My intent for sharing about our trip to Barcelona is to give you an insight into the city, along with our experience and helpful tips. Trips are unique to each traveller depending on the length of stay, purpose of the trip, and travel style. My goal is to help you simplify the planning of your trip, and your experience while you visit.
First, I’d like to note that my family’s travel style is pretty relaxed. Our goal is never to see everything and do everything in the city we’re visiting. That means our days are never packed with activities, and we don’t start our days early. Instead, we keep things simple by only selecting a few must-see places during our stay, and the rest of the time we relax and explore around the city without specific plans.
Where We Went
When we planned our trip to Barcelona, our goal was to attend Mass at the Sagrada Familia Basilica, go to Güell Park, and see a few buildings designed by Gaudí. We visited for five days, and we were able to see much more than that during our stay.
Basilica of the Sagrada Família
The main highlight of our visit to the Basilica of the Sagrada Família was attending their Sunday 9am Mass. To worship at the International Mass, in an awe-inspiring church designed by Antoni Gaudí, is an experience I won’t forget. Although I’d seen pictures of the exterior of the Basilica, seeing the intricate carvings and design up close made it more impressive than I’d imagined. The opportunity see the interior of the Basilica, was an invaluable experience.
If you’d like to attend Sunday Mass at the Basilica during your visit, keep in mind there is no charge but there is limited capacity. Therefore, plan in advance. You’ll need to go to the entrance located at the Nativity façade no later than 8am.
The main highlight of our visit to Park Güell was being there at sunset. And to think that timing happened by chance! Initially we tried to buy timed entry tickets for a late morning visit, but the times we wanted weren’t available, so we opted for going there after dinner instead. As it turned out, it was the perfect time to visit. Less crowds, and the park was beautifully illuminated as the sun was setting. Touring the park takes approximately two hours.
Please note: There is an entrance fee and limited capacity, so purchase tickets in advance.
Gaudí House Museum
The Gaudí House, although not designed by the architect himself, was the home he lived in from 1906 to 1925. We really enjoyed touring the home. It contains a lot of Gaudí’s personal items and furnishings, including some items he designed. Inside the home, part of the exhibits include video stories about Gaudí’s life and accomplishments. Watching those videos and touring the home really gave me a sense of who Antoni Gaudí was as a person.
Museu de la Xocolata
Visiting the chocolate museum was such a fun way to learn about chocolate. From its history and arrival to Europe, to its various uses and traditions, we learned so much! Not only did we learn a lot about chocolate, but we also enjoyed viewing the many statues and building replicas intricately carved from chocolate. Of course, we enjoyed some chocolate too!
While in Barcelona, we decided to take a day trip to the Montserrat mountain. We took a train there and back, and made a day out it. We walked around the beautiful grounds, ate lunch, and toured Montserrat’s Basilica. We then took the funicular to the top of the mountain, and enjoyed some light hiking. The views from the top of the mountain were spectacular!
How We Got Around The City
When traveling, we specifically enjoy walking to places as much as we can because we get to see much more of the city that way. Barcelona was no exception, because we found it pretty easy to walk everywhere. Walking through neighborhoods, past homes, schools, shops, businesses, etc. really gave us a feel for life in Barcelona. We used public transportation only for our trip to Montserrat. We used taxi cabs from and to the airport, and only occassionally during our stay.
Where We Ate
We enjoyed the food everywhere we went. We mostly relied on Yelp reviews and local recommendations. Since we don’t plan our days around restaurants or certain meals, we usually just went to local restaurants wherever we happened to be at meal times. We ate at different restaurants each time, with the exception of breakfast. We found a stop at Boldú in the morning was an easy and convenient way to start our day.
Where We Stayed
We stayed in the Passeig de Gràcia area. It was the perfect for us, because we found it to be conveniently located to all the places we wanted to visit. Aside from its convenient location, it was easy to get around there and it offered many restaurant options.
Overall, we really enjoyed Barcelona and look forward to visiting again. As much as we got to experience during our visit, there’s so much more we’d like to see and do there. The city, the history, and the artistic vibe of Barcelona definitely call out to us. This is one family-friendly city we definitely hope to return to!
What are your highlights of Barcelona? Which places would you recommend?