Barcelona is a great place for a family weekend break: whether you’re looking for history and culture, sunshine or shops, sea and sand or fantastic food. It’s all wrapped up in a city that’s just a couple of hours flight from London.
You can click here to read the post 10 Unmissable Things to Do in Barcelona about the long weekend my teens and I spent in Barcelona in August.
Here’s a round up of the places we’d recommend to eat, sleep and shop plus some transport tips too.
Eating in Barcelona
Barcelona is famous for its contemporary cuisine as well as traditional tapas and Catalan dishes. But on this trip we weren’t looking for posh restaurants or bite-sized nibbles with drinks. We needed teenager-sized meals, and Barcelona provided. These were our favourites:
For pastries and breakfasts
Brunells, Carrer de la Princesa 22 – handy for the Picasso museum. An old-school caff attached to a famous chocolatier and patisserie. Check out the chocolate and nougat next door!
La Colmena, Plaça de l’Àngel 12 – takeaway only, but worth a visit just to gaze at the serried ranks of sweets and pastries. Try the xuxos, a kind of huge cylindrical crema-filled doughnut, though that description doesn’t begin to do them justice. Savoury snacks for lunches too.
Cafe de la Pedrera, Passeig de Gracia 92 – I only stopped for a coffee at an outdoor table but when I went indoors I spotted the original Gaudí ceiling. A quick intro to Gaudí’s extraordinary work at Casa Mila, otherwise known as La Pedrera, as the cafe is in the same building.
Nou Candanchu, Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia 9 – very busy and with packed tables outside possibly because we were visiting during the Gràcia festival. A traditional menu and lots of traditional atmosphere, reasonable prices, large portions and a good steak. Everyone was happy.
Amélie, Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia 11 – a more modern and international spin on tapas
La Guingueta Escriba, Platja Bogatell – An evening at the beach with tapas and beer. This is a simple beach cafe with just the sort of food you want when you’ve just got out of the sea. There’s an interesting cocktail menu too.
Where we stayed in Barcelona
I found the Well and Come hotel during one of those evenings of Googling, reading reviews and checking availability. I wanted a reasonably priced, family-friendly place with free wi-fi and a pool. The Gracia district looked interesting and the Well and Come was close by in Eixample.
And it lived up to all expectations. It’s cool and contemporary. The rooms and bathrooms felt new and fresh, the shower was excellent and everything was scrupulously clean. We appreciated touches like the free bottled water and Nespresso machine in our room. The breakfast room is smart and airy around an internal courtyard and its rough stone feature wall gives it a chic country feel. The pool on the rooftop terrace is tiny but in the event my boys were more interested in the gym in the basement. My only slight grumble would be the lack of shade on the rooftop – it was blisteringly hot up there – but we hadn’t come to Barcelona to sunbathe so it wasn’t really a problem. The Reception staff were always cordial and helpful. I asked about softer pillows and some were there in our room that evening.
The Well and Come is conveniently placed for sightseeing and is in walking distance of La Sagrada Familia as well as the Gràcia district. There’s a handy metro stop down the road too.
I noticed one or two other families staying there with teens. I’d recommend it and I’d stay there again. The Well and Come Boutique Hotel, Carrer Girona 158
Shopping in Barcelona
I didn’t have many opportunities to shop but I’ll definitely be returning to Gràcia next time I visit Barcelona. It has leafy streets with intriguing boutiques as well as lots of restaurants and bars.
I did pop in to fulanitu i menganita at Carrer Verdi, 25 an interiors store with a vintage vibe. I could easily have filled a suitcase…
For more obvious souvenirs the 3D artworks at Galeria Maxo are worth a look and so is the gallery itself. The eclectic artist’s studio is at the back and a little toy train runs around the ceiling… Carrer del Portal Nou, 29
But simply for quirky window-shopping Barcelona is hard to beat. We spotted El Rei de la Màgia close by the Picasso museum Carrer de la Princesa 11.
Getting around Barcelona
We used the excellent, air-conditioned Metro to get around town. The most usual tourist option is the travel pass for one, two, three or more days. But after a tip from our walking tour guide, and some mental arithmetic, we worked out that the T-10, valid for 10 journeys, was better. It can be used by more than one person at a time, simply validating it for each person as they go through the turnstiles. And in our case only one travel pass to lose rather than three! The other top tip we received about the Metro is the prevalence of pickpockets – so keep bags in front of you and stand in the middle rather than at the end of a platform. It’s easy for a thief to make a quick exit from the end.
Want to know more about Barcelona? You can read our 10 Unmissable Things to Do in Barcelona here.
We booked our flights and hotel with Expedia.co.uk. Our easyJet flight from London Gatwick to Barcelona took just over two hours. We took a taxi from the stand at the airport, the journey to the hotel was around 30 minutes.
We stayed at the Well and Come Boutique Hotel, Carrer Girona 158, Barcelona
Photos taken by Nancy and family are all rights reserved. Photos may not be reproduced without prior written consent.