Me and my husband met backpacking in Spain in 2005. We are happy to still be on the journey even though there has been less backpacking in the recent years. When we got married, we vowed to return to Spain, especially Estepona in the south, for our tenth anniversary.
Time wise Spain didn’t work out last summer: we absolutely wanted to celebrate with our friends their wedding in France, and got baby sitters scheduled for a getaway at Easter in Istanbul instead. Both trips were awesome!
But Spain was still calling… when I happened to see flights for 70 odd euros per person to Barcelona (and my parents were happy to baby sit), we jumped on it. Barcelona is not Estepona, but it is still has Spanish food (yumyum calamares!) and mojitos, loads to see and easy to travel to.
For a budget airline I think Norvegian has always had a reasonably good service and this time we had no hick ups in getting to the sun in Barcelona.
We knew that for the famous Gaudi sights it is worth booking a ticket and a time slot in advance online but we didn’t want to set a schedule. So we walked to Familia Sagrada, the famous church, and found there was a 4 hour wait. Needless to say we went for calamares instead. We didn’t queue to get to the entrance area of park Güell either but enjoyed Gaudi architecture from the outside and in the park (no entrance fee).
We enjoyed doing what we loved to do when backpacking: walking and looking around, breathing in the atmosphere and stopping at lovely cafes or restaurants whenever we felt like it. We also enjoyed the roof top jacuzzi of our hotel and the markets.
I fell in love with Barcelona! It had the feel I had missed, friendly people, a Desigual shop in every corner (the outlet shop with -40% on the bags was close to divine) and I was surprised by how happily and well people spoke English! We liked especially the Gothic area and found many hidden gems.
PS. As a parent travelling without children I didn’t specifically research the child friendly options, but couldn’t help noticing there were a number of small playgrounds on Passeig de Sant Joan and a bigger one close to the harbour. The beach would be lovely when it is a bit warmer but apart from that the city seemed more like a city for chopping and parties than a holiday destination for children. I might be wrong. However, the Catalans seemed to be very welcoming to the children.