoid giving offence, never refer to Catalan as a dialect, which is an offshoot of another language. Catalan is a language in the same way that French, Portuguese, Italian etc are. Remember that the sense of Catalan national identity is very strong, and the language is intricately linked with this. Showing an interest in this subject will gain you many friends.

Get in

By plane

Many companies fly to Barcelona Airport, El Prat, which is connected regularly to the city by a bus and a train service. Smaller and further away airports such as Reus Airport or Girona Airport have also a bus shuttle to Barcelona.

El Prat is about 15 minutes by train to Sants train station. A single ticket is about €2.20, but an under-advertised fact is that you can use the T-10 ticket (€6.90 for ten trips, including all bus and metro transfers made within 75 minutes) instead. You can buy a T-10 from the ticket vending machine at the airport station.

By rail

Several trains per day (including overnight hotel trains) from other parts of Europe (via France) are regular & reliable. You can also reach Barcelona by train from most parts of Spain (currently 5 hours by train from Madrid, but the AVE is expected to be extended to here by 2007. Check the Spanish rail (renfe) website for more information.

By sea

You can arrive to Barcelona by boat from the Balearic islands, from Genoa and from Rome.

By bus

Get around

  • The Bus Turístic links all of the Barcelona tourist sites you could possibly want to visit. It has three routes, including a northbound and a southbound line which leave from opposite sides of the Plaça de Catalunya. You can buy tickets valid for one day (€17) or two consecutive days (€21).
  • The metro can take you to many places. A one-journey ticket cost €1.25, so it's probably best to buy a multiperson 10-ride ticket for €6.90 (called a T-10) or a personal 50-ride monthly ticket for €27.55. These tickets are also valid on the buses and trams. More information. 1- to 5-day public transport tickets are available which allow unlimited travel on the metro and bus networks (8.8 Euro for two days). These are excellent value but be sure to look after them well as bent or damaged cards will not be read by the ticket machines.

Pay attention to the fact that sometimes to get from one line to another, or to another metro type, 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.

  • The Barcelona Card features unlimited free travel on public transport and free admission and discounts at around 100 visitor attractions. The card is available for purchase for periods of between 2 and 5 days, costing €23 for a 2-day card and €34 for a 5-day card. If you aren't planning on seeing lots of museums then it is cheaper to buy transport only tickets (see above)
  • Tramvia Blau is a an old tram (beginning of the 20th century) connects Av. Tibidabo metro station and Funicular station at the foot of Tibidabo. Costs: 3.10 Euro for two-way trip
  • Funicular connects the foot of Tibidabo with view point. Costs: 3 Euro for two-way trip.
  • If you would like to explore the city by bike you might want to check out Fat Tire Bike Tours. You can either rent a bike from them or take one of their tours. The tour charge is around €22. More information Another option is Budget Bikes: More information
  • Consider picking up one of the free guides / magazines available in English that cover what's going on in Barcelona. There are a few local magazines, newspapers and website for internationals in Barcelona.

See

  • Gaudi architecture, including the Park Güell, the still unfinished Sagrada Família and the houses; La Pedrera/Casa Milà and La Casa Batlló.
  • Park Güell. This is on a hill overlooking Barcelona, so expect a relatively steep walk to the top (Lesseps metro station, then follow arrows which are met every 300 m); you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the whole city. Although from the map it looks covered in grass, it is actually made up of long, winding, stone or gravel footpaths. There are plenty of seats, however, and the Gaudi influence is notable among the many crafted walkways. Free entrance.
  • La Pedrera - entrance (Diagonal metro station) costs approximately 8 Euro.
  • Sagrada Família - To get up to the tower by elevator costs 2 Euro (long queues). Previously, it was possible to go up the spiral stairs, but now they only allow you to get back down. The most impressive thing is to see Sagrada Família at night with lights on, this is the time when you understands why people say that it is built of bones. Entrance costs 9 Euro. Sagrada Família metro station.
  • The ruta del Modernisme (details avaiable from the tourist offices) takes you round all the best Modernisme (art nouveau) buildings in Barcelona. The full pack also includes discounted tickets to many attractions such as La Pedrera and Casa Battlo.
  • La Rambla, the most famous boulevard in Barcelona.
  • Plaça d'Espanya with famouse red colums built before Olympic games and musical (in summer) fountain.
  • The Gothic Quarter , with the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia and the Gothic Church of Santa Maria del Pi. Also worth the visit is the Gothic Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, near the Picasso Museum.
  • San Pau del Camp is a romanesque church - one of only a few in Barcelona - with a fine cloister which feels almost Arabic in style. A little island of calm in a very busy city.
  • La Plaça Reial is located next to La Rambla and is considered to be one of the most beautiful

squares in the world. Also look at the Gaudi streetlights!

