I’m sure you’ve already read my post about planning travel with kids 🙂 Here is where I’ll get into the nitty gritty specifics of our Barcelona trip recently.
Our flight out left at 6:30pm and was on time with no issues. Thank the Lord! Bedtime flights are the way too go whether or not you have nuggets along. About an hour into the flight, we gave the boys some melatonin to help them calm down from all the excitement. It worked like a charm and they both slept for about 4 hours or so. Our flight too us to Munich with a brief layover and off we flew to Barcelona. Wanna hear the most bizarre thing?! In the Munich airport, we saw a family who had been on our flight with similar aged children. It turns out not only did they get the same Next Vacay deal as we did, but they live in our neighborhood! What are the chances, friends?!
Barcelona or Bust
Once we got to Barcelona and dropped off our bags at the apartment, we headed to a market. Guys, these are the best. We refer to them as Food Hallens because we went to one in Amsterdam that we LOVED, so now all markets with multiple vendors like that, automatic Food Hallen. We’re weird, but I hope you love us anyway. We got some meats and cheeses to go, stopped at an outdoor venue with music to grab a beverage while we snacked. It was great! … until the kids couldn’t sit still or quietly another second, so we were on the move.
Day 1 Adjustments
That night, we all took melatonin and went to bed. Everyone slept in! This never ever happens for us. We had to pry ourselves out of bed at 9:30am to get to our pre-arranged bike tour. From multiple experiences, this is the way to do it. Force yourself to get acclimated to the time change by getting out and active. Our boys rode on our bikes either behind or in front of us. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. Europeans are much more adept at riding bikes through traffic, people, and other bikes. What if I fell off or let the bike fall and our son got hurt?! It turned out perfectly and in a 4hr timeframe we saw so much of the city and learned a ton. I highly recommend Fat Tire Tours.
That evening, we enjoyed play time at one of the local neighborhood squares. There was a gated area for kiddos while the adults could hang out, watch them, but also enjoy a snack and/or beverage. This is right up our alley, folks.
Day 2 Excursions
As I mentioned in my previous post, the hubs had lived in Barcelona previously, so he had a friend he had worked with back in those days. We got on a train and headed to Calafell to meet up with him and his family (luckily they even have 2 kiddos the same age range as ours). This is a precious beach town about 45mins to an hour south of Barcelona. We played on the beach and ate lunch outside under a tent while the kids played on the playground nearby. It would have been heaven if our youngest were a bit older and slightly more independent. Naturally, he wanted Mommy to play which meant I barely enjoyed lunch.
When we got back that afternoon, we hit up one of the local neighborhood squares. These are wonderful and we need these in the states. There is a playground area for the kids with shops and restaurants all around the square with bites and drinks.
Day 3 Zoo Time
We made it to the amazing Hofmann Patisserie for some morning yum yums. We planned to take these to the big Ciutadella Park to munch on before heading to the zoo. However, the park wasn’t open, so we sat near Barcelona’s version of the Arc de Triumph just outside the park. So good! From there we walked to Barcelona Zoo and friends, this is worth the trip. It is huge and feels like you are in the middle of a forest. There were so many animals to see, plus playgrounds so the kids could take breaks. We loved it! For this activity, we used our Phil & Ted’s backpack and it is clutch.
Later that day for dinner, we went to a pintxos place. These are snacks with toothpicks in them. Keep the toothpicks because that’s how they know how many you had to pay for them :). We had walked a TON that day, so dinner ended up not going so well. Read, our son spilled his drink 3 different times… hence why I was far too distracted to take any pictures.
Day 4 Montserrat and Mountain Drives
As I explained, we had prebooked a car and carseats. So, once we endured the process of pick-up (people aren’t in a big hurry here), we drove about an hour to Montserrat Monestary. It is beautiful. We walked around some, did some rock hunting (as you do… anywhere), ate some snacks, we even took a funicular up the mountain to get an even better view.
After a little lunch, we hit the road to Andorra which took another 2 hours. The kids slept, adults chatted, everyone was happy. The views were beautiful and we saw what I’ll call bunkers built into some of the rocks. I need to learn more about those. Once we got to Andorra, we survived the frustration of one way streets to find our hotel and get checked in. Who doesn’t enjoy a bar credit at check-in?! A glass of cava later and we’re ready to hit the streets. We were guided to a place with a large playground next to an eatery. Perfect! The kids didn’t care that it was dark already and neither did we as they filled their lungs with that cool, fresh mountain air and ran their little legs off.
Day 5 Vic, Spain
We awoke early in Andorra reminded that all sleeping in the same room can be tough. Hotel L’Isard had us on the top floor with skylights in our room and it was amazing. We got ourselves ready and headed downstairs to be the first ones for the breakfast buffet. This breakfast was quite the sight. So many options and everything was so fresh. Afterward, we set out for a walk and stumbled upon another amazing playground with mountains all around. Andorra’s playground game is STRONG! The kids had a blast trying out all the different areas.
A couple hours later we got back on the road taking a slightly different route back to Barcelona via a town called Vic. We got there and their market was in full swing in the large town square. We found a quiet area to order the menu del dia, snacks for the kids, and some wine for us. Even better, there was a fountain nearby where the kids could play with their cars and animals and run around a little bit. This was a highlight for me. I love a smaller town feel and pace.
Day 6 Churros con Chocolate
The last full day in Barcelona and somehow we had not managed to eat Churros con Chocolate yet. This is a true treat I could face plant into on a regular basis. Be aware, you are likely going to get chocolate on you. If you have kids, this is closer to 100% chance of that happening.
We made it to Camp Nou that last as well to quell all our soccer loving dreams. Though we decided the wait in line and cost of tickets wasn’t for us, we enjoyed taking a look around. Our oldest enjoyed learning about the wonder that is Messi. Some day, when the boys are a little older, we hope to take in a game.
We enjoyed a delicious meal full of Spanish standards like paella. The boys love eating the little baby squids!
There’s No Place Like Home
Sigh. Coming home is tough for a lot of reasons, but the fact that the return flights are longer is hard. Flying to Munich was great and as expected. They even checked more of our bags for free. However, we did incur a leaking diaper that caused to frantically find an outfit for our youngest since his extra clothes were in those surprise checked bags. We ended up with Bayern Munich outfit of lederhosen. I hope no one thought we were being disrespectful, but it was literally the only outfit we could find in the airport. Turns out it was pretty cute.
The flight back from Munich was slated to take 9hrs and 40mins. Ugh. Luckily, we had been able to secure seats with extra leg room. The kids actually did a really great job and after a delay in landing, we finally made it. All the customs checks, getting on the bus to the parking, and then 1.5hrs driving later, we got home and were all ready for bed. What a long day, but it so very worth it.
Have you been to Barcelona? What cities are on your list to experience with or without children?