“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”– Anonymous.
We visited Barcelona in April 2019.
‘Aeroport de Barca-El Prat’ is the international airport of Barcelona (12 kms from city center) and have 2 terminals which are quite far from each other. Thanks to the connecting bus services, you don’t have to worry about the distance.
Barca (further I will refer Barcelona as Barca, hope you don’t mind me doing that😊) is one of Europe’s most popular cities for tourists and of course one of our favourite cities too. There are so many things to experience and indeed its a beautiful city.
When we talk about Barca, we cannot forget the name of Anton Gaudi, especially his incredible architecture.
Even though Barca is fairly a big city, you don’t have to really panic on how to cover all the places. Thanks to the efficient public transportation (especially the underground Metro), you can easily cover the length and breadth of this city with ease.
In the summer, all attractions gets overcrowded. So, do a booking ahead. By chance if you are in this city in Summer, try to start your day well ahead so that you can beat the rush wherever possible.
Also try to book your tickets (for attractions) online prior to your travel dates. Most of them offer a discounted rates if prior booking is done.
I think there needs to be a special mention about the Metro. You can easily compare Barca metro to the one that you would have seen in London. The Barca Metro is an extensive network of rapid transit electrified railway lines that run mostly underground in central Barca and into the city’s suburbs. It is made up of 12 lines, combining the lines owned by the two companies(TMB & FGC). The details of the 12 Lines are shown below (Courtesy:Wikipedia)
Initially you might find some difficulties in identifying the metro routes/platforms and so on, but you will get to know it very fast. A couple of trips will give you a fair understanding. In all stations, there will be clear boards like the one below:
There will be also clear markings in the trains (mostly), which clearly indicates the stops.
Grab a Metro map as soon as you reach Barca. You will get the maps (free of cost) in literally all parts of this city.
We were in this city for 2 days. The 48 Hours/2 Days Hola card was a perfect pick from our side.
I would suggest you to take a Hola Barca Travel card (will look something like below). It is very convenient and easy to use. You can keep moving around the metro stations without any huzzle. You should always ensure that you have a Valid travel ticket while using the public transport. I have seen officials checking the tickets on multiple occasions.
You can get the card from the machine (like the one shown below).
Please find more details here: https://www.holabarcelona.com/tickets/hola-bcn-Barcelona-travel-card?
The 2-day card would charge around 15.20 Euros (adults) and kids up to 4 years goes free.
It is a non-transferable travel card that allows you make as many journeys as you like using the metro, bus (TMB), urban railway (FGC, Zone 1), Montjuïc funicular, tram (TRAM), and regional railway (Rodalies de Catalunya, Zone 1).
Now let’s get into the details. I have found the 2 days itinerary mentioned below very effective.
Obviously, your preference/taste might vary, but I believe you can keep the following places name in your mind while preparing a itinerary for Barca.
Believe me, you don’t have to depend on any tour operators or agencies for making a plan for you. Do some homework by going through the blogs like this and make a detailed plan. You can save a lot of bucks.
Arc de Triomf & Ciutadella Park
Gothic Quarter and Barca Cathedral / Cathedral De Barca
Palau De La Musica Catalana
La Rambla Street
Plaza Catalunya (Pigeon feeding)
Camp Nou Stadium
1) Arc de Triomf & Ciutadella Park
This is one of the favourite parts of the city for many tourists. Get down at the Arc de Triomf metro station and wander through the grand Arc de Triomf and the neighboring city park.
2) Barca Zoo
The zoo in Barca is located in the city park. This is one of the most ranked zoos in entire Spain.
It has many open enclosures, where you can see animals very near. There is also an infant zoo, where you get a chance to get various animals introduced to your children..
We had visited many Zoo’s in Europe. So we decided to skip this Zoo.
The ticket price is around 20 Euros. The ticket price is less if the purchased well in advance.
Please find more details here: https://www.zoobarcelona.cat/en/home
3) Gothic Quarter and Barca Cathedral / Cathedral De Barca
Gothic Quarter is the most visited and one of the oldest parts of Barca and it contains many of the top attractions including the Cathedral of Barca and a handful of Roman ruins.
NOTE: Please check out for the timings here : https://catedralbcn.org/
Officially named the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, but commonly known as the Barca Cathedral, this church holds a lot of history.
4) Palau De La Musica Catalana
The Palau de la Música Catalana (English: Palace of Catalan Music) is a concert hall in Barca, Catalonia, Spain.
Note: A ticket is required for entry. You can get the tickets from the entrance of the hall and I believe ticket price is less if the purchased well in advance.
Details can be found in the Website: https://www.palaumusica.cat/ca
5) La Rambla Street
This is undoubtedly the most touristy part of Barca and is a must for any first-time visitor to Barca and there are lots of reasons why it’s so popular. A hive of activity, Barca’s most famous street is lined with street performers, souvenir peddlers and market stalls. Off course there are lot of Restaurant chains like the KFC’s and the MacD’s….
