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happy friday + barcelona/mallorca suggestions!

Gray Malin Barcelona Beach Print

Gray Malin Barcelona Beach Print

Happy Friday all! This spring is seriously flying by, and I just realized that in a month and a half, my family and I are heading to Spain! We have been planning this trip for over a year, and I'm getting excited (and nervous) to go on a far away trip with both kids for the first time. I tell people all the time…"Just go for it! Your kids will be fine!" But now that it's my turn, of course, I am thinking about the long flight, jet lag, and trying to get around in a country we have never been to. If any of you have been to Barcelona and/or Mallorca, I would LOVE your suggestions of things to do, eat, see…anything! We already have places to stay but I need to start figuring out what we should do while we're there.

Thank you, thank you in advance! And have a spectacular weekend!

{Barcelona beach print by Gray Malin}

40 comments

  1. Hi,
    A lot of suggestions for Barcelona.
    Here are the main sights of the city: Sagrada Familia, Casa Milá, Casa Battló, Palau de la Música Catalana, Park Güell & Barcelona Cathedral. Find time for strolling around Gothic Quarter. It’s like an open air museum – plenty to discover. Walking there by the evening is magical.
    You should visit some food markets as well. La Boquería is the most famous one, right next to Las Ramblas. If you want to experience the market where a lot of local people go to, then visit Mercat de Santa Caterina.
    Eat at Barceloneta restaurant – very good Catalan and sea food. Great tapas are in 7Portes as well.
    P.S. Disclaimer: I do work for a travel app. It’s called Symphony, it’s free and it gives personalized tips for Barcelona. Give it a try! bit.ly/TrySymphony

  2. My boyfriend and I went to Barcelona last September for the first time and absolutely loved it! I’m sure you will too! I’d definitely recommend going to the Sagrada Familia – we pre-booked tickets online which meant we didn’t have to join the long queues when we arrived! We also loved Parc Güell – definitely worth a visit! If you want to get around easily, we found the Metro was so simple to use and cheap to buy a 48hr ticket! I hope you have a lovely trip!

  3. Barcelona is amazing. You will love it. The hop on hop off bus is such a great way to get around and we saw the whole city from the top deck of three on a particularly hot day when I had bad blisters on my feet. The beach is beautiful! You will love it.

  4. Happy FridayI I am lucky enough to spend one week every month in Barcelona for work so I certainly have some tips. Here’s a brief list but I have plenty more!
    For classic Catalan food, with a bit of a modern spin: Bodega La Puntual, Cañete, Suculent, in the old town/Parallel, and Bar Mut, La Pepita, La Pubilla in Gracia (lots of lovely independent shops around there too). Lukumas and Chök for donuts! Morro Fi is an institution for local vermouth or “vermut”, also Quimet y Quimet. For brunch (bear in mind it starts late!) I recommend Federal, Satan’s Coffee Corner, Taranna.
    Parks and culture: Parc Guell is lovely for a stroll, or check out the hill park of Montjuic, and the Picasso, MACBA and Joan MIro museums are worth a visit.
    In Mallorca, I would recommend walking around Palma old town, visiting Santa Catalina market (lots of cute independent shops around there too), all the seafood is super fresh and you can just grab a few plates of tapas and glasses of wine to eat at the stalls.
    I’d also suggest hiring bikes and cycling on the beach. The Portixol Hotel is on a really cute stretch of the marina, nice for a sunset drink. If you have a car, the hilly north west stretch of the island is beautiful, especially Deia and Soller. Pollenca and Alcudia are nice port towns too.
    Have fun!

  5. We went to Mallorca last August with our 15 month old daughter. The island is very family-friendly (especially the resorts if you’re staying at one!) Protur Natura Farma (a petting zoo) is really fun, and Cala Anguilla and Calo des Moro are breathtakingly beautiful beaches. Just a note though, some of the beaches are kind of a hike to get to, but the views are amazing! I posted about our trip on my blog also, you can find the posts by searching Mallorca. ?

