Barcelona with toddlers: why you should go (and how to enjoy it!)


If you are considering a trip to Barcelona with toddlers in tow, you may be wondering how easy or hard it is to enjoy such a big and dynamic city with a little travel companion.

Indeed, Barcelona tends to be on the tourists’ radar for architecture and nightlife, more than family fun, but when we went with our kids we discovered it also has a huge family friendly heart.

We visited Barcelona when our children were tiny tots: our son had just turned 3 and our daughter was a super active and opinionated 1 year old.

Despite some inevitable compromises between what a holiday is in the eye of a toddler and in the understanding of a grown up, we had an amazing time and will go as far as saying the trip was a life changing one.

While before Barcelona we thought family holidays would mean the end of city exploring and the embracing of all inclusive propositions, we discovered city breaks with kids can be a lot of fun.

We have been hooked ever since!

This is how we enjoyed Barcelona with toddlers and why recommend it as a family destination.

Photo collage with Parc quell and the Montjuic fountain with overlay text How to visit Barcelona with toddlers

Top things to do in Barcelona with toddlers

This is a selection of our favourite toddler-friendly things to do in Barcelona. If you have older kids, you can find a wider selection of what to do in Barcelona with kids here.

Play to your heart content in the sandy playground of Barceloneta

City breaks with kids are good but city breaks with the option of going to the beach are better!

Few things allow toddlers to use up energy than the beach and has a wonderful sandy one: Barceloneta.

barceloneta is the perfect place to spend an afternoon while visiting Barcelona with kids
The sandy stretch of Barceloneta: photo courtesy of Pixabay

Located a short stroll from the city centre, Barceloneta is a large golden beach  and a great place for all ages.

For adults, there is a long line of seaside cafes offering from sodas, to organic juice and chilled beer, while for kids there is the beach, a car-free cycle lane (for adult cyclists too, be careful!) and a beach playground.

The playground was of course the highlight of Barceloneta for our kids. The climbing frames are on the sand and this makes for sandy shoes but great and reasonably safe fun.

Top tip for parents: despite the surfer hideout look, most of the bars and restaurants in Barceloneta are family friendly and even have highchairs!

Visit Barcelona zoo

I have mixed feelings about zoos and recently I have learnt upsetting truths about dolphinariums that made me wish we didn’t include this stop in our itinerary (you can read about my feeling and some hard facts on my post ‘The dolphin show I wish I didn’t see here).

However, among the many things we did in Barcelona features the zoo and since my kids loved it, I feel it is fair to include it in this list.

Barcelona zoo is located in the city centre and it is a really easy place to enjoy with kids.

Located in Parc de la Ciutadella, right in the heart of Barcelona, the zoo is one of those places you can visit for a few hours or a full day.

Car free and full of interesting animals, play areas and food options, this is an easy way to entertain toddlers and let them run around away from the traffic.

Learn about sea creatures in Barcelona aquarium

Another Barcelona attraction toddlers are likely to love is the city aquarium.

The Barcelona aquarium is one of the most famous in Europe and is fun to visits because of its massive tanks and the sheer variety of species it hosts.

You can visit the aquarium at your own pace following the excellent visitors path marked inside and you can learn about animal facts at the interesting talks that happen regularly in different sections of the aquarium.

The highlight of the visit for our two children was without a doubt the shark feeding time, followed by the exciting walk under the aquarium underwater tunnel!

If interested in the aquarium, I highly recommend to book skip the line tickets 

Have a break in Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc del la Ciutadella is a lovely green area in the heart of Barcelona.

Pleasant for a stroll, it has a nice playground and cafe just beside, which means you can have a caffeine fix while watching the kids.

Get an open top bus tour

The Sagrada familia in Barcelona
The stunning Sagrada familia, Barcelona and its whimsical architecture, sure to capture the imagination of adults and kids

A bus tour is a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and something transport-loving toddlers are likely to love.

Barelona offers a plethora of  bus tour options and you can choose between different price points and itinerary. We took the Hop on Hop off  tour and found it excellent.

The space on the bus was enough for us to be able to leave the stroller unfolded and the kids loved being on the open top bus.

While we didn’t see anything in depth, we were able to get a good sense of the city structure and saw some of Barcelona’s most famous sites such as Tibidabo, la Sagrada Familia and the facades of some of Gaudi’s houses:  we only got off to the must see Parc Guell.

You can safely book the same tour as us online clicking here (with great cancellation options, a life saver when toddlers are involved!)

Explore Par Guell

Parc Guell is one of Barcelona’s most famous attractions and one that is easy to visit with toddlers and older kids.

The park itself is beautiful and scenic and there is plenty of room to run around and play.

When you enter, you are first welcomed by the monumental part of the park: this is beautiful and crazy busy but a good place to keep in mind if traveling with a baby or toddler since it is also where the restrooms are.

Farther into the park you have several open spaces for kids to run and small, secluded playgrounds perfect for a quiet play.

Tip for parents: Park Guell sits at the top of a steep hill.

The bus leaves you at its bottom and climbing all the way up can prove tiring for small kids and stroller-pushing parents.

The best way to tackle this short walk is to take your time and possibly consider then bribe of an ice cream: there is a shop just mid-way between the bus stop and the park!

Part of Parc Guell is now ticketed: you can get hold of entry tickets to the terrace in advance of your trip here

iconi shot of the view over Barcelona from the terrace in Park Guell
Wander around El Poble Espanyol

Poble Espanyol is one of the most family friendly attraction in the whole of the city.

