Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Barcelona

From Wikitravel
Barcelona (province) : Barcelona
Revision as of 18:47, 21 March 2008 by Evan (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Discussion on defining district borders for Barcelona is in progress. If you know the city pretty well, please share your opinion on the talk page.


Barcelona is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.
Outlook onto Las Ramblas, Barcelona

Barcelona [1] is Spain's second largest city and the capital of Catalonia, one of the 17 regions that form Spain. 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

August is probably the busiest time in Barcelona; at the same time about 10% of shops and restaurants can be found closed from mid-August to early September: owners go to vacations.

As humidity is high, 19-23 degrees Celsius (not higher) is the most comfortable weather.

Festivals and events

  • 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.
  • Festes de Sants - similar to Gracia's event, but smaller and a bit later in August. If you can't go to the Gracia's, try these!
  • Sant Jordi -23rd of April. Is like Saint Valentine's in many places. People give roses and books around the streets. Traditionally men give women roses and women give men books. 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 there are over 15b people live here.
  • 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 representations of the birth of Jesus that people uses to put at home. These include small sculptures, wooden pieces and moss used to simulate grass.
  • Revetlla 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

See also: Catalan phrasebook, Spanish phrasebook

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. Most inhabitants do not speak English or other foreign languages, as is the case in most of Spain. Also, remember that many inhabitants, specially if they were born outside Spain, do not speak Catalan and only know Spanish. As in most European countries any attempt by visitors to use the native language, in this case Catalan and Spanish, is always appreciated. 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.

Get in

By plane

Low cost carriers operating to Barcelona are: Jet2.com, ClickAir [2] (a discount subsidiary of Iberia), Vueling [3], easyJet [4], RyanAir [5], Blue Air [6], Sterling Airlines [7], flyGlobespan [8].

Barcelona International Airport

Barcelona International Airport [9] (IATA: BCN, ICAO: LEBL), also known as El Prat, is a major transport hub and fields flights from all over Europe and beyond.

Terminals: There are three terminals, A, B and C, all within fairly easy walking distance of each other. Terminal B is used by Spanish carriers (Iberia, Spanair, Air Europa, Vueling) and their partners (eg British Airways). Terminal C is smallest and used for all domestic flights, including the Puente Aereo (Air shuttle) to Madrid. Terminal A for all other flights. A giant new south terminal is expected to open in 2009 or so.

Transfer to/from the airport: The airport is only about 10 km away from the city center. Taxis are supposed to use a zone chart for trips into the city, but rarely do, and you can expect to pay up to €25. A cheaper and often faster option is the half-hourly RENFE suburban train calling at Sants (20 minutes), Passeig de Gràcia (25 minutes) and Estació de França (30 minutes) in the city centre. 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.

Alternatively, the Aerobús A1 line stops between Terminal A and Terminal B and travels along Gran Via to Plaça Catalunya. Buses depart every 6-9 minutes, the published journey time is 35 minutes (although can take considerably longer during rush hour) and costs €3.90 one-way. Buses are heavily air-conditioned in summer: have something extra to wear during the journey. Aerobuses stop running at midnight, but you can catch a Nit Bus night bus service instead.

Duty-free shops are open from 6/6:30am to 9:30pm (few to 10pm). Shops are numerous and some are hard to find elsewhere in the city. Most shops are before the passport control; only one or two are after.

Tax-free shopping refund office closes at 10pm without compromises. After that time checks can be only processed by mail: complete your tax-free forms with your passport data and addresses, stamp them with the custom office (a window next to arrivals gate door; they don't ask to see your purchases); put them into envelope you were given in the shop--and wait for several months.

Cafes, pre-security check are few. Food at Ars is awful and not cheap. Pans & Company have almost no hot meals.

Cafes, post-security check are numerous, all close something between 10pm and 11pm.

Parking: Costs €1.35/hour, €9.45/day, &euro6.75/day from the 6th day.

Luggage lockers: baggage storage is €4.60 per day for a large locker that easily fits 2-3 serious suitcases. Left-hand end of Terminal B, behind the Ars cafe.

