Amongst the numerous tapas bills, entry fees and not to mention flights, a vacation to Barcelona can be a costly venture. However, believe it or not, it is still possible to enjoy the city whilst on a budget, without loosening your purse strings. Whether you’re a family of culture vultures or happy-go-lucky travelers, we have plenty of suggestions for free family fun in the Catalan capital.
First up, the enchanting Magic Fountain** show at Plaça d'Espanya, where your family can watch in awe as colorful jets of water dance along to the spellbinding music and light show. What more could you ask for than rainbow speckled water rising in sync with groovy tunes, spanning from opera to cheesy throwbacks from the 80s to movie sound tracks. Whilst starting times vary between seasons, the show begins latest at 9.30pm, allowing enough time to relish in this spectacle before the little ones conk out for the evening.
Winter or summer, nothing says free family fun like play time at la playa. In the warmer months, Barceloneta beach is swarming with tourists and locals alike, squabbling for a spot to soak up the Mediterranean sunshine. To avoid such crowds, we recommend heading slightly further up the coast to Bogatell beach***. Renowned as the safest beach in Barcelona, you can feel at peace when the kids wander off exploring, or to play a round of volleyball. Fewer beachgoers means a more peaceful experience, as you and your partner sink into the golden sands, and relax.
Likewise, Parc de la Ciutadella is a tranquil sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the city center, yet its plethora of activities know no limits. Whether you fancy basking in the afternoon rays to the sound of local buskers or watching your kids gleefully run through bubbles, it has something to offer each and every family. Yet, this picturesque park is perhaps best known for its opulent baroque waterfall, which takes center stage in its grounds. It is the perfect spot for families to create memories that last a lifetime, as is the woolly mammoth- you’ll know what we mean when you see it!
If your little ones still have some energy to burn, there is a small play area in Parc de la Ciutadella for teeny tots to toddle around in as their older siblings show off their impressive climbing abilities. However, before you bid adiós to the park, a stroll along the lake is a must. The kids can gaze at the geese and rowing boats as they drift on by, and most importantly it’s the perfect way to lull your child into an afternoon siesta!
**Want to combine dinner with the magic fountains? We HIGHLY suggest the local & delicious tapas of Lolita Taperia.
***Recommended for lunch or dinner: Xiringuito Escriba (both the one at beach level, as well as the one on the boardwalk). We are partial to the beach level one which allows kids to eat and play while your can take your time and still being able to keep an eye on them!
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.