This is a light, airy, neighborhood cultural centre run by an all female French Guatemalan team. La Marelle is dedicated to providing a space for parents and children to unwind, meet and learn. It's divided into various play areas with toys and games galore for the kids, and there are tables and stools for the grown ups to sit at while keeping an eye on their little monkeys. The cafe serves great coffee, brunches (pancakes!!) and cakes. There are also numerous workshops like yoga for kids in English, or story telling in French and other learning and sharing activities.
Its a great Japanese restaurant close to the Santa Katarina food market. They have a child space called Kodomoo (child in Japanese) which offers babysitting after 1pm on Saturdays while the parents are eating. I found it unique and a great way to have a quiet lunch with our friends - meanwhile my son was playing and having a great time instead of suffering in a babychair by the table.
This is a web where you can rent apartments in Barcelona. They have baby chairs and baby beds and above all a microwawe so its easy to heat up milk/food at night. As a family my new experience travelling with a small child has been difficult. It's hard to find a place to stay with baby facilities and ideas for where to go. Also I found a great Japanese restaurant who provides babysitting while you're eating! Barcelona is getting baby friendly!
Among the many museums that Barcelona has, the most entertaining one is Cosmocaixa. The science museum has a lot of things to experiment including a reconstruction of a real fauna, very impressive.
Isaac Newton, 26, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
+34 932 12 60 50
Google map: bit.ly/lRZSmj
Hidden away in an interior garden near Barcelona's city centre is a public paddling pool great for cooling off with kids. The Torre de les Aigues is also known as the Eixample Beach (Plaja del Eixample) and is very near Paseo de Gracia (Roger de Lluria with Consell de Cent). The park has shade, changing rooms and a sandy zone for fun with buckets and spades. Also further uptown in Gracia, the Parc Creueta del Coll located at Passeig de La Mare de Deu de Coll has a, cafe, playground, grass to lounge on and huge paddling pool open throughout the summer months. Entrance for both is two to five euros.
Family guide site to Barcelona www.kidsinbarcelona.com has information on these and other outdoor swimming pools in Barcelona
As we were travelling with our young child, the apartment was very practical and the company provided us with a travel cot for free. Other companies we enquired with wanted to charge us €30 a night for this!
Thank you Apartime for your helpfulness and great service, little Layla had a fantastic time.
Wawas Barcelona is a small shop near the Picasso Museum in La Ribera which offers souvenirs, with a twist. Far from your average trinket shop, it is run by two local sisters whose product is a refocused view of the city's architecture and tradition. Their postcards, trays, and mugs bear images of a the less traditional - but still adored - Barcelona.
Most unique is their collaboration with Xocoa - the gourmet chocolatier of Barcelona. Wawas offers chocolate bars wrapped in their images, known as Barcelona Bombons. Without a doubt, the Barcelona souvenir you can find for friends, family, or 'novios'!
Definitely a must go!
C/ Carders 14
(around the corner from the Picasso Museum)
T (+34) 93 319 79 02
At the time of this post, this shop did not have their own website, however they referred me to the following link to view their images:
I went with wife and teenage son by train to Barcelona.
We drove to Lille via Eurotunnel and stayed at a budget hotel, leaving the car there the next morning when we took the nearby metro to Lille Flandres station.
This was because Eurostar and the train from home in Gloucestershire would together have been the most expensive part of the trip, and we could also bring back a decent quantity of wine!
Lille to Paris by TGV then Paris to Perpignan by TGV and a night there in a hotel near the station.
Lovely, intriguing chat with fellow travellers and a chance to explore a French Catalan city that evening.
Train next morning to Barcelona, which I think had come from Switzerland.
After a week's stay we reversed the trip and didn't feel the slightest bit travel-weary when we got home. We had to juggle around with train times on the SNCF web site to get best fares, but being accompanied by our young son seemed to give us cheaper fares than if we had only been a couple.
Roll on St Pancras to Barcelona without a change!
The company Cruisin' Barcelona is run by a young couple who also cruise the streets as bike messengers. They offer personalised tours on ultra cool beach cruisers. Mahrou knows the city from A to Z and can tell you about the weirdest little ins and outs. They rent their bikes as well but it's just nice to hang out with them while cruising through the city...
tel: +34 605948469;
This is a traditional Catalan dance. It is performed in the Cathedral Square on Sundays from 12-2, and provides an opportunity to hear traditional Catalan instruments.
Place de la Seu, outside the Cathedral, in the Gothic Quarter
In addition to presenting the "history" of chocolate, the museum displays huge chocolate sculptures. There is also a cafe offering chocolate treats.
Comerç 36, in the Gothic Quarter;
tel: 93 268 7878;
metro: Jaume I or Arc de Triomf;
open: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 10am-3pm
Wonderful restaurant, serving gorgeous food at ludicrously affordable prices, it's deservedly popular, although be prepared to queue with locals and tourists alike (well worth it and the queue moves very swiftly) you almost feel sorry for the surrounding eateries whilst in that 50 yard long queue. Plaça Reial is a popular haunt with some of Barcelona's more "colourful" characters, which only adds to the restaurant's charm.
Plaça Reial, Barcelona. tel: 93 317 3075.
This little shop boasts a slightly funkier and cheaper selection of Camper shoes and super friendly staff. Take your kids - for once they will be encouraged to draw on the walls.
Corner C/ Elisabets with Plaza dels Angels
I spent a long time wandering through this market. Throngs of chilli, piles of fruit, ripe tomatoes, peppers. It is a truly mesmeric place. A great place to take photos or just soak up the atmosphere.
A totally flat 5km track for runners, cyclists and walkers that runs along the hills at the back of Barcelona and offers the most stunning views of the city spread out below you with the sea beyond. The track sometimes winds through the trees but is mostly out in the open. If you need a break or want a different perspective on the city take a couple of hours and refresh your mind in this oasis with a view.
Despite its wonderfulness, the track is often almost totally deserted, though is busier on Saturday and Sunday mornings as Barcelona exercises itself. This track is a runner’s paradise and if you are there just after sunrise (the best time to go) you may see me plodding along.
To get there take the Ferrocarillis Catalana, which starts in Plaza Catalunya, towards San Cugat and get off at Peu de la Funicular. Take the funicular to Vallvidrera but get off at the half way stop. As you exit the halt turn left along the track and keep walking for as long as you want. Once you have walked enough either retrace your steps (literally) and return to the funicular or after 4 km you will get to Placa del las Maduixas (sadly lacking in strawberries) and here you can take the road back down into Barcelona stopping for refreshments at the Bar Miramar (a bit expensive and you've already had the views) beside the funicular station up to Tibidado and the Tramvia Blau if you wish
A fabulous free light and music show to the "dancing" fountain at the foot of Montjuic - a spectacular display of light, water and music. At the same time, the Palau National is illuminated, providing a beautiful background. The show runs every thirty minutes. The start and end date depend on the time of the year (see the web link), but the best time to see the fountain is at sunset with a glass of cava from one of the snack bars alongside.
Av Maria Cristina; nearest metro: Espanya (L1, L3);
This is a great bar in Barcelona. The clientelle is a mixture of Brits and Catalans enjoying an exotic Guinness and a natter on the terrace or in the wood panelled rooms. It’s a 15 minute walk from the Ramblas so it avoids the stag and hen party trawl that has infested a lot of other English bars in the city and, as it’s a haven for expats, it’s also a great venue to get tips on other places to go.
The staff are really helpful and friendly and add to the mixture of families and friends that hang out there.
When I lived in Barcelona I spent far too long here and made friends for life so I may be biased but if you say I sent you they’ll treat you kindly. No, really.
Avda Allada-Vermell, 16; tel: 932 683 338; nearest metro: Jaume;
Small square located in bohemian neighbourhood with three terraces for eating and drinking. Very nice and quiet with fairly priced meals and drinks.
To the west of the city centre - just continue walking up the Paseo de Gracia; nearest metro: Fontana
Guell park has lots of Antonio Gaudi's amazing stone structures, stunning tiling and fascinating buildings. Don't miss the colourful dragon fountain at the entrance to Guell park. There is something rather hypnotic and magical about the fantastical atmosphere, which is great for adults and children (lots of hiding places for the kids). See all of the city's sights stretched out before you. Allow at least half a day to enjoy the park fully.
Metro line 3 towards Canyelles. Get off at Lesseps and follow the signs from the metro station to Parc Guell. The park is a 20 minute walk away from the metro station. Warning: the final 200m up to the park is up a steep hill
Science museum up north not far from Parque Guell (the Gaudi park) - museum full of didactic machines and good explanations - kids loved it and so did us parents - to make a real day of it make trip coincide with planetarium thingys, etc.
Up the top of the city to the left of Guell park on the map
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