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A Fabulous Three Day Tour Of Barcelona, Spain
By:Ricardo Polo

You have just three days in which to see as much of Barcelona as you can: where should you go to get a feeling for the nature of this old Catalan City? To get a sense of its magnificent cuisine, history and culture? It's a big call to do this in just three days, but here is an itinerary that will give a taste of the city that is certain to make you eager to make a return visit soon.

Day 1: Gaudi, the Diagonal and Grácia
The North side of Barcelona offers some great restaurants and fabulous shopping, but above all is famed for its modernist architecture by Spain's famous Antoni Gaudí.

Morning

Starting at Plaza Catalunya in the center of the city, you should head for the Paseo de Gracia where you will find La Pedrera and Casa Batllò buildings, both impressive Gaudi´s works along with a few lovely designer boutiques. However, if you find these impressive, take the blue line metro L5 from La Pedrera to Sagrada Familia where you find the fabulous cathedral that many regard as Gaudi's best work. Don't just admire it from outside, but go in and walk around its awesome interior, planned like a Latin cross with five aisles. If you have time, finish off the morning with a visit to the Heritage site of Park Güell, accessible by the same blue line L5 and then transferring to the Green line L3 to Vallcarca. The magnificent entrance is also a Gaudi´s masterpiece.

Afternoon
After all this culture you will be ready for some shopping therapy, so take a short walk from Park Güell to Plaza Lesseps and down Diagonal. You will find a mass of boutiques here, including Hacket, Pilma and Loewe, and also El Corte Ingles, one of the more famous Spanish department stores. You will then find the Plaza Fransesc Macia, another busy area of Barcelona containing a pond in the shape of Minorca, the birthplace of its designer, Nicolau Rubió i Tudurí.

Evening
Finally, you must visit Grácia and one of its famous bars. There are also a number of restaurants here where you can eat or just try a tapas bar. You can get to Grácia by metro with a Green line L3 to Fontana or Yellow line L4 to Joanic.

Day 2: Las Ramblas, The Beach and the Gothic Quarter

Morning
Today we visit the Southside, starting with Las Ramblas - starting again at the Plaza Catalunya. Wander down Las Ramblas and visit any of the lively markets, such as the Bird Market and Flower Market that sell what they would suggest: birds and flowers! Las Ramblas is also note for its street and robotic performers, and what you thought was a statue will suddenly turn and look at you! La Boqueria is one of the larger and more famous of Barcelona's markets, a huge place selling all sorts of mouthwatering foodstuffs. You can stop for coffee over the road at the Plaza Reial.

Afternoon
In the afternoon you go down the beach. Stroll down the Paseo de Joan Borbo, perhaps stopping off in Port Vell or Barceloneta for some lunch first. If you like the beach you can spend some time there, although there is also a great deal to see along the promenade. You can walk along to Port Olímpic or one of the other beaches such as Mar Bella to catch up on your suntan. You can get refreshments at one of the small bars, or chiringuitos, that each beach offers and relax, getting ready for an evening in the Gothic Quarter.

Evening
The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona reflects the medieval roots of this great city. A maze of twisting alleys and old plazas (squares), the Gothic Quarter also offers the 13th century Cathedral, just to the left of Bisbe Street. This street leads to a large cobbled plaza known as Plaza Sant Jaume, where you will find the seat of Barcelona's government, Palau de la Ciutat, and also the Adjuntament, the City Hall. There are other cobbled streets in this area where you can find lovely restaurants or bars where you can enjoy some fine Catalan cuisine.

Day 3: Picasso, Montjuic and a Final Evening

Morning
Start from the Gothic Quarter with the Yellow line L4 metro to Urquinaona and the Via Laietana street. This divides the Gothic Quarter from the Born/La Ribera area, where you will find the Palau de la Música Catalana , a wonderful modernist concert hall with a stained glass ceiling well worth a look. Then head off for the Picasso Museum which is down Princessa Street and onto Montcada street. This museum contains a large number of Picasso's earlier works, many donated by the artist himself.

Then head off down Montcada to the Plaza del Born where you will find the 14th century Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, and very popular for weddings. Continue down the Paseo de Born and you will come to the Ciutadella Park, a very popular green area where you can enjoy some coffee or a picnic.

Afternoon
Cross the park and then the Calle Pujades and get the Red line L1 metro at the Arc de Triomf for the Plaza España. The Plaza is host to many fairgrounds and conventions, and you can begin the climb up Montjuic stopping at the tiny village of Poble Espanyol (open air museum) on the way. You can then visit the MNAC, the Catalan Art Museum, and check out the 1992 Olympic stadium. You will eventually come the Baroque castle and enjoy some marvelous views over the city.

Evening
Finish your three-day tour of Barcelona by enjoying a wonderful show in the Plaza España. The fountain lights are fabulous to see, in myriad colours and fantastic displays of lights and music. Finish the evening in any way you want, but it should traditionally be in the form of a flamenco dinner and dance evening enjoying the dancing while you eat your final traditional Catalan meal of the trip.

Further details of Barcelona's culture and history, together with information on Apartments in Barcelona are available on www.way2barcelona.com where you will beautiful short-term apartments for rent in Barcelona for tourists and business visitors.






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