I’ve heard a lot about Barcelona before visiting there, and I never thought it will be that enjoyable to visit. The streets are magical, the people are warm and welcoming and the feeling is historic and artistic. Here are my 5 quick tips for Barcelona:
(1) Choose your hotel at the center. The 3 stars hotels there are not expensive and when you arrive you find out how much difference it makes to be in the center of the Catalonian nightlife. We stayed at the Rialto hotel (3 stars), reasonable and clean rooms, breakfast is included and ask for a room that faces the street, not the rear. http://www.hotel-rialto.com/
(2) Every Sunday noon there is traditional Catalonian dancing in front of the Barcelona Cathedral. Old, Young, locals and tourists, everyone takes part in maintaining the tradition. A large orchestra sits on the cathedral stairs, playing the jumpy music in high volume. A must see and free.
(3) SAGARDI is a super cool tapas bar; you arrive and stand by a small high table or at the bar. If you happen to see a free chair – grab it! The method there is simple, a wonderful variety of tapas are placed on the bar, take as many as you like but keep the toothpick that is pinned to each one. You pay per toothpick, each one 1.70 euros, and same price for all. http://www.sagardi.com/
(4) Take the Barcelona tour bus! It’s €24 for one day and €34 for two days. There are two lines that run the complete Barcelona main tourists locations, Green and Orange. Each one tours the opposite side of the city. The first day we took the Green line and visited the Segrada Familia (http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/) which gave us the first educated, deep look at Gaudi’s influences and then headed to Park Güell on the top of the hill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_G%C3%BCell) which was a romantic and calm tour of the gardens with an amazing view of the city. On the second day we took the Orange line to the Olympic park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estadi_Ol%C3%ADmpic_Llu%C3%ADs_Companys) and the Catalonian Art Museum (http://www.mnac.cat/index.jsp?lan=001 – note that on Saturday and Sunday the admission is free until 3pm, when it closes). The buses are driving in circles all day, so once you finish, you just hop on the bus and continue until your next destination.
(5) Don’t stamp your passport before you do the duty free shopping! That advice is relevant to gates D and E only. If you rush to passport control you cannot go back to the duty free on the first floor – it got Zara, Bershka, Mango and lots more – Tax free!
Enjoy the city, it’s amazing!