Barcelona 1

Barcelona – excellent 3rd visit

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At last a good visit to Barcelona

After three failed attempts to visit to Barcelona I had to plan an express trip to do it.

Barcelona is a large and beautiful city, at any time of the year full of tourists who not only swarm the best-known places, but also put permanent pressure on demand, inflating prices.

This is the first notable note – the high price of all visits, and the fact that in almost all of them it is essential to book entry in advance, under penalty of not getting in or spending hours in huge queues to buy tickets. The difficulty is predicting the day and time of each visit, as everything has a scheduled time.

I bought everything in advance on the GetYourGuide website, which was very well organized and functional without a big difference in prices.

Another important note is the dispersion of the attractions, recommending planning the visit in blocks, connecting them using good public transport. The Hola Barcelona card is very practical and allows you to install an extremely useful application.

Ciutadella Area

​Triumphal Arch

We start at the Arc de Triomphe, an imposing building from 1888 to enter the Ciutadella park, site of the Universal Exhibition.

Barcelona

The triumphal arch is 30 meters high and only serves decorative objectives.

After the fair it was moved to the actual location.

The visit continued through the well-kept park, which features an artistic lake, a precious image for the crowd of photographers who permanently surround it.

Ciutadella Park

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Lake

Near it, there’s another one, more discreet but more playful.

Lake in Ciutadella Park
Lake in Ciutadella Park

Among the buildings built for the fair, remains the exotic original “Castelo dos 3 Dragões”, closed to the public. Greenhouses and statues are scattered throughout the park, which ends with the Zoo, which we didn’t visit.

Castle of the 3 Dragons
Castle of the 3 Dragons

Still inside the park is the beautiful building of the Parliament of Catalonia.

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Parlamient palace

Pergola del Monumental
Pergola del Monumental
Miró sculpture
Antoni Finquei sculpture

South bus station

Bus station
Bus station

Riverfront

Rambla del Mar

Rambla del Mar
Rambla del Mar

Plaza Colon

Plaza Colon
Plaza Colon

Alfandega

Alfandega
Alfandega

Duc de Medinaceli square

Duc de Medinaceli
Duc de Medinaceli

Post Office

Correos
Correos

Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar
Barcelona - excellent 3rd visit


Near the park is the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar (closed until too late).

Mercè

Mercè
Mercè
El Cap de Barcelona
El Cap de Barcelona

Sagrada Familia area

Sagrada Familia

Barcelona
Sagrada Família in 1976

Under construction for almost 160 years, what is considered Gaudi’s masterpiece stands out clearly in the noblest area of Barcelona.
With plans to complete the structure on the centenary of the architect’s death, in 2026, the expensive ticket paid by the millions of visitors is financing the work.

Sagrada Família in 2023
Sagrada Família in 2023

In 1976 I only had a quick external look. In 2023 we joined the thousands of the daily visitors, and entered. If you want to see the details, even the external ones, it is the only solution.

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia

Entering the church, is a fabulous experience, A kaleidoscope of lights, respects and enhances the tradition of stained glasses, but everything is different and new.

Santa Creu i Sant Pau complex

Santa Creu
Santa Creu i Sant Pau hospital

A few hundred meters from the church you may visit this modernist complex, a fabulous project of Lluis Domenech i Montaner. Our time was short, and we only could see it from outside.

Gloriès tower

Glories tower
Glories tower

Also at short distance but in a different direction, in Diagonal Avenue, there´s a famous tower, whose more distinctive detail is the illumination

We may see it when approaching the Sagrada Família, but to see the lights, we needed to make an express trip.

Not difficult, because there’s a metro station nearby, so, with a Hola Barcelona card we just had to select the line, exit, enjoy the view, make a couple of pictures and return to Ramblas, where life goes on at night and we were installed.


