People’s interest in alternative ways to travel is growing, because it’s cheaper and eco-friendly, so let’s talk about Car Sharing Barcelona!
First of all, we have to distinguish Car Sharing from Car Pooling, which is also very popular now.
Car Pooling is when an individual, as member of a car pooling community, shares his own car with other members, generally for short distances.
Car Sharing is similar to car rentals, but community based. In fact, in UK it also known as “Car Club”. Members get easy access to a car when they need it, but without all the expense and hassles of owning a car of their own. Users pay a small annual membership, and after that it’s pay-as-you-go.
Vehicles are owned by the Car Sharing company, and can be rented by the hour, or for days at a time. And fuel costs, vehicle maintenance and insurance are all included in the price.
Car Sharing Barcelona: how it works
Barcelona Green revolution, successfully started with the Bicingexperiment, and now also Car Sharing. Barcelona’s most popular Car Sharing network is Avancar, owned by the American Zipcar.
You can find many other Car Sharing companies, that work basically in the same way:
1 – Become a member and get your Smart Card.
You only have to register online, create an account and pay a monthly fee. There are different tariffs depending on how much you’re planning on using the service.
The Smart Card will allow you to unlock/lock the car you are going to use.
2 – Search on the Car Sharing Barcelona map to find the nearest cars.
3 – Choose your car
Each car has a detailed page, with features and costs, and location in real time.
4 – Book the car by telephone or via internet, as little as a few minutes in advance.
5 – Get access to the car with your Smart Card.
6 – Return the car where you picked it up.
Easy, sustainable, cheaper: Carsharing contributes to sustainable transport because it is a less car intensive means of urban transport, and according to The Economist, can reduce car ownership at an estimated rate of one rental car replacing 15 owned vehicles.
Barcelona Green Revolution!
Today 50% of all trips are made on foot or on bicycle, and only 20% of journeys in the town centre are made using motorised transport (car or motorbike). Not only Car Sharing: Barcelona aspires to become the European Green Capital, and offers a variety of eco-friendly product/services: sustainable hotels, electric scooters rentals, slow food markets and restaurants… We’ll tell you more later!
Have you ever tried Car Sharing? We would like to know about your experience! Leave us a comment!
Barcelona is touted as one of the best places in Europe (and in some instances the world) for architecture, nightlife, food and largely has appeal with adult audiences. But Barcelona for kids? Yes Barcelona is equally as amazing for children and there’s so much here that will appeal to families looking to come on holiday here. Children will probably be bored of just wondering about museums, but there are key sights of Barcelona, that they will love! Want to find out what’s cool in Barcelona for kids? Read on for our recommendations!
La Font Magica (The Magic Fountain)
Located Plaça Espanya/Montjuic (Metro L1, L3 and L5: Espanya), the Magic Fountain is an incredible sight. It’s a fountain that changes colours in time with music which varies from classical to more modern music. Each show lasts for 30 minutes and plays from Thursday – Sunday (9pm – 11.30pm) during the summer and on a Friday and Saturday (7pm – 9pm) during the Winter. Although it’s on reasonably late for children (by our standards, but not for Spain!), there’s usually a lot of families who come to watch it and kids of all ages seem to have a blast watching it! Even better is that it’s completely free.
El Rey de la Magia (The King of Magic)
El Rey de la Magia is a magic shop, museum, magic school and theatre located right in the centre of Barcelona on Calle de la Princesa, 11 (Metro L4: Jaume I). Magic tricks are universally popular with children and this place is the place to see it all. Children can watch magic shows and even learn how to perform their own tricks too! The fun isn’t limited to just kids, but to adults too with shows and classes offered for the grown ups who have yet to realise their career of being a magician. Very charming and looks like a great day out! It almost makes me want to be a child again.
Tibidabo – theme park
Tibidabo is the mountain located right in the north of Barcelona. As well as a famous church, it has one of the most unlikely things that you’d expect to find on top of a mountain – a theme park! One of the most famous theme parks in Spain, the park has everything you’d expect to find from the smaller rides for younger children to the big rollercoasters for older children and adults. Admission is about 26 Euros for admission but there are family tickets too Summer is without a doubt the best time to go as they host a whole array of shows as well as the correfoc a famous Catalan style firework show.
