Barcelona Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas




Barcelona, Spain is a huge city, with a population of around 1.6 million and five million people live in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. The city is definitely worthy of three days or more to visit the main sights. I only had part of a day here in a recent cruise port stop, so I opted to take the Barcelona City Tour by way of a hop-on hop-off bus.

This turned out to be a very effective and economical way for me to get a glimpse of the city's highlights and learn a little about it at the same time. I definitely plan to return one day when I can spend at least several days here.Casa Batllo Barcelona


The Barcelona City Tour is one of the most practical things to do in Barcelona. You can pre-book online and the price listed is 21.60 euros, but I bought the ticket on the bus and it was 19 euros. Actually I got a discount on top of that since i had saved my ticket from a bus tour in another city. The company gives you a 10 percent discount up to a year if you keep the ticket so it is a good deal.

At any rate I rode the bus for the entire route, then got home and back on another bus for the other route. The whole tour lasted over four hours, which is not a bad deal at all.

The routes have a few overlapping stops, where you are able to switch to the other route if you like. Since Barcelona is so big there are quite a few buses which stop every ten to twenty minutes, making it easy to travel to different locations in the city. You can get off at one stop and get back on at any stop as often as you like within a 24 hour period.Beach in Barcelona Spain


On the west route stops include all the famous landmarks in Barcelona beginning with Placa Catalunya, the hub of the city and the beginning of the pedestrian walkway, La Rambla. The next stop is in the Gothic district, followed by Paseo Colon, the large avenue connecting the city to the sea. The bus heads toward the World Trade Center at the port and then to beautiful Miramar Gardens with a panorama view of the coastline.

Olympic Stadium in Barcelona SpainThere are 18 stops on this route including the Olympic Stadium, the MNAC, former World's Fair Pavilion, Plaza Espana, the Barcelona train station, the soccer stadium, shopping areas, and the famous Gaudi  buildings, Casa Mila, and Casa Battlo.

On the eastern route the 16 stops include Placa Cataluña, the Gothic Cathedral, Port Vell and the Sea Palace, the maritime district and the beaches, the Olympic Village, Ciutadella Park, the modern glass building of the National Theatre, some of the more modern architectural sights and the technological district, the hospital, Garden City, Tibidabo, and of course the very famous unfinished work of Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia.

I would recommend the sightseeing bus as an overview for a first-time visitor to Barcelona and then you have an idea of what you would like to see in more detail. Have fun.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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High Speed Ferry Service From Barcelona To Palma De Mallorca

It used to take seven hours to get from Barcelona Spain to Palma De Mallorca. Most people would jump aboard the night ferry and sleep until they arrived in the morning. But today travelers staying in Barcelona apartments can take a high speed catamaran that will get you to Palma De Mallorca in a little less than four hours, leaving you more time to enjoy your day or weekend trip to the island.

During the summer season travelers will find 2 high speed catamarans and super ferry making the journey between Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.High Speed Ferry Barcelona, Spain Photo by D-A-O

Even if you have been to Mallorca before, there are always plenty of activities for you to enjoy. If you are on a weekend or day trip, and do not have the pleasure of spending the night, it is important to pack as much into one day as you possibly can. Hiring a personal guide is a great way to see the entire island. You can contact them directly, or have them arrange additional day trips outside of the city. If you would rather head out on your own, you can take a walking tour and rent an Ipod shuffle that is preloaded with everything you need to know. Another great way to take in the city is to jump on an open-top tour bus. Lasting 24 hours you can hop on or off when you like. Take a tour of one of the museums in Palma De Mallorca, or spend your time at the Bellver Castle. Just 3 kilometers from the center of town is was built in the 14th century and continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island and is home to the Municipal Museum. Climb to the top of the tower and enjoy spectacular views of the bay. Of course if you feel like relaxing you can spend your day at the beach. You can go windsurfing, or grab your fins and snorkel and explore the deep blue sea. You can hire a boat at some of the beaches, or try your hand at kite surfing.

