5 Things Our Teen Loved in Barcelona

Let’s be real for a second parents. Traveling with a teen can be a challenge. Are they adults? Not yet. Are they kids? Of course not (insert teen eye roll here). So, when we find a place we can all agree on, it’s a win-win! So, in comes 5 Things Our Teen Loved in Barcelona…

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I love European cities, but Barcelona was never high on my list. Not sure why, it just wasn’t. Maybe it just doesn’t get as much press as somewhere like Paris or London or Amsterdam. When we decided to do a Mediterranean cruise last summer, we added on a few days to explore our departure port city of, you guessed it, Barcelona.

We all LOVED the city. The architecture is fabulous and the food, oh yes the food is wonderful. But you are here to learn what my teen loved so let’s get on with it…

5 Things Our Teen Loved in Barcelona

The Food

Yes, we all loved it but for my picky eating teen, it was a refreshing change. We ate tapas for many meals, and it proved a great way for all of us to try new things without the commitment of a huge dish. He loves shrimp and the giant prawns of the Mediterranean were a huge hit! In many restaurants they were served in olive oil with maybe a spicy chili or garlic. His favorite ones came out sizzling! Of course, he also loved the churros with chocolate sauce (what’s not to like) and he enjoyed calamari as well. Parents – the sangria is not to be missed!


Side note my teen wanted me to mention – he loved going to the Barcelona McDonald’s. 😂It was interesting to see how it was different from the U.S. For instance, their meal sizes are not nearly the size we see here, nuggets were sold in an odd number and they had a pastry case! And his funniest find was that they sold alcohol! (Beer with your nuggets anyone?!?)


Ordering tapas, or small plates, for dinner was a great way for our family to try several different dishes without a huge commitment. Some of our favorites included Patatas Bravas (chunks of roasted potatoes with a sauce), Pan con Tomate (tomato bread), Croquetas (chicken or Iberian ham croquettes) and Gambas al Ajillo (prawns fried with garlic). Dining in Barcelona never felt rushed so we took the time to try a few things, then maybe order a few more (repeating things we liked, adding new things we hadn’t tried).

The Architecture

Not every teen is into architecture and my son is definitely not trying to be an expert and learn all of the types of buildings, however, there are some funky places in Barcelona that were definitely worth a visit. His favorites were by Antoni Gaudi. Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and of course La Sagrada Familia. There are plenty of walking tours available if your teen is interested in learning more.

Casa Milà

The Selfies

Everywhere you look in Barcelona, there is a great place to take a picture. Whether it is the funky architecture of Gaudi, the markets, or graffiti, there was always a place to ham it up for the camera. He even let me take a few of him. 😍 After the trip, it is fun to look at your teen’s photos to see what caught their eye. I find he often sees details I miss.


The Shopping

Like most cities, everywhere you look in Barcelona there is shopping. From tourist shops with I love Barcelona t-shirts to local markets selling everything from meat to juices (the juice was yummy by the way), they have it all. Our teen’s favorite? Finding they also have shops like Foot Locker and Nike and getting to say you bought it in their Barcelona store. 😂They also had Starbucks and he enjoyed going in to see what’s the same or different from home.

foot locker

The People

When I was asking my son to tell me his favorite things about Barcelona, this answer surprised me. It’s not like he made friends and was hanging out with other teens there. So, I asked him what he meant by the fact that he liked “the people”. He said many spoke English, so it was easy to interact. Very true. Plus, most people we encountered were super friendly. I realized he was right. For instance, when we went to Foot Locker, he enjoyed chatting with the salesperson there about shoes. We talked to waiters about their city and favorite places to go. Everywhere we went, people were smiling, helpful, and kind. Of course, it is a large city and I am sure they have their share of grumps, but at least for us on that trip, we felt welcomed and connected. People seemed more relaxed and like they had more time for you.

barcelona alley

I want to end on that because for me, out of everything else, the fact that my teen noticed THE PEOPLE as being one of his favorite things about Barcelona, just makes it for me. This is why we travel. To see that people are people, no matter where you go. We’re all connected. ❤️

Now, go see something! 🧳

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  1. We took our 2 daughters to Europe after they graduated from HS. We had a wonderful time! Slow pace and well planned was key for us. It qas a driving trip so we did see some amazing countryside that included a high bridge in the Alps that had as McDonald’s that hung over the edge of the deep valley next to the bungie jumping. Yeah, one of them did it!

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