Tag Archive for tourism

Barcelona Beach Strolling

It’s time for another addition to my Barcelona visitor’s guide! This one is focused on life at the beach…keeping in mind that we were there in winter, so it was less about sunbathing and more about catching nice views from the shelter of a restaurant. But with views this nice, who cares if you need a sweater?

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An excellent way to start your beach day is actually from the mountains. Or Montjuic, to be exact. I’m not talking visiting the tourist attractions on the northeastern side of Barcelona’s most prominent peak but the gardens to the south at the Hotel Miramar.

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They are accessible either by car or by walking uphill about a quarter of a mile from the Plaça de les Drassane. Your reward for your efforts? Not only this amazing view–

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–but this fantastic clifftop bar!

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Once you’ve soaked all that exquisiteness in, it’s time to keep moving. Or be moved, rather, by skyward cable car!

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Right outside the restaurant, get a one-way ticket to Platja de Sant Sebastia and get in line for our journey down to the beach.

Farewell, Hotel Miramar!

Farewell, Hotel Miramar!

Hello, Platja de Sant Sebastia!

Hello, Platja de Sant Sebastia!

Once you disembark, walk toward the water about a block and just keep walking. You’ll figure out what you’re headed toward pretty fast:

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That’s the absolutely gorgeous W Barcelona hotel, and if you’re a photography enthusiast like me, you’ll want to capture it in as many different lights and cloud formations as you can.

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Make sure you head around to the far side of the hotel as well, because there’s a scenic skateboarding plaza to also take in.

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Whew. You’ve likely grown hungry enough for lunch, haven’t you? How about whiling away the lunchtime hour at one of the several appealing restaurants located right below the W Barcelona? I guarantee the views will be worth it.

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And so will the langostinos and a bottle of bubbly.

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Photography credit to my husband for this one.

Photography credit to my husband for this one.

Let that sea air relax and refresh you before you set your sights on the other side of the water.

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Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

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I don’t often let my photos speak entirely for themselves on this blog, but other than for a few tourist tips, I’m going to let them do just that. Why? Because I can’t describe how beautiful it was to spend the day at La Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece basilica of Antonin Gaudi’s design that is still under construction today. If you are visiting Barcelona, you simply have to set aside a day for exploring it. Plan it into your agendas now. I’ll wait.

So here are the basics:

Location: In the Example, 401 Carrer de Mallorca. Buy tickets on the Passion side and enter on the Nativity side.

Tour Prices: Varies depending on if you want a guide or not and if you want to visit the towers or not. We did not get a guide, but we did do the towers, which was 19.50 Euros. WORTH IT. Do the towers unless you are not physically able to climb stairs, go through narrow passages, or get afraid of heights. Note: The price is for only one of the two sets of towers, and it’s the luck of the draw which you get. Both have great views, though, and the experience is supposedly similar in each.

Time: We spent around four hours at la Sagrada Familia, which gave us time for the towers, the museum beneath the church’s main floor, and exploring the inside and outside at our leisure. But neither of us stops and ponders for long, so you may need more. Plus, if you want to see the colors change, stick around for a while.

Wait Time: You can buy tickets online and save yourself the wait for tickets at the church itself. We didn’t, however, and it only took about 20 minutes to get in—but the line was only wrapped around one street corner. I believe it gets a lot worse in summer. We were there in December.

Decorum: This is an operational church. Quiet reverence is the best way to behave on your visit there.

And now, enjoy my favorite photos from La Sagrada Familia.

The interior:

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For more pictures of the interior, click here.

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Sutro Baths and Land’s End

Click twice for the panorama.

Click twice for the panorama.

On the western tip of San Francisco lies the abandoned Sutro Baths. It’s a popular—but not always populous—tourist destination that draws photographers from far and wide for its breathtaking views of the Pacific Coast. Along with nearby Land’s End, the Sutro Baths are part of the larger National Golden Gate Recreation Area.

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The Land’s End Lookout visitors’ center and parking lot is located right above the ruins at 680 Point Lobos Avenue. When I went in early summer, I found a spot right away, but it was close to full.  The visitors’ center is worth a look for its exhibits on the area’s history and its gift shop. Access to the whole area is free.

This cutie's right out front of the visitors' center.

This cutie’s right out front of the visitors’ center.

Once you’ve had your fill of information, it’s time to pick a path to climb down toward the ruins.

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Chances are you already took a moment to gape at the view by the retaining wall.

 

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