Spontaneity isn’t something I usually go in for but with the desire for some much needed sun, time away and a British Airways companion voucher about to expire, Barcelona felt like the perfect trip for a long weekend…..with a toddler!
I’ll be honest. I was a little apprehensive. Long haul trips to the US with plenty of days out to keep little one entertained felt like a breeze compared to a short(ish) flight, transfer via public transport to a hotel and stuck in a city not being able to enjoy the nightlife as you may usually do pre-children.
How wrong I was. In fact, I would go as far to say that Barcelona is by far my favourite city to take a young family to, because it has so much more to offer than just being a city.
We started the trip off with an overnight stay at the Sofitel Heathrow Airport to ease the early flight of 7.45am the following day. It’s such a great base for a one night stay and makes travelling with young ones very convienient. The added bonus was a new feature of BA bag drop and check in. A fully functioning check in desk with weigh scales and printed barcode stickers meaning that we could drop bags off and then head straight to Terminal 3.
We travelled by Heathrow Express and it was super quick! We were through security and in the lounge with an hour to spare before boarding. An enjoyable breakfast of pastries and coffee with a view of the planes kept Little PB entertained.
The flight is a little over 2 hours. With films downloaded on the iPad and a helpful love of his headphones, Little PB was quite content for the whole flight.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by our driver from Sun Transfers. I definitely recommend a private transfer as it avoids the hassle of buggy, bags and baby to contend with. The transfer took less than 30 minutes.
We arrived at Midtown Apartments, locates between Eixample and the Gothic Quarter. We were very impressed with the amount of room and facilities. A great space for a few days and very central.
With plenty of the day still to enjoy, we headed off to the aquarium. We walked from our apartment which took around 30 minutes but you can get the metro or a bus – the whole city is well connected by public transport. The aquarium is a good morning or afternoon spot – it certainly wouldn’t take you more than a few hours to work your way around.
For our first evening meal, we tried some fantastic tapas just round the corner, El Camino. Tapas is great for little ones – such variety and as much grazing as you like. We now know we have a 2 year old who loves a charactuerie board, melted cheese and squid.
Day 2 involved a bus ride up to the top of the mountain to Tibidabo, the theme park. You could enjoy the scenic route via the Blue Tram and funicular railway but we opted for the direct bus service from Place de Catalunya at only €3 euros each.
The theme park is a great day out with young families. Lots of great rides for all ages and even better are the views back down to the bay.
The evening tapas was at El Nacional. A fantastic array of small restaurants all under one roof and they do the best dulche de leche ice cream.
Day 3 centred around some traditional sight seeing. We bought tickets for La Sagrada Familia and found there is a significant benefit in having a buggy with you as we jumped most of the queues. A short metro ride took us down to the beach where we enjoyed the only chicken burger I’ve eaten in it’s entirety. I would highly recommend a lunchtime feast at Bacoa Burger as not only is the food exceptional but the view of the sea isn’t bad either.
From the beach it’s a short walk to the base of the cable car. The queue was long but was well timed with Little PB’s nap and the weather was glorious! It was worth the wait though as the view from the cable car is breathtaking. The cable car takes you up to the Olympic Park. You can usually get a funicular back down but, you guessed it, it was closed so bus it was! This time less crowded and better air conditioning.
Despite being full from lunch, we still found time for some tapas – fois gras flatbread and grilled squid with squid ink risotto soon became firm favourites.
We booked a transfer back to the airport for the final day. A prompt pick up at 11am, it only took 20 minutes back to the airport so plenty of time to enjoy some brunch in the lounge. The lounge facilities were excellent – a wide choice of food and plenty of space. All went to plan with the flight home and we were soon back in grey British weather.
Barcelona will certainly be a city we return to. It was easy. Relaxed with lots of variety and still plenty to do on our next trip. Mr PB, when can we go again please?
x PB x