We are a big fan of just strolling the streets of a city. We walk. Sometimes we rent bikes. The subway is one of our favorite ways of moving around: we used it extensively also in Barcelona. The kids loved to find their way in the subterranean maze where everybody seems to be in a hurry except for the musicians in the corridors (and some travelers just enjoying the moment!).
The subway is a city’s hidden perspective where you can watch people go to work, beggars moving from one car to another, musicians trying to cheer up the passengers, and much more. The subway lines are the veins of a city.
Major landmarks within a city are interesting, but for us not always top of mind.
“There are enough magical moments happening every moment of any given day”….
This post about Barcelona (split into two parts) covers some of the highlights, not all of them. There is so much to see in Barcelona but there are also great places where you can just wander around…. This is our selection of 10 things to do in Barcelona (and your kids can join you)!
1. Boqueria market
“Day after day, life goes on once the gates of the market in La Rambla have opened” (Neus Vidal Pons, Trader at La Boqueria).
The famous Boqueria can indeed be packed with people (including lots of tourists) but it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s situated right on Las Ramblas (most popular street in Barcelona) and you will find candy, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and many more beautifully displayed food. Here people eat, shop and gossip. There is some really great food to get here and do visit the official website where you can even find a plan of all the market stalls. Or you can visit the market like we did: just enter and experience this paradise for the senses…
Don’t miss out on this place if you are a fan of fruit shakes: they are available in many versions and not expensive (=cheap!).
2. Poblenou cemetery
The ‘Cementiri de Poblenou’ is impressive. Not only the size, but also the collection of numerous historic cemetery houses, tombs and sculptures, some of which are already hundreds of years old. The most famous statue is The Kiss of Death (El beso de la muerte), dating back to 1930 (see picture below).
Poblenou is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Barcelona and some even compare it to the famous cemeteries of Paris (Père-Lachaise) and Buenos Aires (La Recoleta). With kids you will probably not spend hours, but I was very happy one of my Twitter friends gave me this tip.
The cemetery is situated 100 meters away from the beach. So after a serious walk among the death, it’s just a couple of minutes to the beach where you can shake away that feeling you might have after visiting a graveyard. In February it’s a bit too cold for swimming (although we witnessed some diehards in swimsuits), but for kids of course the beach is a fun place to be anytime of year!
3. El Born
The Gothic quarter (Barri Gotic) is the most famous area in Barcelona (the Ramblas is situated right in the middle of this quarter), but the adjacent area called El Born is interesting as well (if not more interesting). A couple of years back El Born was kind of desolated, but slowly more restaurants, boutiques and bars opened their doors. Renovation work has restored a sense of the authenticity of this area. El Born is a place that draws creativity and don’t hesitate to spend your evening over there.
We enjoyed the graffiti , the shops and of course the tapas. If you travel by subway, go to Jaume I station. If you go west you will move into the Gothic quarter, but go east and experience El Born.
4. Arc de Triomphe
There is an Arc de Triomphe in Barcelona, no kidding! This one was built in 1888 as the main entrance gate to the World Exposition. The Exposition took place in Parc de la Ciutadella, now the most central parc in Barcelona. The parc includes a zoo, museums, a lake (row your boat!) and a large fountain. When the weather is nice this parc is a real green oasis close to the old center of Barcelona.
5. Casa Batllo
Barcelona and Guadi are connected…very tightly. You will not be able to visit Barcelona and not encounter Gaudi architecture. In the second part I will show you Parc Guell, but another great example of Gaudi’s work is the Batllo house (Casa Batllo). The exterior is world famous. On the street in front of the house there is a dedicated area (no parking of cars allowed!) where visitors (including wedding couples) can take pictures. We didn’t went inside as the entrance fee was quite high (20 Euro per person)….be prepared.
In the second part of this post I will show you the Gracia and Gothic quarter next to Gaudi’s Parc Guell. Also enjoy the other stories about Barcelona: