Barcelona! Barthelona!

24th June 2013

I’m heading to Barcelona soon, where I will eat all the Manchego in the country. It’s a bit of an unexpected trip — my ex and I arranged to do a kid handoff mid trip so both of us get to see Europe with Hank without spending as much on tickets.

If you’ve visited or lived in Barcelona, I’d love to hear what you’d recommend. Hank will be with me part of the time, but I’ll have time on my own too. If you have favorite restaurants, things to eat, things to do, or general advice, I’m all ears.

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34 thoughts on “Barcelona! Barthelona!

  1. Cara

    Take Hank to Tibidabo! I don’t have kids, I am just very immature and love theme parks. This one didn’t have the most amazing rides, but it did have a spectacular view of the city! There’s a funicular as well that takes you there – bonus!!

  2. Ceci Bean

    I was just there last month! It was my favorite city out of 5 I visited. Bring your bathing suit and hang on the beach, visit the Park Guell and La Ciutadella (more locals in this one), explore the Gothic district, and be prepared to stay up late (since dinner time is at like 10pm). Have a blast!

  3. Rebeca

    I was surprised to see a little boy at this awesome, raucous tapas bar called El Vaso De Oro (in the Barceloneta neighbourhood) at 10:30 at night. But he was having a great time and so was I. Since then I’ve had a goal to take my (7-year-old) son for tapas at El Vaso De Oro. Hoping to make it happen sometime this year. Have a great trip!

  4. Eileen

    Definitely go to Boqueria – the best farmers market in the world. There are even tapas booths that cook food they buy from the vendors that day. You can’t get fresher than that. And if you like flea markets, Mercantic is where it’s at.

  5. Jen

    Las Ramblas is so much fun for you and him! Keep alert and your valuables close, but it’s such a feast of sights and sounds! Do the double decker tour-there’s two companies. Either one will let you get on and off in various loops for 24 hours and it’s so worth it in Barcelona. Also, live up the nighttime culture on your own time-dinner doesn’t even begin until after 9. There’s great music and I loved every dish. Jamon and cerveza are served everywhere. Seafood is so fresh and delicious. Fresh squeezed o.j. is called zuma and is delicious with cafe con leche. Breakfast is mostly toast, but little pastry shops are great!

  6. Beth

    Yes, dinner is late, so be prepared with snacks! La Sagrada Familia is a must. Absolutely one of the most amazing buildings I’ve seen. Drink hot chocolate! It is essentially melted chocolate in a cup. I also recommend taking a day trip to Montserrat, which is an old Benedictine Monk retreat high up in the mountains. You get to ride like 3 forms of transportation to get there. Have fun!

  7. Shelly

    Any of the restaurants in the Born district are amazing and there is a xampanyeria in the Born that is wonderful as well!
    (I stayed in the Born Chic and Basic for several days during my honeymoon and loved it- so weird and wonderful.)

  8. Michelle

    La Boqueria in Las Ramblas, buy apples, strawberries, and manchego!
    The Picasso museum
    La Gavina restaurant on the water front, get a seat outside and get the cuttlefish fideua–amazing, follow with chocolate gelato with strawberries
    If there on a Sunday go to the Gothic cathedral around sunset to see Sardana–a traditional dance the locals do in small circles–it is fun and beautiful
    They do it other nights too, but Sunday is when it happens most regularly
    It is my favorite city in the world (that I have seen this far)
    Enjoy your trip!

  9. Stephanie

    One more thing: For breakfast, you must try Pa amb tomàquet. It’s basically toast with tomato and olive oil. Order yourself a cafe con leche.

    Oh my. I miss Spain.

  10. Jen

    Also! Its a super walkable city! I loved climbing up into the hills-there’s a giant string of trails for hiking and biking. So easy to get around and be on the Mediterranean, in the midst of so many people, and find space to breathe. It’ll be hot, but so lovely!

