I’ve been to Barcelona twice; I love the clubs, the food, the Gaudi creativity and the vibe, but sometimes it’s equally tempting to leave a city and explore a little further.
There are many chilled resorts a short hop away from the city, the public transport is good, but if you hire a car numerous options along Costa Barcelona are an hour’s drive from the airport.
Calella and Malgrat de Mar are two ‘FTD’ – that’s Family Tourism Destinations – in Costa Barcelona. Benefits include identification bracelets for children, safe children’s swimming pools, availability of cots, children’s beach clubs, adapted restaurants, public play areas and entertainment programmes for little ones.
And if you’re looking for long stretches of uninterrupted sand then you’ve got it. When you have children sand gets absolutely EVERYWHERE – the sand here is made up of tiny pebbles so it’s relatively comfortable underfoot but rolls off you at the end of the day – result! (I have an issue with sandy hotel rooms, sheets and bathrooms.)
Calella has a range of beachside diners dotted along its seafront offering informal dining al fresco (though high chairs weren’t available for Mr Baby at the nearest diner to our lounger which did surprise me for a FTD). Beachside there’s also a pretty epic watersports team who’ll whirl you around on inflatable bananas, take you on speedboats, jet-skis, stand up paddle boards, kayaks or send you scuba diving. Our tots are too small for such antics but it would be exhilarating for older water babies and high octane adults. Little ones might prefer the wee mini-train which circles the town every half hour in high season taking guests between the attractions of the town.
For a more chilled out experience head to Dalmau Park which covers over 18 hectares and offers play parks and some shade if the heat is too much. I always find the UK standard of parks almost impossible to beat but Dalmau does offer greenery and it also has a lighthouse and air raid museum, combining history, nautical/military info and scenery.
If a playground is what you’re looking for it’s definitely worth swinging past Malgrat de Mar’s ‘Francesc Macia’. From musical stepping stones, to bell ringing, fab climbing frames and quite imaginative, colourful pieces of apparatus (such as giant pencils) this was definitely a hit with our tots who hadn’t seen a park all week. A local nursery was also visiting whilst we were there which was lovely to see.
Calella and Malgrat de Mar are popular holiday destinations and busy with tourists. If you wish to get off the beaten track a little and explore there are vineyards, Montserrat monastery and national parks a short drive away, as are the cities of Barcelona and Girona.
What We Did – Tots2Travel spent a day trip visiting Malgrat de Mar and Calella. On one hand parking is a bit of a nightmare in peak season but on the other hand everything is so joined up along the coast that is was possible for us to leave Costa Brava in the morning, explore Malgrat de Mar and Calella, before driving north of Barcelona for the next stage of our trip which involved a jaw-dropping monastery and possibly one of the best value for money hotels I’ve come across. More posts to come.
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