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First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

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First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

My family (husband and 2 boys, 14 &12) will be arriving in Barcelona on Tue 15th April at approx 10:00am and we depart on Sat 19th at 22:00. We enjoy walking, seeing natural scenery, learning about the culture and eating local food (so any restaurant recommendations for dinner (max budget approx €25 per person not inc drinks) would also be appreciated).

We are staying at the Crowne Plaza Fira.

I have listed below our must see sights and tentative itinerary but would really appreciate any feedback on this and I also wanted to know if the Montserrat Boys Choir would be singing on Good Friday or shall we do the Sagrada Familia on this day (or is it likely to be exceptionally busy).

Tuesday -

Arrive at hotel at approx 11:30.

Join a walking tour. Wander around Las Ramblas.

Wednesday -

Visit Sagrada Familia, tower and audio guide (still can't decide which tower)

Parc Guell

Thursday - Montjuic Visit

Nou Camp Experience

Friday - Montserrat (will the boys choir still be singing at 1pm?)

Evening see the Magic Fountain

Saturday - At leisure to see last minute sights and maybe some shopping.

Leave for airport at 7:00pm?

We will probably get a taxi to and from the airport to hotel. How much should this be approximately?

We will purchase the T10 tickets for our duration.

I will pre book the Camp Nou and Sagrada Familia prior to leaving.

I looked at the calendar for Palau de la Musica Catalan and the events on are the Guitar Trio, Mozart Requiem or Flamenco. The flamenco is the one that appealed the most but it would be costly for the 4 of us and I wasn't sure if this money could be better spent (I know this matter is very subjective).

Any advice is gratefully received.

Thanks

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1. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

Hi again Jay

Ok, you jumped my list as I see you're coming on the 15th, that's in less than a week!

Your itinerary seems very relaxed to me, even a bit too much, lol!... so I'm going to crank it up a notch if I may, but don't worry, will still be perfectly manageable.

A few thoughts:

-I personally wouldn't visit Montserrat in the middle of Easter, it's bound to be very crowded!

-If you've already booked Camp Nou and Sagrada Família please let me know so I can rearrange the itinerary.

-The T10 travelcard is indeed your best bet for moving around.

-Taxi from airport to your hotel is likely to be 25-30€ tops -probably even less as you're at the entrance of the city so to speak-, including the 4,20€ charged at the end for having departed from the airport (same on the way back, to/from airport or port has a supplement of 4,20€). Note that luggage is free.

-You should know that neither 'tapas' nor 'flamenco' are typical here, this is Catalonia and has very different mores that don't reflect at all the stereotypes one often sees in Hollywood movies about Spain. Even so, both mores were brought to these shores by migrants from the South of Spain and nowadays have also become somehow part of the Catalan culture (for tapas..., for flamenco not so much). Having said that, for tapas you'll find a range of places that can cater your taste. For flamenco too but they are mostly touristy and pricey.

...

DINNING

A 25€/p.p. dinner is quite average price for a restaurant so you won't find it difficult at all to find places to choose from. Barcelona has plenty of places to grab a bite, from restaurants to bars to other type of establishments where you can get food for a few euros.. and yes, also cheffy 250€/p.p. restaurants too! I suggest you have a look at these two sites for inspiration: http://www.timeout.com/barcelona/food-drink and http://www.bcnrestaurantes.com/eng/ But don't get too worried, you don't need to 'make a list'... you'll see it's very easy to find something on the spot that appeals to you. One bit of advice though: DO NOT fall for any of the terraces along La Rambla itself... they're crappy outrageously expensive tourist traps.

...

TUES 15

Heading to the centre, join a walking tour (Runner Beans are quite good: http://www.runnerbeantours.com/ )

Visit the Barri Gòtic, which includes La Rambla, La Boqueria market, and plenty of other landmarks too difficult to list here as well as some other of the neighbourhoods of the Old City district (Ciutat Vella). My advice?, instead of wandering without direction like a headless chicken -you might miss many bits and pieces- follow the ORANGE route on this map I've prepared earlier for someone else ( https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewer… ) and you're assured not too miss almost anything worth seeing. Zoom in and print it out. Note it's a long route, it might take you four or five hours (or a bit more) so you might want to split it and perhaps visit on different days. Also notice that the walking tours (RunnerBeans or another) are bound to take you to some of the same spots -just some though!

