Visiting Barcelona

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions

Barcelona for a week with 2 small kids

Feb 2016

We are planning a family trip to Barcelona for a week this summer. We have a 4 and 2 year old, and we are looking for recommendations on areas to stay (probably will rent apartment), things to do that kids would like, and easy day trips (or longer), preferably via train/public transit. We appreciate any suggestions and advice you have. Thanks! Barcelona bound


I was in Barcelona last summer and loved it! Didn't have small kids, though. I really enjoyed La Sagrada Familia--a must do, and don't just look at the outside, pay for the ticket to go inside! Also, Mont Serrat is a train ride away. I enjoyed the Picasso museum in the old city, but that might be too much with little ones. Strolling Las Ramblas--and there's a great market at the bottom. Looking forward to returning to Barcelona!


Our family (including a 3 year old and 1 year old) did a side-trip to Barcelona last year for a few days when we were visiting family in Europe. Some things we enjoyed were Park Guell (escalators, playground, street musicians) the Gothic Quarter (no traffic on most streets) and the local park down the street from the apartment we rented, Plaza d'En Joanic, which was filled with local kids to play with in the late afternoons. Local people are extremely warm, friendly and helpful when you have young kids. We had some difficulty finding restaurants that had the kind of food my husband and I were interested in, but weren't too classy to bring the kids. If we were to do it again, I would do a little more research on that. We ended up going to the incredible food markets and putting together delicious picnics for lunches. If you avoid the super touristy and well known food markets, this is a fairly economical approach. Barcelona is wonderful, have fun! Erin


Hi First it will be very hot and crowded. Stay away from the Ramblas, Gotic and El Born areas as they will be very crowded and chaotic for a young person. You can find some great airb&b's in the l'eixample neighborhood that is centrally located but quieter. Try a morning at the Joan Miro Museum. It is built with lots of space to run and the paintings are enchanting for children. Park Gruell (Gaudi) is another excellent place to run and have fun. I would think you might want to stay away from the beaches in Barce as they will be very crowded for little ones. If you have a car you can drive to Cadequez or Port Lligat (just next to Cadaquez and were the Salvador Dali house is located)...nice hotels in Port Lligat and 5 minute walk to Cadaquez. Hotels have large pools and a bit quieter beach than Barce.If you don't have a car, you can take the slow train to Llanca or some of the other small towns before the border town of Port Bou, again, nice beaches and parks to run around in. In Barcelona, the Parc de la Ciutadella and the zoo might be nice to hang out in on a hot day. Glad to answer other questions if you have any Take care Dianne


Just a tip - if you do decide to visit La Sagrada Familia, DEFINITELY reserve/print tickets online ahead of time. The queues if you don't already have a ticket are unbelievably long, but with advance tickets, you go to a different entry (not well signed, but look for it) with little to no queue (depending on time of year). RK


Visiting Barcelona in early December without kids

Sept 2014

My husband and I will be visiting Barcelona in early December. We've never been to Spain before and are very much looking forward to this visit. We've rented an Airbnb apartment on the Ramblas but would love any and all recommendations as to how to spend our time, what and where to visit, whether we should use one of our six days to take a day trip out of town. We loved guided walking tours and would love a recommendation for expert tour guides. Thanks for your travel tips


We drove north to Cadaques for 1 night to go to the Dali museum, which was a great trip. The beaches up there are beautiful too. Highly recommend that side trip. Erin


Hello -- Barcelona is fantastic and you are right in the heart of it! We were there in February with our family of 2 adults and 2 kids. The Ramblas is very busy and can get quite noisy late at night. Dinner typically starts around 9p in Spain. If your bedroom is facing the street, bring some ear plugs just in case. We found most of the restaurants on the Ramblas to be too touristy for our liking. We steered clear of anything with a tourist menu. The best part of Barcelona is just walking the streets in the different neighborhoods and stopping in for tapas and a glass of wine in small little cafes/restaurants. It's easy to get around and most people speak some English.

We visited the major museums - Picasso, Miro, etc. and they were all great, maybe not the best in the world, but they all gave us deeper insight into specific artists. We did not use a tour guide, so no recs there. Be sure to visit the Montjuic area, including the National Museum and the colorful fountain, and the Gaudi architecture throughout the city (Sagrada Familia was our favorite). We liked the little flea markets we would run into here and there, and enjoyed a strings concert in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. Get there early to get a seat closer to the front.

