Category: Others

Barcelona, Spain

A- Overview:
Barcelona is the most cosmopolitan and economically active city in Spain, and has always managed to stay ahead or abreast of the latest international trends. This is evident in the architecture, which so accurately reflects the zest for life of this city of vivid colors and boundless energy.

Barcelona is stretched out on a plain next to the Mediterranean sea in the very north of the Spanish coast, bordering France, between the rivers Llobregat and Besos and between two mountains, Collserola and Montjuïc.The result is scenic beauty beyond measure.

Barcelona is steeped in history, as witnessed by the grandeur of its architectural treasures from the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods. During the last century, Antoní Gaudí, led his contemporaries in adding new and exciting strokes to the pallatte as Modernist themes were blended with those of the past. Modernism is characterized by the predominance of curves over straight lines, the richness and detail of decoration, the frequent use of floral motifs, the taste for asymmetry, the use of a refined aestheticism and the dynamism of forms. Checking this list against any building designed or built by Gaudí will have the viewer nodding vigorously in agreement!

Barcelona is a progressive, commercially sophisticated, upper middle class European city, while at the same time being traditionalist and typically Mediterranean. This dichotomy between tradition and progress is a characteristic of the city and of its nearly two million inhabitants. In preparation for the 1992 Olympics 250 acres were cleared along the commercial waterfront, and a total transformation took place. The result was a spectacular five mile long beach and promenade that are now enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. As usual, this ultimate designer city, again reinvented itself.

Wherever you stay in Barcelona, the excellent public transportation system gives easy access to the entire city. A visitor might choose to stay in the old town near the bustling boulevard known as La Rambla within walking distance of centuries old, architecturally splendid buildings. Another choice would be the spacious Eixample district with its wealth of shopping opportunities and fine restaurants. Whatever the choice, Barcelonians will be delighted to have you sharing the beauty of their city.

English is not widely spoken and all signs are in Catalan and also in Spanish. However, there are many guided tours of the city and its sights that are available with English speaking guides. Barcelona has over 50 museums and galleries, many parks and a wide selection of waterfront noteworthy attractions. Modern art lovers shouldn’t miss the Contemporary Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum. Barcelona hosts some of the world’s greatest classical musicians including Montserrat Caballé and José Carreras. Many contemporary theater and dance companies perform year round. Modern music fans will enjoy the rock, jazz and salsa clubs. The tradition of dance halls also lives on in Barcelona.

Sports enthusiasts will find plenty of action in Barcelona. Sea fishing, hiking, water sports golf and cycling are some of the favorite forms of recreation. Soccer is the national sport and is almost elevated to a religion in Barcelona. Basketball, hockey and handball are also popular team sports that fill the local arenas.

Catalonia is a society, with deep-rooted relationships, in which great importance is given to the family. Children are loved and welcomed. When traveling with children, visitors may prefer a slower pace. One way to spend a relaxing and refreshing family day is to visit The Parc de la Ciutadella which is located near the Old Town and the waterfront. It has shade trees, acres of lawn, a boating lake and Spain’s best zoo with over 7,000 animals. Beautiful beaches are within easy reach, and Barcelona also has many fine swimming pools. The weather is mild and sunny most of the year. Gaudí’s fairy tale-like buildings, the 200 foot statue of Christopher Columbus pointing out to sea, much of what makes Barcelona so appealing to adults is also inherently appealing to children.

In the shopping districts, the windows display the latest fashions for the very slim, but extravagently delicious culinary delights are everywhere. Hundreds of restaurants and cafés in every price range are conveniently located in all parts of the city and surrounding area. Crafts, antiques, ceramics, art objects, fashions, books: there is no limit to the wide array of offerings at the shops, markets, and stalls throughout the city.

Festivals and carnivals brighten every season. There is always something to celebrate in Barcelona from the grape harvest in the Fall to the Feast of Santa Eulalia in the winter and the marvelous Terrassa Jazz Festival in the Spring, followed by the summer arts festival and many more.
There is no question that Barcelona seems to have discovered the secret to eternal youth!

B- City information:
Population:
1,505,581 in the city and a total of over 4,000,000 in city and suburbs.

Elevation:
On the plain the elevation is only about 12 feet, but the city’s highest point, in the Collserola Hills at Tibidabo Amusement Park, is 1,680 feet above sea level.

Time Zone:
Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour: Time in Lisbon is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York. (7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.) Barcelona uses the 24 hour clock, so the numeral 1 on a US watch would be read as 1in the early morning or 13 in the afternoon, etc. Transportation timetables and schedules will use this method of representation of time. (designations of am and pm are unnecessary)

International Dialing Code:
All numbers for Barcelona begin with 93 and have 7 additional digits. The country code is 34. (use the country code only when calling Barcelona from another country).
Phone booths take coins. Some take credit cards and phone cards.
To call the US from Barcelona using your telephone calling card, please check with your card issuer as each company has its own codes.

Emergency:
General: 112 police: 346 61 41;
fire: 080;
ambulance 061
Tourist Police 93 301 9060
Lost Property 93 402 3161
Directory Assistance/Operator: 1003

Accessing email and the internet:
El Cafe de Internet Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 656 Tel.(+343) 4121915 / or 93 302 1154

Currency:
Throughout Spain the medium of currency is the euro. The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks and stores. As in the U.S., some banks charge a fee and a transaction tax, so check with the banks to find the best value.

Customs Regulations:
Telephone Tourist information in New York City (212) 265-8822 for information.

Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
High Low
January – March 59 41
April – June 75 50
July – September 82 66
October – December 70 46

Winter evenings in Barcelona can be chilly. From mid April through mid June and from September through mid October, the weather is mild and pleasant. August often becomes so hot and humid that many businesses close for vacations. Rainfall is moderate throughout the year.
Useful Measurements:
Equivalent Weights and Measures
1 cm – 0.39 inches
1 meter – 3.28 feet / 1.09 yards
1 km – 0.62 miles
1 liter – 0.26 gallons
1 inch – 2.54 cm
1 foot – 0.39 meters
1 yard – 0.91 meters
1 mile – 1.60 km
1 gallon – 3.78 liters

National Holidays:
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day
January 6 Feast of the Epiphany (Els Reis)
March 19 Feast of St. Joseph
Good Friday (date varies – March or April)
Easter Monday (date varies – March or April)
June 24 Feast of St. Joan
June Midsummer’s Eve
August 15 Feast of the Assumption
September 11 La Diada: Catalan National Day
September 24 La Mercé Festival
October 12 Hispanitat: Spanish National Day
November 1 All Saints’ Day
December 6 Constitution Day
December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 St. Stephen’s Day

Religious Services:

Roman Catholic: tel. 93 204 4962 (at Paroisse Françoise (Mass in French and English)

Anglican:
tel. 93 417 8867 (St. George’s Church)

Jewish:
tel. 93 200 6148 (Sinogoga de la Communidad)

Public restrooms:
Public restrooms are difficult to find in most places. It is best to ask for els serveis (Catalan) or los aseos (Spanish) in a café, hotel or department store and be directed to the employee rest rooms. Always carry toilet tissue, as that is usually not provided.

Smoking:
Many people in Spain smoke and very few restaurants have no smoking areas or tables.

Electricity:
The electrical current in Spain is 220 volts, 50 cycle AC, and outlets have openings for two round pins. Some older buildings still have 125v systems, but plugs look the same for either system. The difference is that appliances such as heaters which require higher voltage should not be plugged into the 125v system. American appliances will need a plug adapter and will require a three tier standard travel converter if they do not have a dual voltage capability.

Visitors with disabilities:
Spain is attempting to accommodate the needs of travelers with disabilities, but so far progress has been slow. Telephone Federació at 93 451 5550 for additional information.

Post Office:
Spain’s postal service is called Correos. it is quite slow, but express (urgente) mail is available. Stamps can be purchased from tobacconists (estanc) Main Correos are open from 8-9 Mon.-Fri. and 9-7 on Saturday. In Catalan addresses, the street name is written first, followed by the number. Zip codes have 5 digits.

How to get around:
Barcelona has an excellent bus and Metro system. A map of the city and transportation systems is essential for ease of travel.

Metro:
There are 5 color coded metro lines which are also numbered 1-5. Tickets are inexpensive. The best value is a T-1 card which gives 10 rides for the price of 5 1/2 and can be used on all forms of public transport (bus, Metro, and FGC lines)

Bus :
Service is efficient and regular.