Ramblas area

Plaza Catalunya

Plaza Catalunya
Plaza Catalunya

Rambla

Rambla
Rambla

Ramblas by night

Ramblas
Ramblas

Bethlehem church

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Bethlehem church

La Boqueria

La Boqueria
La Boqueria

Plaça Boqueria

Plaza Boqueria
Plaza Boqueria

Teatro Liceo

Teatro del Liceo
Teatro del Liceo

Pitarra statue

Pitarra
Pitarra

Erotism museum

Erotism museum
Erotism museum

Barrio Gótico

Palau de la Musica Catalana

Musica Catalana
Musica Catalana

Cathedral

Barcelona
Cathedral in 1976
Cathedral
Cathedral in 2023

Video in Youtube

San Jaume

San Jaume
San Jaume

Plaza Real

Plaza Real
Plaza Real

Pont de Bisbe

Pont de Bisbe
Pont de Bisbe

Plaza del Rey

Plaza del Rey
Plaza del Rey

Palau del Lloctinent

Palau del lloctenient
Palau del lloctinent

Monument to the Martyrs of Independence

Martyrs of Independence
Martyrs of Independence

El Raval

Palau Guell

Palau Guell
Palau Guell

San Agusti

San Agosti
San Agosti

Holy Cross hospital

Holy Cross Hospital
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Rubiol and Lluch gardens

Rubiol and Lluch
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Rambla of Raval

Rambla de Raval
Rambla de Raval

Gato Botero

Gato Botero
Gato Botero

Gracià area

Battló house

Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló

Milà house

Casa Milà
Casa Milà

Comalat house

Casa Comalat
Casa Comalat

Bonet and Amatller houses

Bonet and Amatller
Bonet and Amatller

Fuster house

Casa Fuster
Casa Fuster

Coliseum

Coliseum
Coliseum

Plaza de España and Montjuic area

Plaza Espanya

Plaza Espanya
Plaza Espanya

Pueblo Español

Barcelona

Montjuic palace

Barcelona

Fountain

Fountain
Fountain

Parc Miró

Parc Miró
Parc Miró

Ouskirts of town

Guell park

Parc Guell
Parc Guell

Tibidabo

Tibidabo
Tibidabo

Even further from the center and with more complex access, Tibidabo was in our plans, however Fernanda got sick in the last day, and we had to skip it. We had a distant look and reserved it for the next visit.

Rest2 Frida

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Frida – Barcelona

Our first lunch had to be quick, in the Arc de Triomphe area, and this modest restaurant, with a small terrace, seemed to suit us.
And it actually worked! Grilled loins, well cooked and served, good price, fast enough so that when there was little rain we were already dispatched.
The only negative point is the intense smell of sewage in the street, unfortunately very common in almost the entire city.

Rest2 Travellers Nest Bar

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Plaza Real
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Travellers Nest Bar

On the day of arrival we joined the Flamenco program with a tapas dinner.

The meeting took place at Travellers Nest Bar, on a busy narrow street of the Gothic Quarter, with a short walk to the beautiful Plaza Real where the show took place.


At the end, we were escorted back to the bar for a tapas dinner.

Nothing dazzling, but pleasant, in the company of a small but friendly group of strangers.

Rest2 Ocaña

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Ocaña

This is one of the most famous restaurants in Barcelona, not exactly for the food, but for its exoticism.
Located in the beautiful royal square, visually well integrated into it, it has become a meeting point for drag queens, who liven up the place. The terrace is pleasant, the food is acceptable, but the price is a little more “spicy” than appropriate.

Rest2 Universal

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Universal

With a great location, right on the Rambla and in a very busy area, this terrace was a natural choice for us.
We ate a storiless paella, entertained by the movement around, and some agitation over a customer who had forgotten to pay.
Without a reason, the price was unbeatable, given the location and the simplicity of the food.

Rest1 Nuria

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Núria

An excellent lunch, in a very busy restaurant, with a permanent queue, despite the quick and friendly service. The location in the Rambla, close to Plaza de Catalunya explains the confusion, and demands a very professional management.
Adequate price.

Rest1 Cafe Moderno Bcn

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Café Moderno Bcn

Fernanda was sick, so I had dinner alone, at a restaurant that was willing to make a toast to take her to the hotel.
This restaurant opposite the hotel was the natural choice, and it was impeccable.
With a simple and very discreet room, they presented me with a monumental and extremely tasty steak. The hour was late, and it was with remorse that I enjoyed it until the end.
A very pleasant price, and the toast was perfect and well packaged.

Hotel1 Hotel Ramblas by Vincci

Ramblas hotel
Barcelona - excellent 3rd visit

When booking I had some doubts because there are two Ramblas hotels in this area of Barcelona. I was scared by negative reviews, especially due to the oldness of the hotel, which didn’t fit in with the images. everything became clear with the identification of both hotels.
This is a modern, comfortable, well-located hotel with a good breakfast.
Normal price within Barcelona’s (high) standards, and friendly and attentive staff.
Some insufficiency in the room service, as I needed to carry out a second cleaning, they provided me with the material, but I had to do the cleaning myself, as there were no staff at night.

