This post is the continuation of the blog post I wrote last week with my Bucket list for Barcelona. I wanted to write another post with a follow up on that one with some tips, things that i would have done differently (if I knew!!), the things that one learns when going to the city itself.
First of all, please do take a look at this beautiful video of Barcelona from the website www.travelaway.me as it will blow your mind. I wish I found this video before going to Barcelona! It is such an impressive video!!
So here are some of the things that I wish I knew before going to Barcelona but that I know now. This would be useful for you when moving around the city so you can enjoy this beautiful city to the max!!
This was the area I stayed in and it is fantastic because to its proximity to everything. This is a street with a central ‘promenade’ to stroll while checking the stalls with flowers and souvenirs and some restaurants as you can see on the picture.
While walking down this street from Plaza Cataluña, you will see at your right side the famous MERCADO LA BOQUERIA. This place is super packed almost all the time. There are a few places inside that are fantastic but you have to be very alert finding a seat as it is not easy!! Most of the things we had there were standing up, but if you are quick enough you may find a good spot in one of the places they have.
As Spanish, I found some of the things a bit overpriced, especially at the beginning of the market, so careful there. The best places are in the back or when you come in the market and to the left.
This was even more beautiful that I imagined. I advise you all to go at night especially as it is ten times more especial than during the day. There are great musicians playings in narrow streets and the way is lit, the light on the buildings, it really comes alive at night. I saw it a few years ago during the day and I did like it but I much rather visit it at night as it has real charm. It is true that it was Christmas and of course, there were Christmas markets and lights that made the whole walk even more beautiful.
You can go to this quarter from the famous RAMBLA street (walking down from Plaza Cataluña) by turning to the left to any of the small streets that you will see after the Mercado la Boqueria.
We walked all the way down the Rambla street to the Barceloneta. And oh my god… it is a nice walk but a very long one!! bear this in mind!!
If I had to do it again, I would take the metro in Plaza Cataluña to Barceloneta and just walk around there to the beach (full of restaurants for all tastes and pockets) and to the port (full of fish restaurants, but a bit more pricey.) By the time we arrived we were literally dying! but it was worth it! It was a beautiful walk.
One thing, though, be very careful with pickpockets here. We did witness a man trying to rob the bag of several groups while we were at the beach. In November! Barcelona is well-known for this sad fact, so always have your belongings with you, always the zip closed and where you can see it. Beware of people bumping into you or getting way to close from behind. This is usually the modus operandi, unfortunately.
PLAZA DE ESPAÑA
This was a fantastic surprise as it was not on out list!! We discovered while going to the concert of The Cure in the Palau Saint Jordi. Most people go to Plaza España metro and walk the way up the ‘many’ stairs to see the view, which is fantastic. But there is a better way.
Take the bus number 55 in Plaza Cataluña (in front of the Apple store there) direction towards PARC MONTJUÏC because this will leave you at the closest stop named Avinguda de l’Estadi-Vivers.
. Then you can see the museums around there as there are many, the Olympic area, the amazing view of Barcelona and then, go down the stairs. It is way more enjoyable that way. We were happy to do it like that!!
We went to this park right after the Sagrada Familia, and unfortunately a bit too late. We made it at 4pm because it took us ages to get there. We went by metro and checked Google Maps to find the metro stop that seemed closer. Well, the one that appears is VALLCARCA. But careful!! We followed our Google map and had to climb the steepest street I have ever climbed since I was in Santorini. We were literally climbing a mountain!!
So, when you get out the metro in Vallcarca, you have two options:
OPTION A) Continue all the way down the street to the main gate of Park Well (It is longer, but flat, except at the end that you have to go up one street, and you get to the main thing).
OPTION B) Take the second street to your left up (yes, the one that looks really steep and scary to climb, that one). It will be harder, but shorter and then once you are up, take the right one to the small gate to the park. Once there just follow the signs and the views of Barcelona from the top are amazing. This is the BIG PRO of taking this route. Then you walk down to the main gate, pay the fee (8 euros) and get in. The last entry is at 17:30 in the winter as the light is gone by then. After that time, it is free to get in.
When we left, we followed the advice to get to another metro that was supposed to be closer but was not really. But at least it was all downhill (because going back to Vallcarca would have been uphill again from the main gate) so it was not too bad. The metro station was LESSEPS.
This was super easy to get, but once you are at the entrance you should have bought your tickets online and show them at the entrance. There are many different prices depending on what you want to do. Simple ticket, with the tower, included, with hearing guide, with group guide and it goes from 15€ to 30€ if you buy online. If you don’t it is a bit more expensive.
We got the simple one, and we loved it. It is an impressive cathedral especially from the inside with all those designs, and the colorful light that reflects on the columns. A must see.
Another surprise. When you are located at the RAMBLAS it is great as it is central, but I wanted to go and have lunch in a place that was not touristic, just Spanish and with a good food quality. In fact, if I go back to Barcelona I will look for a hotel in this area. It is just beside Plaza Cataluña, but less busy and full with really good restaurants of all kinds.
Metro is ok if you want to move around. But be careful with the 2 or 3-day tickets. They are valid only for the date not for 24h, 48h. We bought one for two days one late evening but it expired in less than 48hours, as it counted the 1st day as a full day even though we bought it late in the evening. So if you get it, just bear this in mind. Personally, it is a much better deal the 10 trips tickets that can also be shared with your friends and it costs only 9.95€. It is valid for metro and bus.
If you have limited mobility, I advise the touristic bus ticket for 2 consecutive days. It is worth it as it leaves you at every single touristic spot. In Barcelona, even using metro and bus, you WILL walk. I personally don’t mind as I love it but it is something to consider depending on your circumstances.
Check this website if you would like to print a free tourist map, or the night/day buses map and many useful resources. Lifesaver!
If you want to take a better look at my pictures check the photo gallery above! Hope this helps you in your trip to Barcelona!
Thank you for reading!