Barcelona Isn’t Just An Adult Playground

Barcelona is renowned for its gothic architecture, tapas-infused nightlife and its sun-soaked beaches, so it’s no surprise that travelers flock to the city year-round to take it all in. Whether you’re after a cultural retreat, seaside getaway or just a darn good time, Barcelona will deliver. But what if the grandparents aren’t available and you can’t shake the kids? Fear not! There are plenty of activities that will keep everyone happy when you’ve got the youngsters in tow. We asked a few local guides to share their top tips on where to take the kids when visiting Barcelona. Read on – your sanity may depend on it!
1.  Tibidabo

Tibidabo tops our family favourites list, with its panoramic views to keep the parents happy and an amusement park to keep the little ones entertained. Local tour guide Colin Dear says everyone will get a kick out of Tibidabo because of its rides, shows and street theatre. The Tibidabo Sky Walk is another crowd pleaser, offering the best views of Barcelona from 500 metres (1,600 feet) above the city.

2.  Get Pedalling

If you’re up for an outdoor adventure that will help the kids expend some energy, local guide Ernest Torquet’s pick is to rent a bike or join a bicycle tour. With over 200 kilometres of bike lanes in Barcelona, there’s plenty of terrain to keep everyone happy. Most tour operators also offer child seats and are happy to share interesting facts about the city so you can learn more about Barcelona as you pedal with the kids. Ernest’s favourite is the Beach Bike Tour.

3.  Bubble Park

The kids will remember the bubble park for years to come because over 2,500 square metres of outdoor space is dedicated to them. Children can float on water in a giant bubble, test their bravado on a reverse bungee and try to navigate their way around in an electric aqua-boat. And here’s the best bit – parents can relax on a deckchair and enjoy a drink by the man-made beach while the kids do their thing.

4.  Barcelona Aquarium

If Finding Nemo was a hit in your household, then the kids will get a kick out of the Barcelona Aquarium. Considered the largest of its kind in Europe, the aquarium is popular with kids and adults alike, according to Colin. Sharks, manta rays and dolphins are just some of the marine life on show, and there are a number of children’s workshops that are free with admission.

5.  Hit the Zoo

The zoo is a safe bet for kids of all ages – those cute monkeys will put a smile on even the most tired child’s face. Barcelona Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals from 400 different species, and it has an enclosed petting zoo for the kiddies. If that doesn’t appease, then the pony rides should do the trick.

6.  Visit One of the Many Parks

Colourful gardens, grassy areas and shady parks –  you name it, Barcelona has got it. Ernest says the weather puts on a show year round in Barcelona, meaning the parks can be enjoyed any time of year. His top picks are Parc de la Ciutadella – which has its own lake, fountain and museums – and Parc del Poblenou in Ciutat Vella. Parc Creueta del Coll and Parc Güell are also popular options for families who like to stroll around the gardens and bask in the sun.

Parc Güell
Parc Güell
7.  Chocolate Museum

If you’ve got a sweet tooth that needs some attention, Museu de la Xocolata is the perfect cure. With chocolate tastings, chocolate history, and, well, everything sweet in between, Museu de la Xocolata is Colin’s top pick for travelers who like a little (or a lot) of chocolate. You won’t have to drag the kids around on this one – they’ll be first in line.

8.  Caixa Forum

This arts and culture centre is packed with exhibitions, workshops and family shows that will have the kids begging for more. The youngsters can enjoy their share of children’s cinema and theatre, and they can explore their creative side in a number of free workshops. Children over 12 years of age can also catch a glimpse of the city from the rooftop platform. Outdoor events run around the clock in the summer months.

9.  Parc de Montjuic

Parc de Montjuic is local guide Paddy Magnum Mannion’s pick as a family-friendly space that will keep the kids on their toes for an entire day. With several museums and exhibitions, Parc de Montjuic is also home to the iconic Magic Fountain, which lights up every Friday and Saturday evening as part of an impressive light spectacle.

Barcelona has more than its fair share of beaches, so you can get enough sun, surf and sand to last you until your next getaway. With vast stretches of virtually uninterrupted coastline, the hardest part can be trying to figure out where to throw down your towel.

10.  Beach Bum it

Barcelona has more than its fair share of beaches, so you can get enough sun, surf and sand to last you until your next getaway. With vast stretches of virtually uninterrupted coastline, the hardest part can be trying to figure out where to throw down your towel. Barceloneta is a popular hangout which is close to the city center, and Bogatell Beach is a sweet spot close to the Port Olympic area.

11.  Rock Climbing

If you’re after a family activity that’ll have the kids climbing the walls, then take them rock climbing. And luckily you don’t need to be a pro to take the kids out for a day because Ignasi Feltrer from DSmartCat will look after everything on a half-day climbing trip.

12.   XMAX Speedboat

If the kids keep hassling you to do something different, sign up to a trip on Barcelona’s XMAX Speedboat. This 50-minute high-speed boat tour will leave them breathless as they hit speeds of up to 70 kilometres per hour along Barcelona’s shoreline. They’ll thank you for this one!

Labyrinth of Horta
Labyrinth of Horta
13.  Labyrinth of Horta

If you’re up for a challenge and some good ol’ fashioned fun, the Labyrinth of Horta hedge maze will keep the whole family busy. Navigate your way through 750 metres of trimmed cypress trees and enjoy the great outdoors – with a twist. You won’t have to battle the crowds at this garden enclosure, with visitor numbers limited to preserve the local environment.

14.  Take a Guided Walking Tour

If you want to see Barcelona’s highlights in the nick of time, team up with a local guide. Rather than dragging the kids around town, a guide can tailor a tour for you that ticks all the right boxes. Ingeborg Koedijk from Tomato & Bread offers a number of guided walking tours around Barcelona city that cater to families and children of all ages.

15.  Go Sailing

A family sailing trip will earn you bargaining power with the kids for years to come. You don’t need to be a skipper to have fun at sea, but you will need at least one on board. The Barcelona Balearics Sailing Association offers family sailing tours that cater to all kids, young and old. The team will also teach the kids a few tricks such as trimming the sales and steering the boat.

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