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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Insider's Guide to Barcelona

View of the Park Güell, El Carmel, Barcelona.Image via Wikipedia

This is an insider's guide to Barcelona; find out what you and your travel companions just cannot miss on your Barcelona holiday! Includes practical information about arrival, accommodation etc.

Coming to Barcelona 

Coming to Barcelona by plane you'll be landing at either Barcelona's international airport El Prat, or in Girona. From the Barcelona airport there is a "Renfe" train that is scheduled to Barcelona only every 30 min. Hopping on an airport bus is often the quickest way to get to the center (25 min) and will cost you about 5€. for 25-30€, depending on how much luggage you bring. Getting to Barcelona from this airport you take ths bus to the Estacio Nord station in Barcelona. From here you'll get anywhere in central Barcelona in a quick cab ride. Finding a place to park in Barcelona can be a very frustrating experience. It pays off to inform yourself before leaving about costs and location regarding parking!

Barcelona Holiday Accommodation

For accommodation in Barcelona you will have to decide whether to stay in a hotel, a hostel or a vacation apartment .If you go as a group; together with friends or in a family, the apartment option is in general the preferred alternative. A short-term rental will provide you with a comfortable stay in a central location with all the necessary utilities. Renting an apartment in Barcelona will also mean choosing the budget friendly accommodation, and couples can also find good deals for studios and a more private atmosphere compared to a hotel or a hostel.

 Top 5 Barcelona Experiences for Families

1.The Magic Fountain - A fountain splashing multi-colored rays of lights at Plaza Espanya. A definite "Barcelona moment" to remember!

2.The Barcelona Aquarium - Children can't help but have a good time!  Sharks and all sorts of exotic aquatic life is always a big hit among the youngest!

3.Tibidabo - The western hill, part of the Collserola natural park. Here you'll find Norman Foster designed TV tower and an amusement park, both with spectacular city views.

4. Parc Güell - It is maybe architect Antoni Gaudi´s second most famous construction, after Sagrada Familia. The site was originally intended as an urban development. As no one wanted to live this far away from the center it is now a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic overlooking the city.

5.Port Aventura (in Tarragona) - Like a Spanish Disneyland it is something you don't want to tell your kids about unless you really intend on taking them! Fortunately it is easy to get there by train from Barcelona to the Estacióyou arrive at the Camp de Tarragona station in an hour's time.

Top 5 Barcelona Experiences for Couples

1.La Sagrada Familia - The main symbol of the city. Antoni Gaudi's temple, now 125 years "in the making" but naturally no less fascinating!

2.Parc del Laberint - A small, well-hidden park that contains a challenging labyrinth of hedges. A beautiful, tranquil spot far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.

3.Dining in Grácia - This former village is "punctuated" by numerous charming squares thus people flock here to dine and have a glass in one of these, year round.

4.Barcelona Harbour - A charming evening stroll by the Barcelona harbor, from the Columbus statue at the end of Las Ramblas to the historical museum in Barceloneta. Along this side of the harbor there are restaurants with a pretty spectacular seaside setting.

5.El Born - Possibly the most charming part of Barcelona and the Old Town. Visit the Picasso museum, marvel at "the cathedral of the sea" (Santa Maria del Mar) and enjoy a night out in excellent restaurants and cool bars.

Top 5 Barcelona Experiences for Friends on Vacation

1. Camp Nou - The FC Barcelona football stadium, with almost 100.000 seats. This is where you go to see "the best football team in the world", FC Barcelona "Barça" in the biggest stadium in Europe. For sports fans, it doesn't get any better than this!

2. Plaza Reial - Establishments in and around this grand "plaza" in the Old Town district of Barcelona. For all kinds of people, and the scene is always lively.

3. Plaza del Sol - A square located in the Grácia district - a great place to start a night out in one of the bars with terrace seating. In and around the square there are numerous fun and interesting clubs and bars.

4. Tapas in Barri Gótic - All though tapas is not really a Catalan tradition people do enjoy going out to share food, drinks and laughs in this manner. The Old Town is where you'll find a variety tapas bars, especially moving towards the port in the Barri Gótic neighborhood.

5. Shopping in Passeig de Grácia - If closing your eyes while you slide tour credit card through the machine is not your idea of fun, at least enjoy the buildings, people watching and sitting down with a drink and a bite to eat!

Barcelona is one of the top city break destinations on the planet and suitable for all types of people and all forms of city break holidays, and this guide just hints at what's there to be experienced. There is not one "perfect" Barcelona holiday, there are many but hopefully you'll find some ideas here as to where to start your search for yours.


Author: Bo Vibe - Barcelona enthusiast, writer, musician and kamikaze inline skater.
3 years living in Barcelona, exploring dining, nighlife and most aspects of cultural life in Barcelona.
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