Last month we visited magnificent Barcelona for an academic conference and our 9 year wedding anniversary, in a lovely stay that totaled 6 days. When not working, we had a fantastic time exploring inspiring architecture, art and enjoying delicious food. We also asked Barcelona Tourism to provide us with a 2 day Barcelona card to review for this website, and they graciously obliged. So is the card worth buying if you want to conveniently explore in Barcelona?
The normal cost of the Barcelona card is €34 ($46 USD) per person. You can also buy 3, 4 and 5 consecutive day Barcelona cards which cost €44, €52 and €58 respectively, with small discounts if you book online. In a nutshell, the Barcelona card is worth purchasing for some people for convenient access to public transport and if you’re interested in several of the 22 museums that are included for free. But you only get a €1 discount on Barcelona’s most visited attraction, Gaudi’s famous La Sagrada Familia, and it does not include admission to some other popular attractions like the Picasso Museum. The Barcelona card does offer nominal discounts to many other great attractions in Barcelona such as Gaudi’s Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, the Camp Nou Experience (FC Barcelona’s stadium tour and museum, the largest football stadium in Europe), Museu del Perfum and the Museu De L’Erotica to name just a few of many. No matter what your interest, Barcelona has a museum for you!
If you decide to purchase the card we’d advise buying it ahead of time as it includes unlimited public transport and transportation on the airport train. The airport train is normally €4.50 each way and the cost of single metro trips around town are €2. But you can buy a 10 trip metro card for €10 ($13.80 USD), which we did at the beginning of our trip as we used our Barcelona cards for the final 2 days of our stay. Barcelona’s metro is fast and convenient to get around the city and we enjoyed hopping on and off with relative ease, whether with the multi-trip metro card or the Barcelona card.
The attractions we visited with the Barcelona card were the Chocolate museum (cost without card: €5) and the harbour port tour (cost without card: €8). We also used the card for access to the lift for the top of the Columbus monument (cost without card €4.50). Here’s our opinions on these attractions:
Chocolate Museum (Museu de la Xocolata): This could be a worthwhile museum for anybody interested in seeing chocolate sculptures. The admission ticket you receive upon entry is a small dark chocolate bar, which is a cute touch. While I like dark chocolate, Bell and many other don’t, so one thing we might suggest to the museum is that they offer the option of milk chocolate bars as well. The museum has some nice chocolate works of art, such as a chocolate La Sagrada Familia, among other interesting works. It’s not big so you probably will not spend more than an hour here.
Las Golondrinas Harbour Port Tour –
It was a pleasant sunny day when we hopped aboard and sat atop the boat, to feel the fresh sea breeze in our hair as we toured Barcelona Harbour. The 40-minute tour includes no audio as you sail past stacks of shipping containers and large ships. For us, the highlight of this tour was the compelling view of Montjuic Mountain. This was certainly a unique boat tour and one worth doing if you buy the Barcelona card and want to rest your legs. We would have loved to have sailed past Barcelona’s beautiful beach though, and the 90-minute tour includes this. An audio explanation on Barcelona’s shipping industry would greatly improve this tour.
We handed our Barcelona cards to the cashier to receive tickets to access the lift so we could view a stunning panorama of Barcelona’s scenery from atop the Columbus Monument. Unfortunately, we came to find out the lift only holds 2-3 people at a time as the viewing platform 60 meters above is very small. The Saturday afternoon wait was probably 45 minutes and we unfortunately didn’t have time to stay as we wanted to see Gaudi’s famed Park Guell before it closed.
As mentioned, admission to Park Guell is not included in the Barcelona Card and normally costs €8, but we came to randomly find out that from 6-7pm admission was free on the evening we arrived. Score!
Sadly we did not have time to maximise our usage of our 2 day Barcelona cards as our last day was a half day. I would have loved to have visited the Olympic Museum
and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
(normal admission: €12) would certainly have been well worth a visit among the 22 attractions included. But Barcelona’s public transport is fantastic for whizzing around the beautiful districts which offer a treasure trove of amazing sites, old world laneways, beautiful balconies and tasty tapas and pinxtos to sample. And even if you don’t have time to wait in line for La Sagrada Familia, be sure to at least zip over and roam the awe inspiring exterior. Sit for an espresso as you ponder Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece that architectural experts have been toiling for years to complete.
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