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WED 16

It really doesn't matter too much, but I always advice visiting SF and PG the other way around, that is, PG first then SF. There are several reasons, yet very subjective, one is that PG in the early hours (say 9ish) is not as crowded and also temperatures are nicer (a bit cooler) and another one is that on they way to SF -which is all downhill by the way!- you can walk by the homely neighbourhood of Gràcia which is very nice.

If you choose to do so, follow the YELLOW route in the above map which covers what I would consider one has to see in the neighbourhood of Gràcia (infocatalonia.eu/w/…). Note that Gràcia was established in 1626 when a convent was built there: Nostra Senyora de Gràcia (Our Lady of Grace). Gràcia was an independent municipality until it was annexed to Barcelona in 1897 along with other villages in the plain of Barcelona. The expansion of the Eixample district in the 19th century eventually led to the northward expansion of Barcelona, connecting Gràcia to the growing metropolis. Be warned that Gràcia is not monumental, nor has major landmarks (with a couple of exceptions: ie. Casa Vicens http://www.infocatalonia.eu/w/2013/12/01/casa-vicens/), nor wide streets or parks or anything that one would consider distinct. Don't expect a wow factor. Its uniqueness is based in the ambience of 'small town' within a city, the sense that's a patch of the city where life goes at a slower pace, where one could even say that's a glimpse on how Barcelona was 100 years ago. For me, aside the main tree-lined squares, the epitome of what Gràcia is all about are Carrer Astúries, off Fontana Metro station (green line L3) and Carrer Verdi. Both are fairly short pedestrianised streets, like all streets in Gràcia (short that is!) with small shops, cafes, grocery stores and lots of people going about their business, strolling, meeting friends... but even the lively strip of bars on Carrer Verdi give little clue to the week-long revelry that attracts an estimated 1.5 million party-goers in August every year.

So, if you book PG say at 10ish you'll probably be done by 12ish. After that, walk towards the yellow route (30' or so) and visit the area. As soon as you spot a restaurant that you like -there are plenty!- stop for lunch. If you like Japanese with a twist try lunching at Kibuka ( tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d7… ) at Carrer Goya, 9 -almost at the end of the yellow tour. I would book SF for say 3:30pm or 4pm. Walking from the end of the yellow route (bottom), which is Jardinets de Gràcia, to SF will take you some 30' or so at a normal pace. When you finish SF, you might want to walk 10' through Avinguda Gaudí (off SF) towards the Hospital de Sant Pau ( http://www.santpaubarcelona.org/en ) it's another gem of Modernism worth visiting. Alternatively, enjoy a pint across the square at SF at the old Michael Collins pub :)

...

THU 17

I would visit Montserrat on this day, it's going to be much less busy. Trains depart from the FCG station at Plaça Espanya -a stone throw away from your hotel. You need to catch the R5 train line. And regarding tickets, the most advantageous is probably the TransMontserrat, which includes not only the train ride, but also either the cable car or the rack train to the abbey plus the funiculars to the slopes ( barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/tour/barcelon… ). You can buy it on the spot at the booth at the station and there they can explain you better what's covered (I admit, the above page might be a bit confusing). For example, you need to decide when purchasing the ticket whether you want to go up the mountain in Montserrat via the cable car or the rack train -as then you have to stop in one station or another. If you suffer from vertigo DO choose the rack train... this is the cable car: …panoramio.com/photos/large/79397364.jpg Can't help you though re: choir, sorry.

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FRI 18

Nou Camp in the morning and Montjuïc in the afternoon. You might want to lunch once you're back in Plaça Espanya. There are plenty of places to grab a bite (basement) or to properly lunch (upper-floor, terrace) at Les Arenes Shopping Mall (…wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c5/Placa_…) but also along the long Carrer de Sants and adjacent streets. If you want some no-nonsense no-frills simple tapas, you might want to walk this street some 15' to Carrer de Riego (see map: http://bit.ly/1hCnVdZ ) where you have El Món de la Tapa ( http://elmondelatapa.com/tapas.html ). A few days ago this place was mentioned by one of the regular posters here, our Brit friend @PandaChris2

Regarding Montjuïc, you have plenty of things to see here, have a look at the possibilities to plan your route: barcelonaturisme.com/Parc-de-Montjuic/_xMCfM… Travelling with two kids perhaps you might want to get by Poble Espanyol ( https://www.poble-espanyol.com/en ) and further up the mountain to the Olympic and Sport Museum ( http://museuolimpicbcn.cat/eng/home.asp ). I wouldn't advice the Castell de Montjuïc -other than the view of the city, the fortress is rather unimpressive, and it's no longer free, now it's 5€.

