The baldie is fled, long live the baldie!

The business (basically a CRM database) passed into better hands in 2012. These materials remain here for cannibalisation and amusement.

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FollowTheBaldie.com: Town and country walking and study tours in Barcelona and the Western Med
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Barcelona tours - Barcelona Airport to Barcelona - free, unguided walk

All photos © Mr Baldie. More.

Overview

This route from the airport to the Columbus monument at the bottom of the Rambla leads you through:

  • The delta of the River Llobregat, with wild birds, commercial horticulture
  • Mercabarna, one of Spain's biggest wholesale food market and the Nissan car factory.
  • Marginal housing and a cool Sunday market in the Zona Franca / port district.
  • The cemetery and castle of Montjuïc.

I've never had any problems, and a well-established Balkan gypsy gang ketp a fairly tight lid on the residential areas until most of them went to prison in 2011, but you may not want to do this late at night or with expensive belongings.

Itinerary

  • Fly to T2 if you can - the original terminal, it's cheaper and showing pleasing signs of decay. If you arrive at T1, either take the shuttle to T2 or turn right out of the building and follow the signs.
  • Starting from T2, turn right out of the building and follow the exit road until you arrive at the foot of the old control tower.
  • Turn right past it, leaving the main exit road, follow the road as it bends 90º left, and then turn first right.
  • Walk 200m and then turn left with most remaining traffic to arrive after 150m at a roundabout. Cross it and walk another 50m with carpark to the left and incipient carpark to the right to arrive at a T-junction facing loosely fenced scrub. If you forgot to take a leak before leaving, now is your moment.
  • Turn right and walk ENE for 600m along the road or through the scrub (which may be a struggle at first) until you arrive at a roundabout. Turn left and head north towards the town of El Prat and in the distance Montserrat, with a small municipal park with toilets that are sometimes open and picnic-capable benches to your left.
  • Turn first right along Camí de Cal Silet (ENE). Pass or investigate the verdant hamlet of Las Palmeras, the palm trees. The houses of Les Palmeres have been there since the 1950s, and the hamlet contains El Prat's oldest mosque, but eviction and demolition are anticipated soon in a grubby land deal between the socialist council in El Prat and the airport authority, AENA.
  • Continue along Camí de Cal Silet, and to your right you will discover the magnificent reconstructed Ricarda milk factory. This model of modern hygiene was built just before WWI by the wealthy Bertrand family, hoped to profit from rapidly increasing demand for quality dairy products in Barcelona, cheap drainable marshland, and a still to be constructed transport network.
  • At the end of Camí de Cal Silet, turn left and in no time at all you will encounter a couple of pleasant little bars. Otherwise turn right and then, opposite the superb "Buenos días, señora Tostada", Buenos días, señor Ajo" garlic bread mural, left along a road heading due east between fields of artichokes and the like.
  • At a crossroads after 200m, head straight across, veering NE. (That's nless you want to make a detour to the coast, a pumping station and various stuff about birds, in which case turn right. Come back along the river bank.)
  • Walk some 400m until you get to the river bank. On the other side you'll see the manufacturing and logistics zone of the Zona Franca, with the modern port away to the right and in the background the mountain of Montjuic.
  • Turn left upstream and walk 400m to get to the road bridge across the river.
  • Cross it and continue walking in the same direction along Carrer Major de Mercabarna till the end. This takes you through the huge Mercabarna food wholesale market, with fruit and veg on your right and eateries and then fish on your left. (Because I take a different route each time I can't honestly remember whether you can still get through here outside opening hours. If you can't walk left and left again and you'll get to the roundabout below.)
  • Turn right along Street 4, which has railway tracks down the middle and the Nissan plant to the left. At the first roundabout turn left up Street E, leaving the railway and continuing to skirt Nissan. At the end turn left along Street 3, and then first right along Avenue 3. At the very end of this, turn right along the diagonal road that runs NE along the side of the motorway. After about 300m you will arrive at a roundabout leading to an underpass below the motorway and train lines.
  • Take the underpass and you will exit on a roundabout. Turn right along the leafy boulevard of Carrer dels Motors, with after a bit on your right a row of classic, corrugated-iron-roofed, one-storey workers housing, which one suspects will not be there much longer.
  • Stay on Motors and turn second left up Acer and then first right up Ulldecona, which features the atmospheric shanty-bar, El Barracón. Continue past more 1950s self-build and waste ground until th new police station on the left (which featured "protected" signs from the local gypsy extortion racket on the fences during its construction).
  • Turn left after it down Sovelles and then right down Pontils at the end to get to the highly entertaining Sunday morning textiles market around Plaça Nou, the Mercadillo Eduard Aunós.
  • If there's no market, carry straight on (NE) along Cisell until you get to the junction with the main drag through the district, Passeig de la Zona Franca.
  • Cross and keep going on Cisell until it ends in a junction with some steps underlooking the cemetery of Montjuic. If you're still hungry, turn left down Mare de Deu del Port and you'll find a couple of decent bars for lunch menus as well, if you look hard, as some of the sights and people encountered on this walk.
  • Otherwise cross the road and walk right along the cemetery wall. You may encounter the odd prostitute and junky here. Enter the cemetery gates and head remorselessly due north and uphill to exit as high up as you can. (A more distinguished experience is available here. If you get lost, just keep heading up and then ask someone for the way out.)
  • Outside, follow the cemetery wall up to the right and then round to the right through a thicket of trees until you emerge with views over the port.
  • Head up the hill with the port on your right and you'll meet the castle wall, which you can follow. From then on things are fairly self-explanatory.
  • Good luck!

Details

Grade leisurely
Base Barcelona (Meeting point information here, where relevant - make sure you have the right one!)
Location tags Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat, Zona Franca,
Theme tags airport, architecture, free, history, nature,
Your guide(s) Self-guided
Walking distance 16 km / 9.94 miles
Walking time 3.2 hr
Total return travel time from base to walk 0 hr
Total time from "hello" to "goodbye" 3.68 hr

Photos

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Comments

  1. [...] Here. This is one of my favourites and works perfectly well as it is, but an even more interesting, guided walk is available here. [...]

  2. [...] there is now a free, self-guided walk from Barcelona Airport to Barcelona, post [...]

Page URL

You can find all this information, as well as the booking form, at http://oreneta.com/baldie/baldie/spanish-walking-tours/barcelona-walking-tours/barcelona-country-walks/barcelona-airport-to-barcelona/

Health warning

These free walk instructions have not been properly checked and are offered without guarantees of any kind. Generally it's smarter to try to walk from rather than to the airport first, or there's a distinct possibility you may end up running across muddy fields as your flight disappears through the clouds. On the other hand, at least you'll know the way to the nearest pub.

Contributions

If you've got an airport route of your own that you'd like to share, please do get in touch.


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