National Palace Barcelona

Our Family holiday in Barcelona – Our Experience

Recently we did a five days family holiday in Barcelona. Spain is indeed a preferred holiday destination in Europe, and Barcelona happens to be one of the most popular destinations in Spain. As usual, we started planning about a month before the trip. The tasks included:

  • Booking flight tickets.
  • Exploring accommodation at an appropriate location and booking the same.
  • Researching places to visit and not-to-miss experiences.

In this article, I’m writing about the itinerary we created after researching various blogs and youtube videos. It also includes our experience, my reviews, and learnings. So let us start.


Our planned itinerary looked something like this:

Day 1: Travel from Frankfurt to Barcelona. Check-in and relax

Day 2 : Palau Güell, La Rambla, La Boqueria and Park Güell.

Day 3: Gothic Quarter, Beach, Other things that we can decide on the go

Day 4: La Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou

Day 5: Montjuïc

Day 6: Day trip to Montserrat

Day 7: Travel back from Barcelona to Frankfurt

But it went through some changes, and finally, this is all that we ended up doing:

Day 1: Travel from Frankfurt to Barcelona. Check-in and relax

Day 2 : Palau Güell, La Rambla, La Boqueria and Park Güell.

Day 3: Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Gothic Quarter, Palau de la Música Catalana, Barceloneta Beach

Day 4 : La Sagrada Familia, Arc de Triomf, Camp Nou

Day 5: Montjuïc Castle , Poble Espanyol

Day 6 : Palau Nacional, Columbus Monument, La Rambla

Day 7: Travel back from Barcelona to Frankfurt


But before I start writing about the places we visited and the things we did, let me take my readers through some important information regarding travel and stay.

How we reached Barcelona

Since we were traveling from Germany, and our city – Darmstadt, is a good 1300 km from Barcelona, the traveling options we considered were trains and flights. As we found out, the train journey was long and involved multiple changeovers at odd hours. Hence we decided to go for the more convenient option of taking a flight, which involved just two hours of travel. Barcelona is a pretty busy city, and it is very convenient and safe even if one reaches late. So, we booked a Friday evening Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt( FRA) to Barcelona El Prat ( BCN) and landed in Barcelona on the same day, around 11 pm.

If you plan to book tickets through Lufthansa, go to their official website and make your booking. It is convenient and straightforward.

How we traveled around the city

There are multiple ticket options to explore and choose from based on one’s needs and plans. We decided to buy the five days Hola Barcelona tickets which allowed us to use the metro and other public transport in the Barcelona Metropolitan area for 120 hours from when we first validated it. It also can be used for Airport transfers. 

The ticket can be purchased online or at a metro station. If purchased online, a personalized code is sent by email. This code must be entered at any ticketing machine at any metro station to get the card. Once you have the card with you, you can start using it.

The link to get the Hola Barcelona Card is here:

Since we arrived late on Friday evening and had luggage, we decided to take a taxi to reach our Airbnb. The plan was to validate the Hola Barcelona ticket the following day. 

We observed that in Barcelona airport, people were standing near the arrivals area offering taxi rides or suggesting booking Uber and giving other alternatives. We decided to walk out of the airport simply because there were taxi ranks with officials helping us get a cab outside the terminal gate. (These taxis are yellow and black and are safe and reasonably priced). Reaching the city center coasted us under 30 euros, and we arrived in about 20 minutes. You can find more details about city transfers from the airport here :,is%20around%2025.00%2D30.00%E2%82%AC.

So, Friday night was just about unpacking and getting a good sleep before starting an active holiday!

Where we stayed

Since we are a family with kids already in their teens, having enough space for each of us is essential. Hotel rooms are not spacious enough and restrict everyone to a small room. So, off late, we have started booking through Air Bnb. We usually reserve a flat or house, preferably with an equipped kitchen and a minimum of two bedrooms, so that each of us has our own space and there is always an option of cooking something. 

We, as a family, like having a good breakfast and starting our day, and Airbnb allows us to make simple meals at home. Also, we like exploring the local supermarkets, finding what’s new, and trying out foods and drinks that are locally available. Airbnb is an excellent option for all the people who want to add this to their holiday experience. 

