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BARCELONA

Barcelona


Barcelona

Well known as a cultural centre, Barcelona boasts splendid architecture, monuments, historical sites, natural resources, beaches and much more. Although Barcelona is not normally referred to as a resort, it does have a very long and popular beach. It is a very modelona is Spain's most European city because it is always open to new ideas and trends. The Catalan capital is a modern, cosmopolitan city, but has also inherited many centuries of history. There are monuments of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods and before, but most characteristically is what has been built during the last 100 years. Though the 1992 Olympics focused the world's attention on the city, Antoni Gaudi's wonderfully and weird architecture demonstrates how long Barcelona has been at the vanguard of all that is new and different.ern, multicultural, cosmopolitan city. Almost 4.5 million people live in the Barcelona metropolitan area and it is the biggest city in Spain. The city enjoys a prime location, bathed by the sea and has excellent transport links with the rest of Europe.

Barcelona

biggest street party, Festes de la Merce, on September 24. The city continues to evolve as a centre of Autumn is the perfect time to visit Barcelona when there is less less heat, fewer tourists and the city's design, as a gastronomic powerhouse, as an educational and business centre and potentially the 'coolest' city in the world. And one the world never tires of visiting.

Although Barcelona is a large city, it is easy to get around on public transport and on foot. You can reach any point in the city by metro, bus and taxi. The era of low-cost airlines, plus the good value at hotels and restaurants, has made Barcelona the European weekender capital.

The area around the Catalunya Place, including the city's historical centre includes the Passeig de Gracia, the Rambla de Catalunya and the upper half of the Diagonal avenue is the main commercial area of the city. "La Rambla", a pedestrian street, is the best place to watch people go by, to stroll or simply relax. Also, here you can find dozens of outdoor cafes. Nearby is 'Placa Real', with plenty of bars and restaurants, and 'Palau Guell', built by Antoni Gaudi in his undulating art-nouveau style.

Barcelona's inhabitants are open and welcoming. The people of Barcelona speak Catalan, their own language, and Spanish. Many of them also understand a little English and French.

While it is perfectly legal in Spain to be naked in public (except for sexual reasons), Barcelona is clamping down on people in the city that they consider inadequately dressed. This even includes men not wearing shirts !!! Presumably this bye-law does not apply to Barcelona's beaches.

Drag the Orange Man onto the map to see Street View


Barcelona Accommodation

Barcelona Accommodation

Having hosted the Olympic Games in the 90's, Barcelona has an enormous selection of accommodation available, from top hotels to Hostels and Pensions.

 Pension Hotel

Here is some of the accommodation available in Barcelona -

Rental Accommodation - This can vary from a basic apartment through to a luxury villa with pool, and can be for one person or a large group. The price you pay makes all the difference.
Hotel - Simply be looked after. Generally the more you pay, the better the room and the service. Some hotels display a sun, star, keys or bed rating.
Aparthotel - Look after yourself in an apartment, in a hotel building. Some will have cooking facilities. Others you can use the hotel restaurant if you wish - or alternatively eat out.

 

Apartment - Look after yourself - usually completely self-contained and situated in a apartment block or part of a house.
Hostel - Hotel accommodation with the lowest rating, more often used by younger people. Prices vary, but many hostels can be as much as 50% cheaper than an equivalent hotel. If it's advertised as 'Albergues Juveniles', it's a Youth Hostel.
Pension - Similar to Hostel, but with the most basic of accommodation, sometimes sharing with others.
Camping - The two campsites close to Barcelona. The 'Camping Tres Estrellas' in Gava and 'Camping Masnou' near El Masnou. Another campsite 'Camping Barcelona' is further away and mostly caters for customers wishing to travel into Barcelona city centre. All three have good nearby public transport to Barcelona.

Hotel Reception

 

In Barcelona you can find most of these types of accommodation (although you will have difficulty finding a luxury villa with a pool or a camping site in the middle of the city!!! ).

