Barcelona Things to Do Tips by Jetgirly
Barcelona Things to Do: 3,977 reviews and 7,820 photos
The Front Facade
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Palau de la Musica Catalana is located in the heart of Barcelona, minutes away from Placa Catalunya. While concerts still play in the Palau, I would suggest going for a guided tour. Tours begin with a video presentation and then make their way through the Palau, giving you the opportunity to see the amazing architecture, design and decoration up close and personal. Tours run in the morning and early afternoon, and tickets can be bought up to seven days in advance at the Palau box office (in the lobby). Tours run in English, Catalan and Spanish with staggering start times.
In the lobby there is a great cafe that serves coffee and EXCELLENT chocolate-filled croissants (pop by for breakfast). Photographs cannot be taken inside the building and it is sandwiched quite close between its surrounding buildings, so don't expect great photo opportunities.
Address: C/San Francesc de Paula, 2.
Directions: Metro; Urquinaona.
Phone: 902 442 882
Pavillion Mies van der Rohe
The Pavillion Mies van der Rohe is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen in my life. We studied it in my architecture classes at university and I felt amazingly lucky to get to finally see it in person. The building is all metal, marble and glass, and features some of the architect's famous Barcelona chairs (no, you can't sit in them). I visited in the rain and it was still absolutely beautiful, especially around the pond and statue in the back.
This is not the original building. It a reconstruction built in the late 1980s, as the original was demolished after the World Fair back in the 1920s or 1930s. The gift shop is very expensive but it has some very stylish designer items.
Directions: Metro Espanya, head towards MNAC, cross the street and it is to your right.
At the bottom of Las Ramblas you'll find this giant monument to Christopher Columbus. He's pointing east, towards his "hometown" of Genoa, Italy. Inside, an elevator whisks you up to the top, giving you panoramic views of the city and the sea. It costs about EUR 2 to go up, and the small upper deck holds only a handful of people (maybe ten or twelve). If you ride the tourist bus, you'll get a coupon for discounted admission.
Address: Place del portal de la Pau
Directions: Metro: Drassanes
Two Modernist Buildings
There is lots to see and do on Passeig de Gracia, however I think the big highlights are two of Gaudi's most famous buildings, Casa Mila and Casa Batlló. I have tips on Casa Milo and Casa Batllo. The latter was remodelled in 1904 by Gaudi and features wavy surfaces and blue-green tiles that shimmer in the night. Casa Battlo is located on the Manzana de la Discordia (block of dissension) because there are so many clashing architectural styles on the street (see the angular house right next to Casa Batlló!). If you only have time to enter one of Gaudi's houses, I highly recommend visiting the interior of Casa Mila. It has been beautifully preserved and restored, and features a wealth of information that is actually interesting. Casa Battlo doesn't compare.
While you are on this street, I highly recommend you check out Vincon, a major home decor store with everything under the sun, from toys and motorcycle helmets to placemats and art. It is like a classier, edgier version of IKEA, and it is absolutely HUGE (the facade is deceiving)! It's the perfect place to find gifts to bring home for those people who already have everything!
Directions: Vincon is located at Passeig de Gràcia, 96 and can be reached by phone at (+34) 93 215 6050.
Fundacio Joan Miro From a Distance
I really enjoyed the time that I spent at the Fundacio Joan Miro, mainly because there was an EXCELLENT temporary exhibit on Women in Modernism. There were amazing video installations, paintings, sculptures and informative text and audio, all talking about the influence of women in modernism. In Summer 2006, the Fundacio will host exhibits by Carlos Santos and Douglas Gordon. I was less enthused about the Joan Miro collection itself, but it is a matter of personal preference. That being said, his tapestries CANNOT BE MISSED- they are AMAZING! They reach sizes of more than seven by five meters, and hang beautifully in the building (which was designed by Josep Lluis Sert in the 1970s).
Make sure to bring your drivers license or passport so that you can sign out the audio tour, they are really strict on acceptable forms of ID. You can reach the Fundacio by foot (it's a fair hike up Montjuic, but beautiful in cool weather), by Barcelona Tourist Bus, by Bus #50 from Placa Catalunya or by the Funicular from Metro Paral·lel. Adult admission is EUR 7.50 and the reduced rate is EUR 5.
