Once you've sorted your apartment lodging out the next thing to do is to head down to the Mercat de La Boqueria, undoubtedly a haven for the senses providing an innteresting and diverse choice of fresh goods and local harvests to choose from, as well as goods from regional provinces and all over the globe which will entice you to rustle up your very own 5 star meal in your apartment kitchen.

There are hidden charges when eating out in Barcelona, some eating places charge VAT at 7% percent, others will provide wine and water at no extra cost, but there's no harm asking what the price includes before sitting down. With a binding afternoon siesta in place don't expect restaurants and stores to be open until later in the day.

Always keep an eye on your personal belongings and don't leave them unattended on the table if eating on an outside terrace as they just might disappear. Don't sweat about how much to tip either, it's really up to you how much you leave, if you leave anything at all.

Planning your holiday before you go enables you to check out the freebies in the city, which art galleries and museums are free for example. There are literally hundreds of museums here and whilst some are free every day, others are only free on Wednesdays and Sundays. The national art gallery of Catalonia, Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya, is free to under-15s, the over-65s, and everyone on the first Sunday of the month. MNAC has an interesting collection of Catalan and avant-garde art, as well as works from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum to give you a distinct perspective to its culture which should be sufficient enough to keep you entertained.

Art lovers can also check out the gallery scene at the Fundacio Caxiaforum, or hit the streets for free lectures on photography or just surf the city's many galleries. Free entry to parks give you a peaceful haven to chill out and a few hours away from the crowds, check out Montjuic, and Parc d'en Castell de l'Oreneta.

Parc de la Ciutadella is huge and invites you to chill out on its sprawling grounds, while Parc Guell will arouse your senses with its magical compositions. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Parc Guell has wonderful serpentine paths, flamboyant stone structures and pavilions that are out of this world. The MACBA, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, gives complimentary workshops in the auditoriums and you can wander around the Study Center, Library Reading Room and Special Collections Room studying the large collection of books, publications and archives that are open to the public.

Some of the best gems for art and architect lovers are actually outside the museums and located in public places like the Parc de la Crueta del Coll and the Font Magica. Modern creations compete with ancient ones standing shoulder to shoulder, and sticking out, pun intended, from the crowd is Jean Nouvel's sparkling skyscraper the Torre Agbar soaring into the sky at an impressive 34 stories tall and over 142 meters in height.

Plan your weekend away in advance and you'll see lots of places to visit to give a taste of the culture, and the apartments are cheap to stay in too if you are on a tight budget but still want to enjoy the Catalonian capital.

Mathieu writes about http://www.cocoonbarcelona.com/en/apartments-gothic-quarter-barcelona.php and http://www.cocoonbarcelona.com/en/cheap-apartments-barcelona.php.
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