There are many Accommodation Agents in the city, as well as some Real Estate offices who can arrange bookings. If you prefer, you can book a complete holiday using the using the search facility in the left column of this page. You may also find some of the other advertisers on this page helpful.

Be prepared to pay some money up-front as a deposit for your accommodation, and be aware that not all establishments will take credit cards (sometimes not even debit cards). Check first. For one-night stays, you may be asked for the full amount in advance. Very few places will take bankers cheques unless paid well in advance.

Barcelona Buses

If you are a visitor to Barcelona, try the Barcelona City Hop-on Hop-off Tour buses which have three different routes to explore the city. See the major sights aboard the open-top double-decker bus, and with over 44 stops to choose from you can hop on and hop off all over the city.

Barcelona Tourist Bus

If you are going to be a 'regular' in Barcelona, you will find that the city is well served by a large network of urban buses.

A plan of the bus routes is usually to be found at bus stops. Many bus companies operate out of the central bus stations. Be aware that routes, prices and timetables are always subject to change.

The public transport coverage in Barcelona is good in the city and urbanised area outside, but can be quite sporadic in rural villages. Most public buses are new and, fortunately, air-conditioned.

Barcelona Bus

The 'Integrated Fare System' in Barcelona makes it possible to use the different modes of transport in the same journey within the Metropolitan Region, and this extends to the limits of the local rail services. Travel Cards (multi-day passes) are available.

The three main bus companies in Barcelona are -

TMB - provides an extensive network of public transport (metro, bus, FGC and Renfe) throughout Barcelona and the suburbs. Tickets can be booked on-line - http://www.tmb.cat/ca_ES/home.jsp
EMT - a local body formed by eighteen municipalities in the metropolitan area of Barcelona.
Sagales - run regular services in the Barcelona region. The Barcelona Bus links Barcelona with Granollers, Figueres and much of the Costa Brava. Their web site is - http://www.sagales.com.


Barcelona Car Hire

The roads in Barcelona can be quite congested and slow moving in the centre of the city, however if you are on business or have special needs, car hire may be necessary. Hiring a car is also a good idea if you are staying in a hotel that is not in the city centre and is not serviced by the metro system.

You could also consider hiring a car if you intend to travel outside of Barcelona, especially where public transport is not so frequent as in the city, and time-consuming in making connections.

Barcelona Car Hire

There are many car hire companies in the Barcelona area and at the airport. When hiring a car from a Spanish company, you need to be aware of the conditions of hire, so here are a few hire companies that have English web sites. Some are Spanish or internationally based. - Auto Europe, AtlasChoice, Hertz, FirstCarHire, Victoria, CarHireAirport, CarHireExpress AnyCarHire.

Barcelona Districts

Barcelona

Barcelona consists of many different districts that are all unique and individual in their own particular way and that offer many different options for staying, e.g. hotels, hostels, holiday apartments etc. When choosing where to stay in Barcelona though, you should understand a little bit about each district in order to find the right area for yourself. The most popular part of the city among tourists is probably the Ciutat Vella - the old city centre that consists of two areas, el Barrio Gotico and el Raval.

Barrio Gotico
The Barrio Gotico/Barri Gotic/Gothic Quarter (photo above) is at the heart of the old town and the first place many tourists visit when coming to Barcelona. Having been built on top of a former Roman settlement, this part of the city is famous for its 13th to 15th century buildings that make up the most complete gothic quarter the European continent can offer. Furthermore, the many small, narrow and interconnected streets that may seem confusing at times, include fascinating ancient chapels and small towers that make this neighbourhood a very charming place to stay. The area is also known for its creativity and many artists and musicians find their home there. So if you are interested in the origins of the city and like a romantic and creative vibes this is the place to look for accommodation in Barcelona.

