Our adventure for today took us to Poble Espanyol. Poble Espanyol is meant to represent historical Spanish Villages from Spain's various regions, from the look and feel of the buildings and streets to the crafts to food and more. We had read online that the weekend is the best time for families to visit Poble Espanyol, as there are activities and workshops, so off we went.
Poble Espanyol is only a short distance away from Placa Espanya and the Magic Fountain, which is only a quick subway ride away from us. Unfortunately, in our rush to leave the house we forgot our main camera, so today's pictures are courtesy of our trusty iPhone :)
When you pass through the main entrance, you find yourself in a large courtyard surrounded by buildings and restaurants. It is almost like you have stepped back in time. I don't know why, but I kept waiting for a tumbleweed to roll by :) Here is what we thought of the place.
- There are no cars or motorcycles around. Hurrah! Let the kids roam free (more or less).
- There were some old-school toys near a gazebo by the main court, and it was free for all for the kids to play with.
- We were able to do some tasting of olive spreads and oil, chocolate, honey, and more at one of the stores. The kids definitely enjoyed this.
- The kids were also able to see a glass workshop, which they found awe inspiring. They were amazed to see how the man at Casa Ninica shaped the glass into small animals. He really was very impressive to watch in action.
- The Fran Daurel Museum is small, but very neat. There are a variety of paintings and sculptures, and both of our kids actually liked looking at these. Since most of the paintings are very abstract, we played a game of "what do you see when you look this". Hannah was very literal about seeing triangles and squares, but Kian saw some very creative things. There are also several pieces of art by Picasso on display here.
- There are many restaurants and small snack shops to choose from when you need to take a break. We ended up eating at a restaurant in the "Andalusia region", called Patio Cordobes. We loved being able to sit in their small courtyard and the food was OK. The eggplant fries with honey drizzled on top were AMAZING, and I'll definitely be stealing that idea!
- You can always find a restroom nearby, and they have changing tables (not that we need this, but as a mom who's been there done that I like to keep a look out).
- There are no workshops that the children could actually take part in. This was one of the main reasons we had gone on a Sunday, as there were supposed to be some activities. The closest was the glass blower, but it was just watching a man work, with no interaction or discussion.
- The only interactive "performance" we came across, which seemed to be related to some pieces of art near the theater, was in Spanish :(
- There was no photography whatsoever allowed (with or without flash) at the Fran Daurel Museum, and staff walked very closely to all visitors to make SURE you don't sneak in a picture.
- There is a church on the "outskirts" of the village, called the Sant Miquel Monastry. No, the church is not ugly, it is actually a quaint little church with a nice courtyard, but they have roped off all the amazing paintings and there was no way to take a good picture :( (Can you tell I am obsessed with taking pictures?)
- AAAA! The ticket prices for this place are definitely way too high. Children 4-12 are not free, so as a family of 4, including a child under 4 (who did got free admission), we had to pay 31 Euros just to enter! At the time of entry, since we didn't know what awaited inside we didn't think too much of it, but by the time we were leaving we were slightly annoyed by how little there was for how much we paid. No one had a bad time, but it was pretty much a "that's it?" kind of experience for everyone.
So Is it Worth a Trip?
Here's what we think, if you are in Barcelona just for a week, then the answer is no. There are many more great places to spend your time and money. If you happen to be visiting for a longer time and you have ran out of things to do, then check their calendar of events and only go if you see something interesting. If I was smart and had listened to a friend's advice, I probably would have delayed our visit until September 21st when they are having a celebration in-line with Festa de la Merce (Barcelona's largest street party). If there is no event going on, it is way too overpriced for what it actually is. We thought by going on a Sunday we would be able to see performances or at least a few activities the kids could take part in, but that just wasn't the experience that we had.
Has anyone else who has visited had better experiences they would like to share? Not that we'd go back because of the cost, but I'm curious if maybe there is something we missed.