Beautiful Cardona is an hour and a half drive from Barcelona, journey to the heartland of Catalonia to discover this charming medieval town and explore the magnificent Salt Mountain with “In Out Tours Barcelona”
Our tour guide Mauriusz was very helpful and knowledgeable picking us up at our apartment to drive to one of the best-preserved castles in Spain situated on a hill overlooking the lands along the Cardoner River and the town with panoramic views from every aspect.
At this 9th century castle which is now a hotel, you can also visit Minyona Tower and a charming little chapel both dating back to the 11th century. They have taken great care to ensure that the castle retains all of the gothic elements, fosses, towers, and walls.
When we arrived at this medieval village, they were pulling down a portable bullring used during the celebration of the Aplec de Cardona which recalls the importance of the castle in the Catalan resistance of 1714.
The castle resisted the occupation of Franco-Spanish troops until September 18, 1714, one week after the fall of Barcelona.The Aplec de Cardona commemorates the resistance of the castle, which is known as the last stronghold of the freedoms of Catalonia.Every September 18 recreates the defeat of the collegiate church of the castle and the torch descent.
The village flanked by Romanesque and Gothic buildings has several restaurants where you can enjoy local cuisine and great sangria before heading out to visit the salt mines.
At Salt Mountain Cultural Park you are transported from the drop off point by the van below, to enjoy a guided tour of the mine where there are various images produced by folds and seams along with stalagmites and stalactites.
This full day tour was so interesting full of history and wonderful sights to see from the imposing 9th -century castle, medieval village to ancient crystalline salt deposits. Well done “In Out Tours Barcelona”!
We did three tours with this company I can highly recommend!
1 – Runnerbeantoursfree walking tours, we chose the Gothic Quarter Free Walking tour and the Dark Past night Tour which you pay.
Both were excellent, the guides were very knowledgeable the alleyways and narrow streets were fascinating full of history and events. along with early Roman ruins.You can book online before you leave home. The guides are very easy to find at Place Reial meeting point in their bright green tops.
Graffiti in the Gothic Quarter during the night tour.
2– Funicular to Montjuic to visit Montjuic Castle standing 173 metres above the port with fantastic views of the city and surrounds.
The castle was used as a prison also has launched bombing raids on the city on a number of occasions. Used as a military prison, an army base, a weapons museum and in 1940 the president of the Catalan Government was executed by firing squad.
In 2007, the castle came under the ownership of Barcelona City Council and now belongs to all the citizens of Barcelona.
Barcelona has 2 cable cars and 3 mountain trains (called funiculars) on Barcelona’s two biggest hills Montjuic and Tibidabo. A mountain funicular train is for steep hills and the train carriages pulled up on a cable on train tracks. They are fun to visit for the spectacular views of Barcelona. A great experience in this vintage cable car.
Not far from the funicular there are several beautiful gardens some with amazing city views. We just happened upon these and really pleased we added to interesting tourist activities Barcelona.
Opened in 1922, the Jardins de Laribal were some of the many gardens and buildings that served to decorate Montjuïc for the International Exhibition in 1929. Barcelona’s city council bought the land, which was until then privately owned by Josep Laribal’s estate, and they commissioned the landscape.
4 – The Miró Museum and the Fundació Joan Miró
Is amongst the interesting tourist activities Barcelona especially for art lovers.
The foundation Fundació Joan Miró was initiated by the artist Joan Miró himself and the same year, the museum opened on June 10th in 1975. The artist relinquished the majority of his works to the foundation. Other works are presents from his wife Pilar Juncosa, Joan Prats. Well known sculptures such as the “Couple d’Amoureux aux Jeux de Fleur d’Amandier” (1975) and a large, lavishly designed wall hanging, made particularly for the foundation, are among these works.
Worth a visit not only to the museum but the city views.
Whilst on Montjuic you can also visit the Olympic Museum within walking distance from the funicular.
5 – The museum managed by Barcelona Olympic Foundation is the first of its kind in Europe. Opened in 2007 next to Montjuïc’s Olympic Stadium, the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum is an innovative center entirely dedicated to the world of sport.
