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48 Hours in Barcelona

By HarryWednesday 17th May 2017

There’s something quite magical about Barcelona. A real city of contrasts, it is at once both old and new, vibrant, pulsating with life and culture, and yet maintaining a laidback, easy-going atmosphere.
Before setting sail on one of our Mediterranean itineraries, we recommend spending a couple of days exploring everything this incredible city has to offer. We’ve laid out a jam-packed 48-hour guide to Barcelona, which will have you falling in love with it in no time.

Quick General Phrases

Hola – Hello
Buenos días – Good morning
Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
Buenas noches – Good evening/night
Adiós – Good-bye
Hasta luego – See you later
Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow
Por favor – Please
Muchas gracias – Thank you

On Arrival

After you’ve checked in to your hotel, or one of the many beautiful B&Bs the city has to offer, head straight to Palau Güell and start soaking up the culture. It’s slightly off the beaten Gaudi trail, so definitely worth a visit, and the ideal place to kick off your time in Barcelona.
Palau Güell was Antoni Gaudi’s first important commission at the beginning of his career. He was tasked by Eusebi Güell, important local industrialist, politician and arts patron, to build him a unique palace-like extension of his family home on La Rambla.
During the summer, from 1 April – 31 October, it’s open until 8pm, giving you plenty of time to peruse at your leisure before heading off to dinner.
Palau Güell is literally around the corner from La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous street. Stretching 1.2km from Plaça de Catalunya down to the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell, it’s the perfect place to take a stroll and witness the city start to come to life.

Did you know?

Famous local artist Joan Miró actually created part of La Rambla. You can see one of his beautiful mosaics in the heart of La Rambla at Pla de l'Os. Thousands of people walk over the artwork every day, without realising what’s beneath their feet!
Generally, everything happens a little later in Barcelona than it does at home here in the UK, so people tend not to go out for dinner until 9pm. If you can’t wait that long, however, you’ll find plenty of restaurants around this part of town where you can grab a bite to eat earlier.
Alternatively, why not check out the tapas scene in some of the local bars where you can sample an array of the local cuisine alongside a drink. For some of the best tapas in the city, head to Ciudad Condal, which is just a little further up from La Rambla, on Rambla de Catalunya.

Day One

It’s a good idea to head up to Park Güell in the morning before the day gets too hot for exploring outside. You can also book your ticket online in advance to save time on queuing when you get there, as they’re limited to 400 per half hour.
It’s not hard to see why Parc Güell is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting around four million visitors every year. Around every corner, there’s something intriguing to discover. For the most dramatic impression, enter the park through the main gates, flanked on either side by fairytale-like gatehouses.
Walk up the main steps, and pause for that must-have photo with the colourful mosaic dragon, before continuing up the steps to take in the panoramic view from the main terrace. Next, head off in search of Gaudi’s house, where he spent the majority of his final 20 years living here, making it well worth a visit.

Ticket Prices

Monumental Zone- General: €7, Children (7-12) & Over 65- €4.90
Monumental Zone- Guided Visit: General- 14, Children (7-12) & Over 65- €11.90

Getting to Parc Güell

Metro: Green Line (L3 ), Vallcara or Lesseps Stations.
15-minute walk from Vallcara. Take the escalator on Baixada de la Glòria, then use the entrance on Passatge de Sant Josep de la Muntanya.
15 minute walk from Lesseps. Use the escalator at Passatge de Sant Josep de la Muntanya entrance.
H6 & 32: Travessser de Dalt
10 minute walk; use the Carrer St. Josep de la Muntanya or Carrer de Larrard entrance.
24: Paral·lel/El Carmel
A short walk to one of the main entrances; Carretera Carmel-Park Güell.
92: Trelawny-Passeig Marítim
A short walk to Carretera Carmel-Park Güell.
Make your way back over to the old town for a bit of lunch, and some time to chill out. You’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with enticing lunch options in this part of town. Cal Pep on Plaça de les Olles is always a good choice, with a delectable array of reasonably priced seafood on the menu. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get a seat at the bar, from where you can watch the culinary spectacle unfold. There are also tables in the back, if you’re after a more relaxed dining experience.