  6. We lived in BCN in 2003 and my favorite restaurant then is still around (and still great, according to friends who went far more recently!). It’s called Onofre, and is on Carrer de les Magdalenes, just off Laietana. Good affordable wines by the glass & small plates. I miss this place so! Park Guell I think would be super fun for kids, and we spent a lot of time around the big park adjacent the zoo (E-ish of the gothic area).
    We also used to rollerblade over to Poblenou (west of the zoo area) to get horchata de chufa. It’s milky-looking and white, cold and lightly sweet, but is made using chufa (a small tuber sometimes called “tiger nut”), not at all like Mexican-style horchata. The only place we knew to find it was in the main business street in Poblenou. It was a little window that sold drinks and they had a few different ones that were all good. Haven’t succeeded in getting anyone to track down the place, but I know you like to try exciting drinks, so might be worth asking after. You may be able to find the stuff more centrally now.
    ps – watch your handbag! We used to see purses/wallets/backpacks all lined up along the sidewalks by the dumpsters in the mornings after the night garbage people came through. They were kind enough to fish out the stolen items in the case that they might be retrieved.

  7. I was in Barcelona for work just last month, but made sure to find time to explore – and Barcelona does not disappoint! I did most of my sightseeing on foot, but did take a great bike tour with Fat Tire Tours on a free afternoon.
    The usual recommendations (i.e. all of Gaudí’s work: the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milá, Casa Battló, and Parc Güell) do not disappoint and are easy to find. To that list, I’d add the Arc de Triomf and Passeig de Lluís Companys, which is conveniently close to the Cascada Monumental fountain in Ciutadella Park. Definitely wander around the Gothic Quarter, down La Rambla, and through La Boquería. In the Gothic Quarter, stop to see the cathedral and Plaça del Rei – Christopher Columbus walked up those steps! If you need a break, sit outside at Ocaña in Plaça Reial for a glass of cava and a bit of people watching. Above all, though, you must see the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc on Friday or Saturday evenings. It’s spectacular with the Palau Nacional as the backdrop.
    In terms of food, I loved Satan’s Coffee Corner for brunch and I had the best meal of the whole trip at Bormuth. The one bit of culture shock I felt related to how late people eat in Spain! This can be a good thing if you don’t want to wait to be seated at 6pm – but if you want to wait until 9pm when things are much livelier, I might carry snacks!

  8. When in Mallorca, we´d love to have you come visit the CCA Andratx.
    We will have great exhibitions up and also our wonderful new cafe will be open April 1st. Follow us on FB (www.facebook.com/cca.andratx) or on Instagram @ccandratx for more details!

  9. Many good recommendations above. I live in Barcelona and agree that both parque Güell and parque de la ciudadella are worth visiting with children. Besides la Ciudadella is within a walking distance from Arc del Triumph, the Born quarter and the beach. The Born and the Gothic are kind of maze and you’ll find cute/alternative shops, interesting building entrances, coffees.
    Near there I like these restaurants: el Txiringo (pella and crema catalana), chicha &limona (nice tapas) granja Petit Bo (nice local & food), Betlem (tapas)
    And yes. You should try the ‘horchata’, seems a milkshake with a bit different taste, children usually like it. I guess you can find it almost in any traditional coffee or bar, but it’s true that there’s a place in poble nou where they say it’s the best in town. It’s typical to have it with ‘fartoms’, a kind of cake.
    You might also like cafe Cosmo, it’s quite centrical and it’s walls are full of artwork from illustrators.
    And Gracia neighbourhood will be interesting, not so touristic, you can feel the vibe of local young people, full of designers shops, modern and traditional bars, little squares every few streets where people meet. Only for the food I’d suggest Samsara, sol de nit, Pepa Tomate, tapas there are delicious.
    Every weekend there are many vintage or local designers markets, check the out or Bcn Mes website for more info.
    I could go on for a while but I guessed this is more that enough for first visit
    Hope you enjoy it

