Congratulations! You’ve finally made the decision to stop talking about that family trip to Barcelona and just do it. Now the fun of planning and organizing travel details begins. And if you happen to be traveling with little ones, the question of how to enjoy Barcelona with kids often follows.
While this is truly a fabulous city to visit filled with rich culture, inspiring history, amazing architecture and delicious food you’ll want to have some creative ways to keep the little ones entertained. They simply won’t be moved by the Barcelona Cathedral the same way you are.
Our three children are 8, 6 and 3 so they aren’t all necessarily interested in the same things – which can be a challenge but forces us to really get creative. After living in Spain as an expat for almost three years, our family has scoped out every nook and cranny in search of fun!
And I’m excited to share them with you and help make your trip planning a bit less stressful.
Before diving into my list, I highly recommend you grab your kids a copy on Amazon of Mission Barcelona: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure.
This book will take your kids on an exciting adventure of seek and find as you tour around the city. They’ll uncover mysteries behind the narrow streets of Gothic Quarter, solve puzzles, earn points and become special agents.
All so you can snap hundreds of photos in front of Sagrada Familia in peace!
Now…onto the meat and potatoes!
30 Ways to Enjoy Barcelona With Kids of Any Age
Barcelona Zoo – An easy favorite for every member of the family, the Barcelona Zoo is located inside the Parc de la Ciutadella and easily accessible from downtown and Port Vell. This 125 year old sanctuary contains approximately 5,500 animals and more than 400 different species. an enormous playground with zip line, multiple gift shops and snack stations.
Families can easily spend their entire afternoon leisurely walking around, enjoying a picnic with the peacocks (no joke!) and marveling at some of the world’s most exotic creatures. The zoo is clean and provides lots of shade on hot summer days. Not to mention it is open all days of the year!
For the best prices, we recommend purchasing your tickets online. Children under 3 enter free, ages 3-12 are 12 euro and adults 19 euro.
Tibidabo – We guarantee this will be the most unique amusement park you’ve ever visited. Why? Because it is built into the side of the Collserola Ridge of Mount Tibidabo and happens to be one of the oldest still functioning parks in the world. Tibidabo has rides for children of all ages (though mostly geared towards those under 12) and is most known for its iconic ferris wheel and Talaia pendulum attraction which offers city views from 550 meters above sea level!
While you won’t be able to walk to Tibidabo from downtown, you can reach the park in 30 minutes via bus/taxi or funicular railway. And once you arrive at the very top, the view is the most spectacular in all of Barcelona. You’ll have free access to the Panoramic Area and entrance into Sagrada Corazon de Jesus Christos church.
Admission for children <120cm is 10.30 euros, adults are 28.50 euros and seniors over 60 years of age are 9 euros. Keep in mind, the amusement park is closed in January/February but the Panoramic Area and Church remain open to the public.
Barcelona Aquarium – It’s rare that Barcelona weather is bad. But on the occasional rainy day, an indoor activity like the aquarium is perfect for little ones! Home to 11,000 animals and more than 500 species of marine life, the aquarium includes an ocean tank for sharks and rays and an 80-meter underwater exploratory tunnel.
Located in the Port Vell harbour just a short distance from Columbus Monument, the aquarium is open every day of the year (hours vary based on season, so check website). Children under 3 are free, from ages 3-4 are 8 euros, ages 5-10 are 16 euros and from 11 years old 21 euros.
Indoor Play Parks
Bowling Pedrables – Right next to Camp Nou this indoor fun center includes 12 lanes for bowling, an arcade, pool/foosball tables, bar and restaurant.
Aventura Infantil Park– Perfect for little ones up to age 10, this indoor soft play theme park has two locations in Barcelona. We recommend the pirate themed one on Avinguda de Roma, which includes a baby park, infantil area for 3-5 year olds and a play area for bigger kids. Entertaining shows with the cast of pirate staff take place each afternoon, as well. Don’t forget socks for the little ones!
BOUNCE Indoor Jumping – A massive indoor trampoline park, the largest in Barcelona! Watch your kids fly through the air as they soar through various trampoline activities – cliff jump, dodge ball, slam dunk. Once they get tired of bouncing they can have a go at the X-Park obstacle course, a test of strength and endurance. Minimum age to jump is 3 and the cost is 15 euro for one hour. Family passes are also available so everyone can join the fun!
Games y Mas Laser Tag – Light, music, dry smoke and lasers – who could ask for better entertainment for your kids than that?! Adults can relax at the restaurant/cafe while little ones run around and burn off steam. This is your chance to catch your breath after days of sightseeing!
Climbat La Foixarda Rock Climbing – My son particularly loves coming here with friends as they race one another up steep climbing walls (in full harnesses of course!) Beat your personal best or try to top the center’s all-time fastest rock climbing record on the advanced adult walls.
7FunCenter – If you don’t mind traveling 20 minutes outside city center, this fun park is a blast for kids! Parents can enjoy relaxing in the sun at the rooftop bar while their kids enjoy physical activity, challenges, fun and the latest virtual reality technologies.
