What to do in Barcelona

Thinking of going to Barcelona? I thought I’d share my experiences and tips on some of the things we did while we were away in case they’re helpful

Barcelona is very hilly and although the public transport is good, there is a lot of walking. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids in buggies or pre-schoolers who tire easily. Or elderly grandparents, come to think of it.

Everywhere seems to have got a lot busier since we visited 15 years ago. Yes, it was May half-term and there were a fair few Brits around, but not that many kids. It seems like Barcelona has just got generally more popular and busier since the dim and distant past of 1998.

Parc Guell

Parc Guell is a beautiful and quirky park designed by Antoni Gaudi. It is free to get into! At the front of it is a statue of a lizard (or a dragon). This lizard is really the reason we went to Barcelona. My daughter learned about it at school and wanted to see it so much.

There are great views, palm trees and beautiful, unique architecture, like something from a fairytale. And crowds. Crowds and crowds of people. All clamouring to get the best photos. And spoiling your photos.

Camp Nou

Camp Nou is the home of Barcelona FC, one of the biggest football clubs in the world. If you have a little footballer in the family, it is an essential place to visit.

It doesn’t come cheap, though. A tour set our family back a whopping 97 euros. And it’s not a tour in the sense that you get a guide – you just walk round at your own pace. It takes about two hours, so you kind of get your money’s worth. Again, it was heaving with people – all struggling to get a nice photo without someone else spoiling it for them.

La Pedrera

This is a Gaudi building and probably my favourite part of Barcelona. Rather than describe it, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

The highlight is walking out onto the roof, where you are surrounded by weird dream-like figures. The views are stunning and on a sunny day with a bright blue sky the whole thing is breath-taking. It cost 57 euros for our family to get in.

Funicular railway and Mount Tibidabo

Mount Tibidabo is the highest point in Barcelona and it really is HIGH. You can see for miles, it is absolutely stunning. The best (and most fun) way to get there is via the funicular railway up the very steep hill. I would definitely recommend it although, like everything, it doesn’t come cheap! There was no reductions for children and it cost something like 37 euros for a return ticket for the five of us – and the journey is about five minutes each way!

La Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia – church of the sacred family – is Barcelona’s biggest and most fascinating tourist attraction. Designed by Gaudi, work started on it well over 100 years ago and it still isn’t complete. The place is literally swarming with builders.

It is truly stunning, inside and out. The detail in the sculptures is breathtaking and the stained glass windows and high ceilings inside are like nothing else.

There is a clear difference between the old and the new, but it fits together and works really wellย as a whole. There is an interesting museum on site explaining a lot of the history of this most incredible building.

Entrance is free for under 10s (hooray!) and you can pay a few extra euros to go up the tower. But the tower wasn’t open for another three hours when we arrived, so sadly that was out of the question. Queues are HUGE, but move fairly quickly.

Have you ever been to Barcelona? What did you enjoy? What would you recommend? And now we’ve got the travel bug, where should we go next?

 

Author: Sarah Mummy

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21 Comments

  1. I’ve never been but am determined to go. I’ve also heard that the shopping and food is amazing so maybe it will be a weekend without the boys … and my husband. That’s it! It will be a girls’ weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I went to Barcelona for the weekend about 8 years ago. I don’t think it was that busy – at least not in my memory. Certainly on our visit to the cathedral on Sunday morning I remember been surprised by how quiet it was (fairly early in the day I think though). I don’t remember the hills, but that’s something to think about if we get to visit again.

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  3. We went on our honeymoon and loved it but we were totally knackered after the wedding ceremony and all the build up to that, that we didn’t see much! I do remember the amazing church…..and not a lot else! Next? I would recommend Verona but I know you’re not a fan of Italy!

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  4. I am definitely going to go next year, as soon as Syd is sleeping we shall bugger off for a couple of nights of adult time! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I love Barcelona, especially the tapas and churittos (I don’t know if I’ve spelt that right), am tempted to return with Junior. We enjoyed the aquarium too….will be tempted to try the funicular too if we go back too as it looks like it would make a good day out for LO.

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  6. I would love to visit Barcelona!! it looks amazing!

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

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  7. We’ve never been to Spain but would love to go one day. Wow I had no idea that that church was still being built!! That’s amazing! Lovely photos. Sounds like you had a really brilliant time there!

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  8. Yes, all excellent. But you’ll have to go back to see the Olympic Port, built for the 1992 Games. A stunning beach and marina with loads of restaurants, opposite the Olympic Village x.

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  9. Looks like you had a wonderful time! We did a very brief visit on a cruise a few years back, I would love to go back and explore properly. I see in a comment above that you’re not a fan of Italy, but I’d really recommend Rome! Or else Budapest and Krakow are both beautiful cities with lots to see, and perhaps not that busy.

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  10. We’ve been to Barcelona twice – briefly on a cruise stopover when we did the Camp Nou tour and a v quick Sagrada Familia visit, then on a a city break a few years ago. Agree the annoying people jumping on the Parc Guell lizard are very frustrating. Happy memories though ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. I’ve been there three times and I echo every single thing you’ve said there; all are places I’d recommend. Did you go in Casa Batlo too? And I’d recommend Poble Espanyol.

    Popping over from Magic Moments

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  12. Thanks very much for commenting, everyone! For those of you who haven’t been, I would most definitely recommend it!
    I wonder if it was quieter eight years ago, Erica? It was certainly quieter 15 years ago!
    I will have to go back for the bits I’ve missed, Lesley! I know you recommended the Olympic Port to me a while back.
    It’s my daughter who isn’t a fan of Italy, Tas. I quite fancy Rome, she will just take some persuading!
    We didn’t manage Casa Botle, TBaM, although we looked at it from the outside and took a picture! Looks like it was amazing inside!

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  13. It sounds like an awesome city and your photos are just gorgeous. If you’re looking for inspiration for future trips maybe a little further afield, Toronto is an amazing city! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  14. Who knows, Lou? Maybe one day! I have a friend in Vancouver who is forever nagging me to visit

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  15. Great post – half my family live in Barcelona, but when we go we tend to spend all the time meeting people and no time seeing the place. Determined to next time!

    On the football front there is a small club called CE Sabadel in Catalunya who are the most welcoming people in the world. When we went they let the kids into the trophy room, meet the players, best seats in the house, etc. They aren’t as glamorous as Barca, but they are very nice people.

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  16. I went to Barcelona so long ago and have wanted to visit again ever since. The Picasso Museum is also worth a visit. It includes works by Picasso when he was a child including his teens which show how talented he was from a young age.

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  17. We went to Barcelona when Jessica was just 5 months old. It was gorgeous but I’d love to go back because we didn’t really get to go into any of the museums (she seemed to wake up from her naps at unfortunate times!). I’d also love to go to the Nou Camp, though it does sound a tad pricey.

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  18. Thanks very much, everyone. I would definitely recommend going back, Sarah. It can’t have been easy with a baby! My daughter, who is 7, is a good age to really appreciate everything.
    CE Sabadel sound lovely, The Good Stuff!
    Kriss, I went to the Picasso Museum 15 years ago and wanted to go back this time, but was out-voted by my family!

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  19. This is super helpful as we’re off to Barcelona for a few days in May, so thanks for sharing!

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