I have stumbled across a very useful forum at tripadvisor and it offers some cracking and specific advice to travellers to Barcelona. What I noticed was that Barcelona has a lot of visitors who are here on a cruise, the boat kind, not the George Michael, public toilet kind. Some are here for just the one day many have a few days at either end of the cruise. So here’s a few quick ideas for the “quick hit” on the city.
I make no apologies for repeating myself, if it’s good, solid advice then it stands the test of time. I mean “don’t eat yellow snow” and “never trust a man that doesn’t drink” are as valid the first time you hear them as it is the hundredth. Unless you land in the city with a “must see” on your itinerary then the tour bus should be the first thing you do.
It will whisk you round the city in a couple of hours and take you past 90% of the places that the majority of tourists want to visit. The buses run every 10 minutes or so, doing the hop-on, hop-off thing is therefore pretty stress free.
You’ll find details of the prices, routes etc. here
I also noticed from the forum that some people have an OCDesque desire to have a plan for the visit. As a man who has to have the volume on the TV as a multiple of five, I have some understanding why you would do it but I don’t think Barcelona lends itself to a “plan”. If you are only here for a short time then I strongly recommend you just relax, take your time and drink in the vibe. This is particularly true if you spend a few hours wandering round the Barrio Gotico area.
Now, this brings me nicely to my trade marked “Don’t be a wee fanny” advice to tourists. I won’t lie, pickpockets and robbers are a HUGE problem, especially in the area I’ve just recommended. That said, almost everyone I have ever met who has been robbed will normally admit they had done something bloody stupid that they’d never do at home. Be it walking down a dimly lit street, carrying huge amounts of cash, cards and the like or stumbling about, pished out their nut in a strange city, I strongly suggest you don’t do any of these things, use a bit of common sense and you’ll come to no harm.
There are cities where matching the pace of the city is a must. New York, for example, much of the enjoyment comes from flying about the place like a hyperactive wean on a sugar drip but Barcelona is at the other end of that scale. You will be rewarded for just kicking back, mastering the aul’ shoulder shrug when asked “what do you want to do next?” and just taking the time to wander about. I realise there will be readers twitching at the idea of not having a fully itemised daily itinerary but leave that for London, New York or Paris, this is the sort of city where even I, were I a visitor, would have my telly volume at 17.
(That last line is a lie, I’d be twitching like a Spurs manager at a press conference if I did that)