Trains:
Estacío de Sants is the city’s main train station, for national and some international arrivals. The Estació de França (or Estació Terminal), next to the Parc de la Ciutadella, is the terminal for long-distance Spanish and European express and inter-city trains.
FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Cataluña) travels into the hill country and around the city.

Ferries:
Ferries Tickets for Balearic ferries from Transmediterránea, at the Estacío Maritima tel. 93 443 2532. Book in advance in July and August.

Taxis:
Black and yellow Barcelona taxis are metered and fares are reasonably priced. Luggage is extra. A small tip is appreciated.

Air Travel:
The airport, 12km southwest of the city, is linked by a half-hourly train service. Many trains from the airport also run on to Plaça de Catalunya, a more direct way of reaching the Barri Gòtic. Alternatively, there’s the efficient Airbus (Aerobus; Mon-Fri every 15min, Sat-Sun every half-hour; 6/6.30-11; 450ptas), which departs from outside the terminals on a circular route and runs into the centre via Plaça España, Gran Vía, Plaça de Catalunya and Passeig de Grácia.

Note:
Traffic drives on the right side of the road in Spain. Driving in the city center is not advised. There are approximately 400,000 parking spaces for the daily infusion of 600,000 cars. The public transportation system is excellent and a car is not necessary.

C- Attractions / Things To Do:
Barrio Gótico (Old Town)
Metro lines 1,3 and 4 Jaume I Station is in the heart of the district The Gothic Quarter is one of the oldest and most interesting parts of Barcelona. The square of Sant Jaume was the site of the Forum in the days of the Roman Empire, and there are many remnants of old fortification walls still standing. Also.located in the square are the Palacio de la Generalitat and Palacio del Ayuntiento (Townhall).
In Calle Paradis, on top of the mountain Táber, there is old millstone. Iberian tribes lived here long before the time of the Roman empire. At Plaza del Rei can be found the Palacio Real Mayor, Iglesia de Santa Agata and Palacio del Archivo de la Corona de Aragón. The Gothic cathedral and the medieval palaces of Casa dels Canonges, Pia Almoina and Ardiaca are close by.

Casa de l’ Ardiaca
Carrer de Santa Llúcia 1
93 318 1195
Metro Jaume 1
Mon-Fri 9-8:45
Standing beside what was the Bishop’s gate in the Roman wall is the Archdeacon’s house. It was built in the 12th century, but its present form dates from around 1500 when it was remodeled and a colonnade added. In 1870 this was extended by the addition of a Gothic patio around the fountain. A Modernista architect, Domenech I Monrtaner added a fanciful marble mailbox, carved with three swallows and a tortoise which stands beside the Renaissance portal. The city archives are housed upstairs.

Cathedral de Barcelona
Plaça de la Seu
93 315 1554
Built between 1298 and 1450, the cathedral is an excellent example of Catalonian Gothic architecture. It was begun in 1298 under Jaume II on the foundations of a Roman temple and a Moorish mosque.Its large bell towers blend medieval and Renaissance styles. Beautiful cloisters, the high altar, the side chapels, the sculptured choir and Gothic arches are among the features that make this one of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe. A garden of magnolias is surrounded by vaulted galleries in the cloisters. The cloister is illuminated on Sundays and feast days and contains a museum displaying medieval art. Among the works displayed is Bartolomé Bermejo’s La Pietat. A plaque near the baptismal font records the baptism of six native Americans of the Carribean brought to Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Every Sunday noon passersby join in dancing the sardana, a Catalonian folk dance, in front of the cathedral.

Frederic Mares Museum
Plaça Sant Iu 5
93 310 5800
Daily except Mondays from 10 – 5
Sundays and Public Holidays from 9 – 2
The sculptor Frederic Mares I Deulovol (1893-1991) was a traveler and collector. This building is part of the Royal Palace complex and was occupied by 13th century bishops, 14th century counts, 15th century judges and 16th century nuns. Mares had a small apartment in the building and opened the museum in 1948. It is a fasscinating place and boasts a fine collection of Romanesque and Gothic religious art. Exhibits range from clocks, crucifixes and costumes to antique cameras, pipes, tobacco jars and postcards. There is also a room full of antique children’s toys.

Museum of the History of the City of Barcelona
Casa Calriana Padellas. Plaça del Rei.
93 315 11 11
July, August and September 10 – 8 Sun 10 – 2 p.m. Rest of the year 10 – 2 and 4 – 8 Sundays and Holidays 10 – 2 . Closed on Mondays all year.
The museum occupies a Gothic building that in 1931 was brought stone by stone from its original location in Carrer dels Mercaders. During the excavation at this site, the remains of Roman water and drainage systems, baths, mosaic floors, and a road were found. The basement now contains these treasures of some of the ancient construction of Roman Barcelona. The three other floors have exhibits relating to local history and post Roman development..). There are many documents, prints, paintings, sculptures and ceramics.

Palau Reial Major (Royal Palace)
Plaça del Rei
93 315 1111
Originally the palace of the counts of Barcelona, this later became the residence of the kings of Aragón. During the Inquisition, the accused were tried in this square.
Of particular interest are the Salon de Tinell, a 14th century banquet hall with a wood paneled ceiling, the Mirador del Rei Martí containing a gothic chapel of 14th century design and the ceremonial hall of the counts of Barcelona, where Christopher Columbus is said to have been received by the king and queen after returning from America.

Palau de la Generalitat (Parliament Building)
Plaçe de Sant Jaume
93 402 4600
Catalonia’s parliament building constructed in gothic and renaissance styles, has a superbly designed chapel and stone staircase that rises to an open air, arcaded gallery.

Palau del Ayuntiento (Townhall)
The facade is of neoclassic, the inner court of gothic style.

The Palau de la Música Catalana
At the corner of Carrer adeu Vives stands this fascinating building: the work of the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a follower of Gaudí. The Palau de la Música dates from 1908, and its interior is the most typical of the modernist style. Polychrome materials (tiled mosaics, stained glass); floral themes and the figures with the body in mosaic and the bust in relief were created by Eusebi Arnau. To the left of the stage there is a willow tree in stone, sculpted by Pau Gargallo, evoking Catalan folk song in the person of Anselm Clavé and the girls of the song Les Flors de Maig. The right-hand side depicts international music, with the bust of Beethoven and the ride of Wagner’s Valkyries. The Palau de la Música was created as the home and the concert hall of the Orfeó Català, a great choral society founded a few years earlier by the composer Lluís Millet. It should be noted here that the Orfeó Català has had great importance in the development of Catalan popular music.

La Rambla
This boulevard is about 1 1/2 miles in length and is situated between Plaza de Catalunya and the port in the Barrio Gótico section of Barcelona. It is the main artery of Barcelona’s street system. People of every age and social class can be found here. Shoe shine boys, small stands selling flowers and vegetables, street theater, commercial galleries, cafeterias, terraces as well as some of the great theaters of the city.

Postal Museum
Palace of La Virreina La Rambla, 99.
93 301 7775.
Monday to Friday from 9:30- 2 by prior arrangement.

Wax Museum
Pasaje de la Banca, 7 (at the end of La Rambla)
93 317 2649
Contains a collection of wax figures representing famous people from the world of the arts, science, history, etc.

The Mercado de La Boquería
This is the most important and most visited market of Barcelona, while Pla de la Boqueriawas the old center of town. In Palacio de la Virreina, today seat of the culture department of the regional government, frequently you can see expositions of art. Impressive is Casa Bruno Cuadros with its dragon at the front. You arrive to Plaça Reial, a beautiful square with arcades, palms, fountains and luxurious shops. Here lived in former times the bourgeoisie, but today it is the heart of an artists district and offers charming ambience with its pubs and cafés. Sundays are a popular market day for coin and stamp collectors.

Museum of Geology
La Ciutadella Park. Passeig Tillers.
93 319 6895.
daily except Mondays from 10-2.
This is Barcelona’s oldest museum. It was opened in 1882. It has a large collection of fossils and minerals, including specimens from Catalonia and around the country.

Museum of Modern Art
La Ciutadella Park. Plaça de Armas.
93 319 5023
Metro: Arc de Triomf
daily except Mondays 10 -7
Has paintings and sculptures from the end of the 18th century up to the present day. There are paintings by Fortuny, Rusiñol, Casas, Nonell, Regoyos, Zuloaga, Sunyer, Sotomayor and Solana as well as sculptures by Llimona, Gargallo, Hugue, Clara and Rebull. there are also some bold pieces of Modernista furniture acquired from the houses in the Eixample.

