Vickyleen had asked me for a few tips and hints on various places to go with her husband and 2 toddlers aged 4 and 2. She finally ended choosing going to visit the beloved city of Barcelona! Funny enough, since I have had my kids, I have not been to Barcelona myself but, I know Barcelona welcomes everybody and kids have so much to do there. After sharing my hints and tips with her, she wrote to me about her explorations with her two toddlers and although she had a few mishaps she really had a good time. This is her story:
Her holiday started with a difficult situation where she arrived at Barcelona Airport at midnight. This is one of the things I do not recommend when travelling with kids so young, read more on budgeting tips here. Sometimes though, you just have to book that flight as there is no other choice. She rightly pre-booked a taxi from the airport to the hotel online so that she and her family wouldn’t be stranded in the airport. I know many people who got stranded in an airport due to lack of taxis or even because there was an unkown strike of transportation. Being you arrive in the middle of the night most offices are closed so you can’t even hire a car. The unfortunate event though was not that she arrived at midnight but that she found out the next day from the receptionist that they charged her nearly double the amount that she should have spent. The taxi transfer took them only 15 minutes to get to the hotel and they charged her €42! This might happen to you, check my tips to see what else you can prepare before you travel. When buying online transfers check with your hotel or landlord as may be they can provide transfers themselves which are reliable and trustworthy.
Vickyleen and her family were lodging at Novotel Barcelona Cornella; an Accor, 4 star hotel. It is highly recommended especially when traveling kids. This Hotel is not cheap but it has a small playing area, indoor games, table soccer, and a nice swimming pool area, while being only 15 minutes away from the centre by Metro.Sometimes, if you spend just that little bit more you will find that your holiday is less stressful.
Vickyleen had some complications when she booked her hotel online and my suggestion is that no matter how you book your hotel and from whatever site or even agent, always give your hotel a call before leaving for your holiday to check how and if you are booked correctly to make sure you don’t find any unpleasant surprises. Vickylee did just this to check since she had to do a late check in and everything turned out fine.
Travelling in Barcelona is not hard and the Metro is cheap, there are even cards that include buses and trams, some tickets include discounts on tours and entrances to certain places, do your homework (check out this website) prior to traveling in saves you a lot. The only downside of the Metro is that some stations such as that one of Placa de Catalunya do not have lifts, thus Vickylee and her husband had to lift the pushchair (which in their case is a double one) down and up the stairs. For all those families travelling with a pushchair or wheelchair do avoid this station and use the others. I’m sure the station before or the one after wouldn’t be that far off from where you want to go to.
Being that her kids are very young and they wanted to start their holiday with a bang, the first day in Barcelona they visited the Zoo. It is a massive zoo in fact even though they spent all day there, they didn’t get to visit the Fish and Bird section. Kids love animals and there are normaly activities while there when the animals are being fed so kids get entertained all day.
Then in the evening they enjoyed a beautiful dinner at Roca de la Vila in Llacuna, a metro station just few minutes away in the same street. She strongly recommends it.
The following day, they decided to use a Hop on and Hop off tour. Totally worth it as it gets you around the city and you can stop wherever you wish. Plus easy to hop on with pushchair. It’s the best way to visit a city, any city to be honest.
Many landmarks are worth seeing but la Ramblas is a street you need to start and finish by foot as there is so many stalls, street theatre and cafes to see. When Vickyleen was there they were lucky enough to enjoy a food festival. Various Barcelonian Chefs offered their different foods and whoever is interested they buy the tokens and enjoy.
At the end of La Ramblas there is also the Aquarium. Even though Vickylee decided not to visit this, as the zoo was a highlight in itself, it is still an enjoyable break away from the heat.
On another day they decided to head to a beach so they spent a day at Playa Barceloneta. Here the deck chairs are rented 20eur per piece (quite expensive when you think that in Malta with that amount you get 2 and sometimes even your lunch included). Kids enjoyed playing in the sand and it was a relaxing day for us. Some points to ponder: Topless bathing is tolerated more than in Malta and the sea is not as clear as we are used to.
It was not a long break but it definitely was lovely and they look forward to visit Spain again. Vickyleen was impressed with how spotless Barcelona is. Spain is very big and unless you have the luxury of living there or your holiday is at least 30 days, do not try to fit a lot in. Take Spain little by little, each region has it’s speciality and some are better visited in the summer while others would be ideal for spring or even winter breaks. I know I’d love to revisit Barcelona but I think the mountain regions are more my thing right now.
We thank Vickyleen and her family for sharing their story and their tips with us. She believes that sharing her story could help someone else and that is what our community is all about. What part of Spain have you been to with your little explorers? We’d like to know and contact us or leave a comment below, so you too can be featured like Vickyleen.