barcelona tips.4c

Sunday, May 19, 2002

  • THE BEST TIME TO GO: The weather is mild most the year in Barcelona, and ever-changing cultural offers like festivals, local fiestas and this year's "Year of Gaudi," celebrating the 150th birthday of the famed Catalan architect, mean that any time of year could be a good time to visit the city. But, generally speaking, it is hard to beat late spring or early summer in Barcelona. Try to avoid muggy August, when natives abandon the city and tourists abound.

    GETTING THERE: Barcelona's international airport, Aeropuerto del Prat, is a 20-minute taxi ride from the city center. The airport is connected to the city by bus and by train. The main train station is Sants Estacion; local, regional and international trains pass through regularly.

    Barcelona also has an active port. More than a half-million cruise passengers pass through the Puerto de Barcelona each year. Arriving by car is another option, as the highways connecting Barcelona with Madrid and France are well-maintained.

    GETTING AROUND: The Barri Gotic and the nearby port area are walker-friendly and fairly easy to navigate by following the stream of tourists through the narrow medieval streets. Most, though not all, of the city's must-see sights are within walking distance from the old quarter. Watch bags and wallets carefully, especially at night. Though taxis are widely available throughout the city, they are not an advisable means of transportation in the congested center. Instead, walk, take the bus or, better yet, take the metro. Barcelona's five metro lines are easy to use and reach most areas of town. To get to the top of Montjuic, the small mountain on the edge of the city, try taking the funicular that leaves from the harbor area for a great view of lower Barcelona.

    ON THE NET

  • Barcelona's Institute of Culture: WWW.BCN.ES/ICUB

  • SPAIN INFORMATION: www.okspain.org

    Time Out Guide: WWW.TIMEOUT.COM/BARCELONA

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