Palau Güell
(1886-1889)
Carrer Nou de la Rambla 3-5
Gaudi’s first major building in the center of the city was commissioned by his life long patron, Eusebi Güell in 1889. The mansion stands on a small plot of land in a narrow street. Inside Gaudí created a sense of space by using carved screens, recesses and galleries. Furniture designed by him is also on display. With its cupola, stairways and impressive windows the house seems to be of giant dimensions, but its base is only 40×60 feet.

La Llotja (Commodity Exchange)
Carrer del Consolat de Mar 2
Metro: Jaume I
Built in the 1380’s as the headquarters of a guild of Catalan sea traders, it was remodeled in neo classical style in 1771 and housed the city’s stock exchange until 1994. The upper floor housed the Barcelona School of Fine Arts where the young Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró both studied. The building is now being used as a public library and as local government offices.

Picasso Museum
Montcada, 15 – 19
Metro: Jaume I
Tuesday – Saturday and Holidays 10 – 8 , Sunday 10 – 3 , Monday closed. The collections are housed in three adjoining medieval palaces on Carrer Montcada.
The works are divided into three sections: paintings and drawings; engravings and ceramics. The most valuable exhibit is the 3,000 piece collection of Picasso’s early drawings and paintings. These show that even at the age of 15 and 16 he was painting major works. Picasso arrived in Barcelona when he was 13. He was admitted to the upper school where all the other pupils were at least 20 years of age.

Zoological Museum
La Ciutadella Park.
93 319 6912
daily except Mondays from 9 – 2
Built as a restaurant for the 1888 Universal Exhibition and inspired by the Gothic style Llotja (commodities exchange), it has housed the museum since 1937. Exhibition of stuffed animals and interesting zoological study collections.

Thyssen Bornemisza Collection Foundation
Baixda Monestir, 9
93 280 1434
Daily: 10 – 2 . Saturday 10 – 5 . Closed Mondays 71 paintings and 8 sculptures from the most representative areas of the whole collection: Italian and German painting. It takes you on a journey through the history of art from the 13th century to the 18th, with examples of Italian Renaissance, European Baroque, northern European painting and late Venetian Baroque.

Barcelona and the Sea
La Barceloneta
Located just below the City center on a triangle of land jutting into the sea. Originally this was a district of fishermen, but during the last years this has changed dramatically. The ambience of a maritime village is still present, but young business people have discovered the excellence of the seafood and restaurants have renovated to accommodate the crowd The offerings range from a fashionable harbor-tavern to moderately priced and more expensive restaurants and cafés.

Maritime Museum
Located in the medieval Reales Atarazanas (Royal Arsenals). Av. Drassanes. 93 318 3245.
Open daily except Mondays from 10-7.
Contains objects and documents relating to the history of navigation, as well as the Llibre del Consolat de Mar (the oldest legislative book on maritime law in existence). The Cartography and Scale Model sections are of particular interest.

Nao de Santa Maria del Mar
An accurate replica of Columbus’ ship Santa Maria, on which he was sailed to the Americas.

Montjuic
The mountain of Montjuic, rising to 699 feet above the port on the south side of the city is Barcelona’s largest recreation area. The Romans called it Mons Jovis and built a temple to Jupiter there. A Jewish cemetery on the hill probably inspired its name (Mount of the Jews). Until 1640 when the castle was built, there were few buildings due to the lack of water. This trend was reversed in preparation for the World’s Fair of 1929 when a building boom occurred. Huge exhibition halls lined the avenue and the Font Mágica (Magic Fountain) sprang up in the center. The fountain is now illuminated in color. Another building surge took place prior to the 1992 Olympic Games. This has left Barcelona with world class sports facilities. On top of the mountain, surrounded by beautiful parks, there is a 17th century fortress. As in other districts of Barcelona, the old and the new reside together.

Archeological Museum
Montjuic Park. Paseo de Sta. Madrona.
93 423 2149
9:30 – 1:30 and 3:30 – 7 (except Mondays). Sundays and Public Holidays from 10 -2.
Exhibits from Prehistoric times to the 7th century, with some rooms reserved for interesting artifacts from Balearic cultures. Magnificent collection of Roman mosaics.

Bullfighting Museum
Located in the Monumental Bullring
245 5803.
Open during the bullfighting season from 10:30 – 2 and 4 to 7.
On bullfighting days the museum is open in the morning from 10 – 1 only. It consists of two large rooms and exhibits the branding-irons and emblems of famous stock farms, the heads of famous bulls, a collection of posters from the past, old tickets, the suits of famous bullfighters and rejoneadores (mounted bullfighters), photographs, documents, documents, a library and other objects relating to bullfighting in general.

Calrá Museum
Calatrava, 27.
93 203 4058.
Open daily except Mondays from 9:30-1:30.
Contains a collection of sculptures by Calrá.

Ethnological Museum
Avinguda Santa Madrona Montjuic Park
93 424 6807
Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (24 September to 24 June) Wednesday, Friday Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Contains objects from the American Civilization before Columbus; also artifacts from the Philippines, Asia and Africa.

Footwear Museum
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri.
93 301 4533.
Open daily except Mondays from 11-2.

Gallery of Famous Catalans
Calle Bisbe Caçador, 3. Requesens Palace
93 315 0010.
Visits by prior arrangement Monday to Friday from 9 – 2
(Telephone for reservation: Museum of the City of Barcelona 315 1111). Contains a collection of portraits of the great figures of Catalan history.

Gaudí House and Museum
Next to the Carretera del Carmel.
93 284 6446.
Open daily except Saturdays.
Located in the house where Gaudi lived. Guëll Park.

Holographical Museum
Jaume I, 1 (next to the Plaça de Sant Jaume)
93 310 2172.
Monday to Saturday from 10:30-1:30 and 5:30-8:30. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Contains holograms and demonstrates holographic techniques.

Miró Foundation
Centre of Studies of Contemporary Art.
Located on the hill of Montjuic. Montjuic Park.
93 329 1908.
Open daily except Mondays from 11- 7. Sundays and Public Holidays from 10:30 – 2:30.
This private, cultural foundation was set up by the painter Joan Miró and has exhibition rooms, an auditorium, a library, a prints archive and areas set aside for artistic and other exhibits. There are three courtyards, gardens and upper terraces for outdoor exhibitions, as well as a permanent exhibition of the works of Joan Miró. The white, luminous building was the work of the architect J.L. Sert.

Montjuic Castle Military Museum
Montjuic Castle.
329 8613
Open daily except Mondays from 9:30 – 1:30 and 3:30 – 7:30.
Has a valuable collection of weapons and historical documents.

Museum of Catalan Art
Montjuic Palace
93 423 7199
daily except Mondays 10 – to 7 Thursday 10-9 Sun. 10-2:30
Contains collections of Romanesque and Catalan-Gothic art:; 11th and 12th century murals (perhaps the best collection in the world), altar pieces and carvings. Spanish and European Baroque art are also well represented.

Museum of Funeral Carriages
Sancho de Avila, 2
93 484 1720.
Monday to Friday from 9 – 2. Saturdays and Sundays: Visits by arrangement.

Museum of the History of Medicine
Pasaje Mercader, 11
93 216 0500
Open Monday to Friday from 10-1.
Contains a collection of some 2,500 exhibits showing the evolution of medicine, as well as the personal effects of the great masters of Catalan medicine.

Textile and Costume Museum
Montcada, 12.
93 310 4516
Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 5 Sundays and Holidays 10 – 2 Closed on Mondays. Palace of the Marquis of Llio. Rocora collection. Embroidery section.

Vedraguer Museum
Vila Joana.
93 204 7805.
Open daily except Mondays from 10 -2.
The home of the Catalan poet Jacint Verdaguer.

Buildings designed or enhanced by Gaudí

Bellesguard
(1900-1909), C. Bellesguard
Landmark of Catalonia. This gothic building, formerly summer-residence of King Martí I., was modified by Gaudí in genial harmony with the original.

Casa Batllo
(1904-1906) , Passeig de Gracia 43
Another futurist work, with no single straight line at its front. Even the walls are curved and seem to be covered by leather.

Casa Calvet
(1898-1900) , Carrer de Casp
Perhaps the most traditional work of this master of extravagance. That might be the reason why Gaudí received for this building his one and only honorable mention by the city of Barcelona.

