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Barcelona pre-trip ideas?


mdpa
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Hi Everyone,

 

Your feedback and ideas in Rome were very helpful. Our new Spain intensive cruise now departs from Barcelona and ends in Lisbon, giving us a few more options out of Barcelona. If we manage to arrive several days early what do you recommend or have done?

 

- Fly through another town on arrival (Rome, Paris, etc.). Probably too expensive or impractical, but would consider.

- Train day trip to an adjacent town?

- Rental Car? Taking a car into France and the Pyrenees mountains seems like it would be fun.

 

We would like to explore on our own if feasible. When we were in Venice for 5 days pre-cruise we rented a car twice and went to Parma on one trip and into Austria for another. It was neat to see the stops along the toll roads where you could get an espresso or a bottle of wine (much different experience than back home).

 

Your ideas are appreciated!

 

Thanks,

Doug

 

 

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1 hour ago, ridge4 said:

It sounds like you prefer to get out of Barcelona. I take it you have “done” Barcelona?

No, but since most of the cruise will be in towns, I'd like to get out and see the surrounding area. If I manage to have 5 days pre-cruise, then it would be nice to explore outside of town at least 2 days. A rental car or short train ride is probably the best compromise for our family of 3. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I would post this on the Ports of Call board. You will get a better response there. If you are looking for something fun to do IN Barcelona that will immerse you a little, I've done this tapas walking tour a couple of times and it's excellent. 

 

https://www.taste-barcelona.com

 

Phil 

Thanks, I do intend to post and explore in the ports of call but this group has already provided great feedback. 

 

The walking food tour looks very nice. We did something similar in Hanoi and enjoyed it. 

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Sitges, a relatively up-market coastal town, is well worth a visit and a short and simple train journey from Barcelona. But, you ought to spend at least 2 days exploring Barcelona!

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11 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

If you particularly want to get out of Barcelona then you should definitely have Montserrat on your list. It's beautiful there. 

 

Phil 

 

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Good advice from Phil, easy to do by train, tickets from the Tourist Information Office, you should get a combined ticket that includes either the cable car or funicular. If you are a foodie consider booking at Tickets , part of the Elbarri group of restaurants. Albert Adria is the owner of the group and the former astray chef at elbulli.

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Wonderful ideas, glad I posted the question to this group!

 

My friend visited a few years ago and recommended Andorra but I see Montserrat and Sitges are much closer. 

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1 hour ago, Haworth said:

Good advice from Phil, easy to do by train, tickets from the Tourist Information Office, you should get a combined ticket that includes either the cable car or funicular. If you are a foodie consider booking at Tickets , part of the Elbarri group of restaurants. Albert Adria is the owner of the group and the former astray chef at elbulli.

Pastry chef!

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, mdpa said:

Wonderful ideas, glad I posted the question to this group!

 

My friend visited a few years ago and recommended Andorra but I see Montserrat and Sitges are much closer. 

You can buy the five day Barcelona city pass @€140 from turbopass. The five day pass is the best deal.

It includes 5 days public transport, 24 hours Hop on hop off bus tour, boat Cruise, Sagrada familia and a lot of the attractions of Barcelona and  discounts to 3 flamenco shows

https://www.turbopass.com/barcelona-city-pass 

 

You can compare the various sightseeing passes here

https://freetoursbyfoot.com/barcelona-city-pass/

 

Or here

https://misstourist.com/barcelona-passes-which-one-is-worth-the-money-and-which-one-is-a-rip-off/

 

Montserrat is the best day trip from Barcelona

 

Also try the free walking tours of the old city Gothic quarter and Gaudi masterpieces.