Catalunya museum

National Art Museum
National Art Museum

Wax museum

Wax Museum
Wax Museum

Flamenco show

Tarantos
Los Tarantos

Although more linked to Andalusia, flamenco, made a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is today danced throughout Spain.
In Barcelona it is also a natural alternative for the night.
We watched a show in Los Tarantos, in the beautiful Plaza Real. An economical spectacle, with just a couple of good dancers, its highest point was the excellent viola player.

Video in Youtube

Maritim museum

Maritim museum
Maritim museum

Caixa Forum

Caixa Forum
Caixa Forum

Smell

Statue
Statue

In a beautiful city like Barcelona, one thing clashes – the smell. In many places, even the most beautiful ones, we are hit by an intense aroma of sewage. Perhaps because we get used to it, as the days go by the discomfort disappears, until we manage to forget it.

Guell

Park Guell
Park Guell

The journey to Park Guell is somewhat complex, and, having purchased the Hola Barcelona card, I followed the instructions on the respective application to find the best transport combination.
I ended up being led to a door at the back, at the top of the park.
For those who want to visit everything, including the less touristy areas, it is a good solution, because everything is covered going downhill, but for those like us, who already have a dozen kilometers on our legs, the extensive route through areas of little interest was somewhat painful.
On the way back we took the same route at the main door, which led me to conclude that the bus must go around the park, so if we hadn’t gotten off at the top door we should have been taken to where we wanted.

Distances

Plaza Espanya
Plaza Espanya

Barcelona is a large city, with very dispersed attractions, requiring good planning of visits and transport.
The Hola Barcelona card is quite versatile and was very useful to us, but even transfers between the metro and buses take kilometers. With a meticulous plan for the sequence of visits, and using public transport whenever possible, on no day did we manage to walk less than 15 kilometers.

Fuente de Canaletas

Canaletas
Canaletas

Maps and guides systematically referred to the Canaletas fountain as one of the attractions at the top of the Rambla next to Plaza de Catalunya.


I tried several times, and I couldn’t find it.
Only on the third day, reading in the hotel, did I realize that the fountain had been closed, and was now just a lamp.

A lamp that I walked around several times, looking for the fountain.

Promotional tricks

Drag queens
Drag queens

​Shopping Malls

If you tell Fernanda I wrote this I’m a dead man. I’ve been in Barcelona more than 30 years ago, in a rush to proceed to France and Germany.

I got an excellent idea of the town, but, for one reason or another, I never went back – even when we went to Andorra, and Salou, visiting Montserrat, we skipped Barcelona.

Barcelona
Just waiting

Last year I decided It was time, and convinced Fernanda to spend a week in the beach (near Barcelona…), after returning from Croatia.​

It just happened that we made some Spanish friends in Croatia, and, after 2 days in Gava (as previously booked) we decided to move to Roses to meet them.

​That gave me only 3 hours to visit the city. Now the secret: I spent 5 of those 3 hours… standing and waiting at the door of El Corte Inglês!

Las Arenas

Las Arenas
Las Arenas

This is a shopping center that is a must-visit. In addition to the curious solution found for the old bullring, the complex is smaller than usual in modern shopping malls but seems more aimed at tourists than locals.
Don’t miss access to the roof, where the restaurants are lined up, and where you have impressive views in all directions.
Inside access is free and there is an outside elevator (paid) to go up during the mall’s closure.

Primark

Primark
Primark – Barcelona

Now a confession:
My CV includes several waiting sessions outside Primark, in Portugal, with predictable boredom.
I fulfilled my obligation in Barcelona, but with advantages:
Firstly, being able to appreciate the beautiful building where it is located, on the corner of Rambla and Plaza de Catalunya, secondly because, perhaps because there was a plane on the horizon, I didn’t have to continue under the usual bags.

Boqueria

Boqueria
Boqueria

My hotel was next to the famous market, so I tried to start there. The sea of tourists at the entrance was so wide that I immediately gave up.
I did well!
With time, I found the back entrance, and in a late afternoon without any pressure or hassles I was able to walk through it, appreciate the diversity of the stalls and imagine the suffocation of the morning.

Hola Barcelona

Bus in Gracià
Bus in Gracià

Hop on

Hop on bus
Hop on bus

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