Casa Mila
(1906-1910) , Passeig de Gràcia 92
The irregularly curved walls of this building remind of dunes in the desert. When it was made, this building was too futurist for most people, and gained the nickname La Pedrera, the quarry. Today it is considered a landmark work of modern architecture.

Casa Vincens
(1883-1888)
Carrer de les Carolines 18-24
Gaudí’s first architectural work, and a milestone in his career. The building resembles the palace of an Arabian prince, but was made for the owner of a tile factory – material of which Gaudí made ample use.

Colegio Teresiano
(1888-1889)
Ganduxer, 87
When he built this school, Gaudí evidently was inspired by gothic style and created a masterpiece of simple and clear lines.

Finca Güell
(1884-1887), Av. de Pedralbes 77
Through a narrow portal the visitor enters a fantastic world of forms and colors, which the genial architect created for his friend and sponsor, industrialist Eusebi Güell.

The portal of Finca Miralles
Passeig Manuel Girona
Only a small work for another friend of his, in an interesting contrast to Casa Calvet, which was made during the se period of time.

El Ensanche (Eixample) The Expansion
The modern center of Barcelona, built between 1870 and 1936, was planned by civil engineer Ildefons Cerdá I Sunyer (1815-1876), who wanted to create an luxurious district for the bourgeoisie and to enlarge the city to five times its original size. His goal was achieved. All the streets in the area cross rectangularly, an unusual thing in European town planning. The best known monuments in El Ensanche are the works of Antoní Gaudí, e.g. the great cathedral Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Palacio Güell, together with Casa de los Punxes and Casa atler de Puig i Cadalfach, all of them masterworks of modernistic style. The central square is Plaza de Catalunya, whose dimensions are comparable to those of the Vatican in Rome. Regularly this square is modified, most recently in 1986.

Passeig de Gràcia
Along this boulevard, between the streets Consell de Cent and Aragó on the southwestern side, stands the famous city block popularly known as l’illa de la discòrdia , due to the contrast in the architecture of its buildings, all from the first decade of the 20th century. The building at the seaward end of the block is the Lleó Morera mansion, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, built in modernist floral style. This is followed by two buildings of a modernized Louis XV type, by Enric Sagnier, and a neo-Gothic mansion decorated with polychrome tiles, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Next door is the Batlló house , with a mosaic façade and a tiled roof, by Antoni Gaudí. A little farther up the street, on the right-hand side on the corner of Carrer Provença, is the Milà mansion ‘La Pedrera’, designed by Gaudí shortly after the completion of the Batlló house . The uniqueness of La Pedrera is not limited to the sculptural forms of its façade, but also extends to the interior of the building.

The one hundred city blocks centering on the Paseig de Gràcia,are known as the Quadrat d’Or (Golden Square) as they contain so many of the buildings constructed in the best Modernista style. Stained glass, ceramics and ornamental ironwork abound. The area is a showcase of highly original buildings and smart shops.

Sagrada Familia (The Temple of the Holy Family)
(1883-1926)
Plaça de la Sagrada Filia
Situated to one side of the Plaça de la Sagrada Fília, between the streets Marina, Provença, Sardenya and Mallorca, stands the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, which was initially a neo-Gothic project designed by the architect Francesc de Paula del Villar. Gaudí was commissioned to continue the work in 1891, and replaced the existing project with a much more ambitious one which resulted in the enormous present-day structure.
Sagrada Familia was designed to convey religious symbolism. It has three monumental facades: the east front, dedicated to the Birth of Christ; the west front, dedicated to the Passion and Death; and the south front, the facade of the Glorification, which is the largest of all. The four towers of each of the three facades jointly symbolize the twelve apostles. The dome shaped tower which crowns the apse is the symbol of the Mother of God, and the four large towers dedicated to the evangelists encircle the central spire, which symbolizes the Savior.
This great cathedral, inspired by the Gothic style, yet a landmark of modern architecture, is in reality not much more than a facade. Gaudí died unexpectedly before he could finish his grandest and most beloved project. Gaudi had sold everything he owned to contribute to the cathedral’s construction and lived as a pauper in a shack on the site while he oversaw the building process. The plans for its completion were locked in his head when he was run over by a tram in 1926. There should be galleries with space for 1500 singers, 700 children and 5 organs and the magnificent structure should be filled with hymns of praise. Instead, the project lies dormant. The question is whether it will ever be finished.

Hospital de la Santa Creu I de Sant Pau
Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret 167
93 291 9000
Grounds open daily. Call to see interior.
Hospital of 15th and 16th century, together with a church of 15th century and an archive building. Luis Domenech Montaner believed that patients would recover more rapidly in a beautiful setting. Thus, he envisioned a hospital with 26 attractive pavilions set in large gardens. He hoped to get patients out of wards and into the out of doors where there were fresh air and trees. The pavilions were decorated lavishly in bright colors to cheer those who were ill. The turreted roofs were tiled with ceramics and the reception pavilion embellished with mosaic murals and sculptures. After his death, the project was completed by his son, Pere.

Perfume Museum
Passeig de Gracia, 39
93 216 0146.
Open Monday to Friday from 10:30 -1:30 and 4:30 to 8. Closed on Saturdays afternoon, Sundays and Public Holidays.
Contains a valuable collection of scent bottles and cosmetics jars dating from antiquity to the present day.

Museum of Music
Avinguda Diagonal 373
93 416 1157.
daily except Mondays from 9-2. Wednesday 5 – 8
Contains string and wind instruments, manuscripts and personal effects of the great musicians.

Attractions in the Area Just Outside the City Center

Note: Much of this area was developed in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Sants, the city’s main station was rebuilt and the neighboring Parc de l”Espanya Industrial and Parc Joan Miró were created containing futuristic sculpture and architecture. Close to the Poblenou the city has a national theter and concert hall. In the west the streets climb steeply toward the Royal Palace and Monastery of Pedralbes and Parc Güell. Tibidabo, the highest point in Barcelona has an amusement park and is reached by funicular.

Museum of Barcelona Football (Soccer) Club
Avinguda Aristides Maillol. (Stadium).
93 330 9411
Open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10-1 and 3-6. Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from 10-2 (closed on match days).
April to October: Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Holy days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed on Sundays.
Explains the club’s history and displays its trophies. Special video shown on five screens. Includes visit to the presidential box.

Museum of the Monastery of Pedralbes
At the end of the Paseo de Reina Elisenda
Baixda Monestir 9
93 203 9282
Open Tuesday – Friday and Sunday 10 – 2 Saturday 10 – 5 Closed on Mondays. This building, which is of great architectural value, contains personal property which shows the history of the monastery.

Museum of the Arts, Industry and Popular Traditions
Poble Espanyol
93 423 6954. Call for times.
The streets and roads built for the 1929 World Exhibition give a glimpse of the country’s many architectural styles. Reproductions range from the gleaming white houses of Andalucia to the flat granite facades of Galicia, all blended to form one “village.” The buildings house restaurants, cafés, and workshops where crafts and artifacts from all over Spain are displayed. In the evenings dinner is served accompanied by live music and flamenco dancing.

The Palau de la Música Catalana
At the corner of Carrer adeu Vives stands this building, the work of the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a follower of Gaudí. The Palau de la Música dates from 1908, and its interior is the most important testimony of the modernist style. Here we find polychrome materials (tiled mosaics, stained glass); the floral themes and the figures with the body in mosaic and the bust in relief are by Eusebi Arnau. To the left of the stage there is a willow tree in stone, sculpted by Pau Gargallo, evoking Catalan folk song in the person of Anselm Clavé and the girls of the song Les Flors de Maig. The right-hand side evokes international music, with the bust of Beethoven and the ride of Wagner’s Valkyries. The Palau de la Música was created as the home and the concert hall of the Orfeó Català, a great choral society founded a few years earlier by the composer Lluís Millet. It should be noted here that the Orfeó Català has had great importance in the revaluation of Catalan popular music.

Parc Güell
(1900-1914)
Carrer d’Olot
A fascinating scenario of gardens and overdimensional architectonic forms which seem to be born by the ground. Gaudí created an equilibry that usually only exists in nature, but never in architecture. The Parc Güell.
The Parc Güell is situated on the Carmel hill, which, along with that of La Creueta and the Muntanya Pelada, separates the district of Gràcia from that of Horta. The financier Eusebi Güell decided to construct a garden city on the old estate of Can Montaner, and commissioned the project to Gaudí. Only two houses came to be built within the enclosure of the Park, which was conserved as such and which is now a municipal garden. The whole of the urban development part was realized between the years 1900 and 1914.