Estadi Olímpic Communication Tower, Barcelona
  • Olympic stadium and village on Montjuïc hill, including the Montjuic Castle with his beautiful sightseeing.
  • Tibidabo is located on the mountains of Barcelona and offers a spectacular view of the city (532 m high). This is a place where according some legends the Devil seduced Jesus Christ offering him whole world in exchange for his worship. There is a wonderful church over there. To get there by yourself you need to take metro till Av. Tibidabo Station, then Tramvia Blau, and then Funicular up to the mountain. It reduces the time you spend for getting there. If you have the whole day after leaving the metro you can walk up to the view point.
  • Olympic Port. It has a large number of restaurants, bars and other establishments which have made Barcelona's nightlife even more intense.
  • FC Barcelona. If you're a football freak then you can't miss a visit to Camp Nou, the home ground for Barcelona's biggest and most popular team, and one of Europes greatest footballing 'cathedrals'. FCB are the only major football club in the world that doesn't sell advertising space on it's strip, and this is because the club is about more than just making money. During the Franco era, FCB were the only way that supressed Catalans could vent their anger against his dictatorship, and because of this it became a symbol of Catalan identity. Camp Nou is the biggest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 98,600 people, and it also has shops and a museum of the club's history. Match tickets are relatively cheap (25-35 Euros) and games hardly ever completely sell out, unless it's a match against the hated rivals Real Madrid, or one of the other top teams (currently Valencia or Deportivo la Coruna.) With the quality in the current team, there's always a few goals, and it's nearly always a resounding win for Barca! Stadium tours aren't fantastic, but for a quick recent history of matches played there, consult the backs of the doors in the cubicles - most have alot of graffiti championing their team that played here!
  • Zoo-Barcelona It is located in Parc de la Ciudadella. Prior to his death, this zoo was famous for its albino gorilla "Snowflake". Today this zoo still has many other features including a science museum inside the zoo.
  • Poble Espanyol. A fake village with replicas of characteristic buildings in Spain (like the Avila walls, the Vall-de-roures town hall, etc). The village hosts the Fondation Fran Daurel, where you can enjoy an intresting Modern Art collection boasting Miró, Picasso, Tapiès and other, mostly Spanish and Catalan, nowaday's artists. The audio tour is very worthwhile here.
  • Palau de la Música Catalana Modernist design by Lluís Domènech i Montaner is in the UNESCO World Heritage since 1997, a masterpiece of Catalan's Modernist Architecture.
  • Palau Nacional with its art gallery
  • Monasterio Pedralbes A beautiful Gothic monastery near the university. There is a picture gallery, a museum which depicts the monastery life, a church and a marvelous chapel covered with medievil frescoes.

Museums

  • MHI Museu d'Història de Catalunya (Catalonia's Museum of History). In Catalan and English. A must in order to understand the troubled (and sad) history of the Catalans.
  • MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) in the Palau Nacional has the single best collection of Romanesque art in the world, and a fine Gothic collection as well. Includes the Pantocrator from the Taüll Romanesque church.
  • The Museum of the City of Barcelona includes access to underground Roman ruins and a complex of historic buildings in the centre of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), as well as being a reasonably good historical museum.
  • MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.
  • The Picasso Museum has a lot of art from his first period, before the cubism.
  • Caixa Fòrum located at Plaça Espanya, this place hosts great exhibitions (at the time of writing: Dalí - Culture for the masses) and entrance is free!
  • Fundació Antoni TàpiesThis abstract artist has a great Museum close to Passeig de Gràcia. It is a good size, has great architecture and good international exhibits. Not to mention the Tapies!
  • Joan Miró Museum This museum is on the Montjuïc accessible by the metro (L3 Paral·lel and then the funicular). It is a great treasure,maybe the best museum about Joan Miró. It always has interesting temporary expositions.
  • L'Aquarium is the second biggest aquaurium of Europe (after that in Genoa [3]). Watch thousands of fishes, penguins and sharks in this interactive sea-life museum. Unlike Genoese Aquarium it has a long glass "tube", where you can walk watching sharks and other fish swimming around. Located at the Port Vell leisure centre, next to the IMAX cinema. Entrance ticket - 15 Euro.
Port Vell (Old Port)
  • The Museum de l'Eròtica de Barcelona on La Rambla, just in front of the market IS a huge tourist trap (for the more open Western cultured tourist). For the more conservative Asian folks, this can be an eye opener. The tour isn't worth it, unless you wish to see (or never seen) old paints of kamasutra. The only interest is the huge phallus in the hallway, makes funny pictures!
  • The Football Museum [4] This is one of Barcelona's most visited museums near the stadion.
  • Maritime Museum [5] This museum standing at the harbour depicts the Catalan maritime history of trade, wars and discoveries.
  • Catalan Archaeological Museum [6] Situated on the Monntjuic, it exhibits archaeological findings from Catalunia from different periods.
  • Catalan Ethnographical Museum [7] Also situated on the Montjuic, this museum mainly exhibits exponents which were imported by Catalan sailors as they explored the new world.
  • Military Museum In the military fotification on the Montjuic.
  • Museum of Natural History [8] This museum in the Ciutadella Parc is especially recommended for children. Most interesting is the rainforest project, in which you can observe a living forest from various angles (even from below!).

