Our round up of the 10 best things to do in Barcelona with kids of all ages, based on our experience as visitors and written with the help of a local mum of two, for the best insider knowledge.
Barcelona is a city that keeps calling me back. I was there for the very first time when I was a child myself, well over 30 years ago and since then I find myself back regularly, sometimes with a friend, sometimes for an adult only weekend with my husband and of course many times with the kids.
Barcelona has always treated us well and as a family destination has a special place in our heart: it is the first city we visited with kids and the one that proved to us that city trips with kids are not just possible but great fun!
Enjoying Barcelona with kids is easy: all it takes to have a good day there is to sit at a tapas bar with a cold drink and a plate of jamon while the kids run in the playground nearby (tapas bars near playgrounds are genius!).
However, if you have never been to Barcelona and want to see some of the city highlights instead of just gorging on Catalan food, the best way to explore is to mix some sightseeing with kid friendly activities that will allow you to see the best the city has to offer. Here is our selection.
Top 10 things to do in Barcelona with kids
Marvel at the colours of Park Guell
Created by architect Gaudi, Park Guell is famous for its whimsical buildings, bright colours and stunning views over the city of Barcelona.
You know the quintessential Barcelona shot, with houses that look like gingerbread in the foreground and the sea as backdrop? That is taken from Park Guell.
Kids tend to love the park because of its fairy-tale character and also because of the several playgrounds, while adults love the view and the cultural elements of this unique architecture. Park Guell is the perfect place to mix culture and play and this is why it tops our list of things to do in Barcelona with kids.
Practical info for visiting park Guell with kids:
- Closest metro station: Vallarca or Lesseps (Line 3)
- Accessible with strollers: yes but the park does have uneven paths and flights of stairs so not all areas are equally easy to visit
- Opening hours of the monumental area: 8.30 -18.30 (winter), 8.00-21.30 (summer), 8.00-20.30 (mid-seasons)
- Admission fee to the monumental area: 8 Euro per adult, children under 6 go free but need to show prove of purchase. Discounts are available for advanced bookings made on line: book HERE for the best deals
Get a dip in Barceloneta
For an afternoon of relaxation and play, there is nothing like the beach and the sandy stretch of Barcelona is perfect for both adults and kids.
Here you have seaside cafes, kids climbing frames, bike /roller skating lanes, shops and of course the beach itself – try go early as in summer it gets quite busy and don’t get intimidated by the surfer paradise look of the beach huts: they are surprisingly family friendly and many have high chairs!
Explore the whole of Spain in 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.
In the space of minutes you find yourself wandering thought the streets of Castilla, then the ones of Andalucia and the South, getting a glimpse of the huge diversity of Spain all in one place.
For kids, it is a brilliant place as it is safe (there are no cars) and there is a lovely playground while parents are likely to love the many craft shops and the seemingly endless number of restaurants and cafes.
The place can be visited in half an hour if you just walk through it, but I recommend spending here a morning and explore the many workshops, shops, events and of course tapas bars. This is one my favourite things to do in Barcelona with kids as it is pleasant, safe and educational.
- Poble Espanyol opening hours: Monday from 9 am to 8 pm; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 9 am to 12 midnight; Fridays from 9 am to 3 am; Saturdays from 9 am to 4 am
- Admission fee: 14 Euro per adult; children under 4 go free
- How to get there: the closest metro stop is Espanya; fro here catch bus 150 to climb up Montjuic
Discover magic at the Fontana Magica de Montjuic
The area of Montjuic also has another attraction for kids and this is its magic fountain. This large fountain, on summer evenings, turns itself into a show of water and light.
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! For the most fun, stay close to the fountain and let yourself get soaked by the drops coming your way.
Meet the geese of La Seu
The most atmospheric part of Barcelona is the Barrio Gotic, in the centre, where meandering streets, gargoyles and ancient churches mix for the pleasure of tourists and local alike.
The Barrio Gotic is not interesting for kids as such, but Barcelona cathedral, in its centre, has a kid friendly surprise: a flock of geese in its cloister!
