Northern Spain - Sample Trip

AUG 11,2013 - AUG 16,2013 (6 DAYS)

Spain

6 DAYS

Barcelona

4 DAYS

Transportation

Getting Around Barcelona:

There are two distinct subway systems in Barcelona:

Metro (TMB) - the regular one, signified by white M in a red diamond. Mon. - Thr. 05.00 - 23.00, Fri. - Sat. 05.00 - 01.00, Sun. 06.00 - 24.00. Five lines (1-5) with differnt identifying colors.

FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya) - Two lines into the city and six more in Barecelona environs. Mon. - Fri. 05.00- 23.00, Sat. - Sun. 06.00 - 00.30.

Buses: Daytime buses operate daily 04.30 - 22.00. Night Buses operate daily 23.00 - 04.00.

Transport Passes:

T1 Travelcard: 10 trips on TMB, FGC and buses.

T2 Travelcard: 10 trips on TMB (Metro) only.

T-Dia 1/2/3: Unlimited travel on TMB, FGC and Buses for 1/2/3 consecutive days.

From/To Airport:

By Train: Daily, every half an hour, 06.00 - 22.00, to/from Placa Catalunya.

By Bus: every 15 minutes, Mon. - Fri. 05.30 - 22.15, Sat. - Sun., Holidays 06.00 - 22.15 to/from Placa Catalunya.

Gothic Quarter

1 DAYS

Citywalk

Barcelona Gothic Quarter and Ribera. One Day Walk (One Day Tour - ODT).
Start: Place de Catalunya.
End: Place de Catalunya.
Orientation: Circular tour. 7-8 km walk.
Weather: no rain.
Main Attractions: Placa de Catalunya, Arc de Triomf, Parque de la Ciudadela, Museu de Zoologia, Zoo, Mercat del Born, Ribera Quarter, Iglesia Sant Maria del Mar, Museu Picasso, Clothing and Textile Museum, Placa de Ramon Berenguer El Gran, the Old Walls, Gothic Quarter, Museu Frederic Mares, Museo de Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA), Placa del Rei, Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona Cathedral, Claustro, Palau de la Musica, Placa de Catalunya.

From Placa de Catalunya - head north. Arrive to the Catalunya Metro station. Turn right onto Ronda Sant Pere. Turn right onto Passe de Sant Joan. Cross: Via Laitana, Carrer de les Jonqures, (the Urqinanoa Metro is on your left), Carrer del Bruc, Carrer de Girona. At the roundabout , take the 2nd exit. The Arc de Triomf is on the left in the palm-tree-lined Passeig Lluis Companys.

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The arch is located between Passeig de Lluís Companys and Passeig de Sant Joan. Behind the triumphal arch starts a wide promenade connecting leading to the Park of the Ciutadella. The Passeig de Lluís Companys is an attractive avenue lined with palm trees and nice lanterns:

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Cross the Parque de la Ciudadela. The Park of the Citadel is on the site of a fort built by Felipe V in the 18th century. The fort was demolished to make way for the Universal Exhibition in 1888. The Catalan Parliament, Museum of Modern Art (TUE-SAT 10.00-17.00, SUN 10.00-14.30) and the Cascada Monumental are on your left in the park. The Castell dels Tres Dragons and the Museu Geología are on your right.

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The gardens are wonderful with their old and new statues, trees and fountains. The Zoology Museum (Museu de Zoologia), resembling a fortress, stands in the end of the park. Open TUE-SUN 10.00-14.00.

Inside the Catalan Parliament:

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The zoo, in the end of the park is quite interesting and large-scale. The main attraction, Snowflake, the Albino Gorilla had been dead in 2003. From the exit gate of the park, turn right to the Carrer Distillers and, later, on Avinguda Marques de l'Argentera. Dine: Kiosko Gourmet Burger, Marques de L_Argentera 1. Cross Passeig de Picaso. On the left - the Estacio de Franca, wonderfully train station. Turn right to the Carrer de Commerc. Cross Carrer de Ribera. On your right – Mercat del Born: a local food market that had been transformed to an Exhibition Centre. Opposite the market – Passeig del Born – the heart of the Ribera quarter. Walk along Passeig del Born, crossing Carrrer del Rec.

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Opposite the 3rd turn to the left – Iglesia Sant Maria del Mar. One of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in Catalonia. Don't be fooled by its exterior. Its interior is spectacular and gives an impression of light and spaciousness. Some interesting stained-glass windows have survived from various periods. Built between 1329 and 1383. The construction of Santa Maria del Mar is the background for the best-selling novel La Catedral del Mar, by Ildefonso Falcones (2006).