Barcelona

El Raval
El Raval is the other part of the Ciutat Vella and it lies on the western side of Las Ramblas. It used to be considered unsafe, but it has undergone a huge transformation process and has turned into one of Europe’s most buzzing and culturally mixed neighbourhoods in which it seems normal to see Asian and Latin American merchants selling their goods side by side with traditional Catalan street vendors. Especially since the Olympic Games, that took place in Barcelona in 1992, the area has also replaced many of its old and dodgy apartment houses by new, cutting-edge buildings, squares and boulevards that aim to make this part of the city a more attractive place to visit. However, the area has still some rough edges and tourists are advised to keep their things close, as well as to avoid late night strolls through some of the district's more seedy streets.

Barcelona LeEixample

L’Eixample
L’Eixample (in English - extension) was added to the older parts of Barcelona in the 19th century when the city became more and more overpopulated due to industrialisation. This Catalonian capital was extended north of Placa Catalunya and the new district was laid out in a grid pattern with straight and wide streets to let lots of light and space into the life of its residents. This made and makes L’Eixample also a very easy neighbourhood to navigate in and it is rather difficult to get completely lost.The district is famous for its fantastic Modernist architecture that is particularly known for Gaudi’s works such as his legendary, yet ever unfinished masterpiece - the Sagrada Familia and many others. These striking buildings can be found throughout the entire neighbourhood and make a walk through its streets an unforgettable and stunning experience. Spain’s most exclusive shopping street (Passeig de Gracia) is also located in the area and there, everything that carries a brand name can be purchased at soaring prices. If you are traveling on a budget, the street itself is still worth a visit due to the collection of incredible Modernist buildings and the buzzing atmosphere. L’Eixample in general is a great mix of commercial and residential areas and you can experience some true Spanish lifestyle when deciding to stay in this neighbourhood.

 

Barcelona Gracia

Gracia
Gracia is another yet mainly residential area of the city that has kept its true village-like spirit originating from its history as a separate town. It was not until 1897 that the district was connected to the rest of Barcelona when the Passeig de Gracia was constructed. Today, Gracia (even though very central) still seems to be very separate from the rest of the city due to its mainly smaller and charming buildings, the many little cafes and bars that provide a home for the many students living there and its overall bohemian atmosphere. Anybody who wants to experience some of the real Barcelona far off from the many tourist attractions should consider this neighbourhood as the district to stay.

Barceloneta

Barceloneta
Barceloneta and its surroundings, the city’s harbour and fishermen district, had long been neglected until the Olympic Games were held in the city in 1992. Then, the neighbourhood underwent a huge transformation process and has now turned into a very popular and recreational area for locals and tourists alike. This is the place to be if you are primarily interested in a relaxing yet exciting summer vacation as the city’s nice and sandy beaches as well as many tourist attractions are located here. If you are interested in eating some great seafood, you should come here as the area still provides a home for Barcelona’s fishermen and best fish restaurants.

Barcelona Ciutadeela-Bogatell

Ciutadella and Bogatell
Next to Barceloneta, the areas of Ciutadella and Bogatell can be found. They offer a wonderful beach but at the same time, they are less crowded by tourists and the atmosphere is more quiet and residential. So if you are looking for a really recreational beach vacation, this is the area to consider.


Holiday Apartments. All of our apartments are fully furnished and well equipped, and located conveniently in the centre of Barcelona.

Barcelona Entertainment

Barcelona Beach

Barcelona has become a very fashionable tourist destination. The 1992 Olympic Games stimulated lots of interest in the city around the world. Visitors now, are attracted by the mild climate, Mediterranean waterfront, sunshine, art, culture, friendly people and special features, such as Antoni Gaudì's modernist architecture. It's easy to have fun in Barcelona.

There are colourful local fiestas (holidays and festivals) throughout the year, and together with a wide variety of national and international cinema, theatre, music and dance festivals and performances. The city's nightclubs offer great music and atmosphere every night of the week, and are especially busy from Thursday through to the weekend.

But entertainment isn't just nightlife. Here are a few things to entertain -

The Beach -
The beach can be a wonderful place to 'stand and stare', sunbathe, or swim, and of course, great for the family. Barcelona has over 4 kilometers of beaches, with some less than 10 minutes from the city centre, even so it's not normally advertised as a beach holiday resort.

