It may seem rather presumptuous to start to start planning a trip to Barcelona while we are still soaking up the sun in Benidorm. But we know that Barcelona is on the cards for next year, so next year is not that far away. So, Barcelona planning should start immediately while we are still in travel mode.
However, next year is a special year for the travelling blogger. I am about to hit a significant landmark. I will be sixty years old, yes 60 years old in June 1018.
Every year, we have a foreign trip. And, every year we spend the first week familiarising ourselves with the holiday location. This results in a wasted few days and the inevitable wish to return again.
Planning a Foreign Holiday
Arriving at a new holiday destination, without proper preparation, should not happen. Online research should be a formality in this era of super connectivity.
So, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Let’s see what Barcelona has to offer. I have long desired to visit Baracelona because it is a beautiful, Spanish city famed fir its food and culture.
Whilst I am writing this post, my wife is researching City breaks with Jet2. She has come up with one very promising suggestion. The hotel she found was the Montcada Boutique Hotel close to the Barri Gotic Quarter on the Carrer del Templers.
As I continue to develop my Barcelona Planning blog post, I am waking up to an obvious fact. There is a lot more to planning a successful trip than just jumping on an aeroplane.
Barcelona Planning for Enjoyment
The hotel claims to be within easy walking distance of many of Barcelona’s chief attractions.
- 40m from the nearest metro station
- 60m from the nearest bus stop
- 700m from the nearest train station
- 300m from Picassso Museum
- 400m from Barri Gotic Quarter
- 700m from Las Ramblas
The Picasso Museum will be an essential stop to stimulate the brain. And, I would love to walk along Las Ramblas.
When I say walk, my wife loves to walk, I will trundle along in my wheelchair. Walking along Las Ramblas would be a joy that I will need to forego thanks to my pesky MS.
As far as I know, Las Ramblas is a huge, wide street a little like the Champs Elysee in Paris. We have been lucky enough to walk Champs Elysee. We walked this famous street in a time before the wheelchair.
Hopefully Jets will arrange for an adapted taxi for our airport transfer. If not, I will need to research suitable private car hire firms.
Discovering the Barcelona Attractions
A quick Google search pointed me in the direction of Lonely Planet Barcelona Page. This looks to be a very good place to start my Barcelona planning.
This good resource has revealed the following possible attractions:
- La Sagrada Familia
- Le Catedral
- Museu Picasso
- Casa Batlló
- Park Güell
Researching this lot should keep me busy for a few days. In the meanwhile I have stumbled across Top 10 free things to do in Barcelona which may have to be revisited after my search is concluded.
We shall have to research each of the main attractions for cost, locality to our hotel and disabled access. I may also wish to extend my research to cover the local restaurants of note.
Top Tourist Attractions
I will, briefly, summarise each of the attractions with links to the appropriate areas of the Lonely Planet web site. This information is provided, as much for my own benefit as for yours.
La Sagrada Familia
Given the commission by a conservative society that wished to build a temple as atonement for the city’s sins of modernity, el Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia or The Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family became Antoni Gaudí’s all-consuming obsession.
Open the same times as the church, the Museu Gaudí, below ground level, includes interesting material on Gaudí’s life and other works, as well as models and photos of La Sagrada Família.
If you have time for only one sightseeing outing, this should be it. La Sagrada Família inspires awe by its sheer verticality, and in the manner of the medieval cathedrals it emulates, it’s still under construction after more than 130 years.
At 2.7km from our chosen hotel La Sagrada Familia will not be in easy walking distance. However, as a powered wheelchair user accompanied by a keen walker it should be quite reachable.
The richly decorated main facade, laced with gargoyles and the stone intricacies you would expect of northern European Gothic, sets this cathedral quite apart from other churches in Barcelona. The facade was actually added in 1870, although the rest of the building was built between 1298 and 1460.
Spared by the anarchists in the civil war, the cathedral is one of the few surviving churches of the time, in Barcelona so its ornamentation, never overly lavish, is intact.
As Barcelona’s central place of worship, the cathedral presents a magnificent image.
The cathedral certainly is one of the most beautiful Gothic buildings in Barcelona. It stands at the Pla de la Seu, almost in the centre of the Barri Gòtic, which directly borders to the famous Rambla.
Knowing that our chosen hotel is close to the Gothic Quarter, the cathedral should be well within reach.
Pretty disgracefully, access to the Cathedral is not a simple business as the main entrance is all steps and the popular cloister entrance also has steps. Wheelchair users may find staff unhelpful when it comes to deploying available wooden ramps.
I have found a good wheelchair guide to Barcelona although this provides no information to negate the above statements. It does, however, provide a plethora of further Barcelona accessibility links.
The setting alone, in five contiguous medieval stone mansions, makes the Museu Picasso unique.
While the collection concentrates on the artist’s formative years – sometimes disappointing for those hoping for a feast of his better-known later works – there is enough material from subsequent periods to give you a thorough impression of the man’s versatility and genius.
Disabled access to the Picasso Museum is very good. The buildings are totally accessible according to the museum’s own website.
And, only 300m from our chosen hotel, not to visit would be a crime.
One of the strangest residential buildings in Europe is la Casa Batlló. The facade, sprinkled with bits of blue, mauve and green tiles and studded with wave-shaped window frames and balconies,is Gaudí at his hallucinatory best.
It is one of the three houses on the block between Carrer del Consell de Cent and Carrer d’Aragó that gave it the playful name Manzana de la Discordia, meaning ‘Apple of Discord’.
I found a review site that suggests la Casa Batlló is within a 20 minute walk of the Montcada Boutique Hotel.
The same review site also suggests that the Ciutadella Park, La Pedrera, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the beach are also only a 20 minute walk.
North of Gràcia and about 4km from Plaça de Catalunya, Park Güell is where Gaudí turned his hand to landscape gardening. It’s a strange, enchanting place where his passion for natural forms really took flight, to the point where the artificial almost seems more natural than the natural.
Pathways lace much of the largely wooded park. The cross-topped Turó del Calvari in the southwest corner affords the best views.
The Lesseps metro station not the closest to walk to the park. Access from Vallcarca is slightly shorter and the escalators ease the uphill trek.
Bus 24 drops you at an entrance near the top of the park.
This is, clearly, not a visitor attraction within walking distance of the Montcada Boutique Hotel. The able-bodied traveller will have no trouble with the bus and metro links.
As far as I can ascertain the Park Güell is NOT Wheelchair friendly. A challenge will face the wheelchair user visiting the steep- sloped Park Güell.
I have created this Blog post as an exercise in planning a foreign travel trip. My wife and I intend to visit Barcelona in the near future so the Barcelona planning was a necessity to try and ensure trouble-free travel.
I further hope that by compiling this information, I can help you with your Barcelona planning.
The only travel related post I have produced to date was after a trip to Nerja which started my interest in travel blogging. And, I hope to produce many more in the future.
Perhaps I should have titled this post Disabled Barcelona Planning. Because the disabled element of travel is often the most important, and I have a tendency to ignore this essential fact.
I know that I am disabled. I have a wheelchair for getting about. But I still walk around the house or a holiday apartment. And because of this I don’t think of myself as “Disabled”. I just have difficulty walking more than a few steps.
This exercise in Barcelona Planning has been an eye opener. The planning process has made me realise that I am “Disabled”. Travelling with a disability is fraught with problems and I don’t know how other people do it.