Airbnbs can be booked using this link

Now let us move on to Day 2 

Day 2 (Saturday):

Our first place of visit was Palau Güell.

Every Saturday at 10:15 am, there is an English-guided tour. It is not available on any other day, so we decided to make this our first destination. We had done this booking in advance using this link :

So, we left our house around 9 am, validated our Hola Barcelona ticket at the nearby Metro station, and reached our destination. Since we had about 30 minutes, we picked up a quick breakfast at a nearby cafe and then headed to Palau Güell. Palau Güell is on the street adjacent to La Rambla. 


About Palau Güell:

Palau Güell is a residential building constructed around the late 1800s and was architected by the famous Antony Gaudi. Later it was named a UNESCO world heritage site. The wealthy politician and businessman Eusebi Güell owned this property. In 1945, this property was handed over to Diputacio de Barcelona by the daughter of Eusebi Güell on the condition that the palace is preserved.


The palace is an important work by Gaudi. Our tour guide took the group through the different sections of the house, exploring various rooms and explaining essential aspects of the design and construction. The tour lasted about 1-1.5 hours and was interactive and informative. Once it was over, we explored the building independently, took pictures, etc.


More information about Palau Güell can be found here:

My review – Palau Güell:

The place is excellent for appreciating Gaudi’s architecture, but it is not his best work. A native Spanish speaker did the guided tour in English, and she couldn’t answer all our questions because of a lack of language skills. Otherwise, she was courteous and keen. Overall, the experience was a positive one. My review is also available here:

We got free around 12:30 and came back to La Rambla. We walked a little, explored the shops and cafes, and reached La Boqueria. We walked around, tried a few short eats, took plenty of pictures, and then headed out, as it was very crowded. 


About La Rambla and La Boqueria:

La Rambla is a 1.2 km pedestrian street lined with cafes and souvenir shops. It’s mostly filled with tourists walking, shopping, clicking pictures, or relaxing in cafes enjoying some local delicacies. La Boqueria is an open market on La Rambla, with plenty of shops, restaurants, Tapas bars, and cafes serving fresh local food. Eggs, meat, chocolates, fruits and vegetables, baked goodies, you name it, and it’s there in La Boqueria. It’s a treat for the senses. One can walk around enjoying the sights and smells and click pictures to preserve all these memories forever.


More information about La Rambla and La Boqueria can be found here:

My review – La Rambla:

Positives: Great place for walking and spending time exploring shops and cafes.

Negative: Worry of pickpockets ( though we didn’t experience anything ) + souvenir shops and cafes are expensive, so better avoided.

My review – La Boqueria: 

Excellent place to get a feel of Barcelona. Great variety of foods and drinks, cafes and shops to explore. In general, a lively atmosphere.


As we walked away from La Rambla, we found relatively less noisy and chaotic restaurants and had a relaxed lunch with Sangria and Tapas at Bar Lobo. My review of this restaurant is available here:

After a relaxing lunch, we decided to head to Park Guell. Used public transport and reached Park Guell. 

About Parc Güell: 

Parc Güell is a park comprising gardens and architectural elements located on Carmel Hill. The highlight is Gaudi’s work-the grand entrance, the terrace, and structures with extensive usage of mosaics. The park is so big that one can spend an entire day there if one wants. There are hiking opportunities, viewing areas from where one can get a great view of the city, and plenty of photo opportunities around the structures created by Gaudi.

We reached the park using the metro. The metro level is much lower than the park’s, so we had to climb up on foot. It was a bit tiring. I would suggest taking the bus rather than the metro to reach the park to avoid the extra walk because the park is quite big too. There is a good amount of walking one has to do in the garden. So, coming by bus can save you some energy. 

After seeing the park, we took the bus and returned to the city center.

We made a booking in advance to visit the park using this link.

Many who intended to buy tickets at the counter were turned back by the park authorities because of the huge crowds. So booking in advance is a good idea.