 

Museums & Galleries -
Art lovers should meander to the MNAC (Catalonia's National Art Museum), with its exhibits of Catalan Romanesque art. Or the MACBA (Barcelona's Museum of Contemporary Art). Close by you will find galleries devoted to individual artists, including the Museu Picasso, Fundacio Miro and Antoni Tapies.

Barcelona Museums

Some of the Museums in Barcelona, enough to keep you busy for weeks -
Barcelona FC Museum, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Caixa Forum, Casa Quadras, Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Institut Botanic de Barcelona, Pedralbes Monastery, Museu de les Arts Aplicades, Museu Barbier, Museu de Ciencies Naturals de la Ciutadella, Museu Frederic Mares, Museu de Geologia, Museu Maritim de Barcelona, Museu Nacionald'art de Catalunya, Museu Picasso, The Espai Gaudi in la pedrera, Fundacio Antoni Tapies, plus many more.

Architecture -
To see the best examples of Catalonia's unique Gothic architecture, you should see the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar and Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi. For the best in modernist architecture, head for Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Sagrada Familia, and Parc Guell.

Nightlife -
The most popular nightclubs are within walking distance of each other down near the harbour area, in Port Olimpic and Maremagnum. The selection is almost endless. There are nightclubs playing techno, salsa, rock, Spanish pop music and more.

Live Music -
L'Eixample district has many live music venues, including the famous Luz de Gas. Bikini, a popular nightclub, also has concerts during the evenings. To enjoy alternative and Spanish local bands, take the metro to Razzamatazz, Sidecar or BeCool.

Discos & Clubs -
In the Maremagnum and Port Olimpic there are a number of discos with plenty of atmosphere and different sorts of music. These two districts have a very cosmopolitan feel, partly because they are mostly frequented by tourists from all over the world.

Shopping -
If you find shopping the best entertainment, prepared to be spoilt. Apart from 10 department stores and shopping centres, there are 11 markets and countless shops to get that little thing you always wanted. Enjoy

Barcelona's Airports

Barcelona is served by two airports, one in the southern suburbs of the city and the other at Girona, This second airport, often referred to as 'Girona Barcelona Airport', is situated to the south of the city of Girona and about 100 kilometers to the north west of Barcelona and caters largely for the cheaper flights.

Barcelona Airport

Barcelona Airport

Barcelona Airport is sometimes referred to as 'Barcelona International Airport' or 'Barcelona El Prat'. It is a main hub for Vueling Airlines, and a focus city for Air Europa and Iberia Airlines. The airport mainly serves domestic, European and North African destinations, with a few minor flights to Southeast Asia, Latin America and North America. The shuttle service between this airport and Madrid was until recently the world's busiest route, with nearly 800 flights a week, until the introduction of the high-speed train on this route.

There are currently two terminals at the airport with terminal 2 having its own commuter train station on the 'Nord Line', which runs from the Macanet-Massanes station, with major stops at Barcelona Sants railway station and the fairly central Passeig de Gracia railway station to provide transfer to the Barcelona Metro system. Passengers for Terminal 1 should take a connecting bus from the train station to Terminal 1. As part of the major expansion above, a new railway station will be built nearby, connecting the airport to the Spanish AVE high-speed railway network, and Line 9 of the Barcelona Metro.

 

The TMB bus service has a route 46 which currently runs every 16 minutes from Placa Espanya. A scheduled private bus line (Aerobus) from Placa Catalunya, stops at Urgell and Placa d'Espanya. Taxis are available at each terminal. The
C-32B highway connects the airport to a main traffic interchange between Barcelona's Ronda de Dalt beltway and major motorways.

Girona Airport

Girona (Gerona) Barcelona Airport

Please note that Girona is sometimes spelt with an "e" as in 'Gerona'. Both names are correct, one name is in Spanish and the other is in Catalan.

