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Her Best Bets In Barcelona, Spain

Best views of the city -- Our favorite site in Barcelona is Montserrat. It is a mountaintop chapel and monastery located 30 minutes outside the city. Take the train right from the city and it delivers you right to the base of the mountain. You then take a tram ride to the top of the mountain. The views of the city are so amazing. Highly recommended for a half- day trip outside the city.
Luci Willits, USA
Website: Twitter: @1000Fights

Avoid long line-ups -- Please remind your readers to absolutely book their tickets for Sagrada Familia Basilica online. That way, you completely avoid the queues. Also, I went on a Monday during the 2-3 p.m. time frame. This was good because the tour operators are all out having lunch and they don't take tourists there until about 4 p.m. Then you can hardly move inside because it's full of tour groups. Here is the link to the English booking page. If you have children or are over 65, there is a link for discounted tickets. You have to print your own ticket, so try to do it before you leave. Just check your email -- that's where the link will be sent to you. I also recommend the FrescCo restaurant chain. Great fresh food buffet at reasonable prices and they're all over the city.
Gina, Chipman NB, Canada

The pleasures of Paella -- I enjoyed Paella a few different ways, both in Barcelona and in the lovely seaside town of Sitges, a short train ride away. I managed to find a lightweight, stainless steel paella pan in a hardware store on a Barcelona side street for a fraction of the price I saw it for in a department store. Luckily, I had a large suitcase at the time!
Debra, Toronto, Canada

Beautiful concert hall -- What great timing. I've just returned from Barcelona two days ago! A lovely, walkable city with lots to see and great food. Of all the Modernisme buildings to see, my absolute favorite was Palau de la Musica Catalana (the Catalan concert hall)! A spectacular, small concert hall finished in 1908 by architect Domenech Muntaner. You must take the 50-minute tour to enter. Tickets can only be purchased on line or at the ticket office 3 days in advance. There are plenty of daily tours in English. It is a DO NOT miss.
Cathy, San Rafael, California

EDITOR'S NOTE: This fine example of Catalan Art Nouveau is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Great spot for a picnic -- When you go to Parc Guell - not if - take a picnic lunch and water. Climb as high as you can to escape the crowds, and then sit back and spend an hour or two just watching and listening. Look out for the parrots - you'll hear them first; they are fabulous. And listen to the wonderful music put on by local players. Do not be put off by the crowds at the lower entrance.
Leigh, Canada

I loved Barcelona! -- Went to Barcelona in 2011 with college group and loved it. Don't carry a wristlet (student got this ripped off her wrist) or backpack purse as lots of pickpockets. Stayed at very nice Hotel Rialto on Carrer de Ferran 42 in Barri Gotic area, steps from the Ramblas and metro stop Liceu. Cheap eats at Forn di Pi on same street.-- good tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelet). Bought leather espadrilles where locals buy at 369 Mallorca down the street from Sagrada Familia.
Jane, Boston, USA

Mornings are lazy -- I recommend visiting the beaches outside Barcelona. A short train ride will take you to beaches that are less crowded than the city beaches; those to the north are more rocky and narrow, while those on the south side of the city are wider and sandy. Either way, don't forget to try the fresh grilled calamari and some of the local white Sangria. Sagrada Familia - you can now take an elevator up, but must walk down the tower. It's not a difficult climb down, but for those who have issues with heights (I do), it's worth knowing in advance that there is no internal handrail in the circular stairwell after a couple of flights. Finally, feel free to relax and take your time in the morning - the city doesn't really get going until 10 a.m., so no need to rush.
Josephine, Memphis, USA

Sites to see -- I lived in the El Born district of Barcelona winter/spring 2011. The coolest part of the city with winding streets, funky tapa bars, shops. (Eat at Cal Pep on Placa de les Olles 8. Not cheap but very good with a bit of a line-up.) Take time to visit La Barceloneta and walk the Mediterranean beach. You will see sculptures from the 1992 Summer Olympics like Frank Gehry's fish, the Catalonia History Museum and Barcelona's world renown waterfront, aquarium, Port Vell, etc. Take the funicular up Tibidabo mountain for the best view of the city. Mountjuic mountain is another viewing place. Signs and maps will be in either back and forth which sometimes is a challenge, so keep this in mind.
Grace, Toronto, Canada

Tips from a local -- My friend Lucretia told me about this issue you are preparing about Barcelona. I do live here, so these are some of my tips. We've got everything... and some of it free. This is what Barcelona citizens with a tight budget do: I do recommend Cultruta for guided tours. Why? Because I booked the Secrets del Born and enjoyed it a lot! Restaurants I like: 4gats (expensive), Nostrum (cheap, like Catalan fast food), Can Culleretes (old Catalan one). Find public transport routes at TMB (is worth to register here, because of the strikes, so they tell you which days the buses or the subways is not working). P.S. Take Bus 46 from / to El Prat Airport.
Grelda, Barcelona, Spain

She Discovers Barcelona by Night

The invitation to attend a Conference in Barcelona excited me no end -- writes Ranjita in Calcutta, India. A fan of Ernest Hemingway, I always wanted to visit the country he wrote about so passionately. However, things didn't go smoothly. The plane left late from Delhi and there was hardly an hour left to catch the connecting Iberian flight from Heathrow. Finding the departure lounge in the melee of summer holiday rush was a nightmare and the ground hostess warned that it was unlikely that my luggage could be loaded in such a short time.

As I had anticipated, there was no sign of my baggage at the airport.


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