We weren't impressed with the waterfront area. There's a big mall, an aquarium and an IMAX theater. You can take an expensive cable car ride between Montjuic and the waterfront. We also were not impressed by the Chocolate Museum. For an outside of Barcelona excursion, visit Montserrat and the monastery at the top of the train/funicular. We timed it so we could hear the boys choir there. Really lovely. Have a great trip! Travelin' Mama


We went to Barcelona this summer and loved it. On the first day we took a Hop On Hop Off bus tour to get the lay of the land. Our favorite things were the Gaudi spots, Park Guell and Sagrada Familia are must see! I'm not sure what lines will be like in December, but in summer the lines to buy tickets were hours long, and you can bypass them by getting tickets in advance online. If you can see the Font Majica at night, that was also great, and it's free! I'm not sure how late in the year that runs, but it's worth looking into. If you like religious art, MNAC has lots of it. --Enjoy your trip


My husband and I spent a couple of weeks last March in Barcelona. I found some day tours on a site like Trip Advisor, but didn't want to book before we got there. We were staying with our daughter who had an apartment there a few months. I went to the tour group when we knew our schedule and we were very happy with the tours--they gave us a 10 or 15% discount since we booked direct with them. We went on the 'Pyrenees Mountain Trail' and the 'Medieval Villages' tours. We had an attentive guide who drove a van with about 6 and 8 people on the tour. We left about 8:30 AM and were back by about 4:30 or 5 PM. It was relaxing not to have to handle the travel logistics. We had wanted to do the 'Girona & Costa Brava' tour, but we missed it because we didn't know that Day Light Savings started that day and since we weren't in a hotel, we didn't discover this until we were in the subway. To compensate the company arranged the 'Medieval Villages' for us on another day. The company is: Explore Catalunya C/Palau de la Musica, 1 08003 - Barcelona Tel. (34) 93 269 1154 Email: tours [at] explorecatalunya.com www.explorecatalunya.com Candy


Barcelona is full of professional pickpocketers. If you have Netflix take a look at Secrets of ..... They have an entire episode on Barcelona pickpocketers. As Americans you will be considered a prime target. In all of my trips to Europe Barcelona is the only place I was hit. And let me tell you these guys were good, and I mean really good.

While there visit the Church of a Sacred Family. The Olympic stadium was nice. There are many museums. One we found interesting was the cultural museum. If you time you might want to visit San Sebastian. We found it far more interesting than Barcelona. ANON


Barcelona - One day/night before a cruise

April 2014

We will arrive in Barcelona the day before we board a cruise. We'll have one full day/night when we arrive and then half a day the next day before we have to be on the ship.

We're traveling with two adults and our 13 year old daughter and were wondering a few things:

1) Re: Hotel - Do you have a hotel to recommend? Should we stay near the port or in the center of town? We're looking for something that's not too expensive (~$150/night if possible)

2) What is not-to-be-missed in Barcelona? We have so little time there and we'll have a 13 year old with us who isn't crazy about art museums - although we do continue to drag her through them Thanks!


It's been over 20 years since I lived there, but there are definite highlights for 1 1/2 days. Barcelona is like a museum in itself. Just walking up paseo de gracia to view the gaudi architecture. Check out La Pedrera and Casa Battlo. Definitely visit sagrada Familia, not sure if it's been finished yet or not, that is what had made it even more intriguing to see.

As far as places to stay, there were several hotels right on Las Ramblas. It's a long pedestrian street with tons of activity, street performers, vendors, cafes, and people strolling. The hotel where my parents stayed was surprisingly quiet given all the activity below. Visit the boqueria, an amazing market on the Ramblas. And wander into the alleys of the Barrio Gothiic. Parts can be sketchy but super cool, again, right off the Ramblas.

Tenir un Bon viatge Kristin


#1 must-see is La Sagrada Familia cathedral by Gaudi. It is mind-blowing. Be very careful as the place is known for pickpockets. The other best thing in one day is just to walk through the Ramblas old quarter, stopping at the market and touring one of the modernist houses nearby. Stay near there so you can walk to dinner and stroll around. Gaudi is the greatest


We did the exact same thing though stayed on board the boat the night before the cruise.

