When many travelers think of Barcelona, their minds wander to late nights on the town filled with tapas and sangria. But while Barcelona is known as one of Europe’s party hot spots, the truth is that this city is far from adults only. In fact, it’s one of the greatest family holiday destinations in the world!
Visiting Barcelona with kids paints the city in an entirely different light, turning it into one of fun, adventure and education. A family trip to Barcelona can quickly be filled up with activities, from museums and learning centers to zoos and theme parks.
But what are the best things to do in Barcelona with kids? To find out, let’s take a look at child friendly Barcelona – the side of the city that trades in boozy nights for lively, fun-filled days.
Without further ado, here are the top things to do in Barcelona with kids.
To make learning fun…
Open 10am – 8pm Mon – Sun.
Part science museum, part planetarium, part living Amazonian rainforest, CosmoCaixa is a stunning educational hub at the foot of Tibidabo Hill. A spiral staircase encased in glass bores a hole through the center of the beautiful modernist building, which is made up of an impressive six floors and has been designed to be as sustainable as possible. The flooded forest (a tribute to the Amazon), the geological wall, and a wealth of temporary exhibitions mean that an amazing amount of natural history focused learning is on offer. The kids will love the interactive exhibitions in particular.
Open 10am – 7pm Mon – Sat, 10am – 3pm Sun.
Are you looking for delicious things to do in Barcelona with kids? Stretching the definition of ‘education’ to its limit, Museo de la Xocolata, the Barcelona Chocolate Museum, offers visitors a guided tour through all things sweet and cocoa-based. The history of this most delicious treat is explored in detail, and some truly impressive artworks rendered in chocolate are found throughout the museum. Chocolate-making, chocolate art and chocolate pairing workshops are also held daily for both kids and adults. And never fear, you’ll be treated to a healthy amount of tasting at the end!
Open 10am – 5pm Mon – Sun.
Of all the family activities in Barcelona, the city’s zoo could perhaps be the most famous. The Catalan capital’s comfortable climate means that exotic animals, particularly African, are well represented. As one of the most family friendly things to do in Barcelona, children are treated to far more than just animal watching – a farmyard zoo, pony rides, picnic areas, playgrounds, and even the zoo’s very own train are ready to be enjoyed. If you’re out of ideas for what to do with children in Barcelona, the zoo is always a safe bet.
Open 10am – 7:30pm Mon – Fri, 10am – 8pm Sat – Sun.
From animals of the land we go to animals of the deep. Barcelona is home to one of the world’s largest and most famous aquariums, known simply as L’Aquàrium. Taking up prime real estate in Port Vell, it concentrates on the sea life of the Mediterranean, particularly the Spanish coastal waters next to which it has been built. 35 separate aquariums are home to over 11,000 animals of 450 different species, with the highlight being an 80 m long underwater tunnel. And why is this on the list of the best things to do in Barcelona with family? Honestly, there are too many kid-friendly things to mention. Every weekend a different family event is organized, there are over 50 interactive exhibits throughout the space, and the Explora! children’s area even features a water-based petting zoo!
To explore the city…
Open 9am – Midnight Tue-Thurs/Sun, 9am – 3am Fri, 9am – 4am Sat, 9am – 8pm Mon.
The most cultural of the kid friendly things to do in Barcelona, Poble Espanyol translates simply to ‘Spanish Village’, which is exactly what this area of the city offers. This highly recommended destination features a unique combination of architecture, contemporary art, traditional crafts, gastronomy, culture and shopping, this is the soul of the city encapsulated in a small, traffic free area. A steady stream of children’s activities are held in El Poble throughout the year, allowing kids to get a taste of what local life is all about. The craft workshops in particular should be high on your list of family things to do in Barcelona.
Open 8:30am – 5:30pm Mon – Sun
Fans of architecture flock to Barcelona to catch a glimpse of a Gaudi masterpiece or to enjoy the delightful examples of Catalan modernism. But when visitors think of Barcelona attractions for families, they’ll often disregard anything architecture-related for fear that the kids will get bored. But there should be no such fears for visitors to Park Güell, a Gaudi-designed public park on Carmel Hill that is dotted with magnificent buildings. Designed during the architect’s naturalist phase, the buildings seem to grow right out of the ground, and are interesting enough to stop even the most inattentive of children dead in their tracks. And it is of course a park, so playgrounds, grass and fun abound.
To be entertained…
There may not be a more magnificent spectacle in Barcelona than the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, a landmark that comes alive with water, light and sound most nights of the year. Sitting near the top of most lists of things to do in Barcelona with children, the fountain was originally constructed for the 1929 World Fair (as with most of the surrounding landmarks). It has been upgraded through the years, and now puts on a (nearly) nightly show that can cover any of a number of themes, from modern to classical, Spanish to international, and sometimes The Godfather or The Lord of the Rings-inspired performances. The best bit? This thing to do in Barcelona with family is totally free!
Open 10am – 1:30pm/4pm – 7pm Mon – Fri, 11am – 2pm/4:30pm – 8:30pm Sat – Sun.
Have you ever wanted to shake hands with a certain musician, painter, king, queen, adventurer, thinker, or any other famous type? You might be in luck at Barcelona Wax Museum, although don’t be surprised if the person seems a little cold. A favourite tourist spot in Barcelona for families, the city’s wax museum brings to life history’s most famous figures. 300 personalities both real and fictitious are on display – from Hitchcock to Hitler, Einstein to Picasso, and everything in between. When you’re done saying hello to everyone head next door to El Bosc de Les Fades, a fairy tale themed café that will have the kids’ eyes lighting up.
Open 11am – 4pm Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm Sat – Sun.
Of all the Barcelona things to do with kids, Tibidabo Amusement Park might be the most picturesque. Set atop Tibidabo Hill, it offers an absolutely stunning view over the whole of Barcelona as well as a healthy dose of adrenaline. Rides range from the cute and calm like the beautiful Ferris wheel (to enjoy beautiful views of the city), to the tall and terrifying like the Muntanya Russa roller coaster, which can pull 3.5 Gs through some turns. Tibidabo is the perfect day out no matter the age of your kids, or even if you don’t have any!