We are a family of 4 with 2 boys 13 & 15. We'll be in Barcelona starting 12/25 and leaving first thing on 12/31. We are looking to do a mix of outdoor, cultural, and art activities - combining more active/tactile and museum experiences while immersing ourselves in the city and culture. This is a vacation, though and we don't want to be rushing around every minute. The schedule is a bit complicated with holiday and weekend closures, but we are weighing a couple of different itineraries.
The first would keep us lodged in Barcelona (we've reserved a hotel on Las Ramblas) for the whole timeframe with a day trip to Girona:
12/25: arrive, get settled, visit Parc Guell, Christmas Dinner
12/26: El Born - Picasso Museum, Santa Caterina Market, Church of Santa Maria del Mar, Chocolate Museum; Mosaic Art Class
12/27: Modernista Walking Tour in l'Eixample (we're thinking of doing a guided tour with an architect), Sagrada Familia, Hospital de la Santa Creu & Sant Pau
12/28: Day trip to Girona - wall walk, Cathedrals, Museum of Jewish History, Arab Baths, enjoy the town
12/29: Palau de la Musica Catalunya, Barri Gotic - Walk, History Museum, Sardana Dance, Barcelona Cathedral, Montjuic for the Castle & Miro Museum
12/30: Street Art Walking Tour, options open for Casa Mila, Casa Batilo, Biking Tour in Parc La Cituedella or on the beach, Tibidabo view & amusement park
The second option would give us more time to enjoy Girona and incorporate a visit to Figueres to see the Dali Theater-Museum. In that itinerary we would leave Barcelona Sunday morning, drop our luggage and tour in Girona while museums are open till 2pm. Then we would travel to Figueres in the late afternoon/early evening (the Dali museum is open till 6) and return to Girona for the night. We would finish sightseeing in Girona on Monday morning and return to Barcelona sometime Monday for our final night. If we did this option we would definitely drop Monjuic/Miro, the Palau de la Musica, and the Hospital complex, and I'm thinking we might not have time for Casa Batilo or the History Museum either. I have tentatively made lodging reservations in both Girona as well as for the last night in Barcelona (near Playa Espana) to preserve our option here.
So with that background here are my questions:
- What do you think of these itineraries? Any significant things that I have missed which we should consider squeezing in? Any logistical issues that I should try to attend to?
- Should we opt for more time in Girona and try to squeeze in the Figueres visit? At the moment I'm leaning toward skipping it - it creates logistical challenges in requiring us to stay in 3 different places, and as I laid it out, there are a lot of great things that I feel like we'd have to drop to go there. However, if we can "fit more" into our Barcelona days without being stressed out, I would love to be able to see the Dali museum.
- Should we visit Sagrada Familia in the morning or the afternoon? I think we'd like to see a tower, in case that affects things.
- We will definitely lock in Sagrada Familia and the Picasso Museum before we leave the States -- these are absolute must-sees and I know they will book up if we don't. Aside from these, given the time of year, to what extent could we keep our options open? It's definitely our preference to be able to make adjustments and reprioritize once we have a better "feel" for what the kids will enjoy and what our schedule can absorb. For example, could we book Casa Mila and/or Casa Batilo either a day or so out or even on the way over? Do you think we can/should risk uncertainty about the weather to reserve Parc Guell before we leave, given we want to visit on the first day?
I would of course greatly appreciate any other advice or input you have as we finalize our planning.