For things to do (our kids were 13 and 10 when we did this) the answer is there is so much and it is a fabulous city, so just walking around you will see loads of fantastic things. Top of our list though were:

1. The Sagrada Familia - interesting for all ages and a cool neighborhood

2. The Picasso Museum (yes museum but very engaging work and a great building)

3. La Boqueria and walking up an down La Rambla - this is a day worth of activities and things to see alone!

Have a wonderful time! Maggie H


My number one recommendation would be Parc Guell, which I think would be a hit with both adults and the 13-year-old. It features architecture and sculptures by Antoni Gaudi, which are weird and fanciful.

Some other highlights, in no particular order:

Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat features the Roman history of Barelona and is an interesting peek into much older times than we ever see in the U.S. Sagrada Familia Cathedral, another Gaudi creation, is amazine Barri Gotic is the old district of the city and is a maze of medieval buildings La Rambla is a pedestrian mall nice for people watching Museu Picasso is a small but nice museum devoted to the artist Fundacio Joan Miro is a large museum devoted to the Barcelona artist. Carrie


I spent 2 days in Barcelona with a friend at the end of an art retreat in France. We did a two (?) hour group bike tour of Barcelona on mountain bikes. It was fantastic because the roads are narrow and cobbled and we could cover a lot of area without much effort. The guide stopped every 5 minutes or so at places of historical, architectural, or cultural significance. It was great to be outside. The tour ends up on a beach for lunch and beers. Well, probably 'brews' because this tour was geared to college Eurailpass types who responded well to lots of 'look to your left, dudes.' My 40-something friend and I rolled our eyes some, and the tour was definitely 'lite', but I would do it over in a heartbeat. Your teenager might find it all very accessible as you roll your eyes and enjoy seeing lots of the gorgeous city. Google bike tours Barcelona. No one calls me 'dude' anymore


I know you may not like my answer but we actually really enjoy the tourist bus that takes you around Barcelona, I don't remember the company but it was a few hours of sitting and enjoying all the architectural beauties of this city...we had never like this tours but it is worth it in this city. Your daughter will love the Sagrada Familia... the church that has been under construction forever, so culture for the girl without being in a traditional art museum and the Park Guel. Of course, only one day!!! You will need to go back... but take a bus tour, then walk around by La Rambla or the Barrio Gotic... I'm not sure where should you stay...since we did a home exchange and my sister rented a place in Gracia... have fun! Mariedda


Paris and Barcelona with 6 and 9 year olds

June 2008

We're finally going to Europe with the kids (ages 9 and 6) this summer! We'll have a couple of days in Paris and a couple in Barcelona, along with a cruise. What are the ''must see'' things (kid-friendly) in either place? Any other recommendations? We've booked an apartment in Paris in Arrondissement 4. We'll only need a 1-night stay in Barcelona, but I've not booked that yet (2 hotel rooms is too expensive, so we'll be looking for an alternative since there aren't many rooms they'll allow 4 in). Thanks in advance for your suggestions. c_s


We were in Barcelona and Paris 3 years ago with our then 6 and 10 y.o. boys. Only 2.5 days in Barcelona and 4 in Paris. Barcelona: loved the human statues on Las Ramblas, the candy and ice cream at la Boqueria, Font Magica free water and light fountain show, Parc Guell. Hated the Picasso museum, should have tried Miro museum instead? La Sagrada Familia. There is a funicular ride we didn't take that they may like. Wished we had spent more time here. We all loved it and barely scratched the surface. Paris: top of the Eiffel tower, but only way to do this is to bypass the lines with a reservation for lunch in their middle restaurant. Eiffel tower at night when the lights go off on the hour(?). Hated the Orsay Museum which I adore. LOVED the Pompidou Center building, fountain and art, spent hours there, very modern and wonderfully different. Went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa (it's tiny, mom!). We bought a Museum or visitors pass and bypassed lines at the museums. Did not like the bus tour. Loved Luxumbourg Gardens; 10 y.o. even liked the playground here. Loved the chocolates. Liked Notre Dame but didn't go to the top because of the lines. There's a fair at Tuileries Gardens, but didn't make it there. linda 