If you decide to do nothing but relax and drink in the wonderful climate on the island, you cannot leave without enjoying a couple of the fantastic restaurants in Palma De Mallorca. Start the morning off with an authentic breakfast. Make sure you save some room, because you will want to have tapas for lunch washed down with a white wine Sangria. Before you head back to your apartments in Barcelona and board  the high speed ferry, you have to try a seafood dinner as the jumbo prawns, muscles, angler and monkfish are absolutely delicious.


Barcelona Wine and Cava Day Trips

Black red grape for wine production in Spain The wine region of Penedes lies south of Barcelona. The area has a world-renown reputation for producing Spanish champagne, known as cava, and superior white wines. Good quality reds also emerge from the region. Its close proximity to the Barcelona apartments and hotels makes Penedes the ideal spot for a wine and cava connoisseur to tour on a day trip.

Cava Winery Cordorniu

The Cava Winery Cordorniu sits in the village of Sant Sadurni D'Noia. The winery dates back to the 16th century. The winery's cellars were built by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. The imposing structure has eyecatching architecture and has been declared a National Monument of Historic and Artistic Interest. Tours to the winery usually take approximately eight hours and include a visit to Sitges, which overlooks the sea. Sitges features a picturesque white medieval quarter with winding cobbled streets. Most tours allow an hour or so of personal time to explore Sitges. The full day tours provide lunch at one of the area restaurants.

Torres Winery in Pacs

The Torres Winery in Pacs is a delightful day trip that offers visitors the chance to view the winemaking process up close. The tour of the Torres Winery usually lasts one hour, but the entire trip will take approximately eight hours. Visitors will learn about the wine making process in great detail. The tour will cover the process from vine to bottle. Visitors will also be able to tour the winery's massive cellars. After the tour at the winery, visitors are welcome to sample wine at the special tasting centre.

Wine Barrels - Spanish Bodega - SpainJean Leon Estate

The Jean Leon estate was one of the first wineries to create white wines in oak casks. Visitors can learn about the history of the estate and its winemaking process. They can also visit the large visitors centre. Wine tasting is included in the tour. Following the wine tour, most tour companies wrap up the day by visiting the historic town of Sitges.

Wine and cava day trips from Barcelona usually take eight hours to complete, but can run up to nine hours or more. Most tour companies allow two to six people per trip. The tours run year round from January to December. Rates vary, depending on the tour company. Pickups from area hotels or apartments in Barcelona are available. Advance reservations are strongly suggested. Some tour companies require that the day trip must be booked at least seven days in advance.


Weekend Trip, Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca


You have been doing the extended stay, spending almost a month in your Barcelona apartments, it's time for something a little different, you're  looking for another adventure, where do you look?

How about traveling offshore?, Just to the south of the mainland of Spain lies the Balearic Islands, a chain of islands lying in the beautiful Mediterranean. Mallorca, the largest island of the chain makes for an excellent destination. A little far for a day trip, but a great escape for a weekend trip.  

Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, SpainPalma de Mallorca is the main city on Mallorca where half of the population of the island lives. A top tourist destination off the Spanish east coast, Mallorca has a lot to offer besides sun and sand.

It is easy to reach Mallorca by ferry from Barcelona with three ferry services, Balearia, Trasmediterranea and Iscomar Ferries. Ferries run every day and the trip takes about seven hours and 45 minutes. The price of tickets depends on several factors such as if you are taking your vehicle, if you have special luggage and which accommodation you select. Reservations should be made in advance. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the office.

La Seu Cathedral, Palma de Mallorca, SpainSome of the main sites to visit are:

• The Castell de Bellver was built in the 14th century on the ruins of a Muslim site. Today, it is a museum for archaeological finds and classical sculptures. High on a hill, it has beautiful views of the Bay of Palma. It is one of the most important castles in Spain and worth a walk around the moat and a visit to the top of the castle to see the marvellous architecture.

• There is also an architectural museum in Palma de Mallorca that is like a small village with models of the major classical architecture of Spain.

