Barcelona is a beautiful city, full of history, sunshine and, as we came to realise, full of dragons too! We were visiting Barcelona as a family for a few days in Easter and we were invited to experience the dragons in the city with a tour from Barcelonawink, Barcelona Private Tours that are Family Friendly. Isabelle was our fabulous tour guide for the morning and truly showed us a new side to the city.
We started our tour with a visit to the incredible Casa Batllo, built by Antoni Gaudi in the early 1900’s. This majestic house is the shining centre of the Dragon tour and it is not hard to see why. Casa Batllo’s shimmering tiles, curves and otherworldly beauty looks, as my son put it, “like a Sea Dragons Palace!” The rooftop is its crowning glory and is shaped like a sleeping dragon. Casa Batllo is very popular tourist attraction and it is not hard to see why. They have timed ticket entry and it was much easier to book ahead online with Barcelonawink than stand in a queue to buy a ticket for that afternoon or even the next day. The interactive audio tour was brilliantly done and kept Joseph entertained for well over an hour.
The tour continued with Isabelle around the streets surrounding the Manzana de la Discordia, the patch of the discord, where we went in search of more dragons. Catalonia is the home of Saint George (Sant Jordi) and it is here in Catalonia that Saint George killed the dragon and saved the princess. This is why there are so many dragons in the city. April 23rd is when Catalonia celebrates their Saint Georges day with roses, as the blood of the dragon is said to of turned into a red rose. We were told this and many more facts of Barcelona’s streets, they even knew the tiles on the street of the Discordia were designed by Gaudi.
Barcelona Private Tours that are Family Friendly
Isabelle and her colleague Sylvie took us down little private streets where lemons and oranges hung from trees and scented flowers bloomed, places we never would have found by ourselves. They took us to lovely shaded courtyards and to see fountains and modern statues that tourists had not yet found. It was a magical tour, intimate and special, away from the tourists and into the heart of a Barcelona only someone who lives there can discover. Afterwards we sat down for some hot chocolate, Isabel knew of a cafe hidden away with a courtyard, and patiently answered all our questions. Where were the best places to eat? What should we see next? In fact Isabelle knew of many little secrets around Barcelona and this knowledge was what unlocked our holiday in Barcelona and made it very special. We were starting to appreciate why Barcelona Private Tours that are Family Friendly are key to enjoying this city.
We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach next to Port Olympic, a beautiful stretch of sand in walking distance from the medieval city centre. It is free and open to all and is better for families than some of the other beaches in Barcelona.
We were encouraged to visit the Sagradia Familia the next day and to book online. It is best to book everything Gaudi online before visiting as the queues for tickets can be very long! It also proved a lot cheaper booking online. Sagrada Familia was stunning. I have visited a lot of cathedrals in my time but this is by far my favourite. There is so much detail on the outside of the cathedral, all inspired by nature. Joseph loved finding the turtles that hold up the pillars and the chameleon hiding above the door. It is designed inside to be a forest with incredibly tall pillars branching off in the shadows of the ceiling and a beautiful array of colours shining in through the Technicolor windows. It is a stunning building and my son was thrilled by it. Isabel told us of a hotel round the corner from Sagrada Familia which offered us the best view of the cathedral from a small rooftop garden on the 8th floor of the hotel. It was ours for the cost of a fairly priced cup of coffee and two lemonades and was a peaceful oasis from the crowds. From the rooftop garden we could see details we missed like the giant fruit on top of the spires.
The next day we headed to Park Guell. Our tip is to head there by tube get off at station Vallcarca. There is an escalator up the steep slopes nearest to Vallcarca and it saves little feet in hot weather and reserves energy for walking round the steep slopes of the park itself. The park has an amazing view across the city all the way to the sea and musicians play in the shaded alcoves. At our time of visiting, the Inner Gaudí area had a lot of renovation work and so was under a lot of scaffolding. This area you have to pay to see but there is plenty to enjoy in the park, especially the view from the cross, if you can find it! After walking round Park Guell we followed Isabelle’s advice and went to Bellavista, a restaurant/cafe with great food which is partly owned by Lionel Messi. They have his golden boot award on show in the bar and signed shirts adorn the walls. This was something for my football mad husband to enjoy!
We had an amazing time in Barcelona, there was so much to see and do that we have to go back. Wandering down the famous Ramblas, losing ourselves round the medieval part of the city was a brilliant way to end our visit. It seems there is something extraordinary and beautiful hiding round every corner. Starting our holiday on a Barcelona Private Tour with Isabelle and Sylvie from Barcelonawink gave us the confidence to wander and get lost in the streets, hunting for those little special moments.
NB: Abigail and her family received a complimentary tour from Barcelonawink, Barcelona Private Tours that are Family Friendly but all views and opinions are her own.