What should we do in Barcelona?
February 29, 2008 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Help make my trip to Barcelona awesome!

I'm going to Barcelona next week with my boyfriend, it's our first holiday in a long time but we're only there for three days. What are the must-see places and must-do things in the city? Bonus for quirky, fun stuff!
posted by cardamine to Travel & Transportation around Barcelona, Spain (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
My group accidentally stumbled onto La Cantonada this autumn. It is an inexpensive and simple, yet lively tapas bar. I highly recommend it.
posted by grouse at 5:26 AM on February 29, 2008

You have to go to the "Magic Fountain" (Sorry my Spanish is non-existant) as seen in this video. It is awesome, and I think they do a show every night. Colors, changing fountains, music. Lots of awesome.

Also check out Gaudi Park, lots of cool (and weird) architecture, nice views of the city.

Stroll up and down Las Ramblas (or do a pub crawl!)

And check out the Sagrada Familia (big church designed by Gaudi as well)

Oh, and eat, eat, drink and be merry! Great city.
posted by Grither at 5:31 AM on February 29, 2008

posted by benzo8 at 5:44 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

So jealous. My wife and I spent four days there last year.

The Picasso museum is pretty good, and there's a small but neat pre-Columbian art museum right across the street from it. There's a nice chocolate place a block north and just east of the Picasso museum. Can't remember the name of it, but they sell great bars of chocolate for cheap and all manner of sugary confections for not-quite-so-cheap.

Leave one day -- or at least an entire afternoon and evening -- open for Montjuïc and hit the Fundació Miró, the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and the fountain Grither mentioned.

Take a walking tour of Gaudi's works, and pay to go inside Sagrada Familia rather than just gawking at it from outside. It's worth it.

I can't remember all the places we ate off the top of my head, but our hotel was right on the Ramblas and we hit La Boquería -- the open air market -- every morning for breakfast. Fresh fruit, freshly pressed juice, coffee, fried pastries, etc. Not fancy, but delicious nonetheless. I'll try to remember some of the other places we ate and post again later.
posted by cog_nate at 6:52 AM on February 29, 2008

I'd second the Gaudi recommendation. Both the Sagrada Familia and the Gaudi park definite must sees.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 7:33 AM on February 29, 2008

Want an awesome time in Barce? Totally take cog_nate's advice about checking out the Gaudi buildings and other museums.

But you also need to eat: you don't mention food particulars (so I'm assuming you're not), but here's a place you'll want to go to twice: Los Caracoles.

You dont' HAVE to eat snails there, but they're pretty damned delicious. You SHOULD try to get a seat up on the 2d floor, looking out over the kitchen.
posted by deejay jaydee at 7:38 AM on February 29, 2008

posted by rjt at 7:45 AM on February 29, 2008

Have a long lie in.

Go to the places people have mentioned above.

About 3pm have some lunch at La Cerveceria on Calle Mallorca (walk from the Placa Catalyuna away from the Ramblas, when you get to Mallorca turn left for a couple of blocks).

See some more things.

Go shopping in El Cortes Ingles.

Go to the tapas place on the square in front of the Cathedral (not the Sagrada Familia, the other one) where the food is laid out on the bar on cocktail sticks and you pay for how many cocktail sticks you have at the end of the night.

About 10pm have some dinner somewhere in El Born. Go back to the hotel and have a sleep.

At 2:30am at the earliest go to a club (not at the Puerto Olimpico or on the Ramblas though) The daddy of them all is the Razzmazztazz.

When you come out of the club at 6am, look for the guys with tickets to an "after".

Go to one, get back to the hotel at 9am, have breakfast and go to bed.

Do it again the next day.
posted by jontyjago at 8:31 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I really loved the Barcelona City History Museum (Museu d'Història de la Ciutat ). It's located in the Barrio Gotico district, which you'll likely visit anyway. The museum is an underground excavation through the layers of Barcelona's history. I love those archaeological museums.

Also in the Barrio Gotico is the History of Footwear Museum (Museu d'Història del Calçat). Good for quirk fun points.

