The lonely planet barcelona: Barcelona travel – Lonely Planet

I just got back from Barcelona, Spain

From the twisted and dark alleyways of the Gothic Quarter to Gaudi’s shimmering, fairytale buildings and to the green hills of Montjuïc, Barcelona is sitting pretty as one of Europe’s greatest cities. No Spanish adventure would be complete without a stop here.

In June, I spent two weeks in Barcelona with some friends and family. Each day of the trip followed a similar pattern: wandering around markets, beaches, and museums and then eating, drinking wine, and eating some more. In other words, a perfect summer city break.

What part of the city did you stay in? What was the vibe?

I stayed in Gràcia, a creative, tree-lined neighborhood known for its independent bookshops, theaters, sustainable clothing boutiques, coffee shops, and wine bars. It’s family and dog-friendly and slightly more residential than the heavily-touristed areas of Barri Gòtic and La Barceloneta (though it’s well-connected to these neighborhoods, and indeed to most of Barcelona, through the city’s excellent public transport network).

Top neighborhoods to explore in Barcelona

Barcelona caters to foodies of all stripes © Alexander Spatari

What I love most about Gràcia are its public squares. They’re always packed with locals and visitors, but the vibe is always relaxed; nothing is hurried. People spend hours on the terraces of bars and restaurants, savoring meals and people-watching. My favorite in Gràcia is the lively Plaça de la Virreina. Sitting there in the evening (tables start to fill up at about 7 pm) over a glass of vermouth is undoubtedly one of the most delightful ways to get into the swing of life in Barcelona. 

How did you get around? 

Barcelona is an easy city to navigate, so I walked most places, but the metro and bus network is exceptional and will bring you all over the city. I recommend purchasing a T-Casual ticket if visiting. It gives you 10 journeys on both the metro and bus for €11.35 (£9.80, US$11.90), and it’s much cheaper than paying for a single trip (€2. 40, £2, US$2.50) each time.

Starting September, it will become even cheaper to travel around Barcelona when the city cuts public transport fares in response to the cost of living crisis. The T-Casual 10-trip pass will cost €5.70 (£4.90, US$5.90) and a single journey ticket will cost just €1.20 (£1, US$1.25). 

How much does a cup of coffee cost at a local coffee shop?

In the third- and fourth-wave coffee shops, prices are typically high for Barcelona, where an oat flat white cost me about €3.20. In the less-flashier traditional bar-cafeterias, there are more budget-friendly options. You won’t find flat whites there, but you’ll generally get an excellent espresso (cafè sol) for about €1.20. These bars are also great places to get a quick and reasonably priced breakfast. Tip: order a bikini (toasted cheese sandwich), and with your espresso, that’s a satisfying breakfast sorted for under a fiver. 

From cheap market eats to high-end restaurants, Barcelona caters to diners of all stripes © Sasha Brady / Lonely Planet

What did you book in advance of your trip?

Dinner. Barcelona is one of Spain’s top culinary destinations for foodies of all tastes. But when it comes to securing a table at a popular restaurant, by and large, you can’t just roll up without notice. It’s not that the dining scene is exclusive; it just takes some planning, especially in high season.

On this trip, some of the restaurants on my wishlist included Bar Cañete (for its fine-dining take on tapas), COME by Paco Méndez (because I heard it was one of the best Mexican restaurants in Spain), Taberna Noroeste (for its creative Mediterranean dishes), and Disfrutar (because I was intrigued by the dishes they share on their Instagram page, plus I’d read many gushing reviews). All required prior bookings. If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, you should call the restaurant you wish to visit at least a week in advance. With some casual places, you might get lucky with same-day bookings. 

In terms of COVID-19, did you encounter restrictions?

In Barcelona, like the rest of Spain, face masks are still required on public transport. That means you must wear one when on a bus, train, metro, in a taxi or while waiting in a station. You’ll also need one at the airport and on your flight to and from Spain. It’s a rule that Catalans took very seriously when I was there, but it was frustrating to see that many tourists didn’t.

The face mask rule will be in place for the rest of the summer as Spain is in the middle of another coronavirus wave. You could be fined or refused access if you don’t wear a mask on public transport while the rule is in place. The health ministry is also recommending that masks are worn in busy indoor public spaces until the current wave eases.