Science Museum
Teodor Roviralta, 55
Tibidabo Station.
93 212 6050.
10 – 8 (except Mondays).
Planetarium shows. Weekdays at 1 and 6. Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays every 30 minutes (Children under 4 not admitted to planetarium shows)). Scientific film shows. Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays in the morning and the afternoon.

Ceramica Museum
Palace of Pedralbes.
93 280 1621
daily except Mondays from 10 – 5
Fine collection of Spanish and Foreign ceramics

Museum of Ceric
Palacio de Pedralbes
Tuesday to Sunday 10 to 2 , Monday closed.

Museum of Decorative Arts
Av. Diagonal, 686
Tuesday to Sunday 10 to 2 , Monday closed.
Outrageous collection of tapestry and other objects of art.

Tibidabo
Visitors arrive at the top of this mountain by the only tramway that still exists in Barc

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Children’s attractions are concentrated around Montjuïc, Tibidabo and the Port Vell, and reaching them is part of the fun! Among the transportation choices are: funiculars, trams, cable cars and golondrines (swallow boats), as well as the open-top Bus Turístic.

The Poble Espanyol
The Poble Espanyol is popular with children, with a resident glass-blower, arts and crafts demonstrations and magic and circus shows most summer weekends. On a rainy day a good, though expensive, standby can be the IMAX giant-format cinema on premises.

L’Aquàrium de Barcelona
Open Sept-August. Admission charged. One of the most attractive of its kind, the aquarium reproduces Mediterranean habitats in 21 tanks. The highlight is the 80 meter glass tunnel through a shark tank, allowing the visitor to walk through with scary sharks’ teeth inches from the face. Little ones may prefer the upstairs area which features a touching pool.

New Park
This is on the order of a video arcade similar to those found in shopping Malls in the US. Floors of video games and high-tech simulation games all wait to receive the visitor’s coins!

Nits hípiques a Barcelona (Horse shows)
Performances late June-Sept. Tickets tourist offices & Tel-entrada Admission charged.
Every Friday during summer the city police’s ornately-uniformed display team presents an exhibition of dressage on their Andalusian horses, which strut their fancy footwork to music.

Tibidabo Funfair
Admission charged.
Make a day of it by catching the Trvia Blau up the hill to the Funicular, which takes you through the woods to the top of the mountain and the funfair. Few amusement parks can compete with this spectacular mountaintop view. The park has bumper cars, Ferris wheel, as well as the infamous house of horrors, Hotel Krueger.
Museu d’Automates, a collection of old fairground machines. If you still have some energy at the end of the afternoon, consider a walk through the beautiful woods to the tram stop on the well marked path.

Catalunya en Miniatura
Apparently the largest model village in Europe, with over 170 miniatures of Catalonian monuments and buildings, and a mini train to take you around.

Zoo de Barcelona
Parc de la Ciutadella
93 225 67 80
Admission charged. Children enjoy the green, shady picnic areas, meeting the animals, watching the regular shows at the Dolphinarium, petting the animals in the farm area, and the chance to meet Copito de Nieve (Snowflake), the only albino gorilla in captivity.

Aqualeón Safari
An all-in-one water and safari park between Barcelona and Tarragona, with tigers, birds of prey and parrots as well as giant water slides, fun pools and wave machines. Captive dolphins too.

Parc de Cervantes
On the very edge of the city, this is one of Barcelona’s most beautiful parks. The grass is always green, and it has a children’s play area, a picnic site and lovely shaded lawns for relief from the heat of the afternoon.

E- Events & Entertainment:
January:
In January the main celebration is the arrival of the Three Kings from the Orient on the 5th accompanied by a parade, and on the 6th when both children and adults receive toys and gifts.

Santa Eulalia January 12. the feast of the patron saint of Barcelona is celebrated in the old town. There is dancing and many people dress up as giants.

February:
The Carnivals, held in February, are becoming more and more popular ( after having been forbidden during the years of the Franco dictatorship), and St. Valentines Day (February 14th) is also increasing in its popularity.

1st Sunday in Lent is the date of the Internacional de Cotxes d’ Epocha, a veteran car rally that runs from Barcelona to Sitges.

March:
On March 3rd the popular festival of Sant Medir is held in Grácia. There is a parade and singing by choirs. Holy Week begins with the palm fair which is held on Palm Sunday. It continues with the accompanying religious festivities and ends on Easter Monday ( the celebration of which is pagan in origin).

Throughout March there is the Terrassa Jazz Festival when musicians gather in Barcelona from all over the world. Free outdoor concerts are given on weekends.

April:
The most spectacular festival is held on April 23rd. This is the celebration in honor of Sant Jordi (St. George), the patron saint of Catalonia. It coincides with the rose and book festivals.

May:
In May a flower show is held, and on the 11th there is the festival of Sant Ponç held in El Hospital street by the city’s herbalists.

June:
A book Fair is held in the Passeig de Gracia in June and during the same month there is a Trade Exhibition in Montjuic. The Corpus Christi celebrations with processions of giants and cabezudos, and the l´Ou com Balla (the dancing egg) take place in the fountain at the Cathedral cloister.

The most popular celebration during the month of June is the Eve of Sant Joan (St. John). This is celebrated both in private homes and in public places, and there is dancing bonfires in some streets and squares and fireworks.

The Eve of Sant Pere (St. Peter), on June 28th, brings with it festivities associated with the arrival of the summer solstice.

From the end of June onwards, the Festival of el Grec begins. This consists of a series of theatrical performances as well as dancing, concerts, and other cultural events. These take place either at the Greek Theatre in Montjuic, in the open air, as well as in other locations in the city. There are also many sports tournaments and competitions and several trade fairs at the Exhibition Center.

July:
July 24th marks the Feast of Sant Jaume (St. James) and is celebrated in much the same way as the Eves of St. Joan and Sant Pere.

August:
The Feast of the Assumption (August 15th), is another popular festival which is held in the district of Gracia.

September:
The last great summer celebration is that of the Onze de Setembre (September 11th). This is a national holiday in Catalonia when various official and political ceremonies are held.
However, there are many more celebrations throughout the year in the city and in its different districts. Every district has a Saint’s Day which it celebrates with a festival.

The popular festival of La Mercé, the patron saint of Barcelona, take place around September 24th when there are folk dances such as the sardanas, parades through the streets, important sporting events (e.g. sailing, regattas, judo, swimming, walking races), religious celebrations, etc. Other events held in conjunction with the festival are fashion shows, food tasting and wine sampling.

October:
In October a Second-Hand Book Fair is held in the Passeig de Gracia and there is also a Music Festival, the Autumn Fair in El Tinell and several other fairs at the Trade Exhibition Center.

November:
In November All Hallows Day is celebrated on the 1st and All Souls Day on the 2nd. This is the time when special cakes, known locally as panellets are baked and eaten.

December:
At the time of Santa Llucias Days (December 13th) the crib fair begins in the vicinity of the Cathedral, and continues until Christmas. The opera season opens at El Liceu and the the concert season at the Palace of Music (Palau de la Musica).

Christmas is traditionally celebrated at home with the family and with the newly revived custom of fer cagar el tio (this consists of putting an object similar to a tree trunk into the fire from which presents then burst out). Christmas dinner includes escudella turkey, and torrons (a kind of nougat dessert).

The start of the New Year is celebrated in bars, restaurants, and in the street where people wear the fancy dress usually seen at street carnivals. As the clock strikes twelve they eat twelve grapes in time with each chime, a custom which is said to bring good luck if done properly!

Lautoka Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Lautoka Travel Deals

A – Overview

Sparkling white sand beaches, blue skies, coral reefs resplendent with marine life, and total relaxation in a lush, tropical setting.  These are the basic elements of a vacation in the islands of Fiji.  Fiji is very much untouched by the outside world and, in places; life has changed very little for centuries. About 90% of Fijians still live in villages in the countryside and the power of the vanua (one’s land and family ties) is still the most important cultural force.  Village communities own land in common through extended family units known as Matagli. Everything in the village is shared, and individual ownership is not understood or practiced.  Each village has a chief who is governed by a higher chief. 