Harbour aerial tramway

The 1450 metre long harbour aerial tramway of Barcelona is a very interesting aerial tramway. It starts on the top of 78 metre tall Torre San Sebastian, which has also a restaurant on its top, which is accessible by an elevator. Harbour aerial tramway Barcelona runs over 107 metre tall Torre Jaume I, the second tallest aerial tramway support tower in the world. Torre Jaume I has an intermediate stop, which can be reached by elevator from ground. The other terminal of harbour aerial tramway Barcelona is Montjuic.

Do

  • Stroll along the following famous streets:
    • Las Ramblas, a tile-covered tree-lined pedestrian walkway, the busiest and most lively street of the city. This street has an excellent atmosphere and is full of local artists, street entertainers and pavement cafes. It is also a large tourist haunt; so expect to pay higher prices for food and drink. Head off into some of the side streets for a cheaper, more local, experience of Barcelona.
    • La Plaça Catalunya, emotional centre of Barcelona.
    • El Portal de l'Àngel, a commercial pedestrian road.
  • Cruise miles of beachfront boardwalk starting from Barceloneta or get a tan on the beach.
Platja de la Barceloneta Looking onto Port Olímpic
  • Wander the Barri Gotic, the largely intact medieval centre of the city.
  • Enjoy the nightlife in the city's 200 or so squats.
  • Walk in Born, a very popular area with great restaurants and places to have a few drinks.
  • Be on the beach every Sunday night throughout the summer for live music, drinks and swimming.
  • Check out Gràcia: a neighbourhood just off Park Guell, full of local culture, few tourists, tons of Places for relaxing and eating.
  • Visit flamenco show in a real tablao. Tablao de Carmen that is situated in Poble Espanyol offers a spectacular flamenco evening. The cheapest entrance fee (31 Euro) includes the 1.5-2 hour show, drink and free of charge entrance in Poble Espanyol
  • Ride cable way to get from the sea front to Montjuïc mountain. 7.5 Euro for one-way ticket. This is however currently not available, as it is undergoing renovation.
  • Check out Montjuïc and its green surroundings, where you can also admire the German minimalist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1929 Pavilion (link or the interesting Caixa Forum building (right in front of the Pavilion).
  • Sit for a while in Plaça dels Àngels, while admiring the whiteness of the MACBA and the best street skate tricks in town.
  • Catch a performance at the beautiful Teatre del Liceu and the Palau de la Musica Catalana.

Buy

  • For souvenir shopping, there are lots of little shops scattered throughout the Barri Gotic (the old city) where you can get t-shirts, coffee mugs, fridge magnets, and all sorts of other trinkets. One bizarre thing about these souvenir shops in Barcelona is that most of them are owned by Pakistanis or Indians and some of the shopkeeprs are outright unfriendly and nasty if you don't buy anything. As in most of these shops anywhere in the world, be prepared to bargain hard.
  • La Gauche Divine [9], an incredible multiconcept store near La Rambla. An example of the Catalan design is the decoration of the shop with an exclusive combination of furniture from the sixties and paintings and sculptures all around. The shop includes a little corner where you can have a drink while watching the latest trend publications and an inner patio with plants and sculptures They have a lot of clothes and accessories for men and women, the most original pieces you can find in Barcelona Don't miss the courreges mini dresses brought from Japan and the catwalks and special events they organize every month.
  • El Corte Inglés [10] Multiple buildings, several floors, you can find anything in a wide range and stocks. It sells almost everything, from gastronomy to pneumatics.
  • Fnac [11] Sells books, music, games, and many other interesting items. Fnac is located in the El Triangle shopping center in Plaza Catalunya (Opposite El Corte Inglés).
  • Cacao Sampaka (C/. Consell de Cent, 292), Xocoa or The Chocolate Factory are must for chocolate lovers. There's a Chocolate Museum in Carrer Comerç, 36.
  • Designers and chic fashion clothes are widely avaliable in Born (Jaume I Metro station).
  • Casa Amatller, by Puig i Cadafalch, is a fine work of Modernisme, but also has a shop which sells fine chocolate (the Amatller family made its money out of cocoa).
  • There is a lovely shop in Carrer Bisbe selling crafts including miniature versions of the dracs (dragons) and gigants (giants) that feature in Catalan processions and fiestas. El Ingenio, in Carrer Raurich, sells the real ones and is worth a visit just to look - you can also buy confetti, jokes, rubber snakes and other amusements.


