Barcelona one-day tour (part I): Gothic, Born, Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and La Rambla
This hub is the first of a series of hubs intending to help those people interested on discover Barcelona but don't have the time to stay more than one day. Actually, it pretends to be a practical guide of use of public transportation and walking. If you want to learn more where to buy the travel pass you need and the maps of public transportation you will need, I encourage you to visit the hub "Getting in and moving inside Barcelona for travelers"
All the tours in this series are related with a shortage of different variants with the main purpose of shortening the main tour, just to make it more confortable, and more suitable for everybody. At the same time, all the hubs will present different variants to adapt the tour to the place you arrive in Barcelona.
And, of course, last but not least, the hub finishes with some pictures and videos showing what you will find.
Barcelona, a great city
Sometimes happen that you come to an interesting city but you don't have the time the place deserves for a good visit. In these cases you will appreciate a simple and easy guide to save the time you need to visit the city.
Barcelona is a marvelous city, a city that has everything a tourist place would have. Nice buildings, historical places, important art and science museums, a renowned opera theatre, a long beach, a recreational and cruise harbour, a big international airport, shopping areas, good restaurants, nice hotels, and several places where you would like to freeze the time with a camera in your hands. And, of course, places kids will enjoy!
In this tiny guide I propose a tour that you can adjust to your needs. Simply print this article, mark your choices and follow the resultant path.
Where to start
You may want to start the tour depending on the type of transportation you went by.
If you went by train, probably you will be at Sants Railway Station (Estació de Sants) or at France Raillway Station (Estacio de França).
if you went by bus, the final station is at Nord Station (Estació de Nord).
If you went in private car, then you can be anywhere. My advice could be to leave your car at a car park or in the street (in a non-regulated area) and move using the wide public transportation network and turistic means of transportation, that will get you to the most beautiful shights of the city. Get some ideas at the hub Getting inside and moving in Barcelona for travelers.
You can leave you car in any car park for prices around 3€ per hour. All day long costs more than 32€. By far, the most expensive park cars in Spain.
If you went by plane then you are at the airport (Barcelona (El Prat), Reus, or Girona airport). I will consider you are at Barcelona if you plane is landing in El Prat Airport. The other two airports have bus services that will take you to Barcelona in one hour time. From El Prat take a taxi or a train that would take you to Sans railway station in half an hour. From Sants railway station you can take R6 to Plaça Catalunya. Actually, R6 line belongs to FGC train.
If you have come to Barcelona by sea, you can start at the Cruise Harbour, very close to Las Ramblas. probably the best place to start.
Tour Columbus - Las Ramblas - Plaça Reial - Barcelona's Cathedral - Santa Maria del Mar - Palau de la Música - Sagrada Familia - La Pedrera
Total walking: 6,7 Km
Interest site styles: Gothic, Modernism, Gothic revival.
If you start at the Cruise Harbour, one natural tour, easily done in one day is to visit several sites, mainly buildings as Sagrada Familia, Santa Maria del Mar or streets as La Rambla, Passeig de Gracia or several charming streets of Barri Gotic and Born quarters.
Start at the Columbus Monument, at one end of La Rambla, walk La Rambla until Plaça Reial. Once there look at the chimneys around the central fountain. Yes: they are Gaudi's, There are many other things to look at in this square, one of the most visited of the city, specially at night, for the great cultural offer of clubs like Jamboree, Karma and SIdecar. Be aware of pickpocketing because it's always full of people.
Just 1,3 Km. Take a rest. Then follow to Santa Maria del Mar and Passeig del Born, just a little bit further. 0,8 Km more. Visit Santa Maria del Mar (central argument of Best Seller Cathedral of the Sea). Stop at Fossar de Les Moreres in the way to Passeig del Born, a monumental flame for all those who died defending Barcelona at 1714 against Borbon troops.
Stop and take a rest. You can then go back and have a lunch near Santa Maria del Mar. There are very nice restaurants, with nice terraces in the street and delicious meals.
Go walking (good sport after having lunch) to Palau de la Musica and take the metro (Urquinaona station) to move to Sagrada Familia. 1,2 Km more.
Once in Sagrada Familia (Sagrada Familia station) get all the pictures outside, take a ticket and visit it from the inside. It's spectacular.