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Walk back in Passeig del Born and turn immediately left to the Placeta de Montcada and continue along Carrer de Montcada. The street is full with old mansions transformed into variety of museums and art galleries. One of them is Museu Picasso (Montcada 15-23) with admirably renovated rooms and halls. Inside you see many works, representative, mainly, of the early period of Picasso in Paris and Barcelona. Open TUE-SAT 10.00-15.00.

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At the same road (No. 12) stands the Museu Textil I d'Indumentaia – Clothing and Textile Museum with interesting display of period-costume display. Open TUE-SAT 10.00-17.00, SUN 10.00-14.00. Dine: El Xampanyet, Carrer de Montcada, 22, next to the Museu Picasso. Continue walking till the end of the Montcada road (north-west) and turn LEFT to the Carrer de la Princesa. Walk until Via Laietana and turn right (opposite is Jaume I Metro station). On your left Placa de Ramon Berenguer El Gran.

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Pass the old walls and walk into the twisting Tapineria road. Continue with the Tapineria (Ferreteria Americana and Art Picasso to your right). Turn left (south-west) into the narrower Baixada de la Canonja toward Placa de la Seu. You are now in the Gothic Quarter.

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Here stands the Barcelona Cathedral. The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona (Not to be confused with Sagrada Família). We shall return to the Cathedral later. Follow the Cathedral walls and walk along Carrer del Comtes until you arrive to Museu Frederic Mares (Plaça de Sant Iu, 5). Open TUE-SAT 10.00-19.00, SUN – 11.00 – 20.00. Don't miss the internal patio with ists delightful fountain and fishpond. It houses the collection of the sculptor Frederic Mares.

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Continue in the same direction until the end of the Carrer del Comtes and turn left to the Baixada de Santa Clara. The Museo de Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA) is on your left. Open: TUE.-SAT 10.00-19.00, SUN 10.00-15.00. For special interest in the museum are the subterranean excavations of the old roman Barcelona.

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Turn left to the impressive Placa del Rei (King's Square). Rather small, but, beautiful square surrounded by Gothic architecture buildings.

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Retrace your steps from the square and continue with the Carrer del Vaguer (south-east) until its end. Turn right and continue with the Carrer de Libreteria until you arrive to Placa de Sant Jaume. On your left – the Town Hall and on your right – the Palau de la Generalitat. The construction of the Generalitat Palace began during the reign of Jaume II in the 15th century. It was complted in the 17th century. It is now the residence of the Catalunyan government. It is one of the few buildings of medieval origin in Europe that still functions as a seat of government. Open: 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month from 10 to 13:30. In case it is open - you must visit the Chapel of Sant Jordi and the patio staircase.

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A covered bridge connects the Generalitat to the Carrer del Bisbe. Walk in the Bisbe and turn right onto Carrer de Santa Llúcia to face, again, the Barcelona Cathedral. Open: Weekdays: 8.00-12.45 (Cloister: 8.30-12.30) Free entry, 13.00-17.00 Entry with donation, 17.15-19.30 (Cloister: 17.15-19.00) Free entry. Sundays and Holidays: 8.00-13.45 (Cloister: 8.30-13.00) Free entry, 14.00-17.00 Entry with donation, 17.15-19.30 (Cloister: 17.15-19.00) Free entry. Free to visit, and only 3 euros to go to the top of the towers. The Gothic Cathedral we have today was built on the foundations of the primitive Christian basilica and the subsequent Romanesque Cathedral. Construction commenced on 1 May 1298 during the the reign of King James II of Aragon, and was virtually completed by the mid-15th century, under the rule of King Alfonso V of Aragon. Three distinct periods can be defined: the first, the building was planned and the apse and radial chapels were built, as were the presbytery - with its altar and crypt- and the pseudo transept; afterward, the three naves, with their respective lateral chapels, were extended back to the choir; finally, construction of the basilica continued to the façade, which was later closed with a simple wall (1417). The Cloister was finished in 1448. At the end of the 19th century, the Barcelona industrialist Manuel Girona offered to undertake the work on the façade and on the two side towers, in keeping with the plans drawn up by the architect Josep O. Mestres and inspired by the initial 15th-century project. Mr Girona's children finalized their father's work in 1913. Beautiful, serene, and a quiet oasis away from the crowd of tourist. The beauty is both on the inside and the outside. Magnificent architecture and craftsmanship reflected in the building.

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The real beauty here is at the top. Taking an old lift ride , you are presented with fantastic views over the city and of the bell tower and spires.

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There are many small chapels inside of the church. Lots of statues and and stained glass windows. You enter the Cathedral Cloister (Claustro). It has more character than most. With pleaseant garden in the centre and many chapels around. Note the small fountain and Saint Jordi statue near the Cathedral entrance.

