Those of you who follow me on Instagram and here on the blog will know we recent had a family visit to Barcelona. BattleDad was attending a concert in the city with friends, and when I discovered there are direct flights during the summer to the city from Faro, I decided that BattleKid and I would tag along. Here is our trip report for our family visit to Barcelona Part 1.
Our family visit to Barcelona was our first time in the Spanish city and I had high hopes. I’ve visited Madrid twice when one of my sisters was living there but never really explored all the city had to offer. Fast-forward 17 years and we were going to make the most of our time in Barcelona.
A Family Visit to Barcelona Part 1 – Day One
We left our home at 6.30am and headed to Faro for our 9.30am flight to Barcelona. After parking the car and checking in (because for some reason departures from Faro require desk check in), we made our way through security into the departures lounge. We grabbed a quick sandwich from a small coffee shop as all the other food outlets on the non-UK/Ireland part of the airport were busy busy, thanks to it being the peak season.
We eventually found a seat and shared our sandwiches with BattleKid while we waited for our flight. After getting the bus to our Vueling plane, we handed BattleKid’s Simply for Flying Logbook to the cabin crew, found our seats and settled down for the flight, less than two hours of it.
The flight was uneventful, and I managed a short nap before the wheels touched down in Spain. And then the heat hit us. Now, we’ve had warm temperatures here in Portugal, but this was a few degrees more. We were ages waiting for our bags and had collected them just as I received a text message from the driver for our transfer saying he was 5 minutes away.
Our AirBnB host was able to offer us an airport transfer, taking away the worry of either getting public transport into the city or a taxi. And it was quite reasonable. Some of the sights on the way to our AirBnB were stunning, getting my excitement up. However, they were short lived when we arrived at our AirBnB.
Down a side street in the Raval area of Barcelona, we had to walk up seven short flights of stairs to our third-floor apartment, which wasn’t as stunning as the pictures had made it look. Clearly, they used a lot of lighting when photographing the apartment for the listing.
Our host was nice enough and gave us some recommendations of things to do and places to eat and we were soon left to ourselves. I had chosen this particular AirBnB for its location to the Olympic Stadium in Montjuic, where the concert was being held. I had thought that if BattleDad couldn’t get a taxi after the concert, he could at least walk back. But if I ever return to the city I won’t be staying in this area of Barcelona.
As we had arrived at the apartment by 2pm local time, we decided to get out and start our exploring straight away. We walked towards Placa de Cataluyna, to find the Hard Rock Café for BattleDad. He collects t-shirts from each city where one is located. We also thought we might get lunch there but there was a bit of a wait and we were all hungry.
Said t-shirt was bought and we started looking for somewhere for lunch. At the top of Las Ramblas, which we had walked along coming out from the direction we’d taken, is a small tapas restaurant called Nuria. When in Rome and all that, so we went in and had a really nice tapas lunch. BattleDad and I got the sharing menu of tapas and BattleKid had a pizza, which was tasty. It was a great lunch and didn’t cost us more than €40 including drinks.
After lunch we decided to hop in a taxi and head for the aquarium at the marina. It had been recommended to us as something to do in Barcelona with kids and the taxi cost less than €10. One thing that surprised me about Barcelona is just how big it is. Of course, cities tend to be big places, but Barcelona felt like the biggest one we’ve ever been in, bar London.
The aquarium was not busy, despite it being the summer holidays and a Saturday afternoon and we had a great time there. I’ll be writing more about our visit on the blog at some stage but we all thoroughly enjoyed our time there. It’s big enough and has a good variety of fish and marine animals to keep the attention of everyone who visits.
Once we’d finished our visit we hopped in a taxi back to our AirBnB to chill out before dinner. We also stopped in a supermarket along the way to get some supplies for the apartment. Our host had suggested a pasta place just a short three-block walk from the apartment, so we decided to try it for dinner.
We walked towards Macchina Pasta Bar. As we approached the street it is on, we discovered the Barcelona Gay Pride Parade was taking place on Avenue del Parallel. Having visited Zurich during Street Parade back in 2010, it reminded me of that and we stopped to watch some of the parade with BattleKid. He loved seeing the colourful floats and hearing the music and was intrigued by it all.