Eat

Barcelona's cuisine is hit-or-miss, as with all highly touristic cities, but good food does exist at reasonable prices.

The large cafes that line the Passeig de Gracia and the Rambla de Catalunya, just north of the Plaça de Catalunya, offer a variety of acceptable tapas, although a bit expensive. A good idea is to avoid restaurants with people outside encouraging you to come in - if they were good enough they probably wouldn't need to do that.

Though smoking is technically banned in public spaces in Barcelona, actual enforcement varies by venue.

You can get food from any part of the world in Barcelona, but make sure you try some specifically Catalan food. The great Catalan staple is pa amb tomàquet: toasted bread smeared with tomato (and sometimes with garlic too) and the seasoned with olive oil.

The selection of seafood is consistently great, although not a lot of it is local (this part of the Mediterranean is pretty well fished-out).

For budget eating you may choose small bars (for example on the Avinguda del Parallel) with "menu del dia" (where it is possible to choose one snack, main dish and drink) - 9-11 Euro per person. But sometimes people there don't speak English and menu is also in Spanish. Banking cards are not accepted.

Near Sagrada Familia on the Carrer de Provenca there is a buffet style canteen with large windows facing the Cathedral. You get a dinner (unlimited snacks, main dishes, drinks, tea/coffe, deserts) for 9.5 Euro (January 2005).

The most popular quarter for the Barcelona's citizens is Barceloneta, where you can try fish based dishes, such as Paella (a name that may hide many different kinds of rice concoctions) or Arròs negre (Black Rice), that takes its colour because is made using squid ink. It's a very good place to eat tapas as well. Gracia, Ciutat Vella, Eixample and Poble Sec also offer a wide range of Restaurants.

For the truly stingy the Travel Bar (near the L3 metro Liceu) offers meals for €1.

Other places worth trying are:

  • El Rey de la Gamba, Barceloneta, offers excellent seafood at a moderate price. On the main drag in Barceloneta across from the sound. Great wine selection and paella.
  • Comerç 24, is a fashion tapas bar. Very creative, very good
  • Arrel, a must in El Born area of town
  • Cafe Viena, is a sandwich bar on Las Ramblas. Truly some of the most delicious sandwiches anywhere. The bread is fresh and crispy, and the beer is cold. I will always stop by this place when I visit.
  • Cafe de L'Opera, La Rambla 74, is a marvellous place to have a breakfast with fine strong coffee. The inside features 1920's decor.
  • Les Quinze Nits, Plaça Real, is a place to get cheap, huge and delicious paella. The Gazpacho served here is also one of the finest in the world. The restaurant opens at 9pm, but the queue starts at 8pm. It's best to arrive early.
  • El Glop (four locations) offers excellent Catalan meals at a price within most budgets. Allow about €20 per person, although you could get out of there for half of that if you let the price dictate your choice of dishes.
  • Amatxu an authentic tapas bar, popular with the natives and tourists alike. Their squid rings are particularly good and their staff are friendly. They are located on Las Ramblas.
  • Grupo Tragaluz have more restaurants in Barcelona. The type of meal that they offer is creative and mediterranean. You can visit the website to decide which restaurant you prefer http://www.grupotragaluz.com.
  • Suzet A nice place with a modern environment. The best crêpes mixing modern and typical catalan ingredients. C/Tallers,69 T. 93 318 4724
  • Restaurant Miria not to be confused with the cafe of the same name right next door. Plaça Rius | Taulet 11. Really good food and reasonable prices (in Gracia). 93 218 51 98
  • betawi a really tasy Indonesian restaurant. Portions aren't huge (average) but they sure know how to cook meat and fish to perfection. C/Montsio 6. In the Barrio Gotic. 93 412 62 64
  • Meson David A great place serving excellent hearty Galician fare. Try the Lacon pork joint, its amazing. The decor is basic but the atmosphere is great. Expect queues at peak times. You'll eat and drink loads of Sangria for €15. Calle carretes 63 in the Raval area. Near St Antoni Metro.
  • Juicy Jones about 100 yards from Liceu L3 off side road and down some steps. A great vegan restaurant is hidden behind the juice and tapas bar frontage. The desserts are fair to poor, but the thali is amazing. Address: C/ Cardenal Casañas 7.
  • BioCenter in C/Pintor Fortuny, 2 offers really nice affordable vegetarian and vegan food with a familiar atmosphere.
  • Comer y no Bombas (location variable) shares free vegan food.
  • Orgànic on C/ Junta Comerç, 11 at <M> Liceu (L3). A little more expensive, around 20€ for the menú del día, but is worth it! It's the best restaurant I've been to in a long time! Whether you're vegetarian/vegan or not, this kitchen is organic and the food is amazing and of high quality. Not a quick eat, but a nice sit down to good food meal. The service is friendly and down to earth and funny. Highly recommended.
  • La Flauta Carrer Aribau, 27. Many local business people seem to dine here during the week. The ever changing menu del dia (menu of the day) costs around €10 and will fill you up with delicious Catalan cuisine that is well prepared and equally well presented. The Crema Catalana, similar to a creme broulee, makes an excellent choice for desert. Arriving somewhat early for lunch, perhaps before 14:00, could save you from waiting for a table.
  • La Locanda in C/Joaquim Pou 4, between Via Laietana and the Cathedral, is a good choice for italian food lovers. Between Urquinaona and Sant Jaume metro stations.
  • Shunka in C/ Sagristans 5, next to the Cathedral, is one of the most appreciatted Japanese restaurants in town. Prior reservation is strongly advised. Between Urquinaona and Sant Jaume metro stations.
  • 'Els Quatre Gats in Carrer Montsio should be a tourist trap - but it isn't. It is the successor to the famous cafe where Gaudi drank and Picasso exhibited, in a fine Modernisme building by Puig i Cadafalch, and the set lunch for two will cost about EUR 26. The cooking is excellent.
  • Alkimia, carrer Industria, awarded with a Michelin star [12], one of the best restaurants in Catalonia run by young chef Jordi Vilà. Comfortable ambience
  • Hisop, passatge Marimon 20,[13], one of the most promising cuisines in Barcelona with excellent wine service