Departure gates: are poorly conditioned at ground level (at least gate #57, sector A, after 11pm).

WiFi: Available throughout the airport, operated by KubiWireless [10]: €7.5 for 45min, €9 for 1 hour, €15 for 24 hours.

Nearby airports

Some low-cost carriers, notably Ryanair, use the airports in Girona, nearly 100km to the north, or Reus, around the same distance to the south, instead. The Barcelona Bus service runs a shuttle bus from Estació del Nord in Barcelona to Girona Airport and this ties in with various flight times. A one-way ticket costs €12 and a return ticket costs €21. The journey takes approximately one hour and ten minutes. For Reus airport, the easiest way is to take the train from Barcelona Sants station to Reus and then the local bus to the airport. The train costs €6.45 and then the bus costs €2. This takes roughly an hour and a half.

By rail

Several trains per day (including overnight hotel trains) from other parts of Europe (via France) are regular & reliable.

Main train stations:

  • Barcelona-Sants (to the south west of the centre)
  • Barcelona-Estació de França, Avinguda Marquès de l´Argentera (on the edge of the old town next to the seafront district of Barceloneta)

From/to Estació de França there are several connections per day to Cerbère (France), connecting there on trains towards Marseille and Nice. There are also 2 direct trains a day from Sants and Passeig de Gracia to Perpignan, Beziers, Narbonne and Montpellier in France.

The long-delayed AVE high-speed train line to Madrid finally opened in February 2008. Travel time is 3 hours 23 minutes with intermediate stops (11 trains a day) or 2 hours 38 minutes non-stop (6 trains a day during morning and evening peak hours).

By sea

You can arrive to Barcelona by boat from the Balearic Islands, from Genoa and from Rome. For further information, check http://www.gnv.it and http://www.grimaldi-ferries.com.

From Rome (Civitavecchia) it is actually cheaper than the bus. The ferry docks almost directly on the Ramblas.

By bus

See http://www.barcelonanord.com/ for all bus connections, national and international.

Get around

By public transport

  • 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 (€20) or two consecutive days (€26).
  • The metro can take you to many places. Stations are marked <M> on most maps; every station has a detailed scheme of exits to the city. A one-journey ticket cost €1.50, so it's probably best to buy a multiperson 10-ride ticket for €7.20 (called a T-10) or a personal 50-ride monthly ticket for €27.55. These tickets are also valid on the buses and trams. [11]. 1- to 5-day public transport tickets are available which allow unlimited travel on the metro and bus networks (€10 for two days). These are excellent value. Be sure to look after them well as bent or damaged cards will not be read by the ticket machines (such cards can be replaced at one of TMB's customer service centers).
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.
Unusual features are: all cars are airconditioned; there are large screens for video advertising between lanes (e.g. at Universitat).
  • 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 €24 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)

Exotic transport

  • 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.


By bicycle

  • Barceloneta Bikes [12] is one of the cheapest places to rent a bike in the city. Very close to the harbor and the beaches, this company have different kinds of bikes you can choose to rent, but it doesn't organize tours.
  • Bicing [13] (Barcelona's bike-sharing program, started in March 2007) is another option for an environment-friendly in-city transport. Unfortunately, it is just for residents.
  • Biking in Barcelona [14] backed by Biciclot, a cooperative that promotes the use of bicycles in Barcelona. They offer high-quality tours for groups (from 12 to more than 100 people), private groups or individuals, as well as bike rentals.
  • Fat Tire Bike Tours, [16]. You can either rent a bike from them or take one of their tours. The tour charge is around €22.

By car

Parking around all major tourist destinations is costly (€1.5-2.5/hour, €20/day) and are difficult to navigate, as there are several classes of public parking space, with complicated rules for each class. Cars with French license plates are said to be rarely towed, but follow this at your own risk.

Having a driving map is essential - plan your route before you set off. Navigating with an average tourist map is frequently misleading: many streets are one-way; left turns are more rare than rights (and are unpredictable). As an example, Gran via de Les Corts Catalanes is technically two-way, but in one direction supports only minor traffic: after every crossroad you'll find the traffic light on the next crossroad turns red by the time you reach it.