More information about the park is available on the same page as well on the Wikipedia page

My review – Park Güell:

We spent about 2 hours in the park. It was a wonderful experience and worth climbing a hill on foot to reach. We could have explored more had the weather been better, but we got exhausted soon since it was a hot day. But the park is certainly worth a visit if you are in Barcelona. 


My review is also available here:

That brought us to the end of sightseeing for the day. On our way back, we picked up some ingredients from the local supermarket for making dinner and the next day’s breakfast.

Day 3 (Sunday): 

For Day 3, we had not made a concrete plan, which meant there were no bookings done, which also meant that we didn’t have to stick to any timelines. We woke up late, had a hearty breakfast, and headed out. 

We read about Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, again two more notable works by Antoni Gaudi. Since, the previous day, we had explored Palau Güell from the inside, we decided to see these buildings only from the outside. Using public transport, we reached the nearest Metro station to Casa Batlló. Saw it from outside, clicked pictures, and then headed to Casa Milà. We saw the building from the outside too, and then headed to our next destination – The Gothic Quarter.

About Casa Batlló:

Casa Batllóis also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with other works by Gaudi. It is presently owned by The Bernat Family, who initiated a restoration of the building in 1995. The facade is a colorful one with a unique and distinguished design. One can see it from the inside too by making a booking online.

Tickets to visit
Casa Batlló can be purchased on their official website.

About Casa Milà:

Casa Milà is also a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its unconventional design. The building was commissioned in 1906 by Pere Milà and his wife Roser Segimon and is Antoni Gaudi’s last residential work. 


The official website for booking tickets for Casa Mila is :

My review – Casa Batlló and Casa Milà:

Both works by Gaudi look stunning from the outside. The facade of both buildings themselves is awe-inspiring.

After seeing these two sites, we headed to Gothic Quarter. 

About Gothic Quarter:

The Gothic Quarter is the oldest part of the city of Barcelona and includes the remains of the city’s Roman wall and several notable medieval landmarks. However, contrary to its name, much of the present-day fabric of the Quarter dates to the 19th and early 20th centuries.


On reaching this place, the narrow streets, cathedrals, churches, basilicas, and the remains of the Roman wall, remind us of the bygone era. The many cafes and restaurants, musicians performing on the streets, locals shopping, and participating in cultural events create a lively atmosphere. 

The entire place has to be explored on foot.

More information about the Gothic Quarter can be found here :,_Barcelona

My review-Gothic Quarter:

It is a must-visit place in Barcelona. The feel of the area is entirely different from what one gets in the rest of the city. As the old structures and narrow streets slowly transform into modern chick cafes and specialty shops, one experiences the resonation of both the old and the new. It’s an ideal place to spend half a day exploring and getting lost in the streets to find beautiful surprises in every nook and corner.

Like many other tourists, we explored the Gothic Quarter on foot, strolling in the narrow alleys, trying local foods, exploring important landmarks like the Cathedral, remains on the Roman wall, etc. It took us about 1- 1 1/2 hours to explore the whole place. Then we stopped by a nearby restaurant named El Cafè d’en Víctor for lunch for Tapas and Paella.

My review of this restaurant is available here:

After a satisfying lunch, we planned to return home to rest before heading to the beach in the evening. As we were walking, we came across Palau de la Música Catalana. We had read about it earlier and decided to give it a try. We purchased tickets for the audio-guided tour at the counter. Luckily we all were carrying our mobile phones with earphones. The audio guide has to be accessed using the QR code provided by the authorities. They do not offer audio guide sets, nor do they have earphones that one can borrow( it is available in the shop, though), so it is best to carry one’s phone and earphones when visiting this place.

About Palau de la Música Catalana:

Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall inaugurated in the early 1900s. The design of the place is elaborate and showcases extensive use of floral and other organic motifs. There is the extensive usage of marble, mosaic, ceramic, and glass.


The audio guide lasts about 40 minutes and takes you through all the main parts of the hall, including the facade, the entrance, the vestibule, the foyer, the staircase, and the concert hall.