Take the metro again to Diagonal metro station, near Palau Robert, at the end of Passeig de Gracia. Palau Robert is a site with free entrance with exhibitions, touristical information and a beautiful garden inside, ideal for resting a bit. Walking down Passeig de Gracia, you will find, in that order, Casa Milà (La Pedrera) at the left side, and together Casa Batlló and Casa Amatller at the right side, Plaça Catalunya at the other end of Passeig de Gracia and beginning of La Rambla by the other end. Walk down La Rambla and you finish the tour. From one end of Passeig de Gracia to Columbus monument there are 3 Km more.
At the beginning of La Rambla you will see Canaletas Fountain, where Futbol Club Barcelona's fans celebrates every award, Liceu (famous opera theatre) and surelly human statues all the way long.
If you complet the tour, then you have been walking 6,7 Km. When site seeing, it's at least three hours walking. Consider you will stop and take pictures, stop and wander at several places and stores all the way long, specially at the streets of Barri Gotic, La Rambla, and at Born quarter.
You need half an hour to visit Santa Eulalia's Cathedral, half an hour for Santa Maria del Mar, one hour for Sagrada Familia, one hour for La Pedrera. And two hours resting and having lunch. Total time then is 8 hours.
Map and indications for the morning part of the tour
Walking difference: -1 Km
If you dont't feel like walking so much after lunch, don't go to Palau de la Musica and take the metro at Jaume I station directly to Sagrada Familia station. Actually is yellow line till Passeig de Gracia station and then purple line to Sagrada Familia station.
Walking difference: - 1.6 Km
If you feel 6 Km walking is too much, then you can shorten the tour taking the metro after the Casa Batllò at Passeig de Gracia station, and stop at Dressanes station, at the end of Las Ramblas. You can then visit Museum Maritim of Barcelona just besides the metro station. You can also visit Arts Santa Monica, a contemporaneous art museum, entrance is free.
Other starting points
This tour is the perfect tour when you come by cruiser. But what if you come by other means?
Sants railway station:
- Option Casa Milà first.Take metro L5 towards Vall d'Hebron. Only 3 stations and get out at Diagonal metro station. Then you may start the tour at Palau Robert, Casa Milà, etc.
- Option Sagrada Familia first. Take metro L5 towards Vall d'Hebron and get out at Sagrada Familia metro station. Then you may start the tour at Sagrada Familia. If you invert the sense of the tour, then you can go to Santa Eulalia's Cathedral and then to Born Quarter and have lunch there and visit Santa Maria del Mar before or after having lunch.
Parking del Forum:
- The best option is start site-sighing as the Sagrada Familia Option of Sants railway station. To go to Sagrada Familia, you have to take metro L4 towards La Pau until La Pau station. Then take L2 towards Paral·lel and get out at Sagrada Familia station.
France railway station:
- France railway station is very close to Born quarter. Just cross the street and you are there. Born quarter is the perfect place to have lunch because it's full of nice restaurants. And it's a place to sight during daylight because it's a quarter with lots of beautiful and charming places. What we can do then is walk around Barri Gotic (Santa Eulalia's Cathedral, Plaça Sant Jaume, Plaça del Rei, Plaça Reial, La Rambla) and then get back to Born to have lunch. After lunch we can continue with the planned tour, Palau de la Musica, Sagrada Familia and so on.
Estació del Nord:
- Option A. When you get out of Nord Station then you are at 300 m of Arc of Triumph. There you find a metro station called Arc de Triomf. Take L1 towards Hospital de Bellvitge, and stop at the next station, Urquinaona. Then take L4 towards La Pau. Just on stop and you are at Jaume I station, close to Plaça Sant Jaume and Born Quarter. Behave as you started at France railway station.
- Opion B. Beeing at Nord Station you are at 1 Km walking from Palau de la Musica. You can visit Palau de la Musica and then take breakfast at the bar that is inside at the ground floor and at the outside yard. Then walk 300 m. more and you will be at Santa Eulalia's Cathedral. Then behave as you started at France railway station.
Multimedia related material
Just to figure out some of the sites that you could see in this tour, I post one video where you can see Barri Gotic, a video of Santa Maria del Mar and two other two videos with a recreation of Sagrada Familia inside when it will be finished. Don't miss the view.