Hosting the 1992 Olympic Games “totally transformed” Barcelona, according to the city’s mayor, Xavier Trias. Speaking at the Global Sports Forum in March 2012, Trias revealed how the Games created a long-term sporting legacy for the city.
6 – When you come down off Montjuic you can visit theColumbus Column at the end of Las Rambla, the views not as spectacular as the top of Montjunic but give you another great perspective of this beautiful city.
7 – In this area is Port Vell the cruise liner port along with cafe’s, restaurant and bars.
Marina Port Vell
If you alight at the other end of the cable car you are at San Sebastian beach.
During the summer this beach is a mass of sun worshippers, hope they are using the sunblock!
This is a lovely part of the city and will certainly fill a whole day.
In the evening the Magic Fountainof Montjuïc (Font màgica de Montjuïc) the first performance was on May 19, 1929, during the Great Universal Exhibition. The link will give you the times and days.
Santa Tecla Festival celebratedbetween 15th and 23rd, September since 1321. One of the most important Spanish traditional festivals. Human towers, historical parades, and fireworks are some of the main activities
During October, the town holds the International Film Festival of Catalonia.
Facundo Bacardí Massó was born in Sitges 1814, he developed a unique process of fermentation which made the first transparent white rum in the world. The Bacardi museum is located Plaça de l’Ajuntament, 11, Sitges.
Beautiful architecture throughout Sitges, discover the historical and cultural heritage.
Sitges old town has typically Spanish narrow streets leading down the promenade that runs along the foreshore.
Sitges is a lovely place to take a stroll and enjoy the sights and sounds of local life, its compact centre holds lots of interesting shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, museums, and art galleries. Easy to walk around and take in all this beautiful town has to offer.
Tarragona Spain a UNESCO world heritage site with a wealth of archaeological remains dating back to the Romans.
Situated around 100km from Barcelona on Costa Dorado. One of the three provinces that formed the Iberia Peninsula approximately 2000 years ago.
The tour company we chose for Tarragona Spain In Out Barcelona Tours arriving right at the prearranged time. Our guide Mariano was excellent, full of the knowledge and extremely caring.
Just outside Tarragona Spain, you sight the first of the Roman engineering the impressive Les Ferreres Aqueduct a 217m long and 26m high structure also called the ‘The Devil’s Bridge‘.
Leading to the entrance of the old city is this beautiful path and cleverly designed to control the water flow during rain..
Near the entrance to the Old City, there is Tarragona’s small archaeological museum which houses a collection of mosaics, tombstones, statues and other artifacts. Also the old city map, Mariano explains the points of interest.
Tarragona Old Town located in the upper part of the city is full of history and charm. Many winding streets and narrow alleys meander through this city which was once encircled by a stone wall built by the Romans. Parts of the wall are still visible and other parts used by some as construction in their homes.
At the highest point of this city sits the Cathedral of Santa Maria built between the 12th and 14th century, with an amazing history. Before there had been a 10th-century mosque, a Christian Visigothic basilica and, a Roman temple.
It is well worth a visit inside.
Leading from Cathedral Square is a beautiful 14th century arcaded street Call Merceria .
You can visit different manor houses in Calle Mayor and the Old Town Hall stands statuesque at the end.
The amphitheatre carved into the hillside around the turn of the 2nd Century AD. used for entertainment by the Romans such as Gladiator fights. public executions, celebrations.
The Roman Circus was a hippodrome built to hold Chariot races, circus, and theatre. Seating 30, 000 the circus was 350m long by 115m wide, most of it now lies hidden beneath the medieval city centre.
Remaining sections of the walls and some of the tunnels which originally gave access to the stands run beneath the surrounding streets and buildings of the city centre.
Tarragona Spain was a wonderful experience and I strongly encourage you to visit this beautiful city once the capital of the Roman Empire in Spain.
One of the top Barcelona city landmarks is the awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s famous Cathedral. I advise an early tour and booking tickets before leaving home to avoid queues. Later tours tend to be much busier especially if there are several cruise ships in port.