 Lautoka overview

By contrast, Fiji’s capital, city, Suva, is the largest city in Melanesia and, after Auckland and Honolulu, the largest in the Pacific region. Suva is a cosmopolitan port city with a vibrant multi-cultural mix and many residents from other Pacific islands, including students at the University of the South Pacific. 

 

Suva is the only real urban centre in Fiji and is home to some interesting British colonial architecture. (Fiji was a British Crown colony from 1874-1970).  Suva’s attractions include colorful markets, the Thurston Botanical Gardens, the  Fiji Museum, the Presidential Palace, and Parliament.

 

The other deep water port in Fiji is the city of Lautoka. Lautoka is bordered by the blue Pacific Ocean on the western side and green gold sugar cane together with forests of pine trees on the other sides.  Laukota  is an important hub for Fiji’s sugar cane and timber industries and is a jumping off point for the resorts on islands in the Yasawa group where the best beaches can be found.

 

Spectacular views and historical sites can be found in Viti Levu’s largest native rainforest just 30 minutes from Lautoka.  Viti Levu at 4052 square miles, and Vanua Levu at 2160 square miles are the largest of the islands. Suva, the country’s capital is on the south-western coast of Viti Levu. The islands of Taveuni and Kadavu are also substantial in size, but the rest of the country is made up of small islands divided into the Lomaiviti, Lau, Moala, Yasawa, Mamanuca and Rotuma groups. Many of these islands are relatively untouched, and there are many beautiful reefs, lagoons, harbors, as well as natural vegetation.

 

Visitors can explore the ruins of a fascinating pre-European hill used as a battle fortification, or wander through a colonial town that has changed little in over 150 years.  It is as if time stands still or no longer matters. 

 

The Fiji islands are situated in the South Pacific, midway between Melanesia (Solomons, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea) and Polynesia (Tonga, Samoa, the Cooks and French Polynesia). They are south of the equator, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn and west of the International Dateline. About 300 islands make up the nation.

 

Thirty minutes from Lautoka, Abaca is a trekkers paradise with a wide range of trails set in a landscape of black volcanic mountains, green cloud forest and yellow grasslands. Abaca has barbecue facilities; swimming holes, a 12-bed lodge, and authentic handicrafts.  Tours with commentaries on the history and culture of the area are available. Rock climbers can make arrangements to tackle the many different cliff faces only a short distance from the lodge.

 

There are about 100 bird species, 23 of which are native. Sea life is abundant and varied, and many species of coral, sponges, tropical reef fish, rays, sharks, dolphins and whales call the Fijian waters home.

 

Most travelers go to Fiji with plans to do some swimming, snorkeling or diving, and Fiji offers these as well as some excellent surfing, river rafting, wind surfing and sailing. There are fringing reefs throughout the islands for the best in  diving and snorkeling. The Mamanucas have some dedicated surfing resorts and good waves but you need a boat to get to the offshore reefs where they break. There are also a few good breaks off Viti Levu including those near Sigatoka and the Suva lighthouse, and off Yanuca island.

 

On dry land you can enjoy cycling, trekking and horseback riding, or do some bird-watching and exploring of archaeological sites. Fiji is well equipped for tourists, and there are facilities everywhere offering equipment for hire, day tours and courses.

 

Dance is still strong in Fiji and the narrative meke performances rest on strong oral traditions. Dances are passed down from generation to generation, and in their strict forms the dancers’ bodies are said to take on spirits of the netherworld. Mekes accompanied special events like births, deaths, calls to war, marriages and property exchanges. At times of war men would perform cibis with spears and clubs, while women performed deles or wates – dances which sexually humiliated enemy captives. Traditional Indian dances are still taught in Indian communities.

 

Popular local musical artists include Seru Serevi, Danny Costello, Michelle Rounds, Karuna Gopalan, Laisa Vulakoro, the Freelancers and the Black Roses. Recordings of local music are available in Fijian stores. Music from the so called  ‘Bollywood’ films (Indian melodramas) is popular amongst Fijian Indians, and local bands play Indian songs. At Indian cultural centers performances and lessons are given in traditional Indian music featuring vocal, harmonium, tabla, and sitar ensembles.

 

Fiji is a land of ancient rituals, such as the yaqona ceremony, which is still enacted as it has been for centuries. Visitors, who are regarded as honored guests, are often welcomed to take part in these solemn occasions. The Fijian culture is based on the well-being of extended families where the interests of the group are always regarded as above those of the individual.  It is easy to become immersed in the beauty and the history that surrounds all who enter this fascinating place.   There is much to learn for those who want to come and experience the real Fiji and to discover first hand its beauty, its culture, and its welcoming people

B – City information

Population

Suva:  358,495

Lautoka:  32,000

Tourism: 300,000 visitors per year

Time: GMT/UTC plus 12 hours

 

Average Temperatures:

 

 Month  

   High

 Low

January  

   86F  

  74F

February

   86F

  74F

March  

   86F  

  74F

April  

   84F

  73F  

May  

   82F

  71F  

June  

   80F

  69F 

July  

   79F

  68F  

August  

   79F  

  68F

September  

   80F

  69F

October  

   81F

  70F

November  

   83F

  71F

December  

   85F

  73F

 

When to Visit

Its mild tropical climate means that Fiji can be enjoyed all year round.  It is a popular escape from the winters in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Perhaps the best time to go, however, is in the dry season or ‘Fiji winter’, from May to October. This time of year has cooler temperatures, less rainfall and humidity, and less risk of tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones can blow up between November and April, although they are rarely dangerous.  The prevailing winds are easterly and south-easterly; the mountainous spines of the larger islands produce clouds and greater rainfall on their windward sides. The wet season extends from November to April, but rain falls throughout the year. Daytime temperatures average around 25°C (77°F), and humidity is generally high.

 

Arriving

By Air

Nadi International Airport is Fiji’s main international gateway. Over 1.2 million international passengers, pass through its doors annually. Lautoka is situated in the western side of Viti Levu, the largest island in Fiji. It is only 25 km away (toward the north) from Nadi International Airport.

Nausori Airport is the second International Airport in Fiji situated on the Eastern Side of the main Island of Viti Levu. Nausori Airport is a thirty minute drive from the country’s capital, Suva.

Airlines operate twice weekly to Auckland and Sydney and there are also weekly flights connecting to the islands of Nuku’alofa and Funafuti.

Airports Fiji Limited manages and operates 13 smaller airstrips on the outer islands of Fiji besides the two main international airports at Nadi and Nausori.

These are Labasa, Savusavu, Matei, Rotuma, Koro, Gau, Bureta, Vanuabalavu, Lakeba, Cicia, Moala and Kadavu.

Matei Airport is located on Taveuni, a volcanic island situated on the North East of the Fiji Group, through which the International Dateline passes. Taveuni is widely known as the Garden Island of Fiji, with some of the most unique flora in the world and a lake at the crater of its highest peak. A number of exclusive resorts are dotted along its coastline

 

By Cruise Ship:  Both Suva and Lautoka have deep water ports and cruise ships put into port at both locations.

Visas: Most travelers will automatically be issued a four week tourist visa upon arrival. This includes travelers from most Commonwealth countries, most North, South and Central American countries, Western Europe, Israel and Japan. The visa is issued free of charge and you won’t have to pay for any subsequent extensions.

Electricity: 240V, 50 Hz

Weights & measures: Metric

Shopping

The city has a wide range of shops ranging from retail to wholesale. The retail outlets have basically for all items such as food, clothing, duty free items, sporting equipment, medicines, tailoring, drapery, video rental, liquor outlets and more.

Hours of Operation

Some shops open as early as 6.00am and others from 8.00 -6.00pm or 7.00pm during the week-days and on Saturday from 7.00am 1.00pm.   On Sundays and Public Holidays the shops are generally closed but the restaurants, milk bars and other essential shops remain open.

Banks

The city has five commercial banks and one exchange & Finance Company.

Getting Around

Both taxis and buses are available at both locations (Suva and Lautoka).

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Fiji Highlights

 lautoka-attractions

Lautoka

Municipal Market

The city’s municipal market has a floor area of about 58,000 meters and is filled with local people selling produce outside and inside.

 

The shopping centre is conveniently located in the central city area along Vitogo Parade, Naviti Street and Yasawa Street.

 

The city has a very wide range of shops ranging from retail to wholesale.  Some shops open as early as  6.00am and others from 8.00 -6.00pm or 7.00pm during the week-days and on Saturday from 7.00am 1.00pm.   On Sundays and Public Holidays the shops are usually closed but the restaurants, milk bars and other essential shops remain open.

