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If you're looking for a good free map of Barcellona, don't use the one the tourist office gives you for the Bus Turistic. Instead, ask them for a brochure from City Tour by ALSAtouring. This brochure includes a map that actually details all of Barcelona's streets, especially the confusing ones in Barri Gotic and Ribera. This is essential to finding your way around.
I would not go back to Barcellona. The whole city seems to have a sewerage smell about it which is very unpleasant. The back streets also don't feel very safe. It seems like a fairly poor city. It also takes a lot of walking around to get from one sight to another. Having said all that, the old palace (now an art gallery) is utterly magnificent and provides a commanding view of the city. Gaudi's cathedral is also an impressive spectacle of engineering. Some of the more busy streets become beautiful and very pleasant at night, but plain by day. The city is worth stopping by if you're in or near the region but I wouldn't plan a holiday specially to Barcelona.
Barcellona is, without a doubt, my favourite city in Europe, it's hot, seasoned, rich, fun, exciting and very cheap!! Lots of interesting artists doing their thing on the streets, in the parks and of course on the beach. The atmosphere is more than chilled in this sizzling hot environment... you must go to the sonar festival and enjoy sitting under the palm trees as the early morning sun gradually heats up yet another glorious day. PS -- Rent a car if you can.
I have been studying in Barcellona for 6 months now and it´s going to be very hard to leave! It is a bustling city with so much to do. I would give yourself AT LEAST 3-5 days in Barcelona if you want to explore. Some things that you don't want to miss: Sagrada Familia, Montjuic, Casa Mila, Picsso Museum, Tibidabo, Parc Guell, the Boqeria (open air market), Jardins de Labrinth, the port, beaches, and take a day trip take the metro up to Montsterat, a 1000 year old monestary on top of a cliff, lots of hiking up there too. YES, the city is smelly, people can be pushy, and I have gotten my bag stolen...but try to look beyond that and appreciate what the city has to offer. If you are smart and don´t carry your passport or credit cards with you when you are on Las Ramblas especially, you´ll be fine.
I went on a monthlong tour of Europe in 2005, visiting London, Paris, Rome, and Barcellona each for one week. Barcelona was the only city where I made a point to leave early. It does have its finer points -- the Marina and beaches were worth visiting -- but the heart of the city, Ramblas, had a very tense, uneasy feeling about it. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew that the city did not have a homey or vacationy feeling about it. In the evenings, it became apparent very quickly that this area draws a big drunk and wild crowd. Now, I love drinking and partying myself, but this was not a fun, happy crowd -- it was the sort of crowd that brought around lots of crime, drugs, and violence. I wish I could say that the Cultural scene would save my trip, but that was disappointing too. I was not moved by any one particular structure, and I am easily moved. If you find yourself there already, I recommend taking a bus tour of the city, stopping at the interesting spots, and heading to…
I just returned to New York from a my first European vacation and Barcellona was my favorite part. I loved the energy of this intense city. I do not speak Spanish but managed to meet some really amazing people. I think Barcelona is the kind of place that you either love or you hate. I loved it and hope to return one day.


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