The CosmoCaixa on the other hand is Barcelona’s Science Museum and a super cool one at that! Key attractions include the Mur Geologic (Geologic Wall) and the Amazon Rainforest complete with animals! For kids, they do a variety of science based activities for all ages from 3 upwards. For 2/3 Euros (under 7′s are free and childrens activities are another 2 Euros), you really won’t get a better family day out without spending a fortune. The Cosmo Caixa is also included as one of the free museums on the first Sunday of the month too!
The Parc Zoologic – the Barcelona Zoo
Animals like magic are always a hit with kids and Barcelona for sure offers these too. At the Barcelona Zoo (located in the Parc de la Ciutadella) there are thousands of different species of animals and as such is always full of families and children astounded by the huge variety of wildlife here. Activities are in abundance here for children with all the usual things you would expect to find in a zoo – petting zoo, animal shows, pony rides etc. The Dolphin show in particular is extremely popular with children!
But that’s not all……..
I’m not one for stereotypes, but in Spain children are the centre of everything. Barcelona is certainly no different and all over the city, you’ll find FREE child friendly things everywhere from the street entertainers along the Ramblas, the cat statue in the Raval, the Parc de la Ciutadella, not to mention the abundance of beaches in Barceloneta. You’ll leave thinking that Barcelona for kids is simply one of the best family holiday destionations.
Inspired to have a family holiday here? A lot of families opt to rent an apartment here in Barcelona instead of a hotel mainly for the convenience that they provide. Vacation apartments are priced reasonably and are on par with the price of a mid-range hotel except with the luxury of some privacy and a great insight into Barcelona life!
Are you considering a family holiday here in Barcelona or have already brought your children to Barcelona? Let us know about your experiences!
Are You Looking For Cruises From Barcelona aka Barcelona Cruising?:
If the answer is yes, and you’re considering one of the many cruises from Barcelona , we can assure you that this is the ideal place to get on a cruise ship for your Mediterranean adventure. The city has amazing sightseeing to offer and with more than 2 million passengers every year, Barcelona has the 5th biggest cruise haven of the world. The first four biggest ports are in the Caribbean sea, such as Miami and Nassau (Bahamas), leaving Barcelona as the reigning king of the ports of the Mediterranean Sea. Cruise ships such as, The Oasis of the Seas, which is the biggest and most innovative cruise ship in the world have chosen Barcelona as their home base and will have cruises from Barcelona now on. The ship is currently in Florida and will arrive in Barcelona on September 13th. The ship will make cruises through the Mediterranean Sea and will leave to the Caribbean Sea as well.
Your journey will probably start at Barcelona’s Port Vell, where the majority of these floating hotels are docked. Speaking of which, did you know that Port Vell is a tourist attraction of its own with a big shopping mall, an IMAX theater and Europe’s largest aquarium. Pretty cool huh? Anyway, back to the subject. So we are saying that whatever you are looking for, you will find the right cruises from Barcelona that suit your desires, because every cruise line offers a different experience for the passengers. Cruises from Barcelona usually takes between 5 to 14 days depending on your budget.
Barcelona is usually a starting point to cities and islands such as, Mallorca, Cannes, Nice, Marseille, Civitavecchia, Venice, Naples, Palermo, Rome in the western region of the Mediterranean and for those who wants to go further to east, you can go to places such as Dubrovnik, Athens, Istanbul, Alexandria and to many Greek Islands such as Rhodes.
How to Get to Port Vell
The Cruise terminal in Barcelona is located south of the city, just at the bottom of the Las Ramblas, which is the most famous and touristic street of Barcelona, that crosses right through the heart of the city. You can reach Port Vell by just walking to the south of Las Ramblas. If you don’t like walking, there are more options to get there.
The most simple way to reach the haven is probably via metro to the metro station Drassanes (green line, L3), which is the closest metro station to the port. From here, you have to walk to the Columbus monument, which takes about 5 minutes from the metro station. Once you got at the monument, you can take a blue bus every 20 minutes that goes to all the cruise terminals of the haven.
If you really don’t have the time to deal with the metro or the bus, the most handy and comfortable way to get there is by taking a cab. However, this option is certainly the most expensive one. It will cost you around €8 from the city center to go the Port Vell and the ride takes around 10 minutes.