Some free parking spots reported by travelers are:

  • Near Moll de Sant Bertran (which is south-west from Museu Maritim) - driving at B-10, exit to WTC and make a complete(?) round at roundabout, heading to warehouses - and park next to its employees cars (reported in July 2006)
  • Somewhere near Guell Park (reported in Aug 2007)

Getting around by car makes sense if you plan to spend much more time driving outside the city borders than inside it - and ideally if you don't plan to park overnight at all. Otherwise, for purely in-city transportation, consider renting a scooter.

See

Barcelona is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


What to see in dark time of the day
Most spectacular sights in the night are:

  • musical fountains in Plaça d'Espanya
  • Casa Batlló
  • Torre Agbar office tower (highlighted Fri-Sun 7-11pm)
  • city views from Montjuic hill
  • La Rambla. The most famous boulevard in Barcelona stretches from the Harbour to La Placa Catalunya running through the Ciutat Vella like a spine. Come here to see the street performers jump out at unsuspecting tourists, enjoy the flower and pet stalls, or just sit back and watch all of Barcelona walk by. During the day, La Rambla is packed with tourists, at night, the locals come out. If you happen to be here after Barca win, you're in for a treat! A few blocks south of its north end, you'll find La Boqueria, a very large, fresh air (but covered) market...see "Food" under "Buy" below.
  • Plaça d'Espanya with famous red columns built for the 1929 Expo and musical fountain (in summer).
  • The winding streets and hidden squares, fountains and palaces in the Barri Gòtic (Ciutat Vella). Check out 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.
  • Sant 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 in the Ciutat Vella 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
  • The Montjuïc Castle with it's beautiful panorama view over the rest of the city. Take the Harbour cable car to Barceloneta for more splendid views.
  • 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, [17]. 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 does not want to spoil the asthetics of its famous red and blue jersey. 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 Sevilla). 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!
  • FC Barcelona Tickets, Barcelona Football Club [18]. Official Ticket agent for FC Barcelona Tickets. It is a little overpriced than in the stadium but you skip long queues and asure the seats you want.
  • Zoo-Barcelona, [19] 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, [20]. 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 interesting 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, [21]. Modernist design by Lluís Domènech i Montaner is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997, a masterpiece of Catalan's Modernist Architecture.
  • Palau Nacional which hosts the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (Catalan National Museum of Art)
  • Monestir de 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.
  • Hospital de Sant Pau (Saint Paul's Hospital). Working hospital which is at the same time an architectural masterpiece open for visitors. As of Aug 2007, some buildings are being renovated; wards being moved to a new building of Nou Hospital--but it doesn't affect the experience seriously. One of "small hidden features" is a network of underground passages where small carriages can be seen--you can get there near WCs on a central square, between Banc de Sang and Quiròfans.
  • Enjoy city views from the rooftop of Hotel Majestic [22] Passeig Gràcia 68, +34 934 881 717. Just enter the elevator right from the lobby, and head up to the top floor.
  • L'Aquarium, [23]. The second biggest aquaurium of Europe (after that in Genoa). 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.


Gaudi architecture and Moderniste Barcelona

Gaudi architecture, including the Parc Güell, the still unfinished Sagrada Família and the houses; La Pedrera/Casa Milà and La Casa Batlló.

The Ruta del Modernisme takes you round all the best Modernisme (art nouveau) buildings in Barcelona. The main part of the route can be walked in a couple of hours, providing you don't stray too far from the main routes. The Tourist Offices offer a pack which includes discounted tickets to many attractions such as La Pedrera and La Casa Batlló. All can be seen from the outside for free.

