One of my favorite stops in our Spain road trip was the city of Barcelona. While my husband and I had visited this beautiful city in the past, this time around we were excited to explore Barcelona with our Kids.
When I began planning this trip, I knew I wanted to stay where the “locals” live instead of the most touristy areas of Las Ramblas, La Sagrada Familia, and the port areas. After endless nights of browsing through apartments on Airbnb, I found a loft that was spacious, had wi-fi, and in a safe area.
The loft was a rare find among the Barcelona listings. It was close to the BFC Stadium, surrounded by grocery stores, and everything we needed to supply our 6-day stay. The only thing you won’t find in Barcelona, however, is parking; which is why we purchased a 5-day pass to Barcelona’s Parking system. The pass, allowed us to park our car and drive in-and-out the vast network of garages conveniently located throughout the city. While you don’t need a car to get around Barcelona, we were on a 3-week road trip, so we had to do something with it! It turned out to be a great thing since we drove around the city, parked our car near the area we wanted to explore for the day, and came back and parked it near our loft -near being a 15-minute walk.
Before going to Barcelona, I had a “must-see” list that included the top spots to visit; however, Eric and I decided we would wake up and see what we felt like doing. With the exception of one day where we left the city for a trip north to a coastal town to visit my friend Orlena; most days we picked an area, explored it, and then spent some time in the park with the kids, letting them have a lot of fun before heading back to the loft.
My biggest piece of advice when exploring Barcelona with kids (or any city) is to find city parks near the local points of interest, that way you can offer some play time after some of the (more adult-centered) sightseeing you might have planned. On the plus side, Barcelona has kid-friendly parks everywhere, and sometimes, you are lucky enough to find them on the way back to your place to stay.
Having a “home base” of sorts instead of a hotel, allowed us to wake up and let our mood for the day dictate the pace of the day. The kitchen provided me with the ability to make coffee, cook breakfast, and pack snacks and lunches for the family. While we enjoyed eating out from time-to-time and Barcelona has some phenomenal food you should try out, kids are kids, and they often want to eat throughout the day, and not during a scheduled meal time. This trip confirmed that being prepared when it comes to meals was the way to go for my family.
At the end of the day, after walking our kids for miles in a gorgeous city, we’d come back to the loft, and everyone would shower and change while I, once again, found myself cooking in the kitchen.
Visiting Barcelona with my family taught me that we are the type of family that can live with less; meaning, we could all live in a 1200ft space and be happy. Not once did the kids complain about the food, being bored, or wanting to come back home. If anything, I think they adjusted to what it’s like to live in a big city in Europe, where you walk everywhere, family and togetherness are a priority at the end of the day, and the food is made fresh from a couple of items picked up at the market on the way home a few hours earlier.
While I often joke that my kids are made-in-suburbia, this trip to Barcelona showed me that they too enjoy the fun and stimulation that comes with living in a big city.
Beautiful memories of a beautiful city! My husband and I were there the same week as you were, minus our kids. I was awed by Gaudi’s works. Did you see the tower builders in the central square? Breathtakingly talented people. I think my favorite place to visit was the Mercat de Sant Josef de la Boqueria; the colors, smells, textures, flavors, and noise evoked so many vivid food-related memories and emotions; it was a really exceptional experience for the senses!
What a coincidence! YES on the Mercat de Sant Josef!! I was like a kid in a candy store -even though my kids didn’t think so LOL. I am so happy you loved Barcelona as well. It always makes me feel good when people have a good experience in my home country.