Barcelona Journals

Spain in 10 days- 1st stop: Barcelona

An April 2003 trip to Barcelona by Yadi

Hotel AC Villamari Photo, Barcelona, Spain More Photos
Quote: Our trip to Spain started with the city of Barcelona. From there we visited several "off the beaten path" villages and towns (see my other journals) while working our way to Madrid, where our trip concluded. Along the way, we discovered some of the best-kept secrets of Spain, often only visited by local tourists.
Hotel AC Villamari Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
This place has very clean and modern facilities, and its prices are better than those at many other four-star hotels. The front-desk staff are very friendly and helpful. Villamari is located in the center of the city, very close to the Plaza Espana metro station; it also has its own garage (we paid an additional 12 euros per day for parking). The major intersection is Gran Via. Rooms are rather small, but would rate average in size compared to most hotel rooms in Europe. If you don't smoke, you may want to ask for a non-smoking room. The complimentary self-service minibar has water bottles, fresh fruit, coffee/espresso, pastries, and cocktails (yes, free alcohol)! Safes are available down at th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 17, 2003

Hotel AC Villamari
Calle Vilamarí 34-36
Barcelona, Spain
932 890 909

Cafe Liceu

Restaurant

Cafe Liceu Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
We went to Cafe Liceu for lunch on our second day in Barcelona. The outdoor dinning was what attracted us to this casual cafe, located in the middle of La Rambla strip. The specialty is seafood paella, and although I''ve had better, this was fairly good. Make sure you ask for prices before ordering. I ordered a glass of sangria and was charged 10 euros for it. It was so bad, I didn’t drink it. Also, most restaurants in Spain will charge you for bread and water, even if you don’t order it. If you don’t want the bread, make sure you tell them or you’ll be charged for it. Water is sometimes more expensive than beer. Service at Cafe Liceu was mediocre, but average when compared to the r...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 17, 2003

Cafe Liceu
La Rambla
Barcelona, Spain

L'Amfora

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
This was our first exposure to local cuisine and it certainly set the bar pretty high! Catalan bread is served in almost every restaurant, but this was by far our favorite: thin slices of toasted rustic bread, drizzled with olive oil, rubbed with a mixture of garlic and fresh tomatoes, and lightly sprinkled with sea salt. Spaniards are very proud of their olives and olive oil, and most restaurants will serve you complimentary olives. For a first course, we ordered asparagus with jamon de bellota (a local ham). This was followed by prawns in an oil-based garlic sauce. The specialty (and for good reason) was codfish. For a main course, my husband ordered codfish in a creamy ga...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 17, 2003

L'Amfora
Avenida Parallel, 184
Barcelona, Spain
(93) 325-3427

Racó D' En Miki

Restaurant

Quote:
This tapas bar was a great find. We were walking down the road near our hotel when we found this little jewel. We entered the restaurant not knowing what to expect. The waitress approached us, wondering what we wanted. We asked for the menu, to which she responded that the chef would be right with us. The chef, also the owner of the place, recited the list of things he could prepare. We had no idea what any of them meant. I explained to him that we were tourists and not familiar with the local cuisine. He immediately offered to give us samples of typical dishes in small portions called tapas. Most of the tapas, as well as the bottle of wine we sampled, were homemade. The list included ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 17, 2003

Racó D' En Miki
Ave. Paral-lel 182
Barcelona, Spain
(93) 325-9133

Orotava

Restaurant

Quote:
One of the oldest still-operating restaurants in the city, this elegantly decorated establishment features beautiful antique crystal, tapestries, and china collectibles as well as fine paintings by world-renowned artists such as Picasso. As you walk into the restaurant, the host will greet you with a glass of fine cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and almendras (Spanish toasted almonds). The specialty here is seasonal wild game. Our first course was paté de oca (foie gras) and chilled white asparagus. As main courses, I ordered faisan (wild bird) stew with wild mushrooms, while my husband ordered ravioli stuffed with salmon, spinach, and ricotta in roquefort sauce. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 17, 2003

Orotava
Consell de Cent, 335
Barcelona, Spain 08007
+34 93 4877374

La Sagrada Familia

Attraction

La Sagrada Familia Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
If you don't visit La Sagrada Familia while in Barcelona, you can't say you've been to Barcelona (or at least that's what every other gift shop will make you believe). Your initial reaction to it will be "what the . . . ?" If you've been to several cathedrals, you will know this is very different from any other traditional building. But then again, it makes its mastermind, Gaudi, all the more intriguing. If you decide to visit the interior, please be aware that there's not much to see inside. But we enjoyed the panoramic view of the city from the top of one of the towers. You have to pay extra to go on the lift, but it’s a lot better than climbing all those stairs. The wait, however, is very lo...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 17, 2003

La Sagrada Familia
Carrer de Mallorca, 401
Barcelona, Spain 08013
+34 93 2073031

Park Guell (Parc Güell)

Attraction | "Parc Guell"

Park Guell (Parc Güell) Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
A lot of people are disappointed with Parc Guell. It is very difficult to reach, since you will have to walk a little over a mile uphill to get there, only to find that it is merely a place for sightseeing. Nevertheless, you should go visit and form your own opinion about the place. Reserve about 2 to 3 hours to visit the park (most of this time will be spent going to and returning from the park). One thing I want to mention: There’s no way I would visit the park during the hot, humid summertime! That’s when you realize it is not worth it. But if you happen to be in Barcelona during the spring or fall, by all means go and enjoy the scenic view. Bring a few bottles of water with you. Children and the e...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 17, 2003

Park Guell (Parc Güell)
Montana Pelada, Gracia District
Barcelona, Catalonia

Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)

Attraction | "Barri Gotic"

Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
Barri Gotic has so many places to visit; you have to dedicate at least a full day to visit most of this area. We loved the Cathedral--consider this the central point of the Gothic Quarter. As you can tell from the pictures, it was being remodeled when we went, so a few spots were covered and/or under construction. There are also many shops to visit (we bought some fine Spanish leather shoes in one of them), and it's an excellent area to walk around and check out the street performers. We also found many different bars and pubs, as well as plenty of restaurants. Make sure you drop by a tasca (local bar/cafe) for some fresh cafe con leche. Everywhere we went, we always ended up lovi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 17, 2003

Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)
La Rambla To Via Laietana
Barcelona, Spain 08002

Quote:
I must say that unless you are familiar with the roads in big European cities, you may want to opt for taking a bus or cab from the airport to the hotel and then using the metro or other public transportation to move within the city. First of all, the signs are in Catalan. I'm fluent in Spanish, and even I had a hard time figuring them out (plus, I’m not the best navigator out there). Second, if you miss a left turn, you have to go all the way up to the next roundabout to turn back. We spent 4 days in Barcelona and after the first day of driving we decided to leave our car parked in the garage and use the metro system. The metro is inexpensive and easy to use. You will find a station at every ...Read More

Useful tips for traveling in Spain

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
Hopefully the following information will help those of you who are first-time travelers to Spain. 1.) Dress code: First of all, if you are wearing white tennis shoes, you might as well carry a sign that says, "I'm a tourist." We went during the springtime, and although the temperature was in the mid 70s to low 80s, we found that most of the people in Barcelona were still wearing coats or leather jackets, boots, and suits for men going to work. Only students were wearing jeans, and they still looked more fashionable than we did. While visiting Barcelona, we noticed how we kept getting looks because of our white tennis shoes. Now, I didn't have any intentions of impressing anyone with my sense of ...Read More