Visiting Barcelona with a baby was our first time traveling with an infant. It was our first international flight with an infant. There are so many “firsts” associated with that trip, that it really was the inspiration for this entire website and the years that followed traveling with a baby, toddlers and children.
We just weren’t willing to put our wanderlust on the shelf when we found out we were expecting our first child, even though everyone told us our traveling days were over.
We made a pact that once we had our daughter, if everyone was healthy and we felt we could manage a trip with her, we would do it when she was 3-4 months old. We had heard so many times that this was a great age to travel with a baby.
It was intimidating thinking of taking our baby on her first flight and traveling to a foreign country. Looking back, it was so simple. We are so glad we did it, but we do chuckle at how unsure we were…
Barcelona with a Baby or Toddler
- Choosing Your First International Trip with a Baby
- Getting from the Airport to your accommodation
- Where to Stay and Why
- Getting Around Barcelona with a Baby
- Things to do in Barcelona with a Baby or Toddler
- What to Pack for Barcelona with a Baby or Toddler
- Pin It For Later!
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Choosing Your First International Trip with a Baby
We made a list of criteria before we chose Barcelona, Spain as our first destination traveling with a baby internationally. It had to be somewhere new, have mild weather and we wanted to avoid bringing as much baby equipment as possible. We wanted to keep it simple and stress-free.
Flying with an infant of 3 months old turned out to be one of our easiest flights. We had booked the bulkhead seats so we could get a bassinet if one was available on the flight. It worked out so well for us and our daughter slept most of our overnight flight.
We were pleasantly surprised to find Barcelona was baby-friendly. They may not have high chairs at the restaurants and the locals eat much later than we are accustomed to, but to us baby-friendly means that we felt comfortable bringing our baby everywhere we went. Our daughter was welcomed everywhere in Barcelona and attracted a lot of positive attention from the locals.
Though she was only 3 months old at the time of our trip, it was obvious to us what a great family destination Barcelona is. It would be equally as good to visit Barcelona with a toddler.
If dealing with jet lag has you worried, follow all these tips for dealing with jet lag in babies and toddlers when traveling internationally with a baby or toddler. We also have a comprehensive list of tips on getting your baby to sleep on holidays.
Getting from the Airport to your accommodation
Part of why we chose Barcelona was because we knew we’d be able to get everywhere either by walking or public transportation. This included getting from the Barcelona-El Prat airport to our hotel.
We were able to determine that the Aerobus was the most direct route from the airport right to the city center. From there we easily walked to our Barcelona Hotel.
If the Aerobus isn’t the best option for you, here are other ways to get from the airport to your hotel in Barcelona.
Where to Stay and Why
Since we were traveling with a 3 month old, we were content to stay in a hotel. We wanted to have evening meals out on the patio and not worry about cooking. All we needed was a hotel on a quiet street that provided a baby crib. We also wanted a balcony where we could relax while our daughter napped.
We decided to stay at the Hotel Constanza, near Placa de Catalunya in the Gothic Quarter. It was central to all the places we wanted to visit and allowed us to get around by walking. It also allowed us to get off the Aerobus at the final stop at Placa de Catalunya.
Out of habit, we booked a hotel room in Barcelona and for several subsequent trips with our baby. Eventually we discovered that Airbnb’s are often a better option for traveling with a baby. You will appreciate having a seperate room for your baby, laundry facilities and a kitchen. There are plenty of family-friendly Airbnb’s in Barcelona.
Here are several other options for baby-friendly hotels in Barcelona.
Getting Around Barcelona with a Baby
One reason we chose to travel to Barcelona with our baby was that we could get around without needing to travel with a car seat.
We could get everywhere we wanted either by walking or by using public transit. This is one thing that makes traveling in Europe with a baby so amazing.
Walking in Barcelona with a Baby
Barcelona is a very walkable and stroller-friendly city. Even the cobblestone streets in Barri Gotic (the Gothic Quarter), were not a major issue with our rented stroller. A few of the sidewalks are narrow and are only wide enough for one person, but you will find the locals and tourists alike will always move aside to make room for you and your stroller.
Note, that while Barcelona itself is very walkable, there are some attractions which are not stroller-friendly, which we give more details on below.
