What are the must-see sights and attractions in the Catalan capital Barcelona? The list is long, so where do you even begin when it comes to visiting Barcelona with kids? The Spanish metropolis is often referred to as Spain’s second city after Madrid and has long since shed the image of being a party destination. Instead, it is revered for its culture, history, food and art scene. Just 48 hours in Barcelona will give you a quick taster of all it has to offer and even the chance to catch some sun on several of its beaches which stretch across 4.5km of coastline. But what to do in Barcelona with kids? I, along with several other UK family travel bloggers round up some of our firm favourites…
10 Unmissable Places To Visit in Barcelona With Kids
If you have football fans like I do, then a trip to Camp Nou which is home to one of the greatest clubs in the world is a must. Claire from Suitcases and Sandcastles agrees. She says: “FC Barcelona has played at Camp Nou since 1957 and the tour of the stadium and museum is one of the most popular attractions in the city. You get to go through the players’ tunnel and see the changing room, president’s box, players’ benches and press conference area. In the museum, you’ll find the trophy cabinets with the European Champion’s League Cup and the five Ballons d’Or, confirming Lionel Messi as the best football player in the world.”
It’s not always possible to have a city break and enjoy the seaside all at the same time. But Barcelona has plenty to explore. Cathy from Mummy Travels says: “Walk down to Barceloneta beach – it’s less than half an hour from the statue of Columbus at the end of Las Ramblas past yachts and gorgeous sea views. Along the way, you can spot eye-catching sculptures like the bright pop art head by Roy Lichtenstein or the famous fish by Frank Gehry, as well as ambling down quiet alleyways in Barceloneta itself. If you detour via Parc de la Cuitadella, there are fountains and shady green paths too. Barceloneta’s beach does get busy in the summer, but carry on to Platja del Bogatell (or hop on the metro) and you’ll find more space and families even in peak season.”
Barcelona Chocolate Museum
When then 14-year-old Ella visited Barcelona she had some great recommendations for Family Travel Times and the Barcelona Chocolate Museum was top of her list. She says: “We learned about how chocolate was first brought to Europe – and being able to eat your ticket to the museum was an added extra which EVERY museum should have! We also had the opportunity to learn about the cultural and economic significance of chocolate for Barcelona and the entire continent of Europe. Plus, we could also marvel at the incredible chocolate models.”
L’Aquarium de Barcelona
When Claire from Tinbox Traveller needed a break from the art and architecture, she decided that the L’Aquarium de Barcelona was an ideal place to visit with children. “It’s also a great option for a rainy day if you happen to be unlucky enough to have wet weather during your visit. It’s situated in the old harbour, Port Vell, next door to the Maremagnum Shopping Centre and boasts 20 tanks and an 80-metre subaquatic tunnel with a conveyor belt so all you have to focus on is the sea life eyeballing you from every direction.”
MTM’s pick for Barcelona with kids would have to be Las Ramblas. One of my overriding memories of our time in Barcelona is walking down the busy tree-lined boulevard. We spotted at least five different street entertainers amongst the crowds of colourful bodies and the atmosphere is jovial, the loud din coming from the restaurants, tourists, locals and street sellers all adding to the distinctly popular lively mecca for people who are visiting Barcelona. And whether you’re young or old, it’s a great place to just wander.
From here, we also meandered slowly past La Boqueria Food Market, the smells and colours were mesmerising and we hung out and sampled some of the finest Cataluyan cuisines at the tapas bars dotted around. We also enjoy getting lost around the different streets leading from Las Ramblas and discovering less intense areas including Plaza Reial in the Gothic quarter. Perfect for people spotting and a cool drink.
Leona from Wandermust Family went to Barcelona with their baby. She absolutely adored the city but her favourite part was getting away from the hustle and bustle. “We enjoyed visiting Montjuic. While the city is amazing, it can also get quite busy! We loved taking the cable car up the mountain to the area of Montjuic and from there you are rewarded with unrivalled views of the city. After a stroll around the gardens and taking in some fine city’s Olympic history, we head to Martinez for some of the best paellas on offer.”
Palo Alto Market
“The Palo Alto market in Barcelona makes for an interesting day out for older kids,” says Donna from Like Love Do. “The market is situated in the Poblenou area of Barcelona and is held the first weekend of every month weather permitting. Palo Alto is much like the Camden market of Spain with craft stalls, street food and beer tents. The area was once a factory but now houses live bands, artisan stalls and a cool hipster vibe. It costs around €4 to enter but be prepared to queue. It is well worth the wait though to enjoy a cool drink in the sunshine with a good summer vibe. Some of the stalls are really interesting with handmade items such as soap and jewellery and even clothes. There are vintage stalls with homeware and plenty of places to sit and take in the atmosphere. To get to the Market take the metro out of Barcelona to the Selva De Mar stop it is then just a 10-minute walk.”
Another chance to enjoys work by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, Park Güell is not only a UNESCO heritage site but the most wonderful space visitors and locals to enjoy – and great for kids to be able to run about, says Sarah from Cruising With Kids. Made up of sprawling gardens, and full of history and art, the park’s focal point is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. And you can follow the Gaudi trail throughout.
A trip to Barcelona isn’t complete with a visit to the Sagrada Familia – the globally famous and unfinished Roman Catholic church that was designed by Antoni Gaudi. For hundreds of years, this impressive basilica has divided the residents of Barcelona and it still isn’t due to be completed until 2026, a mere 200 years since it was first begun in 1826 – and a century after Gaudi passed away. Whatever your thoughts, however, there’s no denying the sheer scale of it and we were impressed with its gothic towers. The kids will love getting the lift up to the top – but be warned with a steep descent, children under six are not permitted.
Do you have any other suggestions for things to do in Barcelona with kids?