In addition to flights arriving to and from many destinations, there are currently about a dozen airlines based at Girona Airport, and they provide flights to and from - Aarhus, Alghero, Birmingham, Brussels, Budapest, Cagliari, Dublin, Edinburgh , Frankfurt, Glasgow, Lanzarote, London Luton, London Stansted, Madrid, Mallorca, Manchester, Marrakech, Milan, Newcastle, Paris Beauvais, Paris Orly, Rome, Stockholm, Tenerife. These destinations are subject to change. The latest list can be found on the Airport's web site -
http://www.barcelona-girona-airport.com/Flight-destinations.

The airlines based at the airport are - BMI Airways, Centralwings, Jetairfly, My Travel, Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Fly, Transavia, Transavia France, Wizzair.

 
From Girona Airport to Barcelona by car -
Driving from Girona Airport into Barcelona will take about 1 hour 20 mins, and is a very straight forward journey. The distance is about 100km along the AP7 motorway. The AP7 is a toll motorway - and is much easier than taking the 'ordinary' road.

From Girona Airport to Barcelona by taxi -
A taxi to Barcelona from the airport is not recommended as the current cost from Girona Airport to Barcelona is about 120 euros, plus an extra charge for luggage. Call +34 97 220 3377 for more information on the Taxi service.

From Girona Airport to Barcelona by bus -
The Barcelona Bus is the easiest and cheapest way to travel between Girona airport and Barcelona city centre. Although the company is not owned by Ryanair, its timetables are tailored the coincide with the arrivals and departures of Ryanair flights, because Ryanair is the major airline at the airport.

The bus goes directly from the airport to 'Barcelona Estacio Nord', (Barcelona´s main bus station), which is just a five minutes walk from the metro stop 'Arc de Triomf' (red line 1). Journey time is approximately 1 hour 10 minutes, A single ticket costs about 12 Euros, and a return about 21 Euros. Tickets cannot be bought in advance.

A timetable for the Girona Airport - Barcelona bus service is available HERE.

From Girona Airport by Train
There is a train service from city centre Girona to city centre Barcelona. To use this mode of transport, you will need to get from Girona Airport to Girona city centre by either bus or taxi, and you should allow about a half an hour for this journey. Train times can be found HERE.

Barcelona Map

Barcelona Districts

Barcelona Real Estate

For Sale

Buying and selling a property, whether a private dwelling or business premises, is very different to doing the same thing in the UK or many other European countries.

Thousands of homes are sold every year in Spain, and the vast majority of these sales involve the work of an estate agent. The Spanish name for an Estate Agent's office is 'Inmobiliaria'. In Spain they work just the same as in most countries, and that is to sell, sell, sell properties. Beware of high-pressure salesmanship, and this is no different in Barcelona.

If you are looking to purchase a property, you probably won't have a choice in which agent you have to deal with, because you will be more interested in the property being offered. During the purchasing, it is much more important that the Abagado (Solicitor) is one that you have faith in and who you are sure will deal with all the paperwork correctly. It might be worth considering other peoples recommendations. The Agent might well suggest his preferred Abagado, but beware, that recommendation might be to the agents financial benefit. If you can't speak good Spanish, make sure the Abagado you choose can speak fluent English. Lots of mistakes can be made through misunderstandings, and you may be 'lumbered' with them for as long as you own the property.

 

Unlike in the UK, a Spanish Abogado can work for both the seller and the buyer of the property, so conflicts of interest can occur. Make sure the one you choose is entirely independent, and is working only for you. Make sure he or she does a good and proper search and that all the papers are in order, as many properties in Spain are not entirely legal, or do not always have the necessary planning permission, even although the previous owner may be paying all the necessary rates and taxes. Quite often the local authorities give planning permission but fail to record it - that will cause problems for you at a later stage.

