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Tips about Barcelona and Madrid by Women for Women

Evelyn Hannon

In a recent newsletter we asked Journeywoman readers to send in their female-friendly advice about Barcelona and Madrid. We expected your usual wonderful feedback but the response to this particular request was outstanding. Wonderful tips arrived from all over the world - Canada, USA plus Spain, Israel, Germany, Australia and France. I know that this helpful compilation will make other womens' journeys to Spain that much more special. Ladies, you absolutely rock! Thank you.

SAVINGS WITH BARCELONA CARD -- writes Katherine in Tuscon, USA -- If you are considering getting a Barcelona card (which allows free admission to several museums, discounts on others, and free transportation for 2, 3 or I think 5 days), be aware that the Picasso museum is NO LONGER part of the deal. This was not listed in any of the literature we read about the card and so we only discovered it when we got to the museum itself (which is 11 euros to get in plus 3 euros for an audioguide). At the museum they told us it had not been part of the Barcelona card for 2 months (ie since sometime in May or June 2013). We still think we got our money's worth but just be aware Picasso isn't included...though it IS covered by the separate museum card that gets you into 6 local museums for free.

 

FAMILY RESTAURANT IN BARCELONA -- writes Meena Singh in Melbourne, Australia -- My Barcelona tip is about a place called, Senyor Parellada. This family restaurant is an institution, serving beautiful Spanish food in gorgeous surroundings. It is a place for a treat (not a place to eat at every night) but it's not ridiculously priced. They have a great arrangement where you can turn up most weeknights at about 7 - 7.30 pm and they'll seat you straight away. Because the Spaniards are such night owls, the locals will come much later (10 pm onwards), so whilst you may be eating with other tourists, the service is wonderful, the paella delicious and it's just a lovely place to experience. And the things wrapped up on paper on the table are olives - yum! Website: www.senyorparellada.com

 

CLOSE TO BARCELONA -- writes Louise in Victoria, Canada -- I would like to share with you a lovely place I visited last June while in Barcelona, Spain. I have been to Barcelona quite a few times and decided this time to go out of the city limits and explore Sitges which is the highlight of the coast south of Barcelona. It is a lovely Mediterranean coastal town, a seaside resort some 35km southwest of Barcelona in Catalunya, Spain. The city which overlooks the Mediterranean has large avenues, narrow streets, four museums and the gorgeous beaches of Costa Dorada/Golden Coast. From Barcelona you'll have to take the metro to the train station hop on a train and in no time you'll be in Sitges. Do yourself a favor next time you are in Barcelona and go visit this seaside town, you won't regret it.

 

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE ARTICKET IN BARCELONA? -- writes Lisa in Hartsdale, USA -- When traveling to Barcelona, it's well worth it to get an 'Articket BCN' for 30 Euros. This ticket gives you admission to six great Barcelona museums, including Picasso, Joan Miro, the contemporary art museum, and others (www.articketbcn.org). It can also be purchased once you arrive in Barcelona. The best part is that it allows you to avoid the often very long queues for these popular attractions. It was well worth it!

 

GREAT SANDWICH SHOP AND GROCERY IN BARCELONA -- writes Egle in Tel Aviv, Israel -- Just in the corner in front of the beach is this small sandwich shop called Bo de B. You will recognize it from long line in front of a small window! But the line moves quickly and it's worth it for undoubtedly, the-best-sandwich-in-town. The staff are so friendly, especially towards tourists - they always smile and encourage you to practice your Spanish. The salads (if you eat in) are amazing, huge and so tasty. And the price is great ($5.00) You can take your order and walk to the beach. It's located on Carrer Fusteria (corner carrer Merce) near the main post office (Correos).

 

HOTEL CLOSE TO THE AIRPORT IN BARCELONA -- writes Francoise in Ottawa, Canada -- Our last night in Barcelona, we stayed at an 'airport hotel' because of an early flight the next day. Although it bordered a sort of industrial park, it was a pleasant surprise. A five minute-walk to the train station, and a 10-minute ride into the centre of the city (just watch the train schedule!) For less than $100 CAD a night, we had a lovely, modern 4-star room in a newish hotel called Hotel Ciutat Prat de Llobregat. Airport transfers provided. If visiting Barcelona for a few days on a budget, this is a good option...it even had a decent restaurant and room service. Cheers!

 

WELL LOCATED HOTEL IN BARCELONA -- writes Cheryl in Boston, USA -- I love Barcelona! Been there 4 or 5 times and keep going back. Stayed at Catalonia la Pedrera last time out and love the location and breakfast. Room was clean and comfortable - make sure you ask for No Smoking. Great neighborhood. Walking distance from Sagrada and Metro, lovely restaurants in the area such as La Pepita. I also ate at Fargo Gran Via, a few metro stops away at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 630. However I believe there is one near the Hotel. If you want to go to La Sagrada Familia make sure you buy you tickets online so you do not have to wait in line.

 

BARCELONA IS MY FAVORITE CITY -- writes Marci in Delray Beach, USA -- Barcelona is my favorite city of all Europe. The place is so majestic and the people are friendly. It is a walking city, plus it has a beach, casino and feels like a metro area. Best of all is the food. My all time favorite is Ciudad Condal at 18 Rambla de Catalunya. It is next to Obama Bar. (Believe it) Please read all the reviews on Trip Advisor including mine. That will tell you how wonderful this place is. You should get there by 4p.m. if you want to find a seat at the bar (which is best, the restaurant is very big and noisy cause it gets very crowded and no one wants to leave). The bartenders are terrific, and if you come back more than once they will remember what you drink, your name and will certainly have a smile on their faces. I drink the red wine called LAN. Very good. Now to the food. All I can is try everything and anything they suggest hot or cold. It is all so good. Be adventurous and enjoy it all. I will be going again in late September and will eat their each day. I can't get enough.

 

ENJOY THE LANGUAGE AND ARCHITECTURE IN BARCELONA -- writes Jane in Pompano Beach, USA -- Try to get advance tickets for Familia Sagrada, it's a long wait. A bank kiosk nearby does sell them, when it is working or try online at www.sagradafamilia.cat. Enjoy listening to the language, Catalan, it's different from the Spanish heard elsewhere. Look up, the architecture is great!

 

BONUS TIP -- BARCELONA

Internet Access

Bonus!If you want to have Internet access in Barcelona but don't have a smartphone or iPad with smartphone access, and don't have a hotel or Airbnb apartment with Internet access of some kind, we discovered that finding wi-fi hotspots is not always as easy as you might think. I had read online that the city of Barcelona has rolled out free wi-fi hotspots but I could not figure out from the web site how they worked (even though I speak Spanish) and when we asked at the tourist office nobody knew anything about it. On the other hand, there are shops everywhere, called "Locutarios", where you can rent time on a computer (or make phone calls or send money). The cost seems to be pretty standard, 50 cents (euro cents of course) per half hour or 1 euro per hour. We did pay a bit more in an internet cafe we found but the price was still reasonable. (At the Internet cafe, however, of course we also had a coffee, and as all the wi-fi hotspots were also in cafes or restaurants, it always ended up costing more than the locutarios do).
Submitted by Katherine in Tuscon, USA

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