  • La Pedrera (Casa Mila), (Diagonal metro station), [24]. Hosts a large exposition of Gaudi works, covering Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlio, not only La Pedrera itself. The exposition is a good place to start your exploration of Gaudi: it reveals many hidden details you would never notice yourself (of course, unless you studied the subject before visiting). entrance: approximately €8.
  • Güell Park (Parc 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. The park has two distinct parts, a relatively undeveloped natural area near the top of the hill, and the more famous (and crowded) sculpture park below. The sculpture portion is full of walkways and other structures exhibiting the distinct and colorful style of Gaudi, including the famous terrace. Free entrance. (If you take the bus 24, be caution of pickpockets. Bus 24 is has the most pickpockets of all the lines because it is full of tourists going to the park and it is usually very crowded.)
Sagrada Família Crucifix
  • Sagrada Família - To get up to the tower by elevator costs €2 (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 understand why people say that it is built of bones. Entrance costs €9. Get the audio commentary €3 it's well worth it. You will gain a much better appreciation of the Sagrada Família. Sagrada Família metro station.
  • La Casa Batlló, [25]. 9am-8pm. Open for visitors from ground floor to a roof, and down by an old-time elevator. entrance: adults €16.5.

Non-Gaudi modernisme:

  • Casa Amatller, [26] by Puig i Cadafalch, is a fine work of Modernisme. Open for visitors (free entrance), only ground floor. Check detailed photos and explanation of facade sculptures. Also has a shop which sells fine chocolate (the Amatller family made its money out of cocoa).

Museums

  • MHC, [27] 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. Free on the first sunday each month (but they close at 14:30)
  • MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) in the Palau Nacional, [28]. 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), Plaça dels Angels, 1, Tel +34 93 412 08 10, Weekdays: 11 am to 7.30 pm, Saturdays: 10 am to 8 pm, Sundays and holidays: 10 am to 3 pm, entrance EUR 4 [29].
  • CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.
  • Picasso Museum, Montcada, 15-23, (93)256-3000 (, fax: (93)315-0102), [30]. 10am-8pm (closes strictly on time; visitors invited to exit 10 minutes before closing time). Has a lot of art from his first period, before the cubism--but almost none of his most famous works. Pictures are signed only in Spanish; only overview texts for each period are available in English. Don't take laptops or valuables when heading to the museum: luggage over 30x30cm should be left at checkroom, but without any liability. Entrance: adults €6; discounted for students having student ID.
  • Caixa Fòrum, Plaça Espanya, [31]. This place hosts great exhibitions (at the time of writing: Dalí - Culture for the masses). Free entrance.
  • Fundació Antoni Tàpies, [32].This 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, [33] 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.
  • CASM - Centre d'Art Santa Mònica [34]. A contemporary art venue, showing solo exhibitions by national and international artists. Lots of other activities. Located in the lower part of Ramblas, admission is free.
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, [35]. This is one of Barcelona's most visited museums near the stadium.
  • Maritime Museum, [36]. This museum standing at the harbour depicts the Catalan maritime history of trade, wars and discoveries.
  • Catalan Archaeological Museum, [37]. Situated on the Monntjuic, it exhibits archaeological findings from Catalunia from different periods.
  • Catalan Ethnographical Museum, [38]. 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 fortification on the Montjuic.
  • Museum of Natural History, [39]. 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!).
  • Ceramic Museum, [40] at the Gaudi Pedralbes Palace

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. Today it's mostly occupied by tourists, you won't see any spanish sitting on its terraces. If you still want to have the experience of sitting on the famous street, expect to pay higher prices for food and drink. Avoid the groups of people supposedly betting on a game played on a carboard table, they are thieves. 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
  • Sit on a wooden bridge to Maremagnum with your shoes off just above the water: with a book, sandwich or just for a short rest.
  • 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 [41] 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. Although this was recently closed for renovation, it is now open again. Rides on the Montjuic cable are not included in transit tickets like the Barcelona Card.
  • Check out Montjuïc and its green surroundings, where you can also admire the German minimalist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1929 Pavilion ([42] 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 [43] and the best street skate tricks in town.
  • Catch a performance at the beautiful Teatre del Liceu and the Palau de la Musica Catalana.
  • Rent a bike or join a Biketour and get to see the highlights of the city in a different way. Ride from the magic beaches of the Mediterranean, to Gaudí's modernist buildings through the medieval atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter. More info: Biking in Barcelona [44]

