Last month we had a week's holiday in Barcelona, and what a great city break destination it is to visit with a toddler. I had been to the city before in my early twenties, but I can truly say that I enjoyed the family Barcelona much more than the party Barcelona I previously knew!
Although V is normally in bed by seven, he'd had a long nap on the plane journey so we were able to take him out for a late dinner on the night we arrived. It was a great way to kick off our holiday, dining al fresco on a warm October night. He was very interested in the lobsters and other seafood on display at the restaurant.
For accommodation we decided to stay in the beach neighbourhood of Barceloneta and we found this spacious apartment on Air BnB. It was ideal for our needs as it had a separate room where V could sleep, a good kitchen where we could cook our meals, and a balcony where R and I could have a glass of wine and enjoy wonderful views over the city by night.
We cooked most of our evening meals in the apartment, which suited us best as V is early to bed. For lunches we ate out, and we found that tapas style dining was ideal for a toddler. Dishes of olives, patatas bravas, local cheeses and cured meats kept us all very happy.
As for food shopping, Barcelona is famous for wonderful markets like La Boqueria where all kinds of fresh produce are available. So we stocked up on lots of fruit for snacking and local meat, seafood and vegetables to cook our evening meals. Why can't we have markets like this at home?
We meandered around the city at a toddler's pace. I think when you have small kids it's important to realise that you can't rush around a city at breakneck speed, ticking off all the sights like you may have once done on visits to big exciting cities like this. Barcelona just seemed perfect for our needs, as it's full of beautiful parks, open squares and great little play areas for kids. There was always somewhere we could stop off and get an ice cream and let V run around. He had a great time every day playing with local kids at the play park in Barceloneta's market square, right next to our apartment.
There are so many activities you can do in Barcelona that kids of all ages will love. Some of our favourite trips were to the aquarium, the zoo, Park Guell and Parc de la Ciutadella.
Not to mention the beach! We were staying a stone's throw from it and we spent a couple of lovely chilled mornings down there. We rented loungers and a parasol so that V could play in the shade, building sandcastles. Good times!
City and beach: could there be a more perfect combination? Early October was the perfect time for our visit as it was still sunny and warm, but not so hot that it was uncomfortable to have long strolls and be outside playing in the middle of the day.