More information can be found here:

Online Tickets can be purchased from their site:


My review – Palau de la Música Catalana:

Everything in Palau de la Música Catalana is very artistically and aesthetically done and is a treat for the eyes. Despite the various materials and designs incorporated, the overall appearance doesn’t look overwhelming. The content of the audio guide is crisp and clear. It explains everything precisely, ensuring that first-time visitors don’t get swamped with facts and data. The staff is also friendly and helpful. My review is also available here:

After all the walking, we were tired and decided to finally head back home, get some rest and again step out in the evening. So, in the evening, we went to Barceloneta Beach.

About Barceloneta Beach: 

Barceloneta Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Barcelona. It is a sand beach and runs more than 400 meters. A separate elevated walking path runs along the length of the beach, where one can enjoy the sun and the breeze without getting on the sand. There is an open gym, multiple shower options, and plenty of cafes, tapas bars, and restaurants. The beach is usually crowded but clean. 

My review -Barceloneta Beach: 

We had a lovely time at the beach. The beach was clean and well-maintained. Although in April, the water is still cold and one can’t have a swim, the experience of walking along the beach and enjoying the cool breeze was exhilarating.

My review is also available here:

By the 3rd day, we were already craving Indian food, so we googled some restaurants nearby and found an excellent Indian restaurant named Rasoi Ghar. My review is here:

After satisfying ourselves with great food, it was time to get back home for a good night’s sleep!!

Day 4 (Monday):

We had booked an audio tour for the La Sagrada Familia today at 10:30 am. When one googles the top places to visit in Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia comes as the first suggestion. So, as first-time visitors, we had to add it to our itinerary.

About La Sagrada Familia:

La Sagrada Familia is a roman catholic Basilica in Barcelona. It is considered Antony Gaudi’s most significant work. Its construction started in the late 1800s and continues even to this day. It started as a result of donations by many people from Barcelona and volunteer work by architects and planners, and many others involved in the building and construction. A year after the start of construction, there was a rift between the construction management and del Villar ( the architect).

As a consequence, del Villar resigned. The project was proposed to Martorell ( the structural engineer), who, too, declined as he had been involved in the rift. This Gaudís name was proposed. Now, Gaudi took ownership of conceptualizing, designing, and planning the new facades. 


The Sagrada Família currently has two display facades- The Nativity facade and the Passion facade. The facades have portals depicting events from the life of Christ. The third facade – the facade of Glory is under construction.

More information on La Sagrada Familia can be found at:

It is best to buy tickets online as getting tickets at the counter for the desired day of the visit is almost impossible because of the popularity of the place and hence the vast crowds. We had bought our tickets online and installed the La Sagrada Familia app in advance too. 

Tickets can be purchased online on their official website:

My review -La Sagrada Familia:

After visiting La Sagrada Familia, it was clear why it is the most popular tourist spot in Barcelona. The structure is massive and beautiful. The facades have beautiful depictions of the life of Christ. The intricate yet elaborate work on the walls, pillars, and ceilings reflects the amount of thought and planning that has gone into executing this massive project. The audio guide lasts about 45minutes and gives the visitor a good understanding of the history, building and architectural elements, design, and future of the La Sagrada Familia. One can also visit the museum in the basement and the souvenir shop, which has an excellent collection ranging from fridge magnets, postcards, and books to miniature models of the La Sagrada Familia. This place is a must-visit when in Barcelona. 

My review is also available here:

After completing our tour of the La Sagrada Familia, it was time for lunch. The place, like many other tourist destinations, is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. We went to Cafe Buenas Migas, which was located a street away from the La Sagrada Familia. 

My review of the cafe is here

After lunch, we decided to walk on the streets, explore shops, take pictures, etc. 

Our next destination was Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona. Although we could have taken public transport to reach it, we decided to walk down. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the Arc de Triomf

About Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona (Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona):

Architect Josep Vilaseca built the Arc de Triomf i Casanovas as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. The arch is made of red brick and has many sculptures, stone carvings, and allegories written by poets. From the arch starts a wide promenade leading to the Ciutadella Park that now occupies the world fair site. 

More information can be found here:

My review – Arc de Triomf (Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona):

There is no access fee to visit the Arc de Triomf. One can see the place, take a walk along the promenade, buy paintings by local artists, or get a family photograph with the Arc de Trompf in the background. The sculptures and stone carvings done on red brick look beautiful. It is a beautiful place to stroll on the promenade or enjoy a picnic at Ciutadella park.