There are parking facilities in the haven for a short time, if you decide to go there with your own car. If you want to park your car for a long time, we advise you to park at the World Trade Center. This is the closest parking space near the port.
Experience Barcelona Cruising Now:
Are you up for an unforgettable adventure through the Mediterranean Sea? Checkout all the cruises from Barcelona provided by different cruise line companies. They all have different routes so choose the right cruise ship from Barcelona that fits your desires.
Backpacking in Barcelona may at first sight not seem to be something that can work well together mainly because Barcelona is perceived as being a very expensive city. While this has some truth, it is far from being a city where only those with lots of money can afford it. In fact, Barcelona is full of backpackers on Interail/Eurail tours or other backpacking trips from all over the world. Being up there on the list of obligatory places to tick off on the list, Barcelona most certainly has the infrastructure to make a stop here one of the most memorable. Backpacking in Barcelona is a really cool experience!
As a backpacker, I am aware of the balance between seeing as much as possible within an often short timeframe. Barcelona is full of hostels and organisations offering tours and excursions. However, the majority charge around 20 Euros plus for these regardless of the type of tour and duration. But you can still have a really good guided tour of Barcelona and pay whatever you like!
This is where Travel Bound Barcelona comes in……
A local travel company called Travel Bound offer free walking tour covering the history and sights of Barcelona. The tour lasts for about 2 1/2 hours and they meet up to take people on the tour every day at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
You may have noticed that I wrote FREE walking tour. This isn’t a typo – it’s free! Gratis! Well sort of. The tour is basically run on a tipping style philosophy. The tour sucked? You don’t pay. Simple! In fact you pay whatever you felt the tour was worth. This ensures you get a good tour and you even get a free beer at the end of it at their bar – Travel Bar. You’ll for sure meet some new friends and maybe even some new companions for your next destination (I did!).
Other than seeing new places and having new experiences, a really special part of the backpacking experience is meeting new people from all over the world. As with most big cities in Europe, that’s on the backpacker to do list, Barcelona has an incredible expat scene where you can easily meet likeminded travellers, expats and locals. Unfortunately some bars take advantage of this and charge higher prices, but there are some which offer a really great opportunity to meet others and don’t charge a lot!
I’ve included a list of some cost effective, yet socially rewarding recommendations of meeting fellow backpackers in Barcelona and not pay a huge price for the privelege. Let the good times roll!
1. Stoke Bar (C/Banys Nous, Barri Gotic)
A personal favourite and also frequented by locals, it’s reasonably cheap and always full of travellers. The owners Wendy and Omar are really cool people, who moved to Barcelona from France and decided to buy this bar. Their enthusiasm is perfectly shown in Stoke Bar and they’ll not hesitate to engage you in conversation. Before you know it, you’ll be chatting away to them and other people like you’ve known them for ages!
2. Ryan’s Irish pubs Ryan’s are a chain of Irish pubs all over Barcelona who are incredibly popular with foreigners and locals alike mainly because of the 1 Euro beer (get a card or ‘like’ them on Facebook to get this). Ryans pubs are always full and usually have something happening thanks to the huge amount of promoters and Erasmus organisations who organise get togethers for students living in the city.
There are 4 Ryan’s around Barcelona at the following locations:
Ryans Escudellers, C/Escudellers (just off Plaza Real), MetroL3: Liceu
Ryans Paradis, C/Paradis (just off Plaza Jaume), Metro L3: Liceu or Metro L4: Jaume I
Ryans Ample, C/Ample (near Passeig de Colom in the Barri Gotic), Metro L3: Drassanes
Ryans Gracia, C/Torrent de l’Olla, Metro L3: Diagonal
For those unfamiliar with this revolution in the backpacking world, Couchsurfing is a community based site in which locals let travellers sleep on their couches for free. The philosophy is to create inspiring experiences by connecting travellers and locals who meet to share their culture, hospitality and adventures on the road or in their hometowns. But Couchsurfing is much more than just sleeping on couches. Almost every town and city in the world has a Couchsurfing community of locals who meet up and organise events for local Couchsurfers and travellers alike.
