Top 10 Things To Do With Kids in Barcelona
The Author: David Brydon blogs at Barcelona, Spain. News, insights and tips.
The Catalan Capital of Barcelona is a popular destination for families and the city has plenty to offer the kids. Restaurants are open long into the night and it’s common to see Spanish children out later than other European cities. Here are my top ten attractions for children, but in no particular order.
Barcelona has 9 UNESCO World heritage sites, and there’s no reason for the kids to miss out on the culture. Gaudi’s fantastic creation is something out of a fairytale, with Hansel and Gretel houses, ornamental dragons, and leafy plazas to take a rest. It is still one of the best things to do in the city for free, and my tip is to take the metro to Vallcarca and then the escalators up to the back of the park – then you’ll see it all downhill at a stroll (it’s on a pretty steep incline).
No visit to the city is complete without a stroll down this famous boulevard. Starting at Plaça Catalunya and stretching down to the port, children and adults alike are treated to flower sellers, animal stalls, painters, artists, human statues and street performers. A must for everyone.
The City Beaches.
Perhaps an obvious one, but Barcelona has a fairly long stretch of coastline, and for city beaches, they’re not bad at all. The Olympic Village beaches are perhaps a little more child-friendly, with a spider’s web climbing frames and a playground. Barceloneta is the old fisherman’s quarters and has a great beach too. As always, please remember to protect the kids with sun block when visiting the beaches.
The city is flanked by two mountains, and Montjüic is the one looking over the sea. There are two cable car rides from Montjüic – one which crosses the sea over to Barceloneta and the beach, and the second which transports you up to the old castle. Both offer great views of the city sprawling below and are a sure-fire hit with the kids.
This is a fantastic aquarium. Boasting Europe’s largest sea tunnel – like a perspex walkway where the sharks, rays and moonfish swim above you – and a day’s worth of tanks, special exhibitions, marine history and some really funny penguins!
Tibidabo Amusement park
This park is a bit of a trek, but for older kids wanting a bit of fun, there is an amusement park at the summit. Many of the attractions are very tame, but there’s a relatively new rollercoaster which darts through the surrounding countryside.
Another great place to escape the hustle and bustle with the youngsters. The “garden of Barcelona” not only houses the city zoo, but also has rowing boats, fountains and plazas. Numerous play areas and a great life-size replica of a Mammoth beacon the little ones – kids love to sit on the trunk! – and there’s always plenty of space for a relaxing picnic.
Magic Fountains Montjüic
This would probably make it into my top ten list for anyone, and is a great spectacle. Located at Plaça Espanya, this nightly show features a water fountain which dances to lights and music. It’s much better later in the summer, when it’s completely dark, and I’m aware that might be tough for readers with really little ones, but I had to include it!
The Imax Cinema
Adjacent to the Aquarium, and with the rise and rise of 3D movies like Avatar, you won’t disappoint if you suggest taking the kids here. The shows are mostly combination tickets, with one imax screening and then a 3D one, for example. Choose the shows wisely, as any audio will likely be in Catalan.
Tourist Bus Routes
This final suggestion is not purely for the kids, but rather an inclusion of something that makes life easier visiting the city with kids, and that’s the tourist bus (or Bus Turistic). This is a fun and easy way to see the city on the hop-on hop-off bus. Staff can help families on and off with pushchairs and strollers. The routes are color coded (Red and Blue are the best, don’t bother with the green!), and they stop at all the major attractions. Barcelona’s metro is fantastic, but little legs can rest on the bus while still enjoying the sights of the city.
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