Revisiting a destination you knew well before having children can be a bit of a challenge. Lorraine who writes Secret Mum Blog has told us about her experience of going back to Barcelona with kids and how easy it was to find things to do outside of the planned excursions for this Mediterranean port. Over to Lorraine:
Those who have been on a family cruise know that cruising with kids is a great option and that getting them out of the kids clubs is like getting Weetabix off a bowl that you have left on the breakfast table all day…nearly impossible!
However if you can get them off the ship then there are some brilliant ports which do not require a pre-booked shore excursion to have a fun-filled day.
I love cruises but I am not a really fan of an organised shore excursion. For me visiting ports is about exploring and doing our own thing!
Barcelona was a port that I was a bit worried about. I had visited many times without the kids and during these visits I had amazing times (mainly involving tapas and wine!) but what on earth would I do with the kids?!
I need not have worried. This is how our day went.
Taking the bus from Barcelona port
From the ship we got a bus which dropped us at the bottom of the Ramblas. The bus cost a couple of Euro and runs every 20 minutes or so. The bus is put on by the port authority and they stop at each of the ships in port. This also means you get to take a little look at the other ships and meet people who are travelling on them. Great for a bit of research for your next trip!
The return bus trip leaves at the same place they drop you. All you need to do is ensure you get back on a bus before the ship departs! Don’t forget a ship will not wait for you if you are late unless you are on an excursion organised by the cruise line. The journey takes about 5 minutes and my kids LOVE a bus ride!
The bus stops right at the bottom of The Ramblas near the Columbus monument so it is a case of crossing the road which is easy to do with a pedestrian crossing.
I was with my five year old and two year old girls. The pushchair was a total must. We just had a lightweight stroller with us but it meant Miss I (age 2) could sit and take in the sights while we pushed her through the crowds.
As soon as Miss A (age 5) stepped foot on The Ramblas she was mesmerised by the street performers. We slowly walked up the street stopping to watch each different performer. Miss A asked a million questions and tried to make them giggle. We spend a few hours just wandering around and taking in the amazing atmosphere.
Visiting La Boqueria market with kids
The next stop for me had to be the famous La Boqueria market. I love it there and Mr C has never been. It is a total overload on your senses. The sights, smells and sounds of the traders. The kids munched on cups of cool fresh fruit while Mr C and I browsed the stalls nibbling on cured meats and manchego cheese. It is busy in the market so I had a firm hold on Miss A while Mr C pushed the little one. Amazingly Miss I slept through most of the market – kids really can sleep though anything!
Next we stopped for cold drinks in a shaded street bar. The bars on the Ramblas are so expensive but you pay for the atmosphere and the view so for me it was totally worth it. We then made our way back down The Ramblas watching more street performers and visiting various vendors selling tacky souvenirs and more selfie sticks than I have ever seen. Miss A became the proud owner of an overpriced pink fan which was broken before the end of the cruise!
We were only off the ship for about five hours due to the heat in the summer but it was a packed afternoon of fun for all of us. The kids experienced some of Barcelona and Mr C and I swore to return again very soon. We are just trying to decide if the next visit is with or without the girls…
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Picture credits: Family shots from Lorraine at Secret Mum Blog; market and Barcelona cityscape from Unsplash.