Spain/Portugal/Gibraltar - Looking for Barcelona tips - hotel and day trips
Jul 23, 12, 4:11 pm
I have booked my vacation and will be in Barcelona for six days in October. I have never been there and am looking for advice and recommendations. I am thinking that I will stay at the same hotel for the six nights and make a few day trips in addition to enjoying the city itself. So far I like Montserrat, Girona and Tarragona as day trips with 3 days for Barcelona. From those that have been there, does this seem like a reasonable plan? Are there better day trip destinations? Coastal resorts have little or no interest; I prefer to see the history and culture. I have been to Madrid and southern Spain, so I donít need to go that direction. Also, I am not planning on renting a car.
What about good hotel options? It would be nice to find something in the range of about Ä100 per night (less is OK), single room, conveniently located, preferably with some character. I like what I have read about the Gothic Quarter, would that be a good base for my visit?
Since this is FlyerTalk, I should mention that I donít have enough hotel points for that to be an option. Maybe next time.
I appreciate any help you are willing to provide.
Jul 23, 12, 7:05 pm
We have stayed at the Continental Palacete a charming hotel that decorates its rooms in pink! A quick look at last week in Oct, rates 105euro for single. Has alot of extra amenities: a free 24hr cafeteria setup for snacks, breakfast quiches, water, drink dispensers, in-room microwave, an internet computer for guests,...Just across the street from the hotel is a local bakery for fresh pastries and sandwiches.
The hop on/hop off tourist buses are one block away on Passeig de Gracia.. Lovely area to walk around, and plenty of tapa spots.
Be careful of pickpockets, don't walk around with all your valuables, use the hotel safe.
We have been to many of the must sees in Barcelona, and still have not tired of the city. There are good guides that suggest walking routes. What is your passion?
On the day trips: I would probably keep Tarragona for last. If you feel that you need another day in Barcelona, just drop the Tarragona visit. (It's the least interesting of the 3, unless you're into Roman history.)
You could also take the same train line (the one towards Tarragona) but on the regional trains, to Sitges. The short train ride along the coast is nice, Sitges is a good place to have lunch, and you'd be back in Barcelona in a few hours.
Montserrat is a full day, and quite a journey if you like the combination of trains/rack rail/funicular. So i'd say do that first and leave early morning..
Tarragona is pleasant, but is very quiet during Siesta hours. We tend to go there with visitors by car and spend the afternoon in MontBlanc or Priorat region, not so easy on public transport.
In October you can rent cars quite cheaply from BCN airport, so maybe a day of motor touring might be something you can consider? You'd be able to visit the Cava wineries in Sant Sadurni then as well.
Jul 27, 12, 1:18 am
At the very least I wouldn't stay in the gothic district, I mean sure it has character and it's nice to visit and tour, but you can stay in Eixample or Born which are much more centric, well-connected, and safer. Whenever I've had friends come here to Barcelona, most of the "bad stories" happen at night in the Gothic quarter of the city.
Jul 27, 12, 9:57 am
Montserrat is fantastic and well worth the time it takes. The cable car ride up is a fun option. Hike the short way to the top of the hill from the monestary and you'll get a view of the ocean on a clear day. I also enjoyed visiting the roman ruins and Jewish quarter in Girona. That was easy and didn't take up the entire day.
For an amazing tasting menu meal, don't miss Comerc 24 with the wine pairings. Outstanding. Abac was also spectacular.
Jul 30, 12, 4:17 pm
If you are looking to earn points on this trip, and keep the price low, probably the best hotel choice is Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. They have several properties in and around Barcelona.
Personally I can't imagine doing what you want without a car rental. It's a big place and I've only done those places in my own car. Both driving and parking is easy everywhere except in BarÁa itself. And if you get a GPS even that is pretty easy.
Stayed at hotel Murmuri & went to Montserrat - both good.
Montserrat is worth a day trip.....a full day trip! We didn't do the full day & it was an error.
IMO if you don't make a day of it - go somewhere else.
Aug 2, 12, 6:57 pm
I just went to Barcelona for 3 days in mid July - did the American thing and crammed all the sights in those 3 days. :)
Personally, Montserrat was a bit disappointing, as the boys choir was on vacation and we had a terrible tour guide who basically just said, okay, you're here, go explore. We went exploring and were unfortunately a bit underwhelmed. I think the problem was that we had just flown in from Rome, and had just experienced the St Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel only a few days prior.
We had a large-ish group of people and we needed four rooms, so we booked a bit farther out at a hotel called Hesperia Sant Just. The Hotel was quite clean and modern and very cheap - It was a 4 star hotel that we booked it for about $60 per night for a room with double beds. Current rates are about $76 per night. The rate does not include breakfast, so I would add another $10 per person for the (very good) continental breakfast if you'd want to stay at this hotel.
The hotel is about 500 yards from a TRAM station, and we just walked to the TRAM station every morning, transferred to the Metro (subway) at the Royal Palace, and got to the middle of town. There's a TRAM to the station every ~12 minutes during peak times IIRC, and it took 47 minutes between getting on the TRAM to getting off the subway at the center of Barcelona during peak times. The 47 minutes included transfer time at the Royal Palace.
I found Barcelona's TRAM and Subway system very modern, clean and efficient. So if I had to do it again, I wouldn't mind doing the same hotel again. However, 47 minutes is 47 minutes, and going to and from the center of town each day does take time out that you could be sight seeing, so if you only have a few people, then a nice hotel closer to center of town is probably better. I will disagree with the poster that said that you'd need a car. I think the public transportation system was quite good, and a car isn't needed. (presume that your hotel is close to the subway or TRAM station)