 

There are all types of restaurants with a variety of dishes such as Chinese, Indian, Italian, Fijian, European, Korean, vegetarian, snack bars, etc.

 

The following sports venues are in Lautoka:

(1)Golf (Lautoka Golf Club)

(2)Soccer/ Rugby/ Cricket/ Hockey (facilities provided by Lautoka City Council at Churchill Park

Nadovu Park and at other playing fields all round the city).

(3)Netball/ Volleyball/ Basketball & Tennis (Lautoka City Council’s Multipurpose Courts).

 

Suva

Suva is Fiji’s administrative and political capital and is home to one-half of the country’s population.  It is the largest city in the South Pacific. 

Fiji‘s capital, is on the south-eastern coast of the big island of Viti Levu. While Nadi, in the west of this island, is the tourism centre of the country, Suva is interesting as the country’s political and administrative centre as well as the major port. Suva and its urban surrounds are home to half of Fiji’s urban population, and it is one of the South Pacific’s largest and most sophisticated cities, housing the University of the South Pacific, the  Fiji Museum and many interesting colonial-era buildings. It is a multicultural city with many mosques, temples, churches and cultural centres. The Roman Catholic Cathedral (1902) is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks.

 

Suva Municipal Market

Immerse yourself in the festive, friendly atmosphere of this wonderful street market, where you’ll find every tropical fruit and vegetable imaginable.

 

Parliament

Suva

330 5811

These impressive, orange-colored government buildings were modeled after traditional Fijian thatched huts, and the complex is open to visitors.

 

Municipal Handicraft Center

Suva

331 3433

Try your hand at bargaining for artifacts and handicrafts at these outdoor market stalls.

 

Colo-I-Suva Forest Park

Suva

(679) 3320211

Take a dip in one of the natural swimming pools, follow a nature trail and keep your ears and eyes ready to spot the numerous birds that inhabit this park.

 

Albert Park

Suva

This park was made famous when Charles Kingsford-Smith made an emergency landing here on his 1928 trans-Pacific flight.

 

Fiji Museum (“Na Vale Ni i Yaya Maroroi”)

Suva

679 331 5944

Open:  Mon-Thur: 9:30am – 4:00pm

Fri: 9:30am- 3.30pm

Sat & Public Holidays: 9:30am – 4:00pm; Sunday- Closed

Archaeological findings dating back 3500 years as well as cultural objects reflecting Fiji’s inhabitants during the past 100 years are housed in the oldest museum in the South Pacific.

 

Nadi

Fiji‘s third largest town is set against a mountainous backdrop on the west coast of Viti Levu. The local economy of Nadi relies almost totally on tourism.  In Nadi there are a wide range of accommodations from the simple to luxury resorts. Its Central Market offers traditional handicrafts including wood carved objects and textiles. There are a high proportion of Fiji Indians in Nadi, mostly fourth-generation descendants of the indentured laborers brought to Fiji from India during the colonial years to work in the canefields.

 

Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple

Nadi

The Temple is located at the southern end of the main street. Visitors are welcome (but asked not to have consumed either alcohol or non-vegetarian food that day). There is a good market offering the usual  mix of Melanesian, Chinese and Indian produce. The main strip is filled with restaurants and shops selling clothes, souvenirs and duty-free goods. Nadi is also a good place for outdoor  activities:  everything from diving, golf, horse riding and rafting to riding in a jet-boat or light plane is available.

 

Mamanuca Group

The Mamanucas are a bunch of tiny islands just off the western coast of Viti Levu, and they are easily accessible by boat from Nadi, either as a day trip or to stay in one of the many luxury resorts or hostels. The islands are popular with divers, snorkellers, surfers and people who just want to lie about on open stretches of white-sand beach. The lovely reefs and colorful fish make snorkelling around these islands a highlight for many travelers. Only a few of the islands, such as  Monu and Monuriki, have significant areas of native forest left. These places are home to many birds and reptiles.

 

Sigatoka

Sigatoka is a small town on the southern coast of Viti Levu, 61km (38mi) south of Nadi and 127km (79mi) west of Suva on the banks of Fiji’s second-largest river. This is  principally a farming community, but is also a service town for the Coral Coast resorts.

Sigatoka is a good base for exploring the huge Sigatoka sand dunes nearby, and also the southern coast, and the Sigatoka Valley. The Sigatoka Valley is a highly fertile strip containing almost 200 cultural and archaeological sites, including the Tavuni Hill Fort, a series of defensive earth works built by the Tongan chief Maile Latemai in the 18th century. The valley is also home to some of Fiji’s best potters.

 

Kula Eco Park

Sigatoka, Fiji Islands

Ph: 679 – 6500 505

Fax: 679 6520 202

Kula is located on Queens Road, opposite the Outrigger Reef Resort east of Sigatoka town. Being Fiji’s only wildlife park, Kula is the breeding center for Fiji’s endangered species. The park provides free Environmental Hands-on Education to Fiji’s children. Visitors can spend hours observing parrots, lories, falcons, hawks, fruit bats, snakes, iguana and marine life plus learn of Fiji’s flora and fauna in near natural settings. Wander the rain forest or explore

The waterfront area is another place to shop, and the Suva Municipal Market is a must-see for visitors with its exotic fruits and vegetables, kava, fish and seafood, and spices. It has a multicultural flavor, with vendors selling brightly colored Indian sweets and candies, and fruit drinks from glass tanks.

 

Nausori Highlands

Due east from Nadi, in the interior of the Viti Levu island, are the fantastic landscapes and remote villages of the Nausori Highlands. The village of Navala is one of  the most picturesque in all Fiji. While most Fijian villages now use prefab concrete and corrugated iron, almost all of Navala’s homes and buildings are traditional bures arranged around avenues with a central promenade leading down to a river.

 

This is an isolated area.  The protocol is to ask to see the village chief, and then ask him if it is  all right to walk around the village and take some photos.  Sunday is not a good time as it is the day of worship and for spending time with the family. Bukuya village is further west and it too is a worthwhile excursion. There are simple accommodations available in the villages. 

 

Koroyanitu National Heritage Park

666 6644

Near Lautoka

Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is set in the steep hills above Nadi and is only 16 kms from Lautoka. You can explore the forests and waterfalls, picnic, take a swim in a mountain stream, go on short walks and overnight hikes or stay with the villagers and experience life in a Fijian highland community.

 

Native Crafts

Fijians still practice many traditional arts and crafts, some which have been modified and embellished to satisfy the demands of tourism. Fiji has been famous for pottery since the Lapita people began trading their wares thousands of years ago. The most famous of the contemporary potters are Dian Tugea and Taraivini Wati, both of whom are featured in the Fiji Museum. Wood carving is still important, perhaps mostly because of the steady tourist demand for souvenirs to take home. Fijian carvers make war clubs, spears and cannibal forks. Drinking bowls, or tanoas, are still in daily use in Fijian households. Carvings in areas that have a Polynesian influence (from Tongan and Samoan settlers) feature inlays of shell and bone.

 

Bark cloth, known in Fiji as masi, was traditionally made throughout the Pacific and was usually known as tapa. Ceremonial robes, waistbands, trains and turbans were once made from masi and the cloth was decorated with symbolic motifs in ochre-rusts and charcoal-blacks. The cloth is made from the bark of the mulberry tree and its production is very labourious. Traditionally, large and highly decorated masi cloths were used as ceremonial gifts and there was much prestige associated with their ownership. The weaving of pandanus leaves into mats and baskets has a long tradition, too. Most village girls still learn the craft, and there are many variations in style and colour (achieved by scraping the leaves, burying them in mud and boiling them with other plants).

D – Family Fun Attractions

Fiji Highlights

 

Lautoka

Municipal Market

The city’s municipal market has a floor area of about 58,000 meters and is filled with local people selling produce outside and inside.

 

The shopping centre is conveniently located in the central city area along Vitogo Parade, Naviti Street and Yasawa Street.

 

The city has a very wide range of shops ranging from retail to wholesale.  Some shops open as early as  6.00am and others from 8.00 -6.00pm or 7.00pm during the week-days and on Saturday from 7.00am 1.00pm.   On Sundays and Public Holidays the shops are usually closed but the restaurants, milk bars and other essential shops remain open.