Located in the area of Montjuic, which also offers incredible views over the city, the Poble is a ‘mini Spain’, with life size buildings and streets replicating the different areas of Spain.

This is a fabulous place to visit in Barcelona with toddler: car free, it is a safe area for them to walk in freedom, it has a wonderful playground and is packed with family friendly restaurants and cafes.

Get soaked at Fontana Majica de Montjuic

During the summer, few attractions are more fun for toddlers and kids of all ages than the magic fountain of Montjuic and its light-show.

Montjuic is a wonderful area of Barcelona worth visiting: one of its main attractions is the Catalonia National Museum of Art
Montjuic is a wonderful area of Barcelona and one parents and kids can enjoy thanks to the many museums and kids attractions within a short distance from each other

At 9.15 pm this monumental fountains start playing music and launches huge sprays of water to the sky, dancing on the notes filling the air.

For 15 minutes, the fountain seems to turn into ice and fire and even for adults it is hard not to fall for such a fun show!

Tip for parents: For the most fun, allow your kids to stay close to the fountain and get soaked by the drops coming your way. Bring a change of clothes for a stress free experience!

See the geese of Barcelona’s cathedral

Toddlers are not likely to appreciate the Gothic splendor of Barcelona’s cathedral but there is one thing that makes this a great stop for little ones: the churches’ geese!

Inside the cloister of Barcelona’s Seu lives a small flock of snow- white- feathered, yellow-beaked geese and I dare any toddler not to fall in love with them!

Quite a step up from duck pond we have in Dublin!

The best place to stay in Barcelona with toddlers

We stayed in Barcelona with our two toddlers twice in the same month: just before we went to Palma de Mallorca and once back.

Family addresses we recommend are:

For self catering, look no further than the Deco apartment in El Born. 

The apartment is perfectly located in terms of proximity of attractions and accessibility of shops and mixes excellently family friendliness and style.

Large lift, friendly staff and baby equipment available on request make it an easy and beautiful choice for young families.  You can find photos and prices here

If you prefer a hotel,  check out the Hilton Diagonal Mar, super family friendly in terms of amenities and welcome.

Check availability and get the best price from the hotel website or have a look at the full review we wrote after out last stay.

Tips for visiting Barcelona with toddlers

  • Travel in spring or fall to get the most  pleasant weather
  • Choose accommodation in a quiet neighborhood to escape the noise of the city’s busy nightlife
  • Bring a travel high chair for tapas bars
  • Bring a stroller to negotiate Barcelona’s long distances (find our favourite ones for travel here)
  • Take the excellent public transport system
  • Relax! Barcelona is truly easy to enjoy with little ones

Don’t miss our favourite kids-friendly spots in Barcelona, listed in this post!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

This post was originally published after our first trip to Barcelona as a family and has now been fully updated

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23 thoughts on “Barcelona with toddlers: why you should go (and how to enjoy it!)

  1. Ting at My Travel Monkey says:

    Great post and informative. You are right – people do often think it’s not possible to take children to these bustling cities- but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Instead of late nights it’s just different ways of exploring as you’ve shown! I love Barcelona… and look forward to taking Monkey back one day 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  2. mark says:

    Marta we spent 4 days with kids in Barcelona last summer and loved it so much we are heading back for 5 days in December. I am not a huge art fan so that did not worry me at all.

  3. Rob Taylor says:

    I’m glad to see that you say a bus tour is a good idea with kids. We have been debating about this in a few locations, so it’s nice to see that in a place like Barcelona it’s a good idea.

    • Marta says:

      There, it definitely was. The day was quite hot and the open top bus was a good way to catch some breeze. My son loved it most: a vehicle is a sure hit with him 😉

  4. Corinne says:

    I think you found some amazing kid-friendly things to do in Barcelona. The late-night thing can be avoided, thankfully.

  5. samiya selim says:

    We loved Barcelona with the kids but we just didn’t have enough time to do all that we wanted to, seeing this great post just re enforced that we need to go back 🙂 such a wonderful city to explore with the family!

    • Marta says:

      I can imagine, there is just so much there! This is partially why we got a bus tour: it’s not something we normally do but it was a good way to cover some ground with little ones and we did end up seeing things we would have otherwise missed.

  6. Cathy says:

    The buildings look like they are from a kid’s story book! Some great tips for those travelling with kids. Ours are teenagers so that is a whole different set of tips:)

    • Marta says:

      Haha, I imagine! Sometimes I wonder what this blog will look like when the kids are older but this is part of why I write it: to remember every moment 🙂

  7. Jessica says:

    Many years ago when we were living in Germany we took a weekend bus tour of Spain and spent a day in Barcelona. We had a three year old and a 3 week old at the time. Such a lovely city.

    • Marta says:

      Oh wow, travelling with a three week old and a toddler must have been hard! But I found Spain really family friendly, I can hardly think of better places in Europe for family holidays – a part from Italy, but I am biased 😉

  8. Sabine says:

    Barcelona has so much to offer for everyone, even for families with kids. I’d love to go back to Barcelona, it’s such a vibrant city, with so much to see and lovely food.

    • Marta says:

      Absolutely, it really is a world, that city. And I agree about the food: I don’t think we ever eat as often as we do in Spain – tapas are just too inviting

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