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Exit by way of the main door and cross Placa de la Seu. Turn right to Avenida de la Catedral and left into Carrer del Dr. Joaquim Pou. Walk several hundreds of metres until you see on your left the Jefatura Superior de Policía de Cataluña. Turn to the right (diagonally) to Sant Pere Mes Alt road. Dine: Arabia, Sant Pere Mes Alt 18.

After the first turn to the left stands the Palau de la Musica. A modernist, Art-Deco masterpiece attributed to Domenech Montaner and built in 1908. It is a masterpiece of colorful tile and glass.

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona Gothic Quarter, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Go back (right) to Via Laietana and walk until Placa Urquinaona. Continue a while and turn left to Carrer de Fontanella. Walk until you arrive to our final (and first) destination of Placa de Catalunya.

From La Rambla to the Old Port

1 DAYS

Citywalk

Suggested Tour: From La Rambla to the Old Port.

Start: Placa Catalunya.

End:  Placa Catalunya.

Distance: approx. 6-7 km.

Orientation: Circular walking route.

Main Attractions:

Placac Catalunya, La Rambla, Virreina Palace, Boqueria Market, Placa de Sant Agusti (Sant Augusti church), Liceu Opera House, Husa Orient Hotel, Placa Real, Palau Guell /Pereforming Arts Museum, Theatre Institute, the Colon (Columbus) Monument, Wax Museum (Museu de Cera), Maritime Museum  and Royal Dockards, the Colon, Port Vell, La Aduana, Rambla del Mar (wooden bridge), Sea cruises (from the Old Port to the Breakwater and/or the Old Port to the Olympic Port), the Maremagnum complex, the Aquarium, the IMAX, Moll Espanya.

The square known as Placa Catalunya is the main hub of Barcelona - seperating its new and old quarters. People come here to relax under the cooling fountains, feed pigeons and to watch other rushing-by people.

Head south from the square and follow the crowds to La Rambla - a wide, tree-lined avenue with two bustling roads. New York has the Fifth Avenue, Paris - the Champ Elysees, London -  The Mall. None of them is full with so much variety and excitement like Barcelona's La Rambla. It, basically, connects Placa Catalunya and Barcelona Port. There are the grandiose buildings along the Ramblas, the grand department stores and shops and the variety of old-historic theatres. But the main magnet of the Ramblas is the exotic mass of other people with varied colors, skills and flavors. Rows of chairs line the sides and elderly people are sitting there - playing cubes, reading newspapers or simply watching the world go by. Kiosks are everywhere and stalls selling aquariums, birds and small animals. You quickly become aware to the street performers who delight in passers-by to all manner of possible artistic endeavor. They all collect for their performances. A very typical kind of performance - is the "Living Statue". 

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450 metres from Placa Catalunya, down (south) along La Rambla - stands 
Palau de la Virreina to your right. Nowadays, it is used as a cultural centre and Tourist Information Centre. Its programme includes "photography, audiovisual works, election broadcasts, book publishing, literary festivals, talks, digital documentation and expanded literature in the age of the image, amongst others". Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays: 12.00 - 20.00. Free admission. Here are stalls selling many types of lowers  - painting La Rambla with vibrantly colorful blooms: 

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

A few metres, more south, along the same side of La Rambla - you enter the famous Mercat Boqueria (Boqueria Market). Architecturally impressive and only few will be able to resist a stroll through. Have your breakfast here, pick up lunch here or mid-afternoon snacks. Most items won't set you back more than a few euros. This place is always crowded by both local residents and tourist. Everything displaced beautifully. Can get many sorts of local food here. Variety of the produce is mindblowing:

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Return to La ramblas and head southeast on La Rambla (approx. 150 metres) toward Passatge dels Coloms. Turn right onto Carrer de l'Hospital
and turn left onto Plaça de Sant Agustí. To the right is the old Sant Agusti Church. The Baroque facade is one of the few that remain in Barcelona. There is a magnificient Baroque painting inside by the Italian master, Claudio Lorenzale. By the way, we've diverted from La Rambla to the Raval quarter of Barcelona:

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Continue to walk around Placa de Sant Agusti (anti-clockward) and turn right onto Carrer de l'Arc de Sant Agustí and turn left onto Carrer de Sant Pau. Turn right, back to La Rambla. On your right is the Liceu Opera House (Gran Teatre del Liceu). It was built in 1847, suffered many disasters and considered to be the most luxurious in that period. After decaded of reconstruction it was re-opened in 1999. Guided tours: The tour lasts approximately 1 h and 20 minutes. Hours: 10.00, Monday to Sunday. Price: from Monday to Friday:11,5 €, Saturday and Sunday :10,5 €:

