Barcelona bursts with art and architecture, sunny beaches, happening night outs and some amazing culinary adventure.
HOW TO REACH -flights arrive at AEROPORT DEL PRAT. The main station is ESTACIO SANTS. It takes 2 hrs 30 min to 3 hrs to reach Barcelona from Madrid. To get around in the city, the tram is the best way to travel. But with kids, one has to be sure of the elevators as some of the metro stations are very old and do not have elevators, though well maintained.
Travel tip for families:
- Would suggest that families with stroller should use the bus for commuting. Mostly go in for bulk tickets that can be used for buses and trams.
Eating in Spain -the breadth of gastronomic experience is great and one gets at ease in the noisy cheer of most Spanish restaurants. Plenty of local places go by the name of a bar or restaurant, but a little variation gets confusing at times. 1. Asador-restaurant where roasted meats are served.2. Tasca-a tapas bar. 3. Cerveceria-mainly beer (Cerveza) is served 4. Marisqueria-specialist in seafood. Our favourite drink was, of course, SANGRIA but the sangria we had there was a lot different than we normally have in India, it was more light more refreshing. My kids go to dish was potato bravas . We loved eating at tapas bars as they offered a lot of variety in the meal.
THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA- Barcelona has good topography, it has an old town, the new-age vibe..ocean..mountains, the trek.1. LA SAGRADA FAMILIA is the most iconic in Barcelona.This church, Gaudi’s masterpiece is still not finished even after 100 years of construction.To make it an unforgettable experience book the tickets ONLINE as thousands of people visit this place.The tickets are open for two months in advance. You can climb one of the 4 of the towers by a mix of lifts and staircases which is a head-spinning experience. Sagrada stays with you for long even after u walk away. The inside of Sagrada totally amazes you and it is said to be headed towards completion.
2. After the magic of Sagrada walk towards north or take the metro to one of the oldest and most important hospitals of Barcelona HOSPITAL DE LA SANTA CREU which is also a world heritage site.
3.PARK GUELL-After witnessing 1 masterpiece of Gaudi we went to see another one where Gaudi tried his hand in landscape gardening where artificial seems natural. We took the bus to Park Guell which was good because of its location on Carmel Hill. The steps up the entrance are guarded by a mosaic dragon lizard. The entry to park is free but it is chargeable in the monumental area. It is better to get tickets in advance. The Serpentine Bench is a well-known mosaic tile bench that winds its way along the terrace around Park Güell. The spired house is that of Gaudi’s where he lived for most of his last 20 yrs. A visit to Gaudi’s wondrous park is a must and also the view of the city from the hill is great.
3.LA RAMBLA- La Rambla is Barcelona’s main thoroughfare, approximately 1.3 km long road — in the middle, a pedestrian zone — is ranging from Placa Catalunya,which cuts through the heart of the city centre and is a vibrant and lively promenade filled with Barcelona action at its best. As the walk progresses on the street, peculiar characters start to appear, such as the human statues and street performers, a must-see spectacle in La Rambla. But the best way to start the day at la Rambla is to have breakfast at MERCAT DE LA BOQUERIA which is 1 of the largest markets in Barcelona.Do not miss to stop for desayuno de cuchara which is breakfast eaten with a spoon or a fork from one of the food stalls, you finally end up spending a minimum of 2 hours at the Mercat. Its a heaven for foodies..different types of Jamon ..fruits..seafood.The end of la Rambla leads to the old port of PORT VELL which has several attractions for kids like L’AQUARIUM with its 80m long shark tunnel. The stretch along PORT VELL gives you an amazing romantic feel of yachts.
4. CIUTAT VELLA which means the old city is an amazing zig-zag of narrow cobbled lanes which cut through the promenade of La Rambla. You can spend time by sightseeing of BARRI GOTIC[Gothic quarter], CATHEDRAL, SINAGOGA MAJOR and also catch up at the museum square if an art enthusiast.Barcelona is a top shopping destination. Placa catalunya,la rambla, around barri gotic are good places.
5.LA BARCELONETA/BARCELONETA-La Barceloneta is a coastal neighbourhood at the end of la Rambla’s seaward side boasts of beautiful beaches.It used to be a fisherman village and has numerous seafood cafes and bars.The best beach is the Barceloneta which is best to experience the Mediterranean sea. The best place for kids to play. We spent almost a full day there just lying on the beach…better to carry a rug or a sheet to spread on the sand or else people selling there will charge you a good amount. Drink cervecia/beer there and enjoy. Dinner or lunch at Barrio de Pescadores[Barrio of Fisherman] is great. Choose a place where there are more locals.There is a vintage cable car ride which starts at Barceloneta and ends at MONTJUIC. 6. MONTJUIC- It is a hilltop area giving a bird’s eye view of the city and sea.It has beautiful gardens, a theme park,a castle and an Olympic stadium.There are cable cars , escalators, chairlifts to get to the hilly area.
7. MAGIC FOUNTAIN AT MONTJUIC-The majestic magic fountains is music and light show of dancing fountains that will leave you speechless.Music selection is varied. The show lasts for 20–30 minutes and its absolutely free. You should always check the timings before going as they are different each month.To get the best view make sure you arrive early, grab a beer or snacks and wait.We saw it on a pedestrian bridge..we thought it was a good view. We went to see this while coming back from Barceloneta. We came back by bus and got down at Placa d’Espanya.
8.CAMP NOU/FC BARCELONA-It is the home stadium of FC Barcelona club.It is the largest soccer stadium in Europe.If in Barcelona it is a must-visit for football lovers. My son wanted to take a tour inside which varies from 26 to 58 euros.U can visit the stands, players area, staff area, the museum with all he history and the trophies won by the club. But do buy something from the store of the club.My husband and my son took the tour while I and my 2 yr old daughter sat in the cafe and ate burgers and fries.
9. SITGES-If you wanna visit a beach town near Barcelona or otherwise take a day excursion Sitges is the best option.It is a more happening,great texture of sand and an even a quieter place than Barcelona beach.It is a small beautiful town with few areas with white and blue walls …good for pictures.They are lined by cafes and bars serving some amazing food and sangria.You can reach by train which takes about 45 minutes from Barcelona station.The Parish church can also be visited.The accommodation is fairly expensive in this town,if planning a night stay then book in real advance. I loved Sitges and I highly recommend if you visit Barcelona.
10.MONTSERRAT- If you had enough of city life you can take a detour to Montserrat which means mountain.From Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, take the R5 line to Aeri de Montserrat. The journey by train takes approximately one hour and costs €5.25 one way.Then can explore the way up the mountain by cable car or trek. For some people, a visit to Montserrat is a religious pilgrimage as there is a very old Benedictine monastery on top of the mountain which has the statue of Virgin of Montserrat.Views from the top of the hill are spectacular…families travelling with kids will not be able to hike.
Barcelona is beautiful …a mix of Med charm and urban style from Sagrada to the seaside of la Barceloneta, nightclubs to some great restaurants…it is a traveller’s delight…have a great holiday in Barcelona with family……