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Barcelona City Guide
- How big is Barcelona?
- Spain’s second-largest city covers approximately 487 square kilometres.
- How many people inhabit it?
- The Catalonian capital is inhabited by 1.6 million people.
- What is the language spoken?
- There are two languages spoken in Barcelona – Castellano (Spanish) and Catalàn.
- And the currency spent?
- That would be Euro.
- Sculpture on La Sagrada Familia
Things to see in Barcelona
- What is Barcelona’s number one attraction?
- La Sagrada Familia is the city’s number one attraction. Last year two and a quarter million people visited Antoni Gaudi’s dying work.
- Antoni Gaudi?
- Sorry, I should’ve clarified – Antoni Gaudi was an architect born in Reus, a town about 120km outside Barcelona. Son of a coppersmith, his buildings have been instrumental in making the city as popular as it is. You can see his work at 14 locations around the city. The most central of these are the lampposts in Plaça Reial, Palau Güell on Nou de la Rambla and Casa Batllo and La Pedrera on Passeig de Gracia. Ironically, he didn’t start or finish his most famous work, the aforementioned La Sagrada Familia.
- Anything else which shouldn’t be missed?
- Well if you’re into football you should do your best to visit Camp Nou, home to Barça, one of the world’s most famous football clubs. A game here won’t be forgotten. If you don’t catch a game you can always get a tour and visit the museum. And for birds-eye views of the city, go up to Montjüic, a hill on the western side of the city.
- On average, how much does it cost to get into Barcelona’s top attractions?
- Nothing more than what it costs to get into top attractions in other big cities like New York. For instance, it costs €20.35 to visit Casa Batllo, while across the road in La Pedrera the admission charge is €16.50. You’ll need to hand over €13 to gain entry to La Sagrada Familia, €11 to get into Museu Picasso, and €23 for the museum at Camp Nou.
- So would I be right in saying that sightseeing is an expensive pasttime in Barcelona?
- Not at all. It costs money get into all these buildings, but it costs nothing to gaze at them. Many of Gaudi’s buildings are just as fascinating from the outside as they are on the inside. One of his greatest creations, Parc Güell, is free.
Going out in Barcelona
- Is it expensive to go out in Barcelona?
- Not really. Certainly not when you compare it to some of the other big capitals around Europe like Paris or Rome. A bottle of beer will cost you anything between €2 or €3, but you shouldn’t pay any more than that.
- Where are most of the bars found?
- Pretty much everywhere. Those around Las Ramblas are quite touristy and are best avoided. The El Born district is a favourite with locals and full of cool bars, particuarly around its main thoroughfare, Passeig del Born. Other areas like Maremagnum and Port Olympico are also threaded with bars, but they have a hint of tackiness about them.
- Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
- Only when going to clubs, as most of the bars are doorman-less.
- Any particular bars /clubs worth singling out?
- If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would be like to go out with Frodo in Middle Earth, check out Bosc de les Fades (Pasaje de la Banca), just at the bottom of Las Ramblas. It’s like a forest, complete with trees and even toadstools. Bar Marsella (C/de Sant Pau, 65) is famous in Barcelona as it’s where everybody goes to drink absinthe. Don’t go on your own though; it’s in a bit of a dodgy area. The El Born district, on the other hand, isn’t a dodgy area and this is where you will find many, many bars. Look out for Borneo (C/del Rec, 49).
- Is there anything to do after dark that doesn’t involve alcohol?
- Ramble down Las Ramblas! In the warmer months there is always something happening on Barcelona’s artery making it a great place to visit at night.
- Anything else I need to know?
- If you enjoy siestas, good news – things don’t get going in Barcelona until after 11pm. So if it’s 8pm and you’re beat from sightseeing all day you have time for a sneaky sleep before going out on the tiles.
Eating Out in Barcelona
- Is it expensive to eat out in Barcelona?
- That really depends on what and where you eat. If you go to a tapas bar you could easily end up blowing around €10 on food just for yourself. Go with a few others and the bill won’t be as steep. Mains are anywhere around the region of €6 and €10.
- What are tapas exactly?
- Tapas is one of a vast selection of small savoury Spanish dishes. These include Spanish ham, squid, octopus, sun-dried tomatoes, croquettes… the list goes on. People either eat them on their own as a snack or collectively as a meal.
- Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
- Again, they are all over the city but if its good value you’re after steer clear of those on the tourist-trodden path of Las Ramblas. Instead, check out those around the main university/Gran Via in the Sant Antoni district (North West of Las Ramblas) and the El Born district.
- Are international cuisines well-represented?
- There are many Thai, Chinese, Italian and other type of eateries around Barcelona, but they’re not as evident as in other European cities. Around the city centre most restaurants deal in local fare.
- Any particular establishments I should keep my eyes peeled for?
- Don’t leave Barcelona without going to Can Paixano (C/de la Reina Cristina, 7), a tapas bar where you can buy cheap champagne to wash it down with. And when I say cheap I mean really cheap. The most expensive bottle is €4.20! Get down early as it is thronged by 8pm. Mercat St Josep (La Boqueria) on Las Ramblas is a vibrant food market, good for a snack if you’re on the run. It's also one of the most colourful places in the world.
Transport in Barcelona
- How many different modes of public transport are there in Barcelona?
- Three – metro, bus and taxi. The easiest to use is the metro and there are stops everywhere. A single journey is €2, but rather than keep paying for single rides buy a T-10. Costing just €9.45, it permits you to take ten journeys on either metro or bus.
- Will I need to use public transport?
- To get to certain attractions you will. For instance, Parc Güell is a good bit outside the city centre. So is Camp Nou. La Sagrada Familia is also a good bit out, but still within walking distance. It does have its own metro stop, though, meaning that getting a metro back to the city is tempting when you’re tired.
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