Help make our trip to Europe amazing, Barcelona edition
May 15, 2018 7:08 PM   Subscribe

Our family will be spending a few days in Barcelona in June. We're traveling with kids (10 & 12), so our plan is for a mostly low-key trip filled with lazily exploring the city. But we're also looking for other unique or special experiences we could do as a family that would really make our trip special.

We would love to hear any ideas that might involve:

- Meeting and interacting with locals
- Visiting special places in the city/area that might not show up in guide books
- Anything food or wine related that shouldn't be missed

We will not have a car.
posted by quantum to Travel & Transportation around Barcelona, Spain (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's obvious and shows up in every guide book, but you should book tickets for Sagrada Familia in advance, and be sure to get the package that includes a tower visit, which takes you all the way up the facade in an elevator and you can go down through a complicated set of stairs weaving in and out of the facade, with amazing views and an occasional sense of peril.

Any of the markets is a wonderful experience, La Boqueria is the classic and most touristed. In the markets, you see people who will try to sell you a small paper cone containing ham. Buy the ham. I cannot state this emphatically enough: Buy. The. Ham.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:58 PM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I second the markets. Barcelona is an extremely lively city and there is a lot to be said for just walking around and discovering things on your own.

In general, kids don't have patience for museums but heading out to the Joan Miro foundation might be a lot of fun, as his art is fairly accessible. The other one that might be fun is the Frederic Mares museum in the center. You will see it advertised as a sculpture museum and that is half-true. The other half is a massive bizzare collection of objects that he accumulated. (While there, grab something to eat at Bobo Pulpin, one of my favorite places around the cathedral)

I think you should go out to the Born cultural centre. It is a great part of town and you walk on ramps above parts of Barcelona from the 1700s. Lots of my favorite places to eat surround the center as well.
posted by vacapinta at 4:35 AM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Take a walk along the beach in the Barceloneta (metro station Ciutadella Vila Olímpica), then have some fish or paella in the restaurants nearby.

The MNAC (metro Espanya, walk uphill towards Montjuïc) has works of art from Romanesque to Art Nouveau posters, it's a great museum. The Caixaforum nearby will have a Disney exhibition until 24 June. The Poble Espanyol is a collection of replica architecture from all over Spain and rather corny but it's got shops and restaurants and is family friendly.

If you walk out of Diagonal metro station downhill towards Plaça Catalunya you'll see the Pedrera/ Casa Milà, the Casa Batllò and the rest of the Block of Discord, and even the floor tiles are based on Gaudí designs. Plaça Catalunya has shopping malls and is one big transportation hub.

The MMB is at the end of the Rambla (which I would frankly give a miss) and is also very child friendly.
posted by sukeban at 5:57 AM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you like his stuff, the Salvador Dali Museum is two-odd hours away by train in Figueres. There are several sections which appear to require separate tickets for each, but the website can show you what might be the most interesting to see. Try to get tickets in advance- the line to get in can be long.
posted by JulesER at 6:16 AM on May 16, 2018

I quite enjoyed my Spanish cooking class from This was organized by the group I was with, but it looks like you can book your own, and there are English options. Our group was all adults, but I was chatting with the instructor about cooking with kids and he said he regularly does kids or mixed classes.
posted by Liesl at 6:45 AM on May 16, 2018

We took a hop on hop off tour, which may not be your thing but it worked well for us (air conditioning!). One surprise destination was when the bus took us up to the Olympic stadium; there’s a nice little sports museum there and a cable car ride with great views. Enjoy!
posted by leslievictoria at 7:11 AM on May 16, 2018

Take a bike tour with these guys. You will travel to several of the places mentioned above plus others, and get a gentle introduction to Barcelona's relatively good bike traffic areas.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:16 AM on May 16, 2018

Take the funicular or cable car up to Montjuic. I didn't have time to do this on my visit, so can't vouch for it personally--but many people I spoke to had done it and enjoyed it.

Also, there are some good links online about how best to visit Parc Guell with children.
posted by socialjusticeworrier at 10:26 AM on May 16, 2018

Montjuic is a nice break from the madness down here in the city proper, and it can be much cooler up there in the summer. Take the funicular from Avenida Parallel.
La Boqueria is great, it's my go-to market for daily shopping, but sometimes it can be a nightmare to get around because of all the tourists. More and more of the old style stalls are being replaced by stalls geared towards tourists and to already prepared food (I have no issue with this, it's just a point of information). Santa Caterina is much easier to get around in but not nearly as big or as atmospheric.
The beaches in June will be crowded, but I find that if you plan on getting there and leaving early, it's very manageable. Say, off the beach around 11am or noon. If you are looking at the sea with the W hotel on your right, the further to the left you go, the nicer and quieter the beaches become.
Just a note, the Ciutadella Vila Olímpica metro station is in Fort Pienc or Villa Olimpica, not in Barceloneta. Metro stop Barceloneta is on the edge of Barceloneta and closer to the restaurants, but Ciutadella Vila Olímpica is closer to the nicer beaches.
PM me if you have specific questions, always glad to help.
posted by conifer at 10:34 AM on May 18, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!
posted by quantum at 5:48 PM on May 23, 2018

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