My review is also available here:

We spent about 1 hour and then returned home for rest before we stepped out again for the biggest highlight of our holiday – A football match at Camp Nou!

After having an early dinner at home, we headed to Camp Nou.

About Camp Nou:

Camp Nou is a football stadium in Barcelona. It opened in 1957 and has been the home stadium of FC Barcelona. With a seating capacity close to a lakh, it is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe.


More information can be found at :

We had planned to see a match at the stadium between FC BARCELONA – CADIZ CF. It started at 9 pm and ended around 11:30 pm.

If the match doesn’t fall during your holiday, you can book a museum and stadium tour. The tickets can be booked here:

My review – Camp Nou

 There was a huge crowd, and the cheering, clapping, and whistling added to all the fun of enjoying the game with other football fans. If you are a football fan, you should not miss this place. My review is also available here:

After the match, we headed home.


Day 5 (Tuesday):

Today was the day to head toward Montjuïc. We woke up late, had a relaxed breakfast, and then got ready.


About Montjuïc :

Montjuïc is a hill in Barcelona. It translates to “Jewish Mountain” and is named so because remains of a medieval Jewish cemetery have been found there. There are plenty of places to see, but we chose 3 – The Montjuïc Castle, Poble Espanyol, and Palau Nacional.

Our first destination was Montjuïc Castle. To reach the castle, there are two options.

  1. Take the metro and reach the Funicular station. From there, take the funicular to the base of the hill. Either climb up the hill, take the bus or take the cable car. The Funicular and Bus tickets are included in the Hola Barcelona Card. The cable car ticket has to be purchased. You can choose to buy the cable car – one-way or two-way tickets.
  2. Take the metro and reach the Cable car point. From there, purchase tickets for two legs – from the Cable car starting point to the base of the hill + from the base to the castle. One way/2 way tickets; cable till the base of the hill and then a hike up to the castle OR cable car up to the castle – you can make your choice.

We took the metro and reached the funicular station. From there, we took the funicular and reached the base of the hill. We took a one-way cable to the top of the caste. The cable car ride that we took from the base of the hill to the top to reach the castle was a beautiful one. We enjoyed the breathtaking views of the valley as our cable car progressed towards the top of the hill towards the castle. After seeing the castle, we returned on foot. It is a downhill walk and very easy. On the way back, because we were on foot, we explored many other things like viewing points, fountains, a small restaurant, and a play area for children. Also, the surroundings were beautiful, with many beautiful blooming flowers and tree-lined paths. I would highly recommend coming back on foot. 

From the base of the hill, we took the bus and came back to the city center.


About the Montjuïc Castle (Castel de Montjuïc):

Montjuïc Castle is an old military fortress, with roots dating back from 1640, built on top of Montjuïc hill. It currently serves as a Barcelona municipal facility. It is open to the public and offers fantastic views of the city and the port. One can also see the city’s important landmarks from various viewpoints.


More information about the castle can be found here:

Tickets can be purchased at:

We spent around 2 hours at the castle and then started walking down towards the base of the hill.

My review – Montjuïc Castle ( Castel de Montjuïc):

Worth the effort to reach the castle. The castle is beautiful and well-maintained. On a good weather day, one can easily spend about half a day walking around, exploring all the parts of the castle, capturing pictures of the city from different viewing points, or relaxing and refreshing oneself with food and drinks at a small cafe located inside the castle. The walk back to the base is easy. The wonderful sites at the various levels of the hill can be explored only on foot, so I recommend not taking the cable car back to the base.

My review can also be found here :

It was already lunchtime. We wanted to stop by a good restaurant for a meal. Since we had not planned anything, we did a quick google search and found Poble Espanyol nearby and decided to go there. We took the bus from the base of the hill, and after a couple of stops, we reached Poble Espanyol.


About Poble Espanyol:

The Poble Espanyol (meaning Spanish town) is an open-air architectural museum. It was built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. The museum consists of 117 full-scale buildings replicated from different places in Spain, forming a small town. It also contains a theater, restaurants, artisan workshops, and contemporary art museum. It also houses restaurants and cafes. 


