After our family trip to Mallorca last year, we chose to discover Menorca this year: we wanted to enjoy the Balearic Islands but with fewer tourists because Mallorca is a beautiful destination but it is even more overcrowded in August than any other islands we know in the Mediterranean region.
In short: goal achieved! It was much less crowded than Mallorca because the capacity in terms of accommodation is much more limited; it also means that prices are a bit higher and that you have to book ahead.
Our itinerary for a week in Menorca with the kids:
Day 1: Late arrival in Ciutadella: first family walk in its picturesque port and amid its medieval alleys.
It is time I tell you about our week in Mallorca at the end of August. Every year, we try to plan a family week with the grandparents and this summer we chose Mallorca, the largest island in the Balearics. Why? Because we like Spain and the Mediterranean very much and the budget is very reasonable. I had heard a lot about Mallorca before leaving: so yes it is a very touristy island (and that’s a euphemism!) but most of the tourists are concentrated in the south, near Palma. So, inevitably we went the opposite way, in the northeast :-). Up there, no nightclubs but a beautiful mountain landscape with traditional fincas and quite a few sheep! It was precisely in one of these beautiful old country houses, near Pollença, that we stayed and I must say that our accommodation was undoubtedly the best part of our week’s holiday in Mallorca! It took me a long time to find our finca but I really found the perfect villa, with a dream pool! We spent a lot of time in the garden, on the terraces and in the water! The children have made good progress in swimming!
As for excursions, we visited some villages and crossed the mountain landscapes while staying in the northern part of the island. We also spent a day in Palma, the capital: it is a pretty city that reminded me of a mini Barcelona. We saw many pretty places as you can see on the pictures. Perfect holidays? Yes but… the problem was the crowd on the beaches. I know, in the Mediterranean in August you don’t expect to be alone but you see, it was not our first summer trip in the area and I must say I had never seen so many people, especially for the last week of August. Even on “my” island, Sicily, there are fewer tourists after August 20. Anyway, the crowded beaches weren’t ideal. In addition, compared to the incredible beaches we saw last year in Sardinia, the ones we discovered in Mallorca were beautiful but less “wow!”…. That said, we have seen very few, so I have no doubt that there are heavenly coves on the island.
Here, to give you some ideas for visits, is the program of our week in Mallorca. We rented two cars (budget: 10£/day per car), one for the grandparents and one for us. (Ticoeur and Titpuce always wanted to go in Omi and Opa’s car!).
Our program for a week in Mallorca:
(There is a little heart next to our favorite places).
Day 1: Arrival at Palma airport (~2 hour flight from Paris)
Day 2: visit of Alcudia and Playa de Muro
Day 3: Pollença market ❤ and beach
Day 4: Cala San Vinçen
Day 5: Visit of Soller (very nice mountain road to go there). In Soller: little train, old town and port.
Day 6: Palma with its city centre, the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation, and then the majestic Cathedral of course. In the late afternoon, return to the north. Playa Formentor ❤ with a wonderful sunset at Cap Formentor ❤
Day 7: Cala San Vinçen
Day 8: departure
In the end, we had a great week with the family. Three generations under the same roof, especially in such a beautiful house! (Many of you ask me for the references of this finca so here is the link).
As for Mallorca: yes, I advise this island as a destination, especially for the pretty villages in the north, but I totally advise against visiting in August! Next time we will choose the Easter holidays. And in the middle of summer, we will test Minorca, the neighbouring island, still in the Balearics, much less visited it seems!
During Winter break, we spent five days in Barcelona with the children and their grand-parents. I wanted to share with you our program and our visit advices for a family trip. We chose quite a quiet rhythm: every early afternoon the children rested, with their grand-parents in the apartment that we booked. Thus, we were together strolling around until around 2pm, and we went out again in the end of the afternoon just to go to the square. During the rest time at the apartment (between 2 pm and 4 pm) and sometimes in the evening as well, my husband and I could enjoy the occasional couple getaway: the advantage to travel on three generations!
