Spain and Portugal trip this June - any general tips? Thoughts on extending to Barcelona?

My husband and I are going on the Spain & Portugal trip beginning June 17 this year. We look forward to meeting our fellow travelers. If you’ve already been on this trip, do you have any tips? We’re thinking of taking the train to Barcelona from Madrid. Is anyone else in the group considering this or have you done this on a previous trip? Thank you for your suggestions on logistics and on Barcelona sites. We’ll have only 1 or 2 days in Barcelona.


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    I don't know if you read my extensive review of this trip from 2019. It has a section on extending your trip to Barcelona. You can find it here:


    Be sure and book Sagrada Familia and Park Guell in advance. The timed tickets sell out in advance. You should absolutely see Sagrada Familia. Even if you've see dozens of cathedrals, Sagrada Famila is unique and not to be missed. One of the 10 most visited sights in Europe.

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    Ken, thank you. Where did you stay in Barcelona? Did you use a local guide to arrange any of your sightseeing there or advance ticket reservations?

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    We stayed at the Casa Fuster. An elegant small hotel with a friendly staff and large (for Europe) rooms. Not cheap, but well located. They have a café on the ground floor that has jazz on Thursday nights. It's on the north end of Passeig de Gràcia (the main boulevard) where it narrows to a smaller street. It's about a mile away from the Plaça de Catalunya where all the protests take place (they start there and go up Passeig de Gràcia about half way to Casa Fuster before turning right, so no worries about them blocking access to the hotel).


    You can book Sagrada Familia and Park Guell yourself on their websites:


    We did not book any local guides. We did use the Rick Steves Audio Europe App (free) to do a walk around the oldest part of the city. It was excellent and I highly recommend it. Be sure to print out the map of the walk before you go. To get around we either walked (we like to walk) or used the hop-on-hop-off bus:


    There are two hop-on-hop-off bus companies in Barcelona (the other is called the Barcelona City Tour and is run by Grayline). We thought that the one linked above had the better routes.

    If you want to book a guided tour, contact the concierge at your hotel or try Viator.com.

    Happy travels!

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