Barcelona Travel Suggestions
January 21, 2019 9:23 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I will be honeymooning in Barcelona for 5 full days during the first week of April. I've started reading about the can't miss sites, but I'm concerned there isn't enough to fill a 5 day trip. Am I wrong?

If not, what day trips did you like the most? If so, what were your favorite things to do and see? We are 30ish and like live music, eating and drinking (but not partying), eclectic shopping, non-strenuous outdoor activities, art accessible to people who don't know anything about art, science, and oddities. We would also like to have a indulgent, celebratory dinner, maybe with a tasting menu, so recommendations for that are appreciated as well. We are staying in an AirBnb in the Gothic District.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta to Travel & Transportation around Barcelona, Spain (19 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
We went to Barcelona for a week in May followed by a week in the Costa Brava area and found more than enough to occupy our time. Just seeing all the Gaudi-related stuff could easily take up a week, if you do it in a relaxed way, which you absolutely should. I don't have specific suggestions for day trips since we did most of those when based in the Costa Brava area, but perhaps the Dali museum in Figueres? But with only five days, you could just spend lots of time wandering around the streets of Barcelona, eating lots of incredible food. I won't cover the usual tourist places (though you should absolutely go to all of those - both the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo were breathtaking to me, though in different ways) - but the Chocolate Museum in El Born sounds like it would appeal to you.
posted by peacheater at 9:41 AM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's a lot of easy day trips if you do get bored in the city (I don't think you will). Montserrat would take a whole day. Sant Cugat is a quaint small town 30 min train ride away and there's a nice easy hike from there that can take a few hours. There's also a funicular ride into the mountains on that same train line, I forget the specific name. I would recommend walking around Gracia neighborhood at night. People fill the plazas and eat and drink and hang out, and it's quite nice.
posted by monologish at 10:09 AM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you explored AirBNB Experiences? These are great while traveling - a local person hosts you for a cooking class or an art class, or gives you a special tour that only locals know about. Browsing the lists might give you other ideas for nearby options.
posted by xo at 10:17 AM on January 21, 2019

I spent 3 days in Barcelona last year and could easily have spent two more there.

I highly recommend taking the Gracia neighbourhood food market tour from Devour tours. It was a fantastic way to see that area and have a lot of tasty food in the process. Definitely arrive hungry. You'll be full before the end of the tour!

For oddities, check out Atlas Obscura's page on Barcelona attractions.
posted by burntflowers at 10:45 AM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Theres tons to do, but most importantly - book all your Gaudi building tickets asap! Sagrada Familia seems to sell out well in advance, so book now. I also loved La Pedrera, which has an amazing rooftop, an apartment furnished as it would have been at the time, and of course the architecture was great.

The cable-car is pretty cool, theres tons to do, and dont rush it, relax and enjoy, you will very easily fill 5 days.
posted by Joh at 11:31 AM on January 21, 2019

Seconding the recommendation to spend a whole day at Montserrat!
posted by TwoStride at 11:54 AM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

5 days is easy, and you're going to want more...a day in Gotico, a day in Born, a day in each half of Eixample, a day in Raval and Poble're already going home and you haven't been to Poble Nou, Barceloneta or any other neighbourhoods and you haven't done any side trips.
PM me if you want some recommendations for reliable tour operators, there's a lot of cowboy outfits here. I would definitely recommend a wine/tapas tour, they're a bit spendy but super worth it if you get a good one.
posted by conifer at 12:01 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I always give this advice, but it goes double for honeymoons -- don't fill up your itinerary. Build in time to lounge, deal with jetlag, and time for exploring those really cool spots or events you *have* to go see that the locals will tell you about once you get there. I guarantee you will have more than enough to keep you occupied :)
posted by ananci at 12:30 PM on January 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

I was just in Barcelona for 4 days, stayed in the same neighborhood, and mostly walked my ass off. Had a great time. There is plenty to enjoy.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:42 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have a great honeymoon! I think you will have a wonderful time in Barcelona. One tip: Many guide books recommend visiting the Palau de Musica Catalana, for its fascinating, ornate architecture and interior. It is definitely something to see, but if you are music lovers consider attending a concert there instead of just getting a tour. I saw the Tribute to Paco Lucia, a recurring event this year, and was absolutely stunned by the quality of the music and dancing. It looks like that particular show won't be playing while you are there, but perhaps something else playing during your stay will strike your fancy. You can see the schedule here. Also, check out the Born Cultural Center if you are interested in history and archaeology.
posted by reren at 2:54 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's tons to do there. It's one of the greatest cities in the world.