Barcelona metro is a fast and efficient way to move around the city avoiding the traffic and takes you near to the Cathedral.
Metro: Sagrada Familia (Blue Line, L5) and (Purple Line, L2)
The whole cathedral is amazing but I loved the sculptures by Josep Maria Subirachs his angular figures are impressive.
The sculptures are unique and less know features of the cathedral, as the beautiful stained glass windows and the exterior are usually displayed and for good reason.
The genius of Gaudi never ceases to amaze me, the detail in everything is perfect. You will really enjoy visiting the cathedral especially if you are into art.
Another beautiful Barcelona city landmarks the world heritage listed Palau de la Musicia with its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. Built between 1905 and 1908 by the modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner .
We attended a concert by Italian Aniello Desiderio currently one of the great masters of the Spanish guitar, who captivated the audience with charisma, enthusiasm, and passion for the instrument, a unique and unforgettable performance.
Palau Guided Tours
Guided tours of the Rehearsal Hall, Lluis Millet Hall, and the Concert Hall all filled with unique detail of decorative art along with the great skylight which appears different by day and night. In the Concert Hall grandly sits the organ of the Palau.
Place Reial a public square with restaurant and nightclubs was our meeting point for a “Free’ Gothic and Jewish Quarter walking tour with Runner Bean tours
Our guide Miquel was informative relating the history of Romans to saints, kings, and warriors. whilst guiding us through the medieval quarters, narrow streets, alleyways and squares. Place Del Pia in the middle of the Gothic Quarter with the Santa Maria del Pia church with some of the most impressive sgraffitos in the city.
In the Born District sits this amazing Barcelona Cathedral an architectural delight and another of Barcelona city landmarks – The Cathedral’s organ is inside the nave, under the bell tower, in the upper gallery over the door of Saint Ivo. It was built between 1537 and 1539, repaired and restored between 1985-1994. Popular organ concerts are programmed each month.
A small medieval square outside Barcelona Cathedral you will find performers and buskers of all genre. We were lucky to happen upon some great opera singers and a bride dancing to the music whilst husband proudly watched on.
Walking through the narrow passageways and passing ancient houses in the Gothic Quarter you reach the Old Jewish Quarter (El Call) where you find the Ancient Synagogue in Spain and one of 5 medieval synagogues that remain today.
The synagogue is only 60m2 consisting of two rooms, the foundations are from Roman times as are parts of the walls.
Nearby is Placa Sant Jaume where the main government buildings dominate the square. and has been the centre of political life for over 2000 years. Many rallies and festivals start and end from this square.
The Cathedral Cloister, known as La Seu, is in the Gothic district (Barri Gotic). .The cloister dates from the 14th century and has been called” the loveliest oasis in Barcelona”, there 13 geese reside, one for each year in the life of the Santa Eulalia (a Christian martyr tortured and killed by the Romans).
On the edge of the Jewish Quarter is the baroque church of Sant Felip Neri was built in 1750 and was one of the few examples of this style in Barcelona. The main façade has simple lines and the doorway is crowned by a semi-circular form surmounted by the figure of the Saint.
The shell wounds etched into the stone of Sant Felip Neri are a reminder of the aerial bombardment that took place in January 1938 at the height of the Civil War, ending the lives of 42 people, many of them children, who had taken shelter in the basement of the convent.
The buildings in the square once housed the city’s guilds of coppersmiths and shoemakers.
A 14th-century medieval public square in the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona. It is a small square with beautiful architecture and a great atmosphere by night.
King Ferdinand, Christopher Columbus and the Spanish Inquisition all have something to say in Placa Del Rei.
Santa Maria Del Mar called “the Cathedral of the Sea”. A masterpiece of the Catalan Gothic. Construction started in 1329. Check for music recitals, often baroque and classical. Guided tours available at midday which includes the rooftop.
The end of a really busy but interesting day visiting the many Barcelona city landmarks.
You can also visit Casa Batilo another of Gaudi’s works close by. Casa Amatller and Casa Lleó Morera are also very impressive, cheaper to enter and tend to be less crowded.
