Barcelona is the perfect city to wander through lazily, taking in the architecture, stopping for a coffee and seeing where the day takes you.
But if you’re visiting Barcelona with kids, they’re bound to crave something more. Here are some top tips for activities the whole family will enjoy.
Top things to do when visiting Barcelona with kids
Head to the beach
Ever since the 1992 Olympics, when the city hall invested in developing Barcelona’s beaches, the city has become one of Europe’s favorite seaside cities. The nearly three miles of sandy beaches have play areas, showers, chiringuitos (small restaurants serving drinks and snacks) and even skate parks at the far end near Poblenou.
Barcelona is never behind the times for long. This, combined with its size, accessibility and international popularity, mean it’s a great place to rent some skates and see the city in a unique way.
As you and your family skate along the beachfront, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in California. As well as the official skate parks, the main skating zone in town is the area outside the MACBA, Barcelona’s contemporary art museum. Full of skaters all day long, this area is always alive with music as people skate, sit on the terraces with a drink and go to the art museum. Make a day of it with the whole family!
Take a bike tour
If you’re an active family, why not do a bike tour? There are loads of companies offering guided bike tours, as well as bike rentals if you want to go the self-guided route. Barcelona has an extensive network of cycle lanes that make it easy to safely cycle around the city, even if you’re unfamiliar with it. All bike rental companies offer maps so you can set out on a family adventure. You can even throw in some stops at a couple of tapas bars!
READ MORE: Where to Rent Bikes in Barcelona
The Best Neighborhoods for Families in Barcelona
The super-trendy Born neighborhood is home to boutiques, upscale tapas restaurants, historical monuments and beautiful alleyways. But it’s also great for kids—and only a 20-minute walk from the beach!
Just off Via Laietana is La Casa de los Entremeses, or the Giants Museum. Giants? You read that right—here in Barcelona, giants are a common sight at all festivals. The museum is free to enter and lets you step back into Barcelona’s past in a kid-friendly way.
Further into Born is the Chocolate Museum. We shouldn’t need to say more, but if you’re still not convinced, kids under 7 get in free, and the full price is only €6 per person.
After the chocolate museum, be sure to visit Ciutadella Park not too far away. You can check out the famous fountain, rent a boat to ride around in the park’s lake, play table tennis on one of the many tables (be warned: it’s competitive!), have your photo taken with the mammoth (yes, a giant mammoth)! or simply relax and let the kids run around. During the summer months, the park has numerous events, always with plenty of street food. No matter how you spend your day in the park, don’t leave without checking out the zoo.
Tibidabo and northern Barcelona
There’s more to Barcelona than the beach and the city center. The hills just north of the city have loads of great things to do.
First, there’s the maze in Horta. Take the metro up to Mundet and you’re only a few minutes away from beautiful gardens and the hedge maze itself. This isn’t well-known by tourists, so it’ll be far quieter and more peaceful than the city center, even in the height of summer.
From Mundet take the metro two stops to Penitents, where you’ll be just a 10-minute walk from CosmoCaixa, Barcelona’s most interactive science museum. Kids big and small alike love this place, where you’re encouraged to touch, prod and poke everything as you learn about science. Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., entry is €6 euros and kids under 16 get in free.
Looking over Barcelona is Tibidabo. During the day it can be hard to see, but at night, if you look towards the back of the city (the view up Carrer Balmes is the best), you’ll see a church and a ferris wheel lit up—this is Tibidabo Amusement Park. The church is surrounded by some pretty average restaurants, so consider bringing your own food, but it offers amazing views and the entrance to the theme park is right nearby. It has the full range of classic rides and makes a great option for a day out. You may even be lucky enough to see one of the wild boars that roam Collserola, the hill upon which Tibidabo sits.
Sants and Poble Sec
Barcelona isn’t just the home of FC Barcelona, but that’s not how your kids may see it if they’re sports fans. FC Barcelona is one of the most famous soccer clubs in the world. Stars such as Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique light up the night sky at Camp Nou, which holds up to 100,000 people. You can join them for around €50 euro a head, but if you prefer basketball, handball or futsal, you can always head to one of those games, too.
Another great way to see FC Barcelona is on a guided tour of the stadium. Tickets start at €26 for a tour of the stadium and visit to the museum, and go up to €149 for the chance to step onto the field, sit in the press box and visit the changing room. It’s the cheapest activity on our list, but it’s well worth considering if you and your family are into sports.
You may, understandably, want to enjoy more views over the city, and there are few better places for this than Montjuic. You can enjoy incredible views of Barcelona and visit the castle, and in the summer they show films in the open air. You can even visit the Olympic Stadium, which is much less expensive than Camp Nou. The highlight of a trip to Montjuic is the cable car, which has two possible routes, including one which connects to Barceloneta. The views are fantastic, and provide the most direct route from the castle to the beach.
Barcelona is full of activities the whole family can enjoy. Take some time to plan your trip and no one will get bored!