Indoor Karting – Laser tag, bowling, go carting, oh my! So many activities all under one roof, this place will make even the adults feel like kids again.
Cosmo Caixa Science Museum – An absolute favorite of all children living in Barcelona. If you’re only visiting the city for a short time but can manage a stop here, consider yourself lucky! The museum features a variety of exhibitions, permanent and temporary, that showcase the environment, nature, science, and space.
A special feature is the planetarium and indoor live rainforest! Head up to the third floor where you’ll find activities such as Touch & Play for small children. Admission is free for those under 15 and 5 euros for all others. Note, this does not include access to special activities and the planetarium – those must be purchased separately.
Museo de Xocolata – Prepare to be amazed at the sight of Leo Messi, Arc de Triomph and a Komodo Dragon all made of chocolate! You’ll learn about the origins of chocolate, its significant place in history and exactly how it is made. Children and family activities are also offered, but must be reserved as spots fill up rather quickly.
Entrance is 6 euro each and the museum is open every day (hours may vary). Just be sure not to eat your admission ticket before entering – it’s made of…chocolate, of course!
Museo de Ilusiones – Also known as Big Fun Museum, you and your kids can spend an hour (but not much more) goofing around, taking photos with giant props and being the subjects of optical illusions. It’s quirky, it’s random, it’s perfect for the usual antics that take place along La Rambla. A great rainy day activity to keep in mind!
Museo de Cera (Wax Museum) – Perhaps not up to the same standards as the Madame Tussauds of New York City and London, but still – an entertaining afternoon here promises lots of fun photo ops! You’re sure to find recognizable figures associated with history, culture, cinema, literature and art. In addition the neoclassical exterior and interior of the museum is awe-inspiring! Children under 5 are admitted free. Others will pay 15 euro each.
Museo de Joan Miro – This display of modern art honoring Joan Miro is located on Montjuic and was founded with the goal of inspiring young artists. Included in the more than 10,000 items is Alexander Calder’s Mercury Fountain. The Mercury Fountain uses liquid metal mercury to create a fountain. As mercury is poisonous, the fountain is kept behind glass to protect the visitors.
Family activities and special spaces for little ones can found on their website. Children under 15 are free and 13 euro for adults.
Parc Ciutadella – Consider this the Central Park or Hyde Park of Barcelona. You’ll find a total hipster scene here of sun seekers, loungers, yoga enthusiasts and acoustic instrument players spread out on grassy knolls. Spend the day picnicking in the shade, riding a row boat around the center lake and snapping photos in front of the magnificent golden horses fountain.
La Carretera de las Aguas – Perfect for escaping the hustle of city streets and finding tranquility in nature. Not exactly a park, but a series of beginner-level hiking trails that hug the Tibidabo Mountain offering breathtaking views and the most memorable sunsets. Try to avoid Sundays, as it gets rather crowded with joggers and bikers.
Parc Guell – Rated the number two site to see in Barcelona, second only to Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Parc Guell beckons visitors from all over the world to marvel at the inspiration and work of Gaudi. You’ll find yourself mezmorized as you walk under modernist facades and avant garde structures. Kids mostly enjoy just how very unique Parc Guell is. Buy tickets in advance, as time slots get filled up rather quickly!
Parc del Castell de l’Oreneta – This is one of our favorite parks that most tourists might not know about. This park has the usual selection of grassy areas and playgrounds. But also includes pony rentals on weekends and rides on beautifully restored miniature locomotives. Our kids love spending afternoons here.
And if you plan to visit around Halloween or Christmas time, you’re in for a special treat! Check their website for train and pony rental schedules.
Montjuic Castle & Botanical Gardens – The Montjuic Castle is an old military seaside fortress dating back to the 1600s. The castle is infamous in Catalan history books because of its role in the civil war from 1936 to 1939 when both sides of the conflict imprisoned, tortured and shot political prisoners at Montjuïc.
The castle now serves as a military museum. Should you choose to take a guided one-hour tour, you will discover the history and architecture of the castle, visiting places that are not usually opened to the public, such as the dungeons, the watchtower and the cistern. Admission is free after 3pm Sundays as well as on the first Sunday of every month. The cost is very inexpensive at 5 euro per ticket.
After visiting the castle, you’ll enjoy wandering Montjuic downhill and admiring the botanical gardens. Original construction dates back to the 1800s although the current gardens were established in 1999. The function of the garden is to preserve and publicize collections of Mediterranean plants from around the world.
Skatepark Mar Bella– A true candyland for skateboarders, BMX bikers, scooter riders and rollerbladers, the Mar Bella Park is the perfect spot for active riders. Located right next to the beach, you’ll find children and teens of all skill levels enjoying the concrete curves and halfpipes.
Two sections make up the park. First, the traditional bowl which provides the best curves for developing your flow and the technicality of tricks. And second the street section which has numerous rails and obscure shapes for perfecting tricks.