Taxi’s and Uber in Barcelona
We have found it difficult to find definitive information on the regulations for car seats in taxis in Barcelona, however this website claims that they are required for any urban taxi transports.
Your best bet is to get a centrally located hotel or Airbnb and walk or take public transportation everywhere you want to go. If this isn’t possible, request a taxi with a car seat if you are not traveling with your own.
Uber does not currently operate in Barcelona.
Public Transportation in Barcelona
Within the public transportation system of Barcelona is the metro, buses and trains. The FGC, which has trains to the suburbs, is also integrated into the public transportation system. The metro and buses do not run all night long, but there are night buses (NitBus) that run overnight. All NitBus routes stop at Plaça de Catalunya.
To ride the public transportation system in Barcelona you have several choices:
Single ride Zone 1 tickets cost €2.40 and can be bought at all the stations, plus directly from the driver if you are taking the bus. Zone 1 tickets cover the majority of the attractions and also includes the airport. Once your ticket is validated, you can freely change metro lines and even change from metro to bus (but not the other way around) within a 75 minute time period.
If you will be making five or more journeys it makes more sense to buy the T10 (Zone 1) ticket from €12.65. The T10 transport ticket is valid for ten journeys on the buses, the metro or RENFE in Zone 1 areas. It can be purchased at the airport tobacco shops, the RENFE train station or at all metro stations.
Another great option is to purchase a Barcelona City Pass. This popular discount card includes free admission to over 30 top Barcelona attractions as well as unlimited access to the public transportation system around Barcelona.
Or purchase a Hola BCN! Card to get unlimited free rides on the Barcelona metro, buses and trains. Cards are valid for 2-5 days can be purchased at a cost of $18 – $42 USD.
Tips for Public Transportation in Barcelona
Children under 4 can ride free on the public transit network.
Use one of these baby carriers or a lightweight travel stroller in Barcelona when taking the Metro. Despite claims from the Metro website that the Catalunya station had elevators, they were out of service which meant one of us had to carry the stroller down the stairs with the other carrying our daughter.
Hop-On Hop-Off Buses in Barcelona
Hop-On Hop-Off buses are a fun, easy and interesting way to get around Barcelona.
The advantages of these buses are that they will take you to many of the top sights in Barcelona. The top deck gives an excellent vantage point to view the town while en route.
The disadvantage of these buses are that because they stop at all the sights in the loop, it will take roughly two hours to complete the full loop (time will vary).
You may bring a stroller on the bus and there is a special section on the bottom deck for you. The stairs to the top deck are steep and winding and as a result, you cannot bring your stroller up.
If sitting on the upper deck is attractive to you, bring a baby or toddler carrier instead of (or along with) your stroller and be sure to bring along some sun protection for your baby.
Things to do in Barcelona with a Baby or Toddler
Since we were traveling to Barcelona with an infant, we really weren’t concerned about finding playgrounds or anything else that was specific to traveling with a toddler. That being said, many of the things to do in Barcelona are toddler-friendly.
Barcelona’s main Catholic cathedral was originally built between 1298 and 1460 and renovated in the 1800’s. La Catedral is centrally located within the Gothic Quarter and walking through this part of town is an attraction in and of itself.
Given this was our first stop on our first time traveling internationally with a baby, we went to La Catedral without considering if we would be able to bring our stroller in.
Upon our arrival we quickly noticed the large set of stairs at the entrance and elected not to carry the stroller to the top. Thankfully, La Catedral was beautiful from the outside so we spent a while taking pictures before we went on to explore more of the neighborhood.
A few days later we came back with our baby in a baby carrier. While inside we discovered that there is a side entrance for wheelchairs which would have worked for our stroller. This alternate entrance is on Plaça de Sant Lu (facing the Marès Museum), but you must contact security before being allowed to use this entrance.
In hindsight, it woudn’t have been that hard just to carry the stroller up the stairs.
If your baby’s sleeping schedule allows it, be sure to visit La Catedral after dark. It looks very beautiful at night all lit up with flood lamps, highlighting the many interesting features of the church.
Barri Gòtic (The Gothic Quarter)
The Gothic Quarter is Barcelona’s most charming neighborhood and is an attraction in and of itself. Walking the endless winding streets leads to many wonderful discoveries.