These free walking tours work on tips and have excellent guides

 

Edited by drsel
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If you want to see the Sagrada Familia (and you should) book your ticket online beforehand as there are always queues to buy tickets. If you have an online ticket you walk past the queue and walk right in. If you’re OK with heights, get a ticket that includes going up the tower. Other things to do in Barcelona includes a tour of La Pedrera (Casa Milia) by Gaudi. Here’s a good site about Gaudi https://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/gaudi/barcelona-gaudi.html

 

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A visit to the market, Sitges by train, the large number of Gaudi buildings and park, the buzz of the waterfront, Montserrat, hop on hop off bus trip, a walk along the Rambles, so much to experience

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I thoroughly recommend a day with these guys

https://borntocookbarcelona.com

We went via a ship’s excursion for the shopping and cooking experience. As well as the more touristic market we also visited a more genuine local market before having fun cooking. 
We had booked independently  to go back for a cook tapas evening last year but that sadly was cancelled 

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Lots to do in and around Barcelona.  Monserrat works great as a day trip as mentioned above; it's worth doing the extra funiculars higher up from the main station.  Girona has an interesting old walled city center (Game of Thrones was filmed there a few years ago).  Sitges or one of the Costa Brava towns can be nice, though more time consuming to access.  Carcasonne, over the border in France is a well-preserved medieval town (probably too far for a reasonable day trip).

 

Definitely best to stay in the older central area of Barcelona than in the suburbs; not necessarily the Gothic Quarter, but at generally the L'Eixample quarter or so (look for areas within 20 blocks or so of Playa Catalunya).

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Thanks everyone, these tips and recommendations are perfect. I really appreciate the guidance and help with the trip planning.

 

Based on your feedback, I plan to keep it simple and stay local, whether by train or rental car.

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Planning on flying into Madrid and taking the train to Barcelona for our cruise in 2022. On our 2018 cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon, we met another couple on our cruise who had done just that!. We wished we had thought of it and now with the changes in our trip due to Covid shifting, we will have the opportunity. Looking forward to this cruise!

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1 hour ago, JSCW6 said:

Planning on flying into Madrid and taking the train to Barcelona for our cruise in 2022. On our 2018 cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon, we met another couple on our cruise who had done just that!. We wished we had thought of it and now with the changes in our trip due to Covid shifting, we will have the opportunity. Looking forward to this cruise!

We stayed several days in Madrid at a hotel close to the Prado [NH Paseo del Prado].  The Prado is free every day two hours before closing – only a slight cost saving, but more importantly saves you from trying to do the entire museum at one go.  We could do one area and really enjoy it, knowing that we could come back the next day for some more.  It's the only thing in Madrid that we felt needed that kind of time, so being at a hotel right there was a nice bonus.  Everything else in Madrid was easily walkable even from there.

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16 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

We stayed several days in Madrid at a hotel close to the Prado [NH Paseo del Prado].  The Prado is free every day two hours before closing – only a slight cost saving, but more importantly saves you from trying to do the entire museum at one go.  We could do one area and really enjoy it, knowing that we could come back the next day for some more.  It's the only thing in Madrid that we felt needed that kind of time, so being at a hotel right there was a nice bonus.  Everything else in Madrid was easily walkable even from there.

Thanks for the info! Good to know about the Prado. 

 

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We spent 2-1/2 days pre-cruise a few years ago in Barcelona.   Upon checking in our hotel the morning we arrived, we found a quick little bite to eat next door and then took a taxi to La Sagrada de Familia which is not to be missed.   We knew we'd need to stay up and not nap after the overseas flight, so it seemed a good thing to do, stay moving and busy.   I had previously bought tickets to a small group tour which was wonderful.  There were 6 of us and we had quite the comprehensive tour.  It took up the entire afternoon, and after an early supper of paella close to our hotel we gratefully turned in.     

Next day we had a tour (Spain Day Tours) and that was a small van up to Montserrat and the Cava winery. We walked around Las Ramblas later that day and evening and found a little place to eat some great tapas on a side street.   Walked around some more, and got ready for embarkation the next morning.   After we checked in on the ship we went back out again to see some more Barcelona sights.   I'd love to go back and spend some more time there.  

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One of our favorite places in the world is Collioure, France, a couple of hours from BCN.  It's a lovely seaside town that was home to the Fauvist painters for a while.  Best place to stay is Casa Pairal.  The region around Collioure is fun to explore, and there are beautiful towns on the Catalan coast north of BCN.

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18 hours ago, tv24 said:

One of our favorite places in the world is Collioure, France, a couple of hours from BCN.  It's a lovely seaside town that was home to the Fauvist painters for a while.  Best place to stay is Casa Pairal.  The region around Collioure is fun to explore, and there are beautiful towns on the Catalan coast north of BCN.

Colluiure looks like a wonderful place! I will certainly place in on my short list. Time will be my enemy.

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