• The Cathedral de Mallorca is a spectacular site and beautifully lit at night. It exhibits religious paintings and other things. It is a majestic background to the Paseo Maritimo along the port where the boats and yachts are chartered. The majority of discos, bars, pubs and restaurants are there and they stay open until 6:00 AM.

• The Banys Arabs or Arab baths is the only structure from the Arab settlement that is still in Palma. It was built in the 10th century to function like a sauna with a heated floor that was splashed with water for steam.

• The Contemporary art museum has paintings by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Joan Miro and Juan Gris. The collection is worth seeing and the admission is free.

Palma de Mallorca is a historically interesting city with beautiful beaches, year around sun and a vibrant nightlife. It is a great place to visit when staying in one of the many apartments in Barcelona and a good base from which to visit the charming villages, hidden coves and rugged mountains on the rest of the island. The ferry cost is inexpensive with convenient departure times.



A Drive Up The Coast From Barcelona To Roses Spain

Roses, Spain, is one of the cities that can be visited on a day trip from Barcelona. It is on the coast of the Gulf of Roses in the province of Girona in northeastern Catalonia. The city is about 99 miles north of Barcelona. Driving from Barcelona to Roses takes approximately two hours. Visitors can also reach Roses by taking a bus or train from Barcelona. Buses from Barcelona go directly to Roses. This trip takes two hours and 15 minutes. A train trip from Barcelona to Figueres takes about two hours. Figueres is about 14 miles from Roses. A bus ride from Figueres to Roses takes about 30 minutes.

Overlooking Roses, SpainPlaces to see in Roses include the beach, nature reserves and historic sites. Visitors can enjoy Spanish cuisine in the city’s restaurants.

There are several things to do on the beaches of Roses. Visitors can dive, snorkel, swim and sunbathe. Some of the beaches can only be reached by boat or on foot.

A trip on the Roses Express train will take visitors past the beaches and the Parc Natural Cap de Creus. This nature reserve can be reached by car from Roses. The reserve has places for walking, scuba diving and bird watching.

The Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l’Emporda is next to the Gulf of Roses. This nature reserve has cane fields, marshes, lakes and dunes. There are places to walk and bike in the reserve. Visitors can see storks and otters.

Visitors to Roses can see dolmens that are 5,000 years old. The Llit de la Generala dolmen was erected in 3,200 B.C.

The Citadel in Roses was built in the 16th century. This military fortification encloses ruins from the ancient town of Rhode. Rhode was built in the eighth century B.C. Displays in the Citadel Museum focus on the history of the Roses area. There are exhibits from Roman times and the Middle Ages.

The ruins of Trinity Castle are about two miles southeast of Roses. The castle was built in 1544. It stands on Poncella Point above the Roses lighthouse. The lighthouse dates back to 1864.

Visitors who have worked up an appetite sightseeing can dine on grilled clams or spicy mussels at Loramar. Customers at Sodemar can look at the bay while they eat duck salad, octopus ceviche or Iberian ham. The Restaurant Els Brancs at the Hotel Vistabella serves calf sweetbreads and pigeon.


Don’t Forget to Visit Tossa de Mar while in Barcelona

Now that you have finally made the time to take that much needed vacation to Barcelona, Spain, don’t forget to take a day trip to Tossa de Mar, Spain. Situated on the Coasta Brava about 55 miles North of Barcelona and 55 miles South of the French Border, missing the magnificent views from this beautiful town is not an option.

Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, SpainTo plan a day trip from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar, it may be a good idea to get an early start from your Barcelona apartments or hotel. Since the distance between the two cities is only about 55 miles, it means that it may just take an hour to two depending on how you choose to get there. Renting a car is always an option, just make sure you map your route so that you don’t get lost. For those who prefer not to drive, there is a bus service that will take you from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar.

