Barcelona is the first stop on our trip to Europe (hotels courtesy of my lovely wife, flights courtesy of me). In our first 36 hours here, we’ve managed to recover from the change in time zones between DC and Barcelona, visit La Sagrada Familia, and visit Park Guell. Both were highly-recommended by the concierge at our hotel (Ritz-Carlton Barcelona, also known as Hotel Arts Barcelona).
Buying tickets ahead of time for La Sagrada Familia is highly-recommended also. We bought a tour with an English-speaking guide on ticketmaster.es for under 40 euros and probably saved ourselves 2-3 hours of waiting in line to get in. The guided portion of the tour was around an hour–the guide shared a wealth of historical information about the architect (Gaudi), the building, some of the sculptors, Catholicism, and the Bible itself. As someone who appreciates history and churches, the tour was excellent.
Park Guell was quite a bit of walking, but also fun. The monument zone of the park charges admission, which gives you access to some of Gaudi’s interesting outdoor works (along with some shops and restrooms). Once you leave the monument zone however, you can’t return without paying the same fee again. The best views of Barcelona are actually outside the monument zone anyway (if you don’t mind climbing a lot of stairs).
We got to and from both attractions and our hotel by metered cab. Ride costs ranged between 8-12 euros. Only one of the four cab drivers we’ve had so far spoke enough English for us to have a conversation.
Tomorrow, we’ll probably try the 1-day hop-on, hop-off bus and see as many attractions as we can.