Since you mention drinking but not partying, check out Elephanta in the Gracia neighborhood (not the only place named Elephant in Barcelona). Anabel makes amazing cocktails.
posted by dobbs at 4:27 PM on January 21, 2019

You can rent a car for the day in Barcelona, have lunch in Andorra (ticking off another country on your travel list) and easily be back in Barcelona for dinner, even stopping a few times for roadside food stalls and photo opportunities. I thought it was a pretty interesting drive - lots of tunnels drilled through mountains - and nice scenery.
posted by trialex at 4:48 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Protip: If there is no water in the fountains at the palace there will be no fountain light show. (We sat waiting with about 200 other tourists before I twigged to the fact that they couldn't possibly fill the fountains before the show was supposed to start). It is now my personal canonical example of false social consensus information.
posted by srboisvert at 5:58 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Many guide books recommend visiting the Palau de Musica Catalana, for its fascinating, ornate architecture and interior. It is definitely something to see, but if you are music lovers consider attending a concert there instead of just getting a tour.

Seconding this. If you can go to a day time show to get the full impact of the light.
posted by roolya_boolya at 8:01 PM on January 21, 2019

I see most stuff is already covered but you can also take a train to Girona aka Braavos and a bit of King's Landing.
posted by sukeban at 10:21 PM on January 21, 2019

We spent seven days there, and I would go back in a heartbeat for another month. Barcelona was *fucking magical*. We didn’t fill up our days but kind of loosely planned a few must-see things, which worked out wonderfully. Our most remarkable experiences:

1. Walking through the ancient parts of the city- this was by far the least structured, but most wonderful experience. Every goddamned part of that city is beautiful- almost every building. Also there is public art just everywhere, and historically relevant buildings open for tourists all over the place. By accident we wandered into midevial churches and across a display of giant puppets, theatre and art sellers.

2. The food was food at almost every place we ate, so was the house wine, but the best meal we had was at a seafood place in the Gothic Quarter near the water. An expat friend and her native husband made the reservations or i’d share- but honestly you’re going to have a hard time finding bad paella if the place is there and need some reservations.

3. We went on a day trip to Figueres and again, lovely. The Dali museum is there and that was cool, but the incredible train ride and the beautiful little town made the experience.

4. We had one rainy day, so we went to the regional art museum. The overlook to the city from the top of the stairs was worth going alone- but the museum was also fabulous. That day was frankly the one that sticks most in my mind just because of the romance of it. Wonderful. All of it. No need to know anything about art in detail, just beautiful things to wander through and enjoy.

I wish we would have had more time, really. We didn’t get a chance to spend any time at the beach, for example. We aren’t nightlife people, but there is a tradition of sitting outside in a common area drinking a nice glass of wine that I wish we would have done more.

It is a wonderful city and I’m sure you’ll have a great time.
posted by Blisterlips at 4:38 AM on January 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Stay overnight at Monserrat. Here's the view from our $85 hotel room. It's almost deserted as soon as the last tour groups leave around 4:30pm. One of the most amazing places I have ever been.

You can really easily fill a week in Barcelona, especially with day trips (we went to Tarragona for the day, which is interesting if you like Roman stuff). Other than the above night in Montserrat, we very happily stayed in the same hotel in El Born for a week.
posted by something something at 6:30 AM on January 22, 2019

Walk down Las Ramblas for the experience of it but whatever you do drink and eat just about anywhere else in the city because that street is 100% tourist ripoff.
posted by srboisvert at 10:16 AM on January 22, 2019

I don't even know why tourists like Las Ramblas. Walking down metro station Diagonal through Passeig de Gràcia to Plaça de Catalunya (also a major metro hub) takes you along a good chunk of Barcelona's neogothic and modernisme buildings from La Pedrera and the Block of Discord to less known houses like the Cases Pascual i Pons. You can also include the Palau Baró de Quadras if you walk around a couple of blocks before going down Gràcia.
posted by sukeban at 12:53 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

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