Heading off down La Ramblas which is 1.2 kilometres long and a well-known destination of everyone visiting Barcelona. It was built in 1766 and became the meeting place of all the social classes to spend their leisure time away from the narrow winding streets elsewhere.
As you walk along, with the many tourists and locals you’ll see Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona’s grand opera house completed in 1847. Tours are available you can book online to avoid queues. The tour takes you to quarters not open to the general public, very interesting.
The Palau de la Virreina the beautiful late 18th century Palau (palace), an old mansion converted into a cultural centre dedicated mostly to images and photography next to the Boqueria Market. The market has every variety of food imaginable and small eateries good for a quick bite. Worth a visit.
At the end of La Ramblas, you will find Columbus Monument which offers panoramic views from the viewing platform at the upper end of the column.
Just before the end of La Rambla heading towards the docks at C.Josep Anselm Clavé 3, principal 2ª 08002, Nomar Leather is situated it was a much larger establishment when I first visited, you now need to call for an appointment.
The father retired and the business is now run by his son Ricardo, their products are excellent and made to measure. We all ordered jackets as we were in Barcelona for two weeks. They do have off the rack or they will ship to your home.
Worth a visit if you are after leather items. Much better quality than in the shops along the tourist areas for around the same cost. I will try and contact them and see if they will offer my readers a discount and let you know in the next post.
Regardless, excellent quality and I have had many items made over the years. I found Nomar when I worked on the ships visiting Barcelona every week.
After this full day, we set out in the evening for our Paella cooking lesson with Mariangeles Alonso – trip4real First we went to the wrong address then had to high tail it across town to La Barceloneta in peak hour (hairy) to arrive at a tiny fisherman’s cottage, up a very small stone staircase to a tiny apartment.
We set to chopping up ingredients in this tiny kitchen wondering where we were going to eat as there was no obvious dining area.
Next, we were ushered up more small stone steps to the rooftop where you could nearly touch the adjoining apartments, Mariangeles proceeded with the demonstration whilst we sat on crates/cushions with wine in hand and neighbours looking on and wanting an invite to dinner as the aroma was wafting all over the neighbourhood.
The Paella was fantastic and it was such a unique experience, better than any dining room!
Just as we finished eating the heavens opened up so after throwing cushions down the stairwell we scrambled off to find a taxi home like drowned rats. A fun night with great memories!
Sydney Beaches North CBD – The beaches total around 23 of the 40 beaches along the coastline, not including the harbour and bays. Many accessible by public transport.
Dee Why / Long Reef
The most northern point of Sydney Beach North CBD is Palm Beach the most northerly point 41km from Sydney Beaches North CBD derives its name from the cabbage tree palms that grow there. The beach is 2.3km long east facing.
Palm Beach is also known as Summer Bay in “Home and Away” soap opera filmed there Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tours are available to see the filming.
Palm Beach is a beautiful, exclusive location with stately old and modern homes. A getaway for many celebrities due to the isolation at the tip of the peninsula.
“The Boathouse” restaurant on the point at the end of the golf course is a popular eating spot, especially on a perfect sunny day. Serving modern Australian breakfasts, seafood and juice bar in a rustic-chic space with outdoor tables.
The 4th Sunday of the month you will find a beach market located in Governor Philip Park with a wide range of products, a variety of food, and music.
From Palm Beach to Manly there are 20 beaches that all have their own special appeal depending on what experience you want, some more difficult to get to than others if travelling on public transport.
Dee Why 18K north of the CBD it is a popular beach for the family with picnic areas, playgrounds, ocean pool. It also is the site of numerous first-class sporting events such as the Beachley Classic, Sun Run, Ocean Thunder and much more.
Along the strip, facing the beach there is a wide variety of restaurants catering to all different palates.
Manly, I may be a little bias as I live here but this is my favourite.
As teenagers, my sister and I would head off on the train to catch the iconic ferry from Circular Quay for our day at the beach coming home as red as lobsters from the sun.