This undiscovered gem allows explorers of the Coast to relax and enjoy the sights and general culture without being among too many other tourists. There are three main beaches in Tossa de Mar which are The Tossa Beach (Platja Gran), La Mar Menuda, and El Codolar. Tossa Beach is located in front of downtown so it is easy to shop downtown and then relax on the beach before making your way back to Barcelona. La Mar Menuda, just on the other side of the Bay, offers facilities that includes sports equipment for those who would like to be active while on the beach. El Codolar is just behind the walls and makes for a nice, calm place to relax.

For lunch or dinner, there is a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. The cuisine ranges from BBQ to Italian to Seafood. There are restaurants that have indoor and/or outdoor seating. In Tossa de Mar, you will find restaurants that need reservations and those who take walk ins. If you fall in love with Tossa de Mar and not quite ready to head back to your apartments in Barcelona, you might just want to plan on spending a night in Tossa de Mar, there are restaurants which double into great after hours spots to have a drink or just relax.

On your trip, don’t forget to spend a day in Tossa de Mar which is just an hour away from Barcelona. This undiscovered gem will give you the opportunity to visit the beach and relax on the sand without having to deal with the crowds of tourists.


Trains, Trams and Railways in Barcelona, Spain

Many first time visitors with extended stays planned in Barcelona wonder if it is necessary to rent a car when visiting the city, they often ask, “I’m going to be staying in one of many hotels or apartments in Barcelona, what are the options for getting around”.

The city of Barcelona is the second largest in all of Spain, and has an enviable infrastructure that includes trains, trams and railways. The public transportation system is simple and inexpensive to use, and frequented by locals and visitors alike. The busiest and largest train station within the city is the Barcelona Sants railway station, known in the city as the Sants Estació. It is easily the most important transport center not only in the city of Barcelona, but in the entire Catalonia region. The following guide offers a history of the station, routes and amenities for travelers.

 Estacio Sants, Barcelona SpainUnlike some of the older train stations found throughout Europe, the Sants Estació is actually rather new. It was built in the 1970s as a way to serve the east-west regional line in the area of Barcelona. It often is compared to an airport design thanks to its very modern design, and it houses most of the train’s platforms underneath the ground. As might be expected with a rapidly growing transport hub, changes and renovations are frequently being made, with plans to undergo some serious renovation and rebuilding in the coming years.

Spanish High Speed AVE train, Barcelona, Spain The primary uses for the Sants Estació is the high speed and long distance trains that arrive and depart in the area frequently. Five major lines head through the railway station heading to various destinations around Spain, as well as nearby European countries like France. The most popular destination for long distance travel is the 2 and a half hour journey to Madrid on the AVE Madrid-Barcelona High-Speed Rail Line. The TGV rail line also operates for those journeys leading into France.

For internal travel around the city, the Barcelona Sants Railway Station also plays a role. It is home to two metro stations, operating on the local line 3 and 5. Metro line 3 brings travelers from the Sants Estació to the Zona Universitària, and the metro line 5 heads in the direction of Collblanc and Diagonal.

Trains in Estacio de Francia, Barcelona SpainFacilities at the Barcelona Sants Railway Station are plentiful and high quality. The entire facility is equipped to deal with handicapped access for travelers. You’ll find all the standard amenities for travelers, including ATMs, a tourism office, a pharmacy, telephone, luggage storage and a police station. There is a local cafe, a traditional restaurant and an international fast food restaurant for hungry passengers. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays there is even a traditional art fair held in the station as a fun way to pass time or pick up some traditional souvenirs.

Travelers to and from the city will find easy access to the many hotel and Barcelona apartments via the station and connecting metro lines. Passengers arriving late at night or with early morning departures can appreciate the Hotel Sants offering affordable rooms right in the train station.


Andorra, Day Trip from Barcelona

OK, you have been visiting in Barcelona for some time; you think you have seen everything the city has to offer. You are ready for a change, or just would like to explore a little more of Spain. Sitting in your hotel or Barcelona apartments you pull out your travel book and map and wonder where to next?

Barcelona has several good day trips, and one of the top day tours is to the small country of Andorra. It is important to allow a full day since Andorra is a three hour drive by car or a four hour bus journey from Barcelona center. During the ski season, at least two bus companies run daily bus service between the Barcelona airport and Andorra. Some bus companies offer as many as 8 trips a day from Barcelona. If traveling in the winter season by car, winter tires and/or snow chains are needed.

