A typical day in Barcelona with kids might include getting mesmerized by street performers as you venture down the famous Las Ramblas, taking family photos with Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical Park Güell as your backdrop, ogling at the Sagrada Familia and, after dinner, heading over to the Magic Fountains of Montjuic for an ice cream and to see the water and light show.
This coastal Spanish city in Catalunya is filled with experiences for children of all ages that are interactive enough to keep your young one’s attention yet adventurous enough to pry your tween away from their phone for upwards of 30 minutes. Here are our recommendations to explore nature, go sightseeing, let loose at nearby amusement parks and get moving...and eating.
But remember—not every activity will be suitable for every family. It all depends on the age of your children and their interests, which is why each Journy itinerary we create is built entirely from scratch.
Explore nature at zoos and aquariums
If you have nature-loving kids, don’t miss out on the Barcelona Zoo and Barcelona Aquarium to get a bit on the wild side. The Barcelona Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals, and younger kids will really get a kick out of some of the zoo-led activities like feeding the penguins or watching a trainer train an elephant.
Pro tip: The zoo is in Ciutadella Park, Barcelona’s most famous green space, so it’s a good idea to visit before or after you visit the park.
With over 11,000 animals, older and younger children alike will enjoy a visit to the Barcelona Aquarium. But besides the main attractions, you can engage your littles with a stop to the Explora! Children’s area. Here, they can learn and interact with the marine environment through fun activities like analyzing mud prints through magnifying glasses or exploring the many animals that now live in a shipwreck.
Let loose at the family-friendly amusement parks
After all the museums and tours, the kids are probably itching to let loose. Luckily, Barcelona has two family-friendly amusement parks nearby which are best to visit during the warmer months. Head over to Tibidabo Amusement Park for rides for all ages. Built in 1899 and opened in 1905, Tibidabo is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Take the ferris wheel to feel like you’re on top of the world, hop on a simulated flight or ride the Ferris wheel and catch impressive views of the city.
If you’re willing to travel a bit further, Port Aventura Theme Park is an hour away from Barcelona but still worth the effort. Thrill-seeking older children will especially love Port Aventura because they’ll get a chance to say they rode Europe’s tallest roller coaster. While the teenagers might be free falling down a rollercoaster, younger children won’t miss out because they’ll get a chance to meet some of their beloved Sesame Street characters.
Keep science-lovers engaged at museums
Throw in some educational interactive fun for the whole family with a visit to the Catalan Science Museum - CosmoCaixa, where kids (and adults) can learn about science through hands-on activities. The variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions include "Flooded Forest," which recreates an Amazonian rainforest ecosystem complete with piranhas, crocodiles and plant specials, along with "Geological Wall," which illustrates the world's different geological structures through seven sections of real rock.
Pro tip: While you'll likely be fascinated with what the museum holds, be sure to look around at the building itself—a stunning example of modernista architecture built between 1904 and 1909.
Get moving..and eating with a food tour or visit to the chocolate museum
For a mixture of food and “we’re not sure if this counts as exercise” opt for a family-friendlyopen air food walking tour to keep your kids’ mouths stuffed and their limbs moving. If your children are adventurous eaters, have them try Devour Tours’: Taste and Traditions Devour Food Tour, which will bring through through El Born, La Barceloneta and La Boqueria Market. You can choose your own adventure as you visit seven Mediterranean tapas bars in the Gothic Quarter with kid-friendly food options.
For our picky eaters, they probably could never say no to chocolate. At the Museu de la Xocolata not only will the kids indulge their taste buds with their fair share of chocolate, but they’ll also get to see chocolate filled replicas of famous people and places. Younger children especially can keep their hands occupied by making a chocolate sculpture or even drawing with melted chocolate.
Take in some spectacular views with a ride on the Montjuic Cable Car
You might be able to visit just one or even all of our recommendations. But towards the end of your stay in Barcelona city, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the public transport cable car ride up to Montjuic Castle. You don’t even have to visit the castle but the ride up alone offers up breathtaking panoramic views of the city and is a worthwhile culminating moment for you and your family to get a bird’s eye view of the places you’ve been and the places you want to visit on your next trip to Catalonia, Espanya.
For more family-friendly travel resources and tourist attractions, check out our complete guide to international travel with kids, which includes information on procuring passports, flying, immunizations, dealing with jet lag, culture shock, safety, packing and more.