We just returned from our 7 day trip to Barcelona. My husband has an annual conference there; thus, his is the second year in a row that we have visited. However, it is the first time we have vacationed with a child! Thanks for all your advice, help and encouragement! Special thanks to Maribel for her amazing guide and for being a general tome of knowledge!
LODGING: We were pleased with our experience with the apartment rental company visit-bcn.com. We rented from them last year and they are very helpful. However, I have never been able to stay <exactly> where I wanted to be, in the heart of Born. Last year we were right off Via Laintaina near the main Post Office- that area felt a little shady at night, so we opted for an apartment near the Palau de Musica this time. It felt safer, but it was a little more of a trek to get into the "heart" of the Old City/El Born.
Just to reiterate: BE CAREFUL OF PICKPOCKETS! We had a big scare the day we arrived. My husband was watching our suitcases outside our apartment while we were waiting to check in and he put his backpack down for a second when Baby started crying. We were obviously being scoped out and a thief picked up the bag- with all our passports, computers, etc... Luckily, my husband was able to retrieve our belongings. We live in Moscow so we are used to being paranoid- but man! the Barcelona thieves take it to a new level!
Overall, I do recommend this part of town for traveling with kids and I felt generally very safe there. Plus, the apartment was great/convenient to come take pit stops/rest breaks.
OH, how a baby changes things! My husband and I LOVE food and it is usually the highlight of any vacation. I would go out of my way to try a recommended restaurant/cafe/hole in the wall if I though it was worth my while... in the past. Unfortunately, cranky and tired infants dont make the best dinner companions. (Dont get me wrong, DS did great! He was such a trooper! Its just convenience takes a MUCH great importance.) So we were only able to try a few spots this time around. Generally, ALL restaurants were very helpful/inviting towards us! Here are the places we tried:
- El Bitxo (right besides the Palau de Musica- great for post/pre concert snack) Fun little tapas bar- owned by a Danish woman. They speak English which is helpful- and the waitstaff was pleasant. Great sardines in vinegar, salad with salmon, and goat cheese with sweet olive tapanade.
- La Dolce de Hermia- part of the chain that includes Les Quinze Nits (the place with that ridiculous line out the door). Sort of like a CHili's for Spain? Food is good enough- mass produced, fast service, great prices. We felt very comfortable bring our infant here for dinner- there were other babies in line when we were leaving- at 11:00pm! While the food isnt gourmet- its great for a young family staying across the street- and you can get in and out in about 1 hour.
- Sauc: Our risky restaurant choice, with little Baby in tow... I think the got a little nervous when we walked in with our stroller and excited little boy. But they were very nice- and never made us feel strange- but its hard to have a long leisurely lunch with a 6 month old- and this place is very quiet... We both had the tasting menu for 48 Euro. We went to Alkimia last year and I seem to remember that I enjoyed that meal a little more - though it was more expensive. FYI- they no longer have the Menu of the Day. If I had to do it again, I would have chosen Hisop.
- Pinoxto- Everyone raves about this little bar in the Boqueria- and its worth the hype. I'd come back to Barcelona just to eat those chickpeas. Shrimp to die for, service was wonderful. My son and Juan the owner hit it off.
-Taller de Tapas: We visited last year-good food, easy to order, love the spinach here.They have high chairs, which is nice.
- Set Portes: A great place to have Paella on a Sunday afternoon; aftewards go strolling on the beach
- Euskal Etxea: yummy pintxos- though dont go with a stroller- this place is packed to standing room only- and so its better to go with just a carrier.
-Cuines de Santa Caterina: in the Market- good tapas, nice that they are open all day long... Can take stuff to go.
-El Principal: My husband had a business dinner here. It was a last resort bc many of the nicer places are closed Monday night- and on top of that, it was a holiday. The ambiance was wonderful, but the food was only average. The service was understaffed that night, so he didnt have the greatest experience.
Overall: Dining out with a baby in Barcelona is wonderful- the only thing that is hard is the fact that places dont open for dinner till 8:30 at the earliest- so we had to forgo the 7:30 bedtime for the week.
We did most of our major site seeing last year, so this time we did take it easy. Plus, it was very rainy for the week that we were there. What a sight we were with our umbrellas, stroller, diaper bags etc...
- La Pedrera: The line is always so long at this place for some reason! We actually waited in line and got tickets and came back another day since the roof was closed due to the rain. Bring a carrier- you wont be able to get to the roof with a stroller.
- Gourmet Tour: we purchased tickets through the Main Visitor Center. It was okay- but I had visited many of the places the year before- so its actually not really worth it. I think you can even get the map online.
- If the weather had allowed it, we would have gone to:
-- Parc Guell: We loved this whimsical place when we went last year!
-- The Zoo
-- The Dancing Fountains/light show on Montjuic
Alas, Mother Nature wasnt on our side this year!
Overall: We didnt do much sightseeing this year since we pretty much hit all the museums/Gaudi buildings last year. But they would definitely be doable with an infant. I am sure there are other more informative posts about this.
Some of my favorite shops in Barcelona include:
- Villa Vinateca: Such a great wine store! Informative staff, very pleasant, go and pick up a few bottles to drink while in BCN and a few to take home for the memories!
- E&A Gispert: Great nuts, other yummy snacks... You can find saffron here for a good price.
-Art Escudellers: the huge pottery store has anything you could possible imagine- a great place for little souviners for friends/family.
- Oli s Oliva: GREAT olive oil store- you can taste different olive oils from all over Spain- you can try different sorts on bread.
OVERALL: I love Barcelona!
Hope this trip report was helpful- I love this forum and hope that I see some other Fodorites with infants traveling around next time!
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Barcelona Trip Report: Adventures of traveling with a 6 month old!