Barcelona tours

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Recommendation for tours in Barcelona -- We will be there for 4 days late October 2019.

I recently put together the following information someone visiting Barcelona for approx. the same amount of time. I hope it is helpful to you:
Plaza Cataluna is a really good place to start your adventures. On the side of the square facing the beginning of Las Ramblas there is a big tourist office that can offer advice,maps and sell tours. It is on the lower level and I think there is an escalator down to it. They sell a walking tours of the area with more professional guides than the free walking tours.

The plaza is also the beginning of the hop-on-hop-off bus routes (there are two companies - just choose one leaving right away!).

Several free-lance tour guides hang around offering walking tours for tips — just walk around the square near the tourist office until you see one. They usually start around 10am/or 11am and also 2pm. They work for tips and if it is a big group, 5 euro per person would be OK; if its a small group (less than 8 to 10 persons), they would be happy with 10 euro per person.

If the first things you do when you get to Barcelona is a walking tour and a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, you will have an excellent lay of the land for the rest of your time in Barcelona.

About Las Ramblas— the center walkway can get crowded, so feel free to walk on the sidewalks on either side. There are some lovely old coffee shops, restaurants,etc. there. As you look down Las Ramblas (toward the statue of Columbus) the area to the right side (called La Ravel) is interesting — but no need to walk more than two blocks in as it becomes residential. As you walk down, look for La Boqueria Market (very crowded) and maybe zip in for a quick look. Later on, you can visit and eat at Santa Caterina Market, which I like much better!

Further down (and closer to the Columbus Monument,you will find Palau Guell (http://palauguell.cat/) about a block in from Las Ramblas. This is one of Gaudi’s first big commissions and Eusebi Güell became his benefactor. The Mansion is an early piece of architecture and worth seeing as it bridges the heavy, dark architecture of the 1890’s with the bright, light-filled work Gaudi did later on.

The Gaudi Hotel is across the street and it has a rooftop terrace. Just take the elevator to the top floor, and there are a few more steps out to the terrace which give a fabulous view of the Guell Mansion rooftop. The terrace bar isn’t always staffed, so you might have to buy your drinks/snacks in the bar by reception and take them up yourselves. Just ask at the desk.

Most days there is an artisan market by the Columbus Statue and another across the street closer to the shore-line. There are also Somali men that sell stuff on blankets. This is a good place for knock-off purses and sunglasses!

Now for the left side of Las Ramblas….. It is called the Gothic Quarter and you can spend days wandering its medieval streets, small lanes and little alleyways . It is the kind of place to go where the wind takes you. Lots of little cafes, chocolate and sweet shops, old churches, street artists,etc. This is the area that the walking tours go, and also where the Picasso Museum is. Make sure the walking tour guide points out the way to the museum as it can be a little hard to find.

Tucked in the area is the Plaza del Rei - which has lots of sidewalk cafes and is nice for coffee and people-watching

Your hop-on-hop-off bus tour will stop near Santa Catalina Market. It is a lot less hectic than LaBoquiera Market and a great place for lunch.

I looked up my tripadvisor review for the place and edited it a bit for you:

XXX
Walk thru the market to the very back where there are tables in front of an herb-garden wall The menu is printed on the placement and is almost a spreadsheet with Vegetarian, Mediterranean, World and Charcoal Oven down one side and Vegetables, Rice Dishes, Pasta, Meat, Fish/Shellfish and Eggs along the top so it is very easy to choose something. I had the Sautéed salmon with vegetables (#142 - every item has a number) and it was delicious and a good portion. Service is friendly and excellent.
XXX

I’d recommend any of the fish or seafood dishes here!

If you want a more upscale fish/seafood restaurant, with tablecloth service and sea views, take a taxi (10 min.ride from Las Ramblas) to:

Salamanca Silvestre
Admirall Cervera 34 Barcelona

this is my tripadvisor review:
XXX
I don’t think there is a better choice for a fish restaurant in Barcelona. Food is wonderful and the service is excellent. I had the fish and seafood platter and could not finish it all. It is enough for two people. The couple I was with ordered the same platter for two and it was huge. Desserts are excellent too and even the coffee is good.
I would eat here again in a heartbeat!
XXXX

About the hop-on-Hop-off bus...... This is one of the best ways to get around the city as there are special bus lanes they can use that taxis can't. I often buy a 2 day pass, go around once, then just use it for transportation to get around. It can be much cheaper than using taxi's to get everywhere.

I would recommend a walking tour with Tours by Locals. They will take you wherever you want to go (or will recommend a route). $350/day but worth it because they make the most of your time. I worked with Florenta who spoke excellent English. I would also recommend seeing some of Gaudi's buildings--they are amazing. We also ate some really good food at low key tapas restaurants recommended by hotel. Always good and interesting.