Buy

Barcelona is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


  • Vinçon, Passeig de Gracia 96 (M. Diagonal), (93) 215-6050, [45]. Mon-Sat 10am-8:30pm. This is a place modern design lovers simply must visit. It has everything from little household objects to furniture.
  • Fnac, [47]. 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).
  • Kelkom, Gràcia's neighborhood. Còrsega 393 Street. Between Bruc and Girona Street.Underground L5 Verdaguer ó L3 Diagonal. Shop of gifts & accessories where you can find from necklaces, earrings, bracelets, shirts, bags, clocks, gifts and many things more, of different styles and prices.

Food

  • Cacao Sampaka, [48] (C/. Consell de Cent, 292), Xocoa or The Chocolate Factory are must for chocolate lovers. There's a Chocolate Museum in Carrer Comerç, 36.

Souvenirs

  • Art Monfalcon, Boters 4 (Final Portaferrisa), 93 301 13 25 (), [49]. Probably the largest souvenir shop in the city, 1000 sq. m. Almost no ordinary souvenir-shop trivialities; really good choice of creative and artistic souvenirs: watches, plates, jewelry, mugs. Creative mechanical toys: spiders etc. The only missing thing is Kukuxumusu, but there's a choice of other souvenir t-shirt brands.
  • 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.

Places to avoid:

  • The souvenir shopping scattered throughout the Barri Gotic (the old city) and all along La Rambla are tourist traps, none of them sells catalan or spanish products but the typical array of chinese general souvenirs, they should be avoided.

Clothes and shoes

  • Designers and chic fashion clothes are widely available in Born (Jaume I Metro station).
  • Most of luxury international brands can be found at Passeig de Gracia.
  • Amateur, c/Riera Baixa 16, Raval (m. Liceu / Sant Antoni), +34 93 329 1721 (). Mon-Sat 10:30am-2:30pm, 4:30-8:30pm. A small shop featuring several independent designers.
  • Custo Barcelona, [50]. Besides 3 standalone stores, can be found in Ministry of Sales (Placa del Pi, 2).
  • Jordi Labanda, C/del Rosselló, 232 (between Rambla de Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia), +34(93)496-1403 (), [51]. Brand store of famous Spanish designer.
  • Lluch Sabates, d'Avinyo 14. Features oXs, Italian designer shoes.
  • Miriam Ponsa, Career de la Princesa, 14. Small designer shop
  • Nice Day, Nice Things, 1) Maremagnum shopping center; 2) Carrer de Pau Claris, 172, +34(932)157-479, [52].
  • Agatha Ruiz De La Prada, C/ Consell De Cent 314, 932 155 288.
  • Camper, multiple locations, [53]. Standalone store at El Triangle shopping center at Placa de Catalunya seem to have widest choice of models and sizes in the city (10am-10pm; in 2007 had a vacation from mid-Aug to Sep 5).

Places to avoid:

  • Maremagnum. Mostly mass-market brands; no independent designers; only few shops of national chains.

Eat

Barcelona is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


Barcelona's cuisine is inconsistent in quality, as with all highly touristic cities, but good food does exist at reasonable prices. The old golden European-travellers rule of thumb applies well in Barcelona: to save money and get better food look for places that are out of sight of popular tourist attractions and where locals sit, restaurants with menus and service in English or German seldom offer good price and/or quality.

Where to eat during siesta
Majority of restaurants and cafes are closed between 4pm and 8pm for siesta. If you failed to plan for that, here are some places you can eat during this period:

  • tapas in bars (not too healthy nor cheap to substitute a full meal)
  • international chains
  • selected restaurants who are flexible enough to cater for tourists all day long: Origen 99.9%, Udon, Vegetalia.


Most restaurants (and some bars) offer a menú del dia (menu of the day), which usually means a simple and unpretentious two course meal (one salad, main dish and a drink; plus a desert sometimes), 3 or 4 options each, with a drink and a dessert, for €8 to €15-20, depending on a restaurant. During the week, most more expensive and happening restaurants offer lunch specials from 2pm to 4pm. The savvy traveler will try the hip places for a fraction of the price during the day.