Andorra is a small, land-locked, and mountainous country in the Pyrenees, bordering France on its north and Spain on its south. The area of this tiny nation is 486 sq km. The population is just over 73,000 residents and Andorra la Vella is its capital. Andorra has the distinction of having Catalan as its official language. Spanish is widely spoken as is French and Portuguese. Tourism officials also speak English. Its government is a parliamentary democracy and its official religion is Roman Catholic. The euro is its currency.

The main reason for visiting the country is for its mountain scenery and skiing resorts, and to tell others that another European country has been visited. Secondary reasons for a visit would be excellent shopping for electronics and jewelry since it has tax-free status.

Andorra Pyrenees near Andorra la VellaWHAT TO SEE AND DO IN ANDORRA

Tourism is the primary industry in Andorra and accounts for about 80% of its GDP and approximately 9 million tourists visit each year. The two major ski areas are Vallnord and Grandvalira. One ski pass will cover the areas. The Vallnord area includes Arcalis and the Arsinal-Pal ski area, joined by cable car. The Grandvalira area includes Soldeau and Pas de la Casa. The ski season is from December to March.

Mountain hiking is another popular activity and departure is from the town of Arsinal. There are at least six popular hikes in Andorra. Many hikes have mountain huts, views of lakes, and stunning mountain scenery. Mountain guides can be arranged at the Himalaia Hotel in Soldeau.

The famous Caldea spa is located in Andorra La Vella and is a complete spa and swimming pool resort. It has distinctive architecture with a large glass spire that stands out against the skyline.

The tax- free status of Andorra makes it an excellent shopping area and it is known for inexpensive electronic goods.

So if you are in need of getting out of your hotel or apartments in Barcelona, whether just for the day or the weekend, Andorra will make for a great destination. Close enough for a day trip, yet a 2 to 3 day weekend adventure might be more enjoyable.


Barcelona, Spain’s Stellar Nightlife

Founded 2200 years ago by the Carthaginians, Barcelona has marched through time as a city that has been besieged by numerous cultures of the ancient world. The Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Visigoths and the Muslims engaged in sacking and celebrating in this city of wine and festival. Throughout the Middle Ages and into modern times, this second largest city in Spain, which occupies a fertile plain between the mountains and the sea, has been revered as a realm of art and extraordinary architecture.

Today, this high-energy port has an exciting reputation as a sea city of marvelous gastronomy and stimulating night clubs. Finding a hotel or apartments in Barcelona will not be a problem, with many price ranges to suit all budgets, travelers will be able to afford and enjoy all the nightlife the city has to offer.

Catalan Cuisine Magnifico

Making of Pallea, Barcelona SpainThe classic Catalan cuisine of Barcelona is typified by food combinations that aren’t generally seen in other countries. Beef and fish are integrated in the same dish, a wide variety of nuts are utilized in sauces and poultry is cooked with a range of fruits. The diverse culinary cultures have worked gastronomic alchemy over the centuries to make these opposites blend into unique dining experiences.

Via Veneto creates a wide range of regional delicacies that incorporate very authentic recipes from centuries past. The restaurant itself radiates an aura of another century when sumptuous spanish dishes were created to be slowly savored.

The great Spanish institution of paella can most exquisitely be experienced at Can Majo, which is right on the ocean. This beloved restaurant also creates a noodle based fideusa. Comerc 24 is touted as being the quintessential example of nouvelle Catalan cuisine. The chief, Carles Abellan, is widely noted as a flamboyant innovator of modern Catalan dishes.

Els Pescadors is reputed to serve the absolute freshest sea food in Barcelona. The menu is always filled with fish that have been caught that very day, never the day before.

For the Spanish traditionalist, the ideal restaurant is 7 Portes. With its turn of the twentieth century atmosphere and remarkably savory meat and fish entrees, the 7 Portes is a gastronomic institution with the discriminating natives of Barcelona.