The purchase of a property takes about 4 weeks in Spain, and initially you will be asked for a deposit of about 10%. This amount usually includes the Real Estate Agents fee. The final stage is for buyer, seller and their Abagados to attend a Notary's office, where the deeds of the property are read out loud to be sure everyone understands them. Naturally they will be read out in Spanish, so it is important to ask your Abagado to translate as the reading proceeds (not at the end) - another reason why he should speak and fully understand English. When that is complete, you will be asked to hand over the balance of the purchase price, and the property will be yours at that point. There are still cases reported where the purchaser is asked to pay the balance of the purchase price as two separate payments. One will be the legally declared amount and the other smaller amount will be merely put into the sellers back pocket, with no questions asked. This situation is slowly changing, but you may still come across it.

 

Unlike in the UK, it is very difficult in Spain to sell your property and buy another one on the same day, unless you have adequate finance to cover both transactions.

Next, if your grasp of Spanish is limited, you need to ask the Abagado to arrange for you to be recognised as the new owner of the property with the local authority, electricity and telephone companies, and any other services that may be supplied to the property. You may also need to arrange for direct debits for these suppliers, and on receipt of your bank details, your Abagado will normally arrange this for you.

Having moved into your newly acquired property, any external alteration or extensions you desire, must first have planning permission from the local authority, in this case Barcelona. Failure to do this may result in such work being pulled down at your expense - sometimes the whole property, not just the extension.

If you are purchasing a business, it is most important to have the services of a good Abagado, preferably one used to dealing with business properties. Make sure all aspects of the business are looked into. Remember, the estate agents quote of sales figures may be an exaggeration to sell the business, so always ask for such things as the previous years accounts, and if not available, the purchasing figures and documents as a way of estimating the actual sales figures. If appropriate, arrange a stock take, and never take the word of the seller, however plausible he or she may be. Remember, they are business people and they want your money.

For a full list of Abagados in the Barcelona area, consult Yellow Pages telephone directory or get a personal recommendation.

There are many Estate Agents in Barcelona and surrounding areas, and once again it is worth consulting the Yellow Pages telephone directory or get a personal recommendation.

For Sale Sign

If you decide to sell your property without using an estate agent, although you will save on the agents fees, you will probably need to rely more on your Abagado (Solicitor) to get you through the whole process and this may add to your costs.

If you need a 'Se Vende' (For Sale) sign to advertise the sale of your property, they can be ordered by mail order from ACE HARDWARE - sales@acehardwareoutlet.com

Barcelona Metro

Barcelona Metro

The Barcelona Metro service is generally quick, efficient and frequent. It operates during these hours -

Day of Week
Lines 1,2,3,4 & 5 & 11
Mon - Thurs
5am to 12pm.
Saturdays
All Day (24 hours)
Sundays & Holidays
5am to 12pm.
December 24th.
5am to 11pm.

You can buy tickets for individual metro journeys, but if you intend taking more than 5 journeys on the metro (or buses) it is best to buy a T10 ticket. which allows for 10 journeys on the Barcelona's Metro, Buses and Trams.

There are different T10 tickets available for use on different Zones within the greater Barcelona area, and their use on other methods of transport may vary accordingly. For instance, one T10 ticket can be used to go to the Airport by train, but not by bus. But as a guide, most visitors to Barcelona will stay within Zone 1.


Barcelona Zones


Barcelona Trains

RENFE map of train services in the Barcelona area.

Barcelona Trains

Here is a guide to running times, which may be subject to change -

Mon to Thursday        5:45am to 0:05am.
Friday and Saturday. 5:50am to 2:15am.
Sunday.                     5:50am to 0:02am.

Some tickets cover Train, Metro and Bus services with Barcelona.



National Trains

The main train station in Barcelona is the Estacio-Sants' (located to the west of the centre of Barcelona) and is the primary train station for national and international arrivals and departures. This station operates commuter and medium-distance train services, as well as the main inter-city train station for national and international destinations and the high-speed AVE service. There is also the 'Estacio de Franca' station on the other side of the city, and this has a further selection of services including regional and long-distance trains.

Currently, a new Main Station for Barcelona is under construction in the north of the city, and when completed will take some of the services from the other two stations.

 

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