  10. Hi!
    I love Gaudí’s work, so I totally recommend visiting la Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Casa Batlló, they’re so full of colour, it’ll inspire you a lot!
    In the summer, there are concerts in Casa Batlló, they’re really, really magical. If you like Modernism, live music and drinks, you’ll love this! First, you visit the house with an audioguide. You can then learn how they lived in the house a hundred years ago. You’ll also imagine what Gaudí was imagining when he created the different elements. After the tour, there’s a live concert, drinks and delicious food at the Dragon roof top terrace but so so cool! Next to Casa Batlló you have Casa Amatller. The owners of the house were chocolatiers, there’s a café and so you can try a very good Spanish hot chocolate with bread
    (not churros!). There’s a shop that sells chocolate boxes with the works of Alphonse Mucha. It is a very beautiful and tasty souvenir!
    Do you like Spanish horchata? It’s like marmite, you either love it or hate it! I love it!
    We buy it at El tío Che Rambla del Poblenou, 44 Poble Nou area, not far from the beach. Sirvent C/Parlament, 56 and C/Balmes, 130 (Sant Antoni and Eixample area) La Valenciana C/Aribau, 16 (Eixample area)
    To have a piece of cake and a cup of coffee, we love the super kid-friendly Pudding Café in Carrer Pau Claris http://www.puddingbarcelona.com/
    In July, there is an open-air festival in Montjuich Castle http://salamontjuic.org/es/
    Enjoy your stay in Barcelona! ¡Hasta pronto!
    If you need any other tip, feel free to write to me!

  11. We took a Fat Tire Bike Tour in Barcelona with our 5 year-old son and loved it! Not only do you get a better handle on the layout of the city — you also get some fun history tidbits.
    Also — if you get tickets to the Segrada Familia — make sure to do so through their official site. We didn’t and weren’t allowed to go up the elevator to the upper levels — which was a total bummer.

  12. We spent our honeymoon in Barcelona and used “hi this is Barcelona” for a guided tour. It was the best money we spent bc it was more than just a tour. They’ll make all your dinner reservations if you’d like. Every meal they set up for us was phenomenal. It blew away every restaurant we just stumbled upon. They booked is at local gems, not touristy places. Granted we went before children but I’d guess they cater to your needs! Highly recommend! Takes so much stress out of planning.

  13. we were thinking of going to Mallorca with our two young girls this spring, but decided to go to Italy instead (milan/cinque Terre)! would love to hear what you are gonna do about car seats and traveling within the country with young kids. this is our first international trip with our girls (ages 5 & 3)….excited, but nervous! we aren’t planning on bringing car seats with us, and will take mostly public transportation once within Italy….

  14. Hi, long time.reading but first time writing. I leave in Sitges near barcelona. You should visit, look for it on internet to give you an idea. It s a really great beach place. There is a lot of different styles restaurant and the old center town is beautiful. If you can look for castellers, human towers, with adults and kids. They exhibit in a lot of cities. In barcelona, with kids, i recommend cosmo caixa, it s really not expensive and a good science experience for kids to interact with a lot of invents. Look for el monasterio de Montserrat, near barcelona. I wish you a good trip, i am sure it will be.

  15. Looks like you have lots of great suggestions already! I’ll add Hospital de Sant Pau. We took a tour there in June. The architecture and tile work are amazing. So glad we happened upon this gem! Enjoy your trip!

  16. Venture out of Barcelona to Sitges…a small town about 30 minutes away. It’s really vibrant, and perfect for families – easy to walk around, has great restaurants and a lovely beach. We went last year with our one year old, and loved it so much we’re going back next month!

  17. We are headed to Spain next month as well! Last time we enjoyed Barcelona with the kids, but this time we are going to be kid-free in Mallorca. I’m making some notes from all these great suggestions!
    As for Barcelona, we really loved the Sagrada Familia! We paid extra for the audio tour and it made all the difference! All the other Gaudi stuff is great, of course, but the cathedral blew us away (and we live in Europe amongst some beautiful churches). We stayed in the Gothic Quarter and really enjoyed the tapas and lively streets at night! My only regret is not eating at one of the restaurants by the shore. The seafood looked and smelled amazing!!

  18. If you came to Mallorca you have to go to the Abaco bar
    http://bar-abaco.es/
    Great cocktails in a great location and even for the kids much to see and to explore , because you can visit the old villa and you don’t have to sit all the time like in other bars , you can walk around and enjoy the great location with many rooms and fruits all over the floor. When I think of my trip to Mallorca this is the first place that comes to my mind.
    Best wishes Kathrin

  19. Ditto on Gaudi, especially with small kids who will love the park. I kind of groaned when the group I was with decided to go inside the Sagrada Familia but was it breathtaking, highly recommend going that extra step the check it out. I also agree with what an earlier commenter mentioned about watching your bag.

