Barcelona: December 28-30, 2018.
My cousin Amy traveled through Spain.. she loved it. My other cousin, Lillian, was studying abroad in Barcelona for the past semester.. she loves it. I have two other cousins who had nothing but good things to say. We’ve never gone to Spain so we booked 2 days within our Paris trip.
Since Lillian spent a good amount of time there recently, I asked for her advice and recommendations.
Download the mytaxi app because it’s more common than Uber - definitely helped us.
Park Guell - purchase tickets in advance.
Sagrada Familia - it’s beautiful inside, but there’s also a great photo op area across from it in the trees (other side of the lake in the park.. in front of the playground).
Tibidabo (amusement park) - cute, but if visiting for a short time.. not worth the trek.
“Walking by the water is nice too. Maritime museum is pretty. Walk by the Barceloneta and port to take the cable car to Montjuic. Barcelona pavilion is famous architecturally (but I don’t imagine you’d spend more than 20 minutes there. Hospital San Paul is beautiful (you could do it the same day as Sagrada Familia).”
Lluritu - Seafood, Mediterranean, European
Fismuler - Mediterranean, Europan, Spanish
Gresca - Mediterranean, Europan, Spanish
Al Kostat - I looked this up and Alkimia comes up. Serves Mediterranean, Europan, Spanish.
Petit Bangkok - Thai
Fish and Chips Shop - Mediterranean, British, Middle Eastern
Disfrutar (fine dining) - Mediterranean, Europan, Spanish.
Jamon Reserva - Ham tasting
Parking Pizza - Her favs were the spec and the burrata
And with everything.. it’s best to make reservations and/or buy tickets in advance.
We flew out of Orly airport on the earliest flight out via Vueling. Reviews for Vueling are hit and miss.. the negatives mostly dealt with baggage, but we didn’t have to worry about check-in luggage (we carry on). It was a straightforward flight that got us from A to B. We did pay for seats in advance because we’re traveling with kids and didn’t want to risk being separated.
PS. Orly airport is very kid-friendly. They had a play area and game consoles.
We arrived to Petit Palace way before check-in time, but the staff graciously stowed our bags for us. They told us we were welcome to lounge in the lobby until it was ready. Olivia was knocked out and Nathaniel was pretty beat, so we decided to sit on the couch for an hour or two before starting our day. When we finally did check in, we loved our room. The kids loved the bunk bed. We had a view of the pool (it’s pretty small and too cold to use this time of year) and other buildings. Overall, nothing negative to say. It was within walking distance to a lot of things.
Things We Did:
We walked aimlessly around the Gothic Quarter. We realized we were near the Picasso Museum and the line seemed to be moving fast. We waited for about 20 minutes for tickets. Photos aren’t allowed in the museum. Olivia said her favorite painting was that of Picasso’s mom (she was in a pink dress). It was nice to take time to look through the progression of Picasso’s art and be able to discuss what the kids thought of it.. which was basically, cool/weird/funky and in Olivia’s case.. nice dress.
La Sagrada Familia - This was the go-to place everyone recommended. We purchased our tickets prior to the trip. Upon arrival, we stepped into a short security line and made our way in. It’s truly a stunning spectacle. How the natural light enters the building. How the stained glass reflects. The thought that went into every aspect.
There is a small park and a playground right across from La Sagrada Familia. We always try to find a playground in every city and stumbled upon this one. We stopped to let Olivia play to expend some energy. Right across from the playground is an area people use as a photo op; it gives you a full view of La Sagrada Familia.
We did not realize we needed tickets to go to Park Guell. I thought it’d be an open park, but I did not do my research for this (I attempted to go with the flow for this trip.. and I just didn’t feel like planning things out this time). We arrived and saw signs everywhere that said access was sold out. We decided to walk around and just down the street is a big, open, free park.
I’ve never considered myself to be a nature/landscape type of person, but my favorite part about trips has usually been the parks (like in Rome). This park was laid out so beautifully. The kids always love the bubble person anywhere. We kept walking higher and higher and ended up seeing stunning views of the city.
Our hotel was a block or two away from Passeig el Gracia so we got to explore this major shopping area. That and Olivia ended up needing one more outfit for the rest of the trip. It’s a lively area. Even the high end boutiques were swarming with people (who were probably trying to take advantage of the VAT refunds).
Things We Ate:
Cuidad Comtal - It had good reviews, but it was just okay for us. The grilled prawns were probably the tastiest thing. The staff weren’t the most friendly either.
Cera 23 - I tried my very first Sangria here.. not bad at all. This place filled up pretty quickly. We booked a same day reservation because we wanted to try more tapas places. We haven’t found a tapas place the kids have been excited about yet. The ham appetizer was good. The ceviche needed a little something. The foie gras ravioli was so so sweet. Execution was definitely on point.. but it just didn’t suit our flavor profile.
Parking Pizza - My cousin recommended this place and you can never really go wrong with pizza. We took this for takeout one night because Liv needed to eat.. she loved it. The space in itself and the ambience is awesome.
Paisano Cafe - This is about a block away from La Sagrada Familia. Simple foods, but a comfort for the kids.
La Paradeta - Also a block away from La Sagrada Familia. There was already a line before opening. This place is an assembly line. You wait in line to pick your seafood and how you want it cooked. They weigh it, you pay, they give you a tray, and you find a table (you have to order before you can sit). They call your order number and you pick up your food plate by plate from a window (whenever it’s ready). It’s a machine of a system. We’ve never seen a restaurant quite like this. The seafood was delicious, but as Asians.. we wish we had some homemade dipping sauce.
Fish and Chips - For our last night, we decided to grab something simple so we walked here from our hotel. It’s good, but not exactly what my kids like to eat.
Ubereats: Youme Sushi - When traveling with kids, there are nights where we opt not to leave the hotel after we’ve returned from a long day. Thank goodness for Ubereats worldwide.
We experienced a little bit of crazy while there too. In the taxi, on the way to dinner on night one, we witnessed a guy in a car come out to punch a guy on a scooter (the car guy was going in the wrong direction and scooter guy called him out on it.. car guy was unapologetic and confrontational). During dinner on night two, we saw two guys chasing one guy up and down the street. In the morning, on the way to the airport, we saw police surrounding a man sleeping on the edge of the curb/street. Our taxi driver said the man was extremely intoxicated and they couldn’t wake him up.
Two days was not nearly enough to explore Barcelona, but I’m not sure we’ll be rushing back anytime soon. If ever we do return, hopefully we have more time to discover more kid things. I do get why singles/couples/groups of friends would have a ball there. Restaurants open late and I can only imagine the night life.
Ps. The Barcelona has a playground!