 

There are all types of restaurants with a variety of dishes such as Chinese, Indian, Italian, Fijian, European, Korean, vegetarian, snack bars, etc.

 

The following sports venues are in Lautoka:

(1)Golf (Lautoka Golf Club)

(2)Soccer/ Rugby/ Cricket/ Hockey (facilities provided by Lautoka City Council at Churchill Park

Nadovu Park and at other playing fields all round the city).

(3)Netball/ Volleyball/ Basketball & Tennis (Lautoka City Council’s Multipurpose Courts).

 

Suva

Suva is Fiji’s administrative and political capital and is home to one-half of the country’s population.  It is the largest city in the South Pacific. 

Fiji‘s capital, is on the south-eastern coast of the big island of Viti Levu. While Nadi, in the west of this island, is the tourism centre of the country, Suva is interesting as the country’s political and administrative centre as well as the major port. Suva and its urban surrounds are home to half of Fiji’s urban population, and it is one of the South Pacific’s largest and most sophisticated cities, housing the University of the South Pacific, the  Fiji Museum and many interesting colonial-era buildings. It is a multicultural city with many mosques, temples, churches and cultural centres. The Roman Catholic Cathedral (1902) is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks.

 

Suva Municipal Market

Immerse yourself in the festive, friendly atmosphere of this wonderful street market, where you’ll find every tropical fruit and vegetable imaginable.

 

Parliament

Suva

330 5811

These impressive, orange-colored government buildings were modeled after traditional Fijian thatched huts, and the complex is open to visitors.

 

Municipal Handicraft Center

Suva

331 3433

Try your hand at bargaining for artifacts and handicrafts at these outdoor market stalls.

 

Colo-I-Suva Forest Park

Suva

(679) 3320211

Take a dip in one of the natural swimming pools, follow a nature trail and keep your ears and eyes ready to spot the numerous birds that inhabit this park.

 

Albert Park

Suva

This park was made famous when Charles Kingsford-Smith made an emergency landing here on his 1928 trans-Pacific flight.

 

Fiji Museum (“Na Vale Ni i Yaya Maroroi”)

Suva

679 331 5944

Open:  Mon-Thur: 9:30am – 4:00pm

Fri: 9:30am- 3.30pm

Sat & Public Holidays: 9:30am – 4:00pm; Sunday- Closed

Archaeological findings dating back 3500 years as well as cultural objects reflecting Fiji’s inhabitants during the past 100 years are housed in the oldest museum in the South Pacific.

 

Nadi

Fiji‘s third largest town is set against a mountainous backdrop on the west coast of Viti Levu. The local economy of Nadi relies almost totally on tourism.  In Nadi there are a wide range of accommodations from the simple to luxury resorts. Its Central Market offers traditional handicrafts including wood carved objects and textiles. There are a high proportion of Fiji Indians in Nadi, mostly fourth-generation descendants of the indentured laborers brought to Fiji from India during the colonial years to work in the canefields.

 

Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple

Nadi

The Temple is located at the southern end of the main street. Visitors are welcome (but asked not to have consumed either alcohol or non-vegetarian food that day). There is a good market offering the usual  mix of Melanesian, Chinese and Indian produce. The main strip is filled with restaurants and shops selling clothes, souvenirs and duty-free goods. Nadi is also a good place for outdoor  activities:  everything from diving, golf, horse riding and rafting to riding in a jet-boat or light plane is available.

 

Mamanuca Group

The Mamanucas are a bunch of tiny islands just off the western coast of Viti Levu, and they are easily accessible by boat from Nadi, either as a day trip or to stay in one of the many luxury resorts or hostels. The islands are popular with divers, snorkellers, surfers and people who just want to lie about on open stretches of white-sand beach. The lovely reefs and colorful fish make snorkelling around these islands a highlight for many travelers. Only a few of the islands, such as  Monu and Monuriki, have significant areas of native forest left. These places are home to many birds and reptiles.

 

Sigatoka

Sigatoka is a small town on the southern coast of Viti Levu, 61km (38mi) south of Nadi and 127km (79mi) west of Suva on the banks of Fiji’s second-largest river. This is  principally a farming community, but is also a service town for the Coral Coast resorts.

Sigatoka is a good base for exploring the huge Sigatoka sand dunes nearby, and also the southern coast, and the Sigatoka Valley. The Sigatoka Valley is a highly fertile strip containing almost 200 cultural and archaeological sites, including the Tavuni Hill Fort, a series of defensive earth works built by the Tongan chief Maile Latemai in the 18th century. The valley is also home to some of Fiji’s best potters.

 

Kula Eco Park

Sigatoka, Fiji Islands

Ph: 679 – 6500 505

Fax: 679 6520 202

Kula is located on Queens Road, opposite the Outrigger Reef Resort east of Sigatoka town. Being Fiji’s only wildlife park, Kula is the breeding center for Fiji’s endangered species. The park provides free Environmental Hands-on Education to Fiji’s children. Visitors can spend hours observing parrots, lories, falcons, hawks, fruit bats, snakes, iguana and marine life plus learn of Fiji’s flora and fauna in near natural settings. Wander the rain forest or explore

The waterfront area is another place to shop, and the Suva Municipal Market is a must-see for visitors with its exotic fruits and vegetables, kava, fish and seafood, and spices. It has a multicultural flavor, with vendors selling brightly colored Indian sweets and candies, and fruit drinks from glass tanks.

 

Nausori Highlands

Due east from Nadi, in the interior of the Viti Levu island, are the fantastic landscapes and remote villages of the Nausori Highlands. The village of Navala is one of  the most picturesque in all Fiji. While most Fijian villages now use prefab concrete and corrugated iron, almost all of Navala’s homes and buildings are traditional bures arranged around avenues with a central promenade leading down to a river.

 

This is an isolated area.  The protocol is to ask to see the village chief, and then ask him if it is  all right to walk around the village and take some photos.  Sunday is not a good time as it is the day of worship and for spending time with the family. Bukuya village is further west and it too is a worthwhile excursion. There are simple accommodations available in the villages. 

 

Koroyanitu National Heritage Park

666 6644

Near Lautoka

Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is set in the steep hills above Nadi and is only 16 kms from Lautoka. You can explore the forests and waterfalls, picnic, take a swim in a mountain stream, go on short walks and overnight hikes or stay with the villagers and experience life in a Fijian highland community.

 

Native Crafts

Fijians still practice many traditional arts and crafts, some which have been modified and embellished to satisfy the demands of tourism. Fiji has been famous for pottery since the Lapita people began trading their wares thousands of years ago. The most famous of the contemporary potters are Dian Tugea and Taraivini Wati, both of whom are featured in the Fiji Museum. Wood carving is still important, perhaps mostly because of the steady tourist demand for souvenirs to take home. Fijian carvers make war clubs, spears and cannibal forks. Drinking bowls, or tanoas, are still in daily use in Fijian households. Carvings in areas that have a Polynesian influence (from Tongan and Samoan settlers) feature inlays of shell and bone.

 

Bark cloth, known in Fiji as masi, was traditionally made throughout the Pacific and was usually known as tapa. Ceremonial robes, waistbands, trains and turbans were once made from masi and the cloth was decorated with symbolic motifs in ochre-rusts and charcoal-blacks. The cloth is made from the bark of the mulberry tree and its production is very labourious. Traditionally, large and highly decorated masi cloths were used as ceremonial gifts and there was much prestige associated with their ownership. The weaving of pandanus leaves into mats and baskets has a long tradition, too. Most village girls still learn the craft, and there are many variations in style and colour (achieved by scraping the leaves, burying them in mud and boiling them with other plants).

E – Events & Entertainments

Fijians celebrate New Year’s Day and the festivities can last a week (or even a month!) in some villages.

 

February or March Hindu Holi (Festival of Colours) sees people squirt each other with coloured water.

 

March or April

Ram Naumi (Birth of Lord Rama) is a Hindu festival held in March or April and includes a religious festival and party on the shores of Suva Bay.

 

May

the nation honors Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna with a public holiday. He is considered Fiji’s greatest statesman, soldier, high chief and scholar, and the day is celebrated with regional cultural shows and games.

 

July

The Constitution Day holiday and Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday holiday fall in July.

 

September

The Sugar Festival is celebrated in September at Lautoka,

 

October

Fiji Day (Independence Day) falls in early October.

 

October or November Hindus celebrate the Diwali Festival (Festival of Lights). They worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, decorate their houses and settle their business affairs.

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