Mum would be cross smearing tomato all over us to aid the sunburn only for the little seeds to stick to your already sore skin. Now we are more informed. Use blackout it is most important here even in winter.
Tip -23% of drownings in Australia are at the beach so it is important to swim between the flags to avoid rips and stay safe. Do not swim at unpatrolled beaches.
Manly and Shelly Beaches are the closest of the Sydney Beaches north of CBD. and easily accessible by ferry or road but the latter is time-consuming as the traffic can be rather heavy especially at peak times.
Built from 1959 to 1973 and designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, is one of the famous performing arts multi venues in the world situated on the beautiful harbour near the Botanical Gardens and Government House.
The Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. The building also houses a concert hall, 2 theatres, a playhouse, a studio, a small multi-purpose room, a recording studio, cafe’s, restaurants, bars and retail outlets and a huge outdoor forecourt.
Guided tours are available, including frequent tours for 1 hour. A daily backstage tour 2.5 hours that takes visitors to see areas normally reserved for performers and crew members.
TIP – On the foreshore steps resides a lone seal you can visit – he/she is cute
2 – HARBOUR BRIDGE
One of Sydney’s most famous landmarks opened in 1932 joining the northern and southern shores of the harbour affectionately known as the “Coathanger”
You can climb the bridge “Bridgeclimb” during the day, twilight and evening. Groups of twelve leave every ten minutes. Not quite as exciting but none the less you can visit the Pylon Lookout has 360 degrees views which include the city skyline, Opera House, and harbour. Good if you are pressed for time. You will be able to watch the bridge climbers from there!
Enter Cumberland St, at The Rocks.
I did the climb at twilight, amazing!
TIP – A free pedestrian walkway across the bridge, forgreat views taking 15-20 minutes. You can enter from either the south or north of the bridge.
Established in 1816 and covering 30 hectares in the heart of the city on the edge of Sydney Harbour, explore these breath-taking Gardens that occupy one of Sydney’s most spectacular positions.
A 10-minute walk from the CBD or Opera House, entry in Gallery Road.
Take time to explore and enjoy this beautiful setting with a diverse range of flora.
Learn the richly diverse history and culture of the Aboriginal people of the Sydney region with an Aboriginal guide in the heart of the city. Uncover the Royal Botanic Garden’s rich Aboriginal heritage by exploring plant uses, culture, artefacts and tasting some bush foods.
The tour is offered every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 10 am, departing from outside the Garden Shop. For more information and for bookings, please click here.
Free 1.5 hour walk, departing from the Information Booth outside the Garden Shop at 10:30 am, 7 days a week.
Tip: Wear a hat and sunscreen.
Government House Sydney and its grounds on the edge of the botanicalgardens were opened to the public in 1996 under the care of the Historic Houses Trust. In December 2013, Government House resumed its role as the official Residence for the Governor of New South Wales. Government House Sydney welcomes visitors to the House and magnificent grounds of one of Australia’s oldest buildings.
For detailed information on Tours, Accessibility, Closures and Special Days please see Visitor Information.
Tip: Tours run every 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm. The tour takes 45 minutes.
4 – DARLING HARBOUR
Darling Harbour is accessible by ferry from Circular Quay Wharf 5 which is a great way to see more attractions on the way. You can also travel by bus, light rain or walk from the CBD.
Tip: Try the fudge shop – the fudge turtles to die for!
5 – FERRIES
If you do not go to Manly on these iconic old ferries you have an option of many other locations, The Zoo which is amazing and has spectacular views back to the city, Darling Harbour, Watson’s Bay (great seafood) Luna Park (Amusement Park) Cockatoo Island (convict and shipbuilding history.) to name a few. All these places are interesting and have something to offer.
Tip – there are fast ferries to a lot of these destinations but a better experience on the older ones. The fast ferry is usually half the time.
Australia’s most popular art museum, overlooking Sydney Harbour, just 10 minutes walk from the CBD through the Domain 34 hectares of open space on the eastern edge of Sydney.
