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- Posted:Wednesday, June 5, 2013
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Barcelona is the buzzing, vibrant jewel of the Catalan coast. It is quite different to many of the main tourist spots further down the coast, mainly due to its proud status as capital of Cataluña. For that reason, don't expect the language to be textbook Spanish; here, Catalan is king! That said, most people will make the effort to help out tourists by switching to Spanish or even English if you're really struggling.
Practically, Barcelona is a pretty easy city to navigate on foot or by public transport with a well laid-out grid system for the streets and a simple metro system. Here's an example of what you can do with 24 hours and a T10 (10 journey) metro ticket, written by our guest blogger Kathy Calmejane.
9am – Barcelona is a city of artists, and Gaudí is probably the most celebrated, having contributed many architectural marvels to the city's streets. The Sagrada Familia basilica has been under construction since 1882 and isn't planned to be finished until 2026. The incredibly intricate and daring designs, along with several unfortunate setbacks, have made it one of the longest constructions in the world!
The basilica is easy to access on the L2 and L5 metro lines, with the L4 a few blocks away. It is the most-visited monument in Barcelona so get there early to beat at least some of the crowds.
12pm – From the Sagrada Familia, hop on the nearby L4 metro line and get off at Barceloneta. Stroll down the tree-lined avenue to the sea front or take a wander through the smaller streets of this old fishermen's barrio until you reach the sea. This pleasant beach was added for the 1992 Olympics and the area has retained much of its original atmosphere.
The seafood in the restaurants along the strand is the freshest you will find in the city, so find a spot to enjoy some tapas or a bocadillo and soak up the sun! Bear in mind that the Spanish eat late, and some restaurants won't be serving until 1 or even 2 pm!
3pm – After lunch, head back to the L4 line and get off at the Juanic stop, then jump on the 28 bus. This bus will drop you at the entrance to the Parc Güell. You can also walk up from several nearby metro stations but the streets are tiny and steep so make sure you have a good map and a good pair of shoes.
This park is another of Gaudí's masterpieces and aside from the amazing decorations and layouts, it also offers amazing views of the city and tons of photo opportunities!
5pm – No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a stroll down La Rambla, the main avenue of the old centre of the city. Down the centre of the avenue is a pedestrian area where you can get snacks, drinks and souvenirs from the many stands.
Off to the east is the Barri Gòtic, with its meandering streets and gothic-style buildings.
You can get there on most of the metro lines. Coming from Parc Güell, the bus 28 and L4 metro will bring you to the Passeig de Gràcia stop near the top of La Rambla.
8pm – From La Rambla, hop on the L3 metro line and get off at Pl. Espanya. A short walk down Av. Reina Maria Cristina will bring you to the Magic Fountain and the monumental steps that lead all the way up to the National Art Museum. At dusk or after dark this fountain and the surrounding park become even more breath-taking as the music and lights combine with water jets for a show every half an hour (Thursdays to Sundays). A great way to end a very full day!
Of course, if you still have some energy left, you can head back to La Rambla for some nightlife.