Address: Plaza de Neptú
Phone: (34) 934.439.470
Founatain at Ciutadella (Waterfall)
Park Ciutadella is a great place to spend a sunny, warm afternoon. Just bring your picnic blanket and pack a lunch, then sit back and watch the people go by. There are always people playing guitar or dancing, and lots of children and pets going by. My favorite part of the park is the fountain, but make sure you keep checking back until you actually get to see it turned on! You can also grab a coffee from the kiosk near the fountain and relax for a while. If you bring your own balls and paddles, you can play ping-pong in the great outdoors at one of the parks' ping-pong tables!
The park is also home to the zoo, the zoological and geological museums, and an art museum / gallery, amongst other things.
Address: Avingudade del Marquès de l'Argentera
Directions: On the edge of Ribera district. Near Barri Gothic, Cathedral Seu and Port Vell.
Plaza de Toros Monumental
Thank you to ekuatoriana for helping me identify this building! I passed it when I was wandering around Barcelona one day and was really impressed by the architecture, but I didn't have time to stop and find out what the building was.
Originally, it served as a bullfighting ring (and still hosts occasional bullfights) but today it also houses the Bullfighting Museum. Inside the museum you will find objects associated with bullfighting, from the costumes of the matadors to posters from important events. The museum is open only from April to September, with hours generally being 10.30am - 2pm and 4pm - 7pm. I suggest phoning to confirm opening hours.
Address: Gran Via de les Corts Catalans, 749
Directions: Placa d'Espanya
Phone: 93 245 58 03
El Corte Ingles at Placa Catalunya
Placa Catalunya really does seem like the heart of Barcelona. This busy square is home to some of the biggest stores in the city, it is a hub for transportation (buses, trains, taxis and the Tourist Bus), marks the end of the Ramblas, and has the most pigeons I have ever seen in my life!
Placa Catalunya is good for shopping. I got my pay-as-you-go Vodaphone from FNAC, found a great selection of veggie burgers and tofu at the grocery in the basement of El Corte Ingles, and bought an adorable lipstick highlighter pen at Sephora in El Triangle!
For awesome views from the Plaza, grab a drink in the cafeteria on the top floor of El Corte Ingles. Food and drinks are cheap up here, and if you can score a window seat the views are unparalled (for the price!).
Address: Plaça Catalunya
Directions: Northwestern End Las Ramblas.
I was in Barcelona in November and December, and we still thought the beaches were beautiful. If you are there during the winter months I recommend grabbing a scarf and gloves (the breeze can be cool) and going for a walk along the beach, then stopping at a beach-front patio for a glass of wine or hot chocolate!
My second visit to Barcelona was in August, and I spent several afternoons lying on the beach near Villa Olympica. The sea was moderately warm, the sun was bright, the sand was clean and I felt quite safe. There were lots of vendors walking up and down the beach selling bottled water, beer and soda. The crowds are amazing and yet everyone seems to mind their own business and respect one another. Bring your beach towel and some sunglasses!
Oh yeah, and note the giant goldfish statue in the picture. If you are looking for a V.O (version originale aka not dubbed) cinema, there is one called Icaria near the two big towers (metro Villa Olympica). The goldfish itself was designed by Frank Gehry and is 34 by 54 meters!
There is a great promenade connecting the Arc to the Parc de la Ciutadella. Although there is not much shade, the pedestrian-only walkway is wide and lined with palm trees. In the winter months I noticed a market selling Christmas goods set up along the path, it is possible there are other markets in the summer. It is not possible to ascend the Arc but it is still worth a look for anyone staying in town for three or more days.
The Arc was built in 1888 for the Universal Exposition, and served as the entry to the fair. On the front of the arc there is a frieze reading, "Barcelona rep les nacions". This is Catalan for "Barcelona welcomes the nations".
Address: Passeig de Lluis Companys.
Directions: Metro: Arc de Triomf.
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