my husband and I will be arriving in Barcelona by cruise ship on thur afternoon in November 2006
Our flight to the US leaves at 9:30 am on Fri.
morning are there a lot of taxis at 7 am and is the traffic thru the city heavy. Should we plan on staying in hotel near the airport Thurs nite?
Even with morning traffic, you should be able to make your flight if you leave early enough. I would make the most of it and stay in Barcelona. It is such a great city. We always try to add at least a couple of night before and after a cruise just to enjoy the city's great beaches, shopping, restaurants and such.
If you decide to stay in Barcelona, try the HOTEL ARTS - incredible! Right on the Med with great views of the marina and just a few blocks from Las Ramblas - the walking "street". I would also recommend very highly the restaurant Botafumeiro for great seafood.
I like the Hotel Claris a lot! It is a tad expensive, but the rooms and service are well worth it. The price includes an incredible breakfast and the location is perfect if you want to be away from the Las Ramblas confusion.
...if you want to be away from the Las Ramblas confusion.
Tom, one question - Why? Anyone going to Barcelona and doesn't experience Las Ramblas is missing an important (I think) part of the city - tantamount to saying "oh, don't go to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul - it's too crowded"
Spending a good amount of time on Las Ramblas and exploring the Gothic district is certainly on everyone's list of "things to do" when visiting Barcelona, it is just that Barcelona is so much more than these famous touist areas. If folks also want access to excellent shopping, restaurants, sights and the local Barcelona culture, I like the Hotel Claris. Just my opinion.
In Istanbul, I like the Hotel Marmar, which is nowhere near the Grand Bazaar, but visiting the Grand Bazaar is the number one thing to do in my opinion. However, dinner on top of the Hotel Marmar with a 360 degree view of all of Istanbul, superb service and excellent food is also something I would not miss. I guess it is all in what folks want to experience when they visit a port.