  • A good set lunch for EUR 9 at the Delfin, on the Born, with typical Catalan specialities such as salmonetes (little fish eaten whole).

If you are looking for a cheap lunch:

  • Maoz offers excellent vegan felafel for around 4 euros. There are several around Barcelona including one on La Rambla.
  • La Boqueria market: it's on the Rambla, and there you can find food at low prices, the only problem is that all that food is mostly raw food! Some stall sells stuff for you such as many kinds of well cooked ready to eat pasta, fresh fruit already sliced, ... La Boqueria
  • Supermarket's Gastronomy: in several supermarket you can find a wide Gastronomy stall, with ready to eat dishes in a great selection. You can get a two courses lunch for less than 5 euros.
  • Any common bar offers menú del dia (menu of the day), which usually means a simple and unpretentious two course meal, 3 or 4 options each, with a drink and a dessert, from 8€ or so.
  • Dönor Kebab: There is no shortage of Döner stands in Barcelona, offering tasty beef or chicken and salad in toasted flatbread for around €3.50.

Drink

  • Chupitos, are located in several locations through out the city, including one in Barceloneta. Chupitos is spanish for "shots" and offers hundreds of unique shots including the "Harry Potter (a shot that sparks as cinnamon is sprinkled over it)", the "monica lewinsky", a variety of flaming shots amongst others. This is as much a show as it is a place to get a drink.
  • El Bosc de les Fades, is dubbed the "Tree Bar" by many english speaking tourists. Located off La Rambla, this wax-museum bar features expert-crafted ambiance to look like a forest.
  • L'Ovella Negra, or the "Black Sheep" is a Sangria bar located off of Las Ramblas.
  • L'Arquer, is an archery bar where patrons can rent a bow and arrow for 10 euros/half hour, while drinking local spanish beers on tap. People often come to socialize while shooting arrows much like other parts of the world shoot darts. Closed Indefinitely as of 23/11/2006.
  • Catwalk, [14] is one of the most visited nightclub. Gets busy at around 2 am. They offer 2 different floors with R&B and hip-hop styles mixed with House or Techno.
  • El Dorado, Plaça del Sol 4, [15]. This bar is located in the heart of the Barcelonian district of Gràcia since 1987.
  • Fonfone, C/Escudellers 24, [16] is a smaller, less edgy club with great music and very creative, hip decor. The mutlicolor tiled walls flash to the beat of the electronic music.
  • La Paloma, [17] is a very popular night club. In the evening they have shows, but late night it turns to the most crowded party place packed with young people. Currently under threat of closure by city authorities due to apparent inadequacy of their soundproofing.
  • Maumau, [18] is a chilled out lounge bar with groovy tunes with an irregular programme of state of the art artistic intervention ranging from performance via shortfilm nights to installations and concerts. It's near the clubs of Paral.lel. It is worth looking at their webpage for the bar's and Barcelona nightlife upcoming events.
  • RiBborn, carrer Antic de Sant Joan 3, Tel.(+34) 93 310 71 48, [19]. A hip bar in the heart of the Ciutat Vella with a variety of bars and restaurants. Offers "Funk you till you drop" hiphop jazz reggae and soul with dj Chocolito + guests, Tuesday-Sunday 10pm-3am. Live music until 1am on most Sundays and the odd weeknight.
  • Sidecar Factory Club, Plaça Reial 7, (+34) 93 302 15 86, (+34) 933 177 666, [20]. One of the best choices for drinks and music in Casc Antic. This underground club offers live music] (4 or 5 nights a week, 10pm-00.30am). It also hosts dj sessions every night (Monday-Sunday 00.30am-4.30/5.00am.) with djs of many different styles and from the most important clubs making people dance until the wee hours.
  • Shoko, [21] is -just like Catwalk- also down at the beachfront. Shoko offers you a true Feng Shui experience. Depending on the night they play house or Hip Hop music. One of the nicest decorated nightclubs in Barcelona.
  • Sweet Cafe, carrer Casanova 75, [22] The trendiest bar of the Gaixample, the gay area, its red decor and lights and electropop music makes it unmissable. Mostly gay, but everybody is welcome. On Thursdays, pop sessions with guest djs. (Tuesday-Saturday 10.30 pm-3.00 am). Monthly Bollywood parties on the 2nd Sunday of the month.
  • Smooth, carrer Enrique Granados 73, [23] Upscale lounge styel winebar located at in central Eixample, offering a refreshing alternative to the usual wooden tables and dingy atmosphere. The focus is definitely on wine with a full and interesting range both from Spain and abroad, but also a light modern menu of small plates help you through the second bottle as you sit listening to laid back lounge tunes. Four table terrace on the traffic restricted street closes at midnight, but the bar is open to 1.30 (2.30 on Saturday). Innovative in its day, the decor is getting slightly shabby but the central concept remains sound. Service can be the first to go if busy so grab a sandwich before if you're going on a Friday!
  • Travel Bar, carrer Boqueria 27, A staple hang-out for any true traveller. The Travel Bar hosts Europe's largest barcrawl, as well as a mean Catalan cooking course. A great place to hang out and meet people.


