Guides

Family-Friendly Fun in the Sun in Barcelona

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The Spanish love children. While in many countries you might receive a cool reception for bringing kids to a smart restaurant, in Barcelona they will be hugged by the waiter and offered a free dessert. Barcelona's car-free Old Town, abundant neighborhood squares with little playgrounds, and urban beaches with gentle waves make for a hassle-free family holiday.

Barceloneta beach and more

 

Barcelona's beaches provide long walks along a paved promenade, showers, outdoor bars, and a chance to make Mediterranean sandcastles. Barceloneta is the most popular, with a colorful beach scene and dozens of mom-and-pop tapas bars in the little streets behind the shoreline.

 

Transbordador Aeri

 

This cable car takes you on an eye-popping ride from Barceloneta to the slopes of Montjuïc, where parks, gardens, and the 1992 Olympic Games venues await discovery.

 

Estació Miramar s/n, Barcelona 08003. Tel: +34 934 304 716

 

Transbordador Aeri website

 

Maremagnum

 

Cinemas, bouncy rides, an aquarium, and plenty of outdoor space for kids to let off steam make this "floating" mall a popular family destination.

 

Moll d'Espanya 5, Barcelona 08039. Tel: +34 932 25 81 00

 

Maremagnum website

Outdoor adventures

 

Ciutadella Park hosts a tranquil boat lake, a handful of playgrounds, a fountain that can be climbed, and the Barcelona Zoo. You could hire a bike or rickshaw to see it all, or just take a picnic lunch and stretch out to watch the dozens of street performers who gather here on the weekends. The slopes of Montjuïc offer acres of verdant parks and gardens, an impressive castle-fort, museums, and stunning sea and city views.

 

Castell de Montjuic

 

This 17th-century fortress offers incredible views, a chance to scramble up towers and over cannons, and an outdoor cinema in summer. From the main gate, walk 15 minutes to Jardines de Joan Brossa, a delightful park featuring interactive metal and wooden sound contraptions.

 

Carretera de Montjuïc, Barcelona. Tel: +34 932 564 440

 

Castell de Montjuic website

 

Zoo de Barcelona

 

Barcelona’s zoo is situated inside the elegant Ciutadella Park, providing a formal, leafy setting for all sorts of animal and marine life. It is particularly famed for its family of primates, and the dolphin show is a popular crowd-pleaser.

 

Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona 08003. Tel: +34 902 45 75 45

 

Zoo de Barcelona website

 

Science, thrills, and more

 

The posh neighborhoods north of the center have 19th-century fairytale mansions and two of the best attractions for kids; the CosmoCaixa science museum and Tibidabo amusement park. Start the fun by getting there on the Tramvia Blau, a century-old "blue tram" that rattles up Avinguda Tibidabo.

 

CosmoCaixa

 

This state-of-the-art science museum holds a wealth of hands-on exhibits and fun experiments, such as creating mini-sandstorms and tornadoes. The planetarium and the rainforest, complete with live animals, are particular kid-pleasers.

 

Carrer d' Isaac Newton 26, Barcelona 08022. Tel: +34 932 12 60 50

 

CosmoCaixa website

 

Parc d'Atraccions Tibidabo

 

This landmark amusement park is surrounded by natural parkland and sweeping views. There is something for everyone, from a spine-chilling ghost train to a dinky little red airplane that hovers in a circle.

 

Plaza del Tibidabo 3 - 4, Barcelona 08035. Tel: +34 932 11 79 42

 

Parc d'Atraccions Tibidabo website

 

Eating and snacking

 

The diversity of Catalan cuisine should satisfy young eaters, yet Spanish meal times can play havoc with routines. Neighborhood markets (good for picking up picnic fare) and tapas bars provide all-day eating. Some more established restaurants, particularly in the Old Town, serve proper sit-down meals all day.

 

Mercat de la Boquería

 

Right on La Rambla, this iconic market offers stalls selling fresh juices, fried fish in a cone, and pizza slices. Gourmet tapas are available in all the bars, too.

 

La Rambla 91, Barcelona 08001. Tel: +34 93 318 25 84

 

Mercat de la Boquería website