The village of Sant Pol de Mar has beaches that feel much calmer than Barcelona’s © Getty Images/iStockphoto

I got away from the crowds by…

Visiting beaches outside of the city. Barcelona’s beaches are lovely, but they’re always busy in summer, particularly La Barceloneta beach and it can be hard to unwind there. But if you get the R1 train north from Arc de Triomf or Plaça de Catalunya stations, you’ll have more choices of beaches with fewer crowds. The train runs along the Marseme coast with seaside stops to beaches that can feel light years away from the bustle of Barcelona. The trains reach most shores in under an hour like Montgat (about 25 minutes) but my favorites, Sant Pol de Mar and Caldes d’Estrac, are just over an hour away.

Similarly, you can take the R2 or R2 Sud from Barcelona Sants, Barcelona Passeig de Gracia, or Barcelona Estacio de Francia stations to the beaches of the south including the beaches of Castelldefels and Sitges.

Saturday afternoons in Gràcia © Sasha Brady / Lonely Planet

Best tips for someone who wants to plan the same trip?

Barcelona’s problems with overtourism are well documented. I was there at a hectic time in June as Primavera music festival was on at the same time as Barcelona’s design festival. Most places, especially along the beaches, the tourist sites, and the warren of narrow streets in Ciutat Vella, were thronged with tourists. It can be overwhelming, especially for the people who live there, but there are some things visitors can do to keep the adverse effects of tourism in check, such as. ..

Don’t treat the city like a beach. Barcelona has strict rules regarding beach attire; you can’t walk the city streets shirtless or wear a swimsuit, bikini, or bathing trunks unless you want to run the risk of landing a €300 fine.

When booking accommodation, try to use registered hotels and b&bs. If booking an Airbnb, make sure it’s licensed. 

Buy local, including at local stores and markets. What I love about Spanish cities is that you’ll find many specialty stores where you can buy unique, thoughtful, and well-made pieces. Even in a big city like Barcelona, you’ll have no trouble finding these stores once you step away from the high-street and high-end shopping districts of Plaça de Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia. Generally, you’ll find great independent boutiques in El Born and along the side streets of Gràcia. For food, I recommend the Santa Caterina Market or the Sant Antoni Market, unlike Boqueria on the Ramblas, these are the markets that locals shop in.

When venturing into the city, try to get your bearings before hitting a busy spot. Often, I saw groups of tourists crowding around ticket machines in metro stations while they figured out how to use them, blocking access for locals who were forced to queue for a long time behind them. It was also common to see groups of tourists stopping at the entrances and exits to metro stations while they consulted maps on their phones to figure out their next step, prompting frustrated locals, seemingly in a rush to get home or to work, to awkwardly step around them or ask them to move. 

Book tours in advance because group walking tours are now capped to a maximum of 30 people or 15 in Ciutat Vella to reduce crowding and noise pollution. Group visits to some historic attractions have also been capped to three or eight visitors at a time so spaces fill up quickly.

Finally, it’s good to have some basic Catalan phrases to hand. You’ll get by with English and Castilian but a bon dia (hello), gràcies/merci (thank you), or sil us plau (please) goes a long way when chatting with locals.

Barcelona

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    Not lonely planet Moscow

    Something is changing in tourist destinations. It was only worth stopping by in London, as the next day a list of the most attractive cities in the world for tourism comes across.

    And the most amazing thing is that London is not there. And what are there? There is Moscow, Cape Town, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Seoul, Merida in Mexico, Bordeaux, Pistoia and even the city of Portland. This is the Lonely Planet International Travel Guide 2017 list.

    I haven’t been to Merida or Portland, but London’s absence from the list would have been surprising a week ago. In the same way as even four years ago, the presence of Moscow in the hit parade would have surprised. But first, let me talk about London.

    There are people who love Paris and there are people who love London. Usually these people agree in tastes only with regard to Moscow. They will never understand each other. And in general, it seems that all Russians – creative and not very creative, financial and not quite, visiting and not – have long fallen in love with London. Someone for music, someone for stones, someone for the opportunity to build a business, and someone for parks and squirrels with herons. And only in Harrods normal people no longer go.