Age of the children: Ticoeur 7 years old, Titpuce 5 years old.
I will begin with the visits we made with the children…
The Sagrada Familia: don’t miss it, even with young children!
As I already told you, during my five previous stays in Barcelona, I had never visited the Sagrada Familia, which is a pure madness created by Gaudi, who dedicated most of his life to this masterpiece. This cathedral with original architecture is really appropriate with children. The outside has changed a lot since the first time I saw the Sagrada 15 years ago. I think the work is progressing pretty quickly, even if it will take many years before all the towers and the entrance are finished. The inside is rather complete and you can only be struck by the volumes, the lights, the forms. Overall, counting the museum located underneath the church, we spent 1h30 in the Sagrada; the children loved the church; on the other hand, we shortened the museum part, very rich (all in all, without children, I think you can spend at least 2h in the Sagrada).
We had booked our tickets online for the first time slot of the day and we got in after a wait of only 5 minutes – it was perfect. We took the simple entrance tickets (without a guided visit, without audio guide, without an access to the tower) and I think that it was enough because we were already busy as it was and we were amazed of what we saw.
Adult fare: 15€ / Children (- 10 years): free. To be noted: there is a little playground very practical facing the Sagrada (on the side of the Passion door).
Montjuic and Miró Foundation:
A visit that was really successful with the children: the Foundation Joan Miró. Titpuce declared “All the same, his drawings are quite weird!” This museum is situated on the Montjuic Hill, very nice, with all its vegetation and its views on Barcelona. It is normally possible to climb there with the cable car but it was closed for maintenance. Since the cable car is quite expensive, it was a good option to take the bus. For the museum, we bought the tickets on the spot (12€ for adults and free for children).
The Park de la Ciutadella to let the children run…
I had often walked by this park but this time, with the children, we really spent a long time there, to see the fountain, the fake mammoth and to simply let the children run around. On the other hand, we thought the playgrounds were not so great.
Barceloneta Beach :
Even when it is too cold to bathe, the beach is a safe option with children. To get there, we crossed the neighbourhood of Barceloneta, which was quite nice (we had lunch there – see addresses below).
Strolls in the Gothic Quarter:
Since we were staying near the Sagrada, for all of our visits and strolls of the day, we walked by the center and so by the Gothic Quarter that we visited again and again, little piece at a time. We particularly went back to places that we liked a lot like: the Cathedral cloister (free access in the morning), Plaça Reial, the place in front of Santa Maria del Pi, the Plaça Sant Felip and Santa Anna church. We also had a quick walk in La Boqueria Market and in Santa Catarina Market (less touristic).
If you have never been to Barcelona, you have to remember to put the following places on your list:
Park Güell (adapted for all the family but it’s not in the center), the two famous houses: Casa Batlo, Casa Mila (by the underground Passeig de Gracia), the Palau de la Musica (at least see it from the outside – for the inside it’s only on guided tour and it may be better without children). This time, we didn’t go back to those places but they are staples in Barcelona, to see on a first stay here.
During our next stay in Barcelona, we will take the children to:
Tibidabo: it’s a vintage attraction park with a view on Barcelona. We couldn’t go there this time because it’s closed in the Winter.
Cosmo Caixa: a sort of “City of Science” (the one in Paris) with, among other things, a big greenhouse that makes you believe you’re in the Amazonian forest (it’s pretty far from the center so you should put it on the program if the weather is bad, or simply to please the children).
The children loved to eat tapas!
The children loved the small portions. Ours particularly loved the ham croquetas and the squids. Also playful for the kids: the pintxos, those tapas presented on long sticks. To be noted: as a family, we ate in restaurants for lunch but for dinner, we ate at the apartment with takeaway tapas we bought in little canteens of the neighbourhood: it’s cheaper, it avoided us to cook for six persons, and most importantly, it allowed us to eat on French time and not on Spanish time!
