The Rough Guides Barcelona Book Review: Perfect Introduction to Breathtaking Barcelona

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The Rough Guide Barcelona, from APA Publications, presents a traveler's guide to the cosmopolitan capital of Spain's Catalonia region, and the Mediterranean's most provocative and vibrant coastal city with pulsating nightlife, shopping, and so much more.

Written and researched by AnnaLise Sorenson, Steve Tallantyre and Greg Ward, The Rough Guide Barcelona divides the city into thirteen color coded sections. Also included nine additional sections filled with informative tidbits of information that will make the trip to this one-of-a-kind European tropical paradise unforgettable.


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On the inside cover, like most major cities, Barcelona is divided into neighborhoods beginning with The Rables, which "poet Frederico Garica Lorca hailed as "the only street in the world which I wish would never end."'

The Rambles, a treelined throughfare, is a tourist dream of sights and sounds and filled with souvenir shops, café's, street musicians, kiosks with racks of Euro magazines and newspapers, and filled with the aromas of local cuisine, from simple street vendors to more upscale culinary magic.

For many, a one-day trip to this pulsating Mediterranean city will begin on this magnetic and the single most famous street in Barcelona and end with watching the sunset anywhere on the 5km of golden beaches.

For those who have a bit more time, the adjacent neighborhoods are filled with mystery, enchantment and the invitation of allure that can only be found in Barcelona.


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More than a beach town, Barcelona offers the artist world class museums filled with masterpieces unavailable in any other country in the world. The world famous Museu Picasso has one of the largest permanent collections, with more than 4000 works on display.

A "Table of Contents" follows segmented into four sections: Introductions, Basics, The Guide, Listings, Contexts, Index and on each the front inside cover and back inside cover city planning map including the extensive public transportation system.

As with each of the Rough Guide travel books, the beginning opens with a section on "Not to be Missed" and provides itineraries to help navigate the most inviting areas on any tourist's must-see list including restaurants, Barcelona's Old Town, Barri Gotic, The Waterfront, El Ravel, Montjuic, home to the 1992 Olympics, towers over the city below and is a day trip with steep hills, and Dreta de L'Eixample, Barcelona's main shopping and business district.

Many tourists, with the luxury of time and the desire to visit breathtaking architecture take the metro to Sagrada Familia and Glories, home to Antoni Gaudi's Great Church, Gracia, Park Guell and Horta, also built by architectural genius Antoni Gaudi, a maze of gardens and parks, similar to New York's Central Park only not as famous.

Truly not to be missed is the Tibidado, the highest point in the city at 550m, offering views, on a clear day to Mallorca. The neighborhood features an old-fashioned amusement park and the CosmoCaixa Science Museum.


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Within each of these sections are helpful suggestions such as best times to travel to the region, what not to miss, festivals, outdoor activities, Food and drink and other essentials. As with all Rough Guides, an introduction to the language with enough for many non-native speakers to learn tourist Spanish before arrival.

As the current travel restrictions and precautions make most international travel dicey, the future will once again allow unrestricted international travel. The guidebook also provides an Author's pick and itineraries.

The "Guides" section outlines each color-coded region. Highlighting each district with a complete outline that features the essentials, eating, drinking, accommodations, nightlife, shopping, and information, and then walking maps of the tourist and sight-seeing musts. The block color code in the margin also makes thumbing through the guide to find a destination or restaurant relatively easy.

After the neighborhoods are detailed The Rough Guide Barcelona divides activities into sections which provides faster access to specifics including restaurants, shopping, nightlife, accommodations, and LGBT events.


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With district walking maps included Rough Guide Barcelona provides 12 pages of neighborhood maps along with a public transportation map in the Map index section.

A warm, welcoming, atmosphere, Barcelona blends a comfortable laid-back lifestyle, splendid contemporary and European history, outstanding cuisine, and trendy nightlife.

As with all Rough Guides special notes are included for Gay and Lesbian Travelers, thoughts on Travel Insurance, electricity/electronic device charging, Entry Requirements, also regional travel, and any health issues related to COVID-19, general tourist information, consulates, police, and money.

Each edition includes expert advice, independent reviews, best places to stay, eat, drink and shop and all The Rough Guides are authored by experts in the region.

Rough Guide Barcelona provides a complete preview of the city, with a thorough introduction and all the information necessary to make any stay filled with interesting, breathtaking, once in a life-time memories that will linger long after the vacation has ended.

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