The gallery houses an extensive collection of Australian art, as well as the largest Aboriginal art collection in the country, European masters, Asian treasures and leading local and international contemporary art.
Visit on a Wednesday evening until 10 pm for Art After Hours and see a slice of Sydney culture with free celebrity talks, music, performances, films and special events.
Regular free guided tours are offered in Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean. Tours are also available for vision and hearing impaired visitors.
For times and dates of all tours, please check the Art Gallery of NSW website.
Tip – Museum of Modern Art – MCA- at the Rocks is worth a visit.
Located on Market Street, between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets The tower stands 309 m (1,014 ft) above the (CBD). It is accessible from the Pitt Street Mall, Market Street or Castlereagh Street and sits above the Westfield Sydney
Sydney Tower Eye takes you to the highest point above Sydney for breathtaking 360-degree views of the beautiful harbour city.
A 360 dining and bar experience, which offers revolving views of the Sydney skyline, is located on level one of the Sydney Tower Eye.
The Observation Deck offers state-of-the-art technology, including high-powered binoculars and multilingual touchscreen panels that tell every visitor interesting facts about the famous landmarks they are looking at.
Skywalk is an open-air glass-floored platform encircling the Sydney Tower Eye at a height of 268 m (879 ft) above ground level. The viewing platform extends over the edge of the main structure of the deck.
Tip: This platform is only accessible for a booked tour.
In 1788 The Rocks are where the European settlers chose to land thus the birthplace of Sydney. a British Colony of convicts, soldiers, and sailors.Learn about Sydney’s past by exploring The Rocks, from cobbled laneways and sandstone warehouses to Australia’s oldest pubs. Enjoy walking tours, museums, galleries, markets and a delicious range of restaurants.Check here for tours.The colourful markets are home to more than 200 eclectic stalls where you can find fashion and accessories by emerging designers, locally produced housewares, beauty products and original photography, art, crafts and jewellery. Tip: Rocks Market Every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm year round.http://www.therocks.com
9 – ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL
The first St Mary’s was built on land given to the church in 1820 by Governor Macquarie. The site chosen was on the edge of town, close to the convict barracks and convict garden. Macquarie laid the foundation stone in October 1821.
The first church had no roof until 1831 and the first mass was celebrated in December 1833. In 1835, with the arrival of Bishop Polding, Australia’s first Catholic bishop, the church was elevated to the status of a cathedral.
In June 1865 nearly all the Cathedral was destroyed by fire except for the Pugin façade and bell tower and part of the north-east transept.
Plans for the construction of a new, larger cathedral officially opened in 1900 and consecrated in 1905.
In 1913 the foundation stone for the final southern section, including the nave and the towers, was laid, and the final ceremony for the completed cathedral was held in 1928. The original design of the cathedral towers included spires, but the spires were not completed until August 2000, 135 years after construction commenced.
Remains the largest ecclesiastical building in the English Gothic style in the world.
Tip: The Cathedral is opposite beautiful Hyde Park on St Mary’s Road, Sydney.
The last but not least of the top 10 things CBD is the beautiful Queen Victoria Building.
This outstanding example of Byzantine architecture, which occupies an entire city block – bounded by George, Market, York, and Druitt Streets – was completed in 1898 to replace the original Sydney Markets.
Remodelled in the 1930s and used for different purposes, including municipal offices. In 1984 it was completely refurbished as a shopping centre, with more than 200 shops.
The QVB has a series of domes and domelets with exquisite stained glass windows and extensive wood paneling throughout. An original 19th-century staircase sits alongside the dome.
There is a marvelous hanging clock that displays a series of mechanically moving tableaux of British kings and queens every hour on the hour. This “exhibition” is heralded by loud trumpeters and ends with the beheading of Charles I.
Whilst researching destinations for a trip it would be great to have all the information condensed into one page so with “Informative Travel Tips SydneyAustralia” hopefully this will save going back and forth on an information gathering exercise, which is time-consuming and frustrating at times.
“Informative Travel Tips Sydney Australia:to add to my previous blog:
“Top 10 things to do in Sydney” – the main tourist attractions.