I don’t know how many times I have been to this magical city, but with each return I enjoy it more and more! From the sandy beaches and the sea, to the old town Gothic Quarter and of course, the Grandfather of Barcelona Gaudi and his masterpieces. They are all here for you to see. I promise you, you will enjoy every moment you are here and it is a great place to bring your family too.
How to Get to Barcelona from the USA
I was lucky enough to catch a good deal on Norwegian’s 787 Dreamliner on the OAK to BCN route. I booked a domestic flight into OAK from my home town of PHX. Once at OAK, I found that the airport was easy to get around and was much better for me than LAX and SFO. OAK only has two terminals and it was easy to go between the two, even when I had to pick up my luggage from the domestic terminal and take it to the international terminal. I call this #SmartLuxury.
Norwegian has some great deals out of there, so keep an eye out to get you across the pond to Barcelona, also great deals from New York City – All airports was seen as well. I was also lucky enough to get upgraded to business class and found it to be comfortable, as well as a new concept in affordable luxury in that you can get everything you need via the monitor, as you order there to get what you want as far as services! You can buy a variety of snacks, sandwiches, light meals, and beverages during your flight. So once you get settled in on board, you can check out their in-flight menus on the entertainment system!
When is a Good Time to Go?
Research must be done when deciding to go on any vacation, but once you have the flights booked, the next big decision to make is when to go, where to stay, and what to do with your family.
The weather is a big part of any trip and so a quick search of the internet shows that shoulder season is the best time to go to Barcelona. Shoulder season falls between the two seasons of high and low. April, May June, as well as September or October. Going during this time beats the crowds (a bit) and the weather can be decent: mild temperature during the day, maybe some light rain, and cool at night.
Where to stay?
Depending on how many people in your party, I have a few suggestions:
When I take family and have more than 4 guests, I prefer to get an apartment, where we can all stay together, spread out, and feel like we are living more like locals than staying in a hotel. On my last trip, I was a guest of the Sweet Inn Barcelona, which an apartment rental company that has services of a hotel. I loved being able to choose from a huge selection of amazing luxury apartments in order to find the perfect neighborhood. I also enjoyed that fact that they have hotel services, such as airport pickup, laundry services and cleaning services during your stay and that they have a lot of personalized services such as use of a mobile iPhone and chargers you can use. I wrote about my experience here: Sweet Life Barcelona, Spain
If the trip involves only me, a girlfriend getaway, or as a couple, I prefer to stay in a hotel and have had some awesome experiences at two places in the city mentioned above. Both were excellent stays, yet completely different experiences.
Hotel Arts Barcelona: Hotel Arts Barcelona: A Hotel Review
This one is a bit further from all the action of the Gothic Quarter, yet has a great spot along the ocean with amazing views of the art installation called ‘The Whale’, the actual name is Peix in Catalan, by Frank Gehry. It is was put on the nearby boardwalk, and makes for great photography! It has a great atmosphere, amazing services, and the views of the ocean and city go on forever.
The Mercer Hotel: A Gothic Quarter Gem
Location, location, location. This one has an entrance right into a very cool area of the Gothic Quarter. It is modern and upbeat with a roof top pool. I love that I found this little gem and the location makes it perfect.
What to do when you get there?
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the word of the city: Antonio Gaudi! I call him the Godfather of Barcelona, as he was and is the heartbeat of the city. You cannot go anywhere without recognizing his work throughout the city. There are four of his world renown masterpieces that at a minimum you should choose to visit.
They are: Familia Sagrada, Casa Batllo, Park Quell, and La Pedigral
As a family, it can become overwhelming to visit all these UNESCO world heritage sites, so I would suggest to chose one and spend some time visiting that one. The lines and queues are long and busy and so one of these visits will be challenging in the way of patients and time spent. With a younger family, I would suggest visiting Park Quell and take a packed lunch. It is almost as fun to sit on the lawn on a blanket and snack as it would be to stand in line at the queues, even if you have a ticket and a scheduled time to go in. There are many places to access without even having a ticket. And even though a lot of Gaudi’s work is still under construction, it is always worth a visit.
Recently I was there and had a chance to explore even more tourist attractions and tours available on this last trip to the old city and have a few more recommendations that are bookable on Travelocity, which are:
Palacio del Flamenco
3 Countries in 1 Day Tour
You can read about them both on my author page of the Travelocity website here.
What to do when you get there?
Once you have reserved your tickets to Barcelona, you will surely be asking yourself what to do when you get to Barcelona. I have written extensively about Barcelona things to do Things to do in Barcelona and Barcelona for Families Barcelona for Families, as well as fun excursions up along the coast in Costa Brava. Be sure to take a day trip to Girona, you won’t be sorry!
Here is an extensive list of articles I have written about Barcelona and this area around Spain:
If you are following along in my series on Costa Brava, Spain (north of Barcelona):