For those wanting to get closer to the culture here in Barcelona, this is an incredible way of doing so and finding the best of Barcelona.
We know that you could stay in Barcelona for evermore. Most backpackers in Barcelona do. In fact, that’s the reason why most of us are still here to this day! But inevitably, backpacking in Barcelona means moving on to explore the rest of our beloved Spain or further afield in Europe. Many backpackers travel about using Interail and Eurail passes or use that thing we love to hate Ryanair.
However, there are some other really cool ways to get about too!
The Couchsurfing of car travel, Carpooling is a concept in which people can save money on car fuel by offering spare seats in their car to travellers to a particular destination. It’s success has spawned a whole host of similar sites, but Carpooling is by far the most popular in Europe.
By simply signing up on the site, you will see a list of advertised journeys which range from city to city within Spain and from Spain to other countries! You then simply select the trip that best matches your plans and you’re away!
Naturally, this isn’t for anyone but it has proved a hit with many travellers and it saves a load of money as well as having environmental benefits (less cars on the road). It’s also a way of meeting people and dispelling myths of foreign drivers!
From looking at the site, Carpooling is massively popular in Barcelona with pages upon pages of listings making this a viable option for moving on or arriving to Barcelona!
The Interail of buses if you like and is popular with those wanting to save a bit of money. As with Interail, there are options to get a selection of passes if you’re touring about. A great alternative to Interail, although it lacks the romance associated with train travel and it can take a while to reach places.
In Barcelona, Eurolines buses usually depart from the Arc De Triomf station or at Sants.
Hopefully now, you’re now a bit more in the know on how easy exciting backpacking in Barcelona is. Are you planning on coming here on an Interail tour? Been a backpacker in Barcelona already? We’d love to hear your experiences!
Barcelona in two days? Is it possible? What can you see in two days? Coming to Barcelona for the weekend is fun and easy on the pockets if you’re on a tight budget and can be just the thing your doctor ordered when you walked into his office with a hunchback created by a pinched nerve, probably caused by the five meetings you had in the last week. Sometimes, when we’re feeling burnt out, it is just an indication that we’re in need of a well deserved holiday – a short break from all the stress in our worlds. Two days in Barcelona is the Goldielocks zone, not too long, not too short, but just right for getting yourself refreshed. You should also consider renting a Barcelona holiday apartment while you’re here, it’s simply the best way to go for various reasons.
Saturday – Hardcore Day
Because you’re trying to discover Barcelona in two days, which is in itself a monumental task considering all the activities the city has to offer, we have broken down your itinerary into two parts: Saturday (the hardcore cardiovascular challenge. See it as killing two birds with one stone – you burn calories while having fun) and Sunday (the recovery day when you get to take in the sights and a slower pace, especially because you might be hungover!).
So lets begin!
1. Walk Stress Away – Ramblas Styles
The first stop we suggest any visitor who wants to see Barcelona in two days is the world famous Las Ramblas; a tree-lined pedestrian that starts at Plaza Catalunya and winds down through the old city to the port. To call it eclectic is an understatement (people watching here is amongst the best in the city). This 1.2 km stretch will immediately expose you to all walks of life found in Barcelona. Here are some great videos we’ve done on Las Ramblas to give you an idea of what to expect!
Impressions of Las Ramblas:
People who work on Las Ramblas:
The Famous Boqueria Market:
Las Ramblas Architecture:
Las Ramblas isn’t the horror story you may have heard or read. Yes, pickpocketing is rampant, so you have to be very vigilant and use your common sense, but it’s not enough of a reason to miss this one of a kind street. This street is a top priority – or at least it should be – if you’re only exploring Barcelona in two days.
2. Go Back in Time
Two days in Barcelona would not be complete if you didn’t check out the Gothic Quarter. The area starts as soon as you take a left off Las Ramblas and you will be transported back through time to an era long long ago. The city was taken over by the Romans in an invasion during the 2nd century, which allowed them to take over the entire Iberian coastline. Barcelona became the Roman village and until this day, you can still visit the remnants of this old civilization that retains it’s coble-stone streets and ancient walls and buildings.