Barcelona family fun

May 2008

Has anyone spent time in Barcelona and surrounding areas with young family recently? Our girls are ages 7 and 11 and we are planning on flying into Barcelona around mid-June, staying for about a week, and then travelling in the area -- either the coast or the Pyrenees or Southwestern France--for about a week. I was last in Barcelona about 25 years ago (yikes!) so needless to say my information is dated (if I can even remember). Which Barrio would you choose to stay in? (not too noisy or but interesting and easy to get around) and what attractions would you not miss? I'm thinking of renting an apartment and wonder if anyone has any recommendations about agents? Any ideas of where to spend the second week? We like outdoors activities - would enjoy renting bikes, hiking, swimming -- and seeing beautiful nature even more than touring towns, although I must admit we do enjoy our food so we will want to spend some time in town. We're all really excited about our big trip! ! Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. -- Travelling mom


Three years ago my family traveled in Europe. We only spent two nights in Barcelona but wished we spent more time there. My sons were 6 and 10 then. We stayed in the Eixample district. I wouldn't recommend it; it was quiet and safe but a bit out of the way. I would stay closer to Las Ramblas. We spent a lot of time on Las Ramblas watching the living statues. They were enjoyable to the kids and adults. They loved the huge market La Boqueria, especially for the candy and ice cream. I could have spent hours there. We went to the Picasso museum figuring the kids know Picasso's work. The museum highlights his sketches and work before his cubist period. It did not have anything they recognized and we left very quickly. (I studied art and would have liked it on my own from an historical perspective). We should have gone to the Miro museum. They would have loved that I think. We spent a day in Parc Guell where all the Gaudi buildings and sculptures are. WE all loved that. We also saw the Magic Fountain show. It is not to be missed and it's free. We also made sure to see the Sagrada Familia Church, the one that looks like a sand castle.

We then left Barcelona, took a train across the border into France. There we picked up a car and drove to this little town called Alet-les-Bains. We rented a 15th century gite inside a walled village. To me this was the best of all worlds. You could relax, see castles including Carcasonne, a dinosaur excavation site, river-raft, swim in a spring-fed public pool, bicycle, do a ropes-course and eat. My boys loved getting up in the morning and walking a block to buy morning pastries on their own. They were perfectly safe and could wander the town on their own. We timed it so we were there for their annual fete. What a treat. The gite is owned by an English woman named Chloe who couldn't have been nicer or warmer. The whole town was that way. The web-site for the town is http://www.freewebs.com/alet-les-bains/ and for the gite http://www.freewebs.com/alet-les-bains/villagegitesleeps5.htm I have books on Spain and southern France for kids if you would like to borrow them. lindab


We were in Barcelona for 9 days in March/April this year with our 8 and 13 year olds! We wanted to go to the Pyrenees too, but didn't have enough time. Used way2stay.com and found a fabulous apartment in the Eixample district (on the street Ausias Marc). It's a much calmer, quiter and clean area to stay in than any of the old city. We could walk to El Born, our favorite, and Bari Gottic as well as La Rambla for touristy stuff. Placa de Catalonia has great Bus Tourista rides if you want to give your feet a rest one day. Here were our highlights: 1) Tibidabo Amusment Parc (getting there was half the fun), 2) Parc Guell (bring a picnic), 3) Cremeria Toscana gelato, La Luna and Tapas de Taller restaurants in El Born, Market Santa Catarina (we cooked a lot and it was way less touristy than the Boqueria market), the cafe at the Textile Museum for lunch, and just walking around the old city areas. Barceloneta Beach area was a disappointment. Shopping was a highlight for our 13 year! old daughter. Our 8 year old was just happy to ride the double decker bus and eat gelato. Lots of museums to check out if your children will tolerate them! Have a great trip. Love Barcelona
 


Traveling to Barcelona with a baby - bring carseat?