We walked through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter virtually every day of our visit. Notwithstanding the fact many of the things to do in Barcelona are in this part of town, this district is truly wonderful to explore. Sometimes we followed a focused, predetermined route to an attraction, while other times we simply allowed ourselves to get lost.
La Sagrada Família
Designed by Antoni Gaudi, this Roman Catholic Basilica and UNESCO World Heritage site is Barcelona’s #1 tourist attraction. It is well worth the visit!
The huge lineup was wrapped around the corner when we arrived. Thankfully, we had already bought our tickets online.
After taking some pictures of the exterior and stopping to feed our baby and use the public restrooms across the street in the Plaça de la Sagrada Família, we made our way to the ‘online ticket’ line. We were thrilled to see it was only 10-15 people deep, compared to the huge lineup for those who hadn’t purchased their ticket in advance.
The interior was grand and spectacular. Though busy, our daughter enjoyed people watching while we toured the church.
Not all areas of La Sagrada Família are accessible for strollers. In addition, it is so busy inside that it can be difficult to maneuver at times.
We left our stroller near the entrance, which was pretty risky considering it was a rented stroller. However, this allowed us to easily explore inside and our stroller was waiting for us when we came back out.
The official website states: “To enter the building visitors will be required to dress with decorum“. This means no bare shoulders, knees or feet.
Sagarada Familia skip the line tickets are included with the Barcelona City Pass.
Another of Antoni Gaudi’s famous creations, La Pedrera was the last private residence that he built. La Pedrera is famous for the chimneys on the rooftop terrace. Officially known as Casa Milà, this is another one of Barcelona’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Enjoying the unique architecture of Antoni Gaudi is an integral part of any trip to Barcelona, even if visiting Barcelona with a baby or toddler.
Our research had shown that it is difficult to navigate the inside of this La Pedrera stroller, so we elected to bring our daughter in a baby carrier. The rooftop, which was our favorite part, is filled with small stairways which would be impossible to navigate with a stroller.
If you do bring a stroller, you can park it on a small viewing platform on the rooftop just outside the elevator. We recommend visiting this attraction with a baby carrier instead so you can enjoy the entire attraction.
We were happy we visited La Pedrera late in the late afternoon. It didn’t take us too long to visit as we avoided the longer line ups from earlier in the day and throughout our tour it was not very busy.
Save 20% on La Pedrera admission with the Barcelona City Pass.
Mercat de la Boqueria
We love visiting markets when we travel. Mercat de la Boqueria was an explosion of colors and smells. It is quite busy so it wasn’t the easiest place to navigate with a stroller, but generally people were very courteous. It’s a great place to visit during lunch time!
Museu d’Història de Barcelona – Plaça del Rie Location
The name “Museu D’Història de Barcelona” is actually used for a collection of ten different museums, all at different locations. The one discussed here is the Plaça del Rie location near La Catedral.
The ruins of an ancient Roman settlement dating back from 10BC were found at this location. The archeological site was preserved by erecting a building around it.
As we had planned quite a bit of walking on this day, we had our daughter in our rented stroller. While we enjoyed the museum, it was hard to navigate our way through with a stroller.
Visitors tour the archeological dig site by walking on elevated pathways. These pathways are very tight and it is not very easy to maneuver a stroller through them. The corners are tight and there is not enough space to let another visitor pass you if they are coming the opposite direction. Some exhibits are only accessible via stairs.
Learn from our mistakes! You will be much better off carrying your baby in a wrap or carrier.
Admission to Museu d’Història de Barcelona – Plaça del Rie is free with the Barcelona City Pass.
La Rambla is the most popular pedestrian street in all of Barcelona. It’s 1.2km (0.8 mile) long and divides the Gothic Quarter (to the east) and El Ravel (to the west).
Our hotel was not far from Plaça de Catalunya, which is where you find the north end of La Rambla. With this convenient location we were able to easily walk to the start of La Rambla. Once on La Rambla you instantly get a feel for why it is so popular; it is a wide, tree lined pedestrian street with beautiful historic buildings on each side.
Look down when you are just north of the Liceu subway station – there is a tiled mosaic on the street by renowned Barcelona artist Joan Miró.