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Adjacent to the Liceu Opera is the Husa Orient Hotel. A stylish building in its own right. A view of  La Rambla from your room will make your stay stay special. Opposite is the Placa Reial (Royal Square) - a porticoed, symmetrical square adorned by palm trees, iron lanterns and a fountain (designed by Gaudi). Beautiful square with a wonderful setting and some excellent architecture. Head southeast on Plaça Reial toward Carrer de Colom and turn right onto Carrer de Colom. Cross La Rambla. Slight right onto Carrer Nou de la Rambla. The Palau Guell is on the left. It houses now the Museu de les Arts de l'Espectacle del Teatre - a research and promotion centre of the Theatre Institute and includes a library - all dedicated to performing arts. Open TUE - SUN 10.00-18.00. It is Antonio Gaudi's first major building in Barcelona and designed as a mansion for the Catalan tycoon Eusebi Güell. Admission: 12 euros, concessions - 8 euros. Breathtaking. The roof terrace is incredible. In sunset time - you have the greatest view ! Visionary work. Awesome architecture:

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

We return and continue down La Rambla where it widens out a little. On the right side - Arts Santa Mònica, a contemporary art and science centre. Opening time: TUE-FRI 11.00 -21.00, SAT15.00-20.00:

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

A few steps down the avenue - Museu de Cera (Wax Museum) on your left (east side of La Rambla). Open: Summer - daily  10.00-22.00, rest of the year: MON-FRI 10.00-13.30, 16.00-19.30, SAT-SUN& public holidays: 11.00-14.00, 16.30-20.30. Entrance fee: 14.25 euros (!). Not worth it:

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Walk back and turn right onto La Rambla. Turn left onto Carrer del Portal de Santa Madrona. Turn left onto Av. de les Drassanes (20 m.) and the Museu Maritim Barcelona - MMB (Maritime Museum) is on your left. A special experience of the most complete medieval maritime dockyards - still in existence. Yhey were constructed in the 14th and 17th centuries. Open daily 10.00-19.00. Admission: Regular: € 7.00, reduced: € 6.00
Free admission on every SUN from 15.00.

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

As you come to end of La Rambla you face the Monumento a Colon (Columbus Monument). It was built for the 1888 World Exhibition (125 years old !) to celebrate and memorialize the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Americas and his glorious return, from there, to the port of Barcelona. Take a ride by the escalator (tight squeeze) to the top of the monument. The views from the top are just spectacular to say the least and are well worth the economically priced ticket (3-4 euros). You get a great view of the Port Vell and all of the palm-lined La Rambla. A good place to take pictures:

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

From the Monumento a Colon head southwest toward La Rambla. Exit the roundabout onto Passeig de Josep Carner/Passeig Josep Carner. Again a roundabout: take the 1st exit and turn right toward Carrer de les Drassanes/Moll de les Drassanes and, then, right and left along Carrer de les Drassanes/Moll de les Drassanes. Here you'll find the Golondrinas cruise boats. Walk 200 m. and turn right onto Rambla del Mar (wooden pedestrian bridge). After 300 m. turn left onto Moll d'Espanya road and the Maremagnum complex will be on your left.  

You can spend a whole afternoon in this area of the Old Port (Port Vell). Serene and colorful area to walk around and stroll for hours. Lovely beach, very clean. You feel very safe around and it is not as 'gritty' as other parts of Barcelona:

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip  

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

At the start of the Rambla de Mar (the wooden bridge) stands the Old Port Authority building, an ornate structure built in 1907 as a maritime station. Today it houses the Port Authority of Barcelona.

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Just south of the Old Port Authority building is the Aduana building, an old customs building constructed in 1902.

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The nearby pier - the Moll de Barcelona - leads towards the hulking mass of the modern World Trade Center. In front of the WTC building stands the Torre de Jaume I. The tower supports a cable system - the Transbordador Aeri - that brings visitors from a similar tower - the Torre de San Sebastianá at Barceloneta - to the Montjuïc Hill. In case you want some views, then you should jump onto the Aerial Tramway. Price: 9 euros one-way, 12.50 euros roundtrip. Open:  daily 10.45-19.00 (in summer until 20.00):

Citywalk in  Barcelona From La Rambla to the Old Port, Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Take a cruise there for 45 min (Gollondrinas) (from the Port to the Breakwater/Escollera)  or 90 minutes (Esqua) (from the port to the Olympic Port).  If you cross over to the Maremagnum on the mall (Moll Espanya road) and go to the 2nd floor, you can get some pictures of the city as well. It includes multi-movie house and Aquarium (behind the Maremagnum) (one of the largest in Europe). Good shopping centre with scenic views and a variety of restaurants. To arrive there you have to cross a very nice wooden bridge. 

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