First of all Welcome to Barcelona
When you arrive to the Barcelolna airport called El Prat you can go to Barcelona downtown by bus, metro, taxi or train.
- AeroBus takes you into Barcelona for €5.90 - you can purchase the ticket through the link OR on board the bus or you can use the machines just outside the arrival terminal. It runs every 5 min and takes about 35 min. There are 5 stops and the last being Placa Catalunya
- Metro.The new metro line L9 SUD is now connected to the rest of the metro system be aware of your total transit time from one of the connecting metro lines to your arrival to El Prat Airport terminal T1 (A1) or terminal T2 also called A2. The connecting lines are red ( Torrossa Station) blue ( Collblanc Station) or green line ( Zona Universitaria) - Download the Barcelona City/Metro and Sights map to your smartphone. Then you have all-in-one by hand. Single ticket is €4.50. If you are going to make use of the metro system during your stay in Barcelona You may concider to purchased a Barcelona Card that among many other things include unlimited transport on the Barcelona transport system (bus, tram and metro) If not the Barcelona Card then the most recommended is getting the T-10 ticket which is 10 rides for about 10 euros. (can not be use to the airport)
- Taxi: It should be about 20 minute cab ride. It costs about €30-40 depending on the time of the day. There is a 2 euro supplement pr bag and maybe additional supplements to come from the airport.
- Train Renfe R2 is as well an option. The station is located 200 meters from T2 (A2) Terminal. Frecuency every 30 minuts. Single ticket around €4 ... Journey time around 20-25 min. See schedule here
Potential Dinner Destinations
- Cerveceria Catalana: A favorite place for many. Super tapas so there can be quite a wait and if you go as a group you will need to sit at seperate tables, not necessarily next to each other. Adress: C/Mallorca 236 08008 Barcelona. Phone: +34 932 160 368 (no reservations)
- Pla: Swanky hip and cool, buried in the heart of the Gothic Quarter this is contemporary healthy, upscale. The hosts and waiters are extremely nice and helpful and the meal is topped off with chocolate truffles... Who could ask for anything more. Bellafila 5 08036 Barcelona . Phone: +34 934 126 552
- Me: New Orleans / Catalan / Vietnamese. The only thing more interesting than the food is how this fushion restaurant came into being which the owner willl be more than happy to explaine while offering you a blend of all these different cusines. Calle Paris 162, 08036 Barcelona. Phone: +34 648 090 456
- No No No: A more recent descovery on at tiny street in Eixample. Everything is organic and its very fresh produce and some og the best hearty dishes I've had in Barcelona. Its very catalan(so the menu is not in spanish) but the staff is very friendly and willing to help. Passatge Lluis Pellicer 12 Barcelona. Phone: +34 934 449 901
For more recommendation and a story about tapas click here
Must See in Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia. Gaudí's cathedral - its amazing. Has been under construction since 1882 and still has many years to go. You can take the elevator up to the top of the spire and get a great view of Barcelona. Renting the audio tours (available at entrance) or a human guide really helps provide some context for what you are seeing. Not sure how this will be for kids but it's pretty impressive building to look at and you can stay as long or as short as you like. You can book tickets with guide here
- La Pedrera/ Casa Mila (picture below) Beautiful building on Passeig de Gracia - has an incredible roof with views as part of the tour. You can go by day or by night - different tours and during the summer there are as well special arrangement ones a month where they play jazz. Book tickets to La Pedrera/Casa Mila here
- Casa Battlo. Another Gaudí building on Passeig de Gracia which is a must visit
- Parc Güell. Gaudí's park up in the hills. Could spend 3-4 hours and do lunch at place where you can get bocadillos (sandwiches) and drinks etc or if you want to avoid inflated prices, pack a picnic. 30-45 min uphill walk from center. Alternatively could take Tourist Bus or metro to Lesseps and walk up the last steep part or take a taxi there to save the climbing and then walk back down. Read more and book tickets to Parc Güell here
- Sightseeing Bus Barcelona. Like the London double decker buses. While it's touristy it's a fun way to get an overview of the city when you first arrive and get a feel for the layout and the different neighborhoods and what you might want to go back to visit. Earphones provide info on the city sites as you go. Kid friendly so long as they don't mind sitting for it. There are actually three different routes and with one ticket you can try any combination of them. Book tickets here
Places to go in Barcelona
- Spend some hours in Parc de La Ciutadella in the middle of Barcelona. Throw yourself in the grass and watch creative folks doing capoeira (afro-brazilian dance/martial arts) juggling, tight rope walking, picnicking. There are also fun play areas where the kids can use trucks and shovels and other toys provided by the park.
- Montjuic...site of many of the olympic events. Mountain with an old beautiful fort you can get there on public transit pretty quickly/easily via a quick cable car ride. The cable car (funicular) has great views of the city. Montjuic is very large and I have hardly scratched the surface of what is up there but I see a lot of kid-friendly parks with slides/play structures and lots of places to picnic. The Botanical Gardens on Montjuic are supposed to be beautiful too - I haven't been there yet so please leave a comment if you go there.
- Zoo: Barcelona has a zoo in the Parc de la Ciutadella and seems fun for kids. In addition to the animals they have a fun play area with little zipline and play structures. Combine this with a trip to the Arc de Triumf and the Parc de la Ciutadella where you can rent row boats.
- Tibidabo Skywalk Trail. There is a nice flat sand trail around the side of Tibidabo with great views of the city. The trail is nothing fancy but is a fun place for a walk with great views and you can go for miles around the mountain or do a short hour walk and connect to the train back to downtown. Tibidabo has a amusement park (don't think Six Flags... but a step above a city fair) On top of mountain overlooking city - views incredible. Kids will enjoy it. You can take public transit to get there a couple transfers but doesn't take long. To try out the rides you can buy your tickets here(transport from city center included)
- Magic Fountain: (base of Montjuic near Plaza España) Thursday - Sunday night from 9 pm to 11 pm every 30 minutes they do a water show to music with a whole series of fountains lit up in front og the Art Museum (think Bellagio but created 80 years ago in incredible picturesque environment) Many people bring kids, food and drinks, blankets and hang out for an hour or more. Really nice. Easy to get to by metro Plaza España.
- Poble Espanyol (picture below) is an old spanish replica village that is supposed to be sort of a living history. They have lots of kids activities (especially on Sundays) and some sort of family "scavenger hunt" that looks like it might be fun for kids? If you want to buy tickets to Poble Espanyol you can do it here
Potential Day Trips outside of Barcelona
- Tossa del Mar (Costa Brava) Great Spanish beach town. Castle ruins/replica in the hill alongside cove. Great day trip with kids - the one and only or with friends. About 75 minutes from Barcelona
- Playa Santa Christina (Costa Brava) Hike down to a little beach cove. Great restaurant on beach for eating. Its got a feeling of a 'special find' - not many people, hiking down, etc. Really nice. Great day trip about 75 min from Barcelona.
- Sigtes. Fun beach town, accessible by light rail about 30 minuets. Train station to depart could among others be Sants Station. Sigtes is an old Spanish city on the beach with an old church. More crowded that other beaches but fun to visit. Lots of cute shops and restaurants. More open on weekends and summer than during the week. Perfect full day trip. Beach, get chairs for day, lunch there, tour around church/town.
- Montserrat (picture below) a mountain located 60 km outside Barcelona with fantastic views over the countryside. You can visit the Royal Basilica and see the Black Madonna or perhaps listen to boys choir. There are as well some good hiking routes. A really nice day trip and a must see if you have the timewhen yu visit Barcelona. Read more about Montserrat here