Touted as the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world, we knew it would be worth a visit. It worked perfectly to pair it with our walk down La Rambla. L’Aquàrium is found on the waterfront in Port Vell, which you can get to by walking south on La Rambla until you reach the water
It was a hot day, so we were happy to spend a little time in the air conditioning of the Barcelona aquarium. We also found our daughter loved watching the colorful fish in the tanks.
L’Aquàrium is very stroller-friendly, but we were happy we had also carried our wrap so she could see the fish better. The Barcelona Aquarium is a great family outing and one of the best things to do in Barcelona with kids.
Save 20% on L’Aquàrium admission with the Barcelona City Pass.
We hadn’t packed any baby beach essentials for our trip, but we still wanted to visit Barceloneta Beach.
After the Barcelona aquarium, we walked to the Barceloneta neighborhood. We found a cluster of seafood restaurants enjoyed some paella with a nice view of the Mediterranean Sea.
After all the excitement of the aquarium, our daughter was ready for a nap. We were able to have her nap in the stroller (out of the sun) and we really enjoyed walking on the nice paved pathway which runs along the back of the beach. If we had been visiting Barcelona with a toddler, we would have loved to spend a day on the beach.
Park Guell is one of the largest green spaces in Barcelona and one of the best things to do with kids in Barcelona.
Our visit to Park Güell was the only time we needed to use the subway to get anywhere. It went well, but one of the elevators was out of service, forcing us to carry our stroller up and down the stairs.
We also had been unprepared for the actual park, which would have been much better explored by bringing our daughter in a baby carrier or wrap.
Despite these logistical challenges, we still really enjoyed our visit and getting to see the famous guardian lizard fountain. The fountain was so crowded that we didn’t want to bring our baby up to see it, so we had to take turns.
Given we couldn’t take our stroller everywhere, it was a shorter visit than we had planned
You must buy a ticket in advance for Park Guell and arrive no later than 30 minutes from the time marked on your ticket. However, you can stay as long as you wish once you’ve entered.
Save 25% on Park Guell admission with the Barcelona City Pass.
Arc de Triomf and Parc de la Ciutadella
Prior to our family vacation we made a list of all the best things to do in Barcelona. With great weather and a happy baby, we were able to complete that list in our first 5 days!
Walking was one of our favorite things to do in Barcelona, so we wanted to spend our last day exploring.
The Arc de Triomf was built in 1888 for the Universal Exposition and now serves as the main entrance to the Parc de la Ciutadella, which is the largest green space near the Gothic Quarter.
A visit to the park is always a popular thing to do with a toddler, especially if they have been in a stroller or carrier a lot. There’s plenty of birds to chase and the park also contains the local zoo.
After visiting the Arc and the park, we stopped for a latte in Plaça de Comercial. We really enjoyed taking our time and watching the world go by as we enjoyed our lattes.
What to Pack for Barcelona with a Baby or Toddler
While you won’t find high chairs in every restaurant or change tables in public toilets, we still consider Barcelona baby and toddler-friendly. As we mentioned previously, the locals were so friendly and so welcoming everywhere we went that it was easy to forget about these small inconveniences.
Here’s what we recommend you pack for traveling to Spain with a baby:
- The most important things to pack for traveling to Barcelona with a baby is a good baby carrier for travel and a lightweight travel stroller.
- We also recommend a CoziGo Stroller Cover to keep your baby out of the sun.
- While our daughter was much too young to be sitting on her own on this trip, for future trips we had a My Little Seat travel seat for restaurants which meant we never had to worry about a restaurant having a high chair. This was our favorite portable travel high chair because it packed down so small and was easy to bring with us on our daily outings.
- If your hotel doesn’t offer a baby crib, you can pack your own baby travel crib or a toddler travel bed. If you are sharing a hotel room with a baby or toddler, we recommend a SlumberPod privacy pod to create a private sleeping area for your baby.
- While we packed most of our diapers for the week, you can buy baby food and diapers in Barcelona at pharmacies, supermarket chains like Carrefour or the El Corte Ingles store in Central Barcelona.
- For the international flight with our baby, we packed her favorite toys from this list of best airplane travel toys for babies and toddlers.
- Other items to pack for Barcelona are a portable change mat and a good sun hat.
Get our full packing list for travel with a baby here.