Sleep

Note: There are three different names given to hotel-like accommodation in Barcelona they are Hotel, Hostal and Pension. It is important not to confuse a hostel with a hostal; a hostel offers backpacker-type accommodation with shared rooms, whereas a hostal is very similar to a guest house and is generally cheaper than a hotel.

Hotels

Barcelona offers a great arrangement of accommodations, from cheap, decent "hostel" rooms with the bathroom down the hall to five-star hotels. Here are some that are notable in their price range:

  • Hotel Silken Concordia, Avenida Paralelo 115, Barcelona. This is a very nice hotel that is located on a major street in Barcelona. The metro station "Poble Sec" is right across from the hotel. If you prefer to walk you can reach "La Rambla" and all the major atrractions in downtown Barcelona in just 15 minutes. The rooms are spacious, the furniture is almost like new, and the staff is quite friendly. The price is worth it: 90 Euros per night for a double.
  • Hotel Cuatro Naciones, La Rambla 40, Barcelona 08002 , Tel: (+34) 93 317-36-24, [24]. Hotel ** on the Barcelona's most characteristic avenue (La Rambla), the nerve centre of the city. This historic area is very close to the Cathedral, the Gothic quarter and the harbor, as well as Barcelona's best shopping streets. Rooms varying from single to Quad size. Prices are very modest - starting at 80€ for a double.
  • Hotel Catalonia Albinoni, Avd Portal De L'Angel 17, Tel. (+34) 93 23 60 00. Central, on a pedestrian street just south of Plaça Catalunya. Rooms of varying sized, but quiet, well maintained and in an excellent location in the Barri Gòtic. About €130/night for a double room with ensuite bathroom.
  • Hotel Gran Via, Gran Via Corts Catalanes 642, Tel. (+34) 933 181 900. Very central, and originally a palace, the public spaces of the hotel live up to that history. The rooms are large, but otherwise relatively modest. About €80 per night for a double room with bath.
  • Best Western Premier Hotel Regina ,[25] Bergara 2-4, Barcelona . The Hotel Regina is located next to Plaza Cataluña, right in the heart of Eixample, where the city's two most cosmopolitan avenues begin: Paseo de Gracia and Las Ramblas. About €100 per night for a double room with bath and breakfast.
  • The ROYAL RAMBLAS A first class hotel with a privileged location right at the top of "Las Ramblas" boulevard, close to Catalunya Square - the business, entertainment and cultural meeting point of Barcelona. The hotel is within walking distance to the most fashionable area in Barcelona for tourism and shopping. The Royal Ramblas is the perfect place to live the real Barcelona experience.
  • Hotel Barcelona Catedral[26], Capellans, 4, 08002 Barcelona , Since October 06, we released a 4* boutique hotel. Exclusive new and modern designed hotel, located just where you wanted right in the centre, next to the Cathedral, las Ramblas and the Plaça Catalunya. It offers guests excellent quality rooms and a personalized service, creating a relaxing and comfortable stay for business and leisure. Your best option now to discover Barcelona and to be part of it. Every Sunday free guided cultural walks through the gothic quarter.
  • HCC Covadonga, Avda Diagnal 596, Barcelona 08021, Tel: (+34 93) 2095511. The HCC Covadonga Hotel is situated on the main avenue, in the heart of downtown Barcelona, near key attractions, shopping and the business district. Recently renovated, this hotel offers all the modern conveniences. It's also only 2 km to Barcelona City Centre and only 1 km from Sants Rail Station.
  • Abba Sants Hotel , C/ Numancia , 32 - Barcelona 08029, Tel: (+34) 93 600 31 00, [27]. This hotel is strategically located in the city centre, in a quite area next to a green area. The hotel is easily accessed from El Prat airport, and only 5 minutes from the Barcelona Fairgrounds and the Palacio de Congresos of Montjuïc.
  • Hotel Omm, +34 93 445 40 00, [28]. Located in Barcelona's fashionable Passeig de Gràcia district, featuring elegant rooms with adaptable lighting. Award-winning haute cuisine restaurant. Rates from EUR 290 - EUR 500 per night. .