We had to drag him away into the restaurant but thankfully they had a window seat where we could continue to watch the parade.
When you travel with your children, you are giving them something that can never be taken away… Experience, exposure, and a way of life ~ Pamela T. Chandler . . . So true. Take for instance our recent trip to Barcelona. On our first evening in the city we caught some of the Gay Pride Parade. BattleKid was fascinated by the music, colours and people, and had to be dragged into the restaurant we were having dinner in. Luckily they had a window seat so we could carry on watching while enjoying our food. It was a great parade and I’m sure one day he’ll support his cousin N if he ever takes part in one. I’d also love to take him to Street Parade in Zurich one year. We caught it back in 2010 and it was an amazing day. One day we’ll return as a family. For now though, we are looking forward to our next travels as a family. Northern Portugal is first and we’ve NOTHING prepared which is very unusual for us. I have, however, just booked an experience for us while we’re in Finnish Lapland in December. We’re doing a husky experience with @bearhillhusky and I’m so excited. I’m sure the boy is going to enjoy it!
We all enjoyed a bowl of pasta, BattleKid’s dry as he’s gone off any sauce, before heading for home. We’d day a great first day in Barcelona and were all in bed early after an early start.
A Family Visit to Barcelona Part 1 – Day Two
We were up early enough and enjoyed a continental breakfast, courtesy of the things we’d bought in the supermarket the night before. After getting washed and dressed, we decided to walk towards Avenue del Parallel to grab a taxi to head to the zoo. This was another attraction recommended to us as somewhere to take the kids in Barcelona.
We arrived shortly after opening at 10am and, armed with a map, started our visit. To the right of the entrance is the aviary section and we went in there to find birds of all sorts, many of which were of the parrot variety. From there we saw monekys, dolphins, Komodo dragons and many more animals.
We really liked the policy Barcelona Zoo now has concerning its dolphins. They used to hold shows with the dolphins but have stopped doing them. And although the dolphins, many of whom were born at the zoo, are housed in the show area, they are free to swim into the auditorium section as and when they choose. It is also up to themselves if they become playful or not. It is the intention that the dolphins will eventually to be rehomed elsewhere, hopefully a sea sanctuary.
Until we visited, I didn’t know that Barcelona is one of the worlds largest zoos with over 7000 animals from 400 species. It is quite a big zoo but with lots of shades areas, it can be enjoyed even in the height of summer. I had worried about the sun and lathered us all in sun cream, but the shade was welcomed.
We had lunch at the zoo, which was pretty standard food for any zoo and finished off our day by seeing the elephants. One thing that was evident was the level of construction taking place at the zoo. We spotted at least two areas that were under construction or expansion and I always enjoy seeing this, knowing some animals are about to get bigger and better enclosures.
Someone made a new friend today in the Barcelona Zoo. Its a big zoo, with lots of animals and enclosures. It was also great to see they’re enlarging many enclosures too. The shade provided by the trees was welcomed as it was quite hot today. We had a great time there and someone is visibly pooped from all the walking!
Once we had finished with the zoo we walked through Parc de la Ciutadella, at one end of which is the zoo. This park is one of the biggest in Barcelona and we admired the gardens and buildings as we made our way towards Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf. Yes, they have one too. I would have liked more time to explore and enjoy the park, but we had a tired boy on our hands so wanted to photograph the Arc before heading back to our AirBnB.
We hailed a taxi and went back so that BattleDad could prepare for the Guns and Roses concert he was attending with a friend. It was after all the real reason Barcelona had come into play for us. I bought a pizza and some supplies for BattleKid and I, and once BattleDad was on his way, we enjoyed a film on Netflix with popcorn and pizza.
We were both in bed early, pretty tired after our long walk around the zoo. However, I didn’t sleep properly until BattleDad got back, after 2am thanks to a late start by the band who stayed on stage for three and a half hours!
Pop back next time for Part 2 of our family visit to Barcelona.