Spanish Ham Barcelona, SpainNight Clubs Fantastico

Night clubbing in Barcelona frequently becomes a nocturnal adventure that extends to the crack of dawn. Club Apolo/Nitsa is a prime example of these night stalker clubs. This red hot club rocks the roof off all night with a techno focus

Octopussy is an outdoor venue on the waterfront, and it has become extraordinarily popular. Patrons are expected to be well-dressed to experience the diverse music under the stars of Barcelona.

Partyular is an unique club that is set in a mansion on a hill in the Tibidabo area. It is a quite trendy all night affair.

A club that integrates the ancient and the modern is Torres de Avila. It is located in the medieval district of Avila, but it resonates with the hippest techno music.

The most popular club with many club goers is La Terrazza. Replete with a striking terrace and huge patio dance floor, La Terrazza captures the quintessence of Barcelona night life, which can be wild and diverse but is always entertaining.

So find a Barcelona accommodation to match your budget and lose yourself in the stellar nightlife to be found throughout the city.

Thinking of heading to Barcelona, check out these other popular articles

Barcelona Travel Tips

Popular Places to Visit in Barcelona Spain

Beaches of Barcelona Spain


Barcelona Travel Tips

Guest Post By: Karen Mills

La Rambla, Barcelona SpainI was in Barcelona for only 4 days but packed in a lot! I flew Ryan Air from Pisa to Gerona for only 130 euro. If you are traveling within the European Union, consider these low cost airlines for some trips! They are very serious about their baggage policy, so please be sure you review it carefully, as violations can be costly!

I found an incredible hotel, Live and Dream, for only 48 euro per night. The hotel is a small boutique hotel, in a great location, and had everything I needed. There are some sitting areas, free wifi, or a computer room for 2 euro per hour. There is an outside terrace with tables, and you can get breakfast for an additional 5 euro per day. It is located at Rossend Arus, 23. It is near the Placa Sants metro station on the red line, so you can get to everything. There are nice restaurants, pastry shops, and shopping in the area.

Spanish Tapas Barcelona SpainThe Barcelona subway is easy to use, clean and convenient. I bought 10 tickets for about 8 euro and in the 4 days had to purchase about 3 more tickets to get to everything I wanted to see. I also did a lot of walking.

When you visit Barcelona, it is mandatory that you eat tapas and drink Sangria. An excellent restaurant for enjoying tapas is called Txapela and is located at Passeig de Gracia,8. These bite size dishes cost 1.50-2.50 euro, so order several and taste away.

You can purchase postcards at many souvenir shops and stamps at the Tabacco shops around town. Stroll down the wide commercial pedestrian street called La Rambla to take in the many sites there. You will find souvenir stands, street performers and busckers, live music, stalls selling flowers and live birds, and places to sit and have a drink to take it all in.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona SpainSagrada Familia, the Gaudi Cathedral that has been under construction for 80 years so far, and is not expected to be completed before 2026 is a must see. If you are an art lover also consider taking in the Picasso Museum and Foundation of Joan Miro. For nature lovers there is the beautiful park of Parc de la Ciutadella . There is a zoological park there as well as the grand Arc de Triomf entrance.

The days start later in Barcelona with most businesses/shops opening at 10. Don’t even think about going to dinner before 9 p.m. If you do go at 9, you are likely to be the only one in the restaurant as most Spaniards dine at 10 or 11 p.m. I recommend you try some of the wonderful seafood such as the rice dish Paella. Paella can be purchased in many types such as Valencian, seafood, or mixed. It is considered the national dish of Spain.

Gotic Quater BarcelonaWhatever sights you chose to see, make sure to leave plenty of time to enjoy the music on the street, walk through the Gothic Quarter, and enjoy the pulse of this vibrant, international city. For more information on Florence sites, visit

Karen Mills is an American woman who made the decision to leave her corporate life behind to live “la dolce vita” in Florence, Italy, Read more about her experiences at or contact her at

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