    The fact that London remains a very cool tourist destination is one thing, that in areas like Bayswater, you will not hear English speech – solid Italians, Spaniards, Austrians. At the same time, tourists. And a sea of ​​student groups. Where the British themselves are at the same time is not very clear – probably everyone lives in Spain on the warm sea with money from renting London real estate. The only problem is that because of Brexit, renting an apartment in London has somehow ceased to be as profitable as it was when the pound was worth two euros.

    The fact that there are millions of tourists there – as much as twenty-seven million a year – can be seen with the naked eye. Otherwise, thousands of shops that sell stupid T-shirts – My Mom was in London and all she brought back was this lousy T-shirt – could not even pay a week’s rent in the center, let alone a year.

    There are not so many shops with T-shirts and mugs for tourists in Moscow, and “Time Machine” is hardly as popular as The Beatles, and there will never be such a pilgrimage to the street where the Melodiya firm stood, as to Abbey road.

    On the other hand, there are no ethnic districts in Moscow where tenants don’t give a damn if a block with classic English architecture falls apart or not. These are not the areas that attract 27 million tourists – people come to see Mayfair, Soho, Chelsea, Baker Street and even the ugliest house in London – the building of local intelligence. But these are the areas where the old money is, nothing will happen to them even if the Thames flows back. The parks will be cut and groomed, and the biggest flower show will be in Chelsea.

    I see that in Moscow they have also begun to organize various and, perhaps, unusual festivals for some. That’s the way it should be. The cultural attractiveness of the megacity cannot be reduced to two or three pathos events with red carpets originally from the USSR. They say that a record number of festivals took place last year.

    There is a serious difference between tourist London and tourist Moscow. Moscow is approaching the issue on a large scale. Here in the center there are no beggars and miserable “inserts” for a long time. As for the road surface – I have not seen such horror for a long time. Or rather, I saw it. For a long time. And in St. Petersburg, and in Moscow, and in Kamchatka. But people who lived in the capital for a little over five years, by 2017, had already completely lost the habit of being at the center of Europe’s financial power.

    However, financial power can turn ugly at any moment, and no one understands whether European banks will remain in London after the exit from Europe or not. Empty city or not. But in any case, tourists will remain, whether Lonely Planet puts London in its hit parade of the coolest cities in the world or not.

    Personally, I am glad that Moscow is finally there. Because the more tourists see this city, the more parks and green areas, for example. It remains only to cut and water – just some two hundred years. Like Westminster.

    And suddenly there is information that my second favorite city for tourism – Stockholm – received no go zones. These are areas where the police don’t go. Because he is afraid and does not know what to do. Just think – Stockholm! And then it seems that Moscow, in general, is a safe city for both residents and tourists. In Moscow, they do not rob and take away handbags or cameras, as in Barcelona. And for sure – there are no no go zones.

    According to official data, 17.5 million tourists will visit Moscow this year. Despite the fact that it is much more difficult and even more expensive for foreigners to obtain a Russian visa than for us in the same Great Britain.

    What attracts these people?

    Another shock: the influx of Chinese as part of “communist tourism” – they go to Ulyanovsk, the homeland of their ideological guru, and to Moscow to look at the mausoleum. Last year, “red” tourists came to Moscow in the amount of 200 thousand people. Well, who could have expected this?

    This means that Moscow attracts tourists from completely different historical layers and eras. Even those that we would be happy to give up for good. And this, too, is something to think about.

    The Loneliest Planet (2011) – Trailer in Russian

    The Loneliest Planet (2011)

    The Loneliest Planet

    Rating: 5.5

    Thriller, Drama

    Germany, USA

    113 min.

    The picture tells about two wandering lovers, Alex and Nika, conquering the heights of Georgia. The couple is accompanied by a guide, Dato, who helps them navigate the surrounding scenic landscapes. The journey of the heroes of the film goes quite peacefully and calmly until a chance meeting with three peasants occurs. A seemingly insignificant incident happens, the consequences of which will not be long in coming . ..

    The film The Loneliest Planet filmed in the genre: Thriller and Drama with a tone: serious, atmospheric, emotional, tense, realistic and action-packed with themes: backpacker, hike, traveler, relationship between a man and a woman, tour guide, dishonesty, love and romance, ups and downs , love triangle, couple, romance and couple relationship production: Germany and USA

    Watch the trailer in Russian

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