Can you really take small children on a city break?

by Jess Soothill

Seeing as a lot of my school Mum friends this week have asked me the illustrious question, “Did the twins enjoy Barcelona?”, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this in a blog post.

On the whole, for the majority of our trip, our boy and girl twins (aged 6) were superb. They were really good on the flights, enjoyed all the sightseeing, as well as spending time all together as a family. The few moans and groans we got from them were from being hungry and from being tired, but generally they both thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was nice for our children to experience a different way of life and to see another culture too. City breaks are also a really great way to learn and expand their knowledge of the world.

So, if you’re keen on doing it, here are my tips for travelling to a European city with small children:

Kid friendly activities

A city break with children is different to a city break as adults, so be aware of that. However, there’s so much fun stuff to do in a city for kids! Visit attractions such as museums, galleries, parks, zoos, aquariums. Barcelona also has a beach, which is brilliant for kids. And, because Europe is a lot warmer than the UK you can spend a lot of time outdoors just people watching too.

Have some space

We stayed in a hotel, but I’d advise any family looking to travel to go for something a little bigger, such as an apartment. We would look at Airbnb if we were travelling to a city next time. It’s good to have a separate bedroom(s) and even a living area and dining table etc. Kids needs space and like to play.

Plan in down-time

Little ones can’t walk around a city all day and night, it’s too much for them. We factored in a lot of down time — such as stopping for drinks, snacks and meals, as well as going back to the hotel for a rest. We used iPads and travel games (such as dominoes and cards) to help them sit and relax in between our activities.

Organise your trip

A little planning and prep before you head out can be crucial. Wandering around, trying to find places to eat to accommodate fussy eaters etc can lead to frustration and a grumpy family. We planned in advance where to eat in the evenings and made sure they were open. A lot of city destinations have a very late eating culture and restaurants aren’t open (i.e. 10pm onwards is too late for little ones) so be aware of this before you travel, and plan in where you can visit for food and drinks.

Pack casual clothing

Make sure you have comfortable shoes (trainers are ideal) as you do walk a lot when in a city. You don’t need really smart/dressy clothing for the evenings as the locals all tend to be fairly casual. Being comfortable is really key. We took a small backpack to carry around the city with us in the day-time with all the essentials in.

Happy travelling!


Written by Editor, Jess Soothill

Jess Soothill

Jess is a Mother of twins, blogger and writer.

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1 Comment

  1. February 8, 2019 / 10:37 am

    Barcelona is stunning, I’ve been a few times and you are right a city break with children would be a completely different experience. But I imagine you would get to explore and experience life in a city through the children’s eyes – how wonderful. We are off on holiday in April and I will certainly be taking card games etc for those moments when they are hangry waiting for dinner. I didn’t factor in down time it seems such an obvious thought really. They have quiet time at home so why would it be any different on holiday.

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