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.

The bigger restaurants (more than 100 square meters) have non-smoking areas. In most of the smaller places smoking is permitted.


Dishes

You can get food from any part of the world in Barcelona, but make sure you try some specifically Catalan food.

See Catalan cuisine section in the Catalonia article.

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).

A treat that no travel guide mentions is waffles sold at street stands: the smell you can't stand will find you in the most popular pedestrian areas. Places to recommend are still to be found.

Areas to eat

A 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 budget eating you may choose "menu del dia" in small bars on the Avinguda del Parallel for €9-€11 per person. But sometimes people there don't speak English and menu is also in Spanish.

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. This part of the town is quite touristy and a bit expensive.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Up to €10
Mid-range €10 - €25
Splurge €25 and up


Budget

  • Near Sagrada Familia on the Carrer de Provenca (across from the church, and next to the McDonald´s) 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 10.30 Euro and credit cards are accepted. Open 24h.(September 2007).
  • Suzet A nice place with a modern environment. The best crêpes mixing modern and typical catalan ingredients. C/Tallers,69 T. 93 318 4724

Groceries

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.


Non-Spanish Cuisine

  • Döner Kebab: There is no shortage of Döner stands in Barcelona, offering tasty beef or chicken and salad in toasted flatbread for around €3.50.

Vegetarian

  • 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.
  • Juicy Jones C/Cardenal Casañas 7, 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.
  • Maoz[54] offers excellent vegan falafel (including unlimited salad) for around 4 euros. There are several around Barcelona including one on 95, La Rambla, about 10 minutes walk from Pl Catalunya. Fantastic Veggie!!!
  • Vegetalia, 54, Escudellers st., 93 317 33 31, [55]. 10:00 - 00:00. Offers excellent organic vegetarian foods, as a compliment to the restaurant there's a store carries the full range of Vegetalia products as well as other well-sourced organic foods. The staff is friendly and prices reasonable. 5-10€.

Mid range

  • Bestial C/Ramón Trias Fargas 2-4, for their fabulous lunch specials to be enjoyed on their great beach terrace on warm sunny days. Dinner tends to be quite expensive, thus lunch is the best option.
  • Hisop, passage Marimon 20, [56], one of the most promising cuisines in Barcelona with excellent wine service. Mains around € 20.


Traditional Spanish cuisine

  • El Asador de Aranda, Avda Tibidabo (train to Avda Tibidabo). A place reviews recommend for celebrating a birthday. 30€ per person for a set menu.
  • Can Punyetes, C/Maria Cubi 189. A very traditional Catalan restaurant. A must, frequented by locals only. Menu in Catalan, but it's worth to risk out: the food is fabulous.


  • El Glop, three locations, [57]. 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.
  • Braseria El Glop, C/de Casp, 21, 93 318 75 75, [58].
  • Taverna El Glop, Sant Lluís, 24 (intersection of Sant LLuís/Montmany), 93 213 70 58, [59].


  • Els Quatre Gats (Four Cats), Carrer Montsio, 3 bis, 93 302-41-40 (), [60]. A disputably tourist trap, tourists are a good percentage of visitors. It is the successor to the famous cafe where Gaudi drank and Picasso exhibited, in a fine Modernisme building by Puig i Cadafalch. The cooking is excellent, if it's not onion soup. Wine recommended by waiters is quite expensive. Old-school interior, formally dressed waiters. Local visitors for dinner are either over 40s or families with children. Menu del dia: €21 (1pm-4pm weekdays); main courses typically ~€17 and up (VAT not included).
  • 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.
  • Origen 99.9%, (), [61]. 12:30pm-1am Mon-Sun ('''no break for siesta'''). Eco-friendly chain of catalonian-cuisine restaurants; organic only in some of products. Good choice of specialty liquors. Locations: main courses: fish €5.5-6; meat: 5.85.
  • Passeig del Born, 4, 932 956 690.
  • Muntaner, 409, 932-014-579 ().
  • C/Enric Granados 9, +34(93)453-1120.
  • C/Ramon y Cajal 12, (+34) 93 213 60 31.
  • C/Vidrieria 6-8, +34(93)310 75 31.