- La Seu opening hours for visitors: Monday to Saturday 13.00-17.00; Sunday: 14.00-17.00 (except 25th December)
- Admission fee: visit to the church is free but there is a charge 2.50 Euro to visit the choir seats and 2.50 to climb to the cathedral roof
- Closest metro station: Jaume I (L4) and Liceu (L3)
Walk in an underwater tunnel in Barcelona aquarium
Barcelona aquarium is always a hit with kids. Fully kitted out to welcome even the youngest of Octonauts, the highlight for children is the shark feeding time and the underwater tunnel you walk into to get to the exit.
You can easily spend one morning here and its location close to the water makes it a good complement to a day outdoors. The aquarium is exceptionally popular with local families and visitors but skip the line tickets are available.
- Closest metro station: Barceloneta (L4) or Drassanes (L3)
- Opening hours: Monday through Friday 10.00 -19.30/21.30 depending on the season (longer hours are in operation during June, July and August)
- Tickets: 20 Euro per adult, 11,5 Euro children from 4 to 12 y.o.a. Children under 4 go free
Become scientist for the day at Museo de la ciencia (science museum)
Barcelona science museum is a huge, interactive museum for kids of all ages with many floors and spaces including a planetarium and a reconstruction of the environment of the amazon forest, complete with humidity and all! It is a fantastic space and a great place for the odd rainy day.
- Opening time:Tuesday to Sunday & public holidays, from 10am to 8pm. Opens Monday during the Christmas and Easter holidays, and in summer. January 1st & 6th and December 25th, closed.
- Services: Guided tours, car park, cafe, restaurant, bookshop and shop.
- Admission: Children under 16 go free, adult tickets from 3.50 Euro
See Barcelona from the sky
Kids who love heights will be delighted with a trip on one of Barcelona cable cars. The city has two: the Tranbortador Aeri Del Port, the iconic Port cable car that cuts across the city’s skyline to Montjuïc, and the Teleferico de Montjuïc, which is on Montjuïc mountain itself.
We did not go on it, being chronically afraid of heights, but considering how beautiful Barcelona is from the safe hillsides of Montjuic, I can imagine the birds-eye view from the cable car as spectacular.
Go architecture spotting
Architectural walks and kids don’t always go hand in hand, but in Barcelona architecture can be so much fun this activity is likely to be a hit with many kids. Our favourite spot to visit at all ages is the Hospital de Sant Pau: this is a former hospital now converted into exhibition space, conference and art centre.
The elaborate and colourful architecture, paired up with the beautiful gardens, make it an unlikely but beautiful space easy to visit even with young toddlers.
Other architectural landmarks easy to enjoy even with little ones are the several houses built by architect Gaudi (Such as casa Batllo in the photo below on Passeig de Gracia and of course the peculiar Sagrada Familia, one of its most famous, albeit unfinished, creations.
Wander around Parc de la Ciutadella
I opened the list with one park and close with another: Parc de la Ciutadella. A lovely park for picncs and with a nice playground for kids, it is an excellent place to relax in the heart of the city.
The park is close to the arc de trionf (beautiful) and hosts Barcelona zoo. While I am not very fond of zoos in general and of this one in particular (it has a dolphin show which is something I do not want to support), we did go there before realising about the show and our kids did love it, so I feel it’s worth mentioning. If you want to read what brought me to regret that visit, you have have a look at my post about dolphin shows here.
Practical tips for visiting Barcelona with kids
- Barcelona has an excellent metro system: you can buy individual tickets, carnets or weekend tickets (better value for money, unless you plan on walking most of the time). Metro stations and mostly accessible by buggies, with family/wheelchair users lanes, but in some of them I did notice stairs so check accessibility plan if moving around with a heavy stroller
- Our hotel of choice in Barcelona is Hilton Diagonal Mar. This is immediately outside the centre but in a perfect location: it has pool onsite (open to kids too), restaurant, large rooms and an excellent shopping centre with playground such in front. You can read our hotel review HERE or check the Hilton Diagonal Mar website directly
- Our self catering apartment of choice in Barcelona is this one, in the area called El Born. They have several locations available and we loved the one in Rua Pescateria 1′.
You can also compare prices of many hotels in Barcelona thanks to our partner site Hotels Combined , which shows the best available rate for the same hotels across several booking engines
I hope you enjoyed our round up of things to do in Barcelona with kids! Happy travels
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