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Barcelona vs Vienna

Get Smart

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so there's some seasoned travellers here...

next year my folks want to do a family trip with all of us to either Barcelona or Vienna. I have a lot of friends who've been to Barcelona and they love it, but we'd be doing more "family" oriented shit like seeing culture and stuff. not having actual fun like they did (music fests etc).

any opinons on which city would be better in September?

"Better" consisting of:
-ease of getting around with local transportation
-actual quality of stuff to see
-quality of food
-shopping opportunities
-weather in Sept (i'm assuming Vienna is cooler = better)
-any other intangibles
 

poorsod

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I had a great time in Barcelona. Lots of great places to eat and a vibrant night life and street scene. If you like architecture there are a number of Gaudi sites to see including segrada familia and casa mila. Their picasso museum highlights the early parts of picassos career as a student.
 

whnay.

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If with the family do Vienna, if with the wife do Barcelona.

So much of what makes Barcelona so great is the nightlife - late night eating, etc. Vienna is a magnificent city with a rich history - especially if you are a fan of music.
 

whenwe

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I may be biased, but I'd say hands down BCN.

There is so much to do for everyone in BCN, especially a family.
Vienna personally I thought was nice, and the Leopold museum amazing, but I think BCN is in another league.

If you look through my posts you'll see a big BCN write up I did for some travelers going there with recommendations etc.
 

Get Smart

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I think Vienna is getting the edge right now, primarily because my folks aren't interested in night life, and I've heard Vienna isnt a night town, more of a day town.

Barcelona does look amazing, i've seen pics of our friend's trip and the Gaudi buildings look awesome, esp the Segrada familia.

My dad is a huge classical music fan, so that's helping Vienna's case. My folks have actually been to Vienna a few years ago, but it was in passing and they were only there for a day so while they were there, they really werent there long enough to really take in the city, so I'm sure this will still be a new experience to spend more time there.

that said, the missus and I are def more into Barcelona, and my folks want us to go where *we* want to go and they're in essence playing tag along.

I take it both cities have a good subway system to get around...?
 

whnay.

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Subways in Spain, in general, are pretty damn terrible.
 

globetrotter

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public transportation in vienna is great.

food - I'd say heavier stuff in vienna - stews, fried meats, creamy pastries. spain more fresh, cured meats, fish, also good pastries, maybe a little lighter.

art - boy, hard call. I would have said vienna, the vieann art scene is fantastic, but barcelona isn't bad, either. maybe a differnt type, but also world class.

women in vienna might be more atractive, the women in spain wear skimpier clothes

classical music in vienna is incredible, and affordable.

vienna will be cooler

there is a little amusment park in downtown vienna (kids coming?)

you'll enjoy both, I'd say vienna
 

whenwe

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Subways in Spain, in general, are pretty damn terrible.
^not true. actually Spain has one of the most modern train systems in the world. the metro is very efficient, albeit a bit crowded, but very good all around. If you happen to take the AVE (high speed train) it is also very good.

BCN is a very cosmopolitan city with a very unique culture. If your father is into classical music, look into the Palau de la musica Catalana. It's a beautiful Catalan modernist building that has various musical performances, everything from classical to Spanish guitar.

BCN has a tremendous amount to do. Great food, especially sea food, also great shopping, and a lot of sights to see. Also if you get tired of the city the Mediterranean is right there with beautiful beaches only a short train ride away. BCN isn't all about the nightlife there is plenty to do and see although the Picasso museum is a bit disappointing. BCN is right on the coast so it generally is always pretty pleasant in terms of weather, even in august.

I used to live in BCN so I'll do my best here.

Cal Pep, on that list is a very good tapas bar with contemporary/catalan cuisine. The problem is that if you don't know Spanish or Catalan it may be very difficult for you to understand the menu and order. The best places can usually be found by simply looking at the menu and deciding for yourself. Although stay away from places on the rambla or in the vicinity of plaça catalunya. Also make sure to take advantage of the menú del dÃa, which is usually common from about 1-4 (the Spanish eat big lunches and late dinners.) You can get 2 courses, wine, and dessert for less than 10 euro. There are a lot of good menú del dÃa places off the rambla in the neighborhood of el raval. It's a much more run down neighborhood with lots of ethnic restaurants and generally cheaper prices. Careful at night though, because it could get dangerous.