  20. I’m delighted to hear you’ll be in my town soon!!
    Here are some off the beaten path suggestions:
    Take the FFCC to Vallvidrera and enjoy the view and the pretty villas. Then hop on to the train again and stop at Sarrià. Sarrià is pure uptown cool: take a kid-friendly stroll around the old part of the neighbourhood, have vermut in a terrace and enjoy its cute stores – then hop onto FFCC Metro and head straight to barri de Gràcia to experience a hip more laid-back version of a yet-another kid-friendly, cute-stores-by-the-dozen, terrace-filled neighbourhood.
    If there’s any energy left on the day:
    Walk from Barceloneta metro station to hotel Vela (walking is better than bike riding here- it’s a short promenade) and when you reach the hotel, climb up the concrete stairs to its right- a breath of fresh air! and finish of at Cal Maño for some delicious tapas.

  21. Have a late afternoon drink on the terrace at Belmond La Residencia (in Deia, Mallorca) – it’s stunningly beautiful.

  22. While you are at the Mercat Santa Catarina, you have to eat at Rebelot, local products and divine kitchen. And also Check in the Same Street the Backer calmée Barulo: they have the Most amazing Breads and Sandwiches!
    The whole Barceloneta District is a Must!

  23. Barcelona is such a lovely city, I’m sure your family will have a fantastic time there!
    Favourites include the Boqueria market for all the fresh juice & tapas that the heart’s desire, Vioko for excellent ice cream, the Gothic quarter and its teeny-tiny shops and Jai-Ca (next to the harbour) for yet more tapas!
    Looking forward to reading about your Spanish adventures!
    Sandra | Cake + Whisky

  24. I love Mallorca. From Palma you can take a vintage “choo choo train” through the mountains to Port Soller. The beach at Soller is beautiful (one of the only sandy beaches on the island) and perfect for little ones to splash around while parents sip cocktails at a nearby table. If you think the kids would tolerate a longish drive, you should check out Sa Calobra (it’s the dramatically windy mountain road frequently featured in car advertisements)…at the end is Torrent de Pareis, which is a cool beach carved into the cliffside by a glacier. There’s a cute café there, too!

  25. Barcelona Eats:
    Quimet y Quimet – a small tapas bar in El Poble Sec. Standing only, no seats but DELICIOUS and so worth it. One of my favorite restaurants ever in the world.
    Pla de la Garsa – on the expensive side but is authentic Catalan, which is hard to find in Barcelona honestly (a lot are touristy or they just serve pintxos which can get old). 5 course dinner and make reservations ahead of time.
    Churreria J. Argiles – this outdoor churros vendor really hit the spot when craving dessert/churros. It is right outside the Metro stop at Marina.
    To do/Sights in Barcelona:
    ALL the parks. Park Guell, Parc de Montjuic. Museums – Barcelona Center of Contemporary Culture and the Modern Museum of Art. La Sagrada Familia cathedral. The Mercat de la Boqueria (food market). Barceloneta beach is a must.

  26. I loved Barcelona. Two main tips:
    Book tickets online for Sagrada Familia to skip 3+ hour lines. I can’t remember the snack policy, but we (adults) were tired and hungry by the end of all the signs — something to bear in mind. It is beyond breathtaking and I hope you are able to just take it in. The feeling of the place is profound, even if you are skipping audio tours, etc. with the littles.
    Book tickets online for Park Guell as well, and pack a picnic. It is a lovely park, but has an entrance and exit, so you can’t just wander off, get food, and come back. I remember wishing we had brought food along, as you get sick of restaurants on a long trip, and we were far from our AirBnB for cooking.

  27. One more: Most everyone speaks Catalan, Spanish, and English, but I found people appreciated at least a greeting in Catalan (“hola, bon dia” is easy). “Parles anglès?” for English is even better.
    Have fun!

  28. My favorite places in Barcelona were the espadrille shop off Las Rambles, La Manual Alpargatera, and the food market off Las Rambles, La Boqueria.
    We also did a day trip to Sites Beach. It was beautiful and the paella was unbelievably delicious.
    Have fun!

  29. I’m going to Palma in a week, and though it’s before you and I don’t get to consult your travel post about it, I’m glad I caught the comments here!

  30. So glad!
    Our trip had to be cancelled due to my husband’s unexpected health issues, but I’m glad these came in handy for your trip!
    Joy

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