If you've been following me on Instagram, you saw me spend a week in Spain. Today, I'm going to talk about the holiday as well as give you some tips that can help you explore Barcelona with your family.
A Taste Of Barcelona
Whether it is with family, friends or partners, Spain really is the perfect holiday destination. The people are warm (don't make me say it...), the people are closer to the way I look (I am serious! I've been mistaken for a spaniard more times than I can remember! Being a total city girl, I'm happy to report that the cities in Spain, are actual cities and not communities or beatific hamlets in the midst of nature. Unlike trams and trains being the only medium of transportation, cabs are a part of Spain life (I love you already!). And, wait for it...the food is to die for and the weather is awesome. (If you know me, you know that Switzerland has put me under hibernation).
Just with that sentence you must have understood my modest expectations from trips and life in general - comfort, luxury, and food beats adventure, winters and walking.
How much time did I spend there?
I went to Barcelona with my husband, Anurag and our 6-year-old daughter, Niyati (pictures to follow!).We spent 4 days (well, almost) in Barcelona and I am going back in summers to enjoy the beaches, bitches!
Getting There: Basel To Barcelona
Book flights in advance to make most of holiday deals: we used Easy Jet. It is around 1.5 hours away from Basel. Your mobile network changes to roaming faster than your mind, body, and soul. Just an hour away, and we saw a 14-degree difference!! Yay!
So if you are in Europe, and don't mind budget-friendly travels, use Easy Jet: it's all good unless your child gets air sick. They do not help in such situations, but then most airlines have the same answers: We don't have cotton balls or we don't keep candy. If your child, like Niyati gets ear pain, ask her to keep swallowing or press his/her ears.
My dearest was fine during departure, as she slept through the flight...however, during arrival, she was quite uncomfortable and teary.
What to Expect in Barcelona
If you're traveling from Switzerland, expect enormous joy almost instantaneously. If you're traveling from India, what else are you going to feel but joy? Maybe a bit of a jet lag too! It's warm(er), the sun is out and the locals are friendly. The official language is Catalan (not Spanish you dummy), however a lot of people speak English. The Euro is what works, comes under the Schengen visa, and most of the places accept cards. But be sure to carry cash, especially for the cabs and the quick bites.
Getting Around in Barcelona
Use cabs if you're like me. Taxis are available all over the city and there are well-organized taxi stands where you can hitch a ride. The public transport system is wonderful too, and you can buy a pass which helps you navigate through the city. This is quite recommended as the city is very well connected.
We used a combination of cabs and walking as we were in the center of the city. I learnt a trick a few years ago and I do this everywhere I go. Take the Barcelona City Tour (your typical hop off and hop on) for a day or two. It takes you to all the touristy spots around the city and you get down where you like. I always strongly recommend this for people who are not very strong with their itineraries. (this time I was just plain lazy, I wanted to go with the flow and that was not favorable)
Where to Stay in Barcelona+ Where We stayed
Since this is vacation wherein the focus is to spend outdoors (and not in an extravagant villa), we look for basic amenities, good service and accessibility when booking a hotel. In Barcelona, we stayed in the K+K Picasso Hotel which is located on Passeig Picasso and is set oppositeCiutadella Park. My experience at the hotel was fabulous, the staff is extremely helpful and warm, the rooms are great and the location couldn't be more perfect. They helped us with a lot of suggestions, reservations, and tickets. The breakfast spread was quite nice although it was the same every morning, my absolute favorite thing was the wonderful staff at the reception. I know I'm repeating myself, but sometimes I miss the warm and hospitality in Switzerland.
What to do in Barcelona
Well, there's a lot to do, depends on the time of the year and your particular interest. It has fabulous beaches, cultural heritage sites, luxury shopping, adventure sports and gorgeous views to offer. While you will definitely visit the beautifulLa Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell (the most iconic attractions whatever the season be ) and National Museum of Art Cataluyna where they also have The Fountain Show.
T for Tapas
Be sure to try a load of tapas dishes and watch a flamenco performance.
Here's why I say that Spaniards are like us Indians-they like to eat family style. The food is kept in the middle and we share everything that is served.
I found Flamenco, well, overrated just like the Moulin Rouge.
Strolling La Rambla is one of my favorite parts, hence, make sure you walk the ancient streets and admire the beautiful architecture of Barcelona's Gothic quarter. Make sure you pay a visit to the beach, whatever be the weather - of course, we weren't going to go dipping in December, but the views were breathtaking.If you're a mall person be sure to visit the L'illa Diagonal...I was pleasantly surprised - just like Barcelona - they have something for everyone.
There are plenty of day trip options that you can plan while in Barcelona - we chose Montserrat which was wonderful. (More about it in my upcoming posts - stay tuned)
Tip: Always beware of your belongings especially since there are a lot of pickpockets around the tourist areas. Thankfully, this was the first tip we got during our first lunch in Barcelona.
Recommended Places to Eat in Barcelona
While I can definitely tell you - what to eat? Where? is what I struggle with....
OK, so the first recommendation that I got was from foursquare (yes, it still exists) and it was for " Llamber Taberna Gastronómica ", I highly recommend this place to feast on the best Tapas in town. They have a great staff, good drinks and the "worth-it" rates. This has to be my #1 recommendation for Tapas!
Apart from the above, we did have the famous Paella at the La Mar Salada. Now Paella as a dish is a delight for seafood lovers. However, the minute you vegetate it, you bastardized it! Be sure to read our article on the top foods to try in Spain with some great recommendations.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures and found some of the information above useful.
Have you been to Barcelona? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments section. Stay tuned to our posts on Spain!
This blog was originally published on Be For Beauty.