What You Need to Know for Barcelona – Before Arrival

I bet that by now you have heard about Barcelona and it might even be on your bucket list. This beautiful place is one of the most popular destinations in Spain, and maybe the world. It is the capital of Cataluña and has a long, interesting history. Here you can find a perfect blend between gorgeous buildings (old and new), beaches, culture, gastronomy nightlife and history.

Barcelona
Photo by: Jorge Franganillo

Just as it happens with every new place you visit, Barcelona has particularities and unique aspects. So I put together a short list of things that you should know when you start planning your family trip to Barcelona.

5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Barcelona

1. Catalunya – This region might be located in Spain but it is its own place with a different culture and even a different language that is exclusively spoken here.

Montjuic (Explore!)
Photo by: Juanedc.com

2. Language Spoken – As I mentioned before their official language is not Spanish. It is Catalan. Because it is such an important and large city most people speak Spanish but it is always a good idea to learn some words in Catalan. This not only shows interest in their heritage but that you are open minded and appreciative of their independence. Locals will truly admire your effort and can make your trip much more enjoyable. If you teach a couple of basic phrases to your kids it can also help them get what they want or to get assistance if they get lost.

3. Unique City – Barcelona is an enormous and modern city. So you will find the sort of attractions that a large city has to offer that include Sagrada Familia, Vila Olímpic, the gorgeous beaches of the Mediterranean coast and the modernist apartment buidings in Poblenou. It is not the place to visit if you are looking to experience the traditional colorful cultural aspects that come to mind when you think of Spain such as bullrings and dancing Sevillanas and Flamenco. If that is what you want you should probably skip it and go to a place like Granada.

Plaça Reial
Photo by: PROSerge Melki

4. Food – Meal times might be quite different than the ones you are used to. Lunch happens between 1:30 and 3:30 pm, and dinner from 9 to 11:30 pm. Lunch is the main meal of the day, not dinner. This might mean that you will find the restaurant you want to visit closed outside of those times (mainly in small eateries tended by their owners) so make sure you have snacks. There is nothing worse than cranky and hungry kids.

5. Outdoor Fun – If you and your family love picnics Barcelona will be heaven for you. It offers tons of places where you can throw a blanket and spend a day relaxing. Places like the beach, Parc de la Ciutadella and Jardi Botanic. Plus food won’t be an issue, just get some good bread and traditionally prepared ham and you are ready to go.

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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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