Non-Spanish Cuisine

  • Udon, four locations, see below, [62]. A chain of inexpensive noodle restaurant&bars, declares to be "first and authentic noodle bar in the city, inspired by Udon Ya popular in Japan". No reservations.
  • Born, Princesa 23 / Montcada 6 (Metro Jaume I (line 4)). Tue-Sun 13-24; closed on Mon.
  • L'Illa, Centre L'Illa Diagonal, Avinguda Diagonal, 545-565 (Metro Maria Cristina (line 3)), 93 444 11 99. Mon-Sat 13-21:15.
  • Raval, Tallers 69 (Metro Catalunya (line 3)), 93 301 45 69. Mon-Sat 13-24. Extremely prompt service; smart-looking waiters even help each other in everything they do--really rare thing in restaurants.
  • Eixample, Concell de Cent, 23 (Metro Passeig de Grac (line 4), Universitat (line 3)), 93 487 51 69. Mon-Sat 13-24. Re-opened in Aug 2007.

Vegetarian

  • 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.
  • Batik Resturant, 454 Valéncia, [63]. Indonesian, Malasia and Tailandia food. Just a 3 minute walk from La Sagrada Familia makes this combination and ideal way to spend an afternoon. To get there from La Sagrada Familia (or the metro stop (L2 or L5) you just head down "Calle Marina" and turn left onto "Calle Valéncia". Batik Restaurant is located on the right hand side of the street -- you can't miss it.

Splurge

  • Alkimia, Carrer Industria 79. Author's cuisine restaurant run by Jordi Vilà has received strong reviews since opening in 2003. Minimalist white interior. Michelin Star.
  • Gaig, Aragó 214 [64]. This classic Barcelona restaurant has recently moved into the stylish Cram Hotel and features updated Catalan dishes. Modern black and red interior. Michelin Star. Expensive.
  • Cinc Sentits, Aribau 58, [65], named one of the 80 Hottest New Restaurants in the World by Condé Nast Traveller shortly after opening in 2004. Features contemporary Catalan cuisine in a modern, warm interior. One of the few restaurants in Barcelona to offer a wine pairing.

Drink

Barcelona is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


Cafes

  • StarBucks, [66]. 17 locations in most of the touristic destinations around the city. Same as any Starbucks anywhere in the world, usually packed with US tourists...
  • Bracafe, C/Casp #2, [67]. come here to drink proper coffee, and chat among people from Barcelona.

Bars

Sutton - Located on Diagonal, this club hosts Studio 54 on Thursdays. If you like house or Techno music this is a must. Open until the metro starts back up, Sutton has a very large dance floor with two VIP rooms. It also has a small stage where multiple go-go dancers perform throughout the night

  • Catwalk, [68]. One of the most visited nightclub. Gets busy at around 2am. They offer 2 different floors with R&B and hip-hop styles mixed with House or Techno.
  • 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.
  • Fonfone, C/Escudellers 24, [69]. 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.
  • Maumau, [70]. A chilled out lounge bar with groovy tunes with an irregular program 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.
  • La Paloma, Tigre 27 (M. Sant Antoni), [71]. Thu, Sat 10pm-5am; Fri 2:30am-5am. 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. entrance €5-15.
  • Shoko, [72] 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.
  • Dow Jones, Carrer Bruc 97. Really cool bar where the prices of drinks fluctuate like in the stock market! Cool atmosphere, and it's really fun when the market crashes, prices drop and everyone rushes to the bar to order a drink.
  • Baja Beach Club, Paseo Maritimo 34, [73]. Originally from Holland, pretty hip bar / disco with good music, large dance-floor, theme decoration... and beautiful waitresses dressed in bikinis (also guys scantily clad). This bar is no longer there! But the location has been changed into a slightly more upmarket, international style bar.