Quick Foodie Phrases

Me gustaría la paella - I would like the Paella
¿Podría tener una mesa para dos, por favor? – A table for two, please
¿Por favor, puedo ver el menu? – Can I look at the menu, please?
Soy vegetarian - I’m a vegetarian
La cuenta, por forvor – The bill, please
Patates bravas: potatoes with a special, spicy sauce
Once you’re feeling suitably refreshed, take a stroll over to the Museu Picasso. Particularly good for his earlier work, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona boasts a collection of 3500 pieces of work in their permanent collection. Picasso, along with his family, moved to Barcelona when he was just a teenager, and the artist often considered the city his true home.
As well as this extensive permanent collection, the museum regularly has specific exhibitions highlighting a certain aspect of Picasso’s genius, or occasionally the work of his contemporaries. There’s a small fee for entrance, and we’d recommend picking up an audio guide along with your ticket, as well.

Opening Times:

Thursday- 9am-9.30pm
Monday- Closed

Ticket Prices:

Collection: €11
Collection and Temporary Exhibit: €14

Under 18s go free!
Getting to Museu Picasso

Line 1: Arc de Triomf Station
Line 3: Liceu Station
Line 4: Jaume Station
120, 45, V15, V17: Via Laietana
39, 51, H14: Passeig Picasso
H14, 51: Pla de Palau
120: Princesa
After a long day of culture, head down to the beach and grab a table at one of the local xiringuitos (beach bars). Slightly unfortunately, you can’t quite watch the sunset in Barcelona from the beach, as the hill of Montjuïc block it out. You can still enjoy a couple of pre-dinner drinks, however, before dinner.
Treat yourself to something special for dinner, and make a reservation at Suculent on Rambla del Raval. The menu here comprises of elegantly simple, but intelligently composed Catalan and Spanish dishes. Set in an old neighbourhood tavern, the décor is stylish and modest, as is the pricing (€60-€75) considering the quality!

Quick Out and About Phrases

¿Cuánto cuesta? - How much is this?
¿Dónde está el baño? – Where are the toilets?
Abierto - Open
Cerrado – Closed

Day Two

Take your time this morning, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast or brunch before your final bit of sightseeing. Our favourite brunch spot in Barcelona has got to be Federal Café on Carrer del Parlament.
This Australian-owned eatery is practically single-handedly responsible for introducing Barcelona to the relaxed art of weekend brunching and eggs benedict. And the good news is, that they have recently opened a second branch in the Gothic Quarter, as well!
Saving the best till last, make your way over to the incredible La Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s as yet unfinished masterpiece, and Spain’s most-visited monument. The Roman Catholic cathedral became an obsession for Gaudi, who saw it as something of a personal holy mission.
Sadly, Gaudi never got the chance to see it finished. Not even close, in fact! The predicted date for completion is 2026 – 100 years after the architect’s death!
Due to its popularity, we highly recommend booking your tickets online well in advance. There are a number of different types of tours you can do, including with or without a guide, both in person or audio, entrance to the towers, or in conjunction with entrance to Gaudi’s house in Parc Güell.

Ticket Prices

Basic Ticket: €15
Audio Tour: €22
Guided Experience: €24
Gaudi’s Work & Life: €29
Panoramic Views: €29

Opening Hours

November – February: 9am-6pm
March: 9am-7pm
April – September: 9am-8pm
December 25th and 26th, January 1st and 6th: 9am-2pm

Getting to La Sagrada Família

Metro:Line 2 and Line 5- Sagrada Família
Bus: 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20 and B24
You should find you have plenty of time to see everything you want at La Sagrada Família, before heading off to the Port de Barcelona to board your cruise ship and set sail around the beautiful Mediterranean. Generally, our ships depart at either 5pm or 6pm, but double check your embarkation time slot so as not to be in a rush!
With its hedonistic late-night bar and restaurant scene contrasting with its relaxed demeanour during the day, Barcelona offers a rich cultural tapestry for you to unravel. 48 hours certainly isn’t long enough to experience everything, but it’ll give you a taste that’ll have you hungry for more. Perhaps you could tack on another couple of days at the end of your cruise holiday, too!

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