Barcelona With A Toddler

I last visited Barcelona as a 20 year old, favouring trips to Zara and Mango and late night boozing over some of the amazing architecture and sights that the city has to offer.  Lucky for you, Joanne has just returned from her to trip to Barcelona with her young daughter and shares her tips below:

Arenas de Barcelona

Arenas de Barcelona

Who went?
My husband, my 21 month old daughter and me

Where did we go?
Barcelona, Spain

When did you go?
May 2014 for 3 nights

How was the weather?
Mostly good, nice temperature (about 20c) and sunny with occasional showers

How did you book the trip?
Independently. Booked separate flights (Ryanair) and apartment (apartment booked through Owners Direct)

How was the flight?
We flew over lunchtime which worked well as our daughter had lunch and a nap on the plane. Took a magazine, a few small toys and snacks to keep her entertained.

The apartment was about 30 minutes from the airport. We took the Aerobus (only €10 each return for my husband and I and free for our daughter). It goes into the centre of Barcelona and our apartment was a 5 minute walk from the bus stop. MUCH easier and far more direct than the train that I had used previously.

The apartment was ideal for us – 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and an open living space. It was well kept, had all of the equipment and facilities that we needed (including a travel cot) and was in a lovely quiet residential location only a short walk from the centre of Barcelona. The only downside was that we were on the 3rd floor (no lift as old building – quite common in Barcelona I imagine) and had to carry the stroller up and down every day.

We stayed on the edge of the Sant Antoni and Poble Sec districts. We had everything we needed on our doorstep – a huge daily market (Mercat Sant Antoni), bakeries, cafes, etc.

My husband and I had visited Barcelona previously and seen most of the poplar tourist attractions (Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Camp Nou,etc.). This time we focussed on things that we thought out daughter would enjoy.

Barcelona has so much to offer for children and everything seems to be free for the under 3s.

Our highlights were Barcelona Zoo (allow at least 3 hours especially if you want to catch one of the Dolphin or Sea Lion shows) and the Aquarium (including a 80m shark tunnel and a great interactive ‘Explora’ area). Barcelona is also full of little parks, our daughter loved the toddler friendly play area at Parc Joan Miro (just off Placa d’Espanya). 

Barcelona - Parc Joan Miro 2

Parc Joan Miro

Parc Joan Miro

We were also lucky enough to have beach weather. We would recommend Barceloneta beach as it is a short walk from the city centre, has good facilities and lots of bars (chiringuitos) flanking the beach.

The one attraction that we wouldn’t recommend with a child is the Telerific (cable car). There were long queues, it wasn’t very stroller friendly and it was relatively expensive (€11 per person for a short ride). The views were excellent but could be reached from other locations (for example Montjuic or Tibidabo).

We mostly ate out at lunch and ate in the apartment at dinner as they tend to eat late in Barcelona (around 10pm!). We made the most of our local bakery with freshly baked bread and pastries daily. We also enjoyed tapas for dinner one night, it is a great way of trying lots of different dishes. One observation was that you will rarely find a children’s menu as children tend to be treated the same as adults in restaurants and there weren’t any toddler meals in the supermarket, so if your little one is fussy it might be worth planning ahead and taking some food with you. On the plus side there is an abundance of fresh fruit and veg to be sampled! 

Barcelona - Mercat Sant Antoni

In conclusion!
Overall the trip was great, if a little short. We have been to Barcelona before and whilst this was a different experience with a little one, we will be returning again. Barcelona has so much to offer – fascinating city, parks aplenty, great beaches and lots of sunshine. There is so much to see in Barcelona that it is tempting to have a full itinerary. My recommendation to anyone planning a trip with little ones is to allow plenty of time for just wandering around the city and enjoying the sights, sounds (and flavours) waiting around every corner. Make sure to pack some comfy shoes!

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