Budget

Mid-range

  • Comerç 24, Carrer del Comerç 24, Born, Ciutat Vella (M. Arc de Triomf), +34 93 319-2102 (), [74]. A fashion tapas bar. Very creative, very good.

Splurge

Sleep

Template:Spain/Accommodation types

Accommodation

Barcelona offers a great arrangement of accommodations, from cheap, decent "hostel" rooms with the bathroom down the hall to five-star hotels.

See the district articles: Ciutat Vella (Gothic Quarter), Eixample, Gràcia and Barcelonetta for detailed listings of hotels, hostals and pensions, hostels and apartments.


Apartments

Barcelona has hundreds of short term and vacation rental apartments, and many websites offer search and booking services for rentals from agencies and direct from owners. Some guest houses and hotels also offer self-catered apartments.

See the Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Gràcia and Barceloneta district articles for detailed listings of apartments.

Only agencies that each provide apartments across a variety of districts are listed below:


  • WayToStay Barcelona apartments, Calle Marques de L'Argentera 25, +34 938 021 535, GSM +34 666 791 731 (), [75].
  • HeyBCN Apartments, Avinguda de Francesc Cambo 23, +34 933 104 451, GSM +34 665 332 236 (), [79].



Contact

Telephone and Mobile services

Internet

  • Infoespai [80], Plaça del Sol. A free Internet cafe, and social centre. In the Gràcia quarter.
  • Bornet, Barra de Ferro 3, +34932681507.



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 similar, and asking you for some 50 or 100 Euros that are missing for their ticket home.

If you need to use an ATM, especially in very tourist heavy areas, use caution. When possible, use ATM in less crowded areas just off the main street. Scams have been known to happen involving ATM and PIN number theft. Be sure to stand directly in front of the machine and do not let yourself get distracted until your transaction is complete, and your cash and card safely stowed. Do not pay any mind to anyone trying to "help" you retrieve a card that seems stuck in the machine by imploring that you enter your Pin number until it comes out. At this point your card is already stolen and you should proceed directly to the nearest phone to cancel said card.

Even while in your hands, your money may not be safe. An all too common occurence in commercial establishments is that the cashier will either simply overcharge you, and/or (even if you have already had the first corrected) apply the following trick: if you make a payment that requires change, they will refuse it and demand that you pay the exact amount. If you are not very attentive however, they will "forget" to return your initial payment. It may seem lousy not to notice this, but in a fast moving and confusing setting, it happens easier than you think, especially if you are somewhat tired or intoxicated. Incidents like this do also happen in decent looking establishments, such as shopping malls and airport stores. A telltale sign of impeding trouble is that the cashier will suddenly lose the ability to speak or understand any single word of English, and the register to display the total amount. If you still have all your money in hand, the best course of action is to abandon your goods and walk away.

Often a version of Three Card Monte is played on Las Ramblas. This game involves a dealer placing an object under one of three cups. The dealer then moves the three cups around mixing them up. The gambler tries to keep track of which cup the object is located under. After the cups have been mixed up, the gambler is given a chance to pick which cup the object is under, if the gambler chooses correctly he/she wins the amount gambled (Usually €50). However, it is not possible to win. This is a complete scam. Sure you will see people winning, and winning a lot of money. Those people are in on the scam with the dealer. Whatever you do, don't gamble, just watch and make sure not to make anyone involved mad. Remember there are more people involved than you realize.

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

Women traveling alone should exercise caution while 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.

Men traveling alone 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.

Another nuisance is that you may be approached by youths roaming the streets, asking people to sign all sorts of petitions. If you decline or ignore them, they may grasp you by the arm and start yelling at you. Just break physical contact and further ignore them. If you feel really unsafe, make some noise yourself to attract bystander attention.

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.

Beware anyone coming up to you and saying Rohnaldinio and then showing you some dance that He is famous for. Unless you don't like having a wallet. Popular after a Football game.

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.

  • Hospital Clinic I Provincial De Barcelona, C/ Villarroel 170, +34 932 275 400 Metro: Hospital Clinic (Line 5).

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





This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages

other sites