The Gothic Quarter is hence a small city within a city with lots of restaurants, bars, and shops. Here you’ll get the opportunity to try some of the more traditional restaurants and menus and buy unique souvenirs. Also suggested would be a quick stop at the church Santa Maria del Mar, a very iconic church, not very far from the quarters. Definitely checkout Plaza Reial, a very special plaza in the Gotico. Here’s a video of it!
Because of the vast amount of things to see and do in this area, you may want to read about the Gothic quarters before visiting. After all, we wouldn’t want you to miss a thing – remember you are touring Barcelona in two days and we still have much to do…
3. Party ‘Till You Drop
There’s definitely no shortage of parties in Barcelona. You can pretty much party every day of the week and in every neighbourhood (by the way, here is a Barcelona neighborhood guide that might be pretty useful to you). Sunday you have no obligations (kind of), so why not party until you drop?
Your tour of Barcelona in two days would not be complete unless you go out for a couple of drinks and enjoy some dancing. The Spaniards are know for their long and wild nights of partying (nightclubs don’t get crowded until after 3 a.m. and the party usually ends after the break of day).
Here are some great ideas depending on what type of scene you are looking for:
Hardcore: For those of you love electronic music checkout the city’s biggest wildest club Razzmatazz.
Swanky: If you’re looking for something more upscale checkout Sutton Club or any of the establishments in what’s called the “Maria Cubi” area (take a taxi to c/ Aribau with Travesera de Gracia, get out and ask around, there’s great places all over a 6 block radius).
On the down and low: If you like to have unique experiences when you travel and venture off the beaten path, take a look at our blog on Barcelona’s secret bars. They’re sometimes hard to find but well worth it, at least for the story you’ll be able to bring home with you.
On the cheap: If you want to get the most drunk for your Euro checkout our blog on cheap bars in Barcelona. But go easy, you need some energy for the second part of your two days in Barcelona adventure!
Now let’s move on. We leave the less hardcore activities for Sunday for obvious reasons like; you don’t want to be a wreck on Monday morning or have a hang over that would make you regret having taken this weekend getaway. Instead you want to return home feeling refreshed and alive and happy you decided to explore Barcelona in two days.
4. Become One with Nature
There’s something about getting in touch with nature that just aligns you to a higherself, creating a more peaceful mind and therefore preparing the rest of your days, giving you a more enjoyable and pleasant day.
Park Güell has the power to do just that with its impressive mixture of garden and complex architectural elements by Antoni Gaudi. It is situated on the hill of El Carmel, in the Gracia distric of Barcelona.
5. Get High
Not on Drugs! We mean get as elevated as possible to enjoy the picturesque views of this enchanting city.
Besides Parc Guell, you must see Montjuic. Plaza Espanya is at the foot of this hill, so make sure that on your way to the hill you can make a quick stop to take some pictures since the statue that decorates the roundabout is the 1992 Olympic torch, and from the top of the stadium you can get a glimpse of the square (a preview of what’s to come). Montjuïc also houses the Spanish village, an amazing walled off area where you can experience architecture from all of Spain’s regions. Visit what what once a fortress, and get even a larger view of Barcelona. If you’re not afraid of heights, take the cable car down. Maybe set a time limit for yourself. You could spend your whole two days on Montjuic so check out a few highlights and move on.
6. Get Higher
Still not the kind of high you may have been thinking about but this time we refer to the spiritual high any person could ever experience by visiting churches like La Sagrada Familia. There’s something about these churches, even if you’re not spiritual, that humble you even for just a second as it reminds you that you’re just a drop in this vast ocean we call life.
You can end your weekend getaway by visiting this majestic structure either during day time or night time. Both times are great but at night you’ll get to see the building lit up. It will surely bring you the peace of mind that has been evading you and definitely closer to something bigger than yourself, allowing you to realize that if a man has the capacity to create such a master piece out of his imagination – anything is possible.
Like a lot of churches, there are especial times and days of the year in which visiting is a must, so these time tables are always good to know before hand for a more enlightening experience.
Wohooo! You did it!
As you can see, touring Barcelona in two days is more than doable as long as you have the right guidance.
