Planning a trip to Barcelona with your kids? You need look no further for some great information of what to do while you are in town to keep all your campers happy!
First thing you should know if you are traveling here between April and November is that Barcelona boasts 3 miles of glorious Mediterranean beach (and what child doesn’t love to play on la playa?). It also has dozens of exciting activities for youngsters that include visiting top sites in the city - whatever their age and interests. Here’s our handy insider’s list of things to do and see with kids up to 10 or 11 years of age!
Traveling with Babies & Toddlers in Barcelona
If you don’t want to travel with loads of gear or have forgotten that one carrier that could have made your life easier, look no further than Backpack Baby. This wonderful company, started by local mother, Laura Iglesias, rents baby equipment for days or weeks. Amongst her services are babysitting services; useful if you are looking to incorporate a date night into your travels!
Day Time Ideas:
Making Waves: Barcelona's Aquarium
Barcelona Aquarium is one of the largest in Europe, with over 11,000 marine animals from 450 different exotic species - wow! Kids of all ages will love the marine leisure and education centre, with their many family-friendly exhibitions and attractions. Their hands-on Explora! zone is filled with over 50 interactive exercises and games, which means the little ones will be entertained for hours and mom and dad can have a well deserved break. If your kids are still a bundle of energy and ready for more water action, head over to the ‘Planeta Aqua’. This awesome area of cool and colourful creatures will have jaws dropping and the whole family in awe, as you try and spot Nemo swimming with his friends. If you happen to be visiting at 11.30am or 4.30pm, make sure to check out Pingu and his greedy mates enjoying feeding time. Otherwise on Tuesdays and Fridays between 12 and 1pm, get close and personal with toothy shark grins for feeding time in Europe’s only Oceanarium tank. Walk through the incredible 80 metre-long shark tunnel - at your own risk!
When to go: If you have the odd rainy day, then this is a good bet with restaurants close by!
If you are visiting during the summer months, you’ll need to keep in mind that the hottest part of the day in Spain is from 1pm to 4pm. If you are a typical Spaniard, you’ll be having your three-course lunch and siesta at this time, but if you are traveling with young kids, it is likely they will be bursting with energy and so a cool aquarium is a great refuge.
Insider Tip: The gift shop is wonderful, but if you want to avoid dropping some hefty change as your children clammer for the stuffed octopus, you’ll want to steer clear of this area (on your right as you exit the display areas).
Website: Their website is chock full of great information, including family fun games, feeding times and tickets online. l’Aquarium de Barcelona.
Family Friendly Tours in Barcelona
Experienced and enthusiastic guides combined with family fun scavenger hunts (age appropriate) make our family tours unique. We ensure that each story about Barcelona’s history, architecture, myths, legends and traditions is a combination of education and enjoyment, that gets everyone involved and having fun!
Family bonding at its finest, not only do our hunts let you explore the city’s nooks and crannies, but they provide the opportunity for the kids to burn off some steam and work up an appetite for a traditional Spanish snack of churros and chocolate. These sugar coated fried dough stick are dipped in chocolate fondue, making a treat that no one can resist, and end in chocolatey smiles all around!
Insider Tip: Reserve before your trip to ensure entrance tickets, which are likely to sell out in peak times and the best guides. Our Barcelona Highlights Family Tour is a half day tour that gives you a good overview of the city and incorporates two scavenger hunts and a churros stop!
Exploring Parks (& Picnics!) in Barcelona - Parc de la Ciutadella
Any park is a good option when traveling with younger children, especially one with a central location, an abundance of shady trees, playgrounds and the possibility of a delivered picnic awaits you!
With its rowing boats and bubbles (you’ll see what we mean when you get there), Parc de la Ciutadella is always a popular choice. Make your way to the center of the park with its glorious pond, and jump aboard a rowing boat for some unmissable floating fun. As if that doesn’t provide enough family photo opportunities, head over to their enormous fountain - the perfect spot to create memories that will last a lifetime. With its clear waters and gold finish, it takes centre stage in this beautiful park. Well, that and the giant (and climbable) woolly mammoth just nearby of course!
Picnics in Barcelona
To round things off, find a hidden spot under a tree to enjoy a traditional gourmet family picnic. Think cured ham, olives, fresh fruit, delicious cheeses, nice local wine for the adults and more familiar sandwiches for the kids. Sofia, of Picnic! Picnic! is happy to customize your picnic, just give her some choices of what you know your kids will eat!
Insider Tip: Start your park trip at Arc d’Triomf and pick up a hand-delivered, customized picnic lunch from Picnic! Picnic! Arc d’Tiromf is easily reached by Metro (yellow and red lines) or by taxi and the four block long promenade that was the gateway to the 1888 Universal Expo is now home to street performers, rollerbladers, breakdancers, big bubble makers and is a hotspot for local families!
When to go: Keep in mind the hottest parts of the day here in Spain - 1pm to 4pm, this makes for a great morning for an earlish lunch or evening for a dinner.
The Magic Fountain (Font Magic)
The Magic Fountains are a water, light and music show that put Bellagio to shame. Located by Plaça d’Espanya, which was the official gateway to the 1929 World’s Fair, the fountains were originally meant to last for just the duration of the fair. However, they were so popular, with visitors and locals alike, that they have been maintained (and updated) since then.
There are four to eight shows in the evenings, depending on the time of year, with each show starting on the half hour from sundown until 11pm. We recommend you checking with your hotel or tourist information to double check opening days, as this changes during the year according to the season. Each show has a different theme, however, one constant is there is always a show with childrens’ music, oftentimes sampled from soundtracks of popular movies (most notably Disney). There are three large circular pools with fountains dancing away in time to the music with the lights changing color to help mark the beat. Truly magical for the little ones and I dare say for older ones alike!
Insider Tip: Taking place around dinner time, a trip to the Magic Fountains can be combined with a delicious tapas dinner at Lolita Taperia. This local taperia is family friendly (a MUST order for families is the fried chicken tenders - Rabas de Pollo) and opens at 7pm, making it possible to eat before the show.
When to go: The schedule varies throughout the year depending on when the sun sets. Make sure you check online before heading that way: The Magic Fountains.
Join us next week for: Things to Do in Barcelona with Tweens & Teenagers
Authors: Nancy Daum Dailey & Charlie Bush
Sara Siddeeq: Born and raised in Buckinghamshire (England), Sara is a recent graduate from the University of Leeds. She primarily works in digital marketing and PR, however she is also a journalist in Barcelona, contributing to over half a dozen websites in the city alone.