Move around Barcelona with the children:
We simply used the underground tickets (also valid in the buses) loaded for 10 journeys. The fee is the same for adults and children over 5 years old (free for children under 5 years old). It’s possible to only use one card for the whole family so it’s practical. With this same card, we travelled to the airport (you have to take the train in Sants station). To visit the city, we mixed bus/underground and our own little feet. I have to say that my Titpuce amazed me because she walked so much, whereas she usually isn’t a fan of citytrips (she prefers walking in nature.)
And without the children, then?
While the grand-parents, Ticoeur and Titpuce rested in the apartment, we had a little childfree program. We visited the Modern Art Museum (MACBA), we spent an afternoon in a Spa for my birthday, we wandered in El Born neighbourhood that I like very much and we had dinner at a head chef’s house, who received us in his own house (see good addresses below).
Off-road: La Colonia Guëll
Since we already knew Barcelona, to change a little, we went to the suburbs, direction la Colonia Güell. I only advise it to people who already know Barcelona very well and who are fans of Gaudi. Otherwise, for a first stay as a family I wouldn’t put it on the to-do list. I will write a blog post on this topic on occasion.
Our good addresses in Barcelona:
Can Mano: restaurant in Barceloneta, a kind of little canteen, very simple, very local, very fresh and cheap fish Calle del Baluard, 12 Barcelona.
Santa Rita: it’s original because it’s not really a restaurant. The chef cooks at his own place and a few tables are settled in his dining room. Great degustation menu (it was for my birthday). Unique menu that changes every season. This option is better without children because it’s a gastronomic experience that takes time (from 9 pm to midnight). To book a table it’s on their website (and you have to book in advance!): Santa Rita.
The Spa Aire which was my birthday present (close to the Park de la Ciutadella).
Accommodation: we had booked an apartment on Airbnb, right in front of the Sagrada (great for the view!). It was perfect (the landlady was really nice, the apartment very pretty) but I only advise it if, like us, you share it between two families, otherwise it’s too big and you could find cheaper options. To be noted: the Sagrada neighbourhood is residential, it’s not the city centre but it’s really well connected via the underground and the buses. If you’re looking for an accommodation closer to the center, I advise you to look in El Born neighbourhood, very animated, and very practical to visit. If you wish to book with Airbnb and you want me to sponsor you, you can use this link to have a discount. And if you know any family friendly hotels, don’t hesitate to give me your good addresses in the comment section because we will probably go back to Barcelona, again and again!
Admiring la Sagrada from our appartment…
What about you? Have you already visited Barcelona as a family?
If you are following us on Instagram, you know that we spent a wonderful week of family holiday in the volcanic setting of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Like every summer, we organized a trip with the grandparents. This time, we chose this land of fire that delighted us with its landscapes, its great spaces, its climate, its beaches, its little white villages with cubic houses, with blue or green shutters, not to mention the artistic heritage created by César Manrique. We were based in the centre of the island, in Nazaret, with a dozen of volcanoes in sight. Memorable lunar-like landscapes that will be etched in my memory. During a week, we had time to explore the island deeply. I don’t know the rest of the Canary Islands, so I can’t compare to Tenerife, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera, Gran Canaria or even El Hierro, but there is no doubt that Lanzarote is a big crush that I recommend for a trip with the kids, or just as a couples gateway! Finally, I have been delighted to practice my Spanish, especially since we are going back to Spain in a couple of days for the 40h birthday of our friends in Valencia.
Age of Ticoeur: almost 6 years old
Age of Titpuce: 3 years and a half
Winning duo: cactus and volcano!
Playa Grande in Puerto del Carmen
View from our house
Program of the week:
D1: Arrival in Arrecife around 3pm. We get our car then go direction our villa in Nazaret. We enjoy the swimming pool with the view on the volcanoes
D2: Visit of la Cueva de los Verdes, a cave formed by lava. Beach near Orzola. Lunch in Arrieta. Back to the villa: nap and swimming pool.
D3: Craft market of Haria. Visit of la Casa César Manrique. Nap and swimming pool then visit of the César Manrique Trust. End of the day on the beach (Jablillo).