This Barcelona travel guide from Frommer’s is written by a long-time resident of Spain, and at 342 pages is certainly comprehensive. It’s a sad fact that visitors are vulnerable to crime in Barcelona, rather more than in most European cities, and the author doesn’t shy away from that fact without going overboard and sensationalising the situation. Barcelona is one of the most exciting European cities that is easily reached from London, but it can seem a little chaotic and confusing at first - we certainly wouldn’t recommend going without a good-sized guide, like this one.
There’s certainly plenty to see, and the book makes good recommendations for how to see The Best of Barcelona in 1 Day, in 2 Days, or in 3 Days. These include both maps and potted summaries of the places covered, with cross-references to the full write-ups that are covered elsewhere in the book. Whatever you do, don’t miss a walk along the city’s best-known thoroughfare, La Rambla, a visit to the Gothic Quarter, the Cathedral, and the still unfinished architectural masterpiece by Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia. The author suggests leaving the Picasso Museum till Day 2, but as we love the work of Picasso we’d recommend promoting it to Day 1 - if time allows.
This Frommer’s guidebook also has four suggested walking tours in a separate chapter, Strolling Around Barcelona. Each comes with its own detailed map, and walking directions, which should enable anyone to follow the tours without any problem. The four tours, which should each take about 2-3 hours, are:
It’s interesting to compare guides, and we’ve also reviewed the Frommer’s Paris Travel Guide. That one comes with an attractive and useful pull-out city map, but for some reason the Barcelona guide doesn’t merit that inclusion. It does, however, have lots of other useful maps throughout the book. On the inside front cover is a general city map, and inside the back cover is a map of the Barcelona metro system. Inside the book is a map that’s headed Barcelona Public Transportation, but it’s merely a repeat of the metro map, which seems to be a waste of a page.
We did like the Barcelona for Foodies map, though, which shows the city’s best markets and restaurants. There are 27 maps in the book in all, including three showing hotel locations, five showing restaurant locations, and four walking tour maps (see below). There are also maps of Mallorca and its capital, Palma, as a side trip to this beautiful Balearic island is included as a separate 22-page chapter. Several other side trips in Catalonia are also covered in the book, including Montserrat and Sitges.
Author Peter Stone has an interesting background, having worked in the British Foreign office before becoming a translator and journalist. He has lived in Barcelona but has made his home in Madrid since 1998. He has written guides to Madrid and contributed to guides to Spain, including Pauline Frommer’s Spain. This is the fourth edition of his Barcelona guide, so it obviously sells pretty well.
This 342-page book is a thorough guide to Barcelona, which we can recommend. It looks a little dated, compared to the Frommer’s Paris Guide which we’ve also been looking at lately, but the content is there to help you make the most of a trip to Barcelona.
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