  11. Danielle

    The best thing to do in Barcelona is to wander, especially at night. Everything happens so late and I loved seeing entire families, grannies and babies, out for a walk at midnight, just looking at the other walkers looking at them!

  12. Lili

    There’s a bakery/cafe called Caelum where all the produce is made by nuns/monks in enclosed orders – in fact the cafe is attached to a convent. And they have really good coffee.

  13. Jen

    Its been twenty years. I was younger and might have a different approach to the country now, but, for your days alone: sangria; oranges; architecture; chocolate & churros; a little of that glorious sunshine that is special to Spain; and toreadors. (Not the bullfights, just the bullfighters.) :)

  14. sara

    two totally awesome & kid friendly spots are parc guell & the miro museum. the view from the miro museum is breathtaking, and the art is, too!

  15. james

    great meals at la biblioteca (25 Carrer de la Junta de Comerç) and bar lobo (3 Carrer Pintor Fortuny). second the recommendation for la boqueria. we picked up things there and then had a picnic at barceloneta. hanging out in front of la seu (barri gotic) at sunset was beautiful. chocolate museum. picasso museum. museu nacional d’art de catalunya. all of the gaudi recommendations. if you can make it out of the city — sitges was a quiet beach town and figueres has a dali museum. enjoy your trip!

  16. Wendi

    Love, love, LOVE Barcelona, all the above comments are great but leave plenty of time for drinking wine at a table in a quiet square! If your son likes soccer tour the stadium. Bring lots of snacks because you will not find much to eat from late afternoon ’till 8pm.
    One more thing – I took a fabulous cooking class – right on La Rambla –
    Have a great trip!

  17. Debbie

    Just got back from a week in Barcelona. One of the coolest things we did was eat a meal with a local family through EatWith – it’s kind of like AirBandB but for meals. The hosts are all pre-approved and cook up amazing food- seriously the food we had rivaled some of the best restaurants we ate at and we got to meet a great family and see how local people live as well.
    I’d also suggest Mercat Princesa in Born, a great place to taste a bunch of different delicious stuff. Kinda like the Ferry building, t’s like the most awesome food court you can imagine, but in a 14th century castle. Good for kids and open during off hours, too.

  18. Kay

    Sombrerería Obach! Family Shop with fantastic hats, also picasso museum, and L’Aquàrium de Barcelona- great for kids, and all are close walking distance from La Rambla

    I think it may be impossible to not have fun in Barcelona, enjoy it!

  19. Megan

    I lived in Barcelona for three months as a college student. I read through the comments above, which are full of excellent recommendations, and would only add that I enjoyed the aquarium, which is full of Mediterranean species I was much less familiar with as a North American. It was very kid friendly and particularly welcome on a too hot afternoon.

  20. Claire

    I’m going to Barcelona soon too in July! If I bump into you be prepared for a photo request!! I’ve been following your blog for ages so won’t be able to resist bothering you. Apologies in advance :-)

  21. Sanna

    You can get a ferry over to Menorca very easily. Visit Mahon, its beautiful and such a contrast to Barcelona – still very full of life and so many things to see, but so different.

  22. Aryn

    Go to Cacao Sampaka for the thickest, most delicious hot chocolate you will ever encounter in your entire life. Dip churros in it. Try not to think about how (delicious) unhealthy it all is. Then go to the beach for paella and a pitcher of sangria. There are lots of restaurants lining the boardwalk of Barceloneta. We went to Cavamar.
    Enjoy Spain!

  23. Chris

    The absolute best neighborhood tapas bar in Barceloneta–“Jayca.” Totally a locals’ place. Perfectly fried disks of eggplant that I still dream about today, 5 years later…. Hank would probably also like seeing Frank Gehry’s fish sculpture, almost on the beach. When we were there we ate at a wonderful crepe restaurant in an old bus. It was just under the fish! Barcelona is a delightful city, enjoy!

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