...

SAT 19

I would walk l'Eixample (L'EIXAMPLE: http://www.infocatalonia.eu/w/2013/12/06/areas-leixample/): BLUE route on the map I pointed earlier, it's a nice classy district. Most of the Eixample district is within the BLUE area (not all though!). The proposal for getting to know l'Eixample starts and finishes both at Plaça Catalunya and it's a good 13km (8 miles) -which you might shorten if you like-, however it's recommended to zigzag inside this area as it contains scattered here and there literally dozens of facades of modernist buildings and shops worth admiring: (see here a sample: http://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llista_de_monuments_de_l'Eixample_de_Barcelona ). L'Eixample ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eixample ) was developed during the last part of the 19th century and the bourgeoisies of the city quickly move their residences to that district, hiring the star architects of the era to rival in ever more lavish buildings with ornamented facades and balconies. One of them, Enric Sagnier, is responsible for nearly 500 modernist buildings across the city.

Yes, do leave to the airport around 7ish... it's best to wait at the airport than to panic if you get stuck because traffic or anything!

For shopping take advantage while visiting the old town (day 1), also the Les Arenes shopping mall has plenty of the usual suspects (Zara, Mango, etc)

Enjoy!

(PS: I told you your answer needed a bit of TLC, didn't I?... hahaha!)

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2. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

btw... for your kids:

Day 1, you're going to be at the Barri Gòtic... so: tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d9… A sweet treat here is a must. Note the staff is quite friendly but one of the owners, the older lady, is a grumpy rude cow, be warned!

Not too far from there you have the MIBA: http://www.mibamuseum.com/en/index and the MUHBA: tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d2…

Also, if you visit the Park de la Ciutadella (infocatalonia.eu/w/…) -ORANGE route- you have the zoo: infocatalonia.eu/w/…

and the Chocolate Museum is also very close: tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187497-d6…

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3. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

Wow Enric. So much information. You are a lifesaver. I must say I was worried when no-one had replied to this post.

I haven't booked the tickets for SF and Nou Camp yet but will do so this weekend.

I must say your itinerary looks spot on for us. We love walking and the distance doesn't seem too bad.

Tuesday - seems ideal. Not sure if the boys will be thrilled after our early start (Tuesday be at airport for 5:00am) but as you suggested we can split the route if need be.

Wednesday - Will follow your plan and we love Japanese food so that is an added bonus.

Thursday - Montserrat we will have to do as I am sure it will be one of our highlights. Have read so much on it and would love to do the short trails to the top as well.

Friday - will follow your plan too. It sounds perfect. You are very good at this. ;-)

Saturday - Will walk around L'Eixample.

Your food suggestions sound perfect. During the day we are happy to go with simple options but evening meals are more important and staying away from the "tourist traps".

Once again thank you for your invaluable input.

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4. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

My pleasure Jay. Feel free to ask any further question :))

Re: no answers... I guess we all feel lazy sometimes and when a question requires a long answer we postpone it -or just look the other way-, LOL!!!

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5. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

Thank you Enric for all this info. I am jumping in on this post as I will be in Barcelona for about 5 days at the end of this month and am trying to make sure my itinerary includes all the highlights. Sometimes arranging stops in a logical manner (in regards to distance, time, etc) can be difficult but your itinerary is very helpful. I am commenting on this so I can keep it in my posts for reference while in BCN.

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6. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

Thanks @lmarie

Check my response here: tripadvisor.com/…57222173 for 'logical' groupings so to speak of the most typical sites/attractions.

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7. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

Thanks Enric for all the detailed info and for referring me to this post!

as lmariec09 has done I will keep this for reference when in Barcelona!!

ontario
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8. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

Also, a must do for me now is to go to Caelum...maybe meet the owner there!

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9. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

One of them, she's not too nice... quite brusque and even rude (be forewarned!). Btw, best time to find a table is probably early morning (10ish) or early afternoon (4ish). Here you have a video from their website: http://vimeo.com/38841404 unfortunately it's rather a poor attempt of a proper promotional video.

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10. Re: First Timers - Help With 5 Day Itinerary

Thank you Enric for the details which I know will help make our upcoming trip a wonderful and balanced experience!