Since we were looking for a restaurant, we decided to go to a restaurant and see Poble Espanyol after the meal. 


My review -Poble Espanyol :

Poble Espanyol is the only place in Barcelona that we found disappointing. Some positives were that the place is nice and well-maintained, the concept is terrific, and the representation of various parts of Spain is done aesthetically. The staff was courteous. We visited an Italian restaurant where the food was average, but the service was quick, and the staff was friendly. But we couldn’t find local artisans at work (one of the experiences promised as a part of the visit). The workshops were there, but no one seemed to be at work ready to showcase their creations. Most of the restaurants were closed, leaving very few options, and the place had a general deserted feel. We saw ‘Fiesta’ – a 10-minute program about the festivals of Spain. It was average. We also visited the Fran Daurel art museum, which was a bit of a disappointment. 

My review is also available here :

After lunch, we walked around a little and returned. It was already evening, and we were tired, so we headed back home. 

Day 6 (Wednesday): 

Although we had planned a day trip to Montserrat today, we skipped it as there were a few more things that we wanted to see in the city. 

We started our day by visiting Montjuïc National Palace. 

About Montjuïc National Palace ( Palau Nacional) :

Located amidst serene surroundings on the hill of Montjuïc stands the majestic Montjuïc National Palace – an important landmark of Barcelona. The structure is colossal and looks grand. Due to its size and location, it can be spotted from far. It was the main site of the 1929 International Exposition and has a collection of over 5,000 artworks. Several steps lead up to the palace. Multiple fountains along the way enhance the majestic appearance of the palace. After climbing up, there are breathtaking views of the city, creating plenty of photo opportunities. There are cafes and small shops too at the top.

More information can be found here:

If you wish to see it from the inside, tickets can be purchased here:

My review – Montjuïc National Palace (Palau Nacional):

We didn’t visit it from the inside but spent almost 2 hours climbing to the top and enjoying the views. The imposing structure is undoubtedly impressive and awe-inspiring. It is a not-to-miss destination in Barcelona.

My review is also available here:

After getting down, we headed towards the Columbus Monument.

About the Columbus Monument:

The Columbus Monument is a 60-m-tall monument to Christopher Columbus at the lower end of La Rambla. It was constructed in honor of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas. Today, the monument reminds us of the difficult journey that Columbus undertook and the support he received from Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V for achieving this feat. At the very top of the monument stands a 7.2 m tall bronze statue that depicts Columbus pointing towards the New World with his right hand while holding a scroll on the left. Eight bronze panels depict important scenes in Columbus’s first voyage to the Americas.

More information can be found here:,_Barcelona

We spent about 15 minutes admiring the monument, understanding the scenes depicted on the bronze panels, and headed to La Rambla for Lunch. 


My review- Columbus Monument:

The tower stands tall at the end of La Rambla. The location is excellent, and the monument looks impressive. The scenes depicted on the bronze panels illustrating critical stages before and after Columbus’s voyage are comprehensible and fascinating.

My review is also available here:

We stopped by Ideal Restaurant on La Rambla. I can say that it was most definitely the worst restaurant in Barcelona. Everything was overpriced, the food was not tasty, and the experience was not great!

 I have left a review of the restaurant here

Since the beach was close by, we walked there for a while and finally had an early dinner at the same Indian restaurant, Rasoi Ghar, that we had visited some days back. It was a great experience. We returned home and did our packing.

Day 7 (Thursday): 

Today was the day to leave Barcelona and head home. We used our Hola Barcelona card and took the metro straight to the airport. We took our flight to Frankfurt and finally reached Darmstadt around 5 pm.

Our holiday in Barcelona was a superb and unforgettable one. All the places we saw, the foods we tried, the people we encountered, and the good and bad experiences enriched us. I will recommend my readers to visit Barcelona if you get a chance. If you have any questions, please reach out to me. 

So, this was all about our personal experience in Barcelona. You might also find my article on the Top 14 places to visit in Barcelona helpful. 

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