Apartments

Barcelona has hundreds of short term and vacation rental apartments. There are many websites offering search and booking services for rentals from agencies and direct from owners. There are also guest houses and hotels that offer self-catered apartments as well.

  • Apartments Tasmania, (fax: 34 93 317 07 01), [29]. managed by Residencia Australia. This is a complex of 8 studios with a 24 hour reception located 50 metres from the Ramblas and right in the middle of the shopping district of Calle Pelai. All studios are fully equipped.
  • Barcelona Best Rooms, [30]. Seven guestrooms and one apartment.
  • Athome Barcelona Apartments, [31]. 40 different apartments located throughout central Barcelona and along its beach.

Hostal & Pension

  • Pensión Norma, up 3 flights of stairs at C. Gran de Gràcia, 87, Tel. (+34) 237 44 78. Modest rooms, some with bath, in the relative quiet of Gràcia, about a kilometre north of the centre of town. About €25 per night.
  • Pension Alamar, [32] is located at the heart and historical center of Barcelona, The Ghotic Quarter, in a quiet pedestrian street near La Rambla. Provides reasonable rates, cosy clean rooms, in a warm family atmosphere. Facilities: kitchen, central heating, air conditioning, telephone, tv room, free cradle available for babies up to 2 years, washing machine, and close parking. Tel. (+34) 933025012, www.pensioalamar.com
  • Hostal Levante, Baixada de Sant Miquel, 2 - Tel.(+34) 93 3179565, [33] has clean, simple and good private rooms. Renovated bathrooms. Very good location, one block from the Plaça Reial, two from the famous La Rambla. Very good price, but breakfast not included.

