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Barcelona Family Trip - November 2022

Planning for Thanksgiving week 2022 (not this year). Taking our 3 adult children w/ SO + 16 year old daughter = 9 of us total, 5 bedrooms.

We take a trip together every Thanksgiving. Although this is only a week, we are planning on making the most of it.

Primary question right now: where to stay? We typically utilize VRBO for house rentals, and we may do so on this trip, but I thought perhaps a B&B might be the right mix of personal space + amenities, namely breakfast included (1 less meal to coordinate). Any B&B recommendations?

Activities - it will be November, so other than other Americans, I believe it will be fairly low w/tourists and weather will likely be rainy and darker with sunset earlier at night. So our tour options may be limited. My husband & I have been to Barcelona a couple of times so have visited many of the top sites but not all of them. We haven't really explored Parc Guell and would like to see more of Gaudi's work beyond Sagrada Familia (we hope to take the family there - love the museum below that shows how it was designed and built). We plan to take a day trip to Montserrat - have gone there every time & find it so remarkable! Are there any other day trips or other activities at that time of year that we should look into?

Any other suggestions for our group traveling at that time of year? I believe there may be Christmas markets open then - we went in December a few years ago and laughed at all the caganers for sale! I know the kids will get a kick out of them.

Posted by
19207 posts

I believe our Barcelona residents will tell you there is no low season in Barcelona, but I haven't been there at time of year myself.

For side trips I can highly recommend Girona with its large, walled medieval district and several sightseeing targets (two churches and at least two museums). For me it's the #1 day-trip from Barcelona; for that matter, it's worth spending a couple of nights there plus extra time if you want to take day-trips to places that are closer to Girona than to Barcelona. One of those would be Figureres for the Dali Theatre-Museum. There's not a great deal else to do in Figureres, though; it's not one of Spain's most attractive cities.

In the past there has been a one-day bus tour (which I have not taken) to medieval villages of Catalunya. I have been to one of the places it goes, Besalu, and it made a very nice change from the hustle-bustle of Barcelona. I had hoped to take that bus tour the next time I'm in Barcelona, but the website of the company that used to operate the tour (ExploreCatalunya) seems to be dead. This seems to be the company's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Explore-Catalunya-15489829913/ . You'll probably also find them on GetYourGuide, TripAdvisor and Viator. Booking through one of those third-party sites may cost you more and will certainly mean the company gets paid less. If you think you'd be interested in this trip, I'd contact ExploreCatalunya directly and price out a private tour. With nine people, it might well be cheaper than getting tickets on a public tour (even assuming there's one scheduled at a time convenient for you).

By all means explore Parc Guell, but I also suggest the Sant Pau modernista site. It wasn't designed by Gaudi, but it is beautiful and usually has almost no visitors. It's near La Sagrada Familia. You should also see the Palau de la Musica Catalana. You can tour it or attend a performance there.

The MNAC (large--you could spend 4 or 5 hours there exploring everything) has an interesting modernisme collection with furniture, jewelry and decorative arts. The medieval frescoes rescued from churches in the Pyrenees are fabulous, too.

There's a small modernism museum (privately run) in the Eixample not far from Casa Batllo. Google Maps is currently indicating that it is temporarily closed; I hope it will survive. It doesn't take too long to see and is not particularly cheap, give its size. I was able to spend 15 minutes there (30 would have been better) as part of the Modernism tour offered by the Bacelona tourist office.

Posted by
2280 posts

If you have been to Barcelona a few times, and are looking for something off the main tourist route, I can recommend:

Parque del Laberinto de Horta - a 18th-century neoclassical garden on a former palatial estate. It's not very well known with tourists so you will probably have a more private setting. It's very beautiful with numerous sculptures of Greco-Roman mythology along with a number of fountains, springs, and pools. In the center of the gardens is an English style hedge maze. I actually prefer it better than Parque Guell, which is a tad overrated and over touristed in my opinion.

Hospital de Sant Pau - To complement your Sagrada Familia visit, you could also visit the Hospital de Sant Pau, which is just a short walk 10 min away. Hospital de Sant Pau is a Gaudi-esque modernisme complex built in the early 20th century as a hospital. It's now a museum and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sant Pau has significantly less tourists than La Sagrada Familia but is just as impressive in my opinion.

Day trip to Vic - If you want to really have a local experience of a traditional Catalan market, I'd recommend you take the train (1:30 hr) up to to the ancient town of Vic on their market day, Tuesdays and Saturdays in the Plaza Mayor. Vic has been an important agricultural centre, since the ancient Roman days, and its vibrant market has been held there for more than 1000 years, the town is particularly know for its Charcuterie. Vic is also home to one of the oldest Cathedrals in Catalonia, it's unique as it blends Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassic architecture, the interior will take your breath away. I guarantee you won't see another tourist or even hear a lick of English there

Hope this helps!

Posted by
22 posts

I'm seeing some really great suggestions! Thank you so much for the thoughtful replies - more suggestions are welcome! And just to clarify - my husband & I have been to Barcelona a couple of times, but our kids (most now young adults) haven't. Curious if there are any particular tours/guides we should secure to make the most of our trip.

Kelli

Posted by
1017 posts

We liked Parc Guell and I highly recommend taking the guided tour of it-I believe you can sign up on it's website. The tour explains a lot more of Gaudi himself and the housing estate. We also enjoy the Miro museum and walking down the hill from the cable car.

I'm not sure if anyone in your family is a soccer fan but you can take tours of the Barcelona FC stadium(at least before the pandemic).

There is no such thing as low season at Barcelona and I think you will find Thanksgiving crowded as usual. It's a year round destination.