You’ve finally made it: A much-needed vacation with the other half to one of the coolest cities in the world. The only problem is … the kids (we’re just joking. Kind of.). So, how do you ensure everyone in the family is happy – without compromising the kind of getaway you deserve, too? Read on.
Barcelona is Antoni Gaudí, the world-famous architect who has more than left his mark on the place. Architecture may not scream kid-friendly, but then, you haven’t factored in this particular genius, having created fairytale-like structures throughout the city. Some highlights.
Park Güell. It’s a park, so that pretty much covers the kids already, but with gingerbread-like houses and a giant ornamental lizard – to name but a few fantastical features – they’ll be simply mesmerized. Meanwhile, you’ll love the curves, mosaics and walkways bursting to life throughout the magnificent park-cum-outdoors-museum, as well as the simply epic vistas of the whole city from the large viewing terrace.
Sagrada Família. Arguably one of – if not the most – iconic attractions in the entire city, you simply must spend some time in Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece – a one-of-a-kind church. Depending on the ages of your kids, you can either plan for a short wander around or rent some audio guides so that you – and they – can learn about one of Europe’s most famous, awe-inducing landmarks in detail. Book tickets for both here
Casa Batlló. An apartment block designed by Gaudí may not strike you as something the kids are going to be down with, but this architectural highlight is something magical that the whole family will be amazed by. Oh, and in case the original house – what with its colorful tiles, curved walls, spiral staircase and dragon roof – isn’t enough to keep them there, we’re willing to bet our entire vacation on the fact that the recently renovated basement into two immersive rooms – full of high-tech screens and gadgetry – will!
Gaudí Experiència 4D. Offering interactive touch screens, models and a 4D thrilling ride experience, this short exhibition into the mindset of this fascinating man is the perfect potted companion to the above attractions.
Magic Fountain. This unmissable show features dancing water, multi-color lights and a varied turntable of music (capable of seven billion different combinations!) set to a jaw-dropping backdrop, making it one of the best free activities for the whole family—a truly unforgettable spectacle.
Cable Cars. The perfect way to enjoy some spectacular views of the Pyrenees while giving the kids a fun ride! At the top, you can also check out Montjüic Castle, boasting loads of nooks and crannies for the kids to explore while you check out the visitors’ center, giving insight into the 17th-century castle’s fascinating history.
3. La Ramblas
One of Barcelona’s most famous streets is filled with cafés, flower stalls and street performers, making it a vibrant, bustling place to stroll down. With an abundance of bars, you can also treat yourself to a delicious cocktail while the kids happily slurp on a smoothie.
4. Barcelona Aquarium
Exotic fish, turtles, frogs, penguins, stingrays and giant sharks all call this impressive aquarium home, while a host of interactive and educational exhibits – such as buttons to press, tubes to climb through and slides to slide down – will keep the little ones enthralled for hours. With 35 tanks and over 11,000 animals, you can easily spend all day here.
5. Gothic Quarter Walking Tour
Dating back to 113 BC, the uniqueness of the Gothic Quarter allows it to keep its status as one of the most visited places in Barcelona – for both young and old alike. Book a family-friendly tour to make your way through Picasso’s old stomping ground, visit Gaudí’s first-ever project and meander through the old, narrow streets. Workbooks and crayons are given out to the young ones to keep them interested – as well as the candy store, which you’ll visit as part of the tour!
6. Chocolate Museum
There’s probably not all that more we need to say, right? Expect to learn about the origin of chocolate, see some incredible chocolate sculptures, engage in some chocolate-making workshops and drink some delicious hot chocolate in the café!
7. Montserrat Mountain
If your kids are up to doing a short hike, we strongly recommend this unusual-looking mountain, featuring a Monastery and open-air museum at the top.
8. Barcelona Zoo
As well as the animal enclosures (over 2,000 animals from around 300 species!), kids will also love the more interactive features of the zoo, such as pony rides, elephant training areas, penguin feeds and playgrounds.
This open-air architectural space will give you a taste of Spain through its authentic crafts, cuisine and culture. Offering some incredible workshops, this rich recreational ‘village’ is filled with art, events, shopping and entertainment – much of it geared towards children.
You may be forgiven for assuming that a city this rich in culture might be lacking in features more suitable for a beach vacation, but Barcelona has done it again! Thanks to its location on the Mediterranean coastline, its 4km of beaches will enable you to sunbathe – cold drink in hand – while the little ones play on the sand. A range of watersports is also on offer here, which you might want to do with any teenagers in the family, while some of the beaches offer playgrounds and climbing structures for the younger ones.
11. Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus
Banish whines of ‘I’m tired’ with this part-travel-part-tour-guide solution. Kids will love the open-top element (and not having to walk), while you’ll get an overview of the main landmarks and points of interest – courtesy of the audio guide – and decide what things you want to do as a family.
12. Parc de la Ciutadella
This stunning park is an absolute must-visit – especially on a sunny day. Come for the rainbow-kissed Grecian fountain – the park’s famed centerpiece – and stay for the life-size replica of a wooly mammoth, paddleboat lake, segway tours, play areas and shaded leafy areas to enjoy a family picnic.
13. Camp Nou Stadium
The soccer fans among you will not be disappointed by this world-famous stadium, seating almost 100,000 spectators and home to one of the best teams in the world. Whether you’re able to catch a game here or not, you can still visit the grounds and museum year-round, where you’ll get up-close with the pitch, changing rooms, press box and an impressive collection of cups and trophies.
Book your vacation today!