6) Plaza Catalunya (Pigeon feeding)
The Placa de Catalunya is the heart of the city, and is located in the one end of La Rambla street. It has many cafes. All major sightseeing tour (Like Hop-On Hop-Off) tickets can be purchased at the official tourist information center located at the plaza. Pigeon Feeding is one fun activity that many tourists indulge into, when they are in this place.
7) Camp Nou Stadium
Even if you are not a football fan, I would certainly recommend this place (if not for watching a live game, at least the stadium tour). With a seating capacity of 99,354, it is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe, and the third largest football stadium in the world in capacity.
This is the home ground of one of the world famous football club ‘Barca’(My Favourite club😊). There are different ticket options available at the entrance gate. During the stadium tour, you get a chance to see the VIP suites, players locker rooms, Trophies, Press Area and so on.You can even sit in the seats, the coach sits in during the game!
When you visit here, you will release how the name ‘Messi’ has been marketed in this club. Its Messi, Messi and Messi all around.
More Details can be found here : https://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/tickets/camp-nou-experience
Teleferic de Montjuic cable car
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
La Sagrada Familia
Tibidabo Amusement Park (Optional)
Park Guell by Gaudi
1) Teleferic de Montjuic cable car
Get into the L2/L3 Metro line and get down at Parallel metro stop. There is a funicular (a mountain side railway) that will take you to a certain point of the hill. You can use your Hola Card in this funicular. If you want to visit the very top of the Montjuic hill, it’s a short steep walk or you can take the cable car.
This cable car gives you a panoramic view of the city. My personal recommendation will be to take only a one side ticket here. For the return trip, you can rely on the public transport bus or you can even walk down the hill.
There are plenty of places to enjoy views from Montjuïc, the final destination of the cable car.
This huge fortress has played a key role in the history of the city over the last few hundred years.
For visiting the castle, you need to take a separate ticket. I have heard from other tourists that it was not worth the price. However, you can roam around all the castle (free of charge) and take some spectacular pictures.
2) Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
When you come down the hill in the bus, you will also come upon the Museu Nacional D’art de Cataluna (MNAC). The museum, constructed for the International Exposition of 1929, houses the world’s best collection of Romanesque mural paintings. Note: A ticket is required for entry.
Details can be found in the Website: https://www.palaumusica.cat/ca
3) Casa Mila
Casa Milá is also a popular place among the visitors.
It was built in the early 1900’s by Gaudí and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984 for its uniqueness, artistic and heritage value.
More details can be found here : http://www.lapedrera.com/en/visits
Earlier I mentioned to you about Hola Barca Travel card. There are also cards like ‘Barca Pass’(with which you can save some money, on top attractions in Barcelona)
Explore more using this website to make a decision : https://www.barcelonapass.com/
Casa Mila is a very good place to use the Barca Pass, which has skip the line access to Casa Mila, meaning you don’t need to queue to get in here. Otherwise you will have to spend a lot of time waiting in the queue.
4) La Sagrada Familia
One of the world famous attraction in Barca is the La Sagrada Familia
The work is still in progress more than 90 years after the death of its architect and visionary, Antoni Gaudí.
It is one of Europe’s greatest cathedrals, and the crowds come in masses to see it. Make sure to reserve your Sagrada Familia ticket ahead of time! Tickets sell out weeks in advance.
To be frank, I underestimated this destination and ended up with no tickets.
The latest expected completion date is 2026, although it’s changed so many times.
5) Tibidabo Mountain
I have personally not visited this place, but happened to see this on my way to Park Guell. So, not sure if you can accommodate this place in your 2nd day itinerary.
This is one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks. You can walk to the top of Tibidabo and catch some great views of Barca.
6) Park Guell by Gaudi
Situated on the hills in the northern part of the city, Park Güell is another of Gaudí’s masterpiece works. This is constructed in a huge area with a number of installations to explore and visit.
Have heard that Park Güell did not have an entry fee earlier, but its overwhelming popularity led to a ticketing system being put in place.
Parc Guell is considered as one of the most creative park in the world. Get there as early as possible to avoid the crowds. You can buy tickets in advance via their website. Children would absolutely love this place, for sure.
Official Website : https://parkguell.barcelona/
Even though I have presented you a 2-day itinerary, I would personally suggest you to accommodate at least 3 days for this beautiful city.
You can visit any of the below places (based on your taste/interest), if you have more days in your plan:
Also, while making a plan for Barca Trip, do spend some time exploring the pros/cons of the below cards. There are many money saving options like this, in Barca:
1) Barca City Pass (https://travelcats.Barca.ticketbar.eu)
2) Barca Card (https://bcnshop.Barcaturisme.com)
3) Barca Pass (https://www.Barcapass.com/?)
4) T10 Card
Most of the attractions in Barca gives you discounts in ticket price if booked online/in advance. Please try to exploit those options and get the best deals.
Two words that I have learned from this trip:
Vueling Airline is one good low-cost company that arrives in Barcelona from lots of destinations.
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