Sept 2007

Hi, this may be a new mom question but I'm traveling to Barcelona with a 9 month old baby in October and I wondered if I should take the carseat w/ the stroller frame or if I should just bring a stroller (this option would be a bit easier). I think we will primarily be using subways and trains but I'm worried about needing to take a cab and not having a carseat with me. Wondering what others have done when traveling overseas. Thanks! Kayoko--


When you are actually in Barcelona, you will never need a cab. The bus/subway/train/funicular system is stellar - we were there for a month last summer and took every single imaginable mode of public transit. You will really want an easy stroller. The only issue will be getting from the airport to the city and back. It's about a 20-30 minute drive. I'm sure there are buses from the airport as well - we just didn't look into it. I'm sorry I'm not really answering your question....but hopefully this gives you a little further information to make an informed decision. Laurie


We traveled to Barcelona in Oct'04 with our daughter who was then 13 months old. We stayed in a central neighborhood and took public transportation / walked everywhere. We did not take a car seat; we held her in our lap on the bus from the airport to downtown and took the stroller on the metro. We took our small umbrella stroller around with us and it did the job beautifully (though at times it was inconvenient to have a stroller at all in the crowded metro). Barcelona was fun with a small child; have a great trip! Radha


My husband and I spent three weeks in Barcelona with our two-year-old last summer. We did not take his car seat with us. When we rented a car for a weekend trip, a car seat came with a car. Some taxi cab drivers had car seats in the trunk, and sometimes we just held the toddler in our arms. We found that a backpack-style carrier was a life-saver for us. Please keep in mind that not all subway stations have escalators, or the escalators may not be working, and it might be inconvenient to carry a stroller up or down the stairs. Also keep in mind that a lot of people smoke in the streets in Barcelona, and a child in a stroller often happens to be right at a cigarette level. Enjoy your trip! Rasa


Definitely bring your car seat and stroller (and not the stroller frame). You will need your car seat for the taxi to/from the airport and you should absolutely bring it! Once in the city, you can walk everywhere and use the stroller. If you don't have a lightweight umbrella type, consider buying a cheap one for the trip to make your experience easier and more enjoyable. You will find it can double as a luggage trolley, high chair, and place for your child to fall asleep during late-night dinners. Note that Barcelona is a very late city and most don't eat dinner until 9 or 10pm. The subway is really easy to use for longer distances (Parc Guell) and you don't really need to take cabs. We spent a wonderful week in Barcelona before our son was born and I think it's a great choice for a child of 9 months. The only disagreeable experience was the cigarette smoke, even in restaurants. If you have specific questions about child-related activities, check out Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum (www.lonelyplanaet.com). It's extremely useful. Good luck and have fun! Susan


We always took the carseat. Both our pediatrician and a relative who is a flight attendant told us to book a seat for the baby and then put him in his carseat on the plane. Any place else is just not safe during take-off, landing or turbulences. As baby was used to riding in the car, he just accepted the plane as an oversized version of a car and slept like the proverbial baby. travelling mom


I am from Barcelona, and I have been living there for many years. I am sure you don't need a carseat there as a tourist, as you don't need it if you travel to New York (I have been living there also with a baby). As other people said, you need a stroller (where the baby can fall sleep, so you will be more free) and be ready to carry on stairs, ... But the stroller is also needed in airports, if you do some stop on the way. Some buses have like seatbelts for strollers, but not all.

You can survive using only public transportation. And there is also a train Barcelona-airport, if you want to avoid roads. If you want to rent a car to visit other places (mountains,...) then you can ask to include a carseat. Enjoy at Barcelona! Montse A


Visiting Barcelona with 8 year old twins

June 2001

My husband got free tickets to Heathrow in August so we're thinking of taking our eight-year-old twins to Spain. Does anyone know of any kid-friendly hotels in Barcelona or anywhere on the coast? Any suggestions of where to take kids and activities would be so appreciated. Thanks very much. Ann


We too had free tickets to Heathrow and chose to go to Barcelona with our four year old daughter. Here is a website for hotels there: http://www.hotel-barcelona.com/ We stayed at the Hotel Covadonga on the Avenida Diagonal. It was a very pleasant place, reasonably priced and kids are welcome. It's not the most central location, but it's not far from downtown. We were there only three days and it was in December, but I think 8 year old boys would like Parc Guell, Poble Espanyol and possibly running around on the roof at Casa Mila/La Pedrera (I know I'm misspelling those). A guidebook will explain all the details of those places. There is also an aquarium down by the waterfront, but I didn't go there. The Gothic quarter is pretty special; they'd probably enjoy that too. suzanne