The Gaudi park is called Parc Güell. It's worth a visit although it took me quite a while to reach by subway and foot. Perhaps I didn't know the best route.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:34 AM on February 29, 2008

My wife and I spent 4 long days there in January....coming from Germany it was perfect... Spent long hours just wandering the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter (west of Las Ramblas). I was not usually impressed by tapas, after I walked to the bathroom in one expensive resturaunt only to see all the tapas laid out infront of a bank of microwave ovens. The best food was consistantly found off of the major steets. Look for long lines around lunch and dinner time and follow the hive. We found that 80% of our days were spent within a kilometer or two of Las Ramblas. We didn't make it to the olympic park, and apart from a metro to get from the hotel to our general location for the day, we walked most everywhere.

I brought this guide on my phone, but I'm wishing I had printed it out. It has good background and history if you like to understand where you are.

PDF guide to Barcelona

Picasso Museum was mind-blowing. It's like knowing picasso throughout his entire life...you see how he grew up, developed as an artist, went through moods, and then became brilliantly lazy in later life.

Buy a 10 ride ticket for the metro and find youself wishing your city had a transit system like it (I'm from denver).

Go to La Sagrada Familia when it opens to ride the elevators up (and remember there are 2 elevators, one for each facade. Get an audio tour. (I usually don't do audio tour, but theirs is excellent) the elevators may not be both open when you arrive, but its worth asking a guard when you arrive, as most people will go to the first one up the newer facade.

Drink wine outside on the sidewalk at 2 in the afternoon and then spend the rest of the afternoon wandering the city in a beatuiful wine-laced buzz.

Spend WAY too much money on good food and remember that when you return, your credit card statement will be 50% higher than what you thought you spend.

Dream at night of 1 euro = 1 dollar.

Enjoy the waterfront in Barcelonita (if you don't live on the waterfront now...remember, I came from Denver)

Don't go to the mall at the end of Las Ramblas by the sea. Go to the mall in your suburb when you return home if you must.

If you enjoy things like this, go to one of the markets...El Mercat Santa Catalina or the one on Las Ramblas. IT's like a big colorful meat, fish, and veggie market.

Drink lots of cortados (espresso with a touch of milk).

In all, we felt very safe, even in some of the darker, narrower streets at night. Our 1 year old in the stroller enjoyed most every minute of it, and was doted upon by many a waitress.
posted by johngalt at 8:54 AM on February 29, 2008

Make sure you drink a beer in the streets after the bars close! Just hang out in one of the squares and drink the red can. (Atleast this is my best memory from the summer).
posted by thetenthstory at 11:12 AM on February 29, 2008

There's an open-topped double-decker tour bus that does three routes around Barcelona; you buy a ticket for about 20 euros and jump on and off all day. You can get a two-day ticket for about 24 euros. It is absolutely worth the money, since it takes you to all the major sights and is generally a charming way to travel around the city.

Also, catch the cable car up to Montjuic.
posted by hot soup girl at 2:34 PM on February 29, 2008

Definitely go to the Gothic Quarter, Parc Guell, and Sagrada Familia. The quintessential tapas place is Il Xiampanyet, and we liked it. But the point of tapas is to get out, walk around, relax. It's not like going out to eat in the US and I think it's really about trying what looks packed with locals and interesting.

Eat pastries and short coffees for breakfast. Try sherry. Sleep late and stay up late.

Skip tapas on las ramblas unless you can't avoid it- it's not terrible, but it's like eating at McDonald's in Manhattan.

Montjuic is a nice place to be if the weather is nice.

Also, read the book The Shadow of the Wind if you get a chance!
posted by Rae Datter at 4:47 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

> Make sure you drink a beer in the streets after the bars close! Just hang out in one of the squares and drink the red can. (At least this is my best memory from the summer).

Can I suggest you don't do this... The law has changed recently, botellón is illegal now and the police will pick you up for drinking in the streets in areas not so designated.
posted by benzo8 at 5:47 PM on February 29, 2008

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