Turo Park– This happens to be one of our favorite spots only a short ten minute walk from our apartment. This cosy park is often filled with families enjoying the children’s play area, lovers canoodling on park benches and avid readers sprawled out enjoying the sun. A stop at Turo isn’t complete without a quick cappuccino and cookie at Pinhan Cafe.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta – This park is considered one the Barcelona’s best kept secrets since it’s fairly removed from the hustle of downtown. You’re in for a real Alice in Wonderland experience as your family wanders (usually in circles!) through rows of giant cypress hedges in search of an exit! The city’s oldest preserved garden is found here in this Italian Romantic style park. Botany and horticulture lovers will be fascinated by the variety of trees, flowers and plants that can be found in this royal estate.
Popular Sites Not to Miss
FC Barcelona Camp Nou Tour & Museum– There is no doubt that Spain and futbol go together like wine and cheese! FC Barcelona is more than a sport here, it’s a long-time beloved tradition. If you and your little ones are futbol/soccer fans, a stop at the stadium tour and museum is a must! You’ll step into the cleats of Leo Messi for a day (not literally, but you know what I mean!) and walk the stadium corridor, step into the locker room and view the press box.
The Tour Plus for 35 euro includes an audio guide and popular Barca virtual experience, in addition to tour of the stadium and museum.
Sagrada Familia – The most well-known and widely visited attraction in all of Barcelona is La Basilica de La Sagrada Familia which attracts thousands of visitors daily. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is designed by the famous Antoni Gaudi and has been under construction since breaking ground more than 120 years ago. The project is funded entirely by entrance fees and some private donations.
While the exterior facade is spectacular, the inside is equally magnificent and something not to be missed! Tickets can be purchased online for an inside tour either independent, audio guides (recommended!) or in a tour group (not recommended). If you plan to attend the international mass at 9am every Sunday, admission is free.
Before your visit, there are some important things you’ll need to be aware of. Read my earlier post for all the specifics (4 Tips for Visiting Sagrada Familia).
Font de Magica – Your kids will love seeing this beautifully illuminated fountain situated below the Palau Nacional on the Montjuïc mountain and near the Plaça d’Espanya circle. The fountain produces a unique water and light show which receives 2.5 million visitors every year and is an internationally recognised emblem of the city.
Light and sound performances include film, classical, and modern music, such as that from The Godfather, The Lord of the Rings, Gladiator and modern pop songs. Shows take place nine months of the year (closed for annual maintenance January-March) and admission is free. Be sure to arrive early!
La Rambla – The most well known and widely visited avenue in all of Barcelona, La Rambla is where the action is! Shops, food stalls, flower stands and restaurants all line La Rambla begging for your attention (and dollars!) We don’t recommend sitting down for a drink or bite here, however, as the better quality/priced food is found off La Rambla.
For kids, the best part of La Rambla is at the very end just before you hit Columbus Monument. Here you’ll find incredible street performers dressed in the most elaborate costumes seen anywhere! Don’t dare take photos without tossing a few coins into their cans, as these characters make a full-time living off this charade.
Montjuic Teleferic or Port Teleferico (Cable Cars) – See the city from a whole new perspective! Two different options for cable car rides so be sure to choose to wisely. Personally we prefer the Port Teleferico, as the journey is a bit longer and takes you down the coast for spectacular views of where the sea meets the city!
La Boqueria Market (Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria) – Come hungry and leave happy! The most famous market in all of Barcelona, located right off La Rambla, boastes extraordinary displays of fruit, vegetables, meats, chocolates, shellfish…and just about anything else your tummy desires! Celebrating 180 years in operation, La Boqueria started out as a meat market and has diversified ever since.
Since the market is ALWAYS busy, it’s best to go with a plan of what stalls to see. Their website includes a interactive map to help you do this!
Poble Espanyol – Whenever we have outside visitors, they love coming to this open-air recreated Spanish Village. Some of the best handmade and artisan gifts can be found here along with a theater, workshops and several restaurants.
Be sure to check out Poble Espanyol’s event calendar for the latest in concerts, shows, special events and performers. In the past we’ve attended their Christmas and Halloween Festivals and Medieval Fairs, which were fantastic!
A little tip from me! While there is an entrance fee to enter, typically if you make a purchase from one of the specialty shops, the vendor will present a coupon for free admission next time. Something that has really come in handy for us.
Few Tips on Enjoying Barcelona with Kids
After scanning this list of 30 ways to enjoy Barcelona with kids, I’m sure you’re wondering where to start!
My advice would be to begin with the list of “popular sites not to miss”, since those will be crowded and also may require advanced ticket purchasing. Schedule those ahead of time.
Then you can begin to plan other free and more flexible activities. Be sure to take Spanish siesta into account since some establishments close their doors from 2pm-5pm. We’re made that mistake one too many times!
Call it touristy but our family loves riding on the double decker tour buses found in every major city. This is truly an awesome way to see a TON without having the tired feet to follow. It’s perfect for kids, guys! We’ve typically used Big Bus Tour and find them to be polite, accomodating, timely and affordable.
I’m so excited to hear how you spent your family vacation in Barcelona! What did you see? Where did you go? What was your favorite place from my list? Please comment below and share your experiences with others.