Generally speaking in terms of things to do, it depends on what you want, since there is almost something for every taste. It's best to think of the city in two parts divided centrally by plaça the catalunya. In the direction of the sea, towards the rambla lies the old city, and the gothic quarter. Here you can find the Cathedral which is free I believe, and also the Picasso museum. The Picasso museum is worth a visit, although frankly it's very underwhelming in my opinion, much nicer museums are found in Madrid but that's another story. Anyway, the gothic quarter is nice to walk through although it has it's charm it's not what Barcelona is best known for. That of course is on the other side in the direction of the main artery Passeig de Gracia.

Passeig de Gracia lead up all through l'eixample which basically just means the addition to the old city. This is the more upscale are with neighborhoods like Gracia being one of the better known. The great thing about Passeig de Gracia is that there are so many things to see and do on one street, I'd even dare to say more than the (gasp)Champs. I always recommended people start at the top where Gracia begins and stroll down Passeig de Gracia. Here you will find GaudÃ's famous houses like Casa Batlló and others. I recommend going into Casa Mila to see the inside and what the actual apartments looked like. Also the views from the top are quite nice as well.

Passeig de Gracia also has all the luxury shopping you desire, along with Spanish giants like Zara, Loewe, Massimo Dutti, Camper etc. Off Passeig de Gracia you'll find Cal Pep. Corte InglÃ
s gets a lot of press but it's really just a giant department store with a market at the bottom. You'll find your common luxury items mixed in with Liz Claiborne New York among others. There are two locations however the Plaça Catalunya location should do just fine if you feel inclined.

Other must-sees are the Sagrada Familia of course, the Palau de la musica catalana, and Parc Güell.

Getting to Parc Güell is a bit tricky but you can catch the metro green line and then walk some bit to get there, just follow the signs. Once there enjoy GaudÃ's works, but make sure you walk around and explore as well. I recommend taking one of the trails to a hill which has a mirador basically a watch tower, where you can get the best views of Barcelona in my opinion (out towards the sea.)

If you enjoy vintage shopping there are lots of vintage shops in El Raval, conveniently located on a street called tallers. You can find some cheap stuff and it's always fun to have a look.

Like someone else mentioned, the beach Barceloneta is not really worth the visit. It's usually crowded (when it's warm) and usually only tourists. Most locals head south to the Costa Dorada, or north to the Costa Brava for beaches. Sitges is a short train ride away, and it has nice beaches, also the surrounding areas. Most of the area near the sea and the port are fairly new, as they were built for the olympics, however because of this you'll mostly see convention centers and hotels in this area although the aquarium and the estació de frança with trains heading to France is found in this area.

Finally I recommend making a daytrip if time permits to Monserrat. It's a revered mountain in Catalonia, and a top it has a nice monastery. It is also a nice getaway from the chaos of city life.

Lastly BCN is a very walkable city, I recommend walking as much as possible, although the public transportation system is quite efficient.
 

JohnGalt

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Originally Posted by whnay.
If with the family do Vienna, if with the wife do Barcelona.

So much of what makes Barcelona so great is the nightlife - late night eating, etc. Vienna is a magnificent city with a rich history - especially if you are a fan of music.


This sums it up quite well.
 

Get Smart

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whenwe, thanks for re-posting your BCN tips

both cities sound great, i dont think there's a wrong choice so flipping a coin might be the way to go. We're probably not going to book til end of year so it gives time to see if one just seems more attractive than the other, for whatever reason.
 

SField

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Originally Posted by Get Smart
whenwe, thanks for re-posting your BCN tips both cities sound great, i dont think there's a wrong choice so flipping a coin might be the way to go. We're probably not going to book til end of year so it gives time to see if one just seems more attractive than the other, for whatever reason.
You know what? You'll get to both in your lifetime. You won't go wrong with either one. I could personally spend more time in Barcelona, but that's me. I'm a food and night life guy... BCN nightlife is far, far superior. Walking around the endless courtyards at like midnight and finding them full of people of literally all ages is just incredible. It's incredibly romantic in the literal and aesthetic sense of the word.
 
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Barcelona is seriously cool, but the correct answer to this question is actually 'Edinburgh'.
 

Get Smart

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Originally Posted by Matt
Barcelona is seriously cool, but the correct answer to this question is actually 'Edinburgh'.

lol, now why arent I surprised.
 

DrBassie

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I haven't been to Barcelona, but Vienna is awesome. Public transportation is excellent. Great history, great weather. I don't think you'd be disappointed.
 

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