Let’s Visit Barcelona!

by | Jun 8, 2016 | Travels | 2 comments

Let’s Visit Barcelona!

by | Jun 8, 2016 | Travels | 2 comments

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and the capital of the autonomous community of Catalunya. Known for the famous Sagrada Familia, the church designed by Antonio Gaudí, the city is a vibrant place with a great nightlife, rich history, great food, excellent weather and beautiful architecture. Barcelona has everything to be one of your favourite cities.

History of Barcelona

Barcelona is over 2,000 years old and has its origins from a village named Barcino founded by Phoenicians and Carthaginians.

Through history, the city was occupied by Romans, Visigoths and Moors. The Moors occupied the city from 720 until 801. The son of Charlemagne captured Barcelona from the Moors in 801 after a siege that lasted a couple months.

Under the crown of Aragon, Barcelona was the largest settlement in Catalonia and an important source of income for the crown due to its profitable port and merchant guild.

In 1812, Napoleon forces invaded the city and annexed it to France. Barcelona prospered and restored its role as a cultural centre.

Barcelona was repeatedly bombed by air raids in the Spanish civil war that lasted between 1936 to 1939, killing thousands and destroying parts of the city.  The local population at that time was mainly composed of elderly, women and children. They were the ones that built most of the 1,300-1,400 bomb shelters.

In 1992 Barcelona was the host of the Summer Olympic Games in which Spain won 13 gold medals, 7 silver medals and 2 bronze medals, making it a total of 22 medals won that year and the highest number of medals won through the years of participation in the summer Olympic games.

Read More: Wikipedia – History of Barcelona

Basic Info
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Currency

Euro

Languages

Catalan, Spanish, English

Climate

Mild winters, warm summers

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Voltage/Plug Type

220 V 50Hz /  Type C, F

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Map of Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia

Opening Hours: 9am – 8pm
Price: from 15 to 29 euros
Best Time To Visit: 9-8am and 6-8pm
Tip: Buy the tickets online for a discount

Park Güell

Opening Hours: 8am – 9:30pm
Price: 7 euros
Best Time To Visit: early in the morning
Tip: One of the best locations to watch the sunrise/sunset

 

Arc de Triomf

Tip: Spot the bubble man

 

Parc de la Ciutadella

Price: Boat hire: from 6euros/30min
Best Time To Visit: Anytime when you need a break
Tip: Don’t miss out the magnificient fountain.

 

Barcelona Catedral

Opening Hours: 8am – 7:30pm
Price: free
Best Time To Visit: 8-9am
Tip: visit the cloisters before leaving the Catedral

 

Las Ramblas

Tip: Watch out for pickpockets

 

The Magic Fountain

Best Time To Visit: At sunset
Tip: Enjoy the stunning light show in the evening

 

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (Closed on Mondays)
Price: Roof: 2 euros | Museum + Roof: 12 euros
Tip: Best view of the town from the roof or the terrace (free)

 

Palau Sant Jordi

Tip: A great place to have a view of the city and the airport

 

Casa Batlló

Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm
Price:  from 22,50 euros
Best Time To Visit: early in the morning
Tip: Take your smartphone fully charged and enjoy the smart guide

 

La Pedrera (Casa Milà)

Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm, 7pm – 9pm
Price:  20,50 euros
Best Time To Visit: 9am and between 8-9pm
Tip: Enjoy the light show in the evening on the roof

 

Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

Opening Hours: 9am – 1pm, 5pm – 8:30pm
Best Time To Visit: mostly empty early in the morning
Tip: Beautiful gothic church – great for a break

 

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Foundation Legends

Carthaginian Origins
The Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca arrived in Iberia to re-establish Carthaginian authority. He established a city and named it Barkenon.
Greek Origins
Hercules was traveling with a fleet of nine ships on a quest to find the Golden Fleece. Because of a storm the fleet got dispersed, eventually, all but one regrouped.

The missing ship and its crew were found safe and sound close to a small hill by Hercules.  They were so impressed by the beauty of the area that Hercules and the crew decided to establish a city at the bottom of the hill, giving it the name of Barca Nona(“Ninth Ship”).

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Temperatures

  • Jan – Mar
  • Apr – Jun
  • Jul – Sep
  • Oct – Dec

Travelling Into and Around Barcelona
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Using public transport in Barcelona is quite easy and you have different options while travelling around the city.
I chose the T-10 over the 2-day travel card because I was planning to do a lot of walking and would use public transport when too tired or the place was too far away.

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Ticket: T10

Price: 9,95 euros
Validity: 1 year
Trips: 10
Uses: Bus, Metro, Train, and Tram
Where To Get It: On the train station of the airport
Note: With this ticket you can’t use the metro on the airport to go to the town centre. Use the RENFE train or Bus.

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Travel Card: Hola BCN!

Price: from 14 to 32 euros
Validity: 2, 3, 4 or 5 days
Trips: Unlimited
Uses: Bus, Metro, Train, Funicular, and Tram
Where To Get It: Barcelona Smart Moving Site
Note: Buy the ticket online to get a discount.

Operating hours

Monday to Thursday: 5am until midnight
Fridays: 5am until 2am
Saturdays: 5am and runs all night
Sundays: until midnight

Get a TMB Map: Online | PDF |
For more information:
TMB site

Operating hours

Weekdays: Every 5 to 8 minutes
Weekends: Every 11 to 12 minutes
Early mornings/Nights: Buses can be less frequent

Get a TMB Map: Online | PDF |
For more information:
TMB site

Operating hours

Everyday from: 5am until midnight

Get a Map: Online 
For more information:
Renfe Site

Minimum fare: 7 euros
€/km: 1.10 ( 8 am to 8 pm) or 1.30 (8pm to 8 am)
Luggage Charge: 1 euro
Barcelona Airport: Possible fare of 20 euros
Calling a taxi on phone: from 3.40 euros to 4.50 euros

How To Save Money
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  • Buy tickets for attractions online
  • For lunch eat from the Menú del Día (usually cheaper and includes a starter, main and a drink)
  • Eating in Las Ramblas is expensive
  • Buy snacks from bakeries located on side streets  away from tourists
  • If you stay in an Airbnb or hostel buy food from Mercadona

Tipping
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Tipping can always be a subject of some confusion because every country has its own rules when it comes to it.  Tipping is not expected in Spain. If you received any special treatment or you really enjoyed the service provided you may leave a small tip for that person. Just round up the bill to the nearest euro or leave between 50 cents to 2 euros and you can’t go wrong.

If you are just having a coffee or a beer you don’t need to leave any tip, the same applies for nightclubs, but if you go out to a nice restaurant for dinner then you may leave up to 10% off the bill as a tip if you have received a good service from the waiter, otherwise, you can just round up the bill.

What To Do
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Must See

  • La Sagrada Familia
  • Park Güell
  • Arc de Triomf
  • Parc de la Ciutadella
  • Catedral of Barcelona
  • Las Ramblas
  • The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
  • MNAC
  • Casa Batlló
  • La Pedrera (Casa Milà)

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Must Do

  • Rent a bike and explore the down
  • Enjoy a nice walk along Barceloneta
  • Visit the crypt at Sagrada Familia (free)
  • Enjoy a 360º view of Barcelona from Hotel Barcelo Raval

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Must Eat

  • Tapas
  • Ensaïmada
  • Crema Catalana
  • Patatas Bravas
  • Jamón

More Information: