Baby Can Travel: Barcelona
Before having our first child, we knew we wanted to keep travelling but we were unsure on how to proceed. We decided that a city break would be the best way to ease back into travel and to help build our confidence as travelling parents. We also wanted to travel as lightly as possible, which meant leaving as much baby equipment at home as possible. In this series of articles, we will show you how this can be done in five of the worlds’ top cities: Barcelona, Paris, London, NYC and Tokyo.
Barcelona was the perfect fit for our first trip with our then 3 month old. We travelled in the fall when temperatures enabled us to spend the majority of the time outside, plus there were fewer tourists. We were able to get from the airport to the city center using public transportation and therefore not requiring a car seat. And finally, we were able to walk almost everywhere we wanted to go and when it was too far the metro was convenient and easy to navigate.
Where to stay
Choosing where to stay can have a big impact on your trip, as you will want to minimize the amount of time it takes you to get around. To choose where we stay on all our trips, we look at a map to determine the location of all the sights we want to visit then try to find a hotel in the center of those that will require the least amount of time to get to each one. We also use Google Maps on street view to look at the surrounding street to try to avoid staying near night clubs which can be loud. We don’t need any help keeping our baby up at night!
If you are visiting Barcelona to see the sights or visit the beach, look for a place to stay within the Gothic Quarter. The vast majority of Barcelona’s attractions are in this area and can easily be reached by walking. In addition, there are plenty of restaurants, amenities, pharmacies and grocery stores.
If you are visiting Barcelona primarily for shopping, you may want to consider staying in L’Eixample. This area features less tourist attractions, but is a little more upscale and is focused more on high-end shopping and restaurants. The downside will be its distance from the Gothic Quarter.
What to bring
When packing for your trip, we recommend packing as lightly as possible. Contact your hotel to see if they can provide a crib for your baby. If you plan to get around the city without a car, then you can leave your car seat at home. We like having both a stroller and a baby carrier with us, but often rent a stroller from a reputable baby equipment rental company at our destination and leave our stroller at home.
For getting to the city center from the airport, we recommend the Aerobus which is a large airport bus with luggage racks. The Aerobus has two lines, one from each of the terminals at the airport, which follow the same route and have 4 stops ending at Plaça de Catalunya, located in the Gothic Quarter.
For getting around Barcelona, we suggest walking as much as possible. The streets of Barcelona are best experienced on foot. For attractions that are too far to walk, the metro is fast and convenient. Just be aware that some stations may not have elevators requiring you to carry your stroller up the stairs.
What to see and do
The first thing to keep in mind is that travel with a baby will be different than how you travelled before. You will need to slow it down. It’s best to go into your trip with this expectation and knowing you may not see everything you want to see.
If you start with one must-see each day then let the rest of the day happen, you’ll be surprised by how much you can still see.
Here are just some of the top sights we recommend seeing in Barcelona:
La Sagrada Família
This Roman Catholic Basilica, designed by Antoni Gaudi, began construction in 1882 and is still under construction to this day. This is the most visited attraction in Barcelona! Buy your entry tickets online to save time waiting in line.
It is possible to bring a stroller here, but not all areas of this church are accessible for strollers and the crowds may make you regret bringing it. If you are willing to visit without going up the towers, then you can manage with a stroller.
Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)
If you enjoy the adventure of just wandering the streets without a predetermined destination, then you’ll enjoy Barri Gotic. This neighborhood is an attraction in and of itself with its endless winding streets. You can easily explore the Gothic Quarter with your stroller. Let your baby nap in the stroller while you enjoy a nice meal in the charming Plaça Reial.
Another of Antoni Gaudi’s famous creations, La Pedrera is famous for the chimneys on the rooftop terrace. A late afternoon visit will allow you to avoid the crowds and enjoy the spectacular view over Barcelona. We don’t recommend bringing a stroller to La Pedrera. Though you can visit all areas with the exception of the rooftop, the rooftop chimneys are the best part and are not to be missed.
Mercat de la Boqueria
If you love to visit local markets, then add Mercat de la Boqueria to your list of must-sees. Go there hungry as every corner of the market contains food stalls and small stands which serve tapas. Aside from the crowds, you can easily get around here with your stroller.
La Rambla is the most popular pedestrian street in all of Barcelona. You’ll have no issues with your stroller here. You can also pair this up with your visit to the Mercat de la Boqueria
Barceloneta Beach is on the Mediterranean Sea to the southeast of the Gothic Quarter. The waterfront has a wonderful paved pathway which makes the beach very stroller friendly. There is a cluster of seafood restaurants in the La Barceloneta neighbourhood worth checking out – some even serving up the best paella in town!
Parc Güell is home to the famous guardian lizard fountain. If you wish to explore all areas of the park we recommend bringing your baby in a carrier. Ticket sales are limited to 400 people per half-hour, so plan to buy your tickets online and preselect your time to bypass the lines.
Most travelling parents will agree that travel changes when you have little ones in tow and it’s true, but change isn’t always a bad thing. Enjoy the slow pace of life that travelling with a baby will bring!
Celine Brewer is the co-owner of Baby Can Travel, a site dedicated to supporting and encouraging other young families to continue to travel. Celine and her husband have written five travel guides specifically for parents travelling with young children to some of the top cities in the world (Paris, London, NYC & Barcelona). Baby Can Travel is all about giving parents the tips, tricks and tools to be confident in traveling with their babies. You can follow Baby Can Travel on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.