Did we miss an attraction that is worth writing about? Let us know.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my Barcelona Day Trip advice will not stop with my short adventure to Cadaques. The destination I picked this weekend was Aigua Blava – a small bay on the Costa Brava, located not that far away from Barcelona. Translated from Catalan, the name literally means blue water, although that was the greenest (and cleanest) waters I’ve ever seen! As you may see in the pictures, it’s a paradise hidden along the coast line of Northern Spain. Luckily for most of us, it takes a trip of only few hours to get there!
There are tons of small beaches along that part of the coast line but I guess the most popular one is named after the area itself – Aigua Blava. As any other group of tourists, we just asked for the most popular one so if you feel adventerous – feel free to scout the area and discover more hidden gems.
While most of our group used the afternoon to take a nap after the mojitos we bought at the neaby bar, some of us explored the nearby premesis and we found a trail which takes you to some cliffs. Needless to say we felt obliged to jump from them and then swim back to the beach which was way faster than walking through the rigid coast. Personally, that was my favourite part of that particular Barcelona Day Trip. Along that line of thought, regarding facilities – there are a few bars, restaurants, showers and changing room/toilets – all you might need for a day on the beach.
As I mentioned before, an important part of any Barcelona Day Trip post are the directions. Obviously, it is best if you can go there by car like us, but do not despair! A company called Sarfa does the Barcelona – Begur route every day. The first bus leaves at 8:30 so you have plenty of time to enjoy Aigua Blava!
I hope my second post of the Barcelona Day Trip series was interesting enough to make you keen on the idea of exploring Aigua Blava! Stay tuned for more updates on my travels around Costa Brava. If you have any reccommendations – feel free to drop a comment in the section below!
Catalunya is a historically and geographically fascinating region and I as many others try to seize every opportunity to explore the area. There are countless day trip opportunities once you are in Barcelona. You can find plenty of great ideas in our dedicated post.
Do you like the beach you see above? That’s Cadaques – the town, inspired much of the work of the notable Spanish painter Salvador Dalí. Frankly said, I might turn out to be creative too if I get to spend my summers there – the place is a true gem along the coast of Costa Brava. Unfortunately, all I managed to arrange so far is a humble day trip from the heart of Barcelona to that truly unique place all the way up North.
A day trip post cannot start without directions. We went by car, which was quite convenient and we passed by the beautiful town Roses, right before the Parque Natural Cap de Creus. Once the road starts “climbing” up the mountain, you will spot an amazing overview of the coast and the town itself. It’s just magnificent and beyond describable. For those of you without a car, fear no more – there are other means of transportation. You can take a train from Plaza Catalunya to Figueres and from then on – just hop on a bus. They leave on regular basis and it takes an hour to get to the heart of Cadaques. Oh yeah, and you will still be able to enjoy an amazing view above Roses I mentioned before!
For the most adventerous of you, there’s a market trail from Roses to Cadaques. It is around 15km and goes along the coast line. Who knows, that might be my next challenge!
I knew I wouldn’t regret choosing that destination for a day trip from the moment I laid my eyes on the white buildings of Cadaques. As much as I love Barcelona, I’ve been craving for some quietness and relax – the exact atmosphere in the city. I’ve read somewhere that the light of the place and the fresh breeze were the exact reasons that enchanted not only Dalí but Picasso as well. Most of the streets are very narrow, tiny and identical. Despite the size of the place, you can easily get lost while discovering the beauties of Cadaques.
There are number of small beaches along the coast line so my advice to you is just to walk around for a bit and choose the one you like the most. The water is crystal clear and although we found it a bit colder than Barcelona, we enjoyed our time to the fullest! You also shouldn’t miss the house of Dali which can be very easily found by using the maps located around the town. Lastly, you can conclude your day trip from Barcelona by having tapas or seafood in one of the many restaurants on the beachside.
Cadaques has all the necessary ingredients for a perfect day trip and getaway from Barcelona. My adventures around Costa Brava will continue this weekend as well, so in case you enjoyed that little piece of advice – stay tuned for more. If you have any reccommendations – feel free to drop a comment in the section below!
Living in Barcelona is full of adventure and fun, but there is always time to visit some of the countries surrounding Spain and if you’re thinking of visiting Morocco it’s just a plane ride and ferry away. Visiting Morocco, a coastal country located in the Northern part of Africa, is filled with rich culture that is sure to provide an enriching experience.