Hostels

  • Bohemia Barcelona [34] Calle Rossellon 195, is a newly renovated hostel located in a modernist building in the Eixample. Located in a former Pension, this 300m2 hostel has been renovated in a special way blending modern comforts with old-school features. High ceilings and large panoramic paintings are blended with the modern comforts of en-suite rooms, modern shower units and colourful interiors to comfortably accommodate all visitors to Barcelona in a friendly open environment. Clean, friendly and good value, just next to Rambla Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia. The hostel's huge terrace is a great place to relax when you've had too much of the Barcelona pace of life and you just want to chill out. There's an outhouse with relaxing sofas and retro furniture, a reading library, deck chairs & hammocks, picnic tables and depending on the season, BBQ facilities… Run by an Irish-Catalan company, it offers en-suite double rooms for around 60 euros per night, private twins/doubles from 50 euros and 4-bed dorm bed rooms from 17.50 euros pppn. Tel: (+34) 620 682 682
  • Residencia Australia [35] and Hostal Central [36] are located on different floors of Ronda Universitat No 11. Clean, friendly and good value, just off the Plaça de Catalunya. They belong to different owners. En-suite double rooms for around €60. Residencia Australia is more family orientated, they also offer ensuites with kitchenettes , small apartments starting at around 75 euros per night.
  • Alberg PALAU, carrer Palau, 6 - Tel.(+34) 93 412 5080, [37], and Hostel NEW YORK, carrer d'en Gignas, 6 - Tel.(+34) 93 315 0304, [38] are two youth hostels in the gothic quarter of Barcelona's Ciutat Vella. Clean and friendly, both hostels include breakfast, internet access, kitchen facilities, and a common room; all for under 20€ per person.
  • The Welcome INN, carrer Hospital, 93 Tel.(+34)664 127 664, [39] is an alternative to the typical 'dorm bed' hostel. It offers private rooms (single, doubles,triples,quads)in a large hostel-apartment with a kitchen and living area. ideal for backpackers/tourists that want privacy at affordable prices. Very good prices under 20 Euros per person per night.
    This place is a privately owned apartment and as so is not a typical hostel but it is very legitimate and is rated on various independent websites worlwide.
  • Gothic Point, [40] is very centrally located in Barcelona. There's lots of activities, the guided City Tour is great! The crowd is very international. Be careful, although the prices are good (€17 for one night + breakfast), there's extra charges for almost everything. Make sure to be in time for breakfast :-) Overall, the stay was great, and I met some great people.
  • Sea Point, [41] is located just in front of the most old and famous beach in Barcelona: The Saint Sebastian beach in the Barceloneta quarters. The Sea Point Youth Hostel in Barcelona, Spain, allows travellers and backpackers to enjoy the city of Barcelona and, at the same time, enjoy a mediterranean beach. Las Ramblas and the centre of the city are only a relaxing ten minute walk away from the youth hostel. Always full of delightful people from all over the world, spend at least 1 night on the beach drinking wine and talking to other backpackers.
  • Itaca, [42] Hostel is centrally located in the Gothic District, only a stone's throw away from the Cathedral. The beds and bathrooms are clean, and the staff is friendly and helpful. Beds go for around 20 euros a night (depending on the season), breakfast is offered, and there is a kitchen that's open to guests, along with balcony access.
  • Kabul, [43] hostel is a popular option on Plaça Reial in the Gothic centre. It has the usual beds, laundry, breakfast, internet, bar and food options.
  • Pere Tarrés Youth Hostel, [`http://www.peretarres.org/alberg] is a hostel located near the top of Diagonal (a rather swish area). It is very safe and good fun, offering a restaurant, bar, tv area, ping pong tables, kitchen, free internet, and sheets and brekkie included in the price. Book online; there are often good deals on the hostel's web site.

Contact

Telephone and Mobile services

Internet

  • Infoespai, Plaça del Sol. A free Internet cafe, and social centre. Infoespai is in the Gràcia quarter.

Stay safe

Barcelona is a friendly city, there are few violent crimes. However, many tourists and even experienced travellers and residents get pickpocketed in Barcelona, therefore sometimes called the "capital of pickpockets". This is the biggest risk you will face. Crowded places and metro/busses and areas such as Raval and the famous Rambles are still the most likely places to get pickpocketed, but if you are just arriving be aware of pickpockets at the bus terminal Estació del Nord and train station Sants Estació. Take particularly care of your backpack and handbags. Also be very careful at internet cafes. At the airport, even in the arrival hall, you may be approached by individuals posing as foreigners and claiming they have been robbed during a train ride or whatsoever, and asking you for some 50 or 100 Euros that are missing for their ticket to home.

Other places in the city are less secure than the average, such as Plaça Reial and the Raval, indeed the whole of the old town.

Lone women should exercise caution in exploring the more isolated parts of Montjuïc. The city beaches, particularly the ones adjoining Barceloneta, have proven to be quite lucrative for bag-snatchers. Anything that one would rather not chance losing is best left (locked) in one's hostel or hotel.

Lone men should expect the prostitutes on Las Ramblas in the early hours to be very aggressive, and are in with thieves and robbers. Stories abound of guys' belongings being relieved while their pants are down in dark back-streets.

Be aware of foreign matter such a bird poop that mysteriously shows up on your (and your companion's) clothing. Someone will soon offer to help you clean it off.

There have also been incidents of bag snatching while stopped at the traffic lights whereby the thieves open the car doors and take what they can. Please make sure that you always have your car doors locked during both the night and the day.

In case you want to report a crime - which you need to do to claim on travel insurance - be prepared for the reality that in the downtown police station, officers may not be able (or willing) to speak English, despite that fact the official theft report form is in both English and Spanish. The police station most often used to report theft is on Las Ramblas.

Cope

Hospitals

EU citizens can get free or reduced cost medical treatment on presentation of an EHIC card and passport. The Time Out guides list English speaking medical practices.

Libraries

Get out

Day trips from Barcelona include:

  • Figueres home of the impressive Salvador Dalí museum
  • Montserrat - visit the monastery nestled high in the mountains to see the Black Madonna or hike to the peak to earn a fantastic view of the surroundings.
  • Sitges a traditional beach side destination for the locals.
  • Girona A quiet town with an ancient Jewish section, narrow streets, imposing walls and plenty of cafes. See directions to the north Airport above.
  • Pyrenees A mountain range around 150 km north from the city.
  • San Cugat del Valles has one of the most interesting Romanesque cloisters in Catalunya, with many interesting carvings
  • Pedralbes has a fine monastery, with a Gothic church




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