After spending a week in Barcelona with an almost-3-year-old, I am happy to report that it is a really family-friendly city to visit. Here are some ideas for how to spend yourÂ in Barcelona with kids.
MONDAY ”” Museu de la Xocolata (Chocolate Museum)
What better way to start off your vacation than with a visit to the chocolate museum? At only 5 euros for entry, this museum is a bargain. And it smells so great inside! Kids can learn about chocolate, paint with chocolate, taste chocolate, and so on.
If that’s not enough chocolate for one day, take a break at La Nena, a sweet and cozy cafÃ© in Gracia that has games for older kids and adults plus a small toddler play area with blocks, books, and puzzles. Their hot chocolate is out of this world!
TUESDAY ”” L’Aquarium
Barcelona’s aquarium is top-notch. It’s huge, pretty new, and right along the waterfront. They claim to have the “largest Mediterranenan-themed aquarium in the world” and offer one of those awesome transparent fish tunnels you can walk through.
WEDNESDAY ”” Park Guell
Trippy Gaudi-designed Park Guell is fun for kids and adults to explore together. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is tons to see, paths and stairs to roam, and even a cool building that looks very much like a gingerbread house.
Note, you need tickets to get into some areas of the park; I recommend getting them in advance online. Without tickets, you won’t have access to the so-called Monumental Zone, which is the part with all of the gorgeous mosaics.
THURSDAY ”” Date Night
Barcelona is a super fun city for grownups, too, so I recommend you treat yourself to an adults-only date night. You can hire an English-speaking babysitter through the well-established sitting service Tender Loving Canguros, which was started by “2 English ladies” and provides sitters throughout Barcelona and the surrounding area. (Our son loved his sitter so much, we got her twice in one week!)
If you prefer date night with the kids, that’s no problem either! Just choose a plaza that has a playground and grab an outdoor table nearby. For example, you can sip a mojito and have snacks at Bar Oviso in Barri GÃ³tic’s PlaÃ§a George Orwell, or try Muccis Pizza in Gracia’s PlaÃ§a del Sol. Both restaurants front small, protected playgrounds for the little ones.
FRIDAY ”” Beach Day and La Barceloneta
This needs practically no description: who doesn’t love a day at the beach? Don’t miss the chance to spend time on one of Barcelona’s beautiful beaches. Even in the winter, the weather can be mild enough to enjoy some time in the sand and sun.
If you get hungry, you can pop into the cute fisherman’s neighborhood of Barceloneta for a bite to eat. In the main square you’ll find a bike rental place, a playground, and the Barceloneta market, which is open til 2 PM each day if you want to grab fruit and snacks. Or, you can pick one of several family-owned fish restaurants in the area. You can also make your way to the busy Passeig Don Joan BorbÃ³ Comte for a delicious ice cream cone from Vioko.
SATURDAY ”” Museu Blau and Bosc Urba
The Forum, an enormous open space fronting Barcelona’s northern beaches, is home to two great family fun spots: Bosc Urba and Museu Blau. Museu Blau is an excellent natural history museum with exhibits that the whole family will love. The museum is housed in a gorgeous (if controversial) space-age Herzog & De Meuron building, and I think it’s almost worth a visit just to see the building.
Bosc Urba is an adventure obstacle park with lots of adrenaline-inducing activities for a variety of ages, including zip lines, bungee jumps, and rope swings. There is a nice playground between Bosc Urba and Museu Blau for smaller or less adventurous kids.
If you get hungry, there is a large mall nearby, which has several quick options in the food court inside. On the back side of the mall, behind the Hilton, you’ll find a collection of nicer (but still family-friendly) restaurants around an outdoor courtyard which offers yet another great playground.
SUNDAY ”” Tibidabo
Tibidabo is an amusement park perched on top of Barcelona’s highest peak, making it a great place for kids and parents to enjoy together. Parents will love the massive views from the top of Magic Mountain and the historical treasures found throughout the Sky Walk, while kids will go wild for the train rides, ferris wheel, carousel, and roller coasters. There is a lot of green space surrounding the park.
Check the Tibidabo calendar for opening times and dates. It’s open less frequently and for shorter hours in the off-season, but is open many weekend and holiday dates during those dates.
BONUS NIGHTTIME ACTIVITY: Font Magica
Each weekend night, the Font Magica (“Magic Fountain”) in Montjuic delights and impresses with lengthy water and light shows starting every half hour. The fountain was originally built in 1929 for the World’s Fair, and was upgraded before the 1992 Olympics to create this dazzling spectacle. Grab a place on the steps above the fountain and enjoy the show. Check the schedule for show times.
Related: All you need to know about traveling with babies and toddlers: where to go and how to time it right!