Barcelona to Morocco
There are various ways of visiting Morocco from Barcelona. My trip to Morocco included a plane to Malaga from the BCN airport, from Malaga I took a taxi to the port at Tarifa to catch a ferry to Morocco. From then on I took a bus and taxi to my city destinations. I would suggest, if visiting Morocco, to do a in-depth research on ways travel within the country.
Cities to Visit
Walking throughout the Medina (aka old city walls) of the city of Asilah, it was an ocean of beautiful blue walls and tall white houses. Sure enough, walking through a city located on the coast, I found the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean always has a way of putting everything into perspective. When in Rabat I was fortunate to be with a homestay family who provided me with three fabulous meals a day. In Rabat I visited Roman ruins in Chellah, the Mausoleum Hassan II, and the Main Mosque, which all were picturesque. The last city I visited in Morocco was Chefchaouen, a lively city hidden in the mountains that encompassed everything heavenly. Walking through its Medina it felt magical, taking in the rich colors and beautiful people was scenic. The most exciting was sitting on the roof of my hostel and hearing the call to prayer (Muslims pray 5x a day). Listening to the prayer recited over loud speakers across the city was calming and inspirational.
Things To Do
Ride a Camel: While in Rabat I got a special opportunity to ride a camel along the Atlantic Ocean. The people who operate this activity are hard to contact so if you see camels along the coast go and try it. It’s an experience that a million Durhams, Moroccan currency, can’t buy.
Talk to People: While visiting Morocco I was forunate enough to visit Youth Centers and have facilitated conversations about the Western and Arab world’s views of each other with young Moroccan students. The discussions were eye-opening. (Suggestions: Women’s Center Darna & Hope for Sale)
Do & Dont’s of Visiting Morocco
Do Bargain: It’s appropriate to bargain a price when shopping in the markets of the Medina. Just remember if you bargain down to a price it’s rude not buy the item.
Don’t Interrupt prayer: It’s rude to walk in front of someone during prayer. You will see prayers happening everywhere even in the middle of the streets. Be respectful and walk behind them.
Do Dress Appropriately: Being in a Arab country you will see women who are covered from head to toe and who are more modernly dressed. Be respectful and wear comfortable, yet covered clothes. I suggest linen pants and shirts that cover your shoulders.
Don’t Drink the Water: Always purchase bottled water, even when brushing your teeth. If you do not plan to stay in Morocco for more than a Month it’s not worth getting used to.
Visiting Morocco will be one of your most precious experiences. Remember to always have an open mind as ordinary tasks and customs may be different from yours. Plan as much as possible, but be prepared for the unexpected. Africa is a beautiful place, why not take advantage of the opportunity while living in Barcelona.
Do you have any great tips on visiting Morocco? Let us know in the comments!
BARCELONA’S PRINCIPAL AND BIGGEST AIRPORT: EL PRAT (BCN)
The Prat Airport is the most used and visited airport in all of Barcelona. With both domestic and international flights and a ton of different airlines, it’s no wonder that last year in 2011 El Prat had almost 35 million passengers.
If you are arriving in or leaving Barcelona, you’re most likely going to use El Prat (also coded ‘BCN’). Do yourself a favor and get to know the airport and how to get there, so you don’t have any last-minute traveling issues!
If you are looking for more information about the other two airports, Reus (REU) and Girona-Costa Brava (GRO), and also recommendations on cheap flights, BE SURE to check out our incredible blog about airports in Barcelona.
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT ‘EL PRAT’
El Prat is just 12km southeast of Barcelona. It is the second biggest airport in Spain, with Madrid’s Barajas Airport being the first. With so much traffic coming into and out of El Prat, it is a major aspect for the business and tourism sectors of Catalunya’s economy.
El Prat has two big terminal buildings, which are T1 and T2. T1 has five boarding zones (A, B, C, D, and E) and T2 has six boarding zones (M-0, M-1, M-2, M-3, M-4, and M-5). It is also important to note that T2 has three check-in areas (A, B, and C).
The three best ways to arrive to and leave from El Prat is to take a bus, a train, or a taxi. As of now, there is NO way to directly arrive by metro.
Buses: There are two main types of buses in Barcelona to get to and leave from the airport. There are the city buses and the intercity buses.
City buses – the two normal city buses are the L46 (Plaça Espanya) & L77 (San Joan DespÍ). There are also two private buses, which are the A1 & A2 (both Plaça Catalunya). Conveniently, there are also two night buses, which are the N17 & N16. Click here for more info on the ‘city buses’ to the airport.
Train: the lime green, R2 Nord line leads you right up to Terminal 2 at the stop ‘Aeroport.’ If you need to get to Terminal 1, check the shuttle bus link above.
Taxis: there are taxis right outside the airport. To get either to or from the center of the city, be prepared to spend about 30 euros. Additional fees may be included depending on how much luggage you have.
The Biggest Celebration in Northern Spain, San Fermín
The latest talk around Barcelona and Spain is the festival San Fermin 2012. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you will surely recognize some of the unique activities. Does ‘Running of the Bulls‘ ring a bell?
If you are thinking about participating in San Fermin 2012 or simply would just like to know more about it, read on to learn about this incredible event that takes place in Pamplona, Spain.
What is San Fermín?
Also known as Sanfermines, this cultural festival celebrates the first bishop of Pamplona, Saint Fermín of Amiens. Beginning in the 17th/18th centuries, San Fermin has deep roots in the city of Pamplona.
San Fermin 2012 is filled with all sorts of events (read further down for more info). All of the festivities this year start at noon, July 6th and everything comes to an end at midnight, July 14th.
If a week-long celebration wasn’t long enough, be forewarned that the party of San Fermin never stops. People will celebrate late into the night and even in the early morning!
Simple Information about the City of Pamplona
-Pamplona is the capital city of the autonomous community, Navarra, in northern Spain. It borders France to the north.
-The population of Pamplona is 190,000. The two official languages are Castellano (Spanish) and Vasco (Basque).
-The city has a very high density of bars and taverns.
-The city is small enough to travel throughout by foot. However, there is a city bus line. One can also arrive and leave the city at the Pamplona bus station.
Running of the Bulls: Officially called ‘El Encierro,‘ this event begins every morning (except the 6th) at 8:00am. Participants and bulls run down a narrow stretch of streets in the old section of Pamplona to the city’s bullring. The run is about 825 meters (0.51 miles) and takes about 3 to 4 minutes to complete. BEWARE! Since 1925, 15 people have died and hundreds have been injured.
Bullfights: These occur every afternoon at 6:30pm. Six of the dangerous bulls that were used in the earlier session of ‘Running of the Bulls’ are sent to the bullring to fight against ‘el matador.’ While the crowd will root for the toughness, persistence, and bravery of the bull, most bulls will meet their end by the sword of el matador.
Rural Sports: Typical and traditional Basque sports are played in the morning at the ‘Plaza de los Fueros.’ Such sports include wood cutting, stone lifting, and hay bale lifting. It is also very normal that people make bets on these competitions.
Parades of ‘Gigantes y Cabezudos’: every morning, there is a parade of people wearing costumes of giant figures. The costumes are over 150 years old and they represent four pairs of queens and kings from Europe, American, Africa, and Asian. These figures dance in the parade to the sound of the traditional music of northern Spain. Other giant figures chase children and hit them with foam bats
Fireworks: these exhibitions are held every night at Citadel Park.
Special, Single-Day Events
Chupinazo: The grand opening of the festival San Fermin. A rocket, called ‘el chupinazo,’ is set off at 12:00pm, July 6th from a balcony near the city hall of Pamplona
San Fermín Procession: Perhaps the most important event that occurs on July 7th, people gather around the statue of Saint Fermin in the old part of Pamplona. The statue is surrounded by dancers and other performers, those which include ‘gigantes’ and ‘cabezudos.’
Pobre de Mí: The ending ceremony of San Fermin. At midnight of July 14th, everyone meets at the Townhall Plaza with candlelights to sing ‘Pobre de Mí.’
Although the city of Pamplona isn’t very big, the festival it holds is one of the most internationally recognized events. Are you planning on participating in San Fermin this year or in years to come? Would you ever consider doing Running of the Bulls? Let us know what you think about this enticing event in the north region of Spain.