Barcelona is a beautiful city, and it’s easy to see why so many tourists consider it one of their favorite spots in Europe. The friendly, laid-back culture, vibrant fresh food scene, and legacy of incredible art – including Gaudi’s most famous works – offer enough to satisfy virtually any traveler’s wants or needs, and if you love the water, you’ll be amazed by the beautiful beaches that line the city.
While it’s clear that Barcelona is an excellent spot for grown-ups to visit, many travelers have wondered – is Barcelona a good spot to bring children? For Americans and others hoping to experience Barcelona who are coming from abroad, the idea of planning a family-friendly vacation is a bit more involved than one geared strictly toward adults. There is plenty to see and do in Barcelona to keep the whole family entertained, but you’ll want to spend a bit of extra time crafting your itinerary to make sure your plans incorporate attractions that’ll please everyone.
If you aren’t sure which of Barcelona’s attractions are best-suited for kids and families, I’m here to help. These are just a handful of my favorite ways to have fun with kids in Barcelona:
HAVE A BLAST AT PORTAVENTURA THEME PARK
You can find the Portaventura Theme Park roughly an hour and a half’s trip from Barcelona. As one of Europe’s most well-loved theme parks, you’ll find plenty to see and do here for the whole family. The park is split into six differently-themed worlds, each with its own assortment of rides, shows, and other attractions. They even have a world themed around the characters of Sesame Street, making this the perfect spot to have some fun with little ones.
If you’re visiting during the popular summer months, you may want to consider purchasing express passes to skip the lines, which can be pretty long.
SPEND SOME TIME AT THE BEACH
Given its location along the sea, it’s no surprise to learn that Barcelona is known for its beautiful beaches. As long as you visit while the weather’s warm enough to put on a swimsuit and soak up the sun, you should plan to spend at least part of a day at the beach. Put on some sunscreen, grab your sunglasses and a towel, and head out to enjoy a few hours of sandcastle-building and sunbathing.
For a kid-friendly beach, consider visiting Bogatell Beach. There, you’ll often find smaller crowds and fewer partygoers, making it a safer and more relaxing option than many of the area’s alternatives. If your family isn’t one to enjoy lounging in the sun, consider bringing a volleyball for a family game or renting bikes to explore along the shoreline.
VISIT L’AQARUIUM BARCELONA
The aquarium is one of Barcelona’s most-visited tourist attractions, and the moment you arrive, you’ll understand why. This impressive aquarium is home over 450 different species of sharks, seahorses, penguins, fish, and other underwater creatures, which are spread through a number of different exhibits, each curated to look and feel like a different part of the ocean. Plan your visit around the posted feeding times for a free show.
To beat the lines and shave a few dollars off the price of your ticket, purchase them online before you go!
CHECK OUT THE CHOCOLATE MUSEUM
Barcelona is home to a museum called Museu de la Xocolata, which translates to the Chocolate Museum. While you’re there, you can learn a bit about the history of chocolate, see how chocolate is made, admire impressive chocolate sculptures, and, of course, sample various chocolates. Whether you’re visiting with a chocolate-lover or you’re looking for ways to enjoy a rainy day, the Chocolate Museum is sure to please.
COOL OFF AT ILLA FANTASIA
This water park, located just outside Barcelona, is the perfect way to spend a warm day with little ones. You’ll find all kinds of water slides, from gentle slopes meant for little kids to steep drops and tight turns to get your teen’s blood pumping – as well as your own! Prefer a more relaxing experience? Chill out in one of the park’s giant swimming pools.
While the park does sell food and other concessions, travelers hoping to keep costs low are in luck. You’re welcome to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the park when it’s time for a break if you’d rather not splurge on in-park dining.
EXPLORE PARK GÜELL
Your kids may not be as interested in checking out the works of Gaudi scattered throughout Barcelona, but one spot that’s sure to impress them is Park Güell. Designed by Gaudi himself, this park is a whimsical wonderland that is sure to excite any child’s imagination. Your children will have a blast running, playing, and climbing around on the different structures scattered throughout the park – and it’s a great spot to coordinate a quick family photoshoot to capture a few memories of your trip!
It’s important to note the park is currently under renovation, meaning you may not be able to access all areas or admire all of the artwork, but it’s still absolutely worth a visit.
WATCH THE MAGIC FOUNTAIN SHOW
Found at the Plaça d’Espanya, the Magic Fountain puts on a show you and your kids won’t want to miss. This fountain uses over 3,500 water jets and more than 4,750 lights to amaze and delight viewers from all corners of the world, sending streams of water soaring into the air in a synchronized show. Timed to music that ranges from classical favorites to ultra-modern hits, this 20-minute performance will leave you grinning from ear to ear. And the best part? It’s totally free to watch.
The show only happens for a brief period each day – usually an hour-long window during the evening – so you’ll want to get there early enough to grab a good viewing spot!
As you can see, there are tons of attractions to enjoy in Barcelona that the whole family is guaranteed to love. From some of Europe’s best amusement and water parks to chocolate tastings and magical fountains, it won’t be hard to make memories together while you’re here!