SystemSeed have donned our sunglasses and headed to the wonderful city of #Barcelona along with a few thousand other Drupal enthusiasts for DrupalCon 2015.
Coinciding with the conference’s dates is the city’s incredible La Merce (or “Fiesta Major”) festival - a huge event that spans all neighbourhoods (or ”barrios”) where you can expect the whole city to be celebrating.
If you are going to be in the city for DrupalCon or for La Merce, check out our guide on how to get around the city and what do while you’re here.
Arriving at El Prat? Outside the Airport terminal is the Aerobus. This will take you from the terminal to Placa Catalunya. This bus will cost €5 and from the placa you can get a taxi to your hotel for about €5-10 more. This is much cheaper than getting a €30-35 taxi from the airport.
The city is well connected by a metro system as well as taxis. Metros are the easiest and cheapest way to travel. You can buy a metro pass “T10” which will give you 10 trips for less than €10. These are available at any metro station. Metro trains arrive at the platform every 5mins so there is never a long wait.
From Sunday to Thursday the Metro closes at midnight. After this we’d advise getting a taxi if you are going through a rough area.
Friday night the metro closes at 3am. Saturday it runs 24hrs.
Taxis generally cost €10-15 to get almost anywhere in the city and the costs go up slightly at night.
Barcelona is a very safe city. There is very low violent crime although the central tourist areas and the central beaches have a lot of pickpockets.
It’s advised to stay with at least one person after midnight in the central neighbourhoods such as Gotic or Raval. When going to the beach do not take anything valuable unless you can look after it at all times.
The city centre beaches are nice to check out the city’s tourists and vibrant locals coming together enjoying lots of beach bars (“chiringuitos”), and lots of activities.
If you are hiring a bike we recommend cycling along the beach and getting a sense of geography as well as taking in the sights. Don’t forgot to check out Frank Gehry’s whale at Port Olimpic.
The quality of the sea in the central beaches is not great. There is usually some rubbish in it. If you specifically want a “beach day” we recommend going north just past Port Olympic. After this the beaches are less crowded and the sea a little cleaner.
Also, if you get a train (rather than a metro) you can get to some great, quiet beaches up the cost in just ~30mins. The train runs all the way up the coast.
Spring and summer is HOT in Spain, and Barcelona is no exception. The weather the past week has been 20-30 degrees each day. The weeks of Drupalcon are expected to be the same.
Remember your sun cream if you go out for a long day as not everywhere is shaded. People do get heat stroke or become dehydrated. There are many free water fountains in the city and around the beaches and forest trails if you need to keep topped up.
Summer weather requires summer clothing. You can leave all your sweaters and hoodies at home - or maybe just bring a single warm item if you are going out all night as the temperatures can drop to a chilly 10-12 degrees at that time.
Bring whatever you feel comfortable wearing for the trip but bear in mind that some nicer establishments will refuse entry if you are in Bermuda shorts and baseball caps. It is also illegal to be topless off the beach (that is for both boys and girls).
Loose fitting cotton clothes are likely best. Also short trousers / short sleeve shirts, or skirts and dresses for the ladies.
The city is very bohemian and the fashion is best described as a scale of “dirty hippy up to posh hippies”. The city’s people are very stylish. It’s not Milan, but it’s not far off!
Boat trips, cycling, Sagrada Familia, La Merce, Castellers - the city has a lot to offer.
If you want to see Sagrada Familia, book online and avoid the inevitable 2-3hr queue outside the ticket office. Turn up at your correct time and walk straight in.
La Merce is expected to gather the city’s 2 million people together with all the extra tourists that come to witness the event. Every Barrio will be doing something, there will be stages set up in some placas and there will be a selection of things to see and do.
The Castellers (human castles) are a Catalan tradition and amazing to see. You will be praying they don’t fall when you see the children climbing to the top while their parents are at the bottom supporting them.
“Menu del Dia” = The daily menu, is 3 courses (starter, main and dessert) and is available at lunch time from most restaurants for around €10-15. This usually comes with beer, wine or water and sometimes coffee as well.
Cafes or cheaper restaurants cost from €8-15 for a cheap meal or to take away.
Menu del Dia is not available in the evening and the prices are higher than in the day. Some restaurants don’t allow you to book, others do. Expect to pay €12-25 per main dish depending on how posh the restaurant is.
Drinks can also be from €1-2 for a basic small beer, to €12-15 for a posh whisky or cocktail in a nice bar/hotel terrace.
People sell “street beers” at night in the tourist areas. They are always a euro for a can, but they get stored in the sewers to avoid the police seeing them!
Because the city is so fun there will be a lot of wining and dining to be done. Here is our favourites shortlist of generally great places:
El Asador De Aranda (Lamb restaurant, Avenida Tibidabo, 31)
Bangkok cafe (Les Corts, near Camp Nou)
Da Greco (Posh-but-cheap Italian in Gracia)
La Bodegueta de Provença (Eixample)
Xemei (Poble Sec)
Lolita (Between Poble-sec & Raval)
Doble Zero (Born)
La Paradeta Fish Market (Born)
One Ocean (Barceloneta port)
Bestial (Port Olympic)
El Pescadors (Poble Nou)
Can Recasens (Poble Nou)
Old Fashioned (Lower Gracia)
Gatsby (Upper Eixample)
Boca Chica (Eixample)
Chéri (Upper Eixample)
BierCaB (Lower Eixample)
Belchica (Lower Eixample)
Milano Cocktail Bar (P/ Cat)
Mandarin Oriental (Passeig de Gracia)
Moritz factory (Sant Antoni)
Mau Mau (Poble Sec)
Sub Rosa Cocktail bar (Gotic)
Pipa Bar - aka “Secret bar” (Gotic)
Can Paixano (Barceloneta / Born / Gotic)
Tapas & Cafes
Quimet Quimet (Poble Sec)
Vaso del Oro (Barceloneta)
Manso Cafe (Raval / Poble Sec)
El Nacional (Passeig de Gracia)
Gatsby (late bar / burlesque / “pico”)
Kiosko Burgers (Lower Born / Barceloneta)
Hotel Royal (Passeig de Gracia)
Majestic Hotel (Passeig de Gracia)
Cotton House (Eixample)
Hotel Omm (Eixample)
Pulitzer Hotel (P/ Cat)
1898 (Las Ramblas)
Museu d'Història de Catalunya (Barceloneta)
W Hotel (Barceloneta)