04.03.2019 - 09.03.2019 18 °C
Well then, what about some of the nuts and bolts of that trip to Barcelona.
I arrived on a direct Ryanair flight from Edinburgh. It cost £99 for their “Plus” service, which includes a checked in bag.
Being direct made it attractive, but the 06:30 departure detracted from it. I live 40 minutes away from the airport and with early morning being one of the busiest times there, you assume you will have to be there before 05:00.
The other negative was arriving (10:30) in Barcelona long before most accommodation places will let you check in.
On balance it worked out well, partly because I stayed at an airport hotel the night before and partly because Ryanair had their bag drop really well organised. It took just 5 minutes. Of course the hotel night added to the cost significantly - £69 including breakfast.
I left on Air France via Paris. £153 one way. It was a 17:50 departure, which gave me half the day in the city.
Our Airbnb host suggested the Aerobus service to and from the airport, as its city terminus is at Plaça de Catalunya and is convenient for the Metro line closest to the apartment. The bus was excellent. €5.90 each way. The service runs very 5 minutes to/from terminal 1 and every 10 minutes for terminal 2.
The host also suggested Locker Barcelona for luggage storage if we needed it. We did. It is very conveniently located on Carrer d’Estruc, 5 minutes walk from the Aerobus. It cost €13 for the day for their largest locker, taking our 2 suitcases and 1 carry on bag.
Yes, you guessed by now, we had an Airbnb apartment. It was one of the highlights of the visit, in fact. We loved it. Quiet, spacious, clean, convenient location - no negatives.
It is in Carrer de Pàdua, close to Lesseps station on the Metro line L3. It is on the fringe of the Gràcia neighbourhood, which is wonderful for small shops, bars and restaurants with the bonus of being relatively tourist free.
It was a 5 minute walk in the morning to buy croissants for breakfast. It has a terrace to eat them on.
The cost was £82 per night (for 5 nights) including a cleaning fee and the Airbnb fee. Great value for money.
We used the Metro to get around. A 10 journey ticket cost €10.20 - a great deal compared with a single for €2.20. It has a reputation for pickpocket problems, so we were careful but had no problems.
As for sights we visited Parc Güell, Montjuïc, Barri Gòtic, Port Vell and Sant Pau Recinte Modernista. Oh, and the beach.
We did not pay to get into the monument area at Parc Güell having seen plenty just walking around the park. You get great views of the city, especially from the highest point (strange that, but true anyway).
Montjuïc gives fantastic views too. We paid to get into the castle - €5 p/p. The cable car and funicular up from Paral-lel Metro were not operating (out of season), although the cable car from Port Vell was.
We walked. It was good for us.
We enjoyed sitting outside at the cafe inside the castle - a few days into March and 18⁰c.
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista was one of the sights we enjoyed most. It is less visited than some, and I got the recommendation from someone who regularly visits family in the city as a result of which she has a bit of an inside track. Entry was €14 p/p.
We ate very well in the city. The local wine was great, and fantastic value too. We had a tapas “dinner” at La Bicicleta and normal dinners at Can Punyetes and El Rebost de la Plana.
To give an idea of prices, dinner for two at Can Punyetes cost €34.70. For that we had grilled veal as main courses, desserts, bread, water (a medium bottle), a coffee and a litre of house red. The wine was €5.50, and excellent.
Being honest, I cannot